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The Kenneth Sharp Tardis Console

Started by tony farrell, Jan 05, 2016, 02:06 am

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tony farrell

Jan 31, 2016, 07:13 pm #75 Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 10:15 am by Tony Farrell
Well, I had expected a bit of a debate as to the positioning of the Console's collar so that sloping facets lay half way over the upright panelling beneath. I must be getting good at this!  ;)

Given that the relationship of the collar to the base is understood, and bearing in mind the crucial nature of the yellow lines in the screen grabs and my 'exploded' diagram to the correct proportions of the Kenneth Sharp Console, let's begin to establish its correct dimensions.

Purely because Lespaceplie's drawing of the Console is the most up-to-date estimate of the dimensions currently available here on Tardis Builders, let's begin there:

15-20_plan_01.jpg

Here, I've faithfully reproduced Lespaceplie's diagram at 12 pixels per inch. I haven't altered anything or skewed any angles. If Lespaceplie's measurements are correct, then the Console should look like this:

lespaceplie console dims.png

As can be seen, I've added a 'side' view of the Console as well as a plan view. Again, these additions have been faithfully reproduced using Lespaceplie's dimensions.

Given the stated 'depth' of the plinth's fins (7.5 inches excluding metal trim, 8.5 inches with trim), as can be seen by 'following' this line on the overhead view in the plans, the width of the access panel openings in the Console's plinth cannot equal the stated width of 15 inches; mathematically, if Lespaceplie's other dimensions are correct, then the width of the panel openings cannot exceed 14.667".

The second point to note is the angle of the plinth's sloping surfaces. If Lespaceplie is correct, this angle should be 39.9 degrees - let's call this 40 degrees.

To test this angle, what we need is a decent photograph of the Console 'sideways' on which shows all three sides and is symmetrical. So, something like this:

time monster lines 1.jpg

Clearly, the quality of this picture isn't very good, so we need something better:

time_monster 1.jpg

Here, with thanks to Jonathan/Markofrani, is the same image but rotated so that the Console is now vertical:

get-attachment.jpg

Though partly obscured by what appears to be a red tape measure, the slope of the plinth's angled panels can be seen. It does appear to be much closer to 45 degrees and not the 39.9 to 40 degrees stated in Lespaceplie's plans.

So, let's test this angle further. According to https://www.metals4u.co.uk/aluminium/channel/25.4mmx25.4mmx1.6mm-(1x1x116)/p14798 , the metal trim is 1 inch wide. The next available size is 1 and a 1/4" and as far as I've been able to find out, there has never been an intermediate size available. So, the plinth's metal trim must either be one inch wide or one and a quarter inches wide. One and a quarter inches would be too big in comparison to the rest of the Console (either that or the Console is 25% bigger than anyone thinks :)), so, I've taken the dimension of the trim as being one inch square.

Now a close-up of the sloping panel: I've tried not to obscure any details in the picture so that people can judge for themselves the positions from which I've calculated the dimensions. Obviously, as we are slightly looking down at the bottom of the plinth, we can see part of the metal trims' horizontal surfaces. So that our calculations aren't distorted, we must be careful to exclude the visible horizontal surface from our measurements.

time monster plinth detailed.png

The scale on the right of the picture excludes the horizontal surface and therefore only encompasses the vertical. As can be seen, the sloping panel rises to a height of six-and-a-half inches and not the six inches proposed by Lespaceplie plans.

By 'extending' this scale to the rest of the plinth, we can establish the other vertical dimensions - including that of the Console' fascia:

time_monster 1a.png

(The height of the fascia can also be confirmed by reference to the Tardis' controls, many of the dimensions of which have already been established - refer to http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=4825.0.)

get-attachment (1) lines.png

So, let's amend the measurements of the plinth in Lespaceplie's diagram with this new information and then assess the potential impact of these changes on the other dimensions.

LESPCAEPLIE WITH MY DIMS ON TOP.png

As can be seen, the plinth's panels now slope at 45 degrees, the access hatch panels are 17.5" tall by (nominally) 15" wide and fit in openings which were 17,5" tall by 15.167" wide. The figure of 15.167" wide is something we shall return to presently.

Apart from these changes however, the overall proportions of the Console haven't been affected - the collar still sits half way over the supporting vertical surfaces as indicated by the yellow lines. So, it would appear - at first glance - that the remaining dimensions stated by Lespaceplie might still be correct (particularly in regard to the Console's collar).

There are however two circumstantial pieces of evidence which contradict this; what had gone before and what was to come afterwards!

I refer to the diameter of the Console's central column:

As we've seen here http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=4825.0, the original Brachacki Console's central column was 22" in diameter and rose and fell through a 24" diameter hole. This is backed up by the original BBC plans which can be found here: http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=6536.0.

Similarly, as can be seen here http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=1107.msg80424#msg80424, Lespaceplie (and others) have established the Mike Kelt iteration of the Console as also having a central column which was 22" in diameter (56 cm).

So, if the Consoles which preceded and succeeded the Kenneth Sharp version both had 22" diameter central columns. why would the Pertwee/Baker/Davison console be any different? It makes very little sense for the diameter to go from 22" to 22.625" and then back to 22" again. Though, of course, it is still possible for that to have happened.

However, we have a piece of documentary evidence which shows that this wasn't the case and shows - in fact - that the Central column's diameter did not change throughout the classic 'run' of Dr Who (or, more precisely, that the diameter of the hole through which the column rose and fell did not change). It is this drawing which was first posted by Jonathan/Markofrani many years ago:

peter logan rotated.jpg

I asked Jonathan about the origin of this drawing and if he knew who the signatory (P. Logan) was. Jonathan replied to me stating that according to page 30 of The Doctor's Effects, (see http://www.doctorwhotoybox.co.uk/index.php/page/item/sec/14753330527/sub/10323878803/ino/15074433254/title/Doctor_Who_The_Doctor_s_Effects__Steve_Cambden_ for a link to this book) Peter Logan worked as a Visual Effects technician on both "Inferno" and "Claws of Axos".

Having worked on these stories therefore, Mr Logan would have witnessed both the final appearance of the original Brachacki Console and the introduction of the Sharp Console. If I'm correct in my introductory remarks to this topic and the Sharp Console was made by the BBC's Visual Effects Department, then this puts Peter Logan in a uniquely privileged position and I think therefore that we can place a high degree of faith in the accuracy of his plans.

Here I've rotated Mr Logan's drawing and added two dimensions for clarity:

peter logan rotated with dims.jpg

The first thing to note about the Logan drawing is that it is only a part-plan - the little arrows marked 'A' are are the usual indication that an elevation from the same view-point has been also drawn (for an example of this, please refer to the BBC's plans for the original Tardis' Ceiling Canopy - http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=6536.0.).

The second thing to note is the dimension 24.5". At first sight, this dimension would appear to be incorrect: The Console's 'table' (as drawn by Logan) has sides measuring 46". For an equilateral triangle to have 46" sides, mathematically its height must be 39.8372". At the point where Mr Logan has marked the start of his 24.5" measurement, he has also apparently marked a radius of 15" (with the radius' centre being the apex of the 46" sided triangle).

15" + 24.5" + 1" (for the fascia/perimeter timber) = 40.5". 40.5" is obviously too long to fit into the maximum mathematical height of the triangle i.e., 39.8372".

This is puzzling until it is realised what - precisely - "centre section constructed separately" means. Clearly, this cannot refer to the Console's central column; it was made out of Perspex so, it would be blindly obvious that the column was constructed separately. This notation must therefore refer to the collar.

What Peter Logan has drawn is a combination of the collar and Console's table sections as one (with clarifications presumably stated elsewhere on the drawing or drawings). Thus, the 15" diameter relates solely to the collar and is nothing to do with the 24.5" measurement.

(Remember I said that we would return to the figure of 15.167" for the widths of the plinth's access panel openings, please note this dimension in the second and third diagrams below.)

peter logan combo.png

Thus, whereas it can be seen that Lespaceplie has drawn the Console's collar as being 35" wide, Peter Logan has measured this as being 34" wide. In addition, it can be seen that even with this narrower width, the collar still sits with its sloping facets half way over the vertical timbers beneath and therefore matches the yellow lines drawn in the screen captures and exploded diagram!

Thus, when I referred to needing to establish a measurement for our base-line of 100 units for the diameter of the collar's hole (see page one of this thread), it can be seen that we have now established this dimension - it is 24" in diameter. We can now establish the remaining dimensions of the Central Column!

T

fivefingeredstyre

Been a bit out of the loop this weekend, but nice to see some progress on this :)

tony farrell

Ah, but when are we going to see "some progress" on your Dalek and Mooncrest Brachacki Console Steve? That is the question!  ;)

fivefingeredstyre

Well...

The console currently looks like this:

jkuytyjjujg_zpssyz5460p.jpg


The Dalek is still waiting for the good weather (It's currently gathering dust in my shed at the moment... :-[)

andrewkent

Fantastic work Tony.  The runners being inside the Perspex Column was obvious once it was pointed out to me, clearly I shouldn't give up my day job!

I wonder if Peter Logan is still alive?  It would be fascinating to read an interview with him.  I'd love to know what they did with the Brachacki console.

Back to the Sharpe one, I have a memory of reading in Mat Irvine's Special Effects book that the console table could only be fitted in one position.  Looking at these plans there doesn't seem to be any reason for this, unless it was something hidden.  I don't have the book anymore, so don't know if there's anymore detail as to why.

tony farrell

Quote from: andrewkent on Feb 01, 2016, 08:13 pm
I wonder if Peter Logan is still alive?  It would be fascinating to read an interview with him.  I'd love to know what they did with the Brachacki console.

I'm afraid I don't know whether he's alive or not. I would imagine that he was in his twenties/early thirties in the 1970s, that would make him roughly seventy today. According to IMDb, his last credit was 1995 but he could just have taken early retirement.

I think that what was salvageable from the Brachacki Console was re-utilised in 1970 - the timber framework, redundant panels and column innards (what little of them remained) would have been scrapped. That said, at least one of the original Console's main levers survives down to today. It's also true that many props survive, so - in theory - some enterprising soul could have salvaged the controls which were stripped when the Console was refurbished for Tom Baker's second season. Stranger things have happened!

Quote from: andrewkent on Feb 01, 2016, 08:13 pm
Back to the Sharpe one, I have a memory of reading in Mat Irvine's Special Effects book that the console table could only be fitted in one position.  Looking at these plans there doesn't seem to be any reason for this, unless it was something hidden.  I don't have the book anymore, so don't know if there's anymore detail as to why.

You've got me on that one - there doesn't seem to be any pictorial evidence to support that: It's a six-sided one inch thick timber table which sits on a timber plinth - apart from the control panel layouts, structurally there's nothing to distinguish each side of the table and plinth. Hmmm... Something to do with the wiring perhaps?

Does anyone have a copy of Mat's book to hand?

T

fivefingeredstyre

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 01, 2016, 09:08 pm
You've got me on that one - there doesn't seem to be any pictorial evidence to support that: It's a six-sided one inch thick timber table which sits on a timber plinth - apart from the control panel layouts, structurally there's nothing to distinguish each side of the table and plinth. Hmmm... Something to do with the wiring perhaps?
I wonder if he means towards the end of its life? As we are aware, the Console table got really smacked about over the last few years of its life,certainly the plinth underwent enormous modification/bodging around te time of Logopolis (One of the side walls winds up not being set back as far at the others if I recall). It could be around then that console wound up only being able to be put together one way round?

QuoteDoes anyone have a copy of Mat's book to hand?
Just ordered a copy off of eBay (I've been meaning to replace my old, lost copy for years...) only cost £3 as well... :D

Rassilons Rod

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Feb 01, 2016, 09:30 pmcertainly the plinth underwent enormous modification/bodging around te time of Logopolis (One of the side walls winds up not being set back as far at the others if I recall). It could be around then that console wound up only being able to be put together one way round?


Well there was a huge mod done for Logopolis, so they could install that keyboard that pops out of the console  (to drive the chameleon circuit).

You can see the remains of that mod in a later, Davison episode. I forget which one, but there's a huge hole on one side of the plinth.
In the cities in the streets there's a tension you can feel,
The breaking strain is fast approaching, guns and riots.
Politicians gamble and lie to save their skins,
And the press get fed the scapegoats,
Public Enema Number One.

galacticprobe

Feb 02, 2016, 06:40 am #83 Last Edit: Feb 02, 2016, 06:40 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: rassilonsrod on Feb 02, 2016, 12:29 am
Well there was a huge mod done for Logopolis, so they could install that keyboard that pops out of the console  (to drive the chameleon circuit).

You can see the remains of that mod in a later, Davison episode. I forget which one, but there's a huge hole on one side of the plinth.


I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think it may have been "Timeflight". There were some nice under-console scenes in that one, and on the side where that keyboard would have been hidden away in "Logopolis".

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

tony farrell

Interesting points here chaps. I can see how the installation of the 'Chameleon Programmer' (and the widening of the plinth on the corresponding side) would mean the Console could only be assembled one way round but this was towards the end of its life.

I'm still struggling to see what would have prevented the original Sharp Console table being fitted to the plinth in any 'orientation' as the timbers on each side appear to be identical. Hopefully Steve can clarify when his replacement book arrives!

T

davidnagel

Feb 02, 2016, 10:02 am #85 Last Edit: Feb 02, 2016, 10:03 am by davidnagel
I have both of the Steve Cambden books and unfortunately I don't think the dialogue around the Peter Logan drawing has any discussion about the console. The only console discussion is Bernie Wilkie at the beginning and Ray Cusick later on. I think.

Its been awhile since I pulled said book from the shelf...
Regards
David

tony farrell

Have a look David and - if there's anything relevant to this thread - please feel free to post!

T

galacticprobe

Feb 03, 2016, 04:57 am #87 Last Edit: Feb 03, 2016, 05:29 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 02, 2016, 09:49 am
Interesting points here chaps. I can see how the installation of the 'Chameleon Programmer' (and the widening of the plinth on the corresponding side) would mean the Console could only be assembled one way round but this was towards the end of its life.

Well, the plinth was only "somewhat" widened on that side. The actual side panel was made "flush" with the vanes in the plinth (and bulged out a tad), and only the very top part of that plinth panel was moved outward, giving that plinth access panel an angled edge to it.
ChameleonControlsPlinthMod01.jpg
Here it is in "Logopolis", when that modification first appeared. You can see how that plinth access panel is a little proud of the plinth vanes (not enough to offset the symmetry of the plinth as a whole, I believe), and that angled part at the top of that access panel is very clearly visible.

And while this next image isn't from "Timeflight", it is from still later in the console's life (closer to the end of it since Turlough is at the console). Even better, it's taken from almost the same viewing angle so it's easy to make comparisons with the access panel being flush or proud with the vanes.
ChameleonControlsPlinthMod02.jpg
That access panel is still "flush" with the plinth vanes (not proud of anymore, but actually flush with); however, that angled part has been removed with nothing covering up the opening that allowed the Chameleon Control Keyboard to move through the console, and you can see part of what's inside the console. One would have thought they would have at least made a simple, new panel to put there so it went all the way up like the other access panels do - still leave it flush with the vanes, the simplest way - but at least put on a panel that didn't leave a huge gaping hole in the plinth. (And I think it's things like this that give many fans the idea that 'Doctor Who' was made on a shoestring budget: "They couldn't even afford to build a full panel to cover that little side of the console!") We all know budget cuts affected all productions, but I can see how fans could get the idea that this low-budget production must have plagued the show from Day 1 - even though that's been recently totally disproved. (But you get my meaning, I think.)

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 02, 2016, 09:49 am
I'm still struggling to see what would have prevented the original Sharp Console table being fitted to the plinth in any 'orientation' as the timbers on each side appear to be identical.

That makes two of us, Tony! In either case - "Logopolis" or any story that came later where that angled part was removed - the plinth's dimensions would have remained the same ("The Two Doctors" not withstanding); certainly the "footprint" where the top of the plinth met with the console's table area would have. So I can't see any reason why the console table could only be fitted on one way. Wiring aside, each panel would have had some sort of access opening (we called them "stuffing tubes" in military electronics) for wires to pass from the plinth into the panel. And as we've seen this console's panels move around the console in relation to each other (not in any uniform pattern), that would indicate each main panel's stuffing tube matched up with the corresponding stuffing tube in the plinth. (Does that makes sense to anyone other than me?)

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 02, 2016, 09:49 am
Hopefully Steve can clarify when his replacement book arrives!

I'm looking forward to hearing what Steve has to say on that as well. (I wonder if he sprung for expedited shipping on the book. ;D)

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

fivefingeredstyre

Quote from: galacticprobe on Feb 03, 2016, 04:57 amIn either case - "Logopolis" or any story that came later where that angled part was removed - the plinth's dimensions would have remained the same ("The Two Doctors" not withstanding); certainly the "footprint" where the top of the plinth met with the console's table area would have. So I can't see any reason why the console table could only be fitted on one way. Wiring aside, each panel would have had some sort of access opening (we called them "stuffing tubes" in military electronics) for wires to pass from the plinth into the panel. And as we've seen this console's panels move around the console in relation to each other (not in any uniform pattern), that would indicate each main panel's stuffing tube matched up with the corresponding stuffing tube in the plinth. (Does that makes sense to anyone other than me?)
Although the covering has been removed, it still looks like the mechanism for raising/lowering the keyboard is still in place, it could be that it protrudes through the table top and this is what stops console from being orientated in any fashion. Its all guesswork, mind you...

The console is in a terrible state isn't it? like the Brachacki prop, it should have been retired long before it actually was...

Quote
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Feb 02, 2016, 09:49 am
Hopefully Steve can clarify when his replacement book arrives!

I'm looking forward to hearing what Steve has to say on that as well. (I wonder if he sprung for expedited shipping on the book. ;D)
Sorry guys, I stayed with the free postage (The book was so cheap that any shipping would have cost more than the book itself... :D)

andrewkent

Feb 03, 2016, 08:00 pm #89 Last Edit: Feb 03, 2016, 08:02 pm by andrewkent
From memory the comment was made in relation to the new Mike Kelt console, as that could be fitted in any rotation.  But as JNT used to say, "memory cheats", so I wait to hear if this is correct.

In the meantime have these been posted before?  Drawings from the Technical Manual with a very vague scale.

Tardis Console - Technical Manual.JPG

Tardis Console - Technical Manual 2.JPG