Jun 25, 2024, 12:43 pm


New, New TardisBuilders!

Burnt-Out Sonic Screwdriver

Started by The14thDr, Mar 02, 2016, 04:48 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


Mar 02, 2016, 04:48 pm Last Edit: Dec 21, 2017, 04:09 pm by The14thDr
First of all, I want to apologise if this is in the wrong section - it was a choice between this and the Props from the Shops board. So feel free to move this topic if it's in the wrong place.

I've watched a few reviews of the four different 10th Doctor sonics (from waves 1, 2 and 4, including the 9th Doctor sonic from wave 3), and I think that the best toy to use as a base for this prop would be the Wave 4 sonic screwdriver.

So I have a few questions to ask regarding the modifications I need to make:

1. Would it be possible to swap the sound chip from either the River Song or original Tenth Doctor's sonic into the new sonic?

2. Is there I way that I can attach the push button to the inside of the slider?

3. Would model paint (the kind people use for model aeroplanes, etc.) work for painting the body of the sonic to make it more accurate to the Eleventh Hour version?


Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


1) You don't need to bother, just swap the head from the original 10 into the body of the new one, they're the same! If you're feeling adventurous you can open up the slider and repaint the black coil yellow to match the wires of the later prop, then slide a slightly frosted straw around it to represent the prop's thinner inner channel.

2) See Stephen McCulla's videos (Votesaxon), he's tried several different ways of doing this though personally I think the toy is better off with the durability afforded with a separate button. If I were you I'd replace the box slider with a curved piece of plastic more like the later Tennant sonics then cut out the blue strip. Paint the inner core visible a very light blue to show through the shadow and take one of the original "buttons" and glue it to the tactile switch beneath so it can be operated in any position.

3) Yes... But it may not be worth it! The paint Nick used on the originals is... difficult. Some people have used Aleene's crackle as a "next best" but even that is stupidly temperamental! You can get the Plastikote paints used on the 9 sonics easily enough but obviously that's not accurate to the 11th Hour sonic. If you want my opinion on getting as close to the 11th Hour sonic finish as possible do this, or the bits that appeal to you:
1) Use the grey base of the sonic and give the whole thing a light sanding to catch paint and remove that plastic sheen.
2) Paint the whole body in a faded baby-blue paint thin enough to keep the cracks.
3) At strategic areas such as around the slider and inside the ridges sand back the blue paint to reveal the original grey, you want about a 40:60 patchiness grey to blue.
4) Rub a watery black paint or black shoe polish over the body, then rub down with a cloth to leave it in the ridges.
5) In some areas of grey dab chrome paint as if the paint has been ribbed totally off.
6) Add a heavier black wash over the whole thing as if it's gathering dirt... A lot of dirt!

The 11th Hoir sonic also has 2 3mm machine screws on the back at top and bottom, and a larger one underneath the slider, nice touches if you can add them!

I hope that was helpful :)
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Jul 26, 2016, 05:40 pm #2 Last Edit: Jul 26, 2016, 05:42 pm by The14thDr
Thanks for this, superrichi1a (especially the step-by-step for painting the sonic). :D I would have replied earlier, but I didn't want to use up any more of my short posts, I think I was getting to the end of my limit when you first posted this.

I found more photos of the sonic screwdriver online that may be useful for getting the colour scheme nailed down. This second image also shows flat-head screw on the back of the sonic.

Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


Aug 11, 2016, 08:07 am #3 Last Edit: Aug 11, 2016, 08:08 am by The14thDr
The Celestial Toy Store sells a fantastic-looking replica of the Eleventh Hour sonic screwdriver:

The £250 price tag may be out of some member's price range, but the page includes some amazing photos of the sonic that would be great for building/modifying your own replica.

I've been searching the internet for screengrabs of the damaged, burnt-out sonic screwdriver, but so far I'm having no luck. Maybe it's time I dusted off my Eleventh Hour DVD? (As if I need an excuse to watch some Doctor Who ;D)

Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


Aug 11, 2016, 08:26 am #4 Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 04:38 am by galacticprobe
Celestial Toy Store used to be a nice place to go to for those hard-to-find items, and their prices were once reasonable. But when you've got some items on your site that say "Call for pricing"... the hair on the back of my neck starts standing on end!

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


"Call for pricing" generally means that he starting making the thing, got bored and never finished it! He does that fairly often, Laser Screwdriver, Capaldi Screwdriver etc, but the ones on the site got far enough to get their own pages. He'd probably still make those items for you as one offs... If you called for pricing :')

As for his 11th Hour sonics, sadly they were a run of 20 long sold out. I had one which was broken (badly, in a fight by a very angry woman) so there are 19 left :P His standard Tennant sonics are also sold out sadly, he's mentioned he may do a second edition in the style pre-Eleventh Hour when it was butchered with blue emulsion but I'm not sure how far that will go as he's currently busy on Star Wars 8... His Aztec sonics still have plenty left though!
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Aug 23, 2016, 04:39 pm #6 Last Edit: Aug 23, 2016, 04:46 pm by The14thDr
I managed to grab a second screenshot of the sonic from The Eleventh Hour. In this shot, however, the body of the sonic looks more grey than blue. Is it just the lighting or did they use a different prop for this scene? ???
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


It's the same prop, it was just degraded further and further as the episode continued filming :) Probably partially due to stunts like this actually. By the time they filmed the young Amelia scenes the sonic was blue, but then in some scenes it starts looking both blue and grey as the blue reacted badly with the cradle and the paint started to fall off, revealing dark grey etch and the silver metal beneath :)
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Thanks for the info, superrichi1a. This will really help with building my Eleventh Hour replica.

Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


Me and my friend were discussing this prop the other day, and my friend seems convinced that this sonic wasn't blue, but in fact only looked this way because the colour somehow rubbed off from the shirt. ???

I'm 110% certain this isn't the case, but I'd appreciate if someone with a much better knowledge of the sonic could clarify this.

Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


I have no idea how the colour from the shirt would even do that :P

The sonic wasn't blue per se. There were 2 props, "A" and "B" which both started out a shade of off-white. "B" seemed to take a lot of beating in its life, and the paint was chipping off, so during the latter Tennant run "A" was favored heavily. When Tennant left, though, he was gifted "A" and so for the Eleventh Hour they needed to bring "B" up to a standard that could be used in HD filming.
The state it was in was basically a metallic body with patchy coverage of off white crackle paint. The props person who went to restore it, being one of those as they type that'll just say "that'll do" and go, just pulled a random tub of paint off the shelf and started dabbing it over the exposed metal to cover it up. That paint was a cheap B&Q own brand emulsion in light baby blue, I can't remember the name but think it had "Dawn" in the title somewhere.
Unfortunately, as said person hadn't out much thought into the paint choice, it wasn't realized until later that the paint would actually have a chemical reaction with the crackle paint on the sonic. So in areas it's just painted in baby blue, in other areas it's off-white as it used to me, in some it's a murky black mess of bubbles she cracks where the blue, white and black base coat all mix, and in still others the paint is all gone again, leaving bare metal.
You can see this patchwork paint effect best when The Doctor holds the sonic up to the sky just before it breaks :) The overall effect on screen is one of a blue-grey dirty sonic, though if you ever see the prop up close its obvious that it's much more patchy!

^ I'm not just theorising haha! I know because I was lucky enough to see the "B" prop close up a few years back and was able to inspect it for myself. I was considering, at the time, repiainting my replica to be a "facsimile" piece to the prop but I was horrified at how bad a state this one is currently in. As the guy who showed it to me said: "you wouldn't reprint yours so much as take a chisel to it!"
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Thanks for clearing that one up Rich! I always love learning about the history of the sonic props, and the stories behind why they look like they do on screen. :)
"Would you like a jelly baby?"

Sofia Fox

The 9th Aztec Sonic was fitted with a slider at the end of Series 1. The paint was given the off-white mentioned. The slider button was a micro-switch surrounded by the porcelain effect materiel. When the new Series 3-4 Sonic was introduced, the flatter 'Tennant' style was introduced with the button of the microswitch painted the same colour as the rest of sonic I believe.
Celestial Toystore has the product missing and possible sold out now.
In fact, all Eccleston/Tennant sonics are sold out and the Smith/Capaldi sonic is the only one for purchase (way more expensive then the Tennant Sonics)
Hope the prop stuff is true though. Don't want to be wrong!
Sofia, the infrequent builder and forumer.