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Ed Thomas Refurb

Started by alex, Nov 21, 2018, 02:09 am

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i'm very confused about the Ed Thomas Refurb exterior. how many times did the paint change?

from what i can tell there's a new version of it (listed below):
series 5 box (more purple)
series 6-7a box (more blue)
series 7b-10 box (abit more blue)

could someone help me out and tell me if i got it right, if not tell what is the correct one



Nov 21, 2018, 06:46 am #1 Last Edit: Nov 21, 2018, 06:50 am by willbrooks1989
Hey Alex!

Ooh, I knew someone would one day ask a question on here that played into my specific area of expertise!

So it's a bit of a 'can of worms' question, this one, as we've four different boxes and some of them go through a number of paint changes. Off the top of my head, the major phases are;

The Eleventh Hour - The Day of the Moon, The Doctor's Wife - A Good Man Goes to War: This is the fourth box built for the modern series (following two constructed in 2004, and one in 2007), and it remains pretty consistent in terms of the paint job, a kind of metallic blue, which really highlights the grain of the wood.

The Curse of the Black Spot, Let's Kill Hitler, The Girl Who Waited - The Rings of Akhaten, Hide - The Day of the Doctor, The Pilot, Smile, The Pyramid at the End of the World, The Eaters of Light, World Enough and Time - Twice Upon a Time: The fifth 'new series' box, originally constructed for Series Six, used consistently until the 50th anniversary, then brought out of retirement for Series Ten so they wouldn't have to paint over the Clara memorial on a later box. This one went through a number of paint jobs;

         - Let's Kill Hitler - The Power of Three: The same metallic-looking vibrant blue as seen on the previous box. This continues into the start of The Angels Take Manhattan, before...

         - The Angels Take Manhattan: The prop's given a 'dirtied down' paint job, to reflect the dame it sustains trying to materialise in the middle of a paradox. The effect is perhaps best described as looking 'burnt', and is most prominently seen on the bottom half of the prop during scenes set in the graveyard towards the end, though it's present in other scenes, too.

         - Hide, The Crimson Horror: Going with production order here, rather than broadcast order, as it makes it a little easier to track the latter half of Series Seven. The box is given a major repaint in May 2012, giving it a flatter matte finish, in a lighter blue, which overs up the wood grain a lot more.

         - The Snowmen, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS: For the 'retired' Doctor's TARDIS in the 2012 Christmas Special, the box is given a full-on 'distressed' look, complete with lots of areas where the paint has been scratched away, and a number of different shades of blue, grey, and green are used to make the box look 'dirty' and 'abandoned'. It's cleaned up a little for Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, but still left a little battered to represent the damage it attains being brought aboard the salvage ship.

         - The Bells of Saint John, The Rings of Akhaten, Nightmare in Silver, The Name of the Doctor: The box is then returned to the flat white blue used before production of the special. The effect of so many coats of paint over a five month period is that the wood grain is rendered almost completely invisible in most shots. The prop also attains damage during this repaint - a long gouge in the wood, just off the bottom right corner of the 'Pull to Open' panel.

         - The Pilot, Smile, The Lie of the Land, The Eaters of Light, World Enough and Time - Twice Upon a Time: Given a darker coat of matte blue paint to match a later prop, and with green detailing to suggest wear.

The Time of the Doctor - The Girl Who Died, Sleep No More, Face the Raven, The Husbands of River Song - The Pilot, Thin Ice, Knock Knock, Extremis, The Pyramid at the End of the World, The Empress of Mars - Twice Upon a Time: The 'main' prop for Peter Capaldi's Doctor, appearing in every episode of Series Eight, and in a good chunk of episodes from Series Nine and Ten, too. You'll notice there's some duplicate episodes listed here as with previous and later props - they start having two props used in a single episode quite regularly in this period. It starts off in its first episode as a lighter, brighter, blue than before, but is then made darker, with more 'textured' detailing, including (deliberately added) scratches, and patches of green paint. Some of these 'distressed' details seem to have been added to suggest the trauma of being eaten by a dinosaur in Deep Breath, and do get toned down a little over time. I think it's mostly a case of giving the paintwork a touch up here and there as time goes on and wear and tear sets in!

Before the Flood, The Woman Who Lived - The Zygon Inversion, Face the Raven, Hell Bent: Constructed for the first filming block of Series Nine (and seen on screen with its predecessor in the same scene in Before the Flood), this prop is painted to match with the previous one. At the end of Face the Raven it gets covered in graffiti, which is still there for Hell Bent. It's retired after this, as they didn't want to paint over the graffiti design.

- - -

As for which is the 'correct' one... well, that's pretty much subjective, I'd say! I quite like the darker, dirtier, matte blue of the Capaldi years, but I've also really come round to the 'metallic' look of the Series Five/Six/Seven-A boxes. I think it's all down to personal preference!

I've written a blog all about the 21st century TARDIS props, which you can find at - there's a little more story-by-story breakdown on there, as well as some other information which didn't feel relevant to include here.



I have also been finding it hard to keep track of the 21st century boxes. I even made a rough diagram to help me out though I was never sure if it was accurate. Thanks for all the information Willbrooks1989. I have no idea how I didn't come across your blog before. I must've been looking with my eyes closed.  ;D

LMC  :)


Nov 21, 2018, 08:57 pm #3 Last Edit: Nov 21, 2018, 08:59 pm by alex
thanks for your huge break down!

but i'm still confused.

do you happen to have front on images of each prop showing the changes in the dimensions and colour? because it is hard for me to picture it. i am planing to render the new-who exterior props (i don't what to render all tardises fromt a-f), just the ones with a noticeable change or a tardis from each series (depending on the size of the change).

that was an amazing blog too

i was sent these outlines:
Series 5 5.jpg
series 6-7b 6-7b.jpg
series 8-10 8-10.jpg

are these the times when the prop had a 'major change'? (are these even correct 'plans'?) and what colour match each prop?

i have so many questions! :)



or should i base it off thisModern TARDIS box line up .jpg


It's a neat graphic, but is it 100% reliable?  I thought the lamps on the TARDIS in Eccleston and Tennant's periods were roughly idental, minus wear and tear?


Nov 24, 2018, 08:01 am #6 Last Edit: Nov 24, 2018, 08:23 am by willbrooks1989
Aye, the lamp remains broadly consistent throughout the RTD era. For example (if the image uploads!);


This is the lamp (from left to right) as it appears in Rose, The Long Game, The Parting of the Ways, New Earth, and School Reunion. The lamp actually changes between Series One and Series Two - the central 'lantern' part gets replaced for a similar design with smaller bits of glass in - but the general construction of the lamp remains broadly the same.

Here's a closer look at the lamps from those two series (On the left a promotional shot of the box taken during proaction of Series One, on the right a shot of the box being constructed for The Christmas Invasion);


As for the question of which would be the main versions of the prop, I'd say there's only really six 'major' versions. Using the names I gave them over on the blog;

• Props A&B: Used exclusively in Seasons One/Two/Three, for several episodes of Series Four, and in Day of the Doctor (As the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS).
• Prop C: Used for several episodes of Series Four, the 2009 Specials, The Eleventh Hour, and in Day of the Doctor (As the War Doctor's TARDIS). Thicker corner posts than the previous two props.
• Props D&E: Specifically in the style used for Series Five, Six, and Seven-A, with the 'metallic' paintwork.
• Prop E: With the lighter, matte, blue paint used in Series Seven-B, and The Day of the Doctor.
• Props F&G: As used largely in the Capaldi Era, with a darker, dirtier blue paint job.
• Props H&I: As used in Series Eleven.

These are, I'd say, the ones you could line up next to each other and expect joe public to be able to see that they're different rather than just a big blue box. I might even go so far as to say that Prop C is so similar to Props A&B that most people wouldn't necessarily notice the change.

If you wanted to go for every change of base and lamp and alteration to the paint job, you'd be running into lots and lots of different versions - mixing and matching of parts means there's at least three different versions used in Series One alone (The two props as originally constructed, and the frame of Prop A with the doors of Prop B), and once you get into Series Two you start having the likes of the left door from one prop, the right from the other, and all sorts of things!

I'd say if you wanted to render out the 'key' different versions of the props from the new series, those six styles are the main ones to go for.



Nov 25, 2018, 04:06 am #7 Last Edit: Nov 25, 2018, 09:32 am by alex
thanks Will! so i've render the boxes from 2010-2018  (left to right) TARDIS F, TARDIS E (7b), TARDIS G, TARDIS D (could be E), TARDIS E (could be D), TARDIS H/I. i hope they look right, (you be the judge). F/G are different to D/E, but are hard to see from a distance. close ups on my website page and on my twitter. could you please tell me if i got them 'correct' lineup 1.png