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the dalek gun

Tuesday 9th August 2005

This is the prop used by Auriga in the later stages of the story. It is supposed to be something Auriga has made from dalek technology to give him an edge over them when needed.

Surprisingly it is our most expensive prop, costing some £67,000. What?!?!?!? Well, it does seem excessive, but then if you look past the copper piping and dalek gunstick you will see that the structure is made from the disposable innids of a Kodak colour photocopier circa the mid 1990's. This industial sized bit of kit needed regular servicing (ooh err) and regualrly great bits of electrical gizmory (a new word) were to be chucked out. Enter Mr Nealfuller at this stage.

The styling is interesting and the gun definitely has something about it, if viewed from the right angle (unfortunately not shown to its best in these photos despite the efforts of our young model Adam who is demonstrating his father's talents with chemical metal, copper piping and rivets. At the opposite end to the gunstick is a small plunger (sink variety) which was to be used by Auriga to open doors and work other dalek technology (the white spheres seen throughout the story), although in the end it wasn't used particularly.

Of course, the damn thing used to fall apart during filming, chiefly because in one scene David's character Auriga had to throw it to the ground. Only at the end did Ashley manage to sort this destructable tendency out by wanging a dirty great screw-threaded rod (double ooh-err) up it's middle and tighten accordingly (triple ooh-err).

A day or so later from writing this piece, Ashley had another fiddle with the digital camera and has rushed (at no expense) this new image of the gun onto the site. So now all of you can go out and build your own! If you do, make it a working prop and you can go out and test it - zap a few people you didn't really like, or erase that house opposite that blocks the view of the gasworks...

Again, like a lot of props, you can see how there was some sort of design which looks good from certain angles when posed in isolation, but then is never seen during the film itself! It's like looking at whospy on the BBC Dr Who website - you see little details of sets and props and have to freeze-frame and zoom when you see the finished episode to see the piece in question. Still, it's not about that - it's about building a prop which feels right for the scene, and adds a tactile physical element when recording the scene - in our case David was able to believe he had a real gun as the prop is a heavy piece of kit.

And what's more it's fun creating something from loads of discarded material and making it into something believable - once the scenes are edited the electric shock field and ray gun effect will be added and the gun will then seem very real!

So there you have it - a prop costing thousands, looking like it cost next to nothing; like it's current value in fact!