Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 124 - The stack shot of stack shots

Remember this?  This was my first stack shot, featuring the first part to be completed—the skirt—along with the two objects that set the bar for me on this build: actual Heronrib matting, and actual Moflash lens covers.  If I was going to build a Dalek, by damned I was going to make an accurate one.

Well, before I get to all of that, I'll talk a bit about some final touch-up stuff I worked on.  I had a can of black spray liner that ChristmasDalek gave me quite awhile back, and I used this to dab onto the bare grooves that I cut into the fender.  I sprayed a glob onto some paper, and used a sponge brush to tap the liner onto the groove.  It worked pretty good!

Once that was dried, I focused on attaching the socket head cap screws I bought specially for the fender panels.  I searched and failed to find an official measurement for these bolts, so I just looked at photos and eyeballed it.  Basically I just measured 1cm in from the groove line and the top, and 1cm from the groove and 1.5cm from the bottom.  Then I pre-drilled a hole slightly smaller than the screw, and twisted the screw in.

My first foray into gunbox felt lining wasn't too successful, so I tried a different method this time.  I bought little adhesive felt pads and attached eight of them to the interior of the gunbox and the retention plate.  I was going to use contact cement for those, but their own adhesive backing with seemed to work fine; plus, they will be compressed together when they surround the gazing globes.

I also applied weatherstripping to the fender and the skirt.  Even though I cleaned the surfaces, it lifted up in places.  The compression of Rainier's separate components against each other should be enough pressure, but I can always go back and try reinforcing the bond with contact cement.

Oh, speaking of contact cement, I did have to use some for one of my plungers.  Somehow, the rubber split in the stem, right at the point where the bolt head is imbedded.  Apparently, that's a weak spot, and the rubber is rigid enough to "break".  I re-attached it by coating both ends with contact cement, letting them dry for about 15 minutes, and then sticking them together.  The bond seems sound.

And I finally got to attach the gunbox details!  These were beautifully cut aluminum pieces traded from gregg.nowling, far better than the laser-cut baltic birch ones that I originally intended to use.  The latter split slightly when I was trying to widen the bolt holes.  To attach the metal ones to the gunboxes, I did the same thing as I did for the fender details; pre-drilling holes and then attaching the screws.

Then, I re-attached the plunger and gun arms, screwed on the shoulder slats, and covered the screws with chrome plastic caps.  I attached all the bumps and oil seals.  I re-attached the rotation plates and lazy suzan to the now-painted neck section, screwed in the pivot mounts and pivot onto the top plate, put the dome on, attached the eyestalk ...

... and with that, Rainier was externally complete.  And I wasn't prepared for that.  All of a sudden, I had a complete Dalek standing before me!

But before I get to that glorious stack shot, here are some up-close photos:

I only really have minor quibbles:
  • the neck blocks wound up being a bit fuzzy from PVA-sealing, and I didn't do a great job sanding them back
  • the slat edges are a lot more noticeable than I thought they would be, should have cut rabbets (rebates) into a wider faceplate
  • there's a gap between the skirt and the fender (the weatherstripping hides this a bit), but the skirt bottom is ever-so-slightly warped like a rocking chair
  • some missed pockmarks in the dome cowl front
  • the dome is sitting a little too high (likely due to fiberglass reinforcement on the inner plate mounts)

But overall, damn.  He looks good:

Next up: mostly just invisible stuff.  Weatherstripping and attaching the shoulders to the neck; building a bench (although a standard aluminum folding chair fits nicely inside); cut access holes into the dome rotation plates; somehow getting the dome to sit a little lower, maybe by sanding back the resin on the inner dome inserts.

Oh, and also all the lighting and electronics.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 121 through 123 - Rainier is painted!

This is an exciting update for me!  The Anglicon convention is fast approaching, and I wanted to get Rainier painted very soon—especially since I'm headed to England in a little over a week.  There's not much time left before Rainier's debut, so instead of attempting to paint him myself, I got in touch with a guy via Craigslist.  (My apologies to ChristmasDalek for wasting her time getting me paint supplies!  I'll repay you, I promise!)

This guy, Brad, lives in a suburb of Seattle (city of Auburn) about 30 miles away.  He texted me several photos of his auto body work and I was very impressed.  He also quoted me a much lower price that was one digit fewer than other quotes I've received.

Before he arrived, I did some final prep to the dome, drilling in holes for the bulb housing and mounting points.  I traced a pencil line between the two light cage bolt holes (making it look an awful lot like Baymax from Big Hero Six), and used a forstner bit to get the big hole, and a regular drill bit for the mounting holes.

Then I collected up Rainier's various bits and bobs (skirt, shoulders, shoulder slats, neck, dome, cowl, gunbox detail plates [courtesy of gregg.nowling], and hemispheres) and placed them in front of the garage for easy loading.  When he arrived, I showed him the parts and gave him detailed instructions on what Rainier's color scheme is (choosing to stick with the colors as represented in the series 1 episode "Dalek"—specifically the lighter color of the lower shoulder band).  He nodded in agreement, mentioned that it would take him about two or three days to complete, and off he went.

I must say, I was a nervous wreck.  It was like sending my kid off to school.  So, to keep my mind occupied, I decided to tackle the fender the next day.  I didn't send this piece off with him because I had intended to paint it myself using primer and truck bed liner.  To better reflect the underlighting, I used a couple of coats of oil-based white primer.  While painting, I was asking myself just where in the heck I was going to place my LED strips.  There are reinforcing bits galore, and not a lot of room for anything else.

Once that was dry, I flipped the fender over and masked off an 8cm area all around the top.  I purchased a brand of truck bed liner called Herculiner, which consists mainly of rubber granules pre-mixed with black polyurethane.  I stirred that up thoroughly with a paint mixing attachment on my hand drill, and applied a coat with the supplied sponge roller.  This stuff cures to a light tack in about four hours or so, and then you can coat it with a heavier second layer, which I did, but not before ...

... I get a call from Brad saying that he's done painting and wants to deliver Rainer back to me that evening!  Here I was, expecting him to be done in three more days!  He explained saying that he needed the room in his shop for some other projects that he had lined up, so he spent extra time on Rainier to get him finished.

I put the second, thicker coat of liner on the fender while I waited for Brad's truck to approach.  He finally appeared, about an hour after his ETA, and there Rainier was, bolted securely to a plank of wood in his truck bed.  I can only imagine what other drivers on the road thought when they saw that image!  And man, did that Dalek look good!  He even painted the part of the dome black where the cowl covers, before hitting it all with clear coat.  I'll save those pics for the very end.

The next day, set about attaching the bulb housings to the dome.  Easy job.  I flipped the dome over, attached the bulbs to the housings, and put the dome light cage over the top.  The ping pong balls surrounding the LED dome lights inside the lens covers look really nice, and has a height that matches that of the actual Dalek props, from what I can tell.  I'm really pleased.

I cut grooves in the mostly-dried truck bed liner between each of the fender segments.  (Not pictured: I dabbed black paint in the grooves later to cover up the exposed plywood).  I will add the rivet details (socket head cap screws) soon.

Finally, I was able to unbox my Heronrib matting!  Now that the neck section was painted, I could attach all that neck mesh!  I had rectangles of the matting already cut months earlier, so I placed each piece inside the neck ring, and trimmed it into a trapezoidal shape corresponding to the tapered neck ring struts.  Using some small wood screws, I fastened the mesh in place.  I then attached the aluminum mesh and black voile to the Heronrib.  The stiffness of the aluminum helps keep the curve flush against the neck interior.

And now for the big reveal!  Here's Rainier just after unloading him from Brad's truck, and then later the next day after attaching the neck mesh.  Ta-dah!