Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Dalek Storm creator interview
I recently took my kids to a Doctor Who event at Magna in Rotherham, South Yorkshire called Time War. The event included, amongst many other things, a display of full sized Daleks which at the time I assumed to be official props from the BBC as they were that good. On further investigation it appeared that they were all built by fans at their own homes and expense.
The most impressive of all these Daleks was Dalek Storm, and I decided to track down its creator Alan Clark on Facebook and he very kindly agreed to an interview. So here goes.......
NICK - Hi Alan, yesterday was the first time I have seen your wonderful Dalek creations although I have heard all about them from the press and TV. When did you make your first Dalek and why did you decide to do it?
Alan - Hi Nick, Ahh the first Dalek.....
Well that was built as a bet, We have a lot of themed parties from time to time where people come along to our house dressed up, It was back in June 2006 after a cowboy and Indian party that someone said "why don’t we have a Dr who theme" I said "yeah i could build a Dalek" and they bet me I couldn't build one.
So I bought a Dalek bubble bath and took some measurements from it and scaled them up.Then while doing some more research into Daleks i came across www.projectDalek.com it’s a Dalek builders forum where people just as nuts as me were building Daleks, I joined the forum and they have all the measurements for all the types of Daleks, To my surprise i found the measurements i had taken from the bubble bath were just about spot on, so the build got underway and 8 months later Dalek Maxx was born, Maxx is a full size motorized new series Dalek in the bronze and gold colours. I took him to meet Graeme Harper at the miss York contest in 2007, Graeme thought it was the guys from the BBC that were fooling around and had brought a Dalek to surprise him, he was over the moon when he found out it was a fan build.
Since then Maxx has done loads of charity work all over the country and has had loads of appearances on TV and in the local papers.
NICK - When you say "fan build" I'm assuming that you are a fan of the show? How long have you been watching Dr Who, what are your earliest memories and when can we expect to see your name on the credits?
Alan - If I’m honest, I never was a fan of doctor who, I wasn’t easily fooled as a child and I don’t think the low budget props in the early days actually did a lot to scare people, the Daleks on the other hand were a bit more convincing and to me at least made a great monster in the series, The 2005 makeover of the Daleks to many was a bit of a letdown, I think most Dalek fans would say the Genesis Daleks are the most terrifying. Although the 2005 incarnation is recognised more by the kids of today, but each variant has its own appeal to the various different age groups. When I was doing the research for Maxx I came across the sketch by Alan Marshall of the Dark Dimensions special weapons Dalek, and I just knew it had to be built, But that’s another story and I’ve built another 3 Daleks in between that.
As to my name ever being on the credits, I think the BBC might have to see Dalek Storm first, I have not sent them any pictures of him Although Nick Briggs, the voice of the Daleks has seen Storm and said he wished the BBC had Daleks like that as he would love to do the voice for Storm.
NICK - I'll move on to the famous "Dalek Storm" in a little while but for now I want to ask you about the process involved in case any of our readers want to take up Dalek building themselves. What is the best advice you can give as to where to start? Are there any special tools required or could a beginner start off with what they have in a standard tool box?
Alan - The best advice I can give is to join one of the many on-line building forums. I chose www.projectDalek.com, on there you will find all the plans which are all free and lots of helpful advice from others that have built or are still building their Daleks.
No special tools are required to build a Dalek, all mine were built outside in the back garden.
I always start building from the bottom up, as this way you get an idea of how big it will be and plus you have a place to store all the parts you have made. The Daleks skirt makes a handy tool box.
NICK - Now, moving onto Dalek Storm which I have to say that until seeing it in real life I honestly thought it was a really good CGI creation however it truly is impressive and I can see a smaller radio controlled version being a massive hit in the toy stores. Do you see Storm as the peak of your creations of have you any plans to try and better it? And, have you plans to re create any other Science Fiction icons?
Alan - Dalek Storm is the Dalek I would have liked to have seen in the Stolen earth episode. My own personal opinion is that it would have made the episode more exciting and would have been a better match for the doctor and all those companions, rather than a red supreme that didnt do a lot and just got its dome blown off.
Storm had been around some time before that was filmed and I was kind of hoping they might ask to use him, but nothing came of it, although I would gladly lend them it for filming...
I think there is so much mileage in the design of Storm, All the spin off toys and stuff that could be created would keep people in work and keep the fans happy, it’s just a shame nobody has taken notice..!!
I don’t see it as the peak of my builds, but what it does do is bring a lot of joy to those who see it and I think that’s what makes the difference.
Alan Marshall has seen Dalek Storm and is amazed that somebody went to the trouble of creating his design. He is in the process of writing an article for Sci-Fi Now magazine all about the Dark Dimensions episode and Dalek Storm which should be out before Christmas.
The next build I'm doing is a bit smaller scale; it’s the Dalek that is on the front cover of the 1964 Dalek Annual, this one will only be half size though.
NICK - I would just like to say thanks for taking the time to speak to us and answer all the questions in such great detail. Before we go though can you tell us about any future appearances for your creations and where can our readers get a chance to see you in the future?
Alan - There is a Dalek Storm web site at www.Dalekstorm.com . On there you can find pictures and videos of Storm and a "how Storm is put together" section. I run the events through facebook where storm has his own group, Dalek Storm. There are loads of photos on there and there is an events section where I post upcoming events and shows where he will be at. It's a fast growing group at the last count there were 288 members, The idea of the facebook group was to get storm noticed by the media, the more members then the better the chances that someone with connections might see him. Over on www.Deviantart.com you can find the really big photos of Dalek Storm which are downloadable, and there is good old youtube for the video footage.
By the way the name Storm stands for, Special.Tactical.Operations.Radioactive.Mutant or Storm for short,
Thank you for featuring Storm on the blog, And if anyone wants anymore information I can be contacted via the Storm web site or through the facebook group. I’m also happy to help out with any filming fans may be doing that need a Dalek...
A massive thanks to Alan for taking time out to doing this interview. Make sure you all check out his website, Facebook profile and let’s get his creations on the television.