Monday, 5 March 2012

Restoring a TARDIS

Gallifrey One's Network 23, which was held last month in Los Angeles saw not only the cast of the TV Movie reunited with each other, but also reunited with the TARDIS console used in the 1996 Doctor Who story.

The console is owned by Paul Salamoff, a Doctor Who fan and veteran of the film industry who has worked as a Writer, Producer, Film Executive, Comic Book Creator, Author, and originally as a Special F/X Make-Up Artist.

Salamoff obtained the TARDIS console in 2006 after being put in contact with the owner of the Vancouver prop company that had originally built it for the movie. At the time the owner was keen to get rid of the prop, which was taking up to much space in his shop, so sold it to Salamoff for a knock-down price. Although the console was in pretty decent shape with all the lights working, the Time-Rotor was gone and some of the switches were missing including the large hand crank. All the feet on the base were broken at the ankles and had been quickly hot glued back together.

It was the announcement that the 23rd annual Gallifrey One convention, would see a reunion of the entire main cast and producer behind the 1996 Movie, that provided the inspiration for Salamoff and two friends, Brian Uiga and Bob Mitsch, to attempt a full restoration of the console. The three were well suited to take on the task. Salamoff himself has worked on Special FX on over forty films, ten television series, and numerous commercials. Brian Uiga has been building gadgets and props since 1996, when he first saw the TV Movie and fell in love with the show. He has worked with Salamoff to provide parts for a complete TARDIS toolkit. Bob Mitsch is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in English and Screen writing, his hobbies include writing, films and has created many costumes based on the series.

Since obtaining the console, Salamoff had already built a replica of the Time-Rotor. Further restoration work included replacing all broken switches, adding lights to the Time-Rotor, bracing the legs, building and replace the hand crank, restoring functionality to the three clocks, wiring up a custom sound board & speaker which would activate music & Sound Effects by switch, wiring lights to a relay s panels would dim & flash in alternating fashion as seen in the TVM, rigging a motor on the middle main clock so it could spin forwards or backwards as seen in TVM and wiring up all of these functions so they can all be activated by remote control.

Some parts were had built from scratch while some were adapted from existing bits and bobs such as craft beads. Original footage from the movie was used to try to get as accurate a match as possible and the console was re-wired and re-painted.

The Console was given pride of place in a special presentation at Gallifrey One where convention members could have their photo taken with the console. A full six-part report on the complete restoration can be found at Bob Mitsch's blog. 1 2 3 4 5 6


Full Gallifrey One review here.