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9 April 2008
Dalek builders David James (left) and Adam Strawson
Photo courtesy of Cambridge Evening News
Adam Strawson a Technician in the Computing Group, and David James, who was an undergraduate and a PhD student, here at the Department are both members of The Dalek Builders' Guild, which is less a trade organisation than a loose affiliation of interested parties swapping hints and tips about making Daleks. Dalek building, it turns out, is something of a thriving pastime in the toolsheds and garages of Britain.
Adam and David have been building life-size replicas of the Universe's most tyrannical fascist dictators for some year's now. Their creations are works of art created with highly skilled craftsmanship and an incredible eye for detail.
"I've been a Doctor Who fan all my life, but it was only when I had my own house I thought, you know what would look good in that corner - a full-size Dalek," says David with a grin.
David a speech technologist reckons he spends "hundreds of pounds a year" on his hobby. Adam is more specific: His new series Dalek - which took 18 months' worth of evenings and weekends to complete ("I spend as much time as I can, but real life gets in the way sometimes") - cost him £475, with parts ranging from a child's magic eight ball (£5) to a piece of magnified glass (a snip at 80p).
"We kind of evolve the best way of doing things," explains David.
"For a classic Dalek eye-piece, you can't go wrong with a sugar bowl from Wilkinson's, which costs £3. And if you go to Ikea you can buy three waste bins in powder-coated diamond shaped mesh that are perfect for the neck."
"Both David and I build our own Daleks purely for our own pleasure, although we do take them out and about when we can. We both attended an invasion of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry last year where we helped set a record of 70 Daleks in one place. There are often event days at the National Space Centre in Leicester that we attend, the next is the Rise of the Robots on May 17th -18th." http://www.spacecentre.co.uk/whatson/specialevents.htm
Dr Who series 4 started last Saturday, and Daleks will be featured. I'm sure that both David and Adam will be watching avidly to pick up the latest design features ready for their next creations.
More of Adam's Daleks can be seen on his website at: http://www.strawson.freeuk.com/dalek/
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