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Old 19-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
Exterminator
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Default B7 Stardrive prop

Well, Christmas is almost upon us once again, it's a time for giving presents, so here's a little one for you. Sitting down? Good, I'll carry on ...

There was an auction of "Entertainment Memorabilia" at Bonhams in London, and among all the film posters, Beatles autographs, a smattering of Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures costumes there was one Blake's 7 item ... Dr. Plaxton's space drive from "Stardrive".

And guess what? I bought it!! I have always fancied building a replica of this, as it's an iconic and central prop to Series 4, but there are no decent close-up shots of it in the episode, and I'd never found any other images of it on the internet. Now, for the first time, you can have a good look at what the prop looks like:



Considering it's 31 years old, it's in really good condition, there are no bits missing, some of the metal strips on the top are a bit loose, and require re-gluing, and it needs a dust and a bit of a polish ... and that's it.

Let's have an even closer look ...

As seen on the screen, this is the right side:



It looks a bit like the inside of an oil filter sitting inside an aluminium casting. Here's the left side:



The same aluminium casting but mounted vertically, with pink Perspex and that diffusing plastic (used in lighting) bolted on the front. I can see the shadow of a light bulb behind them.

Here's a couple of shots of the central horizontal section - left side:



... and the right side:



The long pink tube that runs through the turned aluminium parts consists of three elements - an outer clear tube, an inner tube of pink Perspex and finally a small fluorescent tube.

The side you don't really see on the TV has a small black box in the centre, with a number of connectors:



The translucent white "buttons" on the top surface ARE actually real buttons, and click when pressed. You can still see what was originally printed on two or three of them - a couple with "2" and "3":



... and one with a large green comma:



The side that is generally away from the viewer also has a number of ventilation holes in it, and if you look through them, you can see that there is what looks like a lot of wiring that was in the original "whatever-it-was" that was used to make the prop:



I think I know what you're wondering - what WAS used to make the prop? Well, as I mentioned, some of the metal strips are loose, so I had a careful look underneath some of them. Take a look at this:



It's a "mainframe" computer from the 1960s. It's hard to believe that all those cases and cabinets are one computer, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the average modern "smartphone" contains considerably more computing power ... oops, getting off the subject a little!! Let's take a closer look ...



The computer is a Honeywell H-200, and the photo above shows its control console. Starting to look familiar? Underneath the large metal strip on the prop are the words "Honeywell 115/2". From my research, it seems that the Honeywell model 115 was introduced around 1969, and was re-named the H-200 in 1971. Look at the layout of the buttons compared with the prop:



Apart from where a couple have been removed, it's identical. So, the space drive prop started life as part of an old mainframe computer ... a bit of interesting computer history became a bit of interesting science fiction TV history!!


Happy Christmas!!
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Old 20-12-2012, 04:25 AM   #2
Ham Salad
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Neat!

Now, have you tried mounting it your car to see if it goes faster?
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Old 20-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #3
healvis
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That's a great bit of kit Exterminator. I immediately thought Star Wars when I saw it. Are you going to fire it up?
John.
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Old 20-12-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
Exterminator
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Perhaps I SHOULD fit it to my car, I'd be able to get to the shops in 0.0000084764 seconds (if I take the scenic route)!

It's in really good condition considering it's survived the Scorpio crashing and being shipped back from Gauda Prime ... no ... wait ... it's not real, it's just on the TV ...
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Old 20-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exterminator View Post
Perhaps I SHOULD fit it to my car, I'd be able to get to the shops in 0.0000084764 seconds (if I take the scenic route)!

It's in really good condition considering it's survived the Scorpio crashing and being shipped back from Gauda Prime ... no ... wait ... it's not real, it's just on the TV ...
You take that back! Blake's 7 is real, real I tell you!!!!
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Old 21-12-2012, 05:25 AM   #6
T.F.U.
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Just dont let anyone engage the unit while you are attaching it to your car oh and watch out for any pseudo punk, semi mad max, almost gary glitter types lurking about.
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