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Old 21-01-2012, 02:54 PM   #1
MoonbaseAlpha
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Default B7 Baby Orac

Hi guys,

When I was at BBC Visual Effects Peter Pegrum (one of the Vis FX designers of season 2 of Blake's 7) was cleaning out his office and he gave me a few things.
One which is the Baby Orac from the episode "Gambit" of Blake's 7, still in it's box.
All that needed doing was a change of batteries and it came back to life !
At the time I was working for Perry Brahan, when I was changing the batteries he came around the corner and said "I made that" , as he was one of the assistants on season 2.

Later I got it together with Peter Tuddenham, so I thought the only person to sign it should be him, he wrote "Peter Tuddenham, This IS me"

It's still one of my favourite props from the show.

It's mainly made from 6mm Perspex
107mm lenght
87mm wide
65mm high

The box is made from an old prop box light made for an earlier episode "Weapon".


Andy.




























































Last edited by MoonbaseAlpha; 21-01-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 23-01-2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Love it.

What a fantastic prop to own, certainly a landmark prop in the shows history.

Very cute too!

Gambit is a great story as well.

I love the case, didn't realise it was a modified lightbox from Weapon.

Thank you for the piccies and info, Baby Orac is definitely something to treasure.

I've seen it at a few events, will have to try and find some piccies I took as well.

I remember you switching Baby Orac on for me at Deliverance, so I could video him working.

Good times.

Cheers,

Andy
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Old 24-01-2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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I have found some of the video footage I shot at Deliverance, the Blake's 7 20th anniversary celebration event, in 1998.

A very quick edit with some sound effects and I give you:

Baby ORAC at Deliverance.

Sounds almost Biblical doesn't it!






Hope the link works and I hope you enjoy.

Cheers,

Andy
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Old 07-02-2012, 12:40 AM   #4
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Hi Andy,
Great video and sound edit

Even a bit of me brandishing a helmet/Fed gun


Andy.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonbaseAlpha View Post
Hi Andy,
Great video and sound edit

Even a bit of me brandishing a helmet/Fed gun


Andy.
Thank you, it was done very quickly and when I can get more time there is more of that video to get online.

'Brandishing a helmet'.......... double entendre if I ever heard one!!

You were very kind at that event, making sure everyone who came to the exhibition area had their queries answered and could have a closer look at the items.

I know you were one of the main driving forces behind that exhibition and I have to say it was absolutely amazing, so many original items all in one place it was mind blowing!

Not just models, costumes and props, but all the designs, literature, photographs, etc.

Can't imagine how much work went in behind the scenes but it certainly paid off.

My head was spinning and I spent most of the event in there, just wish I had had a decent video/digital camera back then.

Everyone concerned with that room deserves a huge pat on the back.

- Cheers,

Andy
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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Great stuff ! I enjoyed that. Many thanks.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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LOL I actually meant to say brandishing a helmet/Fed gun...

Thanks Andy it was my pleasure
It did take a long time to get it organised and quite a bit of persuading to get things togther...


Andy.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:08 AM   #8
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It was great to get two Orac's back together...

Andy.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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Default MANY THANKS. :)

Just wanted to say a big thank you to Andy for those terrific photos of the molecular reduction Orac and to everyone else for sharing the wonderful clips etc. Absolutely adore Blakes 7 and I don't get to see nearly enough of the wonderful props and models being on the other side of the planet.

I started a forum on Horizon for those wanting to build there own scratch build Orac and was over the moon to finally learn what happened to Andy's affectionately entitled 'Baby Orac'.

So it would seem that the Season 3 and 4 Orac (currently owned by Mat Irvine and you can see Season three and four Orac at the following event: http://www.hamex.co.uk/ where Mat will have a terrific Smallspace display )has enough material for a construction and now thanks to Andy's terrific information molecular reduction Orac. All that remains is the original Season 1 and 2 Orac which featured a lot more tubes and was slightly taller. I notice him in the background of one of the photos there.

Many thanks everyone,
Sean.
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Old 13-06-2012, 07:07 AM   #10
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Default Clarification and more Ohhh's and Arrr's

Just to clarify in the Seaon One and Two Orac, I am indicating a scratch build to replicate the original design as that Orac was sadly lost/stolen/destroyed/fell apart etc, so the Season 3 and 4 Orac was the final result upon reconstruction.

What is the name of Servalan's White ship that Andy has there in his terrific display on the You Tube video? It's most prominent appearance in the show, is in the episode 'Animals' where it lands on the experimental Federation planet. Also Og get's shot under it.
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Old 13-06-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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Hi Guys,

As regards to the white Servalan spaceship from season 4...
I don't know the name of that one...
I don't own that one, just got them together at the time.

The season 1-2 Orac was designed and built by Andy Lazell, a BBC Visual Effects assistant working on the show at the time.
He gave me some images and the original design drawing of the prop and said I could use them, within reason.
So please respect his copyright with the following images !!!
But enjoy...

Andy H.


All images/text/artwork are copyright Andy Lazell











Last edited by MoonbaseAlpha; 13-06-2012 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 13-06-2012, 06:49 PM   #12
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Great photos and the sketches are really interesting.

'Decorate with electronics and plenty of wires etc'

Andy Layzell makes it sound so easy doesn't he!

Thanks to Andy H, and Andy L for the images and info.

I'm not sure Servalan's white ship had any other name than 'Sleers Season 4 Command Ship/Cruiser'.

Great design though.

Cheers,

Andy
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Old 14-06-2012, 07:14 AM   #13
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Many thanks again Andy,
Simply stunning information there. This is the Orac I've never seen a replica of and the original no longer exists as far as I am aware. For some reason I thought the lights around the sphere were clear but these photos clearly show there the same red Belling Lee lamp holders. What is markedly different is the orientation of the sphere which looks to be rotated 90 degrees to the Season 3 and 4 Orac(which once again can be viewed in all it's glory with it's builder Mat Irvine at the Hamex event(see above post)).

Even in the original Orac, there's mention of RS, so obviously the BBC must have had an account with them. I'm hoping there's a screw fit LED available so that the bulbs or LED's can be used.

There's also two U bent tubes, one with ducting over it, that would be a tricky bend. The obvious fluro green artistic flanges would be straight forward. There's a lot more rods and tubes to place on this version though. To think in the day there was no doubt just a stack of off cuts floating around and a spare sheet of perspex and that became Orac. If only they knew the modelling challenges they were creating for fans by adopting this building practice. Lol.

I like the duel cut outs on two sides with this Orac and missed them on the reconstructed Orac. Also the addition of more rods and Tubes gives a kind of connected effect with the lights shining through it. By comparison the reconstructed Orac was a little too simple and less elegant. (Not even any wild U bends on the front and back. ).

The screws are also oriented differently. On this version there on the sides, whereas on the reconstructed Orac they appear on the top and bottom of the construction.

I think there's some 6V lead acid batteries in the back of Orac and a wire strip of some kind lays behind that. The wires leading to the magnetic read switch are clearly visible, whereas they were hidden on the reconstruction. Cut aways in the sides are much smaller which to me, gives Orac a more enclosed feel and gives the impression that there's more to him than just the powered sphere in the center. It's kind of a like a data storage system of some kind.

There seems to be something completely different to the heat sink in the reconstruction too. (Or is that the perspex playing tricks on me?). Hang on, is it facing inwards instead of outwards?

Correct voltage supply for all electronics is written as 6V, so I'm feeling confident that at least one of those must be correct(notice the cover around the battery has cut outs also.

It has to be said that Andy obviously put a lot more time into Orac than what was given to the Season 3 and 4 Orac. Perhaps it was a weight issue? I notice that at most times, Orac is always being carried in two hands or has 2 people to assist. With the Season 3 and 4 Orac, he was carried around by one hand some times.

Stunning images and sketches I'd never seen before. Many many thanks Andy H.
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Old 27-01-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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Hi guys,

Here's a little bit of fun Gary Holland and me had a few weeks ago...
Me in the Original Gambit costume, Orac and gun.
(That really IS Gary's car registration number !!!).




Andy H

Last edited by MoonbaseAlpha; 27-01-2013 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 27-01-2013, 10:11 PM   #15
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Do you know if that type of belt is still made?

So, this is what is mean by 'Avon was hondaed across the galaxy by the federation?'
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:11 PM   #16
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It's very difficult to get those studs now, you can get something similar, but they are not quite right !!

Andy H.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonbaseAlpha View Post
It's very difficult to get those studs now, you can get something similar, but they are not quite right !!

Andy H.
Well, I would take what I can get...any suggestions for a source?
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:00 AM   #18
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The belt Im wearing in the photo is correct to the screen one, but quite old...

I did find some similar, although not quite right studs at Rose Fittings in Isllington, London.

Rose Fittings was in the middle of a triangular roundabout in the heart of Isllington.
I have to tell you this was a VERY strange, but a usefull place...
We got hundreds/thousands of things from there.

You always had to ring first, tell them roughly what you wanted and when you would be there...
They never let anyone of the street or cold callers in...
It was an old Victorian house in the middle of this island.
All staffed by generations of the same family !!!
kind of an Alladin's cave...

It was a very creapy place too...
You would go in and ask for whatever you wanted, they would normally look at each other and think, "oh probably on the 3rd floor"
Then you would go up on very creaky stairs to the room, full of dusty boxes...
hopefully you found what you wanted !!!

I always felt like going into the house was from the Film Psycho...

I heard that this island was demolished a few years ago...
So where they have gone or carried on I dont know...
They weren't the kind of family to have a website.....


Andy H.

Last edited by MoonbaseAlpha; 03-02-2013 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:43 PM   #19
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Default Fake Baby Orac on Ebay !!!!!

Hi Guys,

Hmmm, I don't really know how to start this, but here goes...

There is somone on ebay selling a "suposed" Baby Orac...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1409697144...#ht_196wt_1160

THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE !!!

There was only ever ONE of these made, and it was given to me by Peter Pegrum (one of Visual Effects Designers on season 2 and later one of the Heads of the department), he was clearing out his office at the time.
Later on I was working Tommorow's World under Visual Effects designer Perry Brahan, it was in my lunch hour so a had a go at getting the light/battery pack sorted as the old batteries had corroded...
Perry came around the corner and said "I made that" !!
I thought Oh God he wants it back.., BUT NO , in fact he had a look at it, and said go and get the same battery packs from the stores and we'll put it on Tommorow's World budget
We talked about it, and it was him who told me about the box being changed from a light box and that they had only ever made ONE "Baby Orac" for the show, the one I have till this day.... AND DONT INTEND TO SELL IT !!

So......
I put the photos/dims up here in good faith, and for anyones interest.
I have absolutely no problem with anyone making a replica.
BUT making one and saying it is an original is completly out of line.
Also, the person has photos of my prop on his ebay auction...

Makes me sad, I don't want to feel that I can't post anymore photos of original props.


Andy H.

Last edited by MoonbaseAlpha; 04-05-2013 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:17 AM   #20
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True that there was only one Baby Orac prop made for the show. However, I vaguely remember an article I read along time ago that stated that a set of Baby Oracs were made and given to cast and/or crew when the series ended. Perhaps this is one of those? I hope someone can verify this. I can't remember the details or when I read that article.
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