from The Daily Telegraph 25 Sep 2009
Doctor Who Dalek created out of 480,000 matchsticks
Nearly 50 years after Dr Who first did battle with the Daleks, here is the proof that he has at last met his match – all 480,000 of them.
This full scale matchstick model of one of television’s scariest aliens is the work of Brian Croucher, 66, who spent more than two years on the task Photo: PIN
This full scale matchstick model of one of television’s scariest aliens is the work of Brian Croucher, 66, who spent more than two years on the task in the sitting room of his end of terrace house in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.
He finished it last month by applying the last of three coats of clear varnish to the 480,000 matches which have been cut, shaped and sanded into the 5ft 3in extraterrestrial.
“I spent an hour or maybe two on it at a day because I have a bad back and it is difficult sitting still for such a long time,” said Mr Croucher, a retired electroplater. “Besides, it can be a tedious business.”
Mr Croucher was bitten by the matchstick modelling bug 30 years ago when he watched his nephew struggling to make a model of his mother’s house. He said: “I told him it looked good but bet him that I could make a matchstick boat and finish it before he finished his house. He gave up half way through but I carried on.
“After the boat I made a full size rocking horse, a grandmother clock and a rocking chair. I had to take early retirement because of three disc bulges in my back and just found this very therapeutic.”
To fuel his hobby, friends and relatives buy him bags of special modelling matchsticks for birthday and Christmas presents. A £5 bag contains 10,000 matches.
To create the Dalek, Mr Croucher used a small plastic toy version as a template and scaled it up five times to make his full sized version. He said: “I did a Dalek because my wife Hazel bet me to do it as a challenge. Because I had made the five foot motor launch I wanted to make something bigger with more detail.
“I made a frame at the bottom and got the shape right and just went on from there. I stick the matches together in little blocks and then gradually build them up. My wife hands me the matchsticks and I put them together.
“The hardest bit was the little bubbles on the body because they have to be rounded. There are 56 of them and each one had to be built up and then sanded off.”
The Dalek sits on casters to help it move around and with the help of a voicebox inside its domed head can even utter its chilling catchprase “Ex-ter-min-ate, ex-ter-min-ate.”
It is the Dalek, however, which may soon be moving on. “It takes up too much room and I want to sell it,~ said Mr Croucher. ~I~m prepared to listen to offers and sell it to the highest bidder.”
Mrs Croucher’s sigh of relief at not having to share a sitting room with a Dalek may, however, be short-lived. Her husband is planning a Spitfire, with a six feet wingspan, and wants to build a boat that can be rowed across the Channel.