For several years now I have been researching the original series TARDIS Toolkit (pictured below from the DW Technical manual). Much to my disdain, the basis of this prop has always eluded me, almost to the point of madness as the searches and inquiries always seemed to come up dry. I have been told everything from it being some sort of DeWalt Case for a drill to some sort of carry case and even a file box offered back in the 80s by WHSmith Co. (picture below). The problem was that each time, the items I found never really quite matched the pictures of the original kit which, in the end, just confused and aggravated me. Given the BBC budget for the show back in the 80s, I have always maintained the belief that this kit was based on a found item. So week after week whenever I had the time, I would go online and do Google searches or hit EBAY. Then week by week, year by year, I would always come up with the same result Nothing! Then late one evening back in November I finally got the break I have been looking for after all these years. I Finally found one which showed up on EBAY.UK. So what is it you ask? Well, in the end, it did happen to turn out to be a file box, but not the aforementioned one made and offered by WHSmith Co which has a plastic top. This particular little gem happened to be manufactured by HELIX, is all metal, and is marketed and labeled as none other than the HELIX HOME FILE.
Now here is where is got interesting! Once I identified the item, I realized the seller was in the UK and was not offering shipping to the U.S., so bidding on the item was not going to do me any good. I began to worry actually.. I started to panic thinking the time was just of my grasp! It was then in this point of desperation I realized I just needed to find someone who can put me into contact with someone in the UK who would be willing to help. Enter Greatwazoo42! I immediately and frantically sent a cryptic ptext to Ron who quickly came back with a ok, what are you going on about?! to which I calmed down and further explained in detail the auction and the significance of the item. At this point Ron starts up a three way conversation (email) with Davidnagel in the UK. Now I have to admit that I would be lying if I didnt tell there was a fanboy email chain (over 55, to be exact) of plotting and executing the acquisition of this little beauty. Trust me, the Obsessive compulsiveness on my behalf came out in full force. In the end David placed the bid and the final price of the auction was 2.67 British pounds (roughly $4.28 USD)!! Now the real fun was just starting!
We won the auction but seller was refusing to ship due to the weight and to further complicate things, she was located three hours away from David. Due to this issue, we did a little brainstorming and David promptly arranged for a courier to pick up the box and bring it to him instead of taking the drive himself. So add another 7.00 GBP ($11.23) to the total for courier number one! As you can see, the cost was starting to accumulate and we havent even started talking about moving it across the pond. Once the case safely made it into Davids possession, another courier was arranged to ship it to the US.. again.. add another 35 GPB ($56.14). In the end the total investment for this prop and all couriers was under $75.00. Not bad considering UPS originally quoted me around $500.00 just for shipping alone!! Before you ask, YES, I did literally tell the agent he/she was smoking crack when I was quoted that price! Seriously, if it was going to cost that much, I would have just spent a little more and gone to London myself, picked it up personally and taken it back as carryon. Anyhow, in the end, its been a long road and quite an adventure.
Keeping with the spirit of passing along information, I have posted photos below of the original from the technical manual as well as my newly acquired gem from across the pond. Once time permits, Ill be starting a new thread with regards to refurbishing the box, repainting and undertaking the conversion as well as full replication of each of the tools therein. Ill post all of this to another thread as progress is made and further discoveries are found with regards to the tools themselves. In the end, I am pleased to be able to share this discovery with everyone and most importantly, make this information public knowledge. If anyone wants any more information please do not hesitate to ask as I am more than happy to share as much of this discovery as possible.
So without any further adieu I give you the Helix Home File.
Helix Home File
Original Pic from Technical Manual
Incorrect WH Smith Version