Chang-Accurate Faceplate for Diamond Select Toys TOS Tricorder


As the Diamond Select Toys tricorders have the most accurate shells for the money, Christopher Callaghan and I decided to collaborate on making upgrades to bring it more in line with the original Wah Chang builds used on Star Trek: The Original Series (1966).

We already owned DST Science Tricorders, so the next step was having some aluminum faceplates laser cut. Using all available reference material, we positioned and shaped the openings for maximum authenticity.

Crucial was the geometry for the view screen opening. Bart Braun was kind enough to adjust the somewhat-eccentric original shape by making each side consistent with its opposite number.

After several attempts to create a 3D clear resin-printed lens for the display (with the assistance of Richard Snowden) we decided to go old school the way that Chang and Desilu Props would have fabricated it.

Christopher sculpted a buck from epoxy putty using our newly-procured aluminum faceplates as a guide. With a heat gun and a good deal of patience, he was able to form the 1.5 mm clear acrylic over the buck by pressing down on it with the faceplate display opening. After a few first pancakes, he was able to consistently form CRT-like lenses which he second-surface painted Neutral Gray.

We were fortunate enough to source actual grill material from a period-correct Windsor Coronet radio, matched sets of vintage sapphire-in-steel watch crowns, and accurate reproductions of the chrome-plated plastic T-Jets (tires included).

Christopher attached all the parts to the faceplate using a combination of epoxy putty, hot glue, and two-part resin epoxy.

Because of our common dislike for the DST's hood standing at attention at a 90° angle when open, Christopher added another click point further back.

For the mid-compartment, I decided to retain the moiré motor and wire it to the existing power switch in the lower battery compartment which is covered with a custom GNDN Panel (modeled and printed by Richard) leaving the switch exposed. Christopher also blackened the area above the disc arrays (to which he added a bit of his secret polishing compound for a more metallic sheen). On mine, he added a piece of black styrene around the moiré.

Christopher also went in a different direction by procuring a metal moiré ring and more accurately locating it on a new piece of Kydex in his compartment. He then added his own battery compartment cover of Kydex with various found items added.

We were also able to secure faux leather stitched shoulder straps of almost the right width. Christopher was able to remove the 1 mm from the side panel openings to make them a perfect fit.

For the finishing touch, we added slotted pan head screws to the rear and side panels.

It was more than a treat working with such a perfectionist as Mr. "1 MM" Callaghan, himself. This was ever so much fun realizing our common goal creating the Mike-A faceplate. We are now pleased as punch to have a couple of the best looking DST tricorders in the fleet.

Eight more to go.

Best. Mike.


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