Proton Pack Lights Script and Diagram

If you are ever interested in building a full size Proton Pack I highly recommend Ben of Kent Props. My proton pack is amazing and it all started with the parts produced by this excellent company.

Also check them out on facebook in the most friendly group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/364457410396568

This might look like a bizarre post but for those following my proton pack build this is all the details you need for the electronics within my Ghostbusters Proton pack. I’m not electronic expert and these are presented as seen.

This is all thanks to Tim Wappat. Without his genius help my pack would be dark and not so disco.

This was chapter six of my Ben of Kent Proton pack build videos. The full video can be seen at the bottom of this blog post and the rest on my Youtube Channel. Don’t forget to like and subscribe! 🙂

Hopefully all of this info, might either encourage you to get one or at least help with your build.

This post includes details of a cheaper method of creating the light sequence without expensive hardware. I’m sure there are better ways to build, but here’s how we did it.

3D printed Parts :

You need the printed parts to hold all the LEDs and the boards.

LED Power Barhttps://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4894963
Slip Case for Port Expanderhttps://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4894960
Sound Detector Board Casehttps://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4894965
Raspberry Pi Pico Casehttps://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4818638

Electronics :

MCP23017 16 bit port expander breakout boardhttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193477088071
pi picohttps://shop.pimoroni.com/products/raspberry-pi-pico?variant=32402092294227
Ribbon Cablehttps://proto-pic.co.uk/product/sparkfun-cab-10647-ribbon-cable-10-wire-15ft/
LEDshttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/152508668100?var=451865158130
Microphone Modulehttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/233754667746?hash=item366cdd2ae2:g:i4YAAOSwj2Jfke6s

Costs :

MCP23017 I2C interface 16bit IO Extension Module Pin Board IIC to GIPO Convert£4.70
KY-037 High Sensitivity Microphone/Sound Detection Sensor For Arduino Module PIC£1.98
Raspberry Pi Pico – Board Only£3.60
LED 5mm or 3mm Superbright-Clear/Diffused – Choose Colour/Mix Pack UK£2.45
Resistors 68ohm£1.88
Ribbon cable£3.86
Total£18.27

Wiring Diagram

Script for Raspberry Pi Pica

############################################################################
# Proton pack sound activated LEDs
# 2021 Tim Wappat
# ##########################################################################
import time
import board
import busio
import digitalio

from adafruit_mcp230xx.mcp23017 import MCP23017

i2c = busio.I2C(board.GP1, board.GP0)
mcp = MCP23017(i2c, address=0x20)
soundPresent = False
soundPresentCounter = 0
soundAbsentCounter = 0
soundPresentTimedAt = time.monotonic_ns()


# Optionally change the address of the device if you set any of the A0, A1, A2
# pins.  Specify the new address with a keyword parameter:
# mcp = MCP23017(i2c, address=0x21)  # MCP23017 w/ A0 set

# Now call the get_pin function to get an instance of a pin on the chip.
# This instance will act just like a digitalio.DigitalInOut class instance
# and has all the same properties and methods (except you can't set pull-down
# resistors, only pull-up!).  For the MCP23008 you specify a pin number from 0
# to 7 for the GP0...GP7 pins.  For the MCP23017 you specify a pin number from
# 0 to 15 for the GPIOA0...GPIOA7, GPIOB0...GPIOB7 pins (i.e. pin 12 is GPIOB4).
pin0 = mcp.get_pin(15)
pin1 = mcp.get_pin(14)
pin2 = mcp.get_pin(13)
pin3 = mcp.get_pin(12)

pin4 = mcp.get_pin(11)
pin5 = mcp.get_pin(10)
pin6 = mcp.get_pin(9)
pin7 = mcp.get_pin(8)

pin8 = mcp.get_pin(0)
pin9 = mcp.get_pin(1)
pin10 = mcp.get_pin(2)
pin11 = mcp.get_pin(3)
pin12 = mcp.get_pin(4)
pin13 = mcp.get_pin(5)
pin14 = mcp.get_pin(6)
pin15 = mcp.get_pin(7)

# Setup pin0 as an output that's at a high logic level.
pin0.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin1.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin2.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin3.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin4.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin5.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin6.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin7.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin8.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin9.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin10.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin11.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin12.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin13.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin14.switch_to_output(value=True)
pin15.switch_to_output(value=True)


soundSensor = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.GP5)
soundSensor.switch_to_input(pull=digitalio.Pull.UP)

def TimeSinceSoundPresenceSetMs():
    global soundPresentTimedAt
    return (((time.monotonic_ns() - soundPresentTimedAt) + 500000) // 1000000)

def SetSoundState():
    global soundPresentCounter
    global soundAbsentCounter
    global soundPresent
    global soundPresentTimedAt

    # look for x samples in a row of sound present to trigger sound present state
    # leave triggered for min amount of time
    if(soundSensor.value):
        print(soundPresentCounter)
        if(soundPresentCounter < 1):
            soundPresentCounter = soundPresentCounter + 1
        soundAbsentCounter = 0
    else:
        if(soundAbsentCounter < 30):
            soundAbsentCounter = soundAbsentCounter + 1
        soundPresentCounter = 0

    # x samples in a row positive then we have sound
    # set the flag we have sound, otherwise after delay unset the flag
    if(soundPresentCounter == 1):
        # print("Sound on counter max")
        if(soundPresent == False):
            soundPresent = True
            # Need to latch on so record time latched
            soundPresentTimedAt = time.monotonic_ns()

    if(soundAbsentCounter == 30):
        # print("Sound off counter max")
        if (TimeSinceSoundPresenceSetMs() >2000 ):
            # print("Sound off")
            soundPresent = False
        #else:
            # print("waiting for timeout")
            # print(TimeSinceSoundPresenceSetMs())

def BarOff():
    pin11.value = True
    pin10.value = True
    pin9.value = True
    pin8.value = True
    pin7.value = True
    pin6.value = True
    pin5.value = True
    pin4.value = True
    pin3.value = True
    pin2.value = True
    pin1.value = True
    pin0.value = True

# time between cyclo lights (s)
def InterBarDelay():
    if(soundPresent):
        return 0.05
    else:
        return 0.105

# Time between indvidiual bars on power meter (s)
def interseqDelay():
    if(soundPresent):
        return 0.001
    else:
        return 0.001

def BarSeq():
    pin0.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin1.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin2.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin3.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin4.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin5.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin6.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin7.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin8.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin9.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin10.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())
    SetSoundState()
    pin11.value = False

def startupsequence():
    pin0.value = False
    pin11.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())

    pin1.value = False
    pin10.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())

    pin2.value = False
    pin9.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())

    pin3.value = False
    pin8.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())

    pin4.value = False
    pin7.value = False
    time.sleep(InterBarDelay())

    pin5.value = False
    pin6.value = False
    time.sleep(1)


startupsequence()
BarOff()
startupsequence()
BarOff()

while (True):

    pin12.value = False
    pin13.value = True
    pin14.value = True
    pin15.value = True
    BarSeq()
    time.sleep(interseqDelay())
    BarOff()

    pin12.value = True
    pin13.value = False
    pin14.value = True
    pin15.value = True
    BarSeq()
    time.sleep(interseqDelay())
    BarOff()

    pin12.value = True
    pin13.value = True
    pin14.value = False
    pin15.value = True
    BarSeq()
    time.sleep(interseqDelay())
    BarOff()

    pin12.value = True
    pin13.value = True
    pin14.value = True
    pin15.value = False
    BarSeq()
    time.sleep(interseqDelay())
    BarOff()


This is the full Proton Pack build video, which includes the various parts and the electronics. Hope it’s useful.

Enjoy and have a great Halloween.

Back to the Ghostbusters

If you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that one of my all time favourite films was Ghostbusters.

I’ve already posted about how I loved the movie and it’s associated merch, music and games.

Click here if you haven’t and want to read about it.

At that time I thought that the article would be the end of my chat about the subject, until maybe Ghostbusters : Afterlife was released in November 2021.

By the way, this trailer makes me tear up. Fantastic.

This post is less about the films themselves and more about how and why I decided to go full on Ghostbuster and become a Ghosthead although I maybe wouldn’t consider myself to be a full on Ghosthead and I don’t have the dedication and collection that some dedicated Ghostbusters fans have. So, sit back and read the story of 2021 and how I ended up owning one of these.

It really started when they initially released the Hasbro Toy Fair video with Ivan and Jason Reitman which was released on YouTube through the Ghostbusters channel way back on the 26th February 2020. I was about then we were still early days of the Worldwide pandemic and fully expected it to blow over and we’d be seeing Afterlife in the Summer of 2021. Boy, were we wrong.

At about the 11:50 markm Jason Reitman delved into a packing case and picked out “the right one”, the actual Neutrona wand as featured in the film.

Following that a Hasbro representative went back to the case and produced Hasbro’s version of the prop.

This was how it was presented at the Toy Fair

It looked great, and probably was going to be WAY too expensive for someone like me to afford. This thing looked amazingly detailed with metal parts, tape, tubing, on board sound effects, lights and vibration. I could only imagine that this product would be for collectors only and way out of my meagre budget and I would never EVER own one of those things and it would probably only be available in America.

I was wrong on quite a few of those points. More of that later…

Fast forward through an interestingly tough and scary year, cinemas and theatres were closed to the public and everything was pushed back. I love my films, and taking away that cinema experience and the forthcoming treats that we’d be teased and trailered for months never came to pass. No new Ghostbusters, no Top Gun, no Black Widow, no Bond. no new Pixar movie Soul, Batman and so on. Productions had to shut down. and we were left to stay at home and watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney +… which wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t have the same feeling. Everything was being pushed back further and further.

After Christmas 2020. we immediately hit a second wave. It was bad. As a lecturer my year starts in September and runs through to the summer. We ended up in lockdown again before we’d even got the chance to come back after Christmas. Everything was online. When you teach practical stuff it’s tough on the students.

I was trying to find a picture to put in this more serious bit. So you’ll have to do with this. It’s the inside of my Don Post Boba Fett helmet I got signed by Jeremy when I met him in on one of numerous occasions and recently passed away in December 2021.

Shall I continue?

I don’t like being home all the time, I like to separate work from home but in this situation there seemed to be no separation. My computer became the work device and I took no pleasure from using it in the evening. I’ve not had a bad time compared to some others but I wasn’t in a good place.

One evening in my desperate need to get away from the computer I found myself flicking through documentaries on the UK Channel 5 on a regular TV and found something to do with Ghostbusters,

So I watched it. If you haven’t and you live in the UK it’s still available at this point on My5. Here!

Ghostheads (2016) looked at American Ghostbusters fans and how in some cases, Ghostbusters helped them in some way connect with their kids, or distracted them from alcoholism. How Ghostheads around the US have helped to raise funds and put smiles on peoples faces. It was all a very familiar community to me.

If you’ve read my other blogs you’ll know I love to costume or become a thing. In a lot of cases it has tended over the last 10 years occupy the cylinder of a Dalek and somehow raise a smile or a laugh on occasion. I’ve also owned various Stormtrooper outfits which in must cases were hard to see out of and if they weren’t fitted quite right grab and nip any flesh they’d care to grab at. Also impossible to walk up and down stairs. At least the Dalek has a seat and I can take a breather and just turn into a prop for a few minutes.

In most of my costumes I’d hide away under helmets and domes. I was more confident in them as I could be as silly as I wanted.

Having spent years in Stormtrooper outfits I started to feel more confident and started to show my face in Jedi, Cowboy and Knight costumes. They were also more comfortable and didn’t need an entire car boot to transport. The exception still being the Dalek.

Sometimes under makeup…

So with Ghostheads I saw a perfect opportunity. I like to distract myself with things, I love to build and paint and it was my birthday coming up. Time to be a Ghostbuster and spend the forthcoming months building and making all the various little doodads that make a basic Ghostbuster. When I wasn’t working I could step away and do various bits of research into the world of Ghostbusters. I had the perfect reading material and the entire world of the internet and the various Ghostbusters communities.

I didn’t need a proton pack.

…maybe just the wand. Those packs are expensive, I don’t have the money for that.

So to quote Obi-wan, I took a step into a wide world and I bought a Neutrona Wand off Amazon.

It comes in a rather nice cardboard box that looks like a storage crate with the “Plasma Series” uniform band around it.

Once you get it out of the box, batteries in it feels great. The lights, sound and vibration make it look, sound and feel amazing. I was a kid again. But I wouldn’t need the proton pack to go with it…

It does have a few things to note that make it stand out immediately which include the rubberised tape around the handle. I would later discover some of the other details would also be different to the original ’84 props, like the shotgun handle at the front.

The stand is a little on the flimsy side for such a prop but I loved it. The kids rolled their eyes when I showed them what I’d got flicking through the buttons, changing the modes and flashing the lights.

I would at some point maybe do some tweaking. Maybe attaching it to an amplifier to make it a little louder. But it won’t be attached to a proton pack…

So I spent much of March distracting myself from daytime work and spent my evenings working on the rest of the “basic” parts of Ghostbusting. The belt.

The typical GB belt contains a number of key holders and a weird looking belt gizmo. You’ll also need some black rubber gloves.

This is one of the original belts. (Propstore)
photo Vincenzo330 on gbfans.com

Originally this gizmo was made from an old calculator which contained glass nixie tubes which broke during production. They ended up being made from cardboard with a silver pen as the circuit lines.

Amazon provided me with the belt and the leather pouch was made from tape measure holder.

Now I’ve seen some impressive gizmos from fans and I wasn’t in the market to make a completely screen accurate device. I wanted something that looked fine to members of the public. If they could get away with this kind of junk from the movie itself and no one noticed at the time, I figured a leather pouch and some electronic bits would do fine. Hopefully no one would notice except for the GB community. 😛

The nixie tubes were constructed with rubber hose and topped with hot glue to make them look like valves. There was a piece of paper on the inside of the tubes to give them detail.

I did find a useful thing was would make up the main circuit board. I’d recently decommissioned a few older small hard drives and the main circuit boards for them fit the width perfectly. I hot glued various other electronic components and other greeblies on to the board and I was done.

Not totally accurate with only six instead of eight nixie tubes, but I reckoned that tech had improved since 84 and you only need six to disperse the ion or whatever they were supposed to do.

I was beginning to come up with a story for every part of the costume as it was being built.

In a chance encounter I discovered that a friend of mine Al, had also ordered a wand at the same time. I’d been posting various pictures of my progress to Facebook and he asked me to make a gizmo for him. I did and dropped it off.

I did have the name tag and jumpsuit ordered and ready to roll when I finished the gizmo and I also had help from Al to get the elbow pads. Also he sent me a little present for building the gizmo.

A pair of Rubies Ecto Goggles. Over the month Al was building his proton pack…. which I wouldn’t need…. and we were passing information and helping each other with parts and props.

So it was time to make these goggles my own and make them less like the square Rubies toy and turn them into a well used “working” prop.

Whilst I was waiting for some bits and pieces I did a side project on a Jurassic Park Jeep, making it look like the Jeep from Jurassic World. There was the slight annoyance through research that I discvered that this version of the Jeep was from 2015 and wouldn’t have been the one in JW. Grrr… Looks good though.

The creative juices were flowing and was enjoying the distractions.

The basic Ecto Goggles from Rubies are fine as a base, but I wanted a halfway between the Rubies and the real ones. They would be stuck on the top of my head or swinging from my belt. No one would notice the minor details.

I shortened the long lens by cutting it down and regluing and took a dremmel to the corners that were way too square for my liking. I also bought some cheap webbing a bunch of press studs, I replaced fake bolts with the ends of real hex bolts and filed a few things down.

Then resprayed it.

I took out the face side plastic bits and attached an old VR cushion. I also found some labels, printed and stuck them on the repainted surface.

To finish off a bit of silver wear and tear was added and a grimy acrylic wash to finish. I think it came out quite well.

This month was also made up of various friends convincing each other of things. Al convinced me it was a good idea to get a proton pack and I’d figured a way to finance the pack with a bunch of old Cinefex magazines that I’d collected and were currently sitting in the loft gathering dust. I had a lot of them and they were going for good prices on eBay. It would also help me get all of the other bits I’d “need”.

I’d also convince, but it was quite easy, my most excellent bestest friend Tim to be a Ghostbuster too. He wouldn’t need a backpack as he could borrow mine. Within a few days he’d bought a jumpsuit and started researching Ghost traps.

With his excellent 3D printing skills he used the Count Spatula Thingiverse design seen in the above video. Link is here!

I don’t have a 3D printer and I don’t think I ever will have one due to the amount of space that is needed to keep one. Anyway, Tim happily printed out two traps. My trap would simply be a prop trap for belt use and he was planning on a full smoke and light effect version using programmable controllers. I’ve tinkered with these before but my head isn’t quite built for the electronic side of things.

Once meeting together started to ease within the world of Pandemic and we started to get our first jabs, parts and ideas were passed between each other and I started to paint and the build the trap whilst I spend the week selling the magazines and waiting for the funds to build up to order my proton pack. Which I honestly wasn’t intending to buy.

I think it turned out quite good and I couldn’t have done it without Tim and his 3D printing and patience skills.

Mechanically I have included a few things using my simple wiring skills.

I bought a few different things from the pound shop and ate a bunch of quality street.

When the doors are open I didn’t just want an empty space, so when I spotted some firefly jars with a very interesting defuser around them I bought a couple.

Inside the trap I added some simply fairy lights and covered them in purple Quality Street sweet wrappers.

To finish off I bought a fake Poundland security light with a flashing LED. I then used a simple switch that would turn them both on at the same time. Not screen accurate but better than an empty box.

It certainly isn’t as good as a trap with smoke, sounds and flashing lights in sequence, but I’m happy to attach it to my belt and throw it around a bit.

By this point I’d had a word with Al about Proton Pack suppliers and had looked around the various kit suppliers and through recommendations, Youtube videos, and the quality of the some of the builds in various Facebook forums I purchased a Ben Of Kent kit from https://www.benofkentprops.com/

Ben produces a range of kits and fully assembled packs for various price ranges depending on whether you want metal or resin parts, particular parts of the kits or in my case I only needed the proton pack part as I fully intended to attach my Spengler wand to the pack.

On June 18th my huge box arrived containing all of the pieces to build a 1 to 1 scale replica of a proton pack. Wowza! You would not believe how mind bogglingly big this box was. Huge!

I spent that afternoon busily unpacking and making sure everything fit as far as it made sense at that time.

I started to video the pack from opening to what I could consider finished, for the moment. But a pack is never complete, just updated and modified.

I began the two or three week process of cleaning up parts, painting and bolting/gluing, whatever was needed to get this pack together.

It was a really fun build.

I hope I managed to put my own spin of the build process and give something back to the build community.

Using videos on Youtube I picked up other techniques to replace and extend the audio from the Spengler wand out of the wand to allow it to be connected to an external source. I used a microphone XLR cable to allow me to connect and disconnect the wand from the pack for display purposes and fixing if needed.

Tim with his excellent skills with electronics came up with a brilliant idea to create a cheap way to interface the pack with the wand using a low power Raspberry Pi to run all of the lights for the pack.

Eventually with the help of Tim we got the internals of the pack looking and working well.

As a fan of Star Wars I love the used universe look. The idea is that if there is a prop, costume, vehicle or object, it should look like it’s been used. Maybe even dragged through the mud and left to rust in a pond.

The Ghostbusters kit for the upcoming, at the time of writing Afterlife movie involves the discovery of decades old equipment left by Egon Spengler. It’s rusted, it’s had bits added on, just to keep things running.

The new/old Spengler pack looks like this…

Dirty and grimy and with bits and bobs bolted on just to keep it running.

My pack with have that distressed look through paint application and giving it a rub down with a piece of sand paper.

Dirty labels, rust, engine oil. I used all my old techniques from the Jurassic Park truck to detail a lot of my pack.

It’s been a joy to build. I’ve reconnected with friends over projects and loved every minute. So far I haven’t worn the full kit with the finished pack. I think I might save that for some time closer to Halloween.

See you next time.

Best Decade for Films – The 80s – What idiot dressed you in that outfit?! – Part III

With Marty stuck in 1955, again, he has to gain the help of 50s Doc to return to the Future. the film starts as the very first Back to the Future film finishes. The Delorean has gone back to 1985 and Doc has fainted, fade to black and we return to the mythical Brown mansion which we’ve only seen glimpses of in the first two movies prior to it’s destruction in 1962. More on that later.

I love this opening it’s so relaxed.With some gentle new music that becomes the love theme for Doc later on in the film. Then the Doc wakes up triggered by the Howdy Doody on TV. He’s forgotten what happened after returning 80s Doc and is confronted by another Doc.

There are some nice details in the mansion with the pictures of Scientists above the fireplace, Marty finding the model car in the waste basket from the first film.

BTTF 3 somehow feels like it’s out on its own with it’s locations in 1955 for a brief time, 1885 for most of the film and a short trip back the 1985 at the end. It’s really the love story of the trilogy, introducing a new character into the mix.

At the start of the film, the task was to get Marty back to 1985 by digging up the Delorean from the mine. Simple, but we’ve got a whole movie to fill and everyone has seen the trailer at the end of the previous film.

They get into the mine and find the Delorean with shredded tyres and a bunch of things that need fixing, with future Doc now in the past giving 50s Doc instructions on how to fix it.

Now this creates a paradox of sorts. 50s Doc recently bashed his head falling off the toilet and came up with the idea for the flux capacitor. Not long after Marty turns up with the Delorean with a Flux capacitor and sends the vehicle back to the future. With future Doc of the past giving instructions to 50s Doc on how to fix the time machine. Did the flux just blink into existance? Coz 50s Doc probably had a lot of time to see how this whole thing worked before he actually “invented” it in the 80s. Why didn’t Doc invest in some of the component manufacturers instead of losing his mansion and using that money. Which brings us to another point.

One mystery that continued from the first film that has only recently been answered is the question of what burned down Doc Brown’s mansion in 1962? In one of the opening shots in the original BTTF, we see a newspaper article about the bankrupt inventor losing the mansion we are seeing in BTTF3 in a fire. The estate was sold off to developers and moves into the garage with all of that prime real estate cash. In this version of the timeline, is this the same Doc we see in the 50s? Was the mansion destroyed on purpose? Was it accidental? When you realise BTTF1 Doc was involving himself in some really dodgy stuff including working with terrorists to make a fake nuclear bomb and burning down his own home to claim the insurance and gain the money for the real estate?

What if? Due to the new/old knowledge of the time machine the 50s, Doc manages to avoid the fire and the mansion is still there when Marty returns to 1985.

Bob Gale and Joe Walser, the guy behind the Delorean restoration, recently released the Haynes Delorean book. In it Bob Gale fills in many of the gaps in the Docs life. To cut a long story short, the Doc did invent time travel in the early days and the government was very interested. The only problem was the with the tech at the time, the flux capacitor was the size of a room. To protect the misuse of the technology by the government it’s suggested that the mansion was burned down to destroy the early experiments.

The Doc then worked secretly in another location and over the years used the insurance money to miniaturise the tech whilst keeping it out of the prying eyes of the government.

It’s a great book and an essential for any BTTF fan. Get it from Amazon or your favourite book sellers NOW!!!

Speaking of Deloreans, as we deviate from the main topic. On the 27th February 2012, Bob Gale announced that the restoration of the BTTF “A” car was about to begin and Joe Walser was right in the centre of the restoration team.

Joe Walser started with building his own Delorean Time Machine from the initial purchase of an original Delorean and became the expert team leader of the “A” car restoration.

With the damage to the Universal display car, a lot of the pieces were stolen, but thanks to the fans, a lot of the parts were returned or sourced to rebuild the whole by Joe and his team.

Steve Concotelli, a filmmaker, put up a Kickstarter with the backing of Bob Gale to document the restoration of the original BTTF Delorean as seen in the first BTTF film.

This film happily got three times the requested funds for the project and out of it I managed to get the full Bluray documentary of the restoration.

Kickstarter Link

It’s an amazing documentary following the full story of the cars restoration from the beginning through to it’s initial display in February 2013, when it was put on display at the Universal Studios Experience in Hollywood.

Due to the Experiences closure, the “A” was then moved to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles in 2016, where it is now on permanent display.

A shortened version of the documentary was released on the trilogy Blurays.

Back to the Story

So digging out the Delorean, they load it onto the trailer. and discover poor Copernicus the dog, pining over a gravestone. They find out that the Doc died 7 days after writing the letter and the instructions to Marty. Great Scott!

Marty can’t leave it at that. He has to rescue the Doc.

With the Doc fixing up the Delorean with white walled tyres, a tank full of gas, a Mr Fusion fully primed, and a retro valve based doodad on the hood all was set with another new look for the car.

With this iteration of the car, they had to remove the chassis, replace the engine with a more reliable Volkswagen engine, over inflate the tyres and ensure that the car had better clearance to handle the rocky terrain of Monument Valley.

There is a really good documentary that discusses the only screen used privately owned Delorean and the most expensive, bought for just over half a million dollars. It still runs…. just about.

For the journey to 1885, Marty is clothed in a bizarre atomic cowboy outfit featuring spinning atoms near the lapels, this was clearly the 50s version of a cowboy outfit than most of us wore as a kid, which shows the stark contrast with the grimy western themed outfits that we see worn by Tannen and the boys. This outfit soon gets dirtied up as soon as Marty gets dragged through the dirt.

When Marty arrives in 1885 he is chased by a group of native Americans played by Navajo Nation members.

Marty arrives and he discovers that a stray arrow hit the gas tank and spilled the precious resource all over the floor of a cave hideaway. With the time circuits fully working the only thing required is fuel to get the Delorean up to 88mph. I’m glad that America is imperial, 88mph sounds much better than 141kmph.

“When this baby hits 141. You’re gonna see some serious (stuff)”

Thankfully the speed of the Delorean was high enough for some major plot points in this movie to pan out.

Some would argue that there was still fuel in the tank of the Delorean that Doc buried in the mine…… there wouldn’t be a huge paradox if the Doc took a gallon or two, surely.

There are a couple of leftovers from the previous film that somehow feels out of place and is used a few times in this film. In BTTF2 we find out that Marty does not like to be called “Chicken” which, according to Jennifer from 2015, causes Marty to get into an accident with his future Boss, Needles, and ruin his guitar career. Seems a little out of character for Marty and not something that would trigger him. We’d have to wait for the end of the film to see this one out.

It was great to see MJF playing multiple characters again with the introduction of Seamus McFly, though having Seamus’s wife played by Emma Thompson, his mom is a little weird. But it’s all in the spirit of the films.

As well as MJF and ET we had the most excellent Tom Wilson with another time winding version of Biff/Griff with the introduction of Buford Tannen the main villain of the story and the possible future murderer of Doc Brown.

We have the same riffs with Biff over the manure truck, provided by the same family business for over 70 years.

In this one we end up with a showdown between Marty and Buford in the classic Western style shootout.

Way back in BTTF Part 2, in the alternate 1985 the shootout itself and Marty’s solution was foreshadowed when Biff was caught watching a Clint Eastwood film “A Fistful of Dollars” in a hot tub with two girls when Marty came to confront Biff about the almanac. In the film Clint uses a metal sheet to protect his chest whilst in BTTF3 Marty uses the door of a stove.

In the end Marty finally gets to punch Buford who falls into the manure, and we know how much he hates manure.

Before we head towards the romance, the train and the ultimate destruction of the Delorean, we are off on a side track… yep off we go again. During the film we had the appearance during a dance scene by the rock legends, ZZ Top who also released the music and music video to the single, yep, Vinyl, Doubleback. I just happened to purchase the 12 inch version of the song so I didn’t have to change the record that often.

I’ve loved ZZ Top for a number of years, but their spinning guitar riff was fun, but it was a little distracting for me as part of the dance scene, instead of just hiding them away. RIP Rusty, you will be missed.

We had a new character added to the mix this time, with Jennifer forgotten about, again, Mary Steenburgen joined the cast as a love interest for the Doc. At the time I’d previously seen MS in Parenthood playing against the wonderful Steve Martin, an excellent Banjo player, I might add.

Clara Clayton was introduced to the Doc at the point where she would have fell to her certain doom into the raveen. I guess Doc figured that with no future and no descendants she wouldn’t cause a major rift in the timeline by falling for her and spending the rest of their lives together travelling through time. These years have been produced through the comics which have been tied into the canon of the films without making more films.

Some would argue whether the Doc needed a bit of romance but this placed BTTF3s story and drama focused on the Doc for a change, although come to think of it the first films B Story was all about Marty figuring out how the same the Doc’s life and hopefully not destroy the galaxy in the process.

Published by IDW, the comics first came out as a mini series in October 2015, the year that marked the 30th anniversary and the significant year from BTTF2, but became so popular that they continued the series. The time train conics were co- written by Bob Gale, and started in December 17 and the whole series completed the comics in June 18. Still available as trade paperbacks. Well worth a read.

At first it was a bit strange to get a new character that had no connections with the other two movies but her interaction with the Doc, the characters fondness with the works of Jules Verne worked great. Ultimately it became a distraction to get the Doc out of the life of the flux capacitor and time machines and change him into a family man with his own kids. Time to put away the toys, or so we thought. So, then he turns up with a Jules Verne-esk time travelling steam train.

We nearly lost Clara when the Doc and Marty had to return to the future, I wasn’t going to say back to the future, again.

Once we had the shootout, the destruction of the Docs gravestone, and ultimately Buford Tannen’s arrest, the main scope of the ending involves getting a steam train up to 88mph so you can push a Delorean.

Ultimately the train smashes into the canyon, the DeLorean disappears into the future and the Doc is left with Clara with no apparent hope of returning.

It was at this point I distinctly remember being as much on the edge of my cinema seat as I was at the end of Back to the Future. Doc stuck in the past, Marty in the present it was all a little intense. Then this happened…..

I mean…… WHAT!?!? What have you done? You destroyed my favourite car of all time.

Having been stressed out over the time travel. You’ve destroyed my favourite car. I was a little shocked. No more time travelling.

Wait….. what about the Doc? We can’t have seen the last of him. Can we?

There were so many things going through my head following the mangled parts of the DeLorean and that train driver who FAILED TO STOP! I’d just like to point that out.

Thankfully whilst my mind was reeling from the incidents of the last five minutes. We deviated to sort out the chicken sub-plot left over from the previous movie, the accident with the Rolls Royce which would have caused Marty to give up the guitar and the incident with Needles his future boss.

I wanna know what happened to the Doc.

Thankfully Jen and Marty returned to the rail track and the DeLorean parts were still strewn across the track. You’ve need the Marty’s pickup to transport the bits and tidy up. Maybe get rid of some of the evidence, like the time circuits and the flux capacitor… anyway, I digress. Let’s get on to the fun.

We heard the bell of the railway crossing and no train….

It was at this point I could have punched the air. Hell yes. A time train. I’m sure I would have been welling up at this point.

So, part three finishes in a similar fashion to part one with the time train flying towards us and “The End” appearing in glorious shiny letters.

That was one hell of a trilogy of films. I left the cinema and made my plans to see part three again within the week.

Even though there were only three films, and hopefully it will stay that way. There will be a part four of my BTTF series to fill in the gaps from the films completion to present day.

See you soon. Maybe after a few other topics first.