HAL 9000 is the super artificial intelligence computer aboard ship in, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, circa 1968. My first HAL 9000 is actually made of cardboard and had striking realism. It was stuck up on a piece of equipment at work. It was there a few weeks before it walked. I still don’t know if someone took it or if management took it down. But it was only cardboard. A second was made from cardboard and the plastic bubble from a “DOT it” stick up LED light. It still is attached to the cabinet in my work office. None of the artwork was included with the kit, but obtained from a wallpaper found on the web.
It measures exactly 12″ x 4-1/16″ and is made from nice hard black plastic resin. . The included name plate is terrific but the plastic lens was cut too small. The mold is pretty clean but I did have to fill a chip and do some sanding. The detailing on the speaker grill is over done in my opinion. Overall, a 9 out of 10 stars.
At first I wanted to paint the main surface area my favorite “Robby the Robot” black. But the model would lack the surface texture seen in the printed artwork. After all, the HAL 9000 is an artificial intelligence computer. If the build doesn’t look smart, then all you have is a big ol’ red eye.
Speaker components of the day typically had cloth coverings. In keeping with that motif the fabric texture is printed on quality matte paper. Used simple Elmers glue to hold it in place, but now see a spray on glue would have been better. Up close it really gives a “smart”, yet old style impression.
I tried very hard to layer the eye with the printed artwork. But the layers proved too difficult to cut out in precise dimensions. Considered a single printed eye laid over the layers, but desired not to lose the detail. Resorted to just the printed center. The inner circle is painted a bright red with glow paint on top, but left the rim bright red. The outer layered circle is painted a darker red in one coat to help some of the black bleed through. This seemed the only way to make the eye lens convincing without an LED bulb. The entire eye graphic,if used, was obtained from the high quality wallpaper, and edited to remove the artificial light reflections. The plastic lens cover renders reflection nicely.
While a standard aluminum frame fit the era, I opted for something a little more snappy to keep HAL looking modern. His frame is painted Titanium Silver, with plain silver on the speaker and three reds in the eye to simulate depth. The speaker portion is carefully dry brushed to prevent the holes from filling with paint. Several coats didn’t seem to bring out the depth desired. This is due to over detailed holes in the grill. Fewer would have looked better. The cardboard grill was laid in optionally to improve HAL’s appearance.
The lens ring was made from scratch. It is printed on photo paper 25.1 cm by 2 cm wide and folded in half to keep the black appearance on both sides. This was considered after scouring the net for pictures of HAL 9000 to see his various forms. I came across an image of him with a lens ring. Realizing the existing lens fitted too small, fate seemed to invite the inclusion of a lens ring to fill out the eye. A smart and modern looking addition which doesn’t detract from HAL’s usual handsome appearance.
The CPU and circuitry on the back was cropped and edited to include the logo. The serial number reads “012307TUE”, which is the date and day HAL arrived. It is his “birthday” and when building started. Finished him up the next evening. A small hole was then Dremeled to allow hanging with a small finishing nail.
The included “HAL 9000″ logo is printed on metal and placed an inch below the lip. It appears”corporate” to properly make HAL “…look like a tool of government oppression.” -Lisa from The Simpsons
Fans of the movie will note when Dave starting pulling HaL’s memory units. HAL complained he could feel his mind going. He began singing “Daisy, Daisy. Give me your answer to….” HAL sang slower and slower as memory units were pulled. Perhaps you have seen real USB HAL 9000 USB drives on the web. Don’t think I flipped in spending $200 for 4 drives. Those are all printed on photo paper. The backs are marked “4 TB” to indicate a 4 Terabyte capacity. Simply bumped up the capacity of a typical 4 GB USB drive.
The Targus 1.1 USB port is real. It was given to me after someone bought it and realized it wasn’t what they needed. It sat packaged in a draw for about 2 years. I initially opened it to power some USB Christmas decorations. Once plugged in it was aglow from the blue LEDs. I recalled the HAL 9000 memory units on the web and the rest is history. 16 Terabytes of reserve memory isn’t half bad when you are losing your mind.
Depending on your skill, determination, detail and patience, HAL is a fairly simple and fun model you can finish in one to three evenings.