FILMING OF THE NOVEL ‘ENIGMA’ BY ROBERT HARRIS
The Rebuild Project assisted in producing ‘props’ Bombes for this movie.
The film was premiered during the last week in September 2001 and went on general release in the UK on Friday 28 September 2001. Copies on VCR tape or DVD where available from August 2002. These together with the music soundtrack CD are available online. Mick Jagger was involved in the funding and production of the film and Kate Winslet of ‘Titanic’ fame is one of the stars.
The producers went to great lengths to ensure that a very accurate and authentic background existed for the filming and in the case of the Bombes, they commissioned six ‘props’ Bombes to be made as accurately as possible. In order to achieve the maximum accuracy in the time available our project supplied many engineering drawings produced from our CAD set. In some case, these drawings were converted and applied directly to CNC machines. In fact, many of the external parts produced are exactly to drawing and were used on our rebuild proper. The photographs on this page give some idea of the quality achieved.
The Bombe mock-ups were made by Asylum Models & Effects London SW18. The Rebuild team provided many specifications and drawings and therefore we felt that we ‘did our bit’. However, Asylum were the real professionals in turning this information into six excellent Mock-ups. They worked very efficiently and quickly absorbed the information as we supplied it.
They had a large dedicated team who produced a great number of parts in a very short time. It was very easy to work with them except perhaps that they wanted us to work as fast as they did, which was “now, not later”.
The Bombe Rebuild team were called in rather late in the proceedings and this put us under great pressure to provide existing drawings and to produce new ones.
When we were first asked to assist we found that only limited information had been provided and some of this was misleading as it related to other machines.
One thing that added to the pressure was that we had been carrying out our research and had been producing new drawings from the “inside” out. Asylum wanted the outside drawings first so that they could make the main boxes.
Our plan had been to leave the covers until last, as was the case on the original machines. Readers might be interested to know that there never were any fully detailed drawings produced for the covers on our target model. These were made to fit the completed machines just prior to dispatch. During WWII, three days was all that was allowed for the covers to be made, crackle painted, baked and refitted.
Our task was to produce drawings that had never been produced before by taking a full machine assembly drawing, which also had never been produced before we started the Rebuild, and to add covers to this. We did have photographs to help us and limited outline dimensions from an American document. However, the main source of information came from Mr Arthur Deamer who then lived in the Letchworth area. Arthur was one of the teams who actually made the Bombe covers during WWII and fortunately has a very good memory. For example, during one session, Arthur told us that we had drawn a cover that was too long. Asked why he said it was simple. BTM did not have a sheet metal bending machine that could take this length of panels. We studied the photographs again and found that this panel had been made in two sections. The final drawings fully defined where fixing screws were required. Asylum fitted dummy screws in these locations for visual effect although they were not required to hold the units together.
John MacDonald, one of our drawing team, produced the majority of new drawings in a very short timescale. All together around 25 new drawings and ‘to scale’ sketches were produced and provided to Asylum.