Archive for the ‘Red Daleks’ Tag
I thought it might be interesting to have a look at how the Supreme Dalek might have looked in this story…
Peter McKinstry, the current designer who has been working on Doctor Who for several years now, initially produced several sketches of how the Supreme Dalek might look. We ended up with the now familiar Red Supreme Dalek (which will probably never appear on-screen again) :
However, some of McKinstry’s initial sketches looked very different. These are the alternative Supreme Daleks - those that so nearly might have been…
# 1 The Bunny Supreme or perhaps The Horned Dalek?
#2 The “Go-Faster” Supreme…?
#3 The “Umbrella” or perhaps “Chinese Hat” Supreme…?
#4 The “Pin Head” Supreme?
#5 The Goldfish Bowl Supreme?
(Possibly a slight influence from the TV21 Emperor here?)
#6 Darth Dalek? Dalek Vader? Samurai Dalek?
Despite my inability to resist giving the above designs silly names, I do rather like some of them, perhaps not as the Supreme Dalek itself but at least as worthy enough Dalek variants working on some mysterious project or other – and indeed Mechmaster has included some Daleks inspired by some of McKinstry’s didn’t-quite-make-it designs in his excellent “Dalek Second Empire” comic-strip (see the links menu).
Here is Peter McKinstry’s original concept sketch which can be seen (along with tons of his other fascinating designs) on his really quite visually stunning website here
But the story doesn’t quite end here…
Another design by Peter McKinstry was given a fuller treatment as concept art, and in this one we can see elements that found their way into the final version of the Red Supreme Dalek, some foreshadowings of the “New Paradigm” Dalek design, as well as perhaps some inspiration from the “Special Weapons Dalek” – and some features that have never (yet) appeared on-screen…
The two side-views above show this Red Supreme Dalek with a gun and with a sucker arm. The front view below shows that this design featured only one appendage at a time…
McKintry’s idea would appear to have been to have had retractable arms/weapons that could appear and disappear inside the casing as required :
Here is his original concept artwork – again from his own site here
Personally I think the above design, if for example the domes had been done in gold and so on, looks as good as the finished version which did make it to TV.
The final version of the design drawn by Peter McKinstry was produced very faithfully for the screen :
I do still think that as good as the blood-red colouring looks, the design would have been even better in the more traditional “Supreme Dalek” colours of Black and Gold – but it certainly made a strong contrast to the standard gold Daleks it commanded.
Perhaps the biggest shame is that the design got very limited screen time and even then the Supreme Dalek didn’t really do much. With the destruction of this Supreme Dalek (and the rest of the Dalek fleet) in the “Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” story, followed by the seeming end of the “Time War” design of Daleks and the coming of the infinitely inferior New Paradigm Daleks with their White Supreme Dalek, this design will probably never be seen on-screen again. Shame really.
Here’s Peter McKinstry’s original artwork (again from his website)
I have mentioned a couple of times that I’d have rather seen the Supreme Dalek in Black and Gold rather than Red and Gold. To end with, here’s a very rough idea of how that might have looked, using Peter McKinstry’s design with a different colourscheme…
If you want to get hold of what are probably the first toys of the new-style Daleks – which also just happen to be on the right scale for use with war-games/role-playing games figures - the check out the “free gift” in this week’s “Doctor Who Adventures Magazine”* – issue number 170 price £2.20 – 5 mini new-style plastic Daleks.
Doctor Who Adventures Magazine #170 with 5 free Dalek models
DWA#170 went on-sale (officially) on Thursday 10th June 2010. The “magazine” is published weekly, so it will only be on-sale in regular shops for a few more days – if you are interested get it while you can – probably as fast as possible as some people are snapping up multiple copies.
Here is a link to the DWA official site but they do not sell copies online
For those who can’t pop along to a newsagent to browse for a copy, there are on-line suppliers for the magazine. I suspect many comic shops will happily post it to you but just as an example “Galaxy4″ sell it on-line at the cover price plus P+P (possibly worth looking at getting the best postage deal you can, especially if you want to build up a small Dalek army).
This is a link to the Galaxy4.com page for the “current” issue of DWA (at the time of posting they have it as #169, I expect it will be updated shortly but if you intend to order do make sure it is the correct issue).
The official DWA website has a bright and colourful image showing you what the new Daleks look like (sort of…) but the mini plastic Daleks don’t come looking like this. They are all orange plastic (probably meant to be red as they are described on the cover as “Dalek Soliders”).
To see what the figures really look like have a glance at this post from An Evil Giraffe.
* Despite the use of the term “Magazine” most people wouldn’t really consider this to be a “magazine” – it’s a comic aimed at children, but I suppose it does do magazine-ish style content at a level suitable for younger children e.g. my 6 year old loves it, my 9 & 11 year old find it boring.
With “Victory of the Daleks” bringing us a range of different coloured Daleks, I thought it might be nice to look at the origins of the Red Dalek. The first time a Red Dalek actually appeared on TV (apart from in an old Weetabix advert)
The Weetabix Dalek
was in “The Stolen Earth” (in which the Dalek Supreme, with a unique casing, was coloured red).
The Supreme Dalek - traditionally mainly Black, appeared in Red in "The Stolen Earth"
Before that, both of the 1960s movie adaptations of Doctor Who had featured Red Daleks.
But “historically” speaking (in terms of the original Dalek chronology as presented in the 1960s comic strips, authorised by Terry Nation) the first Red Dalek was….
Zeg was a Dalek inventor who conducted experiments to strengthen Dalekanium, the alloy which composed the Dalek casings. He underwent an accidental transformation which made him almost invulnerable.
When Zeg’s laboratory was struck by an Oquolloquox (a periodically occurring devastating storm on Skaro), the experiment he was conducting with artificial sunlight exploded and exposed him to radiation that bonded with his casing, creating a much stronger metal he called Metalert (an improved form of Dalekanium), which also turned his casing red in colour – Zeg thus became the first in a long line of Red Daleks.
Although he was made stronger and more durable, his brain cells were affected so that he felt “joyful” and “dynamic”.
Zeg challenged the Dalek Emperor for supremacy….
But he could not be destroyed, even by the firepower of the Black Dalek, the Emperor’s second-in-command.
The Brain Machine (a computer which the Daleks looked to for advice) decided Zeg and the Emperor would duel to lead the Daleks. Although Zeg survived attacks from acid and mercury, the Emperor eventually destroyed him by freezing Zeg with liquid oxygen. Although he was resistant to heat, the extreme cold of the oxygen froze and crushed Zeg before exploding on contact with heat. (TV21: Duel of the Daleks).
One or more Red Daleks continued to appear in the comic strip adaptation (written by David Whitacker), the Red Dalek being a senior Dalek but ranking below the Black Dalek.
45 years on from Zeg’s appearance, we have Red Daleks in the TV show, but sadly they now seem to have broken with the wider continuity to becomes “drones” (basic Daleks), and frankly the latest version somewhat lacks the visual appeal of the original.
Note : The story of Zeg was first told in the weekly comic strip “Duel of the Daleks” which ran from 3rd April – 15th May 1965 (7 parts = 7 pages). This was part of the ongoing comic strip “The Daleks” (also known as “The Dalek Chronicles”). The “Duel of the Daleks” was later
- reprinted in black-and-white in Doctor Who Weekly issues 35-36
- reprinted in colour in Doctor Who Magazine issues 189-193
- reprinted in colour in the Doctor Who Special “The Dalek Chronicles”
The Red Dalek
The new Red Dalek is the “Drone” (standard Dalek, general soldier and dogsbody)
A Red “drone”? Hmmmmm.
It may come as a surprise to some that this is the first time a “standard” Red Dalek has actually appeared in the TV show. The only other Red Dalek to appear on TV was the Dalek Supreme (with a different style casing) in “The Stolen Earth” (well, OK, on TV but not in Doctor Who itself there was a Red Dalek in a Wetabix advert – which you can see here)
But Red Daleks have a long history. Leaving aside the numerous Dalek toys that have been made over the years sporting an eye-catching red, Red Daleks appeared in both of the 1960s movies and in the TV21 comic strip, as well as in Big Finish’s audio plays.
Every time a Red Dalek did appear in the wider Dalek universe (of film, audio and print) it was always depicted as some kind of commander, usually second-in-command to the Black Dalek / Dalek Supreme and/or as (for example) a commander of a Dalek saucer or invasion force.
This “”command role” for the Red Dalek was echoed in the new-series Dalek Supreme of “The Stolen Earth” (personally I think the “Stolen Earth” Supreme Dalek should have been done in the “traditional” Black, Gold or a combination of these, with or without the optional silver and or blue bits that have also appeared on previous Supreme Daleks, but I can sort of forgive this in order to set the “Stolen Earth” Supreme apart from the “standard” gold/bronze Time-War Daleks and the Black Dalek Sec).
Now it seems that the Red Daleks have been demoted to general “drone” duty. It probably won’t bother most people, but personally I find this rather irksome, as it would have been just as easy to make the Red Dalek the “Strategist” – thus giving it a 2nd-in-command type function, and to make the Blue (or Orange, or some other colour such as Silver or Grey) into the “drone” / soldier Dalek. This would at least have been a nod at wider continuity. My cynical side makes me think that “red is the new grey” Dalek solely for marketing reasons as I bet it will out-sell other colours in toy shops. But enough of my gripes on this subject…
As ever, it isn’t really the colour that is the problem (though either a darker red or a metallic shade would probably have looked better) – it’s the hideous hunch-backed deformed “New Dalek” shape.
If no-one had ever built a Dalek before, this sort of thing would probably be OK. But the problem is, it just doesn’t look as good as what we’ve been used to seeing recently. In fact it doesn’t look as good as the BBC managed on a shoe-string budget in 1963…
Maybe the next Dalek story will give some sort of insight into what the new design is supposed to do – but I don’t think anyone actually worked this sort of thing out in advance before mucking about with the shape, look and feel of the Daleks. Naturally the new design is going to appeal to some people -probably mainly those who never saw Doctor Who prior to the 2005 relaunch – but honestly, does anybody at all think that the new Dalek backside looks better now than before?
The only time the “New Daleks” look half-way good is when they are shown either front-on, from an exaggerated camera angle, on in some way with part of their casing obscured. Parts of the design work – but see the whole thing in one and it is dire…
It has been suggested that much of the new design comes down to wanting to make them seem more threatening by being larger than before and/or to give the operator more room inside.
On the surface that sounds reasonable enough – until you think about it…
The Daleks have been around on TV since 1963 – forty-seven years so far. They have managed to strike terror into generations of delighted children (and a few adults), not because they are gigantic but due to their alien visual presence, their grating voices and their desire to exterminate everyone in sight. Making them bigger doesn’t actually make them more threatening; a six foot tall man with a gun isn’t really any more dangerous than a five foot tall man with a gun – and the same goes for Daleks. I don’t really have a problem with the Daleks being bigger, it just seems un-necessary and a poor route to travel down. A standard sized Dalek with a chainsaw attachment, the ability to spray acid from its sucker arm, domes that could detach and act as swarm of independent robot weapons, or an electronic device to reanimate the dead as a roboman living-corpse (and so on) – those sort of things would potentially make a Dalek more menacing, but just making them bigger just makes them bigger. And then what? Next time the Daleks appear, do we have to have them ten feet tall to provide even more menace? Their are better dramatic devices than this.
As for the comfort of the operator… Well, Dalek operators have managed for nearly 50 years and I can’t believe the world has suddenly run out of people of small stature. The reasoning for this simply isn’t good enough.
No doubt the New Daleks will be in your toy shops in time for Christmas. I wish I could feel more enthusiastic about that… Even my 6-year old daughter isn’t impressed. She loves the new colours and was really exited to see the new Daleks (and I mean really exited) – but her thoughts on them?
“It’s a shame they don’t look like real Daleks”
The Red Dalek design
Let’s hope it doesn’t drone on for too long