Archive for the ‘Dalek Colour Schemes’ 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…
There are some nice photos of painted Daleks from issue 170 of DWA on this blog here or click the image below to go to the main site of the
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
The Orange Dalek
The new Orange Dalek is described as a “Scientist” Dalek.
OK, the Daleks need scientists – but why are they orange? Beats me.
While I was initially rather sceptical about an Orange Dalek (whatever its rank or function might be) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the colour scheme didn’t seem too bad. I’m still frankly surprised that orange was chosen as a colour – for several reasons.
At the risk of grafting human expectations onto an alien species, personally I would have made the Science-Dalek the White Dalek – basically because of the image of a scientist as a bloke in a white lab coat.
A White Dalek Scientist would seem to make more visual sense to me (after all, they’ve gone for the equally clichéd red for warrior/drone/soldier Dalek).
While I did find that the Orange Dalek looked better than I’d anticipated, it also (unsurprisingly) looks rather like the Yellow Dalek. So why not make it a more noticeably different colour?
While I don’t really have a problem with the Orange Dalek, given that we’ve got a Red Dalek and a Yellow Dalek in the same show, why not chose something a bit more different – a Silver Dalek for example.
While I’d quite like to see a Purple Dalek on-screen (preferably a decent metallic purple) I suppose this was best avoided in this particular show, or the New Daleks would have looked even more like Teletubbies….
Some of the deliberately odd camera angles used in the story did make the Daleks seem fairly dramatic and on the whole this worked well with rapidly moving images. The trouble is that the Daleks don’t look so good when you look at them closely. From the front they at least look like Daleks, but the new shoulders look like something any child could have build out of Lego….
The rear sections of the new Daleks don’t make them look sleek, stylish or high-tech. They just look like the props department ran out of domes…
But the side view is by far the worst…
Jokes on the “does my bum look big in this?” motif are unavoidable…
It isn’t just that the new Daleks don’t look like the iconic originals – from the side they simply look silly.
Any attempt at redesigning the Daleks is only ever going to work if it adds to their essential nature, not detracts from it.
The Daleks are meant to be mutated blobs in virtually unstoppable killing machines. While I doubt that anyone can really improve much on the original design, tinkerings are fine, especially if it somehow adds to their sense of menace.
The problem is the new design simply isn’t at all scary looking. It comes across as a “cuddly” toddler-toy, a “My First Dalek” for the latest generation of fans.
Intelligent use of camera angles and lighting effects reduce the “cuteness” of the new design – but an effective Dalek should look imposing from any angle without this…
Looking at the new Daleks, it is really difficult to tell if they are actual TV Daleks or the latest batch of radio-controlled toys. They really do look like models not “the real thing”.
The new design works best when it is not viewed as a whole – seen only from the front, or from the front half, it still appears to be a Dalek – especially when lighting favours a few shadows here and there.
But when inspected closely there are simply too many elements to the design that look poorly constructed, half finished or done as a cut-price rush job.
The new “organic” eye (which was not really noticeable on screen) does look interesting in close up…
However, while it is certainly interesting, I remain unsure about it….
It does remind us that the Daleks are not simply robots but have a living organism inside. On the other hand, it makes the “New Daleks” seem rather primitive (which may perhaps not be a bad thing after the almost un-killable Time-War versions, which were perhaps at times simply too tough to be really interesting). I can certainly see lots of cries of “My vision is impaired – I cannot see” and “Aim for the eye-stalk” In the future.
Which is probably a bit of a shame really… Such weaknesses were great in earlier stories – they made the Daleks defeatable, which was good from the narrative of a story. But it would be more interesting to see the Doctor, his companions and allies find some new ways of fighting the Daleks rather than just falling back on the old standard ploys. I thought the “My vision is NOT impaired” line in “The Stolen Earth” was one of the highlights of the story… shame to back-track when a far more interesting option would be to work out a new way of exploiting a Dalek weakness.
The Dalek Scientist
The Future’s Bright – The Future’s Dalek
But the first job for the Scientist is to develop contact lenses….
The Blue Dalek
The New Blue Dalek is described as a “Strategist Dalek”.
It seems that Dalek strategy currently consists of lulling alien races into a false sense of security by making the Daleks seem a lot less frightening.
The Daleks managed to get over their old tactical disadvantage of not being able to climb stairs long ago (in Remembrance of the Daleks). Now the Dalek Strategist must overcome a new problem – not being able to fit through a door…
Aside from the actual design of the “New Daleks” (AKA “Smarty Daleks”, “Teletubby Daleks” “iDaleks” and “Power Ranger Daleks”, I personally don’t mind the colour scheme much and think that the Blue Dalek “Strategist” is a nice addition to the ranks.
I don’t see any good reason for making the Strategist blue, but neither do I have a problem with it.
My main problem with the new Blue Dalek is that a better effect could have been achieved simply by taking one of the existing Daleks and buying a can of spray paint, to produce something like this :
Actually, as I’ve just played with this in an art package for about 5 mins, I’m sure the effect could have been a lot better and, for example, the domes and slats could have been done in either gold or silver etc, giving the Blue Dalek a nice overall feel that would have been both “new” and “retro” recalling the Movie Daleks from the 60s.
This would have served to set the “New” Daleks apart from the “Time War” Daleks, would have pleased the toy-buying public (and of course the merchandising department…) but would have meant that the toy manufacturers would have only had to reuse existing moulds rather than re-model. The same of course goes for the BBC – the resprayed WWII Daleks looked great – the same could have been done for all the Daleks but at a cost of only a few cans of paint…
Instead of simply having some nice new coloured Daleks, we have instead got a design failure…
From the front they don’t look too bad, and in dull light the colour works quite well (I think I might have gone for metallic blue myself, but then that might have been harder to render in the up-coming games or cost more for toys, and marketing does seem to count more than actual design at present).
Unfortunately, as soon as the Dalek turns to the side – it simply no longer looks like a proper Dalek…
The Dalek “Hunchback” or “Hatchback” look really has to go as soon as possible…. And I suspect it probably will.
Give these monstrosities another couple of stories on the TV and I’m sure they will be consigned to the scrapheap where they belong. Which of course will again be good news for the marketing department and toy manufacturers etc, who will be busy trying to flog us yet another Dalek design – which is fair enough, as long as it looks like a Dalek next time….
The Dalek Strategist prepares a cunning new plan…
Shame it is only a marketing strategy