Archive for the ‘New Dalek Designs’ Tag
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.
As I’ve grumbled about before, my main problem with the New Paradigm Daleks isn’t how they were designed but how they were eventually built.
The designer of the New Daleks, Peter McKinistry, produced concept sketches that were certainly a departure from the “classic” Dalek design, but nevertheless at least looked like Daleks –
While I don’t actually think McKinstry’s concept design is an improvement on the earlier models, I also really don’t have any real problem with it. I’d have actually quite liked to see these on screen, at least for a few shows, and the sketches are about a thousand times better than the monstrosities that actually got built. But one of the things that puzzled many fans about the new design has been the inclusion of a “back panel” in the new Daleks’ casings. What on Earth Skaro is it there for?
Some of the concept artwork not published by the BBC but reproduced recently in “Doctor Who Magazine” sheds a little light on the subject… McKinstry was allowing for the possibility of the hatch opening up to produce various new additional weapons, arms and equipment. Here’s his concept sketches (note the movie-style claw arm rather than standard sucker) :
It seems however than the BBC couldn’t run to the budget for this – which is a shame not only because is missed an opportunity to show the Daleks doing something new and interesting, but also because it makes the whole rear-hatch idea pointless. With the Daleks as-built the hatch really looks like a total eye-sore – but it seems it is currently an eye-sore without a function.
Peter McKinstry comments :
“…The idea for the back section came from being asked to give the Dalek something new and completely their own, to set them apart.
…So the idea was to give them something that would provide new surprising Dalek weapons or apparatus for the future. there were a few suggestions like this, inverting the bumps was one, or making the bumps transparent and having them lit from inside to show peeks of the Dalek inner workings and blob guts, but they went with the back idea, so I hope they use it in a future script otherwise its a pointless addition….”
So far we haven’t seen any sign of the hatch opening… unless it does it really is going to be pointless…
One week to go until the new Dalek game is available for free download from the BBC…
The original concept sketch from the designer of the new Daleks :
If you look closely at the concept sketch you can see that the original redesign looks both very similar and very different to what got built.
The concept looks more like a Dalek-as-we-know-it with extra casing elements, an all-in-one bumper/skirt extending up the back of the Dalek and linking to the shoulder section. The domed panels seem to be raised, more like armour. The back “vent” looks to encase the machine beneath, not be integral to the body itself – and so on. Overall the geometry is still “Dalek”, most crucially there is no actual hump-back, just extra armour around the midsection.
It’s a shame that what we actually got was this :
I can’t help but feel that if the props had been built exactly as per the design sketch we’d have got some not unreasonable new Daleks. Not everybody would have liked them….
BUT…. at least they would have looked like “real” Daleks….
One of the things that irritates me about the “New Dalek” design is that almost anyone familiar with the Daleks could have done a better job… and I really do mean that…
It is a moot point as to whether a redesign was needed, but accepting that the production staff thought it was a good idea, is the design that we got really the best they could come up with?
Personally, I’m not a professional designer, just a Dalek fan with a PC, but I thought “I could do better than that” – so I tried it.
Here’s what I came up with. First I started by taking a drawing of a “traditional” Dalek….
….then I started playing around in an art package that’s now ten years out of date… This took me about an hour or so, in between emails.
- Mr Pepperpot’s Dalek Design
Now, I’m not saying that my design is any better than the original, I know it has a few flaws, and I won’t be offended if you don’t like it – but all modesty aside I do think it is rather better than this…
It is perfectly possible to play around with the dimensions of a Dalek and still have it look like a Dalek. For example, here’s a variation on my design to make it wider; it still basically “works” because regardless of the precise dimension it retains an overall Dalek shape :
On the other hand, if you simply don’t give a hoot whether or not the overall shape resembles a Dalek you can forget about relative dimensions, deform the geometry and produce something like this :
Which is pretty close to what we’ve currently got…
By all reasonable criteria a totally untrained bloke sitting in front of a PC, drinking a cup of tea and doodling on screen shouldn’t be able to design a Dalek that looks even a tiny fraction as good as anything the BBC can come up with. So it is really rather sad that in my not-so-humble opinion it is quite so easy to produce something better than the “New Daleks”…
The White Dalek
The White Dalek is the new Supreme Dalek. So White is the new Black….
Unfortunately this dodgem-style Dalek doesn’t actually look very Supreme… Even the colour is wrong…
Dalek Supremes have been popping in Doctor Who and the wider off-screen Dalek universe since the early 1960s. There have been many variations on the style of their casings and their colour schemes but all have had a common theme.
With the possible exception of the “Gold Dalek” in “Day of the Daleks”, which was the Dalek leader in the story and had a mainly Gold casing with Black domes (and which as far as I recall was never actually refereed to as a Dalek Supreme / Supreme Dalek / Dalek Prime) – all other version of the Supreme Dalek have had Black as their main colour (with the addition of variously gold, silver, gold and silver, gold and blue, blue, white or red – some of these are from the TV show, others from the film versions and comic strips etc). The only exception to this “tradition” was the Supreme Dalek in “The Stolen Earth”, which had a unique casing design and was dark red with additional gold elements.
So how come we now have a White Dalek as the Supreme?
While I’m not that much of a fan of continuity for the sake of continuity, neither do I much like change for change’s sake. There is a tradition of having (mainly) Black Daleks as Dalek Supremes – why alter this to the opposite extreme of having a White Supreme Dalek?
There are a number of good reasons why designers, writers and artists in the past opted for a Black Dalek as the Supreme Dalek.
Firstly, it was eye catching, and it is natural that the eye (stalk) should be drawn to the top Dalek. White on the other hand is rather a bland colour, especially when set against Red, Orange, Blue and Yellow Daleks. So we now have a Dalek Supreme that doesn’t stand out in the crowd…
Another excellent reason for having a Black Dalek as the Supreme Dalek is the wider cultural connotation of the colour Black in western society. Like it or loathe it (probably on rather extreme grounds of misplaced attempts at political correctness), Black is a colour that has for centuries been associated with “Evil”. Black frequently occurs as a colour linked to authority (Black police uniforms for example) but more often even than this one finds an assumption of a sinister nature with the colour Black – Black Magic, a “black look”, “the Black Sheep of the family” and so on. Let’s face it, recently in Doctor Who’s history, Black looked very good on Dalek Sec. Would he have looked as threatening in White?
Black, perhaps with a secondary colour indicating either “value/worth” such as Gold or Silver, or violence / bloodshed (e.g. Red) is simply the most “natural” choice for a Supreme Dalek. Instead we now have a rather washed-out White Dalek leading the new Dalek Paradigm. Perhaps that says it all…
It’s not that I think White is automatically a bad colour for any Dalek. I just think it would have been better to make the White Dalek into the Dalek Scientist, and have the Supreme Dalek a striking shade of Black, probably with gold or silver trimmings.
We have of course had White Daleks in the show before. Davros made a bunch of them on Necros (Revelation of the Daleks) and then they became his “Imperial Dalek” faction (Remembrance of the Daleks). I was never a great fan on the White-and-Gold Dalek colour scheme in these stories, but it did at least provide a striking contrast to the Grey “original” / “renegade” Daleks which appeared in both stories, making the difference in the opposing Daleks obvious (even if a viewer only had a black and white TV) and giving the general appearance of opposing sides on a galactic chessboard.
However, with the new rainbow coloured Dalek paradigm, the White Dalek simply looks the least eye catching and the least “evil” of the bunch.
White tends to be associated with “Good” rather than “Evil” – all very well if you have one lot of light coloured Daleks battling another lot of dark coloured Daleks and want to play on the idea that you shouldn’t judge by appearances and each is just as bad as the other, but the new Supreme Dalek really looks a bit nondescript when compared to the brighter and more eye catching other colours /ranks.
As ever though, the choice of colour pales in comparison to the distorted shape of the new Dalek design….
This sort of Quasimodo quasi-Dalek isn’t really going to look good in any colour…
There is a lot that could have been done to make the new Dalek Supreme more impressive however – even just with a lick of paint here and there. The Yellow Dalek has Black domes rather than the silver/gun metal of the other “New Daleks”. The Supreme would have looked more striking with a Black and White contrast colour-scheme… perhaps with a bit of minor additional styling to suggest something of the Dalek Emperor from “Evil of the Daleks”. Honestly, all it would have taken was some more thought and a pot of black paint…
Instead the leader of the New Dalek Paradigm is the least interesting looking Dalek in the pack. Shame to see an opportunity missed.
Here is a graphic of the current Supreme Dalek :
And here’s what you get if you simply turn it into a negative image (well, with the sucker made black again etc)
I honestly think something like this would have been a lot better than what we’ve got…
But there still isn’t much that can be done with the overall (lack of) Dalek style…
White is the new Black? Sadly, I just don’t think so…
White Daleks – The New Supremes?
No – The Supremes should be Black – Just ask Diana Ross…
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