Archive for the ‘New Series 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…
Here’ what they look like
More details in this post
After their unimpressive debut in “Victory of the Daleks” the New Paradigm Daleks (or at the very least, the new white Supreme Dalek – but I expect we’ll see others) will be back on-screen in the first part of the Doctor Who season finale, “The Pandorica Opens”.
Also appearing are the Cybermen (or at least one damaged Cyberman which appears to be the familiar Cybus design).
Also mentioned are Sontarans, Nestenes, Drahvins and Chelonians (who have only thus far appeared in spin-off media). There are rumours of Sycorrax, Weevils (from Torchwood), Judoon and the Hoix appearing too.
A leaked photo from the episode shows the new white Supreme Dalek and a Judoon together with what looks like a Sycorrax and one of the cast played a Sontaran in “The Poison Sky” (The “Next Time” trailer also shows what appear to be three Sontaran ships amid a space fleet). The damaged Cyberman appeared first on the pre-series traler and now again on the “Next Week” trailer.
All in all it looks to be an action packed episode…
As expected, the Daleks (or at the very least one of ’em) will be back in the season finale (along with a host of other familiar monsters)…
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…