Friday 25 January 2013

Toybox REVIEW: Character Building Doctor Who Dalek Spaceship Set


Ever since Doctor Who came back to screens in 2005 and Character Options took the reigns with the toyline, there's one thing I've wanted to be made, and that is a Dalek Spaceship. Since they first appeared in the end of Bad Wolf, its one of the few things that has remained consistent about them (even when the short lived New Dalek Paradigm was around). Despite being the perfect update to the ship that originally appeared in 1964's The Dalek Invasion of Earth, it was constantly snubbed when it came to toys. A playset was never made (fair enough, not many were), and the micro universe ship range rejected it even though they seemed to have space to release Slitheen ships. But just when it looked like it would never happen, Character Building have come and saved the day with this 420 piece construction set!

The box is reasonably big (but not particularly thick), featuring a close up of the ship (top-off), a Dalek minifigure and then a fleet of ships in the background (the box is careful to note that only one is included). The back features a closer look at some of the different features the ship has and a little blurb on both the Daleks and the ship's capabilities. While the packaging states that the set includes two bronze RTD-era Dalek drones, the contents of my box came as quite the surprise. Inside was one Dalek drone, but the second figure was a NDP Dalek Scientist! I'm not sure if this was just a lucky fluke or a general error (I can't seem to find any verification), but this couldn't have been better for me since it was the only NDP I was lacking.

Following the instruction booklet is fairly straightforward, although you might get a little confused between using grey and black pieces sometimes if you don't pay attention. The only thing it doesn't mention is where exactly the computer stickers (two featuring orange pattern and then another two blue ones) go on the finished model. Thankfully its pretty easy to work out thanks to the pictures on the box, but confusingly leaves two spare blue stickers. The finished spaceship is truly a sight to behold - adorned in bronze plastic and a translucent dome at the very top. The bottom features multiple rocket boosters, and four landing stands to keep the ship upright when displayed.

Open up the top (which can be a little tricky to take off sometimes - in which case just remove the translucent dome and pull it off from the centre) and you have a look at the inner workings of the Dalek spaceship. There's a lot of decoration in the form of sloping computer screens and bendable plastic wires, but also some functional parts including an articulated scanner...thing. There isn't a whole lot of room to move  it around unless you take out the middle (more on that momentarily) out, but it adds that little extra level of playability to the whole thing.

The central dish section (featuring four pikes rising from it) can be ejected from the bottom of the ship, giving a pair of Daleks a mini-ship that can be used for landings. It doesn't do a whole lot and unlike the main ship can't be stood properly upright, but again its a great extra feature to an already great looking kit.

But despite all its good looks, the ship isn't perfect. Character Building still has a way to go before its of LEGO standard, and this is clear but just how easily things will drop off. The gold boosters on the bottom have a habit of popping off, and the mini-ship section will drop out even if the tiniest amount of pressure is put on it. Of course all these things are easily fixable, but its a little bit frustrating to see parts drop off when you're only moving it from place to another. There's also a few design choices that are somewhat questionable - several sections made use of numerous small beams placed side by side...why not just use a larger piece?

In reality there isn't a whole lot of room on the inside either. Flowing wires look all well and good, but there's little space to actually firmly peg the Daleks down. The top also won't fit down properly when there are Daleks in any other place than the mini-ship (which is lower than the main floor). The latter is a minor complaint really, but I'd have liked to be able to have at least a whole Paradigm roaming around on the ship.

It has its flaws, but the Character Building Dalek Spaceship is fantastic. As the only Character Building set I was eager to buy I am not disappointed. The bronze shell looks great, it was extremely fun to put together and most importantly, probably the only way you're going to own a Dalek Spaceship. I can't comment on the quality of other Character Building kits, but this is a must have for Doctor Who and Dalek fans alike.

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