Tuesday 5 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Dalek Patrol Ship

Dalek Patrol Ship from Character Options/Underground Toys

It's almost time for a brand new series of Doctor Who, so what better time than now for Character Options to spring a brand new selection of figures on us! However the contents of this pre-season eight wave is a subject for another review, as here we're going to be looking at something a lot more exciting - vehicles! And vehicles that aren't the TARDIS no less! The new 3.75" scale has already opened new doors with play sets and mini vehicles, but here is our first full-sized one. And Character have picked the perfect thing to start with - the Dalek Patrol Ship that first appeared in the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

New series, new look packaging

Pretty basic for so much spaceDay of the Doctor spoilers!

As well as season eight debuting a whole new Doctor, wave three of the not-so-new-anymore scale line is also showcasing some changes of its own. With some season eight previews and some older favourites from both the RTD era and classic series appearing in the wave, if seems only logical to also unveil a new packaging style. And it's certainly...interesting? The vortex backdrop is gone pretty much altogether, replaced with a light blue and orange/yellow colourscheme. As far as aesthetics go, it looks considerably more childish and toy orientated. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since these are actually meant for children after all.

Meanwhile there's not a whole lot going on on the back, which features a single image of the vehicle along with a nice little bio on the events of The Day of the Doctor.

The Time War continues!

Dalek in a Dalek......dalekception?

Removable parts!A closer look at the cockpit

What could be more awesome than a Dalek riding in a larger Dalek-shaped vehicle? Nothing, that's the answer.

The Dalek Patrol Ship has a design loosely based on a standard Dalek chassis, although the panel elements of it also make me think of the Time War Dalek Emperor. The three panels are attached via ball sockets and can easily be removed (the back panel is actually unattached in the package, and needs to be removed to insert a Dalek pilot). The central structure features a control panel identical to the one seen on the hoverbout included with the Dalek Invasion playset, while the two side support beams lead up to a neck section and traditional Dalek dome. This heavily armoured dome is a little different however, lacking the headlights and replacing the eyestalk with a giant cannon ready to exterminate on a moment's notice. Like an eyestalk the cannon can move up and down, while the dome itself is also capable of moving 360 degrees. Despite seemingly using a minimal colour palette, the sculpting on this thing is excellent - it's covered in rivets, pipe detailing and various other bits you'd expect to see from Dalek aesthetics.

Of course, what would a cannon be without a big missile! A common toy gimmick but a rarity among Who toys, the Patrol Ship also features a translucent blue energy missile which can be loaded into the cannon and launched via a black button on the side.

Crush Gallifrey!

Exterminate!Taking flight!

Orders received!Control panel locked!

But despite how fantastic it looks, the Patrol Ship is sadly lacking in a few areas as well. The most serious of these is the overall play features - or more the lack of. I've already mentioned the rotating dome and firing missile, and that pretty much covers everything this thing can do. However if you look closely at the "Dalek sphere" panels jutting out of the overall frame, it's quite obvious that these things can fold down to shield its pilot. However here everything is completely static, which means Character Options missed out on a perfect opportunity to give this some extra features when all they'd have had to do is add some hinges. Sure it might have driven the price up a little bit, but it certainly would have been worth it for that extra play factor. My second complaint is a much more minor one, in that securing the Dalek pilot to the base brings the figure too far forward to properly use the control panel, and by placing the plunger arm properly over the relevant sphere means the Dalek can be at risk of rolling backward. Yes it's small complaint for something that is ultimately a display piece for me, but with the Hoverbout featuring a properly working lock system its a bit of a step backward for them.

My final complaint is one that may only relate to my copy of the vehicle, but it revolves around typical Character Options production problems people should be wary of. Notice how the gun on the dome isn't lined up straight? Yeah - be sure to inspect those before buying if little problems like that annoy you.

A new spin on a forgotten classic

I don't need no stinkin' dishAppear in the show one day?

Finally also included is a unique 3.75" Dalek figure, which is a nice little twist of the classic Saucer Pilot Daleks from The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Not only does this Dalek have a black dome like the Imperial Guard Daleks, but it also features alternating black and bronze panels around the skirt. With the ships' appearance in the show too fleeting to really tell if this design was used for their pilots, its fair to call this a toy-only thing for now. The colourscheme looks fantastic on the new Dalek design though, and really adds that little bit extra uniqueness to the set as a whole.

Hover fleet ready to advance

Daleks conquer and destroyThe army steadily grows

Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic to finally see vehicles properly arriving in the main Doctor Who line (okay we previously had classic Sontaran pods, but those packs were pretty pricey) and think this was a fantastic place to start (who doesn't love Daleks?), but the Dalek Patrol Ship does leave a bit to be desired. Despite the design clearly hinting other functions, Character Options have gone for a bare bones release that relies solely on a spinning dome and firing missile as its gimmick. Don't get me wrong kids are going to have an absolute BLAST with this thing, but from a collectors' standpoint I feel that a little more care/features could have been implemented.

That said, the exclusive Dalek looks superb and even with its flaws its wonderful to bolster out the Dalek ranks with something new. With a US exclusive Stealth variant (that's a rant for another day) and a possible other version hinted at, let's hope Character/Underground Toys get their money's worth out of this and it leads to even more vehicle possibilities.


Logos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Logos said...

In one of your pictures there is a dalek piloting a small hover saucer - I've not seen that anywhere else? Who makes it, and where can one get such?

Alex said...

It's part of the "Dalek Invasion" Timezone playset, which I previously reviewed on the blog here:


Logos said...

Aha, much obliged - thanks!