Monday 19 January 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Dalek Collector Set #2 (Dalek Invasion of Earth)

Dalek Collector Set #2 - Dalek Invasion of Earth

In the late 80s through to the 90s and early 00s, Doctor Who toys were produced by a company by the name of Dapol. They drew criticism for some easily avoidable inaccuracies (a six-sided TARDIS console, two-handed Davros and green K-9 - although the latter two were fixed in later rereleases), but released the widest spectrum of Who figures until Character Options took over with the relaunch of the series. One thing Dapol were particularly good at was milking their Dalek mould - in addition to the usual colour schemes they produced red, green, blue and even glittery versions over the years. Imagination certainly wasn't something they were short of.

This short history seems especially appropriate when talking about the second of Character's new range of Toys R Us exclusive 3.75" Dalek Collector sets, as it's the first the company have produced where they show a similar amount of imagination. Admittedly it has a bit more sense to it than Dapol's - taking inspiration from the iconic 1964 story The Dalek Invasion of Earth, but it's still very excited territory for them.

Box front

Box BackBox Insert

Other than a few specific sentences on the back, the packaging is completely identical to that seen on Dalek Collector Set 1 - right down to the comic art background insert. It's a little bit disappointing since the insert was the one place they could make each set's packaging feel unique, and a space-style backdrop doesn't really suit a set that's inspired by the Dalek Invasion of EARTH. Still, it's hard to be too disappointed with the finished product when it looks so fantastic, even if it's identical across all three sets. Not just because of all the wonderful art, but because the plastic bubble looks good and is (most importantly) really easy to remove/take apart without damaging anything.

As this is the one collector set not completely based on a preexisting Doctor Who story, the small unique bio (not the larger more generic Dalek one) instead makes reference to the inspirations behind it.

Old meets new

Supreme sideSupreme frontSupreme back

Drone sideDrone frontDrone back

While the theme of this set may be The Dalek Invasion of Earth, this set isn't quite as straightforward as being two 3.75" Daleks from the classic story. For a start, that would require two brand new moulds and these sets are all about simple repaints. So while the end product may arguably be a result of cost cutting it's also something much more interesting. Taking inspiration from the story, this collector set has taken two of the modern-era bronze/copper Daleks and repainted them in the livery of the classic 60s Daleks. One is in the black and silver colours of the Dalek Supreme (or the Saucer Commander as he was in that story), while the second is in the silver and blue colours of the standard 60s drone Daleks. It's worth noting that the original Dalek Saucer Commander was actually black with blue hemispheres, but with the episodes airing in black and white the colours do look silver onscreen. With black/silver being the most fondly remembered colours for Dalek Supremes, it also kind of makes sense for this to be the one in the set too. Adds a little more variety rather than two Daleks with blue hemispheres.

Posing the Daleks

Moving eyestalksMoving domes, the usual articulation

The Supreme up closeMore posingDalek Drone up close

Getting modern Daleks in the classic colours is something I've dreamed of for YEARS. The minor aesthetic updates made to the Dalek design in the modern series were really good for bringing that timeless look into the 21st century, but I've never been completely sold on the bronze colours. They look great onscreen, but I don't feel they've ever lived up to the silver and grey of the original Dalek drones. There's been plenty of rumours over the years that the Daleks were going to return to a more classic colour scheme (particularly while Asylum of the Daleks was filming - although that turned out to be the actual DESIGNS returning briefly), but there's never been any truth to them. Now with this set we can see exactly how this version of the Daleks would look with classic colours - and the answer is utterly fantastic.

The greater variety of colours used in these figures shows off all those little details (engravings, markings, rivet details etc.) so much more than the bronze versions do, and the actual choice of colours used shows just how well colourful Daleks CAN be pulled off if done properly (I liked the New Dalek Paradigm myself, but I'm certainly not ignorant to its flaws). The modern Dalek mould is also the best of the two 3.75" Dalek versions available, without a doubt the best figure of the entire line's smaller scale. Seeing it reborn in these colours has just made me fall in love with it all over again.

Dalek colours through the ages

The Supreme and his guardsDalek takes to the transolar disc

If my gushing throughout this entire review hasn't already hinted you toward the fact, I think that Dalek Collector Set #2 is utterly perfect. Well, I wish these figures could have been made in 5" scale but that's a whole separate argument. Character Options have shown a bold bit of imagination in creating this set and have pulled it off flawlessly - giving fans insight into perhaps what could have been (and still could be one day!) as well as two exciting new versions of an already beloved mould. For £15 you can't go wrong getting two such unique looking Daleks, so definitely make this one to pick up while you still have the chance.

1 comment:

Dan Rudd said...

Hey there... been following your blog on and off for a couple of years now, mostly for your reviews of the Dalek toys - big Doctor Who fan.

I'm in a bit of a predicament, as someone who has been collecting only the 5 inch Character Options Daleks... now that they've stopped making those, it's getting harder and harder to find them (especially since I live in New Zealand and these things don't make it to our toy stores). It's starting to look like I'll only be able to keep collecting if I move on to getting the 3.75 inch Daleks, which I have a bit of an issue with, I just can't quite bring myself to make the switch. I really appreciate the quality photos you've posted, as they allow close-up looks so I can see the detailing on the figures, thanks. But do you think it's worth it overall? I guess you must, as you've kept collecting them yourself. I guess I'm asking if, overall, you're happy with the quality of the figures, how the pieces fit together etc?

Thanks, and keep up the great work on the blog :)