Tuesday 24 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 3.75" Gold Supreme Dalek

What do you do when you've released almost every Dalek variant in a particular scale? Release them all over again in another one of course! After kicking things off with a standard grey Dalek drone from Genesis of the Daleks (which other that the original 1963 version was definitely the right place to start), the 3.75" scale Doctor Who figures now have a whole paint chart of repaints to choose from. And to start things off Character Options have decided to go back in time a few years to 1972, releasing the Gold Supreme Dalek from the classic Third Doctor story Day of the Daleks. This particular variant also went on to appear in Frontier in Space the following year, and more recently graced the cover of the (spectacular) Eighth Doctor Dark Eyes 4 audio boxset from Big Finish.

While the Gold Supreme Dalek is still considered part of the line's third wave, the assortment has gone through a few changes since the release of the Genesis and Asylum Daleks. Why exactly this is a wave 3 "B" and not a wave 4 is a little bit confusing since every figure pictured on the back of the card are all new variants (plus a totally new figure), but who am I to question the logic of how action figure assortments work? Anyway, assuming that the whole "B" aspect is simply from it being mostly made up of repaints, this wave includes new versions of the 10th Doctor, 12th Doctor and Amy Pond as well as adding an 11th Doctor and the Skovox Blitzer (from "The Caretaker") into the mix. What's also worthy of note is that the packaging has finally stopped advertising the underwhelming Time Zone playsets, now plugging the infinitely better Dalek Patrol Ship and Spin & Fly TARDIS instead.

Although this is the second time around for both the Genesis and Gold Supreme Daleks, singular releases is a whole new thing (the 5" versions were part of Dalek Collector Sets #1 and #2 respectively). To me the Gold Supreme Dalek seems like a bit of an odd choice for a second release (excluding the Toys R Us exclusive 2-packs) when the line has yet to receive any sort of classic black Dalek (arguably the go-to colour for Dalek leaders), but perhaps one of the higher ups at Character has a particular affinity for Day of the Daleks. The Gold Supreme is a straight repaint of the Genesis Dalek with no mould changes, swapping the grey/black colourscheme for a much flashier gold and black. The silver plunger arm kinda clashes with the otherwise solid gold body, but it's accurate how the unit appeared in the episode so that's no an issue with the figure itself. 

As usual, the Dalek has all the articulation a Dalek is capable of. The head can rotate a full 360 degrees, the eyestalk move up and down and the arms rotate around the exposed balljoint section. The base features three wheels (two fixed at the back and a spinning one at the front) which allow the figure to pushed along a flat surface in classic Dalek "gliding" style.

Unfortunately as a straight repaint it also means that the Supreme Dalek also shares the same problem as the Genesis Dalek - the eyestalk. It may seem like such a minor issue to some, but why the eyestalk has been sculpted inaccurately when the rest of the details remain faithful baffles me. Especially when the modern Dalek designs are loaded with far more detail and they came out absolutely great. At least this time the back of the packaging displays the figure with the eyestalk it comes with, rather than an accurate version that it looks like we may never get.

The other big issue is that this Dalek has turned out to be a bit of a quality control nightmare. Scratched paint, blotchy/unpainted areas, notable gaps where the parts have been glued together - you'll find them all amongst the pictures I've attached with this review. I understand that these are hardly expensive figures (though I wouldn't call £9.99 for a 3.75" scale figure cheap either) but when pieces like the Asylum Dalek get such lavish paint jobs I don't understand how something simple can't come out as equally immaculate. 

It's fair to say that I'll never tire of buying Daleks, but there's just something about these classic 3.75" Daleks that doesn't excite me like the modern versions do. It has a lot to do with Character Options so far just recycling the same base mould over and over rather than pumping out ones with slightly different designs (Imperial Daleks, Invasion Daleks etc.), but the shoddy paintwork and "oh so slight but incredibly irksome" inaccuracy doesn't do it any favours either. There's also the fact that the gold Supreme Dalek is quite easily the most forgettable Dalek leader. Day of the Daleks isn't a bad story but its strengths don't really lie in the Daleks' appearing, while Frontier in Space is one of the Master's all time greats - the Daleks only really featuring as a neat little cameo to tie into the next adventure. Put simply it's no Emperor or Black Dalek, and probably not amongst numerous Dalek variants fans are clamouring for.

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