Friday 21 August 2020

Custom Figure: 2015 Skaro Dalek (1963 Variant)

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While the classic Dalek design has managed to make it back for a few new Doctor Who episodes, it's fair to say that the 2005 update truly rules the roost in terms of default design these days. However there was one particular variant of the classic casing that proved quite favourable with fans, so much so that it's surprising that Character Options have done an official figure themselves as part of their ongoing toy line. I'm talking of course about the 2015 Skaro Dalek, which appeared in the series nine premiere two-part story The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar. Taking the Doctor, Clara and Missy back to the Daleks' home planet of Skaro, the twelfth Doctor crosses paths with a dying Davros in a city filled with Dalek variants from across the years. 

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A more detailed history of this Dalek variant can be found over at Hero Collector’s excellent Weekly Dalek articles, but the gist of it is that these Daleks were originally part of a Dalek Timeline display at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay (RIP) and then later used as part of the more diverse Dalek society seen in The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar. While the design itself may have been based off of the original 1963 casing, the colours were tweaked to include a blue mid-section and a glowing eye to match those of its 2005 counterparts. The Dalek appeared in numerous promotional shots for the episode and was fairly prominent in the episode itself, including a rather notorious CGI scene where the dome lights are in completely the wrong place.

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This is a fairly minimal effort custom, using a History of the Daleks #1 1963 Dalek as the base. While perhaps not completely necessary in this case, I do recommend disassembling the Dalek first just to make painting it easier. The mid-section was painted using Citadel Lothern Blue (which is an extremely close approximation to the shade of blue Character used for the hemispheres, so I highly recommend picking some up if you plan to do this custom yourself), and then the eyestalk iris was painted using a Mr. Hobby metallic blue. While the actual prop's eye is more of a darker blue, I didn't want it to get lost amongst all the black so opted for a metallic shade instead. Finally after ensuring that the body was properly painted, I added a layer of Revell matte varnish just for extra protection. 

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As previously stated this is a really simple custom to do, and definitely one I recommend as a starting point for anyone looking to get into painting their Dalek figures. It gives you good experience in disassembling a Dalek figure and seeing how they're put to together, and then basic practice in hand-painting a figure whilst also paying attention to stay within the lines of that chest section. The joy of using Citadel paints is that they're also really easy to rub off if you make a mistake as well. Spray painting is another option, as that would give you experience in masking off sections and the finished product wouldn't have the brush strokes of a hand-painted one. That said, I personally couldn't find a spray as good as Lothern blue (though there is an air-brush variant available) and don't feel the brush strokes are too noticeable on my finished figure. 

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Overall I'm really satisfied with this custom and pleased to finally add it to my collection. It was a great update to the original Dalek design/colour scheme, and it's crazy that Character Options haven't done an official one themselves. With the History of the Daleks sets nowhere near The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar and the first set still readily available at B&M, now is definitely the time to make your own if you want to add it to your own Dalek army.

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