Monday 17 August 2020

Custom Figure: TV21 Comics Dalek Drone

Custom TV21 Dalek Drone 01

Anyone who’s been following this blog will know I’m a HUGE fan of the Dalek comics printed in the pages of TV Century 21 (later simply TV21) during the 1960s and republished as The Dalek Chronicles. I’ve done a few custom figures over the past few years, even managing to source one of the rare Golden Emperor model kit. But with figures of the original 1963 proving quite pricey on the aftermarket, making any more has felt like a pipe dream. That is until Character Options announced the B&M Stores exclusive History of the Daleks sets. With the figures now back on the market, it’s time to fill up the ranks with a couple of Dalek drones. After all, you can’t have a proper Dalek hierarchy if you don’t have the ones at the bottom.

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Colours weren’t always the most consistent thing in the TV21 Dalek comics - in fact sometimes Daleks would change colours between panels, let alone strips! However the earliest strips of the comics (as well as a lot of the other merchandise being released in the 60s) generally depicted standard Daleks as being silver with blue hemisphere, red lights and gold bands around the body. Some artwork (such as the Dalek Book from 1964) also had them with red appendage joints, dome markings and even a strange speaker-like grill in the centre of the body. Some of these flourishes often made their way to the comics, but more often than not it was just the colours themselves. Following the release of Dr. Who & the Daleks the artwork of the comic eventually changed, with the designs and colours of the Daleks taking more inspiration to from the film designs. At this point the Guard Daleks that appeared in The Chase (which themselves were reused movie Daleks) took over as the standard Dalek colour scheme. As my other TV21 Dalek customs are based on those earlier strips, for my pair of comic-inspired drones I wanted to follow those earlier colours.

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These customs were built using a History of the Daleks #1 set, which are currently widely available in B&M stores across the UK. I started by disassembling the Daleks, and then masking the skirt section off so that the central chest section could be painted silver. This was done by first adding two coats of Tamiya light grey primer followed by two coats of Tamiya silver. The gold bands were hand painted using Tamiya gold. Finally there’s the minimal changes to the dome, which were done with Tamiya silver (the eye discs) and Revell red (the lights). Overall while it isn’t a huge deco difference to the original 1963 version, the completely silver base body, gold bands and red lights give them a far more colourful and even regal look. This feels fitting for the TV21 comic Daleks, who always felt more like a truly flourishing society as opposed to the direction they would eventually take in the television series.

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I know that a lot of people generally just accept the Guard Dalek colours as the default scheme for TV21 drones but for me, the comic has always been split by its two very distinct art styles. Other customs I’ve done like Zeg or the Black Dalek come from those earlier strips that weren’t influences by the movies, so using the Guards just didn’t feel right to me. I do have plans to make later TV21 customs based on the colours (as well as using the larger fenders) of those later strips, and at that point it’ll be worth fleshing a display out with some of those. But for me the heart of TV21 has always been those early strips, so I’m extremely happy with how these customs have turned out.

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Adding the TV21 comic Daleks to my collection has been a huge goal for many years and while it’s been coming along slowly, the scarcity and aftermarket price of the 1963 Dalek figure has always made it a slow process. With the arrival of the History of the Daleks set, that’s all changed and it’s been great to finally add some basic drones to the set. It’s a very simple custom, but one that makes a big difference despite how minimal the colour scheme change actually is. With classic Daleks finally coming back to general retail, I intend to take every opportunity I get to produce the customs that have been on my to do list for years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the customised drone Daleks....photographs of all really good....miss the 60s