Monday, 8 February 2021

Custom Figure: TV21 Comics Red Dalek Leader

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With the classic Dalek figure back on the market again thanks to the History of the Daleks sets being released at B&M Stores, it's been great to get back into producing custom Dalek figures on a regular basis. As you might be aware by now the 1960s Dalek comics published in TV Century 21 are one of my all-time favourite pieces of Doctor Who media, so building up a collection of figures to properly represent them has been a dream of mine for some time. The comics finally getting republished in 2020 also rekindled my love for them all over again. After creating a comfortable little display of a black Dalek, red Dalek and two Dalek drones in the colour schemes of the early strips, my next plan was to do the same for when the designs and colours of the Daleks began to mirror that of their movie counterparts. For example the standard silver and blue Dalek drones became the blue-domed versions seen in Dr. Who & the Daleks.  This time around getting the drones done didn't require any paintwork, but they did need leaders - and this is where the Red Dalek Leader of Skaro Control Sky Seven comes in.

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The Red Dalek Leader of Skaro Control Sky Seven appeared in the story Eve of War, which consisted of strips 47-51 of the comic. This story is notable for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most notable of all is for the arrival of the Mechanoids. After causing a Dalek to turn rogue using a "suspicion ray", the Mechanoids cloaked spaceship is uncovered by this red Dalek from its saucer. However after issuing a warning to the Daleks to stay out of Mechanoid skies and announcing their intent to invade Skaro, the Mechanoids destroy the Daleks' saucer - killing both the red Dalek and its crew instantly. 

At the beginning of this story the red Dalek is in fact coloured red and gold, matching the colour scheme of the not-so-invincible Zeg. However the comics 50th strip saw Ron Turner take over from Richard Jennings as artist, bringing about a number of stylistic changes and continuity issues. The Daleks take the more stylistic look that perhaps the comic is more well-known for, and the red Dalek changes to the red and black colouring I've based this custom on. While this colour scheme is far less prominent in the story, I prefer it as it creates a distinction between both Zeg and this particular red Dalek.

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This Dalek was made using a Guard Dalek from the History of the Daleks #3 set as the base. It was disassembled and primed using Tamiya light grey primer, and then the red was done with Tamiya TS-85 Bright Mica Red. The black was all hand-painted using Mr Hobby black acrylic. Once reassembled, there were a few finishing touches left to do. The appendages were all sprayed using Tamiya TS-30 Silver so that they didn't have that metallic blue tint the Guard Daleks have, and the red parts of the eyestalk handprinted using a Revell acrylic red. The dome lamps were done using Citadel Lothern Blue. The only parts of the figure left completely untouched were the base and neck rings/mesh.

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Since the Dalek in this colour scheme only appeared in one strip (and only a handful of panels within that), there were a few creative choices/artistic liberties I made bringing it to life. Looking at the panels (as well as Ron Turner's art style on the comic in general) arguably a movie/Jungles of Mechanus Dalek would have made a more suitable base, however I opted to use a Guard Dalek so this would fit in with the rest of my TV-21 comic inspired customs. The midsection can also be called into question, since the comic doesn't make it especially clear that it's supposed to be black. Turner's Daleks have a squashed midsection that removes the shoulders almost entirely, and then the raised bands are so close together that there's only a thin strip visible to determine the colour. On first glance it definitely looks black, but the lighting on the strip is generally all over the place. Arguably black works better than just a shade of red, but your mileage may vary. Since the Dalek was killed at the end of the strip and the colour scheme was never seen again, that's all there was to go on. Overall I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out though!

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Red Daleks have constantly proved to be particularly popular amongst fans, and with results like this it isn't hard to see why. The Red Dalek Leader of Skaro Control Sky Seven may have been short-lived both in this colour scheme and the comics as a whole, but the livery is particularly striking and it makes a great addition to my growing collection of TV21 Daleks. With Zeg off trying to cause a mutiny amongst my early-issue silver Daleks, this red Dalek makes the perfect lieutenant to command my Guard-coloured drones that succeeded them.

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