Thursday 25 March 2021

Custom Figure: 'Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD' Drone Dalek (Pincer Arm)

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It’s the curse of a customiser that no matter how well a project turns out, you’re always noticing the flaws in it and thinking about how you can improve upon it next time. But skill comes with practice, and there’s a pleasure to be taken in looking back and seeing how far you might have come. So while I’m currently on a custom Dalek kick thanks to having more affordable and readily available parts to hand, I looked back on an older project and decided to give it a bit of a redux. Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD is one of my favourite bits of Dalek media, but unlike Dr. Who & The Daleks is unlikely get any official figures via Character Options since there’s no loopholes there for them to exploit. Luckily the colour schemes of the standard Daleks are much easier to reproduce, leading to my new and improved Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD Dalek Drone figure.

Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD Pincer DalekDaleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD Silver Daleks

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Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD was the second of the theatrical Dalek films made in the 1960s, and featured new Dalek props that differed from the previous film. While these Daleks retained the enlarged fenders and dome lights of their predecessors, they added the solar slat/mesh section to the midsection that was introduced on television with The Chase and has been a key part of the Daleks’ design ever since. These Daleks also featured new colour schemes, with the drones sporting the same silver and blue layout of their TV counterparts. As with the previous film the movie Daleks featured both standard manipulator arm and claw appendages, however eagle-eyed viewers will also spot a Dalek with a rather bizarre-looking pincer attachment. The truth is that some of the Dalek props used in 2150AD were actually previously created for the 1965 stage play The Curse of the Daleks, which featured Daleks with some unusual attachments. One had the aforementioned pincer arm, while another had an illuminating lamp arm. Both arms briefly appear in the film (with no reference to their functions), and can also be recognised through their different gun attachments compared to the other props. For more information on this as well as other trivia on the various Dalek props, I highly recommend checking out Dalek6388.

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This custom is a reworking of the Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD Drone I made all the way back in 2016, which was built using a standard Dalek drone from The Chase set with the thicker fender from a TV Dalek Invasion of Earth drone and extended dome lamps fashioned from blue LEDs. Changes I made this time around involved removing the previous lamps, respraying the dome with Tamiya silver and then adding movie-accurate ones made by Custom Dalek Creations. Rather than simply glue these new lamps on I also hand-drilled holes into the dome (or more specifically I drilled out the remnants of the original lamps) so that the new ones could also slot into the correct place. Once that was all sorted I then glued them in for extra security. I didn’t really feel like the light blue hemispheres of the TV model were close enough to the movie version either, so I repainted those by hand using Citadel Enchanted Blue (now known as Caledor Sky). Finally the Dalek got a brand new pincer arm appendage, which was 3D printed and sold by NDW Design.

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I was happy with my previous custom at the time, but my painting skills have come a long way in the last five years and definitely felt like it could be improved upon. Since I’d already planned to purchase the pincer attachment when NDW Design announced it, this was a great opportunity to give it a bit of an overhaul so it exuded a little more “movie magic”. The new arm and movie-accurate lights are fantastic, but what I’m most amazed at is just how much difference those newly painted hemispheres make. They aren’t 100% accurate to the onscreen Daleks, but they’re definitely a lot closer and give the Dalek a much more bold and menacing look. The colour is pretty close to the Product Enterprise 2150AD Dalek drone though, so that’s a nice little (if unintentional) double homage.

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With more movie Dalek customs back on the cards thanks to the “Jungles of Mechanus” set last year, I’ve been tempted to try and complete the 2150AD line up as well provided I can get a hold of some of those larger fenders. Sprucing up my existing custom was a perfect starting point, and I’m extremely pleased with how it’s turned out. Even if I don’t get around to making the gold, black and red Daleks this will look great alongside the first movie toys, as well as the pincer arm making it a fantastic display piece on its own as well.

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