Monday 14 February 2022

Custom Figure: 'Dalek Attack' 8-Bit Deco Dalek

Custom "Dalek Attack" 8-Bit Deco Dalek 01

It's a brand new year and it's time for a whole new batch of classic Dalek toys! If the B&M exclusive History of the Daleks sets don't show any sign of slowing down, then neither will I. But with the boxes largely ticked on both TV21 comics and The Curse of Fatal Death variants, it's time to look at different sources of inspiration. And one area that has remained largely untouched for me is video games. While the world of Doctor Who video games is a largely maligned one, video game-inspired decos are a hit when it comes to action figures – just look at some of the fantastic work NECA does with theirs. So inspired by their work, I turned my attention to doing the same for the Daleks – and more specifically, Dalek Attack!

Dalek Attack 01

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Dalek Attack is a 1992 video game released for the MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST systems. Playing one of the incarnations of the Doctor on offer (with a second player also able to join as Ace or a UNIT soldier), the player must work through a number of levels battling against Ogrons, Robomen and a number of different Dalek variants. The game even included the redesigned Daleks created by original designer Raymond Cusick for the Doctor Who Magazine Tenth Anniversary special! As is the case with nearly every Doctor Who video game it isn't the best, and seems to have been lost to the ages more than most. However Dalek Attack remains a rather unique piece of Doctor Who history, and one I felt deserved some sort of action figure representation.

Custom "Dalek Attack" 8-Bit Deco Dalek 02

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This custom was based on the grey Daleks that appear in the game's title screen, and was created using a History of the Daleks #5 Dalek (with the eyestalk from a History of the Daleks #7 Supreme Dalek). The entire body was spray painted using Wilkos grey primer, and then the various shades hand-painted on top were all Citadel paints. From lightest to darkest there's Grey Seer, Administratum Grey, Dawnstone and Eshin Grey. The one exception to this is the mesh, which was painted white with Tamiya spray and then given a black wash with Tamiya panel line ink. Panel line ink was also applied to the gun, eyestalk and around each of the hemispheres to give them a little more depth. One minor additional touch is that the undersides of the neck rings were all painted black, even though from the top they are the standard grey.

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Setting out to start this piece was pretty daunting as I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to convey the shifting blocks of grey, but once I got started painting I had a lot of fun doing it. Which parts are what shade are half using the game screen for reference and half artist interpretation (again paying close attention to how the NECA figures present their colours), and having to make decisions like that was half the fun. So many of my customs already had the colour palette completely laid out for them, it was a new experience to have to think about it a little bit more.

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This was a pretty left-field idea for a custom even for me but I'm really happy with how it turned out. While perhaps not the best custom Dalek I've ever done, it already holds a special place in my heart for how different it is and I'll already thinking about doing more. A Davros in this style is a must as soon as the figure becomes readily available (fingers crossed for a future B&M set!), but the red/black Daleks that appear in the game are mighty tempting soon. That said, I've already got plenty of ideas for customs this year as long as I can get my hands on the parts so that one might just have to wait. Either way, it's going to be another fun year of custom Daleks!

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