Friday 11 March 2022

Custom Figure: 'Death Zone' Dalek (The Five Doctors)

Custom 'Death Zone' Dalek 01

With new classic Dalek releases mainly coming through the History of the Daleks sets there is plenty of ground to cover, but chances are some of the odder variants that didn't appear in Dalek-specific stories may be forgotten. One such example is the 'Death Zone' Dalek, which briefly appeared in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors. Despite some rather interesting differences that would make this particular Dalek perfect for a figure release, it has gone unlooked at by Character Options thus far. Luckily it's not a particularly difficult one to recreate, and with the advent of 3D printed parts being produced by talented customisers it's now easier than ever to simply make one at home.

'Death Zone' Dalek

The 'Death Zone' Dalek is exactly as its name suggests – scooped out of time and space and placed in the Death Zone to partake in the Time Lords' cruel game. Here it encounters the First Doctor and Susan Foreman, chasing them down mirrored corridors before being destroyed by its own energy weapon. Behind the scenes this Dalek is a particularly interesting (and somewhat sorry) variant – cobbled together by pieces of existing props. Some of its more unique features include red dome lamps on raised sections and a bright orange extension on the gunstick, as well shoulder mesh that's both partially missing and partially painted. Like many of the Dalek props that appeared in the 70s and 80s it sports a lot of damaged areas, including a huge chunk taken out of the back of the dome. Likewise it features the alternate construction used during this time, featuring a dome pivot which sticks out of the top of the dome almost like an antennae.

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First and foremost, this custom was really made possible by Robert Fusco and all the work his does over at Custom Dalek Creations. Among their various eBay listings is a "Death Zone Dalek upgrade kit", which includes the eyestalk, dome lamps, "antennae", manipulator arm and gunstick. All the parts in the kit are of superb quality, and perfect for getting your Death Zone Dalek to look as accurate as possible. It uses a Day of the Daleks Supreme Dalek is the base, primed with Halfords grey primer and then painted with Halfords Rover Tempest Grey. To make the Dalek that little bit more accurate, the shoulder band had some of the mesh area cut off between each of the slats. The slats and base were sprayed with Halfords Black. From there the shoulder band, hemispheres and neck mesh were all hand-painted with Citadel Abaddon black and the shoulder mesh a mixture of Citadel White Scar and Tamiya Silver (with a wash of black ink on top). The extended section of the gunstick was painted with Revell luminous orange. The dome "antennae" was added by drilling a small hole in the dome and then gluing it into place.

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There are a lot of things I really like about the Death Zone Dalek, and not all are just the unique little extras like the bizarre dome lamps or bright orange gun piece. Rover Tempest Grey is supposedly the actual paint colour that was used on this variant (as well as the ones that appeared in Genesis of the Daleks) so is a must-have in regards to accuracy. For those in the UK I highly recommend Halfords paints (and primer) anyway because it applies brilliantly and is a little bit cheaper than most model paint brands. Of course the big difference between my custom and the onscreen variant is that the show version was quite literally falling apart, whilst my custom looks pretty shiny by comparison. I felt that cutting up the mesh was a good way of showing the roughness of this particular variant (as well as making it more screen accurate), so wasn't that bothered about replicating any of the other wear and tear present on the prop itself.

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While my customs tend to veer more toward "non-canon" Dalek variants, it's always fun to do a proper show one once in a while and the Death Zone Dalek is a pretty special one. Even though it may just seem like another grey and black Dalek there are some fun little differences with this particular variant, and it'll go great alongside the recent Five Doctors three-pack Character Options have just released. While an official release of this Dalek might be on the cards one day, given it's the one show variant to be continually omitted there's every chance it won't either. But with a bit of paint and that brilliant upgrade kit from Custom Dalek Creations, who needs an official version anyway?

1 comment:

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