Friday 25 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #6 Set

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Release Date: December 2021 
RRP: £19.99 

Character Options have been slowly moving along with their History of the Daleks range over the past few years, charting the evolution of Doctor Who's most popular villains with a chronological release pattern. However the chronology was shifted somewhat in 2021, when History of the Daleks #6 (based on the 1967 serial The Evil of the Daleks) was held back to be released alongside set #8, rather than together with set #5. This is due to the variants included in both The Evil of the Daleks and The Power of the Daleks being so similar, which is some smart thinking on Character's part. The Evil of the Daleks is notable for featuring the "final end" of the Daleks – their last appearance on the show until 1973 while creator Terry Nation attempted to start up his own Dalek-centric spin-off. The story's final scenes, the Daleks are seemingly destroyed for good when a civil war breaks out between two sets of Daleks (one injected with the human factor, leading them questioning orders) in the Emperor Dalek's chambers on Skaro.

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The packaging is business as usual for the current range of figures, featuring the same blue and off-white TARDIS graphics used on both the B&M exclusive range and that one retail wave of series 11/12 figures they did. The front of the box gives you a good look at the two Daleks that make up the set, while on the back you'll find a rather lengthy synopsis of The Evil of the Daleks. While the prop information at the end is interesting stuff, the overly detailed story synopsis feels like a bit much even for a missing story like Evil. Inside the Daleks are nicely stored on a plastic tray with a piece of string to tie them down, and behind them is a card backdrop of the Emperor Dalek in his iconic chamber. It's the obvious backdrop for an Evil of the Daleks release, but doesn't work quite as well as previous backdrops because it isn't as to scale. The Emperor is on a raised platform in the story yet sits eye to eye with standard Daleks in this image.

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The first of the two Daleks making up this set is a standard silver drone Dalek, identical in design to the ones seen in The Chase, The Dalek Master Plan and The Power of the Daleks. However The Evil of the Daleks was notable for being the first serial to feature Daleks with a pupiled eyestalk, and that is what this variant has been given to make it unique. Whereas when the Daleks returned to screens in the 1970s the pupil became standard, only select Daleks sported it here and there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why. Some assume that it was a feature of the human factor Daleks, but telesnaps seem to prove otherwise. It's a nice little touch to distinguish this figure from the drone included in History of the Daleks #5, but nevertheless it's a pretty minor change. This would have been the perfect opportunity to release one of the human factor Daleks, and all it would have required is a little Greek alphabet paint app on the skirt. It's a very small nit-pick to have, but when it comes to make all of these standard silver Daleks unique from one another every little change helps – no wonder Character held this set back so to not have two sets of silver Daleks on shelves at the same time. Unlike the ones from History of the Daleks #4, both this and the Guard Dalek have correctly painted grey midsections, as well as translucent yellow lamps as opposed to cloudy orange.

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The second Dalek in the set is of course the Emperor Guard Dalek, a special variant exclusive to The Evil of the Daleks (until 2015's The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar that is). As their name suggests these Daleks guard the Emperor's chambers on Skaro, and are identified by their black domes. The Guard Dalek has been released in the line twice before – originally as part of the Dalek Collectors' Set #2 in 2009 (re-released in 2012) and then again in a two-pack with the Second Doctor in 2013. The second version sported little tweaks such as more screen-accurate dome lamps, a resized gunstick and a slightly different shade of blue for the hemispheres – all of which are present on this new version. One key difference though is that the History of the Daleks version has a slightly different eyestalk, lacking the black band around it and sporting a smaller white lens. The fully silver eyestalk is as these Daleks appeared in the story, making it the most screen-accurate version of the Guard Dalek out of the three.

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Functionally both Daleks are exactly the same though, based on exactly the same mould Character Options have been using since they first kicked off the classic Doctor Who line. A standard Dalek figure features a 360-degree rotating dome, moveable eyestalk, ball jointed appendages and three free-rolling wheels (two fixed and one pivoting) to glide across surfaces in a manner similar to the props themselves. Basic, but exactly what you want from a Dalek figure.

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Despite being primarily repaints (and often minor ones at that) these History of the Daleks sets have done some really cool things thus far, which is perhaps why History of the Daleks #6 stands out so much as being rather mediocre in comparison. While the inclusion of the Guard Dalek was a given, even with the pupil eye the standard silver drone feels a bit underwhelming. In its defence The Evil of the Daleks isn't exactly full of unique variants to begin with, but perhaps a more distinct attempt at making a humanised Dalek (even if it was just a symbol customisers can easily add themselves) might have stood out a little more. It's a solid set for anyone who previously missed the Guard Dalek or is looking to build up their silver Dalek ranks, but overall just lacks that wow factor that the others have.

1 comment:

Dr. Theda said...

-Always loved the Daleks
Hello from Dr. Theda's Crypt...