Introduced in the excellent Series 2 finale Army of Ghosts / Doomsday, the Cult of Skaro are among the most interesting Dalek concepts explored on the show – the idea of a secret order of Daleks that exist outside the chain of command and can experiment, philosophise and plot with a level of imagination and creativity that were alien to most Daleks. This idea allowed for some interesting storytelling surrounding the Cult, including the thought-provoking plight of Dalek Sec in Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks and a triumphant reveal for the mad Dalek Caan in Journey’s End.
I have made several customs depicting members of the Cult of Skaro, and although some have ended up in other showcases, this post will specifically focus on the order and their various schemes during the regular appearances during the Tenth Doctor’s era.
Custom Dalek Sec Hybrid and Casing
This custom was a difficult one, as it involved precise positioning of pieces without the assistance of an outer framework. The custom depicts the emergence of the Dalek Sec Hybrid, as the black casing is in the process of opening as the mutant itself emerges. This is not a completely screen-accurate custom, as the panels on the skirt do not fold out as in the episode but instead open outwards like a door, but this was done to maintain the structural integrity of the custom, as without the lower section supporting the opened front panel and neck rings, it is likely that they would fall off. The hybrid itself has been slightly customised to add to the lacklustre paint job of the original figure, as there are now more shades of pink, purple and green across the figure that add to the effect.
Custom Sewer Dalek Caan
Despite inhabiting the sewers for most of their appearance in Series 3’s two-part Dalek story, the bronze members of the Cult of Skaro do not look physically damaged or dirty. Although this is not necessarily a requirement, as Dalek shields may protect against such things, I nonetheless decided to create this custom (as well as customs of the other Daleks) to depict the Cult members during the run-up to the Final Experiment, as they skulk about in the sewer. This custom was created using a standard Dalek Caan figure that I applied a black wash to using Citadel paint.
Custom Sewer Dalek Thay
Finally, a Damaged Dalek Thay figure that is actually representing Dalek Thay in his damaged form! Although the lack of back panels was a cool idea, Dalek custom hobbyists like myself absolutely loathe this sculpt as it shows up everywhere. There are only so many creative ways to incorporate three missing back panels into a custom before you start repeating yourself. Nevertheless, this is possibly the simplest alteration to a Damaged Dalek Thay figure that I have ever made – all I did was give the figure a light black wash to bring out the details.
Custom Sewer Dalek Jast
Unlike his other Cult of Skaro members, Dalek Jast never really gets his ‘moment’. Dalek Thay gets the confrontation with the Cybermen, Dalek Sec gets the hybridisation, and Dalek Caan becomes a crazy prophet. Jast, on the other hand, does absolutely nothing and then dies. Unfortunately, this may be due to his high-pitched voice, which was allegedly difficult for Nicholas Briggs to pull off. I have still put a lot of effort into this custom, however, as the black wash on this custom has been doubled up with a glossy finish to make the Dalek seem wet, as it is covered in sewer water.
Custom Genesis Ark with Daleks
This is a very light custom, as the Genesis Ark is hardly the most intricate design in itself. However, despite the simple colour scheme, the ‘figure’ of the Genesis Ark is one shade of bronze consistently, instead of having its sections broken up with different shades. I have therefore modified one to look more like its on-screen counterpart, including the slightly lighter bronze on the dome and the main body as well as more pronounced detailing around the plunger interface controls.