I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, Halo, Star Trek and Star Wars and I enjoy watching classic Doctor Who episodes, customising Dalek figures, replaying games like Knights of the Old Republic and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy from the early 2000s on the original Xbox.
Welcome to the next instalment in this tour through my collection of custom-painted Classic Series Daleks. The previous instalment featured the 1970s Dalek Customs, so this one includes a tour of my collection of 1980s Dalek customs. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
Resurrection of the Daleks Supreme Dalek Figure:
Resurrection of the Daleks Supreme
Since most of the Daleks from this era are only available in expensive and increasingly rare box sets, I created this custom of the Dalek Supreme from Resurrection of the Daleks using a Gold Dalek for the base. The black Citadel paint is easy to apply but the part that makes this custom tricky is the white paint, which requires several coats to form a solid colour. The finished product could pass for the original, however, particularly since I adjusting the finer details with black Sharpee pen and covered the brush marks with a glossy finish. Overall, the design itself is not one of my favourites but this custom was very fun to make.
Resurrection of the Daleks / Revelation of the Daleks Standard Dalek Figure:
Although I did not paint this Dalek, I bought it broken and had to reconstruct several pieces from spare parts. Thankfully, the distinctive reshaped eyestalk was present and intact, giving this Dalek the unique character of a Resurrection-era Dalek, but it could also pass for a Renegade Dalek from Revelation since both designs are practically the same. Although I much prefer the later Renegade Dalek design, I do like the orange lights and larger eyestalk of these figures, and the gloss paint that the props had in these stories gave them an eerie metallic sheen.
Revelation of the Daleks Necros Dalek Figure:
Porcelain-effect Necros Dalek
This Dalek figure started out as an Emperor’s Guard, and although that means it technically has the sculpt of a 1960s Dalek, the colour scheme that I applied with white Citadel Paint and Gold Humbrol Paint gives it the distinct look and character of a Necros Dalek, as seen in Revelation of the Daleks. What sets this Dalek apart from its Imperial successors is the black trim around the base and eyestalk, the classic light design and the differently shaped lower section. Due to the paint applications I used, this Dalek has the look and texture of porcelain, which was an intentional decision to give it more character and to better resemble the odd set design seen in the episode.
Remembrance of the Daleks Renegade Dalek Figures:
Unlike their Imperial Dalek rivals, the Renegade Daleks seen in Remembrance of the Daleks have a much more mismatched and nonstandard colour scheme, with some having more black and others featuring totally different neck or eyestalk designs. This is due in part to the fact that the Renegade Dalek army seen in Remembrance was actually just every preexisting Dalek prop that the BBC still had at their disposal, repainted and repaired to form a fairly consistent colour scheme. Due to the damage of years of wear and tear, given that some of these props had been in use for well over a decade, the Renegade Daleks have an authentic battle-hardened rebel look about them, whilst also looking presentable without appearing too shabby. An interesting quirk of these two standard Dalek figures is that the one with the black slats was the original Renegade Dalek release featured in the Remembrance of the Daleks box set, but it is not screen-accurate as it lacks the grille design between the slats. After receiving feedback on the design, Character Options re-released the Renegade Dalek in a two-pack with the Seventh Doctor, this time with a slightly altered paint job (removing the black slats) and adding the grille feature.
Remembrance of the Daleks Imperial Dalek Figures:
The Imperial Daleks featured a totally new sculpt of the props used in Remembrance of the Daleks, that were vac-formed so that they could be mass-produced. The new design included a steeper lower section, a new sculpt for the lights, manipulator arm and eyestalk, a diamond pattern below the slats and a brand new paint job reminiscent of the Necros Daleks but now with a predominance of gold and white on the casing. Oddly enough, these figures do not accurately capture the look of the Imperial Daleks seen in the episode, as the sculpt used is the same as other Daleks (so it lacks the more vertical lower section) and, for some reason, the eyestalk is painted blue, just like the post-2005 Daleks. This hardly matters, however, since they look incredible regardless – unfortunately they are quite rare now and I have only been able to acquire two, as well as the destroyed Imperial Dalek featured in my Asylum Customs Collection Tour. The centerpiece of my Imperial Dalek collection is the Emperor Davros, which is a fantastic sculpt of an iconic and unique design.
Remembrance of the Daleks Imperial and Renegade Special Weapons Dalek Figures:
Remembrance of the Daleks only features one Special Weapons Dalek, which was in itself a stand-in for a much more elaborate concept – a mobile Dalek weapons platform that stalked the streets on hoverpads and blasted anything in its sights, Human and Dalek alike. However, budgetary limitations forced the writers to improvise, instead creating the concept of a singular Dalek that had the firepower of an entire army, and the iconic Special Weapons Dalek was born. Although only one was made in the end, another idea that was floating around at the time was to have several Special Weapons Daleks, some working for the Imperials and some loyal to the Renegades. I have captured the spirit of that concept in this unique Special Weapons Dalek custom, painted in Renegade livery to give some much-needed firepower to the Renegade Dalek cause. This was a fun custom to do, since I had never painted a Special Weapons Dalek before, and it was only possible thanks to a very lucky job lot I bought on ebay that had not one but two Special Weapons Daleks included, one broken, to add to the preexisting two that I already had, one from the Remembrance of the Daleks box set and one from the talking Dalek range.
One of my most ambitious customs is this recreation of the Renegade Dalek Battle Computer as seen in Remembrance of the Daleks. Despite lacking its occupant, who I have replaced with the Dalek mutant from the Genesis of the Daleks set, this custom looks very nice and I am really pleased with how it looks, although it may require some touching up here and there at some point in the future.
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A question I’m asked often by friends and family alike is, ‘Why the Daleks?’ In fairness, it is a valid question. To any average Joe the Daleks are frankly laughable, both in their design and their execution. They look like dustbins and are often described as such, they shriek impotent threats and inaudible screams of malice, often directed at nobody in particular, and their episodes range from pretty good (Remembrance) to downright awful (Asylum). And if the tone of this introduction seems somewhat pessimistic, that’s because any Dalek fan is aware of the never-ending uphill battle of not only trying to convince non-whovians to watch Doctor Who, but also trying to convince just about everyone that the Daleks are a viable threat, a well-crafted villain and an essential part of British culture. It’s like being the only person in town who likes Marmite, or the Star Wars prequels, or Tommy Wiseau. I could be shown a list of a hundred viable reasons why the Daleks aren’t cool, but I would never be swayed. But the question remains: Why?
Dalekmania – Britain and the Daleks
For one, whether we like it or not, the Daleks are embedded in British culture. Show a Dalek to anyone in England and they would be able to tell you immediately what it is, no matter where in the country they lived or worked, and there are very few fictional icons that have such universal recognition. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that Dalek imagery has permeated into every corner of the English-speaking world, and perhaps beyond. One must remember that the Daleks are old, they turn fifty-four this year, making them older than Darth Vader and Spock, giving them an edge over their franchise rivals. Any Brit who isn’t even a tiny bit proud of the Daleks is ignorant of how much of an impact they have truly had on the world, despite everything. As far as British iconography goes, there is nothing that can top the Daleks.
The Daleks don’t just form part of Britain, they also represent it. At heart, the Daleks are personified by raging impotence, they hate the universe and want desperately for it to just go away and leave them alone, and yet despite their claims of supremacy and ultimate power, their enemies continue to defeat them simply by surviving. Any post-imperialist British politician can sympathise with this stance, it mirrors how most Imperialists must have felt following the collapse of the British Empire, and in many ways any Powellite, Tory or Nationalist can relate to the Daleks. In the modern era, their link with Britain has changed but remained strong – the Daleks in the modern day are struggling desperately to stay relevant in a world that has moved on from them, and to many they seem almost comical in their futile attempts to cling to power. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the world’s view of the Daleks very much mirrors Europe’s view of Britain right now, and speaking of which…
Tinfoil Pepper Pots – The World vs The Daleks
In a world of cinematic superheroes, awe-inspiring CGI Death Stars, Lord of the Rings, and over 60,000 years worth of youtube videos, is there even any room in pop culture for the comparatively whimsical Daleks? I’ve already discussed how the Daleks must struggle to captivate their audience in the modern day, but even to a die-hard Doctor Who fan the Daleks can seem stupid. They trundle about, shout ‘Exterminate’, shoot their gun (usually missing their target) and get blown up. But what makes that so different from anything else on TV? For an example, let’s take the Stormtroopers from Star Wars. They are one of the most popular and well-celebrated fictional military forces of all time, and yet at any point following the opening sequence of A New Hope, they’re about as threatening to the viewer as Bob Ross in a Cookie Monster onesie. Their heads are disproportionately large, their aim is comically bad, and their armour looks like cheap plastic, and this is from a production with a budget hundreds of times larger than anything Doctor Who had seen at the time.
And yet, two years earlier, Doctor Who gave us Genesis of the Daleks, the six-parter that reaffirmed in the minds of the British public the idea that the Daleks are a nightmare, a metallic monster that deals death to dozens of innocents, all while the Stormtroopers couldn’t even catch a bin on wheels and a gold-plated diplomat in a desert. And it is true that both have experienced ‘villain decay’ over the years, to the point where during the 1990s both were appearing on comedy sketches, and Star Wars has since totally redesigned the Stormtroopers (in a manner similar to Doctor Who’s treatment of its primary villain 10 years prior) or ditched them entirely in favor of CGI robots or other stand-in soldiers. Doctor Who, however, stuck to its guns, and although the Daleks were heavily redesigned in 2005, they deliberately kept in those comical design choices that could have easily been eliminated, like the plunger. Is that a good thing? Well…
Victors of the Longevity Game
Of course it is. Any self-respecting remake of a classic work of art sticks to the design choices of that era, regardless of the consequences. Apart from anything else, deviation from classic designs invokes fan backlash of Vesuvian magnitude, just look at the new Marvin, the new Kryten, or the redesigned Covenant in Halo. Whilst the Daleks have undergone serious updates since 1963, the base design has remained the same, and they occasionally call back to their roots, bringing classic designs back in homage to the bygone eras of Doctor Who. In a way, part of what makes the Daleks so great is that they relentlessly, shamelessly and stubbornly continue to deal out death and destruction on-screen in the same way that they did 54 years ago.
Despite everything, it’s not even as if Doctor Who revolves around the Daleks. The show does not need the Daleks in every series in order to be successful, and nothing has proven this more than the fact that all of the best post-2010 Doctor Who episodes have almost all been non-Dalek episodes. That is by no means to say that there are no Dalek episodes, just that the show maintains a healthy balance of keeping the Daleks in the show and yet not leaning on them for success, like some other franchises do with their main villains. Out of the 275 Doctor Who stories, merely 40 or less actually feature the Daleks, and even fewer have them as the main villain. In many ways that is a testament to the type of show Doctor Who is, it doesn’t exist simply to tell one story, or even one set of stories – it crosses genres and styles of storytelling in a way no other show does – and the Daleks form just one part of a much greater pantheon, and have done for over 50 years.
So… Why the Daleks?
Alright, I’ll stop beating about the bush. Now that I’ve set the scene, here are just some of the reasons why I think the Daleks are so cool. Here goes.
They’d definitely beat any other sci-fi race in a fight, hands down. They are so overpowered that the SpaceBattles forums, that deals in using community-based input to attempt to decide who would win out of sci-fi races from various franchises, often bans Daleks from discussions for being too overpowered and coined the phrase ‘Dalek-stomp’ as a one-word dismissal of anyone trying to post races that could beat them. Yes, I’m serious.
The music. Their classic-era episodes had some good soundtracks, particularly Genesis and Remembrance, but Murray Gold has composed some truly awe-inspiring pieces of music to accompany the Daleks that rivals any John Williams score in the ears of all true Doctor Who fans.
The sound effects, throughout their existence. The gunstick effect is always a feast for the ears, and the shrill, shrieking voices still strike fear into the hearts of children even today, like an electronically enhanced recording of the worlds most overbearing drill sergeant who also wants to kill you. Also, the Dalek heartbeat is one of the most ambient tension-builders in the history of television.
The extermination effect – when it actually gets used its always cool to see, and usually its being dealt to some poor innocent bystander, a desperate soldier or sometimes even the Doctor himself, creating the constant fear that no-one is safe from the Daleks. They have no mercy or pity, and the extermination effect shows that – the skeletal negative effect momentarily removes all individuality and humanity from the victims, showing just how weak even the most morally empowered force is when compared with the Daleks.
The CGI, and again, I’m serious. From something as simple as the plunger forming a surgical mask to crush a man’s skull, to the intricately designed swarms of endless Dalek assault squads pouring out of the mothership to attack Earth, CGI always seems to treat the Daleks surprisingly well, given the circumstances. Then again…
The practical effects, from both the classic and the modern era. Doctor Who is a show forged in fire, or rather, trial by fire, in that adversity mires production around every corner. As the previously mentioned A New Hope shows us, however, that usually ends up with creativity tested to its limits, and aside from a few missteps in the classic era, this is definitely true of most Dalek stories. From an excess of TNT to a prominent use of silly string, the practical effects are a treat.
The morality of it all. As anyone who has read my previous Dalek articles, I am truly fascinated with the morality surrounding the Daleks. All the best Dalek episodes deal with this concept, but the best thing is that there is so much more to be explored, and so much more to learn. 2015’s Dalek two-parter was packed full of brand new Dalek lore that fits in nicely with pre-existing Dalek mythology, and that’s what good Dalek stories in the future should hope to do. (I’m looking at you, Asylum of the Daleks.)And, finally:
The foil. No, not tin foil, I mean they exist as the perfect foil for the show’s main character, the Doctor. Any good villain should show us the worst aspects of their hero yet still strive to be villainous, and this is definitely true of the Daleks. Nothing hates more than the Daleks, nothing kills more than the Daleks, and that is the perfect foil for the epoch of morality that is the Doctor.
Thank you for reading this opinion piece on the Daleks, I hope that some of what is written here has swayed you to the Dalek cause, or at the very least has given you some appreciation for the supreme beings in the universe.
Welcome to the next instalment in this tour through my collection of custom-painted Classic Series Daleks. The previous instalment featured the 1960s Dalek Customs, so this one includes a tour of my collection of 1970s-era Dalek customs. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
Day of the Daleks Custom Figures:
Since the original version of Day of the Daleks only ever used three Dalek props, I never felt it was necessary to make more than three customs for this episode, although the fantastic re-release of this story features some incredible remastering to add more Daleks to the battle. The Gold Dalek Supreme came in the Dalek Collector’s Set #2, which I bought several of in order to repaint them to use for other Daleks. Other than being a slightly different shade of grey, these Daleks do not differ much from Planet of the Daleks or Genesis of the Daleks figures, and they can be used interchangeably for the most part. However, there are several subtle differences that distinguish 1970s Dalek props from each other based on the episode in which they appeared due to the BBC’s constant repairing and repainting of the props.
Planet of the Daleks Custom Figures:
The best thing about Planet of the Daleks is this Supreme Dalek, which has a genuine figure but the set in which it appears is so popular and rare that the prices have skyrocketed. This was not an easy custom to make, as I had to be very precise with the black and gold paint, as painting over black with gold paint requires many re-coats in order to make the colour even and stand out properly. The lights also proved a challenge, but I was able to use broken blue LED lights painted with a see-through purple coat to recreate the Supreme Dalek’s iconic oversized lights that would later become a staple of all Daleks by 2005. The Supreme Dalek in this story has the telltale larger lights and taller fender that the movie Daleks had, and that’s because Terry Nation himself loaned a Dalek from his personal collection of movie props to serve as the Supreme in this story. The partially transparent Dalek I have also slightly customised, adding the white around the end of the eyestalk that the original figure lacked.
Death to the Daleks! Custom Figures:
Of all the 1970s-era Dalek designs, the colour scheme from Death to the Daleks is definitely my favourite. As a result, I actually made four of these customs, although one would become the Asylum variant featured in my previous Dalek Asylum Collection tour. Of the customs I made that weren’t for the Asylum, there are two standard silver Daleks and one Commander, who can be distinguished from the others by his orange lights. These Daleks all started out as Gold Daleks that I spray painted silver and then painted the detail in black, then again using Humbrol silver. Unfortunately, due to the nature of spray paint and the slight differences in the colour of Humbrol paint, these Daleks did turn out quite rough, although that does match the poor condition of the Dalek props of the era.
Genesis of the Daleks Custom Figures:
Although none of these are painted, one in particular still stands out as a custom, of sorts. Whilst two of the Daleks came in the Genesis of the Daleks Collector Set, one of these Daleks came to me broken, and it was only after painstaking reconstruction using spare parts from other broken Daleks that I was able to restore it to its former glory. The Daleks seen in Genesis are perhaps the highest quality Dalek props of the 1970s, which is fitting considering the episode is regarded by many as the best Dalek story of all time.
Destiny of the Daleks Collector Set Review
Even though none of these are customs, it seems odd to not include them here since they form part of my 1970s-era Dalek collection. One thing I will say about this set is that it appears whoever decided on the paint detail of these figures was watching Destiny of the Daleks on a television with the Gamma turned all the way up, since the colours on both the Daleks and Davros himself seem far too light to me. Although the Destiny Daleks are noticeably lighter than other Daleks of the era, it is not to the same extent as presented in this set. However, for me, that is hardly a downside – in fact, I bought this set specifically because I adore the colour scheme that they have used here. Light grey and black works really well on these Daleks, and Davros with a grey chair is odd but not unwelcome. So, overall, although this set gets 1/10 for accuracy, it stands out to me as one of the best sets in the Doctor Who range and is definitely worth picking up.
Thanks to the fact that the Day of the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks and Genesis of the Daleks figures are all so similar, it may be hard to differentiate between them. I have included this image here at the end to prove that they are separate figures and not just the same two or three Daleks repeated several times, but this has the added bonus of making all of these Daleks fit to all of the episodes in question, so if I wanted I could have a diorama of the Special Edition version of the final battle from Day of the Daleks, a recreation of the Spiridon Jungle from Planet of the Daleks or, my personal favourite, a fully-bolstered Dalek army as seen in Genesis of the Daleks, with six Dalek props and Davros completing the look.
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Welcome to the next instalment in this series of Dalek customs showcases, a tour through my collection of custom-painted Classic Series Daleks. Moving on from the inmates of the Dalek Asylum, this feature includes a tour of my collection of 1960s-era Dalek customs. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
Classic 1960s Dalek Figure from The Daleks:
This first figure may seem like an odd choice for a custom, since Dead Planet Daleks exist as a standard figure. However, their most common appearance is in the Dalek Collector Set #1, which is now a very rare box set – the asking price for them has rocketed to over £50, in some places as high as £100. Since not everyone has that kind of money, it made more sense to me to buy a Dalek Collector Set #2, re-base the Dalek Saucer Commander and use silver Humbrol paint to complete the detail, so that is exactly what I did. Unlike my Asylum variant, this Dalek does not feature a ‘mutant reveal’, but it looks like the genuine article and that is really all you can ask for in a custom.
Dalek Saucer Commander and Dalek Supreme Figures from The Dalek Invasion of Earth:
Like the figure of the original The Dead Planet Dalek, there exists a genuine figure of the Dalek Supreme from The Dalek Invasion of Earth, but it is rare and only comes in a two-pack with the First Doctor. As such, I simply painted the remaining silver parts on a spare Dalek Saucer Commander to create a facsimile of the genuine article. Interestingly enough, this isn’t far from what the actual Doctor Who production team did during the making of this episode, since the Dalek Saucer Commander only appears in the colour scheme that it has because it was originally supposed to be the Dalek Supreme, but they hadn’t finished painting the prop when it came time for filming, so they just used it as it was. This explains why the Dalek Saucer Commander disappears and is replaced by the Supreme midway through the story.
Dalek and Dalek Supreme from The Daleks’ Master Plan, and Emperor’s Guard from The Evil of the Daleks:
Although there is some debate over what colour this Dalek Supreme from The Daleks’ Master Plan is actually supposed to be, the most common (and technically correct) view is that it is black, since that is the colour that the original prop was. And it looks fantastic next to the Emperor’s Guard and Standard Dalek, so that works as part of this collection. This is another custom that is cheap and easy to do, since all I used was a standard Emperor’s Guard and some black Citadel Paint to give the lower section a new coat, and light blue Citadel Paint to cover any marks on the spheres. Overall, this is such a simple custom that gives a great result with minimal effort required, and definitely one that I would recommend to first-time Dalek painters.
Classic Series 9 Dalek Figures:
Although not technically 1960s Daleks, the variants of the classic Daleks seen in The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witches’ Familiar are displayed in the same place on my shelf mostly just to bolster the ranks of my 1960s-era Daleks, and also because they appear at first glance to be identical to other Daleks of the era. However, minor differences set these particular Daleks apart, particularly the bright blue used on the midsection and the blue New Series style eyestalks. The Emperor’s Guard figure is a representation of a Dalek briefly seen at the end of the two-parter, as one of the Daleks that corners Missy as the city around them crumbles. Allegedly, this Dalek exists due to a mistake, since the black-domed head of an Emperor’s Guard Dalek was accidentally placed atop a slatless The Dead Planet style body, creating a whole new variety of 1960s-era Dalek that had never been seen before on screen. Again, these customs are very easy, as all that is required are Emperor’s Guard and Saucer Commander Daleks, some silver and blue paint, and a blue Sharpee for the eyestalks.
The Chase Guard Dalek Figure:
Classic Dalek Guard
This Dalek is based on a brief appearance of a Movie prop in The Chase, that was given to the BBC on loan in order to increase the number of mobile Dalek props for that episode. Since it used the Movie design, it lacked the slats seen on other Daleks, had a blue head and gold trim, and had no base. The production team did replace the dome lights to better resemble standard Daleks of that era, however. The only difference in my custom is that I have left the alternating black and silver slats from the Dalek Saucer Commander that I used as the base for this figure. Perhaps this Dalek serves as some form of Commander in the Dalek Emperor’s Guard.
Bonus – Alternate Red The Daleks’ Master Plan Supreme Dalek Figure:
Red Supreme Dalek
Since The Daleks’ Master Plan aired in black and white (and is now mostly missing), there has been debate over what colour the Supreme Dalek in that story is actually supposed to be. Whilst the original prop was allegedly black, some fans have interpreted this Dalek as being red, to the extent that several novelisations and comic adaptations of this story feature a red version of the Supreme Dalek on the front cover. As such, I have created this custom of what the Supreme Dalek would look like in this colour scheme, and I have swapped the manipulator arm for double gunsticks so he can also serve as an Emperor’s Guard too. Since I used Humbrol paints for this custom, the Dalek has a nice glossy finish, and I used a simple screw as a replacement for the manipulator arm.
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Welcome to the next instalment of this tour through my collection of custom-made New Series Daleks. Following the previous instalment which covered Classic Dalek Asylum inmates, the Daleks featured here are all New Series Dalek Asylum customs that did not fit the categories of the previous Dalek Asylum showcases. All of these Daleks are figures that have been altered and painted to appear destroyed, with some marked with stamps for the Dalek Asylum.
Custom Asylum Scenery:
Due to some of the heavy customisation that making Asylum Daleks can require, I often find myself with several spare parts left over afterwards. Sometimes these are heads, parts of lower sections, sometimes even appendages, but unfortunately never eyestalks. As such, I decided to combine some of the most common spare parts I have to form a scenery item which is featured in my Asylum display. Since this includes parts from many other Daleks, they are a bit mismatched, but I attempted to retain as much versatility as I could with this impromptu custom – the heads still rotate, and the manipulator arm moves too, which improves its function as a decorative piece if nothing else. This custom was created using paper mâché, hot glue and green paint, with some black and grey detailing to represent the years of wear and tear that a jumble of pieces of destroyed Dalek would probably accumulate after thousands of years rotting in an Asylum.
Duo of Paradigm Dalek Asylum Inmates:
Although these figures are in fact official releases and not customs, these Daleks feature alongside my other Asylum Dalek inmates because they just look so good. Whilst I am not a particular fan of the Paradigm Dalek design, the new chrome red paint job on the Drone figure looks incredible, and it almost makes me wish they had released an undamaged version of this figure, like they did for the Dalek Strategist. The Asylum damage detailing is actually really nice, and although I wish they had made a classic version of this set, it is still a nice set piece to have, and it was quite cheap on Amazon at the time of purchasing too, and although the centrepiece of the set was the bronze Asylum Dalek, it is great for bolstering an Asylum collection. Interestingly, a Paradigm Dalek Supreme did feature in Asylum of the Daleks, but it was not a complete prop and was missing the eyestalk and dome lights. This set therefore implies that there are several Paradigm Dalek Supremes imprisoned in the Asylum, probably due to their immediate redundancy following the fan backlash to their debut in Victory of the Daleks.
Asylum Dalek Strategist Figure:
In a strange role-reversal of the last figure, in which Character Options released the Asylum variant of the Drone but not a standard variation, for the new version of the Strategist they released a clean version in an exclusive two-pack with the Eleventh Doctor (making it increasingly rare and expensive nowadays) but did not release an Asylum version. Since I was able to pick up a spare Asylum Supreme on ebay, I used deep-blue paint coated with a layer of polished finish and detailed in black to create my own Asylum variation of the new chrome Strategist. Whilst it doesn’t really stand up compared to the professionally-made Paradigm figures, I am still pretty happy with how this one looks. Whilst not many Paradigm Daleks were admitted to the Asylum, this Strategist seems to be among the unlucky few.
Destroyed Paradigm Drone Figure:
As previously mentioned, during Asylum of the Daleks, one of the few Paradigm Daleks to appear in the Asylum was a heavily damaged Supreme Dalek, decorated with an elaborate ‘criss-cross’ scarring on the left hand side of the casing. Whilst the red colouration of this figure shows it is not a Supreme, I bought it pre-burnt and missing all of the appendages, so it seemed like there was only one thing I could use it for. I used a hacksaw to cut the crossed scars pattern into the Dalek and removed some of the panelling on the right hand side, creating the illusion that the Dalek mutant trapped inside had at one point attempted to break out. I used black paint in splodges all over the Dalek to suggest it has been hit with several energy blasts, possibly in a battle which drove it insane and doomed it to the Asylum. Needless to say, I have never had as much fun cutting up a Dalek as I did destroying this damaged Paradigm figure.
Emperor’s Guard Custom Figure:
This variant of the Emperor’s Bodyguard never appears onscreen, but it is my own personal creation that I based on Dalek designs in the comics. Since many of the classic Daleks that appear in Asylum of the Daleks have custom colour schemes that disguise their true design (usually boring greys, blacks and browns) I painted this Dalek to resemble a yet-unseen Dalek variant that has been admitted to the Asylum. Now catatonic, the casing is leaking oil and fluid and the eyestalk is clogged with dirt and grit. I painted this Dalek using Warhammer Citadel paints, so it has a dull finish that gives the illusion of age. Although it was once possibly an elite member of some obscure Dalek council within the Empire, this Dalek appears to have suffered several casing malfunctions and has subsequently become unresponsive. As a result, it has been cast into the Asylum, where it now sits and festers in the darkness.
Dalek Scientist Custom Figure:
Like the previous Dalek custom, this Dalek never appears onscreen. I based the colour scheme on a variation of one of the 1960s Peter Cushing Movie Daleks, although I used a New Series Dalek Sec as the base. I designed this Dalek to resemble a scientist rank, perhaps as part of a survey team that went to the Asylum to study the Daleks within, only to end up going insane itself and being admitted to the very institution it was sent to study. Fitted with Dalek embryo manipulation claws, perhaps it was once this Daleks’ job to oversee Dalek production lines, but now it seems abandoned in the Dalek Asylum, using external fluid pipes to sustain its damaged internal systems. I used Humbrol paints for this Dalek, and so the red coat is shiny and stands out amongst the dull colours of the Asylum.
Welcome to the next instalment in this series of Dalek customs showcases, a tour through my collection of custom-made Classic Daleks that have been altered and painted to appear destroyed, with some marked with stamps for the Dalek Asylum. The previous instalment featured the New Series Dalek Asylum inmates, but one of the biggest draws of Asylum of the Daleks was the fact that there were Classic Daleks in the Asylum, so I was eager to include some in my collection. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
DISCLAIMER: I have not damaged or destroyed any rare classic Dalek figures to create these customs.
All of these Daleks are either common Classic figures painted to look like rarer figures, or figures which I bought on the pretence that they were damaged beyond repair and then painted and customised, so rest assured, no rare Daleks were harmed during the making of these customs. (At least, not by me, but I’ll explain that later…)
Duo of Destroyed Genesis Dalek Custom Figures:
These are two destroyed Daleks from totally different eras, even if they are of the same design. The left side Dalek has been altered to resemble a casualty of the early Dalek-Thal War that takes place on Skaro during the finale of Genesis of the Daleks. Damaged out in the wastelands of Skaro by a land mine and hit with a well-aimed explosive, this Dalek has collapsed in on itself as the mutant inside dies. I had to cut the neck rings to shape and use hot glue and paint to make it appear as though the front part of the Dalek’s neck ring had collapsed due to an impact on the back of the casing, which spewed green oil and fluid all over the top part of the Dalek and blasted off its weapons and eyestalk in the process.
The right side Dalek is my rendition of a Genesis-style Asylum inmate, who has been rotting in the Asylum since the very beginning. Long since destroyed by age and the other inmates, this relic to Dalek history sits abandoned, still bearing the scars of its former battles and stains of oil on its side. Whether or not the pole sticking out of its head is what remains of the eyestalk or a brutal makeshift weapon that has been embedded in the dome somehow is open to interpretation.
Damaged Revelation-era Asylum Custom Figure:
Asylum 70’s Dalek
This Dalek was painted to resemble a Dalek from the 1980s using a Gold Day of the Daleks Supreme as the base, and then dirtied up with black, brown and green paint and stamped with an Asylum mark. This Dalek was also partially inspired by a bizarre story from 2009 in which a classic Dalek prop was found in a swamp and fished out, which you can read about here. the paint applications represent burn marks and stains of mud from a swamp or jungle which probably indicate that this Dalek was in some scrapes before being admitted to the Asylum but it is still very much active. Now it spends its time stalking labyrinthine corridors of the planet-sized facility, eagerly stalking bands of Imperial Daleks that have also been admitted to the Asylum, but more on that later.
Insane Emperor’s Guard Dalek Custom Figure:
Asylum Emperor’s Guard
A relatively prominent feature in the Asylum during Asylum of the Daleks was a dirtied-up Emperor’s Guard Dalek from The Evil of the Daleks, which featured in several of the promotional photos for the episode and actually appeared numerous times throughout the episode, unlike some of the other classic Daleks. Most notably it appeared as the Dalek which Amy, in her drug-induced hallucinatory state, imagines as a dancing ballerina, when it is in fact spinning endlessly and out of control. It would seem wrong then to not include this figure as part of the Asylum collection. For newcomers to the world of customising Dalek figures, this is one of the easiest customs to make, since 60s-era bodyguards are among the cheapest of the Dalek figures you can buy. All I used here was black and grey paint to dirty it up a bit and a tippex pen and red Sharpee for the Asylum stamp, as is the case with all of my Asylum customs.
Burnt Death to the Daleks Custom Figure:
Another Classic Dalek which was in Asylum of the Daleks but did not feature as prominently as the Emperor’s Guard Dalek was recreation of a Dalek from Death to the Daleks. Unfortunately, this Dalek prop barely featured in the actual episode, as it was painted with dull grey, making its unique design barely recognisable. This figure is therefore a representation of how the iconic Death to the Daleks Dalek should have appeared as an inmate in the Asylum. I created this model using a repainted Emperor’s Guard figure that I detailed in black paint to appear burnt, as a reference to the fact that several of the Daleks inexplicably catch fire in this episode. The orange lights indicate that this Dalek was once a commander before it was admitted to the Asylum, possibly having been scarred for life after the events of Destiny of the Daleks by that ridiculous-giant water eel that definitely wasn’t made of plastic and held up with wires. As a result, this Dalek is one of the catatonic Daleks imprisoned in the intensive care unit.
Destroyed The Dead Planet Dalek Custom Figure:
Asylum Dead Planet Dalek
Another feature in the Asylum was a classic The Dead Planet Dalek, featuring the new updated colour scheme that would later become more prominent in The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witches’ Familiar, particularly since the props used in that episode were remarkably accurate yet updated for the modern era, with the addition of a blue eyestalk and a slightly altered yet more dynamic colour scheme. Oddly, some fans at the time complained that these Daleks weren’t ‘screen-accurate’ representations of the original Daleks from The Dead Planet, overlooking the fact that, although the props themselves were made by fans, they are still Dalek props that appeared in an actual episode, so they are now simply a canon variation of the original Dalek design. For this custom I modified a Dalek Saucer Pilot, replacing the base with a shorter one and painting the Dalek with grey and black paint to appear old and dirtied. I also added a ‘mutant reveal’ feature to this Dalek, by removing the front section and sanding down the parts that keep it in place so that it can be securely fitted but easily removed. The interior I created using parts of an old CD to give it a 1960s vibe, and the mutant is simply the top half of a Dalek Sec Hybrid figure’s head, held in place by a plastic sheet that holds the piece in place.
Duo of Destroyed Imperial Dalek Figures:
One of these is not a custom, but is in fact the destroyed Imperial Dalek that strangles the Seventh Doctor that was included in the Remembrance of the Daleks two-pack with Emperor Davros. The sculpting of the mutant on this figure is marvellous, far beyond anything I could do in a custom, and it was well worth the purchase. The Dalek on the right is a custom that I cannot take complete credit for, as I did the paint job but not the custom itself. I believe this to be one of CaptainJimiPie’s customs, the video for which is featured below. This Dalek has clearly been the victim of fire from other inmates in the Asylum and now sits dead, its rotting flesh hanging out of the scarred casing. One day I would like to do a custom of an actual Imperial Dalek model, but I would have to find one that was already broken as I could never bring myself to damage a rare figure of one of my favourite Dalek designs.
This is another CaptainJimiPie custom that I got in a job lot of other Daleks. I have fitted with a new base since the original one had been removed when I received this figure. This Dalek features in CaptainJimiPie’s showcase of his Asylum Dalek collection, which you can view here (This Dalek that I now own features at 1:08 in this video):
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Welcome to the second part of my New Series Dalek custom collection tour. Following on from New Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – Destroyed / Asylum Daleks, which showcased my collection of destroyed Asylum inmates, we will be taking a look at some of my intact Asylum Daleks, i.e. Daleks that are still alive, but damaged and placed in the Dalek Asylum. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
New Series Emperor’s Guard – Asylum Variant Custom Figure:
This is an Asylum variant of the Emperor’s Bodyguard, first seen in 2005’s Parting of the Ways. Unlike the original Emperor’s Guards from the classic series, these Daleks were never actually built as a physical model, and they only exist in the form of CGI renderings. Regardless, the design itself is a nice homage to the classic series, reviving the concept of black-domed Daleks being seen as a higher rank. This Dalek, however, seems to have abandoned his post and so was admitted to the Dalek Asylum. Lack of maintenance has led to several fluid leaks in the casing, which I painted on in green. I bought this Dalek slightly burnt, put I have painted over the melted plastic patches to imitate warped metal, suggesting sporadic firefights in the Asylum between inmates has caused this Dalek’s damage.
Cannibal Dalek Custom Figure:
One of Asylum of the Daleks‘ biggest failures for me was the way in which the Dalek inmates were presented. Aside from some malfunctioning and generally odd behaviour, we never really got to see any truly insane Daleks. The inmates appeared to act just like any other Dalek would, and the irony is that we had already seen a truly insane Dalek in Dalek Caan. I built this custom to try and emulate a Dalek that had been driven so insane that it began to destroy and cannibalise other Dalek Asylum inmates when its own casing began to fail. After centuries of this, what remains is a hideously malformed and defective Dalek that no other inmates dare approach, as it uses its manipulator arm and reprogrammed self-repair droids to tear Asylum machinery apart in a desperate attempt to keep itself alive. I built this Dalek using leftover parts from my destroyed Dalek customs, and as such the parts are mismatched and held together with wires and bits of electronics which adds to the idea that this Dalek has combined parts from several of its victims in a manner that would bring a tear to Victor Frankenstein’s eye.
Damaged Dalek Commander Custom Figure:
This Dalek was once a Field Commander in the early days of the Time War, but was infected with a Time Lord bioweapon designed to react with Dalekanium and cause horrendous mutations in the Dalek mutant inside. After a lengthy quarantine, this Dalek was relegated to the Dalek Asylum when it was deemed unfit for duty. This Dalek started out as a Dalek Sec figure which I painted with a grey wash and enhanced with silver detailing, simply to add some variety to the customs. I also built a Dalek Thay-style makeshift replacement for the section of his lower casing that was removed, and the pipes beneath were made using pieces of a plastic frame glued together. The hasty removal of infected Dalekanium plates have caused the inner workings within to seep oil and fluid, represented on this figure by green paint. Since this Dalek came with no eyestalk, I had to make a new one using pieces of plastic and glue, and the gun I replaced with a few hanging wires which I then painted silver.
Intensive Care Inmate / Rusty Custom Figure:
Originally starting out as an Into the Dalek ‘Rusty’ custom, this figure took on a life of its own and I eventually decided to make it an Asylum inmate, although it fulfils both roles. Perhaps this is an alternate universe in which the Daleks found ‘Rusty’ before the crew of the Aristotle, and admitted him to the Asylum? Who knows. Nonetheless, I used glue and pieces of plastic from the frame of a Warhammer set to create and detail the additions, and I also created a complex copper wire frame which I sculpted around the Dalek and held in place with hot glue. I had to create a new eyestalk for this Dalek using more pieces from a Warhammer set and painted blue at the end.
Damaged Asylum Inmate Custom Figure:
This is a fairly standard destroyed New Series Dalek custom, the only real story behind this one is that it is yet another Dalek that I bought burnt. It is distressing that sellers on ebay put little-to-no effort into burning Dalek shells that they have salvaged for eyestalks, gunsticks and plungers to sell on individually, but this is one of those unlucky Daleks who, for whatever reason, were given trial by fire. I have been able to paint over the burnt sections to resemble warped metal and I gave this custom some character by removing sections of the lower skirt and sculpting the machinery beneath using plastic frame, hot glue and electronic circuitry from an old motherboard.
Destroyed New Series Supreme Dalek Custom Figure:
This was a fun custom to make, even if the Supreme Dalek figures are exceedingly rare. This was one that I got as part of a job lot with a few other Supreme Daleks, all of which were broken, some beyond repair. Thankfully, I had enough spares to fully restore and paint all but one of the Supreme Daleks – this last one. I had to use this poor chap for spare parts to repair the other two, and so it remains broken. In light of this, I decided to turn this last Supreme Dalek into an Asylum inmate, using hot glue and paint to fill in for missing parts and black paint to simulate damage on the head, side and lower section of the Dalek. I also used bronze Humbrol to give the impression of rust and decay to the gold parts. Although this particular model of Supreme Dalek was never seen in the Asylum, there are examples of Supreme Daleks in there such as the white Paradigm Supreme, so it makes sense that one of these would be in here too, particularly since this is the model that Supreme Daleks used during the Time War.
Although not actually an Asylum inmate himself, Dalek Caan was definitely insane when we see him in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. As such, it would be wrong to not include him here, particularly since this custom fits well alongside other Daleks in my Asylum collection. And to clarify, I was not responsible for the destruction of this rare Dalek with Mutant Reveal figure, it came to me in a damaged and burned state and it was only after I purchased it that I realised that it had the mutant inside at all. I used a hacksaw to cut the pieces and plastic frames and hot glue to secure them in place, and I expanded on the mutant using a combination of glue, plastic wire coating and purple paint.
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Welcome to my first in a series of Dalek customs showcases, this will essentially be a tour through my collection of custom-made New Series Daleks that have been altered and painted to appear destroyed, with some marked with stamps for the Dalek Asylum. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.
Destroyed Dalek Thay Figure:
This is a recreation of the inevitable fate of Dalek Thay from the Cult of Skaro. Because Thay was never admitted to the Asylum, he lacks an Asylum stamp, and of course features the damaged back banels seen on many Dalek Thay figures. Thanks to the combined firepower of their own Dalek-Human Hybrid footsoldiers, both Dalek Thay and Dalek Jast are destroyed, and Thay’s remains are presumably disposed of by the citizens of Hooverville. I used paper mâché, glue and black paint to represent Thay’s charred upper half having been blasted away.
Escaping Asylum Inmate Figure:
Destroyed New Series Dalek
This Dalek casing has damage to its upper half, and so the mutant inside, wishing to end its eternal damnation in the depths of the Dalek Asylum, is desperate to escape. As a result, the automated Asylum systems have fitted an external restraining field around the casing, but this won’t stop the insane Dalek inside from endlessly trying to climb out of the casing. I used green paint and some grey and black to represent the Dalek casing’s inner fluids and sculpted a pink and purple fleshly mutant out of paper mâché, glue, and part of a Warhammer Banner to make a distinct black claw, partly inspired by the destroyed Imperial Dalek seen in Remembrance of the Daleks.
Blasted Dalek Shell Figure:
Destroyed Asylum Dalek
This Dalek was admitted to the Asylum presumably for aggressive behaviour, and has since been attacked and destroyed by one of his fellow inmates. Now a burnt-out husk, this Dalek shell has been pushed into the corner of one of the many cavernous Asylum chambers, forgotten and rotting. However, evidence of the mutant inside having since escaped may suggest that it’s insane former occupant may still yet be lurking somewhere in the Asylum…
I used glue and green paint to represent the Dalek flesh inside the casing and plastic-coated copper wire to simulate damaged parts of the casing.
Destroyed Dalek Scout Figure:
Destroyed Time War Dalek
This figure is a representation of the Dalek that is destroyed by the War Doctor’s TARDIS in the 50th Anniversary Special Day of the Doctor. Since the scene in that episode used physical Dalek props instead of CGI, the Daleks that are destroyed break into their modular pieces, with the Commander losing his lower half, leaving a strange effect. This figure is what the Commander in that scene should have looked like, in my opinion. I had to take this Dalek apart and saw a clean cut with a hacksaw, before reassembling the two halves using a plastic frame and filling the detail with paper mâché painted black and held in place with hot glue.
Destroyed New Series Renegade Dalek:
Inspired by the destroyed Renegade Dalek seen in Remembrance of the Daleks, This figure was created using a damaged Dalek Sec figure that I purchased on ebay. An interesting, and slightly melancholy detail that I only noticed after I had finished this custom is that on the base of the figure there is a name tag that reads ‘Luke Lewis’. Whoever you are, Luke Lewis, I’m sorry but I sort of broke your already-broken Dalek Sec figure. Sorry. Nevertheless, the details were finalised using a combination of paper mâché and the pieces of the Dalek which I cut up and painted to match Renegade Dalek livery.
I am showcasing this last custom because it forms a key part of my Asylum New Series Dalek collection, despite the fact that it is not a custom I made. This is a CaptainJimiPie custom that I got as part of a job lot with other damaged Dalek figures. This custom is featured at 1:26 in this video:
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The Daleks are the Doctor’s greatest enemy, and have had more appearances throughout the show’s run as any other enemy, so despite the vast swathe of Doctor Who lore out there, a lot of fans both casual and die-hard alike are well-versed in the history of the Daleks. However, certain questions about the Daleks remain. This article will attempt to answer many of the pressing questions that fans have about Skaro’s metal murderers.
Why do the Daleks always shout ‘Exterminate?’ rather than just shoot people on sight?
This is a question you hear all too often about the Daleks. In the lore, the Daleks are supposed to be intergalactic mass-murders who destroy cities, fleets of warships and sometimes even entire worlds in their spare time, and yet when you see them on-screen they appear to dawdle and get caught up screaming ‘Exterminate’ over and over again rather than actually just shoot people. Why is that?
Well, for a start, that isn’t necessarily the case 100% of the time. There are plenty of examples of Daleks shooting on sight, mostly to kill nameless characters or anyone not relevant to the plot. You could say then that the real explanation for the Daleks’ inconsistent behaviour is due to a classic case of plot armour – the Daleks can’t just shoot the Doctor, because then there’d be no Doctor Who, and wouldn’t that be a tragedy.
In-lore, however, there are actually two other possible explanations for this, the first makes its appearance in The Witches’ Familiar, in which Missy finally explains why the Daleks shout ‘Exterminate’ all the time – their weapons channel hatred, and their battle cry is how they reload. It’s an interesting concept, and it’s great that it comes from Missy – the Doctor would be much more likely to try and explain the Daleks’ ways in a more philosophical sense, whereas Missy just gets to the technical ins-and-outs. This not only provides a great insight into how Dalek technology functions (as well as perhaps paying homage to the psycho-kinetic mobility systems that are explored in their very first episode, The Daleks) but it also covers for several instances in Dalek episodes in which they seem to get stuck like a broken record, shouting ‘Exterminate’ over and over again until some convenient plot device comes in to save whoever is in danger (usually the Doctor).
The second explanation for this is slightly more simple, and relates to a concept that, for better or worse, is introduced in Asylum of the Daleks, which relates to how the Daleks view the concept of hatred itself. The Daleks admire anything that can hate as much as they can, and since the Doctor hates the Daleks, they actually admire him for it. Not only that, but they work themselves up into a frenzy over it – imagine each Dalek who tries to kill the Doctor agonising internally over whether or not to kill their greatest enemy, or spare him simply because of the raw untapped hatred that festers within. This can count for any hate-filled species, which might also explain the Daleks’ initial poor luck in their war against the Movellans – but we’ll get to that later.
Why were the Daleks set back by 1,000 years in Genesis of the Daleks by a collapsed corridor?
This one is interesting, to say the least. In Genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor fails in his mission to destroy the Daleks before they are even created, but he does achieve one small victory – he manages to destroy their embryonic growth tanks, and also destroy the one entrance into the Dalek bunker, effectively trapping them inside. But he then says that he estimates that these two actions have stunted Dalek development by a thousand years, which seems unlikely, particularly given their persistent nature. So why is this?
Essentially, it comes down to a cascading effect, and also relates to the death of Davros. In destroying the Dalek embryo tanks, the Doctor wipes out all of the Daleks growing inside, and also destroys their means of reproduction. Since the Daleks also kill Davros, their creator, as well as all the other Kaleds, they have no means of procreating, and basically have to start from scratch. Given the limited resources available, it’s a small wonder that the Daleks don’t just die out there and then, and having to rebuild a delicate and precise genetics laboratory with no arms is no simple task.
Why do the Daleks always seem to lose, when they have such a fearsome reputation?
Another common criticism of the Daleks is that they lose too much. This is fair, as we rarely see long-lasting Dalek victories on screen. However, there is plenty of evidence on-screen to suggest that they have conquered a significant portion of the galaxy. We see humans in conflict with Daleks in the future in plenty of classic Doctor Who episodes, and we also see the Daleks subjugating alien races too, like the Thals, the Aridians and the Exxilons. We see an example of a Dalek prison camp in Destiny of the Daleks, giving us an idea of how the Daleks treat the residents of the planets that they conquer. But they never actually manage to destroy the human race. In The Parting of the Ways, the humans on Satellite 5 know of the Daleks from legend, but claim that they ‘died out’ thousands of years ago, relative to their time period of 200,100, obviously to fight in the Time War.
So the Daleks are spread out across the Galaxy, fighting what is essentially a war with infinite fronts – it is in their nature to attempt to destroy everything that they encounter, which is no easy task, even for them. And then you must take into account the instances where, by pure fluke, the Dalek expanse was halted or reversed, such as the Movellans devious virus, the Dalek Civil Wars, or their mass exodus out of time and space to throw all of their resources at Gallifrey’s planetary shield at the conclusion of the Time War. If the Daleks hadn’t suffered these setbacks, judging by what we have already seen on-screen, there is no doubt that they would have conquered the Galaxy. The greatest obstacle standing in their way, however, is the Doctor, who has been declared on multiple occasions to be the Daleks’ greatest enemy for meddling in their affairs at critical points throughout their history and derailing many of their more destructive plans. As the show’s expanded universe often points out though, the Doctor cannot stop every Dalek invasion. As such, the Daleks have still caused immeasurable destruction throughout the Galaxy that the Doctor never really sees, and as the Doctor never experiences it, we as the audience don’t either.
Why do the Daleks change their appearance over time, when they regard themselves as the pinnacle of all evolution?
Again, the real-life answer for the Daleks’ changing appearance is due to the evolution of the BBC’s production values and materials, similarly to how the Borg in Star Trek change their appearance over time despite existing in their original form for millions of years. In-universe, the Borg appear to adapt when they encounter a race that benefits them, and the same can be said for the Daleks.
As far as the casings are concerned, the Daleks undoubtedly incorporate new materials and techniques into their design as they encounter them, such as the Metalert that was accidentally discovered and absorbed by the Dalek scientist Zeg, which was later used to create the casing for Dalek Sec. Although the Daleks constantly view themselves as supreme, they are not above altering certain aspects of their design when they feel that it was make themselves even more ‘supreme’.
As far as the actual physical appearance of the mutant is concerned, there is a simple in-universe explanation for this as well, although it requires some explanation. Although the Daleks central philosophy is maintaining their own genetic ‘purity’, their physical form does mutate over time. This stands to reason, as they were created using nuclear radiation, and it is very possible that by the time the Daleks go off to fight the Time War, they are practically a different species to the Daleks we see in the city on Skaro. This is proven by the alterations to the Dalek physical form that we see in Remembrance of the Daleks and The Parting of the Ways. One thing that is clear, however, is that following Victory of the Daleks, the Dalek Empire has returned to its original, ‘pure-bred’ state after surviving for years as half-mad hybrids or derivations, which the new Daleks dramatically destroy in the climax of that episode.
Why would a race like the Daleks ever fight a Civil War?
Speaking of Remembrance, that episode and its two predecessors, Resurrection and Revelation, introduce a fascinating new aspect to Dalek lore, and that is the concept of an all-out Dalek Civil War. It seems odd that a race as single-minded and fanatically loyal as the Daleks would ever fight such a war, since Dalek rebellions or dissent among the ranks are unheard of given their nature. But the seeds for this idea were sowed as far back as Evil of the Daleks, in which the Second Doctor causes a civil war to break out in the Dalek city on Skaro by infecting a significant portion of the Daleks with the ‘Human Factor’, making them able to express emotion and question orders.
In terms of the actual full-scale Civil War to follow, however, one must look to Destiny of the Daleks for the first stages of the answer. The Movellans, who are able to effectively combat the Daleks due to their development of a synthetic virus which is the only disease which affects them, reduce the Dalek Empire to rubble overnight, cutting dozens of Dalek holdouts off from each other, which continue to exist even after the Movellans are eventually wiped out. Cut off from the main Empire, and believing themselves to be the only survivors, these Daleks go on to adapt and change for the same reasons discussed earlier, leading to several splinter factions who regard all of the other factions of Daleks as inferior.
And then Davros gets thrown into the mix, and he takes this a step further by actually creating Daleks from different template species, such as humans, and also altering the Dalek base design by incorporating far more cybernetic elements to make them obedient to him, basically creating a race of Daleks that are more machine than organic. The result is a Dalek Civil War on many fronts, with many factions, that lasts for centuries as the main Dalek Empire focuses on wiping out all of the smaller splinter factions, which they consider to be an affront to their existence. It is even implied in Remembrance that the Daleks hate non-pure Daleks more than they hate humans, which certainly explains why they get so caught up in constant in-fighting rather than focusing on destroying humanity.
And finally, arguably the most pressing question of all…
Why do the Daleks have plungers?
Ah, the quirks of 1960s prop design. Supposedly the idea of a totally inhuman appendage that defies our understanding scared people back then. In truth, the plunger is a bit of a weird choice to have opposite the gunstick, and frankly is amazing that it has been retained all these years, particularly in the new series. The Americans did away with the plunger for their Daleks, instead preferring a more sinister silver claw, but we Brits like to stick to our guns – or, rather, cleaning utensils.
In fairness, the revival did wonders for actually trying to make this appendage seem scary – it looks less like a toilet plunger with its detail, but still retains the same shape, and it is revealed in Dalek that it can not only morph to fit around panels and buttons to use a an actual manipulator, but it can also form a tight seal around a human’s face to suffocate them to death and also apply enough force to crush a man’s skull like it was polystyrene.
The in-lore explanation for the manipulator arm, as it is officially named, is that it is a catch-all device for performing as many tasks as possible with one standard attachment. The problem with the Daleks having a claw is that this is a recognizable human shape, a hand, and that detracts from the Daleks’ most chilling aspect which is their utterly unapologetic non-humanness. When one takes into account the fact that it can change shape, it actually makes a lot of sense, especially since the Daleks aren’t likely to carry spare tools around with them. It also doubles as a scanner, a brainwave-extractor, a tea-tray-carrier and, if the situation requires it, it can make quite an effective close-range weapon for ripping people’s faces off. I think I’d prefer a quick extermination, thanks.
How do Daleks build things?
Daleks build things using a combination of their technical genius, their plungers and sheer determination. Despite their odd design, Dalek plungers can extend and retract, hold objects with a vice-like grip, and rotate and move objects in ways Human hands can’t, making them perfectly functional. Daleks can also replace the plunger with other tools like welders for specific tasks.
How do Daleks reproduce?
Daleks reproduce by growing new Dalek mutants in genetic laboratories and installing them into Dalek casings which are built on production lines. The Power of the Daleks showed us that Daleks were capable of setting up new Dalek production facilities using samples of their own DNA, metals from a Human colony and a constant supply of electricity. This means that a single Dalek ship can theoretically create a new Dalek production line anywhere it lands.
Do Daleks Eat or Sleep?
Because their casings provide nutrients and life support for the Dalek mutant, Daleks never need to eat or sleep. The corpses of their victims are pulped and fed into Dalek casings to provide sustenance, and their brain chemistry is constantly monitored and sustained by their life support system so they will never need nor want rest of any kind.
Can Daleks Fly Anywhere?
Daleks can not only fly, they can fly practically anywhere. The exact range of a single Dalek’s flight is not known, but they are capable of flying at high speeds in-atmosphere and even faster in space, to the extent that a single Dalek can serve as a fully-shielded heavy aerial fighter-bomber, as episodes like Evolution of the Daleks and The Stolen Earth show that their firepower can be maximized to destroy buildings and vehicles.
Can Daleks Work Underwater?
Daleks can work perfectly underwater, and this has been known to fans since as far back as their second ever appearance in The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964 when a Dalek rose ominously out of the Thames. Daleks can either traverse the bed of a body of water or use their flight abilities to move through the water like sharks, and their weapons can be instantly adapted to be functional underwater.
Doctor Who fans worldwide are once again grappling with an age-old question that every Doctor Who fan asks themselves before a new series airs, and that is: ‘Will the Daleks be in this series?’ Unlike any other of the Doctor’s enemies, the Daleks have appeared in every single series of the revival and so it may seem obvious that they will return… or does it? And if the Daleks do return to antagonise Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her trio of new companions, will they fill a prominent role? Or will they take to the sidelines? To answer this question, it might be useful to just recap how the Daleks were used by various showrunners throughout Doctor Who’s history.
The Classic era of the show used the Daleks relatively sparingly – in over 150 stories only 16 were dedicated to the Daleks, and that includes both Mission to the Unknown and Frontier in Space. The Daleks were often held back for big reveals and a great deal of effort was put in to keeping surprise appearances a secret, unlike in NuWho. Remembrance of the Dalekseven goes to the trouble of using the pseudonym ‘Roy Tromelly’ to hide the presence of actor Terry Molloy in order to keep the eventual reveal of Davros a secret. This sparing use of the Daleks led to long gaps between appearances that would sometimes span as long as 5 years, particularly since Tom Baker’s era has only 2 Dalek episodes out of 41 total. After taking over as showrunner, John-Nathan Turner seemingly limited the Daleks to one appearance per Doctor, either by accident or design, keeping Dalek appearances in the 80s limited. But when the Daleks did appear, fans could be certain the episode in question would be dark, violent and sometimes even horrific.
When crossing over the vast canyon that is the Wilderness Years to the idyllic oasis of NuWho, however, an obvious change in the utilisation of the Daleks in Doctor Who becomes apparent. Russell T. Davies certainly succeeded in revitalising the Daleks with a much-needed redesign and excellent first reveal in Dalek, but after that a pattern seems to emerge. It is worthy of note that there is not a single series of the Davies’ era that does not contain a Dalek two-parter, and whilst this was fantastic for my 10-year old self, this means that the shock factor of a Dalek reveal that was present in the classic series as well as the first series of the revival has now considerably diminished. Russell seemed intent on the Daleks being the ‘big baddies’ of the series, which in itself is a logical direction to take the show in, but it did introduce one significant element to the Daleks that they could definitely have done without – predictability.
It is for this reason that, upon reading the title of this article, a common reaction would probably be “Of course the Daleks are going to return, they always do!” and you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that – Russell even included a line in Evolution of the Daleks in which Dalek Thay states “We always survive.” It’s as if at some point off-screen Russell had turned up in the Dalek base and read them the script for the next series in advance. But Doctor Who has been without Russell T. Davies since 2010, so how has Steven Moffat handled the Daleks in his era of the show?
The answer is, with all due respect to the Moff, that he has handled them badly. Very badly indeed. In 2010, Moffat stated that he intended the Daleks to be ‘retired’ for a few years, in similar fashion to the brief hiatuses of Dalek activity in the late 60s and the late 70s. However, he did not follow up on this promise. Instead what we got was an era of Doctor Who peppered with sparse and meaningless Dalek cameos, and although some of the later ones were done right (as I have discussed further in another article entirely), the end result means that Matt Smith’s era of Doctor Who can be described as ‘almost Dalek-less’, since we don’t talk about Asylum of the Daleks. If Moffat had truly removed the Daleks from the show then as he originally intended, we would have been set for an epic and long-awaited return of the Daleks during Peter Capaldi’s era which would have given Moffat the time necessary to complete the 14 rewrites to the script of Asylum that were necessary to make it watchable, and it might have been good – maybe even awesome.
So this brings us to 2017, and after 7 years of pitiful Dalek appearances, how will Chris Chibnall handle the Daleks? Surely they will at least cameo in the series for the eleventh time in a row? Well, perhaps not. Recent evidence has come to light that suggests that Chibnall may be going Dalek-lite for Series 11, for better or for worse. Following the sacking of longtime Dalek operator Nicholas Pegg for hiding an offensive message in his a column published in Doctor Who Magazine, the BBC claims that Pegg was not due to be involved in Series 11 anyway, and there has still be no news as to whether or not the voice of the Daleks himself, Nicholas Briggs, will be involved either. Could this be a clue suggesting that the Daleks will be absent in Series 11?
Well, probably not. Even if Chris Chibnall is taking the series in a radical new direction, chances are the Daleks will still appear in some form or another, particularly since this series of Doctor Who has proven controversial for some and Chibnall will need to gently convince fans that this is still the same Doctor Who that we know and love by bombarding them with imagery of innocent people slaughtered by alien death machines. For the Daleks to succeed as effective villains it is vital that Chibnall, unlike Moffat, decides on how he wants to use the Daleks and sticks with it – either a Russell-style epic Dalek finale or an extended period of Dalek absence could benefit Terry Nation’s creations, and Chinall certainly has the writing skill. Let’s just hope he puts two and two together to either bring the Daleks back in an epic space-opera style episode that they deserve, or to give them much-needed downtime in preparation for whoever takes the reigns next.
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