Although Julian Bleach did an excellent job with the role of Davros in the New Series, for me nobody will be better suited for the role than Terry Molloy, the actor who portrayed Davros in the 1980s Dalek stories as well as many Big Finish audios. Not only does Terry clearly understand the character better than most, he gives a fantastic performance as both the scheming, subtle villain and the cackling, maniacal psychopath that Davros embodies. This is never more true than in the Big Finish audios, which contain some of Terry Molloy’s best performances as Davros to date.
The three Davros customs featured in this post are all based on Big Finish audios, and so are heavily inspired by the Terry Molloy version of Davros. However, for the sake of consistency, I have also attempted to include a degree of transition between my Davros customs and the official figures that they go between on my shelf. For example, I have gradually incorporated elements from New Series Davros figures into Classic Davros customs that are based later in his timeline.
Custom Davros figure from The Davros Mission
Davros is in a bad way at the end of Revelation of the Daleks, as by the end of the episode he has lost his only remaining hand and been captured by the Daleks. This is followed up on in the I, Davros series and the follow-up audio The Davros Mission, which depicts the events leading up to Davros’ trial as well as the trial itself. I created this custom to depict Davros as he stands trial, including his life-support chariot and bloody arm stump bandage. I created this figure using the body of an Auton figure with a heavily modified head, and several Dalek bases linked together with metal wires and create a ‘hovering’ effect. The wires connecting from the chariot to Davros’ body are smaller electrical wires, and the figure was painted using black Citadel paint for the top of the chariot and Davros himself, silver Citadel paint for the outside of the chariot and green Citadel paint for the Kaled blood on Davros’ hand.
Custom Davros figure from The Juggernauts
This custom is based on one of my personal favourite Doctor Who audios, The Juggernauts. After crashing on the planet Lethe and assuming the identity of ‘Professor Vasso’, Davros begins to create the ultimate anti-Dalek force using salvaged Mechanoids, and the titular Juggernauts are born. One of the best things about this story is that we see Davros playing the role of a kind old man whilst secretly plotting to harvest the organs of everyone in the colony. As depicted on the cover and mentioned by the Doctor in the audio, this figure uses the Necros Dalek colour scheme for the skirt, as Davros allegedly salvaged one of the Necros Daleks to repair his damaged life support chair. This custom was painted using white Citadel paint for the base of the skirt, Davros’ shoulder panels and the control console, gold Citadel paint for the hemispheres, black Citadel paint for the base and for some of Davros’ machinery, and grey Citadel paint for Davros’ ‘Professor Vasso’ tunic. The Davros body in this custom is a heavily modified version of the New Series Davros figure, with the hand replaced with a more primitive claw and the tunic enhanced with wires.
Custom Davros figure from Daleks Among Us
Once again hiding out on a remote world, Davros in Daleks Among Us is depicted as occupying a battered and beaten-up life support chair, either due to damage caused by age or as a result of botched repairs. Either way, I created this custom to represent a more slapdash version of Davros’ life support controls, to reflect the fact that Davros is in hiding. The skirt of this Dalek came from a New Series Dalek, but the base is from a Classic Series Dalek. The body of Davros came from a Pig Slave figure with the hand replaced with a plastic claw and the head heavily modified to resemble Davros. I painted this custom using black Citadel paint for the skirt, control panel and body of Davros, Gold Citadel paint for the hemispheres and the base, and a combination of beige, red and blue Citadel paint for the detailing on Davros’ face. The control panel itself was made using a piece of old computer mother board, and the back of Davros’ chair is the rear panel of a Paradigm Dalek.
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Fans of the Doctor Who audio production company Big Finish were faced with some bittersweet news yesterday as it was announced on social media that the Monthly Adventures series would conclude with its two-hundred and seventy-fifth instalment in early 2021, marking the end of the mainline series of high-quality audio productions created in the style of Classic series episodes that have delighted Doctor Who fans for the last 20 years.
The Monthly Adventures, also alternatively called the Main Range or Monthly Range, started in 1999 with The Sirens of Time, a multi-Doctor story starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, and has continued with one release each month, with each release consisting of four 25-minute episodes that are identical in format to Classic Doctor Who episodes, even down to the cliffhanger and theme music at the end of each part. The setting of each audio story in the Monthly Adventures varies dramatically, much like in the televised series, although the audios take the opportunity to experiment with greater deviations from the standard format of the show such as the reintroduction of ‘pure historicals’, stories that do not feature any aliens or non-humans and focus more on the time-travel element of Doctor Who.
Initially a niche ‘expanded universe’ audio series, the Monthly Adventures (and Big Finish itself) began to gain more popularity with the return of Doctor Who to TV in 2005 and the audios have been elevated to a unique position of ‘B canon’ for many fans due to their genuine nature and care taken for the show’s lore and continuity. Fan-favourite releases from the Monthly Adventures series include Jubilee, Davros, Master, The Chimes of Midnight, The Kingmaker, Spare Parts, The Silver Turk, The Holy Terror and many, many more, with some audios featuring returning villains like the Daleks, Cybermen, Davros but others featuring completely unique villains.
Starring the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors with occasional appearances from the Eighth Doctor, the Monthly Adventures has continued to grow Big Finish’s popularity as a company, though newer fans had begun to voice their concern over the lack of a distinctive jumping-on point, particularly as the vast range had begun to incorporate story arcs that not only spanned multiple releases but also multiple Doctors.
Fans of Big Finish need not despair, as the announcement of the end of the Monthly Adventures was tempered by a concurrent announcement that the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors will be receiving their own independent ranges, presumably similar to the fan-favourite Eighth Doctor box set series like Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition and Ravenous. Essentially, it means releases are being rescheduled to four episodes every few months instead of one episode every month, though this is currently speculative. This announcement also extended to every Doctor from William Hartnell up to and including Matt Smith, even the late John Hurt, a considerable reshuffle of releases for Big Finish.
Nicholas Briggs, creative director and executive producer for Big Finish is quoted on the Big Finish website: “As well as making our ranges much less confusing for Big Finish beginners, these changes will allow us more exciting new possibilities and creative freedom. By freeing the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors from the constrictions of the Monthly Adventures schedule, and giving them their own distinct ranges, we will be able to introduce more surprising cast combinations, different story lengths, and more story arcs.”
The Monthly Adventures Finale
Another silver lining to this apparent grey cloud is the idea that the Monthly Adventures will finish with release number 275, currently listed as ‘TBA’ on the Big Finish website. In theory, this release could serve as a ‘finale’ to the Monthly Adventures series – perhaps it will feature long-running enemies of the series like the Daleks or Cybermen, or Big Finish original villains like the Viyrans or the Eleven. With such a huge range to draw ideas from, there are hundreds of potential story ideas, so it will be interesting to see what direction Big Finish takes the de-facto ‘finale’ of the Monthly Adventures.
Fans speculating on social media appear in favour of the idea of a multi-Doctor story, which would be fitting considering the very first Monthly Adventures audio was a multi-Doctor story with the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors that release number 275 could revisit. Perhaps the Eighth Doctor will make a triumphant return to the Monthly Adventures, or we will be treated to the first appearance of the Fourth or Tenth Doctors – although they are likely more occupied with their recently announced multi-Doctor special, ‘Out of Time 1’, which gives fans some high hopes for the future of the Doctor Who audios. With Big Finish, the possibilities are almost endless. As a wise Ood once said, “This song is ending, but the story never ends.”
One of the best things about creating the Asylum Project was the freedom to create any Dalek colour scheme I wanted and see it made real in figure form. Sometimes colour schemes didn’t work out the way I intended, or sometimes they took a few tries before I found the exact shade that made a particular colour combination work. However, most of the time a Dalek colour scheme would emerge fully formed and would just work on the first try – and many of the Daleks in this showcase are examples of that. Most of these Daleks don’t conform to lore, or if they do it is a tenuous link at best, but the most important thing about creating art is to allow only the limit of your own creativity to prevent you from creating a piece, not dogma or pre-established rules and expectations.
When collecting Daleks, particularly in the secondhand market, eventually one becomes over-encumbered with New Series Daleks – this is great news for the Asylum Project, but as much as I love making Asylum customs, I don’t want to limit the scope of my Dalek customisation to just Asylum Daleks. I have therefore created several New Series Daleks that, although complete, do not fit in with either my Big Finish or my standard New Series Dalek collections. Some of these Daleks are loosely based on canon designs, but many are simply my own colour schemes or heavily modified versions of existing colour schemes.
Custom Blue Dalek Sec Figure
The idea behind this custom was simple – what if the different members of the Cult of Skaro had different colour schemes? This would certainly have made them easier to identify, although if all three of the previously bronze Daleks had different colours, Dalek Sec would look bland by comparison. As such, I created this ‘alternate’ Dalek Sec custom, involving one simple change, making the skirt of the figure blue instead of black. Although this is a relatively minor change, the effect is striking – not only does it break up the consistent black colour scheme of the original figure, but it also adds menacing emphasis on the central rotating gunnery platform that makes up the Dalek midsection.
Custom Dalek Saucer Pilot Figure
Briefly seen in the 50th Anniversary Special The Day of the Doctor, the New Series Dalek Saucer Pilot is based off the original Dalek Saucer Commander from the 1964 epic The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Creating this custom was somewhat ironic for me, as I spend most of my time customising Saucer Commander Daleks by painting them to resemble other Daleks of the era – this time, however, I was repainting a completely different Dalek to that same design. The panels on the skirt section were certainly the most challenging, but using black Citadel paint I filled in the sections that required painting and then used a setsquare to scrape away the excess paint and leave a clean finish. I also used bronze and gold Citadel paint to add detailing to the neck rings, the eyestalk and the hemispheres. Finally, I replaced the front panel, including the gunstick and plunger, with that of a Dalek Commander figure, in order to break up the colour scheme of the midsection.
Custom Red Dalek Commander Figure
Red and Black is not a colour combination that has been explored very much with the Daleks, possibly because it makes the connections of their origin to certain fascist regimes slightly too overt. Nonetheless, the colour scheme still looks good on a Dalek, and it certainly adds an intimidating touch that is perfect for Dalek Commanders. I considered painting the head red as well, although I was unsure if this would create too much of a dominance of red in the colour scheme – after all, this figure is simply a Dalek Commander with the formerly gold detailing painted over in red, so I felt that sticking to the original design would make this figure consistent with other Dalek Commanders.
Custom Eternity Circle Dalek Figure
Featured in the War Doctor novel Engines of War, the Eternity Circle is a distinct sect of elite Daleks formed by the Dalek Emperor to develop Temporal Weapons for the Time War. In the novel, the five members of the Eternity Circle were been described as dark blue and silver, a colour scheme that was recently depicted in figure form via the new Big Finish Dalek Interrogator Prime figure. However, there are several points in the novel Engines of War in which certain members of the Eternity Circle are described as being dark blue and gold, and although this may be a simple misprint or mistake, I was intrigued to see what that design would look like. As such, I repainted a Dalek Interrogator Prime figure and replaced the silver detailing with gold, and then added a black wash to restore the figure’s original grimy appearance. The colour scheme works very well, particularly since it adds a certain degree of consistency with other Time War-era Daleks.
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Davros, the creator of the Daleks, is a recurring staple of Doctor Who, and after his first appearance in Genesis of the Daleks he has become almost as iconic as his creations. As both a collector of Dalek figures and a creator of Dalek customs, I eventually got round to building a collection of custom Davros figures, designed to depict Davros in his various appearances across Doctor Who media, particularly Big Finish audios. Although the general appearance of Davros has remained consistent throughout his appearances in the Classic Series and the New Series, the specifics of Davros’ design have altered over time, particularly has the character has been portrayed by multiple actors over the years. Also, Davros is represented as having multiple additions or modifications to his life support chair, particularly in the Big Finish audios. As such, I tried to make these customs as diverse as possible, so that I wasn’t just making the same figure over and over again.
The result of this is an eclectic collection of Davros figures made from a variety of different materials and spare parts, including a large number of spare Dalek skirts, although I was short on both Classic Series bases and spare parts from pre-existing Davros figures, meaning that there was a fair degree of improvisation involved in the creation of these figures, particularly the ones depicting Davros in the Classic era.
Custom Davros figure from Davros
Although the Big Finish audio simply titled Davros makes no mention of physical changes to Davros’ chair during the events of the story, those who have listened to it will know that during the story Davros gains considerable influence over ‘Trans Allied Inc’, an intergalactic corporation that he intends to use to collapse the galactic economy. I created this custom to represent Davros allied with TAI, including a computer systems interface installed on the side of his chair and the infamous projectile injector that Davros wields during this story. I made Davros using an Auton figure, and I made the face particularly grotesque by adding quantities of hot glue to reflect Davros’ desiccated state in this story.
Custom Davros ‘Great Healer’ figure
Though it may seem hypocritical to dissect the design quality of the ‘Great Healer’ prop from Revelation of the Daleks after unveiling this monstrosity, I created this custom in an attempt to re-imagine the ‘Great Healer’ as less of a disguise and more of a false deity, incorporating aspects of the Dalek design into an artificial figurehead for a species that was completely ignorant of the Daleks’ intentions. The false Davros head inside is made using the head of an Auton, and using an intricate system of decorative wires one can move the head left and right. I constructed the housing using pieces of Dalek, plastic frames from a Warhammer set and pieces of an old phone charger. The figure is draped in sheets adorned with symbols, intended to be offerings from adoring worshipers, which I created using masking tape and permanent marker.
Custom Davros figure from Revelation of the Daleks
Despite the existence of a Davros figure for Revelation of the Daleks, I always found Davros’ appearance in that story to be somewhat lacking, particularly after hearing some of the Big Finish audios. The production team missed a trick by not showing some of the physical decay or damage that both Davros himself and his life support chair would have acquired by that point, and I created this custom to show some of the ideas that could have been present in Revelation of the Daleks. For one, Davros’ chair is much more battered and missing quantities of its control console – not only that, but Davros himself looks worse for wear, as I have emphasised the deformed face on this custom to illustrate Davros’ decay. I created the Davros figure from an old Pig Slave figure from Series 3, and ironically the Dalek skirt came from a Dalek Sec figure.
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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.
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The 8th of July 2006 saw a defining Doctor Who moment play out on TV for the first time – the Daleks and the Cybermen, two long-time villains of the show who have both been appearing regularly since the 1960s, finally got a chance to go head-to-head in Doomsday, the Series 2 finale that saw a climactic battle between the Doctor Who universe’s two most powerful races. This battle saw a resounding victory for the Daleks, and although the Doctor managed to intervene to prevent both races from conquering Earth, it was clear even before then that the Daleks had the upper hand, despite their radically fewer numbers. By the time the Genesis Ark opened above London and the Daleks began slaughtering Humans and Cybermen alike in the streets, it was far too late for the Cybermen to even retreat.
However, fans have pointed out several reasons why the idea of a conflict between the Daleks and the Cybermen should return at some point in the show’s future, either on television or in a Big Finish audio. Though it is likely always on a writer’s mind when constructing a finale to a series of audios, TV stories or comics to have a Dalek vs Cybermen rematch, they are likely put off by the idea due to the fact that they either believe that Doomsday has used that idea already and so it cannot be touched or that they feel not enough time has passed for fans to simply say “You ripped that idea off Doomsday“. This post will argue why this is not the case.
Doom of the Cybermen
Though it seems obvious from the outcome of the episode, the Cybermen were doomed from the start in Doomsday, though this is more to do with the fact that these Cybermen aren’t actually the Cybermen that the Daleks are familiar with – these Cybermen originate from a parallel Earth, and had only recently jumped over from that universe to our own. These Cybermen lack the centuries of development and expansion that the actual Cybermen from our universe experienced – after all, entire planets fell to the Mondasian and Telosian Cybermen whilst the Cybus Cybermen had no knowledge of life on other planets. The only factor that plays in their favour is that their version of Earth runs on a faster timeline, so their technology is more advanced than that of modern-day Earth – but this still puts them leagues behind the Daleks.
Many fans have wondered how this battle would have played out if different versions of the Cybermen were present. Some say that the Classic Cybermen seen in Earthshock, Attack of the Cybermen and Silver Nemesis would have fared better than the Cybus Cybermen in this fight, though that is up for debate. The Cybermen’s biggest weakness in this battle was their lack of an effective defence against the Dalek blasters. Though the Classic Cybermen had more powerful weapons, they were still susceptible to Dalek firepower. One version of Cybermen that would have definitely fared a lot better, however, is the modern, updated Mondasian Cybermen seen in Nightmare in Silver, The Time of the Doctor, Dark Water, Death in Heaven and The Doctor Falls. These Cybermen are greatly upgraded versions of both the Mondasian Cybermen and the Cybus Cybermen, as the two races merged after Cybus Cybermen escaped from the void.
Modern Cybermen appear to have advanced greatly in technology since their appearances in the Russel T. Davies era, as the newer incarnation is capable of adapting to weapons fire used against it – even if a weapon is capable of completely destroying a Cyberman, other Cybermen will adapt to be resistant to it. This could possibly present a problem for the Daleks, though they may be capable of adapting their weapons themselves as Starfleet does to counter the adaptive Borg shields in Star Trek. However, the modern Cybermen also feature far more advanced weapons, and although it is uncertain whether they would be capable of destroying Daleks in one shot, it is likely that concentrated fire of these weapons would yield better results than that of the wrist blaster in Doomsday. Had these Cybermen been featured against the Daleks, it is possible that the Cult of Skaro could have suffered casualties and the battle would certainly have been less one-sided.
The Cybermen featured in Series 12 also seem to have a more updated design that even the modern Cybermen, so it is possible that the Cybermen have upgraded themselves even further. It would be interesting to see how these new Cybermen fare against the Daleks, particularly as the Daleks themselves have had a few upgrades themselves.
The Supreme Beings
Since 2006, the Daleks have been shown to be capable of a lot more than they were during their battle with the Cybermen. For one, we know that the standard Dalek is capable of enhancing its firepower to create a devastating explosion, and that flying Daleks can use this technique to function as small, nimble bombers that can decimate a battlefield in just a few flybys. Three Daleks combining their firepower is enough to level a house, and the combined firepower of two Daleks was enough to take out an entire wave of flying attack vessels with pinpoint accuracy. Not to mention the fact that the Daleks have since been shown to have more powerful Paradigm weaponry, capable of disintegrating a fellow Dalek in a single shot, and several Special Weapons Daleks, who are known to be capable of mass-extermination with a single shot.
Without a doubt, a lot has changed for both of these races since 2006. The question remains – has enough time passed for another Dalek vs Cybermen battle to be viable as a finale, or even as an episode concept at all?
Daleks vs Cybus
As many older fans probably pointed out at the time, the Cybermen we see fight the Daleks in Doomsday are not technically ‘real’ Cybermen. The show has established that, due to parallel evolution, all the different Cybermen we have seen so far have slightly different origins, but they all fall under the Cyberman name. In the Classic series, the Cybermen that had regularly plagued both the Doctor and the Universe at large were the Mondasian and Telosian varieties, and (as previously mentioned) the Cybus Cybermen seen in the series in 2006 are severely underpowered compared to their non-parrallel brethren. As such, many fans believe that there is now more justification for a rematch between the two races, particularly since the Mondasian Cybermen have returned with a far more powerful upgrade.
Not only that, but Doomsday aired in 2006, nearly 15 years ago – for perspective, Doomsday was in Series 2, and at the time of writing this, Doctor Who is currently midway through airing Series 12. Even when you look at it from an in-universe perspective, the size and location of the two interstellar Empires of the Daleks and the Cybermen means that they would probably come into conflict all the time. As such, it is not only possible to depict a Daleks vs Cybermen rematch on-screen in the 2020s, it actually makes a lot of sense.
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It has been over a year now since the last major Dalek Asylum Custom Collections Tour on Sacred Icon, and although a small teaser was uploaded several months ago, the customs have changed significantly since then – but as of this month, our preparations are complete, and so now is the time to announce the Asylum Project, a new and updated showcase of over a hundred unique Dalek Asylum custom figures. Together, they form a huge diorama of the Dalek Asylum, with each and every model being meticulously created by hand, renovating old, broken or otherwise unwanted Dalek figures to create a vast art installation.
The Dalek Asylum
As seen in the Series 7 episode Asylum of the Daleks, the Dalek Asylum is a hollowed-out planet filled with vast underground chambers and a honeycomb of interconnecting corridors that the Daleks use as a dumping ground for the most insane amongst their number. Daleks that are so battle-scarred, insane or unhinged that they are unable to function among the Dalek race, but have otherwise done no wrong, are committed to the Dalek Asylum for safekeeping out of a twisted since of respect for the pure hatred that these creatures represent. Once a fully-automated self-repairing facility, the Asylum has decayed over the millennia of abuse to the point that it now exists as little more than a dark recluse for its deranged denizens, as many of its actual repair or rehabilitation facilities have long since been damaged beyond repair.
Either as a result of its unfathomable age or Dalek time-travel meddling, the Asylum contains many examples of Classic Daleks alongside their bronze Time War era brethren, and several factions of Daleks from centuries ago the in their history still fight age-old wars amongst themselves within the deepest parts of the Asylum. Alongside that are factions that have sprung up within the Asylum itself, such as bands of the more insane inmates that upkeep their own casings by hunting the newest inhabitants and ‘recycling’ them, leading many to sport mismatched casings made up of bits and pieces of several types of Dalek. Several of the scientists that were once stationed to study the inmates of the Asylum have since been admitted themselves, and these usually form the brains behind the organised bands of scavenging Splicer Daleks throughout the Asylum.
Arguably the most dangerous part of the Asylum, however, is the ‘intensive care’ ward – a location designed to house nothing less than the most insane Daleks in the Asylum. Many of these are examples of lone survivors of famous Dalek campaigns against the Doctor, and after thousands of years of vain attempts to calm these vicious specimens, the ward now exists as a glorified prison for its occupants – and with good reason. The Daleks that reside here are so murderous in their eternal rage that they have been deliberately containing within separate cages with their weapons removed as a safety precaution to prevent them from killing each other. Should they ever be released among the other inmates of the Asylum, they would surely stir up enough bloodlust among the imprisoned Daleks that they would attempt to escape, an eventually so terrifying that it scares even the Supreme Dalek.
The Asylum Project aims to capture the the essence of this unique setting by portraying a diverse and eclectic selection of Dalek inmates from a wide variety of points in Dalek history. Almost every type of Dalek is represented here in some form, and one of the joys of using the Dalek Asylum as a template for a custom project is the range of freedoms it provides for Dalek customs. Several examples of the Daleks seen in this collection are totally new designs that incorporate elements of several different Dalek designs, and this is due to the design philosophy for this art installation of broadening the scope of the Dalek Asylum from what we saw on-screen.
The Asylum Project
For those not already aware, my name is Cameron, and I run the Sacred Icon blog, writing blog posts about several science fiction franchises from Star Trek to Transformers. However, a franchise I tend to talk about a lot on this blog is Doctor Who, because it is honestly my all-time favourite series and arguably my favourite thing about Doctor Who it the Daleks themselves. Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with the Daleks, and this has fuelled by passion for creating custom Dalek figures. As so many Dalek figures one can find on eBay and in other places around the internet are damaged, it can often be difficult to come up with new and creative ideas for the huge numbers of broken, incomplete or otherwise unusable Dalek figures that are floating around. However, when the concept of the Dalek Asylum was introduced, this created a goldmine of potential ideas for Dalek customs, and I endeavoured to actualise as many of those ideas as I could in Dalek figure form.
Ironically, though the production team behind Asylum of the Daleks went to the trouble of acquiring lots of Classic Dalek props to use in the episode, the actual variety of ideas we saw on-screen was fairly limited – many of the Daleks appeared merely broken or slightly damaged as opposed to the insane, battle-scarred warriors that they were described as. Even worse, the Classic Daleks were woefully underused, to the point that Moffat felt the need to being Classic Daleks back again just two seasons later to compensate. In fairness, they were working with full-size props and were on a time and budget limit, but nonetheless the customs in my collection involve a more diverse array of Daleks and explore additional concepts to those seen on-screen. As such, not all of the Daleks in the collection are screen-accurate, indeed only a handful are based on specific Daleks from the episode itself. One of the best things about the idea of the Asylum is that the Daleks within are sourced from many different points in Dalek history, including points in their timeline that we, the fanbase, have not seen. As such, making Asylum customs opens the doors for more creative freedom when it comes to colour schemes and general designs.
Overall, the process of creating Dalek customs is always relaxing and enjoyable to me, but there is something special about creating customs for the Asylum collection, as each Dalek adds to the collective history of the collection. The Asylum Project is a source of immense personal pride for me, as I have put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that each individual figure is as good as I can make it. The entire project has taught me a lot about model making (particularly on the health and safety side) and I am proud to share my collection of custom Daleks with the world. I hope you enjoy browsing them! For those who are interested, there is the potential for some of these Daleks to be put up for sale at some point in the future. I am considering setting up a Youtube channel to further showcase the figures in video form, rather than static images, so perhaps the figures will go up for sale concurrently with that, when it eventually transpires. For now though, none of these figures are for sale. However, I will be offering tips throughout the figure showcases of how to create your own Dalek customs, and with that in mind I have also written a brief ‘how-to’ guide regarding setting up your own Dalek customs workshop.
Making your own Dalek Customs
For a fan of the Daleks there is perhaps nothing better than creating Dalek Customs, as the availability of cheap broken Dalek figures on sites like eBay coupled with the relative ease of creating a convincing destroyed Dalek has led many fans to having a go at fixing up their own custom Dalek. However, it takes more work that you would initially think to design and build a really good destroyed Dalek, and even more to pull off a perfect repaint of a pristine Dalek figure. Part of what this project is all about is encouraging would-be Dalek Custom creators to make their ideas reality, and if this installation proves anything it is that you can create some amazing things with simple materials from around the house that you would never think to use otherwise. For example, a lot of the Dalek mutants seen throughout the collection were made primarily out of old headphone wires and tissue paper. Upcycling and re-using of old junk plays an important part in customising Daleks, and it is an excellent way to make creative use of computer waste and difficult-to-recycle plastics that would otherwise be sent to rot in landfill.
To create your own Dalek custom, the first thing you will need as a Dalek to base it on. These are usually easy to find – if you have been a fan of the show since your childhood, chances are you have a Dalek figure lying around somewhere – or, if you have children who have recently grown out of their Tennant-era toys, consider bringing a new lease of life to these otherwise abandoned relics. As previously mentioned, sites like eBay are useful for picking up bundles of broken Daleks, and sometimes a huge batch comes along for ridiculously low prices that are really useful for Dalek Custom army-building. Also be sure to check out local car boot sales or charity shops – you never know what you might find, and old action figures are definitely something that pops up a lot in those sorts of places.
Second, you will need the arts and crafts materials themselves – depending on what kind of custom you want to make, you might need anything from paints and brushes to glue and cutting tools, but remember that almost anything can be used in a custom figure – what matters is how it is done. For example, hot glue is an excellent means of bonding plastics, and it also doubles as convincing Dalek goo when it dries and is painted over in green. However, you could just as easily use plastic glue or any strong adhesive that you have at home for your custom. Though it is good to have high-quality paints such as the Citadel paints from Games Workshop, most paints work on Dalek plastic and several of the early customs in the Asylum collection use Humbrol paints that date back to the 90s, proving that just about anything is possible.
Be sure to be sensible with the kind of arts and crafts that you are using, as although it might seem like a good idea to go out and buy a hot glue gun to get started on your first custom, if you have no idea how to use it properly, you will inevitably end up with a nasty burn. This metaphorically applies to almost all elements of DIY – enthusiasm for the task is meaningless without the skill to do it properly and, most importantly, precaution is required to get the job done with no injuries. It is therefore best to start small when it comes to your first Dalek custom, and ideally you will want to use materials you have at hand without having to spend any money at all. Buying the equipment necessary to have a flexible arsenal for creating a diverse range of Dalek customs would likely cost upwards of £100 including paints, tools and brushes, so start cheap until you know if you have a flair for DIY.
Next, you will need ideas. This is arguably the most important aspect, as a good idea is what drives the creative process of making the custom, so without a solid idea the project will rapidly lose direction. If you are stuck for ideas, feel free to use any of the figures in these showcases as templates for customs, and if you’re really stuck you can always try re-watching Asylum of the Daleks, and that is not something that you will find is regularly recommended to you. However, as poor as the episode itself is, you can still find some inspiration among the wasted potential. A good way of thinking up a damaged Dalek custom is thinking of interesting ways in which Daleks could be damaged or destroyed, and go from there. Think of ideas like “What would a Dalek that fell down a mineshaft look like?” or “What would a Dalek’s casing look like if it were attacked by a bear?”.
Once you have the Dalek, the appropriate tools and an idea, all you need next is the will to create a custom. Getting to grips with using model-making tools and precise paintbrushes can be tricky at first, but don’t be afraid to start a practice run and find that you have to start again. As any comparison between the two custom collection showcases on this blog will inform you, there is always room for significant improvement. Keep at it and you will soon start to see the results that you want. To that end, I would like to recommend the paints and brushes from the Games Workshops, now rebranded to Warhammer shops in some parts of the UK, whose tools are perfect for this sort of work. The staff are always friendly and will answer any questions you have about model-making. I personally use the Warhammer shops both in Liverpool and Warrington town centers on a regular basis, and I have had nothing but positive experiences there.
Who knew that making Dalek customs helps the environment? But if you think about it, creating Dalek customs is an artistic and creative way of making use of pieces of plastic that would, lets face it, otherwise be filling landfill. Many of the bundles that I buy on eBay or receive as donations are old collections of broken toys, either being put up for sale by the former children who owned them or the parents of children that have grown out of action figures. As such, had they not fallen into the hands of someone who could make use of broken Dalek figures, they would have almost certainly have been thrown away.
However, the eco-friendly nature of this hobby goes further than that – the more elaborate customs make use of a plethora of upcycled computer parts, plastic pieces, wires, electronic parts, old stationary and much more. Even though only a small number of Daleks in the Asylum collection are elaborate customs that required lots of parts, I still need to ask around my friends, in the workplace and even charity shops for old computer parts, wires and otherwise disposable electronic components. Scavenging these parts that would otherwise have ended up in the bin is one small way of helping the planet, and it is nice that this is a great eco-friendly side effect of the hobby that I am passionate about.
The Asylum Project and Sacred Icon
So what’s next for this blog? The answer is simple – Dalek Customs. This project has taken up a large amount of time and so I want to give the customs the attention that they deserve, as such the posts will be numerous and contain in-depth descriptions of how each custom was made as well as a short description of how it might have ended up in the Asylum in-universe to give you an idea of my thought process as I created the customs. Each custom will also have several pictures taken from different angles.
In terms of the blog posts themselves, I have arranged them into categories based on their classification, Classic Series Daleks and New Series Daleks, as well as their condition, destroyed or intact. However, I will be releasing the posts in a varied order, so each posted blog will alternate between intact New Series Daleks, destroyed Classic Series Daleks, destroyed New Series Daleks and intact Classic Series Daleks, as well as any other additional posts in the series. It is also worth mentioning that, although not part of the Asylum Project specifically, there will also be other custom showcase posts at the end that will analyse my other non-Asylum Dalek customs – including my Big Finish Dalek customs.