Thursday, November 21, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Dalek By Underground Toys

EXTERMINATE!”
What? What else am I supposed to use as a Dalek quote?
Lil’ Troublemaker has this stuffed Dalek that says three or four phrases, the most commonly uttered of which is, “You would make a good Dalek”, which is creepy at first but gets really old after the thousandth time.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Today, what is here is the new tiny Dalek from Underground Toys. I saved this one for last because it’s easily the best of the series and I wanted to go out on a high note given how disappointing some of the other releases were.
I don’t specifically remember the first time I saw Daleks on TV. When I watch classic Doctor Who I usually have one of two revelations within the first fifteen minutes. I might realize that I have seen the story before and recall it more clearly than I ever would have believed, which leads to that pleasant rush of emotional nostalgia that is almost like a drug. Or I realize that I have not seen the story and get an equally pleasant rush from knowing that I am about to experience some Doctor Who that I have never experienced before. I enjoy both.
Over the last few years of having enough disposable income to actually purchase classic Doctor Who stories on DVD (they’ve never been cheap) I have enjoyed the first revelation with “Genesis of the Daleks”, “Remembrance of the Daleks”, “Resurrection of the Daleks” and even “Day of the Daleks” (surprising given how little Pertwee I had seen until recently). But none of those stories carried with them the feel of the first time.
When I took the time to think about it, I realized that the first story I saw a Dalek in was one of the Peter Cushing movies – Dr. Who and the Daleks or Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 AD.
When I was a kid I wanted as much Doctor Who as I could possibly get (some things never change). I don’t think I knew anything about it being a British TV show. To me they were these movies that came on every Saturday night. As such, I would look for them in the local video store – at the time, Turtles. At some point I found both of the above movies on VHS and gleefully rented them.
I could tell these were something different. They looked too slick and just didn’t feel the same as what I was watching on PBS every Saturday night. I’m honestly not sure if I liked them or not and I also can’t remember how I felt about the Daleks. I do remember my mom liking the movies, though.
My point here is that I don’t quite know how I feel about the Doctor’s greatest foes.
I was excited beyond words when Dalek premiered. It was so striking to see that classic form – relatively unchanged – in the modern show. And it still thrills me every time they show up. But I think all of that is more related to how iconic they are than any personal feelings about them. No matter how scary you think the Daleks are or are not, you have to respect the fact that they transcended the franchise they were born of. I am a huge fan of pop culture and of anything that can break free of a genre or definition and appeal to the masses. That’s exactly what the Daleks did.
They aren’t my favorite of the Doctor’s foes and I don’t even find them particularly scary. But there’s no denying their presence on the screen and how well they have been built up in the universe of Doctor Who. As such, they have earned their spot in the initial releases of any new Doctor Who toy line.
Also, they just make great toys.
First Glance: It’s worth noting that this is the more classic-looking Russell T. Davies-style Dalek as opposed to the Skittles/Power Ranger/Teletubby/insert derogatory color-related term of your choice here-style Daleks that Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss introduced. I actually like that Dalek design quite a bit, though I do think that the bright colors were a bit much.
Articulation: This figure has as much articulation as you could want.
Head – swivel
Eye Stalk – pivot
Arm Stalks – ball joint
The head rotates a full 360°. The eye stalk and weapons move as much as they need to.
There are functional wheels underneath the Dalek’s chassis – a feature that has been common among all Dalek toys since the very first ones produced in the 60s. This figure has two stationary wheels and one on a swivel, which allows it to roll in any direction. All three wheels move easily.
Sculpt: This Dalek is sized correctly to the rest of the line. The detail is excellent, particularly for a figure of this scale.
The lines and plating are clean and accurate. The mesh below the dome looks excellent. All of the different parts of this cyborg have a certain weight and shape to them that impart the menace of the species, even at this smaller scale. The protuberances – the eyestalk and arms – are sturdy and detailed nicely.
The individual panels and spheres of the skirt portion are distinct and uniform. The lower portion that covers the wheels has sections with sculpted rivets.
The wheels are recessed into the bottom of the figure so that they are mostly invisible and it doesn’t sit up too high. It’s a great design and works quite well.
Coloring: This Dalek is the simple bronze of the RTD models, but I have no doubt we’ll see variations in the future. Once you’ve sculpted a good Dalek you basically have a whole line’s worth of variations; whether it be colors or weapon stalks.
All of the colors are applied quite nicely here. The translucent lights on the dome look great. The detailing on the protuberances all looks very good. The sucker and the eye stalk both have detail rather than simply being silver – something that Underground probably could have gotten away with on these smaller figures.
The gold spheres and plating are quite well done and there’s no slop or bleeding anywhere.
This figure easily has the best paint job of the new line so far.
Accessories: The Dalek is the only figure in this series of figures that does not come with a stand. I’m fine with that – it doesn’t need one. Then again, neither did the Weeping Angel. There’s really not much the Dalek could have come with in the way of accessories unless you were going to include alternate arm weapons or maybe an interchangeable battle damaged piece. None of that is really necessary, though, as a Dalek is pretty much always a great toy.
Packaging: A simple blister card. The packaging is exactly the same across this line except for the insert in the bubble. It’s eye-catching and easy to open.
Value: I think these worked out to about twelve bucks apiece, which is absurd. This is a seven dollar toy at best.
Overall: I can’t imagine this figure beign a whole lot better. It’s fun to play with, it looks great, and if I were going to collect this scale (and had a ton of money to throw away) I would want about a dozen of them.
5 out of 5
I really don’t know if these will show up at brick and mortar retail or not. You can buy them from pretty much all of the online toy stores, though.
-Phantom

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Finally, be sure and come out to the HUGE 50th Anniversary Party that TimeGate, Earth Station Who, the folks behind The Forgotten Doctor, and (others) are throwing at the Holiday Inn Select; the same location where TimeGate is held each and every year. There will be panels, games, Whovian carousing, and a LIVE recording of Earth Station Who immediately after “The Day of the Doctor” airs. You will literally never have another opportunity to attend a party like this!


2 comments:

  1. That's a pretty decent looking Dalek and probably the only 1/18th figure I'd buy (maybe a weeping angel). My 5inch Who collecting is now limited to Daleks, new Doctors, and new companions, although I imagine we've seen the last of those. Still, lots of classic Daleks to buy.

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    1. I'm out of this scale. Just listed all of these on eBay. I'm terribly let down that we're not going to see any more modern releases in the 5" scale. Although I do think a 5" Paul McGann from Night of the Doctor would make a fantastic SDCC Exclusive for next year.

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