Monday, February 17, 2014

Toy Review – Sound FX Special Weapons Dalek (Remembrance of the Daleks) from Underground Toys

I was so stoked when they announced that the Special Weapons Dalek would be part of the second wave of Sound FX Dalek figures from Character Options/Underground Toys. This tank of a Dalek would essentially complete my “Remembrance of the Daleks” set. Not that I wouldn’t buy more Daleks from the story, but I have the main ones.
First we saw a 2-pack with the seventh Doctor and an Imperial Dalek, then Davros and the exploded Imperial Dalek, Ace, and now this guy. Yeah – there are other Daleks in the story, but these white ones are very distinctive among the classics Doctor Who designs. They stand out without looking slightly silly like the Moffat Daleks.

Normally I would write a thing about “Remembrance” now, but we recently did a whole Earth Station Who episode about it. After you read this review, go and listen to that:


In more Doctor Who toy news, London Toy Fair came and went and it looks like Character Options/Underground Toys are switching the entire line over to the 3.75” scale. I don’t know this for certain, but no new 5” figures were shown and one of the 2014 lineups featured a Genesis Dalek that was labeled as part of the “Heritage Collection”. So it looks like CO is taking a cue from Mattel’s WWE line and simply inserting classic characters into the regular line.

I hate to say it, but this totally makes sense.

While I will never like CO’s decision to switch to a different scale – especially given my dissatisfaction with the quality of many of the initial releases – I honestly can’t see the logic of continuing on with two separate scales. By standardizing the scale and blending the classic releases into the main line they can more easily support a toy line for the franchise.
I can only assume that the quality of the 3.75” line will improve over time like the 5” line did, and that I will probably end up buying at least key characters from this scale. 
 
Stay tuned for a retrospective on the 5” line.

FIRST GLANCE

This thing is squat and menacing. It has a lot more paint than any other Dalek I own, which actually makes me wonder how well it is going to fit in with the rest of my collection. Also – I wonder if Daleks have an equivalent of penis envy?
PACKAGING

I think this thing looks beautiful in the box. The blister card has a great shape, the bubble has a neat design, the colors jump out, and it’s very economical. The activation point of the figure is very easy to reach through the “Try Me” hole, which is not always the case.

The back disappoints me a bit. Typically the Classic Doctor who releases have featured extensive, well-written bios of each character. Here, though, is a generic bit about the Daleks that was shared for all four figures of this series. I would have liked some details about the Special Weapons Dalek.

LOOKS

The Special Weapons Dalek is an all-new sculpt.

The base looks pretty much like any other Dalek but with angular, riveted trim at the top. The lines of the panels on the base are sharp and the skirt at the bottom is just shy of meeting the ground, which conceals the wheels. The spheres are uniform and sufficiently Dalek-y. The paint on this part looks pretty good for a war machine that has seen many a battlefield, but other Dalek figures are not painted this way. I suppose it’s a matter of thinking of this one differently. And it does accurately represent the unit’s appearance in the story.

The upper portion starts with riveted trim to match the base, and continues up with plating on the body and up around the cannon. The cannon is huge and has a great sculpt. Every ridge and segment is represented and it even has paint to suggest wear. 
 
The top portion looks like a modified Dalek, with reinforced armor at the base and only one row of vents around the top; only these aren’t vents – these are simply indentations that reflect the designs of other Daleks. To continue the tank motif, the Special Weapons Dalek is completely sealed.

All of the paint apps are great. The base colors of white and gold are cleanly applied and don’t overrun the borders anywhere. The dry-brushing that shows wear and aging is effective and well-done. I’m very impressed with the fact that even the black cannon has a paint app for wear.

This thing has the distinction of having a unique profile amidst a race of beings with very similar looks. Color and design have certainly varied on the decades since the Daleks were introduced, but this one is a standout.

ACCESSORIES

Special Weapons Dalek comes with NOTHING. But there’s nothing that it should have come with.
 
FUN

There are plenty of things to keep you occupied with this figure, but let’s start with the super-fun wheels that are a part of every Dalek that Character Options releases:
There are three wheels two that are stationary and one with 360° of rotation. These are recessed into the base of the Dalek so that they are barely visible when it is upright. They move freely and make the figure a lot of fun to roll around.

You might notice the on/off switch and the speaker in the above picture. That’s because the Special Weapons Dalek has a sound feature. It’s activated by pressing a spectacularly well-concealed button – one of the Dalek’s sphere’s. It’s almost undetectable visually. I find it easier to just mash the side of the figure than to try and look for it.

This figure is part of the second series of Sound FX Daleks which, unlike the first series, feature sound and lights. Except for this one because it doesn’t feature the signature Dalek head lamps (or whatever). Presumably because they are vulnerable to attack. But this figure does have two sound effects. Press the button once and you get the sound of the cannon firing. Press it twice and you get the firing sound and the resulting explosion. I didn't bother getting any video because two sound effects just didn't seem worthwhile.

I was surprised by the amount of articulation on this one. There are swivel points at the head and between the base and upper body. The cannon pivots up and down a decent amount. And of course there are those fun little wheels, as well.
Like any other Dalek figure you’re going to have fun rolling this guy around for a while, but I never get tired of hearing laser cannon sound effects. I will say, though, that I have a need to buy one of the other ones just to see the light-up features in effect. I assume they are synced to the sound effects and look really cool. 
 
OVERALL

The average price I’ve seen for this figure is about $33, which is a lot for a single 5” scale figure. The best deal you can hope to get is to buy the set of four for $99 from BigBad (or maybe Entertainment Earth – I haven’t checked there). I can’t say the figure is worth that on its own merits, but when you factor in that it is an import and that it’s pretty much essential to your Dalek collection, it’s close.

CO did a fantastic job here. I can’t imagine the figure being any better.

5 out of 5

Check all of the regular places for this one – Amazon, BigBad, EE. I ordered mine through Previews at the local comic shop and got a bit of a discount for that, so it might be worth your while to see if your LCS can reorder. 

 


3 comments:

  1. There are also 'secret sounds', allegedly... CO like to sneak them in occasionally. Forums like Gallifreybase will tell you how!
    The wave still doesn't have light effects on any of the figures, just sounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah - I've discovered that the Sonic Screwdrivers have all kinds of crazy sounds. I looked it up and you're right - no lights. I really thought this wave had light-up effects.

      Delete
    2. My two year old daughter found secret sounds in the weird time lock gun thingy... She was just hammering buttons and it started talking about the matrix, and the Valeyard, and Yeti! Very odd ��

      Good review as always of course... Should have said that before!

      Delete