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Colonel Dan Dare of Space Fleet
Day2Day Trading

Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

If you thought us Yanks were the only ones with silly 1950's sci-fi characters, Jeff Parker is here tonight to set you straight with a look at the sixth scale figure based on one of his favorite British characters of the era - Dan Dare!  Tell us all about him, Jeff...

OK, before we go too far I have to admit to a degree of bias here, I’m a big fan of this particular character, and I have to admit I never thought I’d see him get the hi-end treatment he so richly deserves. However, for those of you not familiar with Colonel Daniel McGregor Dare of Space-Fleet, he was a very British character created by Frank Hampson, kind of a cross between Buck Rogers and Biggles and his adventures are far too numerous to list here. He’s best remembered for battling the dreaded Mekon and his hordes of Treens (not to mention armies of Electrobots) and he always did so with frightfully British reserve, a devilishly turned eyebrow and the stiffest of upper-lips. He also had a trusty sidekick in the form of Digby.

You have to remember that though set in the 1990’s it was written with 1950’s sensibilities, so Dan’s roguish upper class daring dos were off set against Digby’s bumbling working class shenanigans for a little comic relief, it played out like the relationship of a WW1 officer and his batman. However the deft eye will spot how affectionately the part of Digby was always written, and he’s often the guy whose astute observations save the day, in fact Hampson said when writing and drawing the characters that Dan was the man he strove to be while Digby was the man he was… I just hope D2D make him as well, as Dan on his own is like the caped crusader without his boy wonder. It was also worthy of note that Digby was from Wigan in Lancashire, so the character often used colloquial sayings written phonetically in his regional northern accent, which was pretty unusual for the time, but helped reinforce the difference in background between our two main protagonists.

Although it was a sci-fi fantasy its science was always grounded in ‘some kind’ of plausibility, and the infamous Arthur C Clark was employed as a science and plot advisor for the early adventures. But it’s always worth remembering that the known science of the 1950’s differs vastly from the known science of today. Back then our solar system still held many more mysteries than it does now, and theories of ancient civilisations on Mars and the possibilities of lush jungles hiding beneath the atmosphere of Venus were still considered to actually be possibilities, all be it very remote possibilities. In fact even Sir Patrick Moore CBE a leading British astronomer spoke about such fanciful possibilities back then.

But enough with the back ground, I could ramble on about the intrepid Colonel for pages, but right now we are here to talk about this figure. As far as I know this is the first and only 1/6th figure of Dare to have ever been made commercially. Just last year I remember reading that Underground Toys planned a 1/6th figure of Dan, and my hopes were raised, but then I read it was put on hold as production was going to be too expensive!
But the phoenix has risen from the ashes, and here we now have one of the most important figures from British science fiction, finally given the love and respect he deserves!

These days there seem to be a lot more new kids on the block in the world of 1/6th collectibles, and Day2Day (D2D) trading are one of them, while browsing their website for my research on Dan, I found this statement:

‘D2D is a collective of international designers, engineers, and toy enthusiasts. With our own manufacturing facilities in China, we strive to produce the highest quality collectibles for connoisseurs and kids!’

And it would seem that the cool retro actioneers Go Hero also has some affiliation, as I found Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers etc available on the site too, it almost seems like some kind of ultra-hip toy developers co-operative. So I asked Tony Jeff at Day 2 Day what the set up was. He told me- “I am the financier and manufacturer for Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Pereus etc, my company D2D undertook the physical manufacturing and development of these figures from early concepts supplied by Go Hero. Dan Dare however was something that I chose to work on alone, as it’s based on a character and story I grew up with myself that was more personal to me coming from London U.K.”
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading

Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading

Packaging - ***
New companies face so many hurdles getting their product in to our hands and I always admire the resolve of anyone taking the task on. One such hurdle is making the packaging; it needs to be attractive, robust enough to protect the contents and cost effective enough to not drive the unit price up disproportionately. Obviously the costs of producing a run of say 5, 10 or even 15 thousand units drives that price down even further, but D2D are only making Dan in a strict limited edition run of 1000. So they’ve gone for a design that shows plenty of the retro the old school graphics, all in full colour, with a pic of Dan on the front and a comic strip on the back. The funny thing is, and only the eagle eyed (pun intended) and those knowledgeable of Dan Dare in general will notice, but the strip used isn’t actually one of the original ones from the Eagle comic. It’s actually a new story called ‘The Pheonix Mission’ produced by Rod Barzilay, Keith Watson & Don Harley (Rod being the writer and the later being artists that worked on the original strips as part of Hampson’s team) for the magazine Spaceship Away, a magazine keeping the world of Dare alive for the fans that still exist all over the world. This outer slip case lifts off to show an inner red box, it has no graphics but does have a large window through which you can view the fully constructed figure held safely in a Styrofoam shaped tray. So not the finest box you will see this year in terms of ground breaking graphic design, but it’s certainly attractive enough, and it’s constructed of super stiff and sturdy cardboard, so I have no doubt yours should arrive in A1 perfecto condition.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Dan has a very, very distinctive face. No one, and I mean NO ONE else looks quite like Dan Dare. He was designed by Frank Hampson to look like the ultimate square jawed hero of his day. He was a dashing macho he-man with a brilliant mind, schooled at Cambridge and Harvard, but he was also an excellent martial artist (practising the art of Jiu Jitsu) so he was always ready to muck in and puts things right, which he was often called upon to do. His first line of action was always to solve a problem with diplomacy, but when negotiations broke down, his ability with his fists and his ace test pilot background gave him the ability to succeed where others failed.

And the portrait here is Dan without a doubt! It shows his features set in a determined, concentrating expression, the brow, with those oh so distinctive eyebrows is in a slight frown, as I said above this is based on the classic depiction of Dan from the old Eagle comics, so don’t expect a hyper realistic head sculpt, instead it’s a stylised sculpt that has the jutting chin and jaw that would make Bruce Campbell blub like a baby, in fact if Bruce were 20 years younger and was able to do a convincing British accent he’d have been a good choice to play Dan in a live action movie. That said, since Virgin media took out a license on DD a few years back it has been mooted that he is due for a big budget movie treatment and it is speculated already that Sam Worthington is lined up to play the titular lead (I hope he can do the accent too, I have nothing against Aussies, but Dan definitely isn’t one!). Virgin have already given the franchise a kick start with a new comic book series penned by Garth Ennis, which failed to set the world on fire, in fact it had a pretty damp reception even after a reasonable promotion campaign. I have to admit if Dan does ever make it to the silver screen I pray it is made by people that respect and love what Frank Hampson created and give him the future/retro look it deserves. As far as I’m concerned all your pre-production concept work is done, just look at the old stories (please don’t tinker too much and mess it up!), anyway, sorry I’m rambling again!

So the face is a solid representation, and the hair is likewise carried out beautifully in his swept back style. He also comes with two pairs of hands, one set un-gloved and the other gloved. Both sets consist of a pistol grip right hand and a relaxed left. The un-gloved set is a nice addition, but I can’t imagine many people will be exhibiting him in anything other than full space-suite mode. Just like with the comic worn suits the gloves/gauntlets are an off white colour with stitching details and with a little tweaking he holds his gun well.

I have to admit from a biased personal opinion I was tempted to give this a full score, but in these days of ever improving sculpts where companies like Hot Toys put out 1/6th portraits that are better than the 1/1 wax works Madamme Tussauds create, well I guess that makes it tough on the competition. However, not every company wants to create 100% life like portraits, some are actually aiming to give us artistic, or even slightly stylised/abstract human sculpts, just look at 3A for example! But even taking that into account I guess with my critics head on this isn’t quite a full score figure, but for me it comes damn close!

Paint - ***
The paint apps here are all clean and competent, and certainly represent DD well. The stand out area is his hair, which shows some nice detail work on his dirty blonde locks, with highlights and lowlights picked out to help give the sculpt even more definition. The face is mostly crisp, with the eyebrows being worthy of particular note as they have been picked out in black and follow the iconic shape perfectly. The brown iris on the eyes is the weakest area, but only when viewed super close up. As I said they are competently carried out and thank the maker there is NO CURSED DOLL DOT on the pupil either, which is worth an extra star on it’s own. Apart from that there are some subtle flesh tones picked out to give the face a healthy complexion. The bare hands and gloves also have a few details painted to help give definition, but that’s about it.

So, as I said, a nice clean job that works well for this old comic book hero, the irony of course being mine will have his cool retro helmet on 24/7 so it’s all a moot point for me anyway!

Articulation - ***3/4
This uses the ATOM base body developed by Day2Day for the Buck Rogers figure; it’s subsequently been used on Perseus and Flash Gordon. This is however the first time I’ve got my hands on one and I’m hugely impressed. It has everything we’ve come to expect from hi-end 1/6th figures in terms of double knees and elbows and is listed at having over 30 points of articulation. I was especially happy with how good and tight all the joints were, well apart from the neck where it joined the shoulders as this was a little loose, but I just applied my patent cure all of a small blob of Blu-Tack and all is good with the world again. The mid torso joint was very tough to budge on mine to the point I feared it was stuck fast, so I contacted Tony Jeff at D2D to see if this was a recurring problem, but I was assured it was purposefully designed this way so the figure wouldn’t slump when carrying heavy equipment (as was the case with the Buck Rogers figure). So feeling bold I tried again to move mine and sure enough it moved fine. In fact it moved remarkably smoothly, it just takes a little pushing.
One joint I’m especially impressed with here is the shoulder, it’s an easy to pop out oversized ball joint. It can be removed with such ease that at first I feared it would come out when I didn’t want it to, but I’m pleased to say it doesn’t. It is in fact it’s a very nice tight joint that moves with a steady velvety motion. The engineering is also wonderfully thought through, as this feature doesn’t impede on the pose-ability at all. In fact I’d say this base body is almost up there with the Hot Toys- True Type. Note I say ‘almost’.

The only joint I can see this figure needs, nay, is crying out for is a cut joint in the mid thigh. Try sitting an ATOM body in a cross-legged position and you’ll see what I mean.

However, apart from that I’d say this is one of the nicest 1/6th bodies I’ve played around with for quite a while. It poses with ease and hangs in some very natural poses. So it gets as close to perfection as you can get without actually having the cigar shoved in it’s mouth, but it’s a very nicely constructed bit of kit.

Outfit – ***1/2
Depending what artist was working on Dan the space suit did undergo a few revisions during its EVA career, this represents the most iconic (to me anyway). It’s basically a bright red, asymmetrical zip up boiler suit with a padded waist belt, two pockets and Space Fleet insignia on the upper arms (these are actually metal badges on the figure). The fabric used here has a nice quality feel and the finish on the pockets and seams is just about as good as it gets, even the zip is nicely scaled compared to the zips I’ve seen on some figures from more established companies. It also has some weight to it so it hangs pretty naturally on the ATOM body that Dan is equipped with. The trouser bottoms are elasticated and disappear into the top of his boots, which also have black socks inside; the cuffs are treated likewise, fitting behind his gauntlets. I did find the left hand gauntlet needed some gentle warming with a hairdryer to get the wrist peg to fit inside the glove, but the left hand glove popped on fine with no effort. The boots are pretty clumpy, but they do have a nice thick tread and are meant to be space worthy so clumpy sits pretty well. The leather upper part is painted in a glossy brown, which is again applied cleanly and well, but to bring them alive, a little weathering and differentiation to make them feel more like leather could have made them really come alive. But the details in the form and design are all well observed from the original boots.

Lastly there is the coolest part of his wardrobe, his gold/brass helmet. This could also be considered part of his accessories as he isn’t wearing it in the box, but to be honest it’s tough to consider it an accessory, as without it his outfit would be incomplete.

It’s ingeniously designed to come apart for ease of fitting on the figure, you’ll see a seam running down the side, you simply pull the front part off, its gently but firmly held in place with countersunk clips hidden under the side connectors on his visor. You then just fit the rear part over the back of the head and push the two clips at it’s base into the collar, just replace the front section again, futz a little to get everything laying straight and butting up properly and then you have Dan space worthy.
To sum up, this is a very nice little facsimile of the most iconic space suit used by Colonel Dare, the materials used are all good quality and the standard of finish is top notch. If the paint on the boots had been just a little more creative and they had been a slightly snugger fit then this would have been a full score, but it’s not far off and the quality of the helmet and basic red suit are most impressive when compared to the comic worn outfit.

Accessories - **1/2
I already said I didn’t consider the helmet an accessory, as it’s intrinsically part of the spacesuit. So what we actually get are the gloved hands and the gun. I already went over the gloves above so there’s nothing more to really add there.

The gun is a direct copy of the classic Space Fleet issue paralyser pistol. It’s a compact and simple design with a very retro style. The handle and body are red with a steel barrel and steel radiator fins on the body. It’s a nice little representation, but it’s not much for a $150 figure, even with its limited numbers. I would have loved to see the classic jet pack included as well. It was an item often used by Dan and Digby on there adventures and consisted of a single position-able jet on a back pack attached over the shoulders on straps, there was also a single arm that came round the front with the hand held controls attached. There is no figure stand include, this is no big deal to me as I never use them anyway, but they do seem popular with a lot of folks, so it’s simple addition may have included some added value to some.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
For me this figure is just so unexpected and so very cool, but even looking at him from a purely ‘play friendly’ angle, and trying to leave my Dan Dare fan thoughts out of this you can see that any boy of a certain age could have a lot of fun with this figure.

However if that ‘boy’ happens to be a ‘man’ with vivid memories of reading the classic Eagle comics and desperately wanting an action figure of his hero back in the day, well then this will be off the scale in terms of fun for you… it is for me!

But I guess in all fairness a large majority of readers might be indifferent to Dan Dare, some might not even have heard of him (if so, hang your head in shame, and to think you call yourself a geek!). So in the spirit of fairness I’m trying to take that into account, and as such I’m robbing this figure of a half star, but it pains me to do so… I hope you’re proud of yourself!

Overall - *** 1/2
Left to my own devices this would be a full score figure. I never, and I mean NEVER thought I’d see a classic Frank Hampson version of Colonel Daniel McGreggor Dare made into a hi-end 1/6th figure, but thanks to D2D here he is!
But with an asking price of $149.99 I think you’ll need to be a dedicated fan of the character or a relentless pursuer of limited edition 1/6th collectibles for this to be an essential part of your collection. I guess I’m lucky enough (or unlucky enough depending on your perspective) to be a member of both those camps.

However taking into consideration that D2D are a young company and they are making this in a strictly controlled low edition size run, plus they must have had a hefty license to pay, then the price, though not cheap is certainly a lot more understandable.

So I’m giving Dan a score very close to full, I admit it’s partly because I’m a fan, and it’s partly because D2D have kept the faith on a character that so richly deserves a wider audience, but it’s mostly because it’s a bloody good figure. It’s made me realise I’d like the dress uniform version (sneak peaked on a small panel on the back of the box), but it’s also made me realise that a companion figure of Digby in his yellow space suit and steel helmet is now absolutely ESSENTIAL- please make it so D2D, but he has to be chubby and quite a bit shorter as well (obviously).

I’d also like to give a big thank you to Rod Barzilay at Spaceship Away for sending me a couple of back issues of the amazing magazine he and his team put together, and also for taking the time out to sit and chat with me about all things Dan Dare related, it was a real eye opener to see that so many people are keeping the character alive and well. He’s in very good hands!

Where to Buy -
You can get this direct from Day2Days website here for 99.99 ($149.99) I have also been assured he will soon be available from Sideshow and Diamond Select. But I have to admit I have a feeling there will be a good few more happy Limeys than Yanks on this one as you can also pick him up at Forbidenplanet.com and Termight replicas

Happy hunting space cadets!

Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading
Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading

Dan Dare sixth scale action figure by Day2Day Trading


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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