Dalek sixth scale statue

Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta

   "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."

Jeff stops by tonight with a guest review on a cool Dr. Who collectible - take it away, Jeff!

Thanks Michael, and now from toy-lord to Time Lord… well his nemeses anyway!

Weta have been around for some time now, they are still considered a young company, but with a very rich heritage. The company was born in 1987 more out of necessity than anything else. With TV companies and movie studios seeing just how ideal New Zealand and Australia were for the making of large scale productions, it seemed obvious that a good physical and special effects company was needed in the area. But with stiff competition already in existence in the US and Europe it needed something else to offer.

And so the unique selling point came in not only being on the doorstep of all these new productions, but also in the passion that Richard Taylor, Tania Roberts and their crew lavished on the projects they brought to life… and boy did they bring them to life.

Although their portfolio is rich and diverse, it was of course the groundbreaking work they did on Peter Jackson’s, Lord of The Rings trilogy (where they designed the creatures, weapons, outfits, miniatures and bigatures) that raised the company up and stood them centre stage, and the awarding of three Oscars for their work on the trilogy was testament to the fact they weren’t just playing with the big boys now… they were the big boys!

So much so that when James Cameron needed a company to help him fully realise the look and feel of his epic Avatar, it was obvious they would be the company to seek out (they went on to win a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for innovations in visual effects technology for this as well).

But enough with the back ground, all I was pointing out was that if you wanted to find a company to bring you white hot, state of the art collectibles, then they are your men… and women!

The collectibles division was a natural evolution for the company, as both Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson both shared a love of old garage kits and fantasy collectibles in general. And so apart from the licenses they were directly involved with they cast there eyes around on what other properties interested them specifically as well, and being men of a certain age (I should know, I’m one too) the once cult, but now increasingly mainstream Doctor Who was quick to blip on radar. You can peruse the full line up here and even though personally I’m a big fan of the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker years, it was the fantastically detailed work on the ‘open’ Dalek that had me as giddy as a schoolboy.

Here we have what was believed to be the last remaining son of Skaro, from the episode ‘Dalek’.
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta

Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta

It was held in a secret vault beneath the Utah desert by billionaire collector Henry Van Statten in what he believed to be a secure holding facility. But the Dalek proved nothing was secure enough to hold it indefinitely. So, after escaping and subsequently being tracked down by the Doctor and his companion Rose it opened it’s armoured shell, exposing the pitiful creature that dwelt within, also showing an uncharacteristically vulnerable side not witnessed by the Time Lord before.

He is forced to choose between compassion for another being that is the last of its kind and vengeance against the very life form that made him the last of his!
So, if you’ve wanted a top quality… all important (well to me anyway) 1/6th representation of the Doctors most infamous of foes, or if you just feel the cult status of the show and indeed character, need a presence in your collection… could this be the one?

Packaging - ***1/2
When it comes to packaging, companies are always looking for a new angle, and the inventiveness that is coming through at the moment is pretty impressive. But here we have what is basically a large scale and very heavy polystone statue, and when things get this big, detailed and weighty, then protection is always the most important part of the brief.

However, Weta have still given us a pretty lavish full colour bit of graphic design here. It comes encased in a brown shipping box which when opened reveals the full colour, gloss coated corrugated cardboard packaging within, there’s even a poly-bag between this and the outer shipping box to protect it from rubs. The top has the new Doctor Who logo set against the swirling orange back ground that is used in the series opening titles. Then all of the four surrounding sides have different images of the statue alongside a potted history of the Doctor Who phenomenon from inception in 1963 through to the modern day, then there’s a brief synopsis of the episode ‘Dalek’ that was the inspiration for this particular statue.

Inside is a split Styrofoam case, pre-formed on both sides to hold the contents safe and snug, the main body, base and his appendages also come in a protective Styrofoam wraps, with pieces of actual foam inserted between some of the more potentially delicate areas of the Dalek's open carcass.

So, not the most ‘inventive’ bit of packaging, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting it to be, in fact I wasn’t expecting it to be as attractive as it is. Having seen many of the simple screen-printed boxes some companies often put their large-scale statues out in, and considering this is virtually 14” square and very heavy… colour me impressed! And the fact it got from point A, (it’s place of manufacture in China) via point B, (the Weta distribution warehouse) and all the way to point C, (my home in sunny England) without so much as a scratch, means the packaging designers did their job handsomely!

Sculpting - ****
Your common-or-garden ‘classic’ Dalek is actually a relatively straight forward shape, when I was a kid you could make a pretty convincing toy model of one with an inverted ‘screwball’ ice cream container, a few dabs of paint and three strategically placed sticks.

But, not only did the Daleks get a new hi-tech make-over for the new series, but this particular model exhibited his ability to fly and open-up his mid section to expose the tentacled creature living within. And Weta have risen to the challenge admirably of showing the beast, in all its ‘icky’ glory.

The Dalek is basically 90% armoured tank, a robotic mobile gun platform, from which the spiteful, hateful, mutated life form within could wreak havoc on all it surveyed.

First up we get a heavy-duty polystone base, in the shape of a hexagon and sculpted to show gouges and blast marks gravitating out from where the figure sits. In the centre of the plinth is a large shaped peg giving you the option to display the model either mounted upon it or free standing. I have to admit my preference is for the free standing look, but the plinth does give a little more drama should you like it that way. The stand is however pretty important as on it’s underside are all the licensing credits along side it’s edition number, mine being 221 of a 900 run. It also lets us know that the superfine sculpting here was done by the combined talents of David Tremont and Daniel Cockersell. Both have solid credentials with Weta, and both have worked creatively on multiple movie titles in the past, including one of my favourite movies in recent years, namely District 9. In fact Weta have a couple of limited edition pieces planned from this as well, a fantastic figural statue of the two ‘prawns’ Christopher Johnson and son, plus a jaw droppingly cool version of the mechanised Exo-suit alongside a host of other cool books and replicas from the movie… but I digress, I’m here to talk Daleks!

Most of what is on show here is machined and mechanical, as the outer body is very hi-tech and industrial in its appearance, the lower section or skirt is made up of radiating angled flat panels raising up from its bumber-car like fender base, on which it hovers and propels itself around. Each panel has 4 ‘hemis’ half spheres protruding from its surface, which we now know are also part of its defence mechanism, you can find just about all you could want to know about the construction of Daleks on this site here, and if that’s not enough for you then Wikipedia also has a wealth of info as well.

The next part is the mid section or torso. This is actually known as the shoulder section and its from here that the two arms protrude, but as this is in the open position the Daleks anatomy is somewhat compromised. Both the arms, the right hand ‘plunger’ and left hand ‘gun’ are on protruding separate sections that stand proud on panels held out by automated arms. In the show these were obviously articulated to show the mechanical ‘opening’ of the cockpit, but as this is a statue, here they are set in a fixed position. The detail here is gorgeous, with superfine observations on the actual arms, the gun has super fine bars running along its length, and some sublime details on the wires, cables and indeed organic sinewy matter that is stuck to their interiors. These cables join to the ‘seat’ where the mutated organic Kaled sits; perhaps it would be better called a bed, as the creature’s anatomy is more like an octopus than a human. The Kaleds were once meant to have been human like in appearance, but ravaged by the after effects of a nuclear, biological and chemical war against the Thals on their home world Skaro, they were left as the pitiful creature we now see housed in the Dalek shell, as much a prison to the creature as a home. The Kaled is shown reclined, its distended brain lying towards the rear of the interior with two clear neural and nutrient tubes piercing its surface. Around the creature the collar or neck section is held open on metallic bars that hold the two fore sections open like doors. The Kaled’s eleven tentacles then spill over the front, the side ones drape over the controls while the front ones struggle to raise themselves, displaying the weak and diseased state the creature finds itself in. Again all the details here are fantastic, showing the mechanical layering and again the membrane of organic matter that surrounds the creature when the outer shell is closed. The last area is the head proper, the dome from which the eye stalk and twin energy dispensers protrude. The front section of the eye stalk is the lense, it’s protected by a robust case and behind it are a row of delicate insulators before the stem enters the head. The energy dispensers are made of clear plastic painted with a steel effect to distinguish between the different ‘implied’ materials.

Overall this is a hugely detailed piece of work, made all the more impressive because of the fact it’s constructed of solid polystone! Admittedly a few small pieces of mixed media are used to help replicate the details as closely as possible, but virtually everything else is not only very solid but also hugely heavy. It’s also worth pointing out that both the arms and the eyestalk are constructed as separate items, so a little construction is required before display, though construction does seem like too big a word, as you simply slot the pieces into pre-made holes, it’ll literally take you a few seconds.

The juxtaposition of the slimy organic Kaled set against its hi-tech Dalek armour makes for a very visually interesting display piece. And the fine tooling on the details of the creatures brain and eye are offset wonderfully against the mechanical grills and rivets… Amazing!

I’m sure this will impress even the most exacting of Doctor who fanatics, after all they were the original nerdy geek fans; they even put the Eek in geek. Before a single Trekky had fumbled to part his fingers in the Vulcan salute of ‘live long and prosper’ Doctor who fans had been furtively meeting up in coffee shops and producing fanzines, after all Terry Nations Doc has three whole years on Roddenberry’s interstellar crew, a veritable lifetime in fandom!

Paint - ****
The paint apps here are clean and solid, and the depth of colour is impressive enough to make you feel like you are actually picking up a lump of cast metal. The predominant colour for the outer Dalek shell is a deep warm bronze, with secondary details picked out in gold, black, steel and white. The division lines are all crisp and the weathering and ageing help give this a very real-world feel, the implied runs and drips beneath the ‘hemis’ are a nice touch. The organic Kaled is a putrid fleshy mottled pink, but look closely and you’ll see beige, yellowish puss like colours that flood the low-lying areas of the sculpt. Making the alien look like a decaying putrefying cadaver… you can practically smell it!

The watery yellow eye is picked out with red dots surrounding the black pupil, and the coating of varnish over the entire body aids in making the whole thing look sticky and slimy. Much like the sculpting section, it’s the differing nature of the living tissue, set against its biomechanical life support system that gives the Daleks such strong visual impact. And another thing that has to be taken into consideration when viewing this baby up close and reviewing the quality of the paint application is just how tricky it must have been to work on some areas of this thing. It’s not like handling a small piece of plastic that can be freely turned in your hand this way and that as you work on it. This thing weighs over 14 lbs, admittedly, some sections can be worked on separately before being fully constructed, but I still raise my hat to the folks working in production who kept the apps here so sharp and consistent. The bright blue light at the end of the eyestalk is particularly well carried out, and the electric blue used with its soft graduation really gives the illusion of glowing. In short this is a pretty amazing paint job on a very complex subject matter, and for a production polystone statue the quality is as about as near to perfection as I would imagine it is possible to get!

Outfit - N/A

Accessories - N/A
Well, it comes with a plinth/stand… but that’s not so much an accessory as a display option!

Articulation - N/A

Value - ***1/2
This is available direct from Weta for $225, though if you were paying attention, you may have noticed the Dalek was available for a knockdown $150 for a limited time during their Summer sale.

However, even at the full RRP this is still a knockout piece of merchandise.

And though $225 may seem quite a hefty sum, this is quite a hefty item and the small run of 900 means all the research and development, coupled with the huge amount of actual polystone physically used (not to mention the cost of the license) then $225 actually seems like a pretty good price… not a bargain admittedly, but how often is top quality available at a bargain price?


Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is definitely 'NOT' meant to be played with!
In fact I doubt many kids could even carry it, let alone try and scoot it around the floor while screaming ‘EXTERMINATE’. The fact of the matter is that judging a statue on ‘fun’ is a bit of a moot point, other than the ‘fun and joy it brings to your heart’, but if that’s your criteria then the outcome obviously depends on just how much you-

A- Love Daleks

B- Really, really, really wanted one in true 1/6th scale!

So for me it’s about 11.5 on the funometer, as for years I made do with the Character Options RC figure, which I still like a lot, but the scale is a bit off as Daleks are a pretty ‘stumpy’ lot. And as cool as the detailing was on that figure, it pales into insignificance when viewed next to the statue. So, had this quality been translated onto a more articulated figure, i.e the opening panels could be closed, then this would have been perfect. But even as a static statue it nearly hits the top of the fun scale.

Overall - ****
Every aspect of this statue just reeks of quality, from the awesome work on the sculpt through to the clean detailed work on the paint apps. I hope that with the phenomenon that is Doctor Who gaining popularity not only in the UK and US but all around the world, this statue, and indeed the others Weta have made and have planned get embraced by the fans… but fans are a fickle lot! 

In the UK Character Options have flooded the market with numerous small-scale figures that have been received very well by the collectors. Sadly their 12” figures… the ones I was collecting met an early demise, as they simply didn’t sell well enough!

But if as a fan of Doctor Who you want a top quality centre piece to your collection, you can not go wrong with this!

Where to Buy -

The most obvious first port of call is to purchase direct from the Weta website here, it’s also being imported to the US by Darkhorse, so bug your local comic store to get one in… but I warn you, once you’ve seen it in the flesh it’s pretty hard to resist.

Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta
Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta

Dr. Who Dalek statue by Weta

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

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