Issue: 34

Daleks Conquer & Destroy:
gaming with tinpot destroyers by Ashley Rachel Pollard (pt 1)

Research and wargaming based on Science Fiction (SF) are not usually thought of in the same sentence. SF wargaming is all about using imagination when creating new worlds to conquer. Even developed worlds taken from books and films rarely require more effort than watching or reading a couple of works, with a few exceptions like Star Trek, Doctor Who and Babylon 5. The Doctor Who series spawned what must be one of the most loved monsters in SF, the Daleks. Here because of 700 plus episodes produced over a thirty year period we are forced into a position where we do actually have to look quite hard to discover all the ins and outs of the Dr Who universe continuity.

Dalerks cannot be argued with:
(logical design)

A lot of people find the Daleks amusingly impractical, forgetting that while Daleks have their limitations it doesn't necessarily mean their concept is invalid. Daleks contain, as everyone should know, the Kaled mutant created by Davros in the last stages of the Thal versus Kaled war. They are a high tech solution to a problem that presupposes that they will be used in a high tech world. This is a world that has cities and roads, and where buildings have lifts. Daleks in this sort of environment reign supreme. Think about it. The Kaled mutant works in a virtual reality like existence, since all exterior input is filtered through the Mark 3 travelling machine in which they live.

Once you start extrapolating the Daleks in this manner the dreaded plunger arm is no longer such a handicap. One could argue that the plunger is a cover to protect a hardware interface jack mounted in the arm. Daleks literally plug themselves into the machines they control. Given that they originally inherited the highest tech robotic assembly plants the Kaleds could make, I can see no reason why they could not make or do anything they wanted to.

Finally, of all the monsters in SF, Daleks are truly one of the few that don't look like a man in a rubber suit. Creating an army to use for gaming is obviously the next step.

Daleks are not reasonable:
(modelling them)

The good news is that Dalek models are currently back in supply. So you can now acquire your hordes. Also, a long time ago a few 15mm Daleks were also produced, and it would be nice if someone would do some 6mm Daleks for those really big battles (try Irregular's posh range - ed) . However, games set at a lower level will work nicely with the larger Dalek models and keep the feel of the game closer to the series. A useful piece of information worth knowing is that there have never been more than eight working Daleks seen at any one time in all the episodes produced for TV, or the two films for that matter. So if you allow for a command core of different coloured Daleks you can probably get away with as few as twelve models all in all; at least for small set piece skirmish games or role-playing.

Once you have acquired your Daleks you have to paint them. Here we are approaching the stage where we need to do quite extensive research if we want to accurately duplicate the originals. If one then wants to diverge from what has been seen, then you do so with the knowledge of what exists. This allows you to be creative and develop the Daleks along logical lines. One note, Daleks have a wide variety of minor variations which are virtually invisible on the models we use for gaming, but I've included all I know about them just in case you fancy making one of the large scale kits for display.

Daleks know no fear:
(anatomy of the Mk 3 travelling machine)

 [Thumbnail image showing main features of a Dalek]

The diagrammatic drawing breaks down the main features common to all Daleks. I will explain the various combinations of design detail and colour schemes so far seen. I've broken down the variants into types that I've numbered in order from the first appearance of the Daleks.

Type 1a: The original Dalek has a thin base and plain bands circling the mid-section. The eyestalk has 9 rings on it and the dome lights were ping-pong balls mounted on tubes. This version only appears in the first story featuring the Daleks. Only one colour scheme is seen which consists of a pale grey skirt with light blue hemispheres. The bands are silver, as are the rings and dome. The eyestalk has pale blue rings and the base is black.

Type 1b: This type is mounted on a deep base, and a receiver dish is fixed on the rear (mid-section) between the bands. The eyestalk rings have been reduced to five. This version only appears in the second story. There are three colour schemes used for this one, but since I at present do not have colour stills two are very much suppositions.

The general colour scheme of the Daleks is as before, except the blue hemispheres are painted a slightly darker shade of blue. For the first time we see Daleks differentiated by colour. The first of these is the Black Dalek Supreme who controls the mission. This is overall black with what I think are blue hemispheres and either silver or gold bands. The second Dalek in this story with a different colour scheme has an alternating pale grey and black or red side skirt panels. I suggest red as an alternative, because on video cameras at this time red would appear as black. The diagram indicates which panels on the skirt were painted a darker colour

Type 2a/b: These Daleks no longer have the dish on the rear and the bands are covered by vertical slats and have a wire mesh behind them. The base is thicker than the originals but they are in no way as pronounced as the second story versions. The dome lights are also changed from ping-pong balls on bases to hemispheres. This becomes the standard Dalek model, with minor ad hoc modifications, for all future appearances. It is not until until the introduction of the Imperial Daleks under the control of Davros that we see a slightly modified profile, which I will refer to as Type 2b. For our purposes the differences in the Imperial Daleks outline can be ignored and treated as a minor variant. Naturally these two types have the largest number of colour variations.

The basic colour scheme used up to The Evil of the Daleks is the same as the Type 1b. In the first Pertwee Dalek story we saw the familiar drab grey scheme appear with black slatted bands, hemispheres and other trim, though the eyestalk rings are often still pale blue. For Death to the Daleks we see a one off all over silver scheme with black hemispheres and slatted bands. Imperial Daleks are overall pale grey/white with gold hemispheres and slatted bands. They also have a lot of gold trim on arms and gun etc and their dome lights are distinctively different to the other versions.

Command Daleks appear in two main colours, one of which is black. This consists of basic overall black that is broken up with either gold or silver slatted bands and hemispheres. The blinking lights are usually orange rather than white. In Planet of the Daleks the black Dalek Supreme had a gold dome and head rings. This was in actual fact a refurbished movie shell the BBC had acquired. Several of the non-moving crowd making Daleks were also ex-film Daleks.

There is only one appearance of a Gold Dalek in the TV series. This was trimmed with black hemispheres and gold slatted bands and rings. Finally for Evil of the Daleks we get Daleks which are the standard type 1b finish, but with black domes. A cross between the Saucer command Dalek in Invasion of the Daleks and the full black panoply.

Interestingly enough there is one other colour scheme variation I've seen for a Dalek, and yet as far as I know it has never appeared in any of the episodes. This is an overall blue scheme that I think was made for promotional purposes. The only time I've seen this on TV is when they are filming documentaries about Doctor Who. If someone knows more about this I for one would be interested in being told.

Type 3a: The first movie Dalek has deep base similar to the one seen on the Type 2, but without the receiver dish on the rear. Also noticeable are the enlarged blinking lights on the dome. This type comes in three distinct colour schemes.

The basic scheme is very similar to the Type 1 colouring, but it has a blue base, and a blue dome. The bands are gold. The second scheme is an overall red with gold used on the base, bands and rings, but silver hemispheres on the skirt. The third scheme is overall black and this has alternating gold and silver rings and hemispheres with gold bands.

Type 3b: The second movie Dalek looks like the Type 3a models, but has slatted bands as well as a receiver dish. This one comes in four colour schemes.

Again the basic is type is very similar to the colour scheme on the Type 1, but it has a blue base, and a silver dome. The slatted bands are also silver. The second scheme is overall red with a black base and hemispheres. The Red Dalek has silver bands and rings. The third scheme is overall black with gold rings and hemispheres and gold slatted bands. Finally, we have an overall gold scheme. This has silver slatted bands and black hemispheres for trim.

Type 4: The first Emperor type appears in Evil of the Daleks, a Troughton period story. The Emperor Dalek is completely immobile and hooked into the Skaro databanks. I've included a sketch of it for reference. The colour scheme is the usual pale grey with black trim and two gold hemispheres on the extended skirt.

Type 5a: The Gold Emperor Dalek appears in the comic strip called the Daleks from the TV 21 comic, the stories of which were reprinted in the Marvel Doctor Who Classic Comics. Since this never appears in the TV series it can best be described as an apocryphal design concept; except that I have it on very good authority that the writer of Remembrance of the Daleks used this as the basis for the Davros Emperor. Anyway the Gold Emperor has a squatter skirt with only three rows of hemispheres and the head section is a large sphere with multiple lights. Depending on which one of the three artists' who drew the Gold emperor you can have six or eight lights. Sometimes the skirt hemispheres are painted in a darker colour, usually black or very dark blue. Artistic composition taking precedence over continuity.

Type 5b: The Davros Emperor Dalek looks very much like the old TV 21 Gold emperor, except in my opinion it is not quite as good a design. The colour scheme is overall white/pale grey with gold hemispheres on the skirt and other trim. The head is a large sphere that is split across the centre so it can fold back. There is no eyestalk, arm or gun assembly.

See also: