Dalek toys have been around since almost as long as the Doctor Who series itself. Yeah, it took decades for the longest running sci-fi show to get a respectable line of action figures, but all that while, the Daleks had their own good thing going, riding the gravy train of mass merchandising madness. Granted nearly all of this great swag was confined to Great Britain, and it was inconsistant at best with its share of really crappy toys. I know of the Dalek toy history exclusively from research and photos. I’ve never been lucky enough to own one until CO came along, unless you count the little loose Dapol Dalek I’ve had for a while. Either way, the wait was well worth it. Character Options is now turning out quality Daleks as well as all sorts of great Doctor Who toys and figures and this 12″ RC Dalek is just one of my many dreams that CO has made come true.
Now, I will freely admit, the 12″ RC Dalek is not the ultimate in Dalek toys. No, there’s actually an 18″ motion sensor Dalek out there that probably trumps this toy in its awesomeness, but that’s ok. There’s time enough to track that one down too. Right now I’m here to bask in the glory of this guy.
I love CO’s packaging on these bigger toys, because its so in-your-face huge. Even if I wanted to display this toy in the box, there’s no way I could, it wouldn’t fit on any of my display shelves, but then even out of the box, the Dalek itself barely does. Besides being huge, the box is blindingly bright with its yellow-orange firey motif that I suppose is meant to simulate some kind of temporal vortex energy that could burn your face off. There’s lots of photos of both the toy and clips from the series, and some good blurbs. Its almost a shame to tear this box apart to get to my Dalek… almost.
Unlike the 12″ RC Davros, the Dalek isn’t actually screwed down to the packing so you won’t actually need tools to get it out. There are a shitload of twisty ties, though, but after a lot of twisting, shredding and mauling, I was left with a Dalek in front of me and about three pounds of wrecked cardboard at my feet. Getting the Dalek out for the first time was an awesome event indeed. I carefully inspected it to find that there were no quality control issues, no paint slop, nothing to gripe about. This guy was perfect. Few people outside of Whovians have ever even heard of Character Options, but Hasbro sure could take a lesson from them in terms of overall product quality.
Keep in mind that when we say 12″ Dalek, this is not a 1:6 scale Dalek, its actually bigger then that. Since a Dalek is a bit shorter than your average person, this Dalek will be out of place with any of the 1:6 scale Who figures you may already own. My 1:6 scale Cyberman looks scrawny in comparison. That may disappoint some, but I’m happier to have the bigger Dalek as a stand alone piece, even if it can’t interact with my other 12″ Doctor Who figures.
This version is the generic every day soldier Dalek. I say that beause its surprising how long it took me to find one. E-tailers seemed to all be offering the Supreme Dalek or the Imperial Guard Dalek or Dalek Thay, but all I wanted was a regular one. Its obviously based off the current series modern Dalek design, which I love because its so close to the original designs, only with lots more detail and the modern coppery gold color scheme looks great.
Without its electronics, the Dalek doesn’t do a whole lot. You aren’t supposed to turn his head or eye stalk because its hooked into the RC mechanics and you might fuck it up. Seriously, it says so right in the booklet. His sucker and blaster arms are on ball joints, though, and can be moved about. I was a little disappointed the sucker arm doesn’t extend, on a toy of this size, it really should have had a telescoping arm. You can, however, rotate his midsection independently of his head and skirt so that he can shoot at things behind him. This gimmick was first showcased in the episode “Dalek” but was never seen again.
In “Try Me” mode, you can press one of the Dalek’s sensor globes and his eye will light up and he will speak one of his phrases while his “ear” lights light up with each syllable. Its fantastically done and very realistic. This is the mode I leave him in most often because i can get a quick threat out of him while walking by the display case, and it doesn’t drain his batteries too badly. My only gripe is that when he says Exterminate and it makes the sound of his blaster firing, his “ears” shouldn’t light up in synch with the blaster noise, only when he’s speaking. Minor gripe? You betcha, but that’s how awesome this toy is. Here’s a complete list of his quotes:
- Multiple spectrum scanning now engaged!
- Hault or you will be exterminated!
- We are the supreme beings!
- Seek, Locate, Annihilate!
- Obey The Daleks! No other warning will be given!
- You are an enemy of the Daleks.
- Exterminate!!! [Blaster Fire Sound]
The remote control feature is actually pretty great. The control unit is almost identical to the Davros one, only its copper colored and has a different sticker in the middle with the Dalek’s phrases. It has a standard two-lever control system, and it works just like driving a tank. Throw both forward or back to move the Dalek in those directions. Mix it up to turn him around. Even though I hardly ever use the remote control features for my 12″ Davros, the Dalek is just more fun and I’m not sure why. When he’s on full On mode, his eye stays lit all the time and when you roll him forward or backward, his head rotates from side to side and his eye raises and lowers as if he’s searching for fools to exterminate. Oh yeah, don’t stare directly at his eye light, its bright as all fuck and it might burn your retinas. Seriously, it hurts!
I think the average MSRP for this guy on initial offering was $69.99. When he was first released he went for closer to $100 in the US by scalpers and importers, but now his price has cooled off a bit. I was able to get one for $39.99 and I was certainly plenty happy with that. Of course, he required me to reshuffle all my Doctor Who figure shelves to make room, but it was well worth it.