I’m wrapping up the week with a Dalek Double Feature. Yesterday we looked at the Black Dalek Variant from the 3 ¾” line. Today we’re checking out this unique fella from CO’s 5-inch line. Yes, the Special Weapons Dalek! It turned up once in the 7th Doctor story “Remembrance of the Daleks” without any explanation or backstory. All we knew from that appearance is that this badass pepperpot is capable of destroying a squad of Daleks with one shot. He had a cameo appearance in the more recent 11th Doctor story “Asylum of the Daleks,” but you had to be pretty quick with the pause button to even see him. I like to think of this guy as the Boba Fett of the Doctor Who universe. People love him because he’s a mystery and looks cool, and similar to Boba Fett, details about the SWD have been fleshed out in “expanded universe” content of questionable canonicity. Sometimes known among the Daleks as “The Abomination,” he’s a Dalek that sports a weapon so powerful that his brain cannot be adequately shielded against its radioactive recoil. In short, every time he fires his weapon his brain gets dosed with rads and he gets angrier and crazier. It’s no surprise the Daleks only roll this guy out when the shit really hits the fan. It’s also no surprise that he wound up in the Dalek Asylum.
The SWD figure was originally released in the “Remembrance of the Daleks” Collectors Set, which was never brought over to the US. As a result, this guy has been crazy expensive and hard to get for us Yanks. It’s been a sticking point for me for quite some time, but CO has finally made things right by releasing him as part of this electronic Sound FX Daleks. He comes on a small card with a bubble large enough to contain his Dalek supremacy. The deco uses the current series branding, including the “DWARTIS” logo. It’s also a little misleading because it exclaims “SPEECH & SOUND FX” and “EX-TER-MIN-AAATE!!!” but in very tiny words it points out that the SWD doesn’t actually say anything. I’ll come back to that in a few ticks when we talk about the electronics.
The back of the card shows the other SFX Daleks in the wave. I’m really tempted to buy some more of these, but they are rather expensive, so I’m trying to control myself. There’s also a ridiculous amount of warnings and information printed on the back of the card. You’d almost think you were buying a real Dalek.
There’s no doubt that the SWD features a unique design. I used to refer to him as the WWI Dalek because he looks like a cross between a bunker and an early 20th century war machine. While the skirt is standard Dalek through and through, the top half is what departs from traditional Dalek design and makes him so distinctive. There’s no eye stalk, just a shallow dome with a deep set ring that looks like it has what might be viewports all around it. There are no shoulder slats or mesh, instead his middle section is just smooth. And the biggest change is the giant cannon that replaces the usual plunger and gun arms. This appears to be the exact same sculpt as the original UK release of the figure and I’ve got no complaints. Articulation includes 360-degree rotation in the mid-section and his cannon angles up and down. He also sports the same style of wheels under his skirt that we’ve seen on all of CO’s Daleks.
While the sculpt here is fantastic, the paintwork was a sticking point on the original release of this figure. Many collectors complained that it was rather heavy handed, particularly the grease around the roundels. When the SFX version was announced I was hoping that it would receive a better paint job. Alas, this guy features the same caliber of paintwork. I think the antiqued brass or coppery parts look good, but the brushwork around the sensor domes is still pretty half-assed. It’s supposed to look like grease leaking from the domes, but instead it looks like just what it is, ham-fisted dry brushing. It looks passable from a distance, but the more I scrutinize it, the more it falls apart. That having been said, it doesn’t ruin the figure for me at all. This guy is supposed to look old, decrepit, and ugly and he does. Besides, I’ve waited too long to add this guy to my collection so I’m willing to be rather forgiving.
Obviously the big difference between this one and the original release is the added electronics. He has an On-Off switch under his skirt as well as a battery compartment. The SFX are activated by pressing a well concealed button comprised of one of the sensor domes on his left side. As already noted, the SWD doesn’t speak and I suppose that’s understandable since he never spoke in the episode, but I was still hoping that CO might have thrown in an “EXTERMINATE!” Maybe he’s not supposed to be capable of speaking. Anywho, if you press the button once it will activate a firing sound and if you double-tap it you will get both the firing sound and an explosion.
Paint notwithstanding, I really dig this figure and while there are still more than a few variant Daleks for me to collect, this guy is the one most conspicuously absent from my shelves. Unfortunately, the SFX Daleks run at a rather pricey $27-30 a pop at most e-tailers. That’s not a bad price for this guy, since it’s a lot cheaper than hunting down the original non-electronic release. However, considering the other SFX Daleks are basically just a lot of the same figures we’ve seen before with added electronics, I haven’t been eager to hunt them all down.