The first batch of Doctor Who Exclusives at B&M stores arrived in Summer 2020, and soon after it was confirmed a 2nd batch were planned for an Autumn 2020 release. After the first two History of the Daleks Set from the Summer releases, the Autumn 2020 sets would take us to Set 3 and 4 and to the remaining 1st Doctor stories of The Chase and The Dalek Master Plan. In this review we look at History of the Daleks #4, The Daleks' Master Plan
The 4th of the History of the Dalek sets uses the same packaging design as the others - which means the slanted window does still obscure one of the two Daleks in the set. The box design uses a blue and grey base tone, with line drawn illustrations of the TARDIS in the grey panels on the front and on both sides. The set is named under the window in grey text against the blue backdrop. The "History of the Daleks #4" name is given story context with a red insert at the base of the window that confirms the source story of Daleks' Master Plan and the year, 1965. A gold sticker on the window identifies this as a Limited Edition.
The back of the box carries an image of the two Daleks in the set along with a very extensive write up of the story of Daleks' Master Plan as well as the background to the Dalek props. As is usual with these text pieces - there are a number of grammatical issues and the text is perhaps too in depth, giving away the full story and ending of Master Plan.
THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN (1965)
The TARDIS materialises on the Planet Kembel. There the Doctor and his friends meet Space Security Service agents and learn of the Daleks' latest scheme, which is centred on a weapon called the Time Destructor. They decide to warn the authorities on Earth but the human leader Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, is a traitor in league with the Daleks. The Doctor steals the Taranium core of the Time Destructor, disrupting the Daleks' plans. Chen immediately dispatches Space Security Service agent Sara Kingdom to track down the Doctor, but unaware of Chen's treachery, he eventually convinces her of the truth. She then joins forces with them and they travel back to Kembel. There, the Doctor manages to steal the Time Destructor and turn it against the Daleks, annihilating them. Sara Kingdom however ignores his instruction to return to the TARDIS, and she is aged to death outside the ship.
Alongside the full synopsis of the story is a bit of history about the Dalek props from the 1965 serial. This is a little confused in the message it is trying to convey and less interesting than the previous sets in terms of the background goings on. It will be interesting to see if they are able to keep this level of prop detail going into the future sets.
The Dalek Props
Only eight weeks after their last studio use, the same four main props from The Chase returned with one being painted with black dome and skirt to function as the Supreme Dalek as it had before. It was the huge demands of the Daleks' Master Plan's 12 episode schedule production which led to Shawcraft Models (the original fabricators of the Dalek props) to request less work from Doctor Who, and heralded the end of their time with the show. Four silver props were used together in a filmed sequence of the Daleks burning down the jungle with flame-thrower, So presented here in this set are the Dalek Supreme and silver done with flame attachment.
The box opens via the top flap, held in place by three circular taped panels which need to be cut or carefully peeled off. The innards contain a cardboard backdrop and clear plastic tray containing the Daleks. Each Dalek is held in with a cotton tie that is easiest snipped from the back. The flame effect is taped into place.
The cardboard insert carries an image of the Dalek city interior, using false perspective to try and make the backdrop appear bigger and further away than it actually is. There is little option to use this out of the box as a diorama piece as the sides remain plain brown cardboard.
The set uses the long established Classic Dalek body, with the updated central panels as seen in the previous set from The Chase. The drone is painted all in silver with a black rimmed base and back behind the vents of the neck section. Hemispheres are painted in a pale blue as are the rings of the eye stalk. The eye stalk ends with a black eye piece and painted white iris. This is the flame unit Dalek drone so the usual sucker arm has been replaced with a cylindrical end piece for the body of the flame thrower.
Paint applications are OK, although our review drone had a large plastic defect on the left hand side just under the central slats.
The Drone is the same figure as released in 2011 in the Enemies of the 1st Doctor set alongside a Roboman and Tenth Planet Cyberman. The older model boasts slightly better colouring on the blue hemispheres and a slightly darker translucent yellow on the headlights on the head. The 2011 model also has a plain grey central mount for the gun and flamethrower - while the 2020 version see's this painted fully in silver.
The Dalek Supreme uses the same body as the Drone, but with the standard Sucker arm in place. The skirt and dome are painted in black with the central segment left silber. The hemispheres use the same pale blue tone, as does the rings of the eye piece. There were no obvious paint issues on the Supreme.
We have seen this Dalek Supreme before in the range, released in 2013 as an exclusive two pack with the 1st Doctor. Like the Drone, the blue is a shade darker and brighter than the newer model. The central piece on the 2013 Supreme was also originally plain grey and has been painted silver on the new 2020 version. There is a difference too in the headlights which are a deeper yellow on the old model. The painting of the iris in the eye stalk is also different with a full iris on the 2013 Supreme, but with a contracted iris on the 2020 model.
We usually skip accessories on most B&M sets, particularly Dalek ones, but in the case of the Daleks' Master Plan we have one to look at. The Flame FX piece is cast in a translucent plastic with variated colour added starting with an orange at the base and transitions out to a yellow tone at the tip. This slot sinto the hole on the flame unit to give a flame firing effect.
This is the same flame piece as the 2011 Master Plan Dalek, and it was also used for the Mechanoid flame effect in the 2012 Chase Set.
Both Daleks have 4 points of articulation with the rotating dome and pivot eye stalk on the head and the ball joint sucker and gun arm that are plugged into the body and can move on a full 360 degree range.
Each Dalek also runs on three castor wheels, two fixed and one swiveled so they can be pushed along the floor. All of this is in line with what the Daleks on screen (and the original props could do). The only real enhancement that could have been considered would have been a telescoping sucker arm - which would be difficult at the scale.
The Daleks' Master Plan set (History of the Daleks #4) is another solid release with a £20 price point. As a long standing Who collector - and with a Son who is starting out with a similar passion - it is great to see these older figures revisited and available to newer fans. It is however worth noting this is the 4th Classic Silver/Blue set we have had this year and looking at the B&M shelves there may be a bit of buyer fatigue setting in. While producing all the 60's era Daleks at the same time will likely be saving money in production, I do worry if the line has the legs to go the full distance through to Remembrance and beyond - and Character & B&M may have been better mixing up the releases to put different colours of Daleks into the mix in the same year.
I still have an issue with the packaging, which obscures half of one Dalek and is a design I think Character should consider changing for future sets, although keeping the dimensions and artwork the same for MIB collectors to have some level of consistency.
The Dalek's themselves are well done, despite a body that is now 10 years old. One of my figures had some excess flash on the side from the mold - but paint was fine, and certainly much better than we saw at the start of the year with the Invasion of Earth Daleks.
For £20 these represent pretty decent value for money and they do offer some minor variations to the original releases - if you are a collector that likes to own all variations.
I score the B&M Exclusive Doctor Who History of the Daleks #4 a total of 3.5
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, doctor who, dr who, character options, character toys, 1st doctor, dalek, daleks master plan, B&M stores, exclusive, history of the daleks