In August 2020, Character Options announced an exclusive Dalek set based on the 1965 story, The Chase. The set was sold exclusively online via the Character website and contained two of the "movie" Daleks that were loaned to the BBC and used as background Daleks on The Chase. The Jungles of Mechanus set was released just two weeks after the announcement, arriving with collectors in early September 2020.
Our Jungles of Mechanus set is delivered in an outer box brown sleeve with the packed figure within. Interestingly there is no packing or protection and should the outer box be damaged in anyway in transit the inner box will also suffer.
The design principle is the same as the one established in 2019 and used on the B&M exclusive sets. It is however interesting that while the Jungles set uses the principles, it is not the same as the boxes used for the B&M Dalek packs. To start with the box has been reversed, with the TARDIS and logo panel now sitting on the right and not the left. The box has also been extended by about an inch in length and an inch in depth allowing the Daleks to face more forward in the box. While the window is now bigger and displays the Daleks much better than the smaller footprint B&M box, the lack of overall consistency may both MIB collectors a little.
The same dark blue trim and yellow tramline retain as does the red flash in the window which confirms the set as coming from The Chase (1965). There is no foil "limited" or "exclusive" sticker and instead a circular gold gut out has been added to the box that confirms this as a Character Online Exclusive. There is no mention of the 5.5 inch collectors line as seen on most other packaging of the last few years.
Like the other Dalek Sets in the past couple of years, Character have provided a very comprehensive overview on the back of the box - both for the story, The Chase, as well as the background for the Dalek props themselves.
The text is probably too extensive, giving you the full story for The Chase rather than tease the story and encourage people to go and watch it. There are also the usual grammatical errors in the text.
The Chase (June 1965)
The Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicki are forced to flee the TARDIS when they learn from a Time/Space Visualiser, taken from a museum, that a group of Daleks equipped with their own Time Ship are on their trail with orders to exterminate them. Starting on the sandy Saggaro desert of the Planet Aridius there follows an epic 'Chase' through time and space which includes some diverse and bizarre locations including the Empire State Building, the Marie Celeste, and an old haunted house populated by classic fantasy creations. The fictional characters stalk the Doctor and his companions but also attack the Dalek squad sent to kill them. Escaping again, the next stop the TARDIS makes is the Planet Mechanus, where Daleks arrive shortly afterwards and unleash a duplicate of the Doctor in order to destroy him. The planet is covered in thick dense and aggressive jungles surrounding a strange metallic city suspended high in the sky. The Daleks' duplicate Doctor is discovered and destroyed but the Daleks continue to pursue the Doctor and his friends through the jungle. Eventually the 'Chase' leads to a final confrontation between the Mechanoids and the Daleks. Both sides are utterly destroyed and the travellers persuade the Doctor to show them how to use the now abandoned Dalek Time Ship to return Ian and Barbara to Earth.
This story, broadcast in 1965, is special for many reasons. It's the final adventure for the original TARDIS team, and features the first and last appearance of metallic creatures at one point considered to replace the Daleks, the Mechanoids. It also marks the appearance of some rather special 'Guest Daleks'. At the time of filming the BBC were short of Dalek props and borrowed two Daleks from the upcoming Dalek Movie. These are seen in altered form guarding the elevator ramp to the Dalek control centre but also in their full glory towering above their BBC counterparts in the jungle chase sequence (along with a BBC camera at one point) and stand, to this day, as the very first appearance of the Dalek props built for that production.
The set is opened by the top flap that is taped in three places. The inner tray slides out as a whole with the clear plastic Dalek tray taped into the cardboard backing section. You will need to untape the Daleks to release their tray and then cut the two string ties that hold them into position.
The cardboard piece features a raised plinth base and a decor in the style of the Jungle of Mechanus, and this is done in a semi-realistic illustration that is sensitive to the sort of artwork we saw in Doctor Who Annuals of the era. A corner piece is created to cut across the base in the shape of the bottom two thirds of the TARDIS doors.
The TARDIS itself is a little out of scale to the Daleks, and the whole thing is only really designed for the packaging and not for use out of the box. The two sides are taped heavily and plain cardboard on the side. With some work there is a good set piece here for display if you wish - and of course Al from Character has included some Easter Eggs in the artwork...
Paint & Sculpt 4.5
Since their inception, the Dalek figures from Character have been fairly modular and to create this "Movie" version the base 1960's Dalek has been planted onto the base that was used on the Planet Supreme - which itself was a Movie Dalek Prop. The two stage base as used on the Dalek Invasion of Earth Daleks is not present. The plunger and eye stalk are also 60's Dalek era while the gun may be new. It doesn't have the ridges we see on the 60's Dalek and is also not scooped in the middle like the later 70's and 80's Dalek. The ear pieces are also new and the extended translucent red with ridges built in to the cast as seen on the 60's movie Daleks.
Both Daleks are identical and feature a very crisp paint job with a duck egg silver body and deep blue metallic dome and hemispheres trimmed with gold around the central panels. The pale blue base is cast in the base colour, which is a touch too light vs the actual prop. There was a slight burr on the side of one of my Dalek skirts leaving a white scar. All the other elements appear well painted with no obvious errors on either Dalek in the set I am reviewing here.
This is the same colour scheme used on the big screen - but of course was not seen in The Chase as it was filmed in black and white. The whole look is fantastic and save the Claw Arm attachment, which obviously was outside of Characters licence and remit, these are as good a stand in for the Technicolour Movie Daleks as you will get.
The Daleks have no included accessories.
Our Daleks are articulated essentially the same as their onscreen counterparts. The eye stalk is on a pivot and can be raised up and down. The head can also be rotated on its axis a full 360 degrees. The gun and plunger are ball joints so can rotate and move fully around the central panel to the point they meet the outer casing.
The Dalek is then fitted with three wheels under the enlarged skirt piece. There are two rear fixed wheels and a forward caster that rotates. This allows the Dalek to be rolled around and gives the impression of them sitting just off the ground.
At £24.99 the Character Exclusive set is £5 more expensive than the B&M sets - but for this you get a much nicer box and in my opinion a crisper paint job. The two Daleks are identical, but this is fine and representative of the two 'Guests" we see in The Chase. It also allows the opportunity for Army Builders to pick up more sets for a larger squad.
We were never going to get the claw for the set, that would probably tread too far into a licence that we assume Character do not own. The inclusion of the diorama base is nice for display in the box, out of the packaging it would need a bit of work to be aesthetically pleasing on all sides.
The set delivers what it sets out to do and more Daleks from Character will never be an issue for Who fans, and these are brand new to the line and not a repack of earlier releases. I score this impressive, well executed set a very strong 4.0 overall
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, dalek, dr who, jungles of mechanus, the chase, character, options, online, exclusive