Sunday, April 27, 2014


Since their introduction in 1963, the Daleks from the Doctor Who series have become one of the most recognizable bad guys in scifidom. Over the course of 50 years on television, their appearance evolved as the props used for filming were changed for various reasons, but the basic form has remained fairly consistent.

The BBC sells Dalek replicas, and states that they stand at 5' 3" in accordance with BBC props department specifications.

I'm not sure that this height is entirely correct for the specific Dalek replica that they sell since it seems to be a "wide fender" version, that should be 8" taller than the original prop (to accommodate a rider on a tricycle), but I'm fully willing to accept that all Daleks are the same size regardless of the actual size of the prop used for filming.

In any event, most of the Daleks that are seen in the series seem to be much shorter than humans.

The latest model (Paradigm Daleks) however, seem to be taller and a lot bulkier than humans.

Late last year, Forbidden Planet released an exclusive Doctor Who edition of Risk containing what some claimed to be 1/72 scale Daleks and a 1/72 TARDIS. I was hoping that the game would eventually make its way to the US, and it is now available through the BBC Doctor Who Shop.

There seem to be some differences in the game pieces between the two editions, but I have not seen pictures of the Forbidden Planet game pieces so I can only say that it is described as having three Classic Dalek armies (Classic Bronze, Silver, Black), and two Paradigm Dalek armies (Yellow, Red). Each army contains 42 small Daleks, 15 medium Daleks, and 6 large Daleks.

The BBC version has five armies as well, but it only has two Classic Dalek armies (Orange, Black), and three Paradigm Dalek armies (Yellow, Gray, Mustard). Each army has a reduced number of game pieces, with only 36 small Daleks and 15 medium Daleks.

Below are photos of the small and medium Classic Daleks.

The medium Daleks are spot on for 1/72 scale, while the small ones will probably work very well for 15mm.

Next are the Paradigm Daleks. I think that the gray ones are supposed to be silver, while the mustard colored ones are supposed to be bronze.

These Daleks are shorter than they should be, though I think that it would be easy enough to add some height to the fender and build up the area under the collar to make them the proper height.

Finally, a comparison of Classic and Paradigm game pieces, along with the TARDIS.

Unfortunately, the TARDIS is grossly undersized for 1/72 scale, but it is probably very close to the correct size for 15mm.

In conclusion, I have to say that while the detail on the game pieces is shallow and the design is simplified, they are still tolerable representations of Classic Daleks in 1/72 scale. The Paradigm Daleks are not so good, but can be fixed relatively easily if one were so inclined. The Forbidden Planet version of the game is probably a better value, since you get more Classic Daleks. I'm not sure if Hasbro is selling the individual game pieces like they did in the past, but if they did, it would be a great way to build up a huge Dalek army.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Then inspiration struck me. It was a rust monster...

The rust monster is another iconic creature from D&D that originated from toy monsters that were made in Hong Kong. Based on general appearance, it's likely that the toy was modeled after Kemular (ケムラー), also known as the Poison Gas Monster (毒ガス怪獣; Dokugasu Kaiju). Kemular does not have antennae, but the tail and back (with the wing case folded) seem fairly analogous to the rust monster. In any case, rust monsters are the nightmare of any character with magic weapons and armor made of metal.

In old school illustrations, rust monsters were not particularly big, but in later editions they were portrayed as much larger creatures.

I like the original way in which they were presented as whimsical creatures, like in The Very Hungry Rust Monster by Steve Dismukes. I don't think every monster needs to be huge and menacing.

The miniatures of rust monsters in my collection include the Archive Rust Eater from the Dungeon Nasties II blister pack (Fantasy 5040), the Grenadier Ruster Beast (Monster Manuscript Vol.IX 1509, MM74), and the TSR Rust Monster (AD&D 5612).

The Rust Eater has the bumpy skin of a rust monster, but is bipedal, with aardvarkish features. The other two miniatures are pretty consistent in appearance to the original plastic toy.

As far as size goes, they're all probably about twice as large as I would prefer them to be, but they do not look overly large if you consider them to be later edition rust monsters.