Some time ago, I built a Dalek CGI model for use as a transformer. That went well but being a fan of the old pepper-pots, I couldn't resist getting out the virtual paint pot and doing some recolours. Thus, may I present the following essay on the modern Dalek and the potential variations: First gliding onto the small screen in 1963, the basic Dalek drone is an unequivocal design classic. The result of Terry Nation’s search for an utterly inhuman monster, the Mark 3 Travel Machine managed to neatly overcome the ‘man in a suit’ syndrome. Bursting back into mainstream public awareness in 2005, the modern version is the result of over forty years of refinement and adjustment. Though it retains the general pepper-pot appearance of its ancestor, this is a much-changed creature. Where the shoulders were once encircled by steel bands there is now a bolt encrusted midsection. Where there was formerly a mesh neck is a sturdy, armoured core. Where the dome was featureless, it is now engraved with construction lines, complete with eye-stork housing, speech-indicator light bulbs replaced with massive lamps. Where the eye was once a white light in a ball shaped housing it is now deep blue in a camera lens affair. Where the gun was once a complex of rods it is now a streamlined, stainless steel blaster (which contrives to look more like a whisk than it ever did before…). And where there was an unmistakable house-hold sink plunger is now a custom made manipulator (alright, it’s still a sink plunger but it looks prettier…). Rendered in burnished bronze, the modern era Dalek is far more obviously the tank these machines were always supposed to be, now even able to effect a 360 degree field of fire (no more blanket-over-the-eye-from-behind tricks here!). Riveted and detailed up to the eyeball, ready to conquer and subjugate a galaxy not so far away, without fear of resistance or stairs (which they’ve always been able to get up anyway…), the Daleks glide again, their battle cry ringing through the air. "Exterminate!" First Variation: Assault Dalek (“Advance and attack! Attack and destroy!”) Not strictly speaking canonical but not without foundation either. Character Options, purveyors of remote control tin-pot terrors, released an exclusive version of their 30cm model in a deeper bronze and equipped with a cutting claw. Representing the warriors who cut their way through Satellite 5 in The Parting of the Ways, this variation is exceptionally useful when blasting away won’t work (and when someone’s locked you out of your own lift. Again.). It’s probably got thicker armour as well. Second Variation: Black Dalek Leader (“Who questioned a Dalek command?!”) The only black Daleks to actually get called black Daleks by other Daleks were those of the command echelon that appeared in The Evil of the Daleks. Acting as section leaders on Skaro, and as guards for the Emperor, they made an understated comeback in the aforementioned Parting of the Ways. Stationed at the Emperor’s side, they didn’t really do much and were about as much use in stopping him being blown into tiny bits as they were last time (they are, however, very economical if you want a commander on the cheap and have surfeit of domes and black paint). Third Variation: Scientist (“The equipment is ready!”) Ok, nothing clever here. This is a blatant excuse to see what this design would look like in old-style colouring. The answer being not half bad. Anyway, Dalek scientists have appeared in the past so consider this a suggestion for a new, more distinctive trim. Fourth Variation: Red Dalek Commander (“Put ship on emergency!”) Red Daleks have had a troubled history. First appearing in the movie Doctor Who and the Daleks, they appear to assume second-in-command positions relative to black or gold versions. In the TV21 comic strip, they commanded the feared saucers (apart from the earlier Zeg the Invincible, who wasn’t). In more canonical stories, the nearest they got to appearing was on the cover of the novel of The Dalek’s Masterplan, upstaging the black Dalek who actually appeared. Oh, and Big Finish thinks of them as being 4 supreme commanders but I prefer something a little more prolific. Consider this version, then, to be an update of those brave (and often foolhardy) saucer commanders. Fifth Variation: Black Dalek Commander (“There is no data!”) NOT Dalek Sec. This is a slightly more traditional approach to the saps who inevitably get put in charge of anything involving task forces, mining operations, rogue creators, massively powerful super-weapons and Bedfordshire (they usually end up being blown to smithereens and/or talked to death, the poor dears) ie, it’s the same fittings and runner but with a shiny black skirt, dome, rings and slats. Often this lot get referred to as Dalek Supreme or Supreme Dalek but I’ve put him separate for reasons inconsequential and so this is ‘merely’ a commander. Sixth Variation: The Dalek Supreme (“Victory for the Daleks!”) Emperor’s right hand plunger, if you follow Big Finish’s audio adventures (Go and listen to Dalek Empire series 1 and 2. Seriously. If you never thought Daleks could be scary or interesting, put these in the CD player.) and generally the one calling the shots when the big bad is indisposed or in bits. Based in this case one half of Character Options’ battle pack of mini remote control Daleks, tweeked to encompass what is for me the essential DS, the one that appeared in Planet of the Daleks (a redressed Movie Dalek with a light-up eye gimmick that only failed completely). Enjoy!