29 August 2012
With series seven of Doctor Who due on our screens this week, we look at the Doctor's arch enemies. ...
Ever since Terry Nation’s Daleks first appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series back in 1963, and sentenced generations of kids to behind the sofa, the world’s most famous metal-clad menaces were hugely popular with fans and collectors alike. Over the years, the onscreen Daleks have evolved several times over, from the superb, original creations of the 1960s, to the not so superb ‘hump-back’ modern versions of today.
Like their TV cousins, the toys that were spawned by Dalek-mania have undergone several transformations of their own over the years, with some of the best examples being produced during the 1960s and 1970s (believed by many to be the ‘Golden Age’ of vintage Dalek toys). Here we chart the evolution of the Daleks in toy form, taking in some of the best classic toy examples of the Doctor’s best-loved, phobia-inducing nemesis.
We start with the Cowen de Groot tinplate clockwork Dalek from 1965. This fantastic toy tops the collector's bill in terms of desirability, thanks to its charm, character and, not least, its great box art. It has the lot. Two colour versions were produced: one finished in silver and blue, and a rarer version finished in silver and black. Values can range from £500-800 for the blue example and as much as £600-1,000 for the hard-to-find black issue providing, of course, that they are in mint-boxed condition.
The Louis Marx Co produced several versions of the Daleks throughout the 1960s and on into the 1970s. The most desirable, in my humble opinion, is the friction-drive, porthole-boxed version, finished in black with gold coloured bands. I am a big fan of toy box artwork and this item does not disappoint – it's just stunning! The fantastic illustration on the packaging shows the Dalek through a porthole of the Dalek mothership.
Marx was well respected for the high quality of the artwork used on its Dalek products, something which makes them very collectable. The battery-operated Daleks, released by Marx in 1964, also came in equally attractive boxes. Examples of these toys can be found finished in silver and an equally available black version. Values for Marx Daleks are around £250-500 for the battery operated versions and £400-700 for the-friction drive issue produced in 1965.
In 1965 Marx also produced a smaller scale friction-drive Dalek, complete with equally stunning box art. Like their bigger bothers, these too came finished in either silver or black. Mint-boxed values are around £250-400. Another addition to the Marx Dalek portfolio was the Dalek construction kit. The kit used the same body moulds as the 1964 Daleks but allowed kids to glue the pieces together and paint them themselves in whatever colour they desired. Due to the nature of the toy, not many examples have survived in mint, unbuilt condition. When one does turn up in mint-box condition it can change hands for as much as £800.
Louis Marx continued producing Daleks into the 1970s. Their Robot-Action Daleks, c.1974, were battery-operated revamps of the 1960s models with a Bump and Go action. They came from the same moulds, only this time they were finished in red or yellow. Sadly, the fantastic artwork seen on the original boxes was dropped in favour of a photographic image, which never had the same appeal as original. Mint-boxed, 1970s issues can change hands for around £250 apiece.
In the mid-1970s the Palitoy Company jumped on the ‘Doctor Who’ bandwagon with its tremendously popular Talking Daleks, released in 1975. Here was a Dalek toy that actually spoke to you in the original voice heard in the series, no wonder it was a phenomenal seller and still is today. The toy came in three colour variants, silver with blue spots, red with black spots and silver with black spots, the latter being the rarest. Values were mint-boxed examples can range from £250-500.
Denys Fisher Co.
The final incarnation in our trip through the Dalek’s evolutionary toy timeline comes from the Denys Fisher Co. who, in 1976, brought us another friction-drive Dalek as part of their extensive Doctor Who range. This version has become an incredibly popular and sought-after item with collectors, with mint examples regularly changing hands for £700-1,200.