Among the greatest of the problems facing modern humanity is, I scarcely need say, the fact that there is no satisfactory way to make a Lego Dalek.

Well, not a little one, anyway.

Large Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user Oblong

This fellow is quite magnificent, but...

Large Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user lloydi

...I think something in excess of half-scale.

This smaller one's not bad either...

Medium-sized Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user Neil Crosby

...(you'd want it to be good, since it's at Legoland), but the approximations are already creeping in.

Get just a little smaller and you're reduced to something like this...

Small Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user pasukaru76

...of which the most one can say is that it's identifiable as a Dalek, if you squint.

If you want a Dalek roughly to scale with Lego minifigs, you're reduced to something more like...

Small Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user Kaptain Kobold


I don't care how many of those you've got...

Small Lego Daleks
Source: Flickr user LostCarPark

...they're just silly.

Although I do give Kaptain Kobold credit for this one.

Lego Dalek and Lego Katy Manning
Source: Flickr user Kaptain Kobold

(Safe for work. NOT safe for work.)


Small Lego Daleks
Source: Flickr user LostCarPark

...are silly too.

Small Lego Daleks
Source: Flickr user jjackowski


Tiny Lego Dalek
Source: Flickr user pasukaru76

And this is a nice bit of microscale minimalism, but still not what you'd call faithful to the source material.

But, gentle reader, there is a solution. Though it carries a price - a price you may adjudge too high.

If you want a minifig-scale Dalek that actually looks like a Dalek, you can have it. All you must do is... I fear even to say it... is buy off-brand Lego.

Character Building Lego-compatible Daleks

I feel so dirty.

But just look at these little buggers.

Character Building Lego-compatible Daleks

Daleks! Made out of Lego-compatible blocks! Properly built up out of pieces, too, not just single-piece lumps!

Each Dalek breaks down into six major pieces and three minor ones. The baseplate, the skirt, the sucker-and-gun section, the shoulders, the neck and the head are all separate and about as Lego-compatible as it's possible for them to be, given their shape. The minor parts are the sucker, gun and eyestalk, all of which fit in holes too small for any other Lego piece or sub-component I can think of right now. The three minor pieces all have to point straight out, not swivel, but the head turns. (So do the shoulder and neck pieces, but not the sucker-and-gun section, which was never able to turn on-screen either, until 2005.)

Thanks to all of those pieces, if you want to make a Special Weapons or Emperor Dalek, it's no problem. The skirts also, of course, provide the perfect plinth for the Lego Davros torso of your choice.

(You can also just stick the head piece on top of a minifig's head and get something that doesn't really look like, but is no more ridiculous than, those preposterous helmets worn by the Daleks' human underlings in Resurrection of the Daleks.)

These not-actually-Lego Daleks are made by Character Options, who make various other licensed action figures and playsets and such. (All eleven Doctors? Fifty quid as action figures, twenty quid as pseudo-Lego.) Their "Character Building" brand has a variety of Lego-compatible Doctor Who sets, mostly just minifig-scale Doctors and companions and monsters. I bought the "Dalek Army Builder Pack", which gives you five red Daleks and nothing else. There are yellow and white Daleks in other sets, and Character Building also has one of those gashapon deals going where you can spend two pounds on a minifig from, thus far, two series, but not know what one you're going to get. You can get a blue Dalek that way if fortune favours you; any other colours, you're thus far going to have to paint yourself.

(You're also going to have to break out the paint if you want the Dalek bumps on the skirts to be a different colour from the skirts. In this scale the bumps are only about four millimetres in diameter, so it's not surprising that Character Options, um, opted, to leave them the same colour as the skirt.)

The Character Options sites lists the Army Builder Pack for £9.99, which is around $16 Australian or US, as I write this. I got mine on eBay for only £10.70 including delivery to Australia from this UK seller (here on eBay US, here on eBay Australia), but they don't have any more for sale as I write this.

There are plenty of other eBay sellers who do have stock, though; this search ought to find them all. The cheapest ones are all selling one individual Dalek parted out from a kit; the cheapest Army Builder set as I write this is £7.99 plus postage. There are plenty of sellers on Amazon, too.

The Character Building Daleks do have one flaw, though, which may be even more of a problem than the fake-Lego problem:

They look a little like Teletubby Daleks.

The Teletubby, a.k.a. Power Ranger, Daleks are the ones last seen on TV in 2010's Victory of the Daleks, when the Doctor was, for once, conclusively outmaneuvered by his enemy, and tricked into reincarnating these purestrain "New Dalek Paradigm" monsters.

(And, incidentally, there were also Spitfires in space.)

I thought Victory was a good episode (and quite funny, which counts for a lot), except for some industrial-grade schmaltz involving an android. But the new colour-coded Daleks at the end, each with their own more or less peculiar name, were not well received by the fans. Especially the... really enthusiastic fans.

The New Paradigm Daleks are big and shiny and brightly coloured, and have a great hunchbacked extension on the rear of their bodies, which gave me the impression that the props had for some reason been designed to have two human operators inside. I'm sure that isn't actually the case - these were Daleks in 2010, not Jabba the Hutt in 1983 - but there the huge lump is, or at least was.

Perhaps the Teletubbies are never coming back. Perhaps they're coming back but along with the older kinds. Who knows. (Free plot idea: The new ones are fat because they are pregnant with a much better design of Dalek.)

Anyway, these little Lego-ish ones do look a bit like them. But they're clearly not the same. The hump is less pronounced, the head isn't positioned way forward on the shoulders, the weapon-and-sucker section doesn't bulge out from almost vertical sides, and they've got that odd zipper-like grille thing on the back, but who cares.

I don't think they quite match any Dalek that's ever been seen on screen, but the Dalek props have, over the years, also failed to match each other in various ways, even if you've managed to erase the Peter Cushing Dalekmania movies and their Daleks armed with fire extinguishers from your mind.

(The New Paradigm Daleks stand significantly taller than the old ones, too; the Character Building ones are about a head taller than a standard minifig with no hat on, but are I think about the same height as the Character Building pseudo-minifigs.)

So if your interest in the racial purity of Daleks is only exceeded by their own, then you may consider these ones unacceptable. But they're really not very Teletubby-ish.

And, c'mon. Lego-compatible Dalek parts!

Haven't you always wanted the Doctor and a companion to be desperately hiding as the sound, tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic, of robotic spider-legs approaches, and stops, and then a spray of baleful blue eye-lights spotlight them and the Mark V Travel Machine rears up, twenty feet high, dozens of its blackly shining sense globes irising open to extrude claws and tentacles and saws and injectors and suction feeders and flensers and écraseurs and deglovers, even as its battery of far-too-merciful gunsticks retract, and in a voice that breaks windows it SHRIEKS-

...well, actually these things probably won't greatly help you make that.

But if you let your kid at 'em, imagination ought to fill the gaps.


  1. Mr. Shiny & New Says:

    That custom Dalek is cute, but the components aren't very true to the ideals of Lego. If you're going to make a Dalek construction kit, even at minifig scale, why not make the little bumps on the skirt compatible with brick studs? Sure, they wouldn't be as accurate, but then you'd be able to re-use the parts in other creations and/or customize your Dalek.

  2. Popup Says:

    And how good is the fit?

    I have tried about half a dozen kinds of fake lego, and they all suck. Some suck slightly less than some of the others, but they're still clearly inferior to The Real Thing™.

    • dan Says:

      They're a little loose when connected to real Lego (well, the ones I've got are; larger manufacturing tolerances could give tighter pieces too), but they connect very well with each other. They're not the classic miserably incompatible Chinese crap.

  3. Jonathan Says:

    The first minifig sized darleks captioned:

    Source: Flickr user LostCarPark

    are pretty good.

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