Daleks’ Architecture and Ship Designs
Michael James Valdivielso
This article will focus on Dalek architecture and ship designs. This sounds harder then is looks as much of Dalek architecture is a mixture of Dalek and native influence.
The Dalek City on Skaro, when first seen in ‘The Daleks’, even impresses the Doctor. It is a clean city, made from metal, with towers and domes, wide streets and structures of unknown purposes. Once inside we find nuclear reactors, water purification plants and hydroponic farms.
Even the inside is made of metal, allowing the Daleks to use the city itself as a giant power grid. The hallways seem to be designed for one way traffic, being only wide enough for one Dalek. The hallways seem to link to round rooms, hubs or roundabouts, allowing Daleks to make U-turns if needed.
Elevators allow the Daleks to have access to all levels of the city and the surface, of course.
Cameras and other sensors allow the Daleks to see and detect all movement within the city and along the city’s borders. All the equipment within the city was designed to be handled by Dalek grippers. In other words the city was designed by Daleks, for Daleks – even down to the doors.
A later glimpse of the same city, in ‘The Evil of the Daleks’, shows a city that has become even bigger (as it is my understanding that the system of caves that the Doctor used to access the city last time are now partly surfaced with metal) and the city has also become more advanced, having an Emperor that has now been linked to every part of the city via huge computer systems, nutrient pipes and power cables.
Another example of a Dalek City is seen on Earth, during the second invasion of the planet. Huge, white buildings that look as impressive and interesting as houses made from kids’ building blocks. These buildings were factories, prisons, offices and living areas. In them human slaves lived and worked next to Ogrons and Daleks. The city is a hybrid, which is plain to see. It is also different by the fact it is mostly ABOVE ground.
The prison, for example, has a slopping ramp that acted as a hallway.
This would allow the Daleks access to the cells – if they don’t mind the drop to the cell’s floor from the ramp! There are some steps inside the buildings, but they are few and far between, yet outside there are walls, rubble and stairs making the Ogron guards a must for the Dalek police force.
Why make the buildings of Earth more human-friendly than Dalek-friendly UNLESS it was human slaves who designed and built the cities in the first place? Or maybe the Daleks didn’t care because they didn’t have to HAVE or NEED access to most of the areas within the walled compounds? Is this a true city or just a base?
Dalek bases usually have two functions. All are military in nature, with spaceports and ground troops aided by long range detectors. The second function is usually scientific in nature, either developing more advanced weapons or biological agents to be used as weapons.
Dalek Bases, like in the ‘Planet of the Daleks’, are mostly underground and are copies of Dalek cities (small copies to be sure, but copies). In fact, in ‘Planet of the Daleks’ the doorway, with the huge statues, suggest that either the Daleks were using an alien temple/ruin as part of their base OR the Daleks put artwork outside their base’s entry points. As the latter idea is baseless and cannot be proven, we must go with the first suggestion, that Daleks are willing to use local buildings, ruins, temples and so on, when setting up their own bases. Why? Because if an enemy scout were to fly over the base they would see alien architecture NOT Dalek architecture. On the other hand the one-eyed look of the statues suggest that the natives cut the stone statues to look Dalek-like or the statues were cut while under Dalek direction.
In the ‘Daleks’ Invasion of Earth’ they have a small base at the mining area. The base seems to be nothing but a small control center for directing the work at the mine and for controlling the Dalek forces on the planet. The Daleks spend much of their time on patrol either in the streets of the major cities, like London, or in their flying saucers in the skies of Earth.
Dalek Saucers are of the basic UFO design: a disc of steel. Most of the Saucers, such as ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’, ‘Death to the Daleks’, ‘Bad Wolf’, and ‘Parting of the Way’ seem to use some kind of antigravity or, if I may take a word from the Kzin novels, reactionless space drive. Dalek Saucers seem to be the ‘mule’ of the Dalek Space Forces.
One saucer, from ‘Planet of the Daleks’ does seem to use rockets for takeoffs and landings AND has a different design then other saucers. It could be using rockets for many reasons. Maybe they are more reliable and are more useful for clearing a landing area on planets where the jungle or forest rules the landscape.
The design is smooth, shaped like a top from a bottle. Could the design be the Daleks’ attempt at tricking or deflecting enemy radar? Or was it just designed to carry more cargo and Dalek warriors to protect Dalek Leaders?
Maybe the saucer, which does look slightly larger then the basic saucer, has extra armor for space combat (the Daleks’ version of a ‘Tiger’ saucer)?
Maybe the extra weight of more armor and weapons requires the saucer to help the antigravity engines with rocket engines during takeoffs and landings.
Dalek Battle Cruisers:
In ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ we first see a Dalek Battle Cruiser.
Dark, effective looking, with powerful weapons and bright engines, the cruiser looks like a very deadly war machine. The hull even seems worn and the tactics used by the Dalek crew, to hit-and-run again and again, seems to suggest a good knowledge on space combat. The fact that this ship is what remains after the Daleks have been defeated is somewhat impressive. The cruiser seems able to handle the human space station without any problem.
The second Cruiser we see was made by Davros and his White Daleks.
Doctor explains to the humans that the ship had weapons much more powerful and deadly than nuclear weapons and that it can see a sparrow from orbit. The fact that Davros has won his war against the Rogue/Gray Daleks suggests that the White Cruiser is MUCH more effective in combat than anything the Daleks had built before that (even if it looks like it was designed by blind bees). Unlike the first Battle Cruiser, Davros has designed his ship to also use some kind of rocket-engines.
The Dalek Shuttle, the only one we ever see or know of, appears in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. It looks like a smaller version of Davros’ White Cruiser. Very functional, very simple looking, it has massive ground defenses (but has nothing to protect it from an attack from above) and looks like a boy’s locker room inside. One Dalek, attached directly into the controls, is all that is needed to run the craft.
This suggests that either the Mothership would keep the skies clear of enemy craft OR some kind of escort-fighter might be available during planetary invasions. Otherwise the Shuttle would be helpless during the unloading and loading stages of any ground assault. Seems to be a BIG fault in the shuttle design. It also seems to use, like the Mothership, rocket-engines for landing and takeoff. Has liquid fuel become so cheap that the Daleks have decided to replace other types of engines with rocket engines both small and large ships?
Dalek Time Machines:
Time Machines come in many forms and shapes. The most advanced time device I’ve noticed are those used in ‘The Day of the Daleks’, which are so compact and fool-proof that even the HUMANS can use them. Yet this is after thousands of years of development. Their knowledge of time travel at this time even allows them to snatch people out of the Space Time Vortex itself using a ‘Magnetron’.
The first few time devices seem to take the form of a time tunnel. The first require a power source and focusing device on both ends of the tunnel, such as ‘The Evil of the Daleks’, but later versions only require one device at one of the tunnel’s entrances such as in ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’. I can see such a ‘Time Corridor’ (as the Daleks called it) being useful in spaceships, as they can be used to land troops EVEN before the defenders know the Daleks are on the way.
In-between the first time tunnels and the later time tunnels are Time Machines that look very much like a Time Lord’s Tardis. Sleek, crisp and clean looking, the Daleks’ Time Machine can even FOLLOW other machines thru the Space Time Vortex, such as in ‘The Chase’ and ‘The Dalek MasterPlan’.
In ‘Doomsday’ the Black Dalek escapes into time, to escape being sucked into the void. Is it a Built-In Time Device of some kind?
One thing to note, in ‘The Power of the Daleks’ the capsule the Daleks are found in seems to be bigger on the inside than the outside. Is this just an advanced escape pod or an experimental time machine gone haywire?
In ‘Army of Ghosts’ and in ‘Doomsday’ we are shown a Void Ship, a ship designed to travel outside of time itself. While it can be seen it has no mass, no weight, gives off no heat nor can an energy source be detected. It is visible to the human eye but that seems to be it. Until it decides to open, entering time and space once again.
There is no way to prove if the Daleks designed the ship or not. If form follows function than it could be that all Void Ships look alike. How many can it hold? How long can it travel? What level of science is needed to create one?
BC=Dalek Battle Cruiser
B=Dalek Base (Science or Military)
T=Dalek Time Machines
The First Age: Pre-Space Travel
The Genesis of the Daleks
The Daleks C
Army of Ghosts VS
The Second Age: Space Travel
The Dalek Invasion of Earth SA/B
Day of the Daleks(target) C/T
The Space Museum(?)
The Power of the Daleks(?) T(?)
The Third Age: Time Travel
The Evil of the Daleks C/T
Day of the Daleks(source?)
Frontier in Space
Planet of the Daleks SA/B
Death to the Daleks SA
Mission to the Unknown
The Dalek MasterPlan B/T
The Chase T
Destiny of the Daleks SA/C/B
Resurrection of the Daleks BC/T
Revelation of the Daleks
Remembrance of the Daleks(source) BC/SH/T
The Long Game
Bad Wolf SA
Parting of the Ways SA
Article © 2007 Michael James Valdivielso/Visagraph Films International.