Dalek Mark III Travel Machine: Combat Training Manual

One of the first things I covered on this blog was the TARDIS Manual back in 2018 and now the same team of writers and artists are back with the Dalek Combat Training Manual – a visual breakdown of the Doctor’s arch foes.

This combat manual is a collation of vital intelligence gathered by Time Lords over centuries. It is invaluable to anyone engaging the Daleks in battle. Know your enemy.

Cover Blurb
Doctor Who: Dalek Combat Training Manual

The team of Richard Atkinson, Mike Tucker and Gavin Rymill are back together for this release with Atkinson and Tucker on writing duties and digital artist Rymill handling the visuals.

In particular, Rymill 3D modelling work made the TARDIS manual a particular treat, with details like Missy’s TARDIS console room. There’s no shortage of easter eggs here either, with insanely elaborate drawings and cross-sections, including the city on Skaro circa The Magician’s Apprentice and seemingly every model of Dalek ever depicted on screen, recreated in loving detail.

The Dalek World - Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books
The Dalek World – Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books

As frequent contributors to the worlds of Doctor Who, Atkinson and Tucker have lent their unique storytelling sensibilities to the book. As with the visuals, these have references to obscure Doctor Who trivia threaded neatly throughout. We also get the “field reports” – breakdowns of Dalek episodes both classic and modern.

The Spiridon Incident - Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books
The Spiridon Incident – Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books

It’s a credit to Tucker and Atkinson that they can retell old stories with the tone of military detachment while also making the narrative extremely compelling. As well as inventing backstory for the things we saw onscreen but went unexamined. I mean, where else are you going to find out why the Recon Dalek from 2019’s Resolution took some creative liberties with the design of his casing? Sure, it could just be that it was working with local materials. But isn’t it more fun to discover that he was emulating an early Dalek design adapted for reconnaissance? The book is full of little things like this.

The Reconnaissance Scout - Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books
The Reconnaissance Scout – Dalek Combat Manual (c) BBC Books

If you liked the TARDIS Manual, this is exactly what you’d expect and exactly what you want. If, like me, you’re less interested in the cold data and more in narrative then this is a nifty accompaniment to Dalek stories with its background details. Either way, the love and effort that’s gone into this tome means it’s well worth checking out.

What’s your favourite Dalek variant? Let me know in the comments.

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