Sunday, 12 August 2018

THE 'MYSTERY' OF THE MARX BUMP'N'GO DALEK...



When the MARX TOYS 'TRICKY ACTION' DALEK (more commonly referred to as the Bump'n'Go) was first released in 1964, it wasn't too long before its shape was refined slightly and a few changes instituted.  The first version had a wider 'midriff', the eye stalk was longer and had a red ball at the end of it, and the casing was sprayed silver.  The earliest incarnations of the first version had a blue base and silver appendages, but this was very soon changed to a black base with black appendages, and there wasn't any great length of time between the two.

At some point, and I'm unable to determine exactly when, the shape of the Dalek was amended to a slimmer midriff with thinner bands, and the appendages were altered, with the eyepiece being slightly more accurate and in scale, and the plunger having a 'crink' straightened out.  The gun was also slightly amended and the Dalek colour was now a silvery-grey plastic instead of sprayed.  It may be that these changes were only instituted to distinguish the later large friction-drive model from its Bump'n'Go companion, but the redesigned chassis was soon pressed into service for the Bump'n'Go as well.      


However, it could be that the BBC requested the changes to make the model more accurate, although possibly it was because (and I'm speculating here) Marx thought that the slimmer version was easier for kids to grip with their small hands.  The lines of the thinner bands were sculpted a little smoother than the previous wider ones, and it has to be admitted that the streamlined version is a tad more reminiscent (head excepted) of the way the Daleks were first illustrated in the TV CENTURY 21 back page comic strip.  In profile both models look pretty much the same, though you can see in the photo below that the space between the bands on the first Dalek isn't quite consistent.

If there's anyone reading this who knows the facts behind the changes in the second version, feel free to enlighten me, as I'm sure my fellow Criv-ites would be interested as well.  I've never yet read a definitive explanation for the revisions (though the reasons for the appendages being altered are obvious), so perhaps nobody knows for sure and it's all down to guesswork.  Did you have this toy as a kid, readers, and what are your memories of playing with it?  (Incidentally, the second Dalek in the photos is a DAPOL reissue, but apart from the Bump'n'Go mechanism and the interior lighting, the shape and appendages are the same as the original revised version.)   

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