Welcome to Altered Vistas
   Eve of the War (AV09)
Eve of the War AV09

Eve of the War sees the Daleks coming up against the cunning Mechanoids for the first time as the Daleks’ expanding empire encroaches on Mechanoid space. The Mechanoids are content to study the reactions of these strange new creatures, but the Daleks force a more aggressive response and the battle lines are soon drawn between the two species...

Our production of this story was released in 2006.

DVD and CD-style covers and disc labels for the production can be found here.

   Eve of the War: Gallery
Dalek CityDalek TV
Dalek on Golden ShotSpace Station
Dalekaural StationMechanoid Revealed
Mechanoids at home. Yesterday.Orbs of Doom!
Dalek Game Shows are brutal...Menoid Master
Rebel RebelRED Dalek
Emperor and friendDaleks 1 Mechanoids 0
Mechanoid Attack!
Videoscope Chamber
Emperor watches on...
Daleks close on Rebel Dalek
   Eve of the War: Reviews

RetroRobot writes:

Prog.1:  The Eve Of the War  (18:27)
        2:  Mechanoids!  <bonus>  (10:28)
        3:  ‘Richard Jennings : A Pictorial Tribute’ <b>  (4:06)

Prog.3 review:

‘Richard Jennings : A Pictorial tribute’  is another one of those superb ‘UMPIRE 9E6’ showcases (like the ‘Dalek Cutaway’ bonus on Power Play [AV04]) where there are only visuals and music, so what we have is another Video Clip for an EMPIRE 639 track. As usual it’s a most enjoyable composition in itself whilst complimenting an evocative (if somewhat lacklustre & repetitively styled) montage of a range of Jennings’ comix art – featuring, ultimately, his initiating contributions to the original Dalek Chronicles panels.  A worthy and respectful acknowledgement of an interesting graphic artist of his time.  Not as imagogically long-lasting (or ‘timeless’) as a stylist like Ron Turner’s graphical (and psychedelic) imagery, but more than artier, more pictorially detailed type of panelwork exemplified by Frank Hampson’s original Dan Dare stories (as compared with the later vivid-graphoid style of Frank Bellamy, who took over Dan Dare in 1960, creating a contrast to its originator’s look as dramatic as that between Jennings and Turner in the Dalek Chronicles 5 years later).

Prog.2 review:  “Mechonoia – Machines of Fear”
         (apologies to Mechanophiles and Sofas everywhere)

Featuring narration and animation* by A Stuart Palmer (unlike any we’ve heard before) an informative and surprisingly in-depth look into the origins and outcomes of the attempt to repeat the Dalekmania phenomenon with a sort-of ‘Mechonomania’** (echoing the monomania of Mr “Give me all the Rights, I want the Money” Terrible Notion who, naturally, was the instigator of this farce) which instead became an Instant Flop, a sort-of “Mechano-no-more”(please)!
[* including a wonderfully silly piece of ‘faked-film’sequence with digitally copied fluff & scratches over a rendering of one of the extra Mechonical-devices designed for the original tv-series]
[** horribly reminiscent of the dire phenomenon of ‘Economania’ commercializing Global politics these days]

This ‘much more interesting than the original idea’ doco also has the exquisite intelligence to feature the ‘Geodesic’construction-influence on Mechon-design of the way-way-way-underappreciated R. Buckminster Fuller*.  Altogether a detailed, comprehensive & up-to-date roundup of those all-round Good-Guys – Dalek nemesies and (once) Human-servants: The Machonudies!  (“oh, i say – steady on!!)
[* I Urge EVERYONE to fire up your Dalek Global-Internet-Downloading Plungerware and investigate these remarkable (and Suspiciously undervalued) Genius’ World-saving ideas: particularly the notions of Infinite Wealth and Total Individual Economic Enfranchisement (the ‘Energy Vote’) that directly oppose the horrid falsehood of contemporary “Haves vs Havenots” Economic Politics based on the Environmentally Devastating practices of Primary Resource Extraction & (Accellerating)Artificial- Obsolescence; the false ideology of ‘Necessary Scarcity’; and “the Revolution of Lowered Expectations” presently being foisted on our lives by the entrenched vested interests of the monstrously obsolete ‘Powers That Be’!]

Prog.1 review:  “E.V.A.* Of The Woah!”

         [* Extraterrestial Vehicular Activity]
        (or ‘What Did DaleKlaws Bring You For Ex-Mass?!’)

Opening with a (bit) new Altered Vistas ‘Dalek Chronicles’ intro-edit an awesome (some awful) new Look assails our senses, including the visually delicious extravaganza of Stuart’s new-improved Mechanoid renderings, interiors & cool SpaceShip realization – the “Woah!”Factor.

(Meanwhile, back in Dalek City…)

“A New Skaro Rises From The Ashes Of Our Past”

Stuart has taken the opportunity to ‘tweak’ the Visual Continuity Of The Daleks to interpret the Rebuilding Program ordered by the Golden Emperor at the end of the previous story (Menace Of the Monstrons [AV07]) to include a redesign of the Daleks & the Emperor (despite the appearance of the 3-Tine ‘gunstick’ & ‘chunky-style’ bases not being until the 2nd-last page, and the New Style-Emperor, elongated ‘D-Lamps’ and ‘claws’ instead of “plungers” only on the last page of these first Ron Turner art-panels).  Although they haven’t managed to eliminate those ‘ShoulderBands’pop-rivets yet, but then maybe they’ve just been refitting old Casings with new Accessories!?

There is also lovely new ‘Dalektecture’ and a new-improved monitor(“videoscope”)centre.

And a nice little moment suggesting the Emperor hasn’t yet gotten the hang of the gears in his sporty new ‘racing-stripe’ Casing when the elevator door opens and he backs up against the rear wall before moving forward again to exit (the new Black-ish Dalek is too proud of his new spots* to make any smarty-skirt comments and follows on in ironic silence**).
[* a leopard may not be able to change its, but a Dalek can!]
[** except for a gratuitous “WE-SHALL-BE-INVINCIBLE!” (which, being a Stuart Palmer ’extra’, sort-of makes up for the absence of the more Definite Articulation – “WE ARE INVINCIBLE!” – in Menace of the Monstrons {see R.R. review})]

Fabulous use of shadow-casting programming to generate neato Dalek-shadowplay along floors thru various lighting conditions.

Excellent practical interpretation of the Dalek-SpaceStation under construction in the orbit of an unknown planet – although having a Dalek pushing material along with its arm rather than with special attachments on its Hoverbout as in the comic is a let-down… especially as Stuart has previously shown quite an interest in (and talent for) the interpretation of Dalek craft & devices!

Beautiful mist-halo vfx for the new Lamps on the Dalek inside the “Suspicion Ray”* cloud**.
[* I seem to be forming a Suspicion, Ray!” / “What took you so long?!” / “No, I mean I’m becoming suspicious!” / “Nah, I’ve always thought that way about you, Zeg!” / “You’re a Dalek, Ray – you’re Supposed to be suspicious!” / “So, like I said, Zeg, what took you so long? – I think you’re a Mechon spy!”… Brrzzzaaaapf!!!]
[** of paranoia (not to forget the oddly redundant notion of a Paranoid Dalek!)]

Stuart’s rendering of the Mechanoid SpaceShip (a Mechonaid?) is an outstanding interpretation of Mechon design-aesthetix – as is its interior.  The ‘Menoid’ [nice contraction (from the original)] Master is strikingly realized, although its over-simplistic animation becomes too repetitive in its longer scenes.

Hilarious term this one: “Killer Dalek” – a classic oxymoron, but it’s from the original to be sure!

First appearance of a Red&Gold Dalek* as a SaucerCommander(?) - (there wasn’t one in the first Dalek Chronicles outerspacexcursion: ‘The Amaryll Challenge’) – later adlibbed by Stuart as “Red Dalek Leader”.

[* Originally seen as the (thus-far) only named Dalek, Zeg, after his ‘Metalert’ transformation in ‘Duel Of The Daleks’ (perhaps they considered that a Saucer Commander needed an extra strength Metalert Casing for leadership-security on space missions away from the authority of the G.E. & B.D. and since Golden Globes** awarded to certain Daleks, e.g: BD, are clearly symbols of rank, the B.D. now has to have some different-coloured ones as well to stand out above upstarts like Saucer Commanders!?)]
[** Save for Stuart’s interpretation of the Red Dalek Leader whom he’s ‘black-balled’, which is the Movie-style of Red dalek rather than the DC-depiction – and although there is no Black Dalek at all in this story (his polkadot presence is made in the next one where he is just called “Leader”***) it’s nice of Mr Palmer to keep him around (…perhaps Stuart gets some extra Acting Credits that way!?)]
[*** See “Red Section Leader” comment above – is Stuart working to a definite Dalek Rank System?]

Oh yes – very 60’s:  “Blow that cloud away (Baby-yeah)!!!”

Very good explosion of Mechonoid Spaceship, but I would have liked to see a trail of wreckage following the orbital curve of the planet (for good 3D vfx)!

From the explosion of the Mechonnaisance Vessel onwards we are in that portion of the original DC where Ron Turner takes over from Richard Jennings and explodes onto the page with a bunch of new designs and neato graphic style and a sudden introduction of visual continuity errors – such as giving All Daleks Black globes* and stripping Red Leader of his Gold livery! (a whole new meaning for “delivery”!).
[* See, I didn’t say “balls” – tho’ the Black Dalek’s got blue ones, poor thing]

The melting of the Dalek Saucer (by Mechonoid ships) provides an interesting example of how an animation program doesn’t cope with having a 3D Model’s parameters warped!

A technobabble-freak’s delight:  “Substance Particles and Dimension Atoms” no less!  And let us not forget the “indelible” impression made by the concept of a “Memory Retina”, indeed!!

Unfortunately, Stuart’s interpretation of the “pictures” stored by the Dalek under the influence of the “hypnotic cloud” only includes (an interesting previous-eps ’flashbax’ sequence of) memories from the Dalek’s recall, but only the one image from the “thought patterns” in the cloud/suspicion-ray: that of a Mechanoid (conveniently).

This episode ends with an awesome view of the Mechanoid ’Skyrise’ City and a vast horde (of 12) Mechons, plus Red(#13)’Menoid’ Master ordering them to: “Prepare/for/War!” (the lil’ devil!).

This episode will, I think, remain one of the outstanding Altered Vistas productions for its inhuman(oid) purity of mechanical monsters and their machin(ation)es amidst a bold new look and polish of visuals.  An instant favourite for its elegant simplicity.

Dean Rose (Loose Cannon) writes:

Eve of the War was amazing. Again I really enjoyed this one. I think I'm a bit of a closet Mechanoid fan on the quiet. Everything about this production worked really well. I loved the city and the way you've recreated the Mechanoid voices. I especially liked the Mechanoids feature. This was very interesting and there were a lot of photos and information new to me. BTW, your Chase episodes looked particularly clear.

Roger Smith (AKA Black Dalek) writes:

Wonderful, the Daleks’ rebuilt city is massive, I cannot even guess at how many Daleks we have when the Emperor is giving a briefing.

The Daleks have been redone to look more like the first film versions. The Emperor looks bigger too and my favourite Dalek has my favourite colours.

The story moves along at a fast pace. After all, it is an appetiser for what is to come. As for the Mechanoids they look fantastic and sound good to. Stuart does the voices for both and an excellent job he does too.

I give this one a 9/10 as it leaves you wanting more, which after all is what an appetiser should do.

Extra's this time are:


Very interesting use of The Chase, very informative on how the story came together.

I also like the merchandise section and the way it was rounded off with the latest outing for the Mechanoids, Big Finish’s Juggernauts, which is a BF I enjoyed a lot (a clip would have been nice but I understand why not). Only thing I would have added are two bits of merchandise missing:

1) 1999 Harlequin Miniatures white metal 40mm figure.

2) 2001 Media Collectable resin 1/35 scale figure.

Last extra is a Tribute to Richard Jennings which too is worth a look and I liked the music.

Yet again Stuart comes up with the goods and they are still FREE. So give them a go you may be surprised as there are now nine disk to choose from.

Peter Christy writes:

Eve of the War is very impressive compared to the original. I mean the graphics are way better on it.

I liked the bit where you add more bits to the story than there actually were.

The extras are great. I loved the documentery about the Mechonoids.

John and David Anderson write:

Just received the CDs this evening.

To say that my son thought it was superb would be an understatement.

The excellent quality of the story and the sound exceeded the already high standard that the Dalek Chronicles had set.

The additional features were also of comment - both the feature and the tribute (superb artwork by the way) - which showed the high standard that he delivered constantly.

All your hand work is evident and stands as achievement that you can be proud of.

Steve Herbert writes:

Stuart Palmer’s superb Dalek Chronicles are back, now with added Mechanoids, or should that be Mechonoids? See the brilliant featurette included on the disc as an extra!

The Mechanoids could have been a huge hit in the 60's much like their enemies the Daleks! But they never really caught on. A shame really as they played such an important part in TV21's The Dalek Chronicles, and Stuart Palmer has really done the Mechanoids justice!

And so to Episode Eight of Altered Vistas' The Dalek Chronicles and the Daleks are back with a  revamp! This episode of the comic strip marked the end of Richard Jennings’ art for the series and Ron Turner’s first work on the series.

The first scene starts with a rousing music track and shows us the rebuilt Dalek City. There’s a great shot inside the city of a small flying Dalek, giving us a real idea of the size and scale of the city. Soon we are in the Dalek control room, which is a very busy control room, as we see many different images on all the Dalek scanners in the Videoscope Chamber, and various Daleks make their reports. Then we track off to a Doorway, which opens to reveal the Emperor Dalek alongside the Black Dalek. "Daleks, once more we shall open up the skies," declares our Emperor. "Nothing now will stop the spread of the mighty Dalek Empire," replies the Black Dalek. "Nothing, nothing, nothing," they declare! And the main titles roll, with a slightly altered title sequence featuring less of Richard Jennings’ artwork and more of Ron Turner’s.

The magic of Stuart Palmer’s productions of The Dalek Chronicles is how he brings the page of the comic strip alive, with incredible vibrant colours, that goes as far as bringing each individual panel alive. And how good does the Dalek space station look? Stunning! We see two Daleks inside the space station, looking out into space, when a cloud appears. One is soon attacked by the cloud, a cloud in space? Yes a cloud in space "It can not be."

At first the Dalek appears to be deactivated, and is still, but then returns to life, and turns on his fellow Dalek. Destroying it! Three Daleks fly over from a Dalek spaceship to investigate what’s happening, and are soon attacked by the crazed Dalek.

The cloud then clears enough for us to see a spinning space ship, the top and bottom of the ship spin in opposite directions. And so we see inside the Mechanoid spaceship, more Palmer Magic, more incredible colours. The Mechanoid leader on board the ship communicates with the Main Menoid leader, the Red Mechanoid boss! He reports that one Dalek has been destroyed. The Menoid leader replies, "Progress Satisfactory," and, "learn their Intelligence."

Meanwhile, the Killer Dalek is soon captured and restrained. "You are all enemies, enemies of the daleks, enemies all of you," the crazed Dalek screams! When the Daleks later take him back to Skaro, will they realise how important he is, or will they destroy him?

In space, on board one of the Dalek saucers, a Red Dalek leader spots the cloud, he orders H2O to "Blow that cloud away" and the Mechanoid space ship is revealed! Inside, the spinning Mechanoids are planning to run, but the Dalek leader orders to attack the vessel, which is soon destroyed! Soon two more Mechanoid ships arrive, can the Dalek ship deal so easily with double the threat? Can the Dalek ship survive the attack? You can find out if you send off for Eve of The War now! While back on Skaro, the Emperor will soon have to recall his legions of Daleks from  space, back to the Dalek City! Can he discover just who the Mechanoids are? Who is more powerful? The Daleks or the Mechanoids? Have the Daleks met their match? Surely it wont be long until they'll be at war with each other.

The Mechanoids? Their story has only just begun, and will be back, this storyline is set to continue over the next three Dalek Chronicles. So we haven’t yet seen the last of them!

Can Stuart Palmer’s almost single-handed return of the Mechanoids warrant them a return to our TV screens? Russell T. Davies are you watching? Wouldn’t it be great to have the Mechanoids back on our TV screens? Just think of the impact they could make today if properly realised?

And so to the extras. We have a brilliant ten minute featurette that could grace any BBC DVD, narrated by our Saviour Stuart Palmer, who provides both the voices of The Daleks and The Mechanoids in our main feature, I'm sure there are others involved in this production, but Stuart seems to be everywhere, bringing us such brilliance.

There is also a look at the artwork of Richard Jennings, which serves as a great tribute. All in all another great project from Stuart and Altered  Vistas, so if you haven’t got The Eve of the War yet what are you waiting for?

Daniel Pegg writes:

Altered Vistas does it again. I’ve got to stop saying ‘This is my favourite’ and just accept that each release is better than the last. This one seems to be almost 100% animated, which really makes it flow, and surely one of the best stories in the series so far as the Daleks meet up with the Mechanoids for the first time.

The Mechanoids are really well modelled (must have been really difficult to do, as they are quite a complex shape) and the new-styled Daleks (looking now like movie Daleks) are great, with even the Emperor receiving a bit of a makeover. The new Dalek city too is extremely impressive and works really well.

I didn’t think the cloud in space was quite as well done as the similar effect seen in Plague of Death but this is a small complaint. The shot of the Dalek space station was very impressive as was the fight between the Dalek on the station and the hoverbouts, and the later destruction of the Mechanoid ship by the Dalek saucer.

My favourite shot though was when the Daleks were recalled to Skaro and you saw them all filing into the building to meet with the Emperor, then the series of flashbacks on the big screen to other stories that we have seen. Perhaps it would have been nice to have seen a couple of clips from stories we haven’t seen. These could have made some great in-jokes if they had been CGI versions of Doctor Who stories!

The final shot of the Mechanoids on Mechanus with their stilt city and the jungle was just perfect and really got me wanting more episodes. I can’t wait for the rest of the stories in this sequence!

More please!

Ken “I Recall When Doctor Who Was A Real Programme” Grundy writes:

I’m actually letting tonight’s “Doctor Who” episode start without me while I write this; that should indicate how much I prefer Stuart’s work, which has its roots in the nineteen-sixties, to the modern rubbish!

Today my copy of Eve of the War arrived, in double-quick time. In line with my personal preference I was pleased that there were no humanoids in the story, but from my point of view the best element was the first of two bonus features. The final section of the CD showcased the work of TV21’s artist Richard Jennings, but the earlier part was a documentary, with narration, about the conception and creation of the Mechanoids in the TV series. Stuart’s liaisons with the BBC evidently paid off, as he included excerpts from The Chase which didn’t actually make it into the finished serial, and clearly had access to other inside information.

Last weekend I kicked myself as I saw a toy robot which I owned as a child go for a great deal of money on Antiques Roadshow, and was reminded of it when I saw on the CD a plastic toy Mechanoid standing between two Hertz Mouldings Daleks – I had one of those as well, I’d forgotten about that. I also had the featured EP record made from the final episode of The Chase. If anyone knows what these things are worth now, please don’t tell me – you’ll only be rubbing it in!

Paul Richmond writes:

Many thanks for the latest instalment of The Dalek Chronicles...

The Eve of the War was as entertaining and impressive as it's predecessors... The Mechanoids were wonderfully realised and their voices were spot on. But for me it was not the Mechanoids that stole this show but the wonderful Dalek redesign job... the 1960s movie Daleks live again!

The extras were nice... especially the tribute to Richard Jennings. He was far-and-away my favourite artist on this strip (I never really warmed to Ron Turner's more stylised artwork). His work on the TV21 strips and the 1960s Dalek annuals showed marvellous draughtsmanship and design skills, as well as a great storytelling ability. It was fascinating in this tribute to see some of his non-Dalek artwork too...

Cheers - keep up the good work...

Philip Morley writes:

This is the latest & so far the most exciting story. A real clash of metal.

The art & the music have yet again brought this story to life. (I've got the Mutant CD by the way, terrific!) The shadows, reflections, lighting etc. just add the right kind of wonderment to the already finely processed Dalek/Mechanoid voices.

I absolutely love the new Dalek look (so why does the Emperor reverse into the wall?) & the monitors on the wall showing various Dr who imagery. The Black Dalek looks very noble.

The opening attack on the two Daleks in the space station was extremely well done. The way he suddenly comes round & destroys the other Dalek (there's gratitude for you), then the hoverbout patrol also gets hit. His arrest & restraint with handcuffs made me wonder why they didn't just cut his gun off?!

I find it amusing that the Emperor has to go around the houses to rally his troops, whereas in the Mechanoid camp it's "Prepare for war!"

The documentary about the Mechanoids was very interesting. Knowing the trouble the BBC had with the Daleks, I suppose they didn't want to compound the problem by making the Mechanoids popular also!

All your work is very much appreciated. Keep 'em coming.

Steve Swales writes:

An eagerly awaited Chronicle not only because of the Mech{a|o}noids, but of the beginning of the eventual changeover from Richard Jennings to Ron Turner (via Eric Eden) as artist. This is reflected in this production, with the Daleks looking more movie-like and the Emperor forfeiting his  midsection, but without taking the increased stylisation to the point of losing the realism that CGI allows. This must have been a difficult balance, as Turner’s Daleks in the strip would seemingly morph like Picasso on acid and end up with things like 5x skirt balls per section (treatable nowadays with antibiotics).

Being very much a machine creatures-only story, you’d have expected Stuart to be coasting on this one with no lip-sync or humanoid movements to worry about. Not a bit of it – he’s obviously put the extra time into making the (new) Daleks move more fluidly, with what looks like a bigger percentage of true 3D shots and less Flash animations. There’s a lovely shot of masses of Daleks going into the Emperor’s HQ that gives Parting of the Ways a run for its money, though when they get inside it’s less effective when the Daleks lining the walls are just that – a 2D bitmap lining the walls. It’s only noticeable because of the ambitious panning shot at the same time, and something the TV series was guilty of on more than one occasion with its cardboard cut-out Dalek ‘extras’.

The Dalek voices have much greater depth, and are powerfully chilling, sounding more like the Antichrist speaking through Kraftwerk’s vocoder than Nick Briggs tinkering around these days with Aunties’ ring modulator (oo-er , hope that’s not libellous :-)

The Mechonoids themselves are superbly done, both visually and vocally, and I can’t wait to see them in the main battles. They also feature on the disc in an excellent accompanying feature. Whilst this shows them to have been a bit of a failure at the time, in retrospect they were the main redeeming feature in The Chase. I would have thought it was less of a case of Cusick rehashing his genius Dalek design than of Nation rehashing his own concepts, despite the latter’s criticism of the former.

Dave Aldridge writes:

Ever since I saw the teaser of the Mechonoid I have been eager to see Eve of the War. It did not disappoint! The threat to the Daleks may have seemed a little questionable in The Chase, but here they appear an equal for the Daleks' might. A threat indeed. As always the animation is amazing, and bringing two races of 'metal meanies' to life is not an enviable task, but you do so admirably, from their movement to their voices, both races are both believable and impressive. Roll on more confrontations!

Thanks again for all the work you are doing, I'm sure many others are appreciating it as much as I am!

Paul writes:

What can I say that has not already been said, simply fantastic, the animation is even better than before, everything about this production is done to a very high professional standard. Loved the opening scenes of the Emperor Dalek and second in command gliding down the corridor in one continual shot, the camera angles were perfect, yes I work behind the scenes in television and notice these things.

It’s one thing to produce the perfect looking Dalek but to animate it as well, is what makes these productions a joy to watch.

I look forward to any future productions Stuart has in the pipeline, a true perfectionist.

Thank you for bringing joy for all us Dalek fans!

Mark Neate writes:

I really enjoyed the Eve of the War. You are setting new standards with every release, and the animation and rendering are improving in leaps and bounds.

An absolute joy to watch!

Jonny D writes:

Eve of the War is one of my favourite Dalek Chronicles. It features a crazed Dalek whose fear and anguish are brilliantly expressed through his  voice, not to mention the cold heartless Mechonoids with their unusual technique of concealment. As the Red Dalek says 'That cloud, it is our blind spot, we are in space, Dalek, there are no clouds in space.' (This is of course not strictly true, there are huge clouds in space which condense to form planets)

The story ends up with a spaceship chase (like a car chase, only with spaceships...) and a small space battle in which the Daleks and Mechonoids test each others strength.

This production is an extraordinary accomplishment. Stuart has done an exceptional job, the animation flows well and both the Dalek and the Mechonoid voices are perfect. The bonus Mechonoid feature goes into extensive detail about the robots' production and merchandising history.