Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Final Wave? Attack Wing's Ship Expansion 32

With the introduction of fleet packs, card packs and the revamping of the starter set for Attack Wing, it appears that Wave 32 was the last batch of individual ships released for the game.

All the major factions have now been covered with the Xindi completed in Wave 30. That left the last two waves - 31 and 32 - to purely be filled out with repaints from earlier selections. This latest - and last -set of three was a pleasant surprise in one respect but a downer in another. Let's examine...

First up let's get the refit USS Enterprise out of the way. It's a reissue and repaint of the ship from Wave Six. For that review drop across to this entry for the full breakdown. The only difference here is the paint scheme with the refit starship painted up in silver. It's a more precise paint job all round in the silver and especially in the smaller detail around the warp nacelles and the deflector dish. The problem is that while the paintwork is a step up the model is exactly the same one as Wave Six which means the saucer and the warp engines are totally misaligned. For me it's one of those packs where you have to deal with a poor miniature to get to what is quite an exciting expansion with a great single player mission to try out.

Now with that sorted, let's get to the pair of ships I'm really excited about. The remaining two repaints from Wave 32 belong to the Dominion, the only faction I'm severely lacking in participants. So far I have the Dreadnought Missile, the generic Jem’Hadar ship in the Robinson expansion and. That's. It. Odd really since I adore Deep Space Nine.

Leading my foray into the Dominion fleet is the 5th Wing Patrol Ship. The pack is originally from Wave One and now features a rather swanky updated paint scheme. I'd go as far to say that this is possibly one of the best repaints in the history of Attack Wing. 

The Patrol Ship is exquisitely detailed on every surface and Wizkids have managed to include different coloured panelling right across the craft as well as a stunning metallic finish which really sets this little model off. More spectacular is that the ship panelling has ZERO bleed, the engines are both aligned perfectly to the hull and - well - screw me but this is nigh on flawless. Yes, I'm actually going to praise a Wizkids model to high heaven.

But don't just rush out to get this micro-size model without truly understanding how great this Attack Wing expansion is.

Based on the fourth season Deep Space Nine episode To the Death, the pack introduces a lot of cool Dominion features and characters to bolster - or start up - your ranks.

This is my second Jem'Hadar ship after the Robinson (although that wasn't specifcally a Dominion expansion) and attacks with three dice, defends with two, has three hull points and three shields. Your optional extra slots can take two Weapon, one Tech and one Crew upgrade alongside the standard Evade, Target Lock, Scan and Battle Station actions.

The 5th Wing Patrol Ship costs 22 points and as its unique action allows you to add an extra attack die in for the round at the cost of one defence die. Great way to "transfer" power from one part of the ship to another and keep yourself in the fight. The generic version loses a shield point, a weapon slot and that unique action to cost 20 points. 

Three Captain options sit in this pack with, as usual, one being the zero pointer. The four point costing Weyoun offers a skill of six plus the chance to disable him to stop a crew upgrade from itself being disabled. Useful to the max allowing quick double use of what could be a much needed upgrade. Luaran costs just two points and might be a stronger option even with the reduced captain skill of theee purely because she also decreases the cost of one of your Dominion upgrades by two points. This opens up the chance to use the spare credit from choosing her not Weyoun and those couple of points from the cheap upgrade to invest in more abilities for your Warship. 

For crew you are given three new cards in the form of Jem’Hadar soldiers which all cost five points each. Toman’Torax can only be used on Dominion ships and is discarded for the opportunity to remove a Crew card from an opponents ship at range one and active shields aren't an issue! Second up is Omet'Iklan who, I personally think is an essential upgrade for any Dominion ship since he can convert any rolled result (one die of...) into a Damage result. Dead handy considering how unlucky I can be on the dice with this game even if I've employed a cloaking device. Finally there's the word heavy card for Virak'Kara offering another Action possibility which is oddly similar (to begin with) to Toman'Torax. 

In fact I'd go as far as to say that if you had to choose between the two I would pick this one without a second thought because this time you can disable an enemy upgrade as well as disabling your own card before using your opponent's card's Action as a free Action during the round. It's a disable rather than a discard so there are multiple chances to use this during the game and I could see this being a real pain-in-the-ass card if you have some high powered Crew cards in play.

For Tech there are two cards in play with the expansion with the costly five point Suicide Attack and the two point Long Range Tachyon Scan. The first is an Action card which relies on you remembering to make a forward one manoeuver during the Activation Phase and place an Auxiliary Power Token on your ship. It's a lot to spend on one of those "Might Happen" cards that need specifics to take place and this one needs a lot of luck. It requires you to end up overlapping another ship's base  after having made the move and placing the token just so you destroy your own ship and roll eight dice to damage your opponent. It gets to defend but it seems a costly option for such a random moment in the game to come into play. 

The Long Range Tachyon Scan is more realistic as when you are attacking a ship at range three you can spend an in-play Scan token to force the enemy to roll two less defence die. There are a lot of ships out there you could really hurt that use a maximum of two at the best of times.

Finally there are two Weapon choices both costing five points. The ever-present Photon Torpedoes is available at all ranges and is back with the old spending of the Target Lock and being disabled to use the five attack dice in a single hit. Phased Polaron Beam is useful at range three and is another card to be disabled and is effective at range one to two.

This time the damage inflicted by the three attack dice ignore shields and go straight for the hull which could open up some Critical Damage cards earlier than you might expect.

Taking its lead from the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, players can try out their skills at The First Battle of Chin'Toka placing a Federation, Klingon and Romulan fleet up against a Dominion opponent. Each side has 150 points to spend but the Dominion player must equip Suicide Attack and take control of four Orbital Weapons Platforms which are placed around the planet token. The Dominion player has to either destroy the opposing fleet or perform a successful Suicide Attack to win. The Federation player needs to destroy the four platforms. 

This looks like a killer scenario with a lot of possibilities and a cool additional piece in play from the Orbital Weapons Platforms. Also loving the combination of the allied fleet putting three different races into play with different abilities.

Next; the Dominion Fourth Division Battleship model is a beauty. Wizkids have perfected the paint scheme on this one with aplomb. The purple/grey finish is glorious with the panels all finely marked and a really impressive, worn finish right over the whole hull. Given the scale of the ship, you might expect there to be a dodgy edge or a panel line that doesn't line up but this Battleship is almost verging on a mini work of art given the scale and precision. These repaints have really brought life into the range and expressed just how much improvement has gone on within the development of the waves.

The Fourth Division Battleship is a behemoth of a ship and one that will strike fear into the heart of many opponents. Landing with a solid six dice for attack, none for defence, seven hull points and five shield points, there's a lot of firepower on offer out of the box for your 36 points. The upgrade bar is jammed full with the chance to stack up to three Weapon, one Tech and two Crew abilities on the craft. If there's a friendly ship within Range one to two (must be a Jem'Hadar ship) then they can have a free Action  each round they are within the catchment area. 

Should you want to use one of the inbuilt Actions on the Battlecruiser, there are Scan, Target Lock and Battle Stations on offer too. The generic version loses one Shield point, the unique action and a Weapon slot. Now considering that it's a juggernaut this has the worst movement options of any ship I've seen. 

It can manage a top speed of five with only banking turns available at speeds one to four and full 90 degree turns at speed three but that will incur the cost of an Auxiliary Power Token. Overpowered and lumbering might be the final word on how this thing works up.

There's a second Weyoun in this pack costing five points for a steady Captain Skill of seven and the Elite Action slot. Weyoun here opens up two extra Crew slots each of which have a reduced cost by one point as long as they are Dominion upgrades. 

Galnon costs three points with a Captain Skill of five. He lets you launch a two dice attack during the Action stage of the round as long as the opponent craft is within range one. That craft will incur damage as usual with the additional benefit that Galnon allows you to place a Battle Stations token on your ship if one of the dice you roll shows the corresponding Battle Stations symbol. There is also the standard zero points costing Captain should you want to spend your points in other ways.

As with the fighter there are three Crew upgrades packed into the expansion but this time there are varied costs to the Jem'Hadar soldiers. Least expensive at two points is Ixtana'Rax. An elder warrior in the series, his Action is to flip over all Critical Damage cards assigned to your ship and disable the Crew card into the deal. Fairly useful for reanimating your ship if those cards have taken away manoeuvrability or abilities. 

Kudak'Etan costs four points and allows you to disable all the Crew upgrades on an enemy ship at range one even if that craft is cloaked or has active shields. A close quarters advantage that can have a long term effect on an enemy ship. Last but not least we have Ikat'Ika who costs five points and is a Discard upgrade. This one forces an enemy ship to re-roll any dice you want it to when you're under attack. It's only for one ship and a one time only use which does make a lot of sense given the power it wields. If you want to use this on a non-Dominion ship it's going to cost an extra five points.

You'll have to scour other packs for more upgrade options because the Battleship only comes with one Tech upgrade, Shroud. Brilliantly it allows you to discard this card rather than the one you're using and therefore giving you a second use of the ability. I can see this coming into its own with Ikat'Ika or Toman'Torax from the fighter.

The Weapon upgrades are the exact same as the Fifth Wing Patrol Ship with the exception that Phased Polaron Beam uses four attack dice instead of the three in effect on the fighter. 

Finally there's the Ketracel-White Elite Action card for two points that is discarded so you can reactivate any disabled Crew upgrades. Dead useful again because you can max out on your equipped cards before doing a single move to re-enable them all. 

Included here we have the Collect Technical Data mission which is a slight spin on the Deep Space Nine episode Valiant. It's a one on one battle although the Dominion player has 80 points available to the Federation player's 20. Now, if you've collected the later wings you'll have the Valiant pack and can play the story "as was". The Federation player has to equip Scan on their ship and if it is within range one or two of the Battleship it can perform a Scan action and place a Mission Token on the Federation ship card. 

Three of these collected means the full data has been collected - but will you choose to get the data and escape or destroy the Battleship? Each Mission Token collected means one attack die can be re-rolled by the Federation player upping the chances of Dominion defeat.

I'm loving the two Dominion packs in this (final) ship wave and they offer some real devastating options that I'm glad I've had a second chance to get hold of. Just need to keep my eyes peeled for some Cardassian ships now to bulk out the fleet and offer some proper opponents for Deep Space Nine and the Defiant.

What do you think to the latest Attack Wing updates?

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Brainy Remastering: The Official Starships Collection Issues 126 and 127

We’re back with the next two issues of the Starships Collection which transport us to 1968 and 1990...

Initially we have our seventh starship from the Wolf 359 graveyard. The USS Princeton NCC-59804 is only one of two onscreen triple-warp-engined starships across the whole 52 years of the franchise - and to be honest, it wasn't really supposed to be noticed  because it was built solely as wreckage for the aftermath of the Borg encounter.

Response to this one has already been overwhelmingly positive given the comments I've seen on social media so let's get into our usual nitty-gritty.

The saucer section will be recognisable straight away if you've already received/purchased/stolen the Freedom Class starship since it has the same simple surface detail and quintuple phaser banks around the edge of the primary hull. The two-tone aztec colour scheme mirrors down the front to back central line with the paint shade reminiscent of the first issue (remember that far back?) USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. 

It's a grey/beige combo that allows the lighter grey to stand out ever so slightly more than we've seen on the white on white aztecing on other ships such as the Reliant and the Enterprise-A. The numerous lifeboat hatches across the upper surface are lifted in a third and again slightly darker grey. It's not overwhelming but manages to isolate each element and make it highly visible on the Princeton

The raised bridge module is a subtle extension from the hull, raising to a quadruple tier which continues the aztec paint work nicely although in the metal some of the bridge detail is lost due to the size of the module on that tiered design. The decal to the rear of the bridge is centrally aligned and in turn screams out that the two recessed window blocks just behind at the rear of the saucer are well out of sync with their black and white light effects. Thing is, when you see that you then start to realise that all the windows on the main saucer areas (not the tiers oddly) are out of alignment be it only slightly.

Perhaps this highlights that different detailing takes place at different points since the registry and all of the red phaser end "brackets" are all spot on.

Underneath the saucer we have five similar phaser banks and also another series of lifeboat hatches covering the established two-tone scheme. I love the smooth finish on this one because it allows that aztecing to flow right across the hull and even though there's the transition from the edge to the plastic central insert it all stays perfectly co-ordinated. At the centre of the underside is what appears to be a sensor platform but again there's a slight loss in detail due to the moulding.

Everything from here on in is plastic with the Niagara Class and our path to the secondary hull takes us across the narrowest of neck sections and into very, very familiar ground. After all, the Engineering section of the Princeton is identical to that of the Ambassador Class more well known as the Enterprise-C.You have to love the fact that the aztec scheme runs right on through into the curved body which is finished off with more painted on lighting and two Starfleet pennants on either side. 

The build work here - especially for a ship that was originally built for screen damaged is seemingly flawless. The join that marks out the connection of the left and right parts of the hull is hidden away in the spine of the ship with only its appearance down the shuttlebay doors to the rear any evidence of its existence. For once Eaglemoss have managed to paint in the impulse engine on that stubby neck section and very precisely too.

It's a real hallmark with this one how precise the result is (apart from those damn windows) and also impressive that there's one other massive change in play - the main deflector dish is painted in rather than being stuck on as it was on the Enterprise-C. In fact there's a lot that can be taken from this ship for when the XL version of the Ambassador Class vessel is produced. That deflector did cheapen an already disappointing model but the painted on option here works much better.

So to the back my friends and the most unique thing about the Niagara Class - it's three warp engines. Evidently taken from the Galaxy Class, each sits atop its own pylon which in this case were designed an built purely for this model in the show. The finishing detail is again meticulous with dark grey panelling highlights, the continuation of the aztec colour scheme and even strong hull lines all coming together in these small plastic spaces. The same can be said for the engines themselves which all contain translucent blue sections for the warp field grilles and crimson red elements for the bussard collectors.

These are smoothly constructed, each with its own Starfleet pennant streaking across the top and the gold of the coils just adding that finishing touch - actually hold that because the engines are all aligned!!! Magnificent!

The stand fitting for the Princeton is a bit fiddly requiring some manoeuvring of the clips around the body and nacelles to clip to the saucer section. This does mean that it's a steady grip and a nice mid-point balancing position. 

Seriously though, it really is brilliantly made and such a different ship to have in the collection but its a little sad since this is probably the last entry for the ships featured in The Best of Both Worlds cliffhanger conclusion.

In the magazine there's a real sense of unity between the CG and the model with only the noticable dark grey edging on the saucer being a difference. Spot also that the CG pic doesn't have the dark grey panels on the upper two nacelle pylons.

In the Ship Profile we find out about the Niagara Class' main purpose as well as the advantages and disadvantages of that third nacelle experiment. Take note as well that the Princeton later turned up as a wreck in Unification I's Qualor II scrapyard. The plan views are also a bit confusing since the side shot appears to show gaps within the upper pylon struts - bit of inconsistency across all areas there.

Building the Niagara Class covers how Greg Jein's model shop utilised moulds from other craft and some extra spare parts to create the Princeton and the Freedom Class new for the Wolf 359 scene - in fact constructing them ready-damaged!

Third and finally in issue 126 we get Ira Steven Behr's take on the time he spent working on The Next Generation's third season well ahead of his taking the reins for Deep Space Nine. As a writer, Behr was massively involved in key stories through the transition year of the show, dealing with Romulans, terrorists, Klingons and whether or not Data did shoot Kivas Fajo in The Most Toys. It also spins around Behr's memories of the other stories around in that year including his near involvement with The Best of Both Worlds. Well worth a read.

Now, usually I skip over the episode appearance page because it's usually fairly obvious after the preceding 14 pages but here the magazine does something slightly different and steps out of universe to drop some key facts about the conclusion of the Borg story that opened season four. I had to double-take when I read it because it's so out of character for the production! 

Overall, great ship and magazine - brilliant package for this one and well worth a punt.

So yes, our second new arrival is one of the ships to be featured within the remastered versions of The Original Series and begrudgingly it’s from Spock’s Brain.

The Eymorg Starship fits right in with the majority of the remastered starships in that it’s a bit dull. Now you know that the design of the craft isn’t any of Eaglemoss’ fault and frankly it’s a step up from what graced the third season episode back in the day but it lacks that excitement factor and will surely be a completists requirement only. 

That said, Ben Robinson and Eaglemoss have done a splendid job of making the CG craft into an issue of the series and, begrudgingly, I have to admit that the end result is decent...but not stand out.

Based around a central circular design the one-woman Eymorg ship is nothing if not unique in the folds of the franchise so this time we're going to have to go front to back rather than the traditional top to bottom.

At the front as said there's a mushroom-shaped nose that bears a full azteced grey finish and also a wonderfully asymmetrical range of hull features with orange (weapons ports) and dark grey call outs bringing it to life. The central dark grey indicates the entry hatch to the craft.

Joined to the main body at five points is the propulsion ring. Detailed with the aztec grey pattern, there are five ion drive engines attached to the hoop. Both the ring and the engines have darker edging detail and to the rear of each is an orange translucent insert to indicate the exhaust ports. There is evidence of the mould line across the engines and ring which are one of the few machining indications on the starship. Around the ring there are open sections which seem to be hull detail rather than offering some form of practical use.

Spinning round to the rear the slitted exhaust ports are fitted into the metal forward body section and are coloured in orange paint rather than a series of translucent inserts, all clustered around another the central primary engine exhaust.

The design isn't out of this world but what you can say is that Eaglemoss have done a great job of reproducing the craft from the remastered third season of The Original Series

The stand fixing for the ship is exceptional, gripping one of the curved engine pods firmly with absolutely no movement at all once in place.

The Ship Profile piece recounts the events of the "classic" Spock's Brain and the part in which the craft played to steal the Vulcan's mind. The plan views offer minimal identification of the ship parts but there is a strong correlation between the model and the renders in the magazine.

What does seem not to translate too well is that the hull aztecing in the magazine looks more like weathering (this ship is supposed to be quite old) than paint effect. From a distance it does work but close up and in good lighting it doesn't do it any favours.

Niel Wray then discusses creating the new Eymorg Starship for Spock's Brain and how he diverted from the original 50's style rocket used in the '68 episode. The end result is visually much better than the rocket and was produced, as we discover, under some tight budget and time constraints.

Last article up in issue 127 recounts the story of Gene L Coon (or Lee Cronin to use his pen name) who was instrumental in the first two seasons at creating some of Star Trek's most iconic characters, concepts and races from Khan and the Horta through to the Klingons and the Prime Directive. Even after leaving his production position, Coon provided four scripts under the Cronin pseudonym for season three. 

Two well prepped and made models this month no matter what you think to the design of either. Both have exemplary build quality, stand position and finishing details across the board so it's very difficult to be critical. As part of the collection they work well and continue to demonstrate how the series continues tp move forward with each new craft. The Princeton is the easy winner for visual result this time round but I can think of a few other ships that wouldn't have even garnered a second look against the Eymorg ship. 

What do you think to the remastered ships of The Original Series? What other kitbashes should Eaglemoss make?

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Supporting Roles: The Official Starships Collection Shuttlepack Three

Just before Christmas, Eaglemoss brought us another four compact bundles of joy in the rectangular shape of Shuttle Pack Three.

While they may not have the most dynamic of titles, the third set of small auxiliary craft threw up three curve balls in the set that fans might not have expected. 

Let’s pick out these four in time order so we’ll start with the Travel Pod first seen back in The Motion Picture as well as The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV

A full metal shell, the Travel Pod is one of the most compact craft in the whole franchise and Eaglemoss have done it real justice. The hull finish is a light grey coat overlaid with two deeper shades of grey on some of the hull panels across all sides and then some further white strips to highlight the light panels around the central line of the craft.

There’s some very fine red lining around the top and bottom edges of the pod and although there are a few slight wobbles in keeping the strips straight all the way round but the level of colour and decals is fantastic on this one, topped off with the ‘05’ numbering including red edging around each numeral.

The large viewport on the front is sadly blanked out otherwise there would need to be a whole interior built. It does the job but does take away some of the final overall effect because it doesn't replicate the original model precisely.

To the back is another great feature of this craft to behold in the circular shape of the airlock. Detailed down to the panelling and the locking mechanism in the docking ring, this is a very well designed and replicated part of the Travel Pod, even more because of the scale in which this mas been worked.

Second in the pack and turning up at random throughout the franchise's history is the cute little Workbee. Now this is a real game changer when it comes to the collection because it's the first time that Eaglemoss have detailed the interior of a ship.

In this case the clear plastic windows on three sides of the cockpit allow you to see the single seat and controls within. It's very unusual to get this much on a model and less expected on something like the Workbee. 

Again the whole frame is diecast which provides a much more realistic and varied surface. The one man craft really is a neat replica with a striking yellow paint job head to toe accented with some mustard yellow detail on the forward prongs plus around the rear. At the back end there are a series of greyed technical pieces where the craft can be accessed for maintenance or connect to other units. 

Quite prominent in the design is the thin stripe of black and yellow hatching that borders the windows of the craft. Judged against the lies on the Travel Pod these are nicely aligned to the bodywork and probably benefit from not sitting right on a panel line.

Third up and moving to Insurrection, we have the Type-11 Shuttle which featured heavily in the chase scene with Data's Federation Mission Scoutship. Now that's already been released as part of the regular issues and turned out to be a cracking entry to the series with it's metallic finish and unusual body shape. Here the shuttle that was flown by Picard and Worf takes a more familiar form with the long body flanked by the drop-down warp nacelles.

The main body and engine pylons here are metal with the engines themselves made from plastic which allows them to benefit from the inclusion of translucent warp field grilles and bussard collectors as with the larger starships.

The crisp white paint gets accentuated on the Type-11 through the marking up of two tone grey panelling at strategic points across the ship which is not dissimilar to the way in which the Travel Pod is finished. This shuttle also carries the Enterprise ship registry on its nose and along its flanks where the text is part of the Starfleet pennant stripe.  That stripe and the delta shield also adorn the top of the hull where it is only broken by the inclusion of an airlock.

Now that's a feature that Eaglemoss had to make sure was on since it's a key feature at the climax of the attempt to recover Data in Insurrection. The detail on it is very good and is mirrored with a similar hatch on the bottom. Now that underside isn't as interesting to look at as the top but the panel lining is fantastic with the grey highlights following the grooved indentations of the hull.

Sadly once again the main windows are blacked out to reduce costs and avoid modelling those interiors - which in this case would be strangely identical to a Runabout from Deep Space Nine if you know what I mean!

Now here’s where it gets a bit interesting because the warp engines at the end of those shaped white metal pylons are in grey. I’ve checked a fair few images and even gone back to the source material of Insurrection itself but can’t quite fathom if there is a shade variation from main hull to engine. What I can say is that the difference is not as striking as it is on this model. 

The actual build of the engines themselves is decent enough and incorporates those translucent sections as noted above. The panelling is fairly simple and on the underside we have the ship registry of NCC-1701-E. Of the set I know a few people who absolutely adore this one but in my eyes it’s... ok. I honesty must prefer the Travel Pod for its stubby lines and chunky Classic Era detailing. 

Finally and one that raised a few eyebrows is the Argo. I had expected this craft to come as a regular issue given that it’s more Runabout size than shuttle size and well, if the Captain’s Yacht and the Aero Shuttle got their own issues why not this one?

But alas and fortunately for all those who have a strong dislike for Nemesis it’s the fourth and final craft in Shuttlepack Three.

Oddly it wasn’t the inclusion of the Argo that seemed to be the main sticking point with this one but rather the bronzed metallic paint finish. I have to take it that this is what was envisaged when the ship was created but didn’t quite translate as expected onto the big screen. From memory and the pics in the pamphlet/magazine, it looks a lot more grey in the movie. 

Anyway, to details and the Argo is, annoyingly, a lot better than Nemesis itself. The unique design with the foldout wings (deployed) and that sweeping nose make it immediately distinguishable from every other shuttle there’s been. It looks much heavier, chunkier and purposeful. For once there’s a post-The Next Generation shuttle that goes against the standard format rules and does something completely different in form and colour. 

The panelling is much simpler too with the bronze cost stretching around almost every point from bow to stern and leaving only a few brown hatches to bring dimension to the ship.

Aside from those minor coloured sections we also have two Starfleet pennants running down the sides of the hull including the delta shield and the Enterprise starship registry. Just above that we have the shuttle name in case you’d forgotten it.

To the rear we find the entry hatch - again in the singular bronze colour and still immediately discernible  while the engines are painted onto the exhaust points very simply in a light blue. 

As it goes with the Argo it is very plain given it’s striking and individual appearance. However looking at it another way, subduing the colours does mean that it isn’t too overpowering or cartoony in appearance and I think it’s turned out really well even if the movie it was in wasn’t up to expectations. 

For each of the shuttles in pack three we have a lithograph print with stand which is reproduced in the centre pages of the wafer thin magazine which covers design and appearance in the Star Trek universe in the most fleeting of ways. These mags are a huge disappointment given the cost of the shuttle packs and four pages doesn't do any of them - even the Argo - justice. But to be fair, are you buying this for the mags or the superb shuttles?

The Official Starships Collection Shuttle Pack 3 is available now from the Eaglemoss webshop.

What shuttles need to be packed up for Christmas 2018? Alien craft? Which Federation ones are missing?

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Four Newbies for Starships Collection

The Starships Collection is going to 160 Issues!

To link in with the extension news (kind of expected what with the news that there a ruck of bonus issues on the horizon) we also got to see a taster of what’s to come with four announcements.

Issues 131 to 134 offer something from Enterprise and Voyager alternately and first up is the Arctic One transport from Regeneration...

Arctic One

It’s already made an appearance in the collection in its assimilated state which included one of the most mind-bogglingly fiddly stands ever. Trading in the Borg technology and the matt black paintwork for a minty green finish and smoother lines, it’s a good choice to add in alongside the darker version but I definitely don;t recall the colour being quite so sharp.
Anticipation Factor: 3/5

Warship Voyager

One of my favourite, favourite FAVOURITE episodes of the franchise whole was Living Witness. A great concept which also introduced us to the altered Voyager as perceived by the xxxxxx. Lots of modifications on this one so expect the basic Voyager model from issue six to be the template here with glued on extras. Note also the altered stand position to the rear of the saucer in line with the XL version.
Anticipation Factor: 4.5/5

Irina’s Racing Ship

Huh? It’s a whaaaat? 
A new ship from Drive which means you can now play out the episode utilising this craft and the Delta Flyer!  A very different design with a striking colour scheme I think this will be missing the heavy weathering and instead look like it’s come out of the showroom and loose the feel of the ship. Different, quirky...and destined for a corner of a forgotten shelf.
Anticipation Factor: 2/5

Vulcan Survey Ship

Still waiting for the T’Plana’Hath from First Contact but here’s the one that stranded T’Pol’s gran on Earth at Carbon Creek. Sporting those familiar Vulcan curves and brown paint, it’s the first from the green-blooded aliens since the Vahklas in issue 88. Compact and stylish, the Survey Ship will be a popular - and probably well detailed model coming from the CG files of Enterprise. I'm warming to the shape and style of this one...slowly.
Anticipation Factor: 3/5

All images via

There's another 25 issues still left but it now looks certain that the Scimitar will not be among them. We still have to wait for news of not just the T'Plana'Hath but the Fesarius, the Sona ships, the Merchantman and probably a few more - could it go beyond 160? Yes, but what are we going to be getting by that stage? Also, are we getting to the point where there are slim pickings from some arms of the franchise?

What else is still missing from the collection at this point? What do we need to see?

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Title Contender: Issue Two of The Official Discovery Starships Collection

It is both a joy and with sadness that I write this piece because while the USS Discovery has finally arrived, news is also out there that the Discovery Starships Collection has been suspended until later in the year (nb probably June...!)

But hey, at least we have the Shenzhou and the Discovery herself to drool over while we wait for any further releases so every cloud an' all that...

So here she is, the newest addition to the franchise’s ever-lengthening line of hero starships, the Crossfield Class, spore drive powered, USS Discovery and I have to admit, it is one of Eaglemoss’ best efforts to date.

Really?! Yes, absolutely. I mean I was blown away by the quality of the Shenzhou with Issue One but the Discovery dials it up to warp 9.9. For one thing, this ship is bloody long. In fact having seen pictures and the ship on the TV I still didn’t appreciate just how long she was until the box arrived and I popped her out of the polystyrene packaging.

Proportionately the Discovery is very different from what you might expect with a small, segmented saucer, stumpy neck section, wedge-shaped body and those striking, long, pointed warp nacelles - it’s like she’s been squashed and pulled in all sorts of new directions and of course there's the echoes back to the Planet of the Titans USS Enterprise concept that are more than evident in the craft.

Once more the starship is a masterful combination of metal and plastic and unusually for a Starfleet ship this one is bronzed, brown and a shade of silver rather than grey or white. Definitely a different vibe on this ship to anything else that's graced any point of the collection.

The split concentric circles of the primary hull are themselves plastic moulded with a beautifully subtle and underplayed aztec paint scheme on both inner and outer rings. There's noticeably no panel scoring and the inside edges of both rings are painted up in a dark brown which turns up to highlight sections of the Discovery. On both these edges Eaglemoss have managed to etch in rows of tiny windows but have not avoided the usual misalignment to the recesses. Tiny detail to make out but they're not in the right places. Oh, one thing - they don't spin so you won't have to worry about your model suddenly disappearing into the Mirror Universe anytime soon.

The windows on the underside edge of the inner circular section suffer from the same issue although there is a bit less surface greebling which is offset with a slightly higher level of panelling. The paint variations are incredibly fractional and you have to get the right light to make out the changes - that and you need a good bit of sunshine to show where the USS Discovery name is curved around the hull surface of the inner ring. 

To the front of the primary hull and almost indistinguishable from the paintwork is the NCC-1031 registry and ship name just above it. At the centre and in metal is the distinct bridge dome successfully highlighted - in the right sections - in white. 

The underside of the saucer Now one of the clever bits of construction here is that the saucer is "clipped" into the neck of the ship by a section of dark brown hull which runs back down to the Engineering Section. This whole neck piece is finished with printed-on windows but Eaglemoss have avoided recessing the window ports first which means that these aren't misaligned to anything and are flush to the surface. Definitely a good choice to just mark straight onto the hull.

The neck itself is actually two pieces with the rear plastic and the bronze front section in metal. The two pieces reach around the saucer section(s) and meet at that bridge module with the underside and the piece surrounding the bridge dome also being in the heavier material.

Drop down again and we find ourselves at the metal secondary hull. Once more there's the aztec paint scheme and what you come to realise is that whatever angle you view her from, there's always a hint of the slight pattern that covers the whole surface. It's not as obvious as the two-tone on the Enterprise-D but it's there.

The large metal delta shape of the secondary hull carries a lot of weight but look again and you'll see that the leading edges of the hull are actually plastic with sensor and window detail from the front to back. Both the upper and lower pieces are mainly bronzed with striped highlights in silver which are raised from the main surface and add much needed depth to the ship. It doesn't seem like overkill either with the colours striking a visually exciting balance.

Along the back of the secondary hull we also have the shuttlebay framed by the red glow of the impulse engines. This is actually a single translucent red strip right across the back painted up for the bay, the engines and then the brown of the bodywork at the ends. It's a clever use of the single piece of plastic to edge the hull and the metal.

Underneath there are again the simple panel lines on the delta-shaped body but there is another inset piece to the hull. It's an almost triangular section that stretches from the midpoint of the underside and encompasses the tiny deflector dish at the front. The deflector is one of the few translucent (blue) elements of the Discovery and even bears a small protruding sensor point. The choice to put it in plastic and translucent is brilliant. It works very well and again the combination of building materials is genius.

The metalwork extends under into the base of the warp engines. These are the most spectacular piece of the Discovery shape, tapering almost to a point and extending far further back than any warp engine has ever gone before. The design is gorgeous with Eaglemoss setting a blue translucent bussard collector at the front and thin warp field grilles along the sides. The detail on the surface of the engines is as minimalist as the rest of the ship with only a few panel markings and some darker brown highlights along the top and just visible at the back.

They're very solid as well and first impression out of the box was that they would be a nightmare and bend like anything. Luckily the metal gives a lot of support and they don't taper to too thin an end. 

Not only do you get the ship in the box but also the mini-scale magazine covering some of the ship's more notable details and specs plus a section detailing exactly how the design came about as well as evolving from those first early CG shots that teased us well before the show launched. John Eaves has produced a real winner and Eaglemoss have done it justice on page as well as in 3D with a host of design sketches and stories behind the difficulties in finalising the shape of the warp engines. What the magazine does contrast to the model is the colour scheme with a more distinct bronze/silver paint job on the page. One grumble is that there are no screenshots from the series to see the ship in action and the only pic we do get from the show is a promo one of Lorca in the captain's chair. Luckily all those sketches more than make up for it.

The shape and form of the Discovery is destined to become iconic and Eaglemoss have produced a replica of it that is absolutely goddamn stunning from every angle. It's one of my all-time favourites that hey have produced from regular, special and bonus issues. Love it and I'm shocked it's not already sold out - but that might be down to the £29.99 price point.

What did you think to the USS Discovery model?

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