Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Arctic Monkey: The Official Starships Collection Issues 130 and 131


Two craft that have strong links to the Borg but from different ends of the Star Trek timeline have arrived (flippin’ late) from Eaglemoss.
 
Due to all sorts of warehouse moves, wormholes and probable Klingon invasion, August’s subscriber issues were delayed by a whole month meaning collectors are only just now receiving their models. 

While it means there was a longer wait for August’s issues it does mean on the flip side that there will be a very short wait for September’s craft.

Ok and to the first of the two issues and the Borg Probe which popped up back in Voyager’s fifth season TV movie, Dark Frontier.

A more rectangular craft than the more familiar cube, the Probe mirrors the distinct metallic polished finish that has been used on the Borg Queen’s ship and also to some extent on the issue 10 Borg Sphere. The surface finery om this,ome is mighty impressive - at least 50% of it is because theres the distinct feeling of deja vu not seen since the Borg Tactical Cube - the top and bottom sections are identical. Yes, honest to goodness this is 50% of thrnship that you would have wanted. It also maes reviewing it a pain in the ass because there’s 50% less than usual to talk about dammit.

Ok, calm down now...deep breath. 

The whole of the Borg Probe is plastic however your first thought when looking at it is that there must be at least a hint of metal somewhere. There isn’t and regular readers/collectors will have vivid flashbacks to the TV remote ship aka the Federation Holoship from Insurrection. Thing was with that while it was 100% plastic there was variation in the hull detail front to back and top to bottom. What we have here is a mirror finish top to bottom and a front and back which are nearly identical.

Have to say while the Borg are a cool baddie, their ships really are dull and repetitive but, I. begrudgingly admit, functional to the core. The surface maze of wiring and black versus silver components is effective if a little boring after you’ve looked over it once but Eaglemoss have, faithfully, recreated the ship as seen in the episode. For that and the excellent finish on the small Borg craft they cannot be faulted and at least there are a few kinked angles in the outer hull that make it a bit interesting at least.

The stand, as with all the Borg ships is something unique with the Probe resting in it like a cradle and not dissimilar to the plastic bases that the shuttles sets utilise. Like the Borg themselves it’s functional, end of.

The magazine opens with quite a bit of information around the reason Voyager was after Borg ship in the first place as well as highlighting that the small ship wasn't actually that much of a challenge to the Intrepid Class starship. Unusually the section overviewing the Probe covers a good chunk of its capabilities and not too much of the episode.

John Eaves' work is once again given a decent level of analysis with the Probe originally starting out as a design for the Borg ship in First Contact. It certainly evolved from that plan - and downsized - into the craft that was used for Dark Frontier. Finishing out the edition is a great piece on the work of the late Cliff Bole perhaps most famous for his work on The Best of Both Worlds - from his own perspective including his personal favourite episodes to work on and his experiences with the multiple casts. 

Absolutely loved reading this edition alongside the Probe. There's a good spread of information on the ship itself plus background detail into its production and, to a degree, the episode in which it featured as well since Bole was involved with its direction.

Providing a lot more to talk about is the Arctic One transport craft from the Enterprise Borg episode, Regeneration. We’ve already had the complex end result of the Borg’s handiwork with the assimilated version of the ship a matter of issues ago and now we have the original shape to compare.

Doing away with the checkerboard two shade of green paint job as seen in the promotional pictures is a good move from start as the more solid base cost here suits the finished item more than the concept model seen via HeroCollector.

The upper section of the exploratory craft has been formed in metal and now bears a more blocked out two shades of green with the lighter playing out as the base coat. For an Enterprise model it's surprisingly light on the surface panel detail although there are definite hull sections marked out with distinct grooves - for some reason it just feels "incomplete" alongside the other CG craft from the prequel show. 

Rising up from the middle of the craft is a distinct bridge module which rests over the landing gear and part way towards the rear of the transport. You can make out some of the structure of the command deck and running close by it some more windows - that aren't aligned to their recesses. As usual.

What we do have with the Arctic One is quite an undulating hull occasionally marked up with black or white window ports. In this instance the windows are marked on to the hull and avoid recessing their positions into the hull. Once more we have two different ways of the windows being applied with the former (the recesses) still not working out exactly as they should. Is it time to give up on the recesses totally?

One tragic error - and one down to the original rather than the model creators is the use of the ANTarctic rather than the Arctic as part of the logo emblazoned on either side of the transport. Bit of a silly one but hey, you can't be perfect every time - and just think of some of the classic model errors that were transferred direct from screen to collection.

Slipping towards the back of the Arctic One there's a good amount of highlighted panel detail around the triple raised engine units. Again its not overly complicated but the contrasting panels add depth to the surface. What could have been good was to add a bit more depth to the back end. The pair of impulse engines and the central warp engine have no real substance to them and merely protrude from the hull with no real purpose or level of reality. 

Protruding out from the hull and over the back of two of the impulse engines are two plastic fins inset into the upper hull. It's a curious choice not to just mould them into the metal and rather have them as two separate pieces. It's more effective that way since the gaps above the engines add depth of detail.

Why is this such a problem? Because flip the Arctic One over and you find that Eaglemoss have bothered to include blackened detail around the thruster ports on the underside of the ship which immediately draws your attention back to the rather bland rear propulsion system.

The scorched detail is a lovely touch on this one and combines perfectly with the greens of the ventral panels. There might not be any windows or emblems filling out space yet the underside is just as interesting to see as the top. Add in that, unusually, the plastic underside inset is actually a front, centre and rear split and you have something even more unusual in the collection.

That middle section actually curves out from the hull to carry two of the three landing skis.and it's a very flexible part of the ship since each ski is connected by only two slender arms on each side. Set into the hull in between the struts are two grey sections which appear to contain some form of thruster arrangement with inset blue detail.

The third ski is right to the back and on my Arctic One is bent to the right. I did attempt to bend it back to centre however the slight "crack" sound after shifting it about a millimetre told me to do otherwise. The supports for the struts are complete with piston and joint work and then also have a further two blue inserts within the hull. In both instances it looks like these grey blocks will be hidden away by the skis when fully retracted.

Issue 131 explores the function of the United Earth Arctic One, its layout and capabilities before turning its attention to exactly how the Borg made their initial (and bizarrely last) appearance in the Star Trek universe in season two of Enterprise. Certainly it's the franchise's biggest curveball but there were plans to go further for season five and there was a big consensus that it had to all make sense...

Finally this time we examine how the Borg were designed for Q Who - and then redesigned for their later movie, Voyager and lone Enterprise appearances - and people complain about the reworking of the Klingons! Visually it all works because of the TV versus cinematic budgets but here we see just what thoughts went into making them a reality.

So two fairly middle of the road editions here with the Arctic One being only just out ahead in this Borg-related pairing. But next time's duo offer's something a little exciting with the Warship Voyager from Living Witness as issue 132 and a Irina's Racing Ship from Drive showing up as issue 133. 

What did you like about the Borg Probe or the Arctic One?

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Thursday, 23 August 2018

Cameo Klingon: The Official Starships Collection Special 13


A new Big Green Machine is on the block courtesy of Eaglemoss but this isn’t one with which you’ll be overly familiar.

It’s only made (so far) one, solitary appearance in the Star Trek universe and even then it was barely glimpsed on screen on a screen.

The 2009 reboot movie features a Kobayashi Maru sequence and within that infamous scenario we have the opposing Klingons using the Kelvin Timeline equivalent to the D7 Battlecruiser.

To be fair it probably appears on screen longer than any of the ships from the equally infamous Wolf 359 graveyard and it’s absolutely in keeping with the Prime Klingon design ethos that wasn’t necessarily followed when it came to the Bird of Prey from the subsequent Into Darkness.

Coming in at xxcm long, the Klingon Battlecruiser is one heavy muthafucker. Painted up in two-tone green, the design heritage - or homage perhaps more accurately - is there for all to see with the basic command section, connecting neck and body plus nacelles formation firmly in place.  

Let's - unusually - start from the back. The twin warp nacelles sit at their slightly jaunty angle and carry a nice bit of tech detail on their surface. There’s the usual assortment of lumps and bumps indicating that more function-over-form approach you might expect from the Klingons but what is missing are the translucent inserts for the warp field grilles. On something of this scale I would have expected this almost as a standard instead of painting in the paired grille slats. 

These two chunky engines then lead back into the short green pylons and then onto the main engineering hull section. The origin of the form is clearly planted in the D7 Class from The Original Series and get there are a ton of nuances and tweaks that make it distinctly Kelvin. Take the hull plating for example. At first glance it’s very similar to the K’T’inga upgrade but the pattern of the bird feathers feels more aggressive thanks to the addition of a couple of fins here and there and extra firepower. 

Mind those two additional leading edge guns though because they are fairly bendy and thin - certainly bits to be cautious with. At the rear edge there are two yellow protruding impulse engines that seem oddly stuck on and out of place, flanking a rather basically detailed docking port - definitely the area of the cruiser that's been neglected in the design process. For note, only this hull upper and the warp engines are in plastic with the majority of the ship produced in metal and on the bottom this really works well as we will see shortly.

Just adding on top of a great design has added to the visual spectacle of the Battlecruiser and Eaglemoss have managed to produce a piece of kit that shows off all its assets far better than they were in 2009 in the blink of an eye. Look closely and you’ll see the echoes of the triangular pattern from the K’T’inga towards the centre of the hull while out towards the nacelles there is a more unique interpretation more mechanical in form than bird. Placing the ship alongside its two regular Collection cousins emphasises both these similarities and differences which Eaglemoss have captured so well.

Down the centre line of the Battlecruiser there’s a lot more chunky Klingon hardware to pour over with the main engine compartment to the back and more armour plating stacked up down the more vulnerable neck section resembling vertebrae - literally a neck!

Now interestingly on that section, the finish mirrors the effect that was designed for the Klingon armour which was cut from the Rura Penthe scene in the 2009 movie It even goes a step further with the plating around the main command section imitating the shape of the Klingon helmets from the same film with the side pieces arcing around the torpedo launcher opening.

What you can see getting towards the front end is that the mix of colours comes to a very abrupt end with everything from the vertebrae forward in the singular green. This is the case on the underside too where the forward sections are in one colour and the more ornate designs are left to the sole benefit of the body piece. In fact the finish on the underside is a little more tightly packed than the topside with the triangulated pattern emphasising the "bird" effect along the wing edges. It's very striking and Eaglemoss have managed it without any hiccups right across the hull. 

The bridge section is lightly detailed but with that solo paint scheme remaining constant. The mixed finishing pieces to the top give it a more individual feel and avoid that mass-produced left/right mirror effect and adds more to that Klingon "personality" conveyed through their architecture. The similarities to the K'T'Inga are strong again with the central superstructure a clear descendant of the movie original.


The stand grip clips around the rear central housing that sits proud of the engineering hull and then under the belly of the beast as per the other Klingon cruisers. Steady posture on this one and certain to look particularly menacing as part of any Klingon display.

The magazine poorly disguises just how little background material there is on a ship purely created as a piece of the background with almost half the pages dominated by big sketches and CG renderings. There is very little to go on here aside from the point that the Battlecruiser was 90% a copy and paste job and 10% adding some fins and flicks to the established design before sticking it into the simulation. A lot of the concept for the finished product actually came from a scene in the 2009 reboot that never made it to the final cut.

Closing out the printed piece of this edition we do get to enjoy the evolution of the Klingon cruiser through its various forms from The Original Series' D7, through to the Vor'Cha and the Negh'Var before spinning back in time to the D5's and such like from Enterprise. Lots of good old model shots from 90's Star Trek in there to drool over!

Is this one to add to the fleet? Great special?




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Monday, 20 August 2018

Desperate Times...? Desperate Hours


What with family and work, my reading time has been severely limited but I've finally managed to finish David Mack’s first Discovery novel.   

Desperate Hours is a prequel to the latest series, taking us back before The Vulcan Hello to an encounter between the USS Shenzhou and the USS Enterprise. Now, the funny thing is that I’ve finished reading this after the first season has concluded and just as the season two casting announcements have reached fever pitch it feels like the right time to get this review up. 

Opening, the novel finds us at a point where Burnham has just been placed as acting first officer of the Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou and the starship is sent to the Federation colony of Sirsa III to deal with an unknown attacker threatening the planet. This craft turns out to be a lot more dangerous than anticipated but then it comes to pass that the colonists are not telling everything they should. This cascades into Admiral Anderson dispatching the USS Enterprise to deal with the unrest planetside - which ultimately puts the two starships in direct opposition to each other through their mission objectives.

Within the story to solve the mystery of the alien craft and precisely what has come to pass on the surface, there are three key relationships that are the crux of Mack’s work - Georgiou/Pike, Saru/Number One and of course Burnham/Spock. The first two seem merely to exist for a bit of fan immersion into the mixing of the two crews but in the third there is something much deeper.

David Mack clearly gets a grip on the new Discovery series characters within Desperate Hours and it’s easy to visualise Michelle Yeoh or Doug Jones speaking their lines yet there is so much to glean from the relationship between Michael Burnham and a young Lieutenant Spock.

We get a real sense of the uneasiness between them even though logic signposts that they need to work together for the good of the planet and their respective ships but there's something more underlying which is partially revealed when the pair are forced to mind meld to complete a series of challenges which require both their particular skill sets.

In this section of the book Mack's work is exceptional as he manages to make each challenge different and indeed challenging which in turn drives the tension forward. Oddly it's not a speedy process here but it highlights just how intelligent and almost an equal to Spock mentally that Burnham is thanks to her adoptive upbringing.

The concept of Desperate Hours providing a prequel to onscreen events is a clever choice although novelists have been doing it with all the incarnations of the show for decades although this is the first time such a work has been on the shelves so near to the airdate of the first episode. There's a lot of tie in and I wouldn't be surprised if, looking ahead, the series and the novels do have some crossovers and cross-references to link the Discovery timeframe into a much larger "universe build".


Opening the account with this Shenzhou-set adventure lays out the CBS stall quite nicely providing more background to the events of A Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars both through events we saw on screen and relationships that were hinted at off screen. With season two's news that Spock (Ethan Peck) is going to be appearing I can guarantee that the showrunners will be drawing on some of the material here to demonstrate how all-encompassing the Discovery story is and how it will (I believe) link in with all the other materials produced around it for a true multimedia experience which you will only get the most out of if you dip into all the parts.

Desperate Hours marks what could well be a new type of start for Star Trek and by using the reknowned and brilliant David Mack to kick it all off, CBS and Simon and Schuster sure know they have a pair of reliable hands here. The action is tight, the politics well related and overall your attention retained. With its significance as the first Discovery novel, this is a must-buy in every Trekkie/Trekker's library.

Desperate Hours has been out for a while(!) now and is available direct from Simon and Schuster at their website HERE ISBN 9781501164576 priced £10.99


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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Pecking Away While the Kelvin Timeline Pines...


Will the next Star Trek movie be the Tarantino-directed adventure? Will it be helmed by S J Clarkson marking the first female directed franchise movie?

But before those questions can be answered it seems we might not even have a full cast with the surprise news that talks with both Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth have collapsed leaving Star Trek 4 potentially without two of its biggest star attractions.

Now you can whinge and whine as much as you want about JJ's Star Trek movie saga but it did bring the franchise back to the masses after a drought of four years since the end of Enterprise and seven years since Nemesis had disappointed the fan base with its non-ending to the cinematic adventures of The Next Generation.

But the rebooted adventures of the USS Enterprise under the guidance of James T Kirk may be restricted to just a trilogy following the news that Pine and Hemsworth - who was set to reprise his role as George Kirk - were expecting a bigger deal more befitting their A-list status.

The Wonder Woman and Thor stars have certainly been elevated to another Hollywood level in recent years but we did believe that they were already signed for the fourth Kelvin Timeline movie however it doesn't seem to be the case. In fact the disappointing response to Beyond may have provided leverage when it came down to the hard cold fact of negotiations. You have to suspect that Pine will have had some form of get-out clause in there should the third movie have been a box office disaster which for all intents and purposes versus the '09 and Into Darkness movies it actually was.

While the fourth movie might be able to survive without Chris Hemsworth (after all George Kirk was only in the 2009 movie for five minutes), it certainly can't continue without its Kirk and recasting now would surely prove a bad move given how much we as fans have bought into this rebooted crew. Just as recasting Chekov following the tragic passing of Anton Yelchin was quickly vetoed, adding a new actor in as Kirk would misstep the franchise and maybe set it back even further than Into Darkness managed.

I would theorise that this isn't the last we will hear of this story since there's been very little word on the next movie excursion bar the potential directors and the involvement of Hemsworth which was announced almost as soon as Beyond was released. Will Bad Robot bend to their demands or will they walk away? Who can say at this moment but you'd have to be thinking that having the two Chris' in the cast list would be a surefire winner at the box office.

While Star Trek 4 is looking like it might be losing some of its star quality, Discovery is firing in the other direction with the official announcement that Ethan Peck will be donning the ears and Starfleet uniform to become the third actor to play an adult version of Spock.

This time the Vulcan is on the USS Enterprise as its chief science officer under the command of Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) but with the late casting announcement and the series surely about to take its mid-season filming break you can but speculate that Spock is going to appear in the mid-season cliffhanger a matter of seconds before the screen cuts to the end credits.

Grandson to movie star Gregory Peck, the new Spock actor certainly comes from a healthy background of acting and has already been endorsed, it seems, by the Nimoy family as seen via the Adam Nimoy Twitter feed today.

There's not a lot else to really say about this one apart from I would think a lot of work will have gone into making sure that this is as good as possible a casting otherwise there will be a revolt amongst Star Trek purists.

I'm quite excited about seeing Peck's interpretation of the role since it will be the first Spock appearance on the small screen since he turned up in season five of The Next Generation for the 25th anniversary story, Unification - yes, it's been that long! Now it's only a matter of time until we get the first shots of Mr Peck in full makeup.

What do you think about the latest events rocking the franchise? Will everything end up happily ever after? Will this mark the end of the Kelvin Timeline?

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Monday, 13 August 2018

The New Bird: The Official Discovery Starships Collection Issue Four


I think this ship has received the most bad press from any ship in the new Discovery range, mainly due to how different she is to previous incarnations. To those people I say suq ghoD; I’ll let you translate.

Liam is back with his second review from the Discovery collection - so what's this new ship like...?


I must admit after seeing her she didn’t tickle my fancy but seeing the model in the flesh really changed my mind.

First impressions with the box is that it’s a lot smaller than the other ships in the range but this in no way makes up for her quality you observe when lifting that polystyrene lid. he overall is design is that of a gothic cathedral, something that they delve into in the magazine, which is a nice accompanying read.

Starting at the bridge we have a tiny blue view screen with the same shade carrying on to highlight the details along the neck to the main hull. Below the bridge we have two mini cannons which show no signs of weakness or coming loose. From the head, along the neck and carrying on down the ship we have the most amount of gold piping and strips that I have ever seen. These help to brighten up the solid green base coat on the model, and also give the appearance of hunched shoulders to the ship, thus adding to the established  bird design.

Aft, we have a some very ornate ribs leading to what looks like a secondary bridge and I’ve just noticed if you pivot the ship back it looks like it could be a hawk attacking, holding it from this angle you get a great view of my favourite part of the model, the underside and what I consider to be the best use of plastic insert in any model, the finish of which really draws the eye to the "abdomen" of the ship.

Last stop on our tour is the wings, Eaglemoss have really gone to town on the black here to give an authentic weathered look, almost looking like feathers, a detail that is mirrored on the underside too. In fact this ship seems to be designed to be viewed from both top and bottom, almost like a real predator so that you can’t tell if it’s looking at you or not.

On display she fits firmly in the stand in a level attacking stance, or in its hawk attack as I'm calling it. So far she’s sitting top of the Discovery releases purely for the detail and originality. If the rest of the Klingons are anything like this ( and judging by the Las Vegas convention news they will be) this is going to be a great collection.

What did you think to the new style of the Bird of Prey?

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

JLP Returns


What an absolute load of twaddle.

Is what no fan said EVER when they heard that Patrick Stewart has now confirmed he will be returning to the role that he played for 15 years from Encounter at Farpoint through to Nemesis.

Just like the man himself I think we all believed that this was a closed chapter in the Star Trek saga but now with the news of five new projects in universe, we know that Jean-Luc Picard will be the lead in one of them.

From what we're expecting it seems that the captain's new series will be focusing on his life and adventures post 2002's tenth Star Trek feature but apart from that there's nothing else to go on. Both CBS and Stewart himself have released statements indicating their joy at reopening one of Star Trek's biggest series and the life of one of its most monumental characters.

While there's been no word on the rest of The Next Generation cast, could there be an opening for a cheeky cameo or two? Might Riker and Troi drop in from the Titan? What's Geordi up to and could Spiner even manage a few minutes more in makeup to play B4? What if Data was somehow reborn as per the expanded novels (just think what a new Picard series will mean to all those books since 2002....!!!)?

I guess the other question would be how deep are the pockets at CBS to make these things happen and still want even more from Star Trek? Allegedly CBS want to have huge catalogue available which might suggest a new show every two or three years. Will Picard's new adventures be Netflix'd or will they end up somewhere else?

On the flip side does the confirmation of Star Trek: Picard (or whatever they'll call it) abruptly put the nail in the coffin for a Worf or Sulu series? I can't see how reviving either of those instead of providing four new facets to the universe would be warranted. To be fair I get why you would return to Picard because of his popularity and it's going to be a huge draw for the older fans who relish the late 80's and 90's era show.

Stewart himself stated that he has been rewatching The Next Generation including episodes he’d never seen before and combined with the response he has had from fans about the seven season sequel it seems that it was an easy decision to step back into the role once more. 

Stewart broke the news with a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas convention today (Saturday August 5th) and while there's clearly overwhelming joy...just how the hell are Kurtzman, Heather Kadin and the creative team going to relaunch the character after a 16 year break? Here's a few concept ideas that might be thrown around...

1. Admiral Picard

After a life commanding starships it's time for the captain to step back into the surroundings of Starfleet Command and reside back at the Picard family home in France. Perhaps a more Earth-centric and political Star Trek series?

2. Enterprise-F

Might be a bit of a push to be running two shows which are set on starships exploring the final frontier but this one would be at the back end of the 24th Century as opposed to Discovery. A brand new crew on the ship with Picard continuing to lead and this time get away with being on a few away missions now that Riker has flown the coop. Honesty with the news that Picard won’t be a captain this is 99% not going to happen but who is to say the E or the F won’t make an occasional appearance?

3. Troubleshooter Picard

More of a lone-gun option with Picard dropping into dangerous situations to resolve accompanied by his attache. Maybe a little similar to 1. but with more offworld intrigue.

4. Picard at the Academy

Training the next generation of Star Trek heroes from their San Francisco base. This would place Picard into a more mentoring and senior role, overseeing - ironically - the next generation of Starfleet officers and thereby avoiding any serious action work for the 77 year young Stewart.

But perhaps the biggest opportunity here isn’t the one which will see Stewart return but the galaxy that is built around this 24th Century extension to the franchise. Just what has happened to the Romulan Empire? Will it tie into the reboot movies with the destruction of Romulus? Think too about all the potential cameos that can happen - who from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager can drop by? Maybe this show will answer questions onscreen as to whether Sisko ever returned from the Prophets and what happened with Voyager after its triumphant return home. What would you want to see wrapped up? How about seeing where the signal sent at the end of Conspiracy ended up?

Everyone from Riker to Seven of Nine has a chance to pop up in this show potentially making it the event that fans have wanted since the announcement of a new Star Trek three years ago. As I noted, the Captain Worf series might now be dead but who isn’t to say that Captain Worf can’t appear?

So for now the long wait to airdate begins as Kirsten Beyer fleshes out the seventh live action series of Star Trek. All we can say is this - Make It So.


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Thursday, 2 August 2018

The A-Game? Eaglemoss' XL Movie Enterprise


The Enterprise-A took on General Chang in a lethal prototype Klingon Bird of prey and even went to find the almighty beyond the great barrier but now she faces her toughest test, how well will she hold together under the scrutiny of us starship collectors as this £49.99 XL edition? 

Welcome to Dan Houston with his first XL ships review for SKoST and what a way to start...!

At long last one of the most adored ships in Star Trek fandom has landed on my doorstep, thankfully all in one piece.

After initial shots of this ship were released a few months back I have been eagerly awaiting her arrival. First impressions are not great however as the box itself proudly displays an image of the A which is unfortunately mirrored, how this slipped by is anyone’s guess but we aren’t here for the box art so I will let that one slide.

Upon opening the box and delicately picking her out of the polystyrene packing, like all the other XL releases, the first thing that smacks you is the size and weight of the ship. Its extremely satisfying to hold, the weight really giving off a quality feel. Sitting her in the regular Eaglemoss stand and standing back, the ship looks fantastic, the light white paint with faint aztecing and duck egg blue/grey details all come together nicely, it appears to be a nice model of the Enterprise-A.

Going into further detail lets take a look at the plastic warp engines, there is some use of translucent plastic on the warp grilles. Appearing black until light gives them a dark blue tinge, it’s not a bright clear plastic and is very subtle. The warp nacelle front end caps have the white ‘cross’ painted in which really is a bugbear of mine on the smaller model and we have the NCC-1701-A lettering at the rear of the nacelles which appears to be two or three sizes too big of a font.

Heading down the metal nacelle struts to the secondary hull which is constructed with a metal upper section down to a join into a plastic piece just below the deep blue rec deck windows, we have neat pinstripe and hull detailing, the shuttlebay area is great with nicely moulded shuttlebay doors and at the front the torpedo launcher is neatly picked out with paint application. We have more translucent plastic for the deflector dish giving a nice deep blue. 

All the docking ports are present and sculpted into the sides of the hull and torpedo deck with a fine red outline, though curiously not as much decal detail as the port at the rear of the bridge module. The join line is pretty apparent along the length of the engineering hull which is a shame and also we have a oddity with the decal application in that the Starfleet delta on the hull pennant is a deep shade of silver instead of a light silver, I see a pattern emerging here.

Now onto the two piece saucer section with the upper surface being metal with a plastic lower part nestled underneath, the saucer unfortunately is where the model really slips up. First we have oversized decals at the rear of the bridge and also along the saucer rim, other than those errors the rest of the hull wording and aztec detail is good. It would have nice to have had some clear plastic in the impulse engine but what has been done with the impulse dome in a contrasting blue design and red engine ports looks ok. 

There is missing detail however around the saucer rim of the banding strips that can be seen on the filming model, the windows are incorrect along the rim plus the docking ports are missing. Add to that the fact the RCS thrusters are the wrong colour it seems errors are starting to really pile up.

However here is the big one, whatever reference Eaglemoss have used for the sculpt of the saucer is completely wrong, from the saucer lip to the odd Phase II style bridge with faint docking ports seemingly moulded to the side of the module that were not on the final ship seen on screen. The decal graphics used to decorate the bridge seem to be correct however because the moulding is so wrong it seems to distort how they sit on the model, this is particularly apparent at the rear where the large windows are. 

It seems to be some kind of concept that has been used instead of the actual final design and really is not acceptable on a model of this price and considering just how well fans know this ship plus how Eaglemoss present the product as using actual shots and files to sculpt the model you would have thought that it would be a fantastic replica. All this presents me with a difficult, contrasting opinion.

On one hand as I mentioned this should be pretty damned near perfect for £49.99 and on the other when she is nestled on the shelf next to the other ships in the collection these issues I have mentioned seem to melt away and I’m left with a nice looking model of the A.

Now I’m no great model builder and I know that taking into consideration time and materials there is no way I could make a model of the A for £49.99 that looks any where near as good as this due my skill level as a model maker and I’m never going to show what a balls up I made of the 90s AMT kit!. Let’s just hope that Eaglemoss learns from the mistakes made on this ship so they do not continue on to further XL releases as at this price they are stepping into Diamond Select territory with their electronic starship range which includes the Enterprise-A and from what I’ve seen of images of that it seems the Diamond Select version is superior.

The accompanying magazine also puts a slight downer on the model as the cover shot shows a extremely detailed CGI shot of the ship with a heavy aztec design and little red squares around the perimeter of the saucer which are not present, the RCS thrusters are shown in the correct yellow, the saucer docking port at the side is there, the windows are the correct layout, not the odd blocky versions on the model and of course the bridge looks correct. If Eaglemoss had access to a CGI model of this detail how did it not translate over into the actual product? 

Inside the magazine you will find information on the return of Star Trek on the big screen with The Motion Picture which is a nice read but is a bid odd with no in depth information regarding the Enterprise-A herself.

So am I pleased with the model? Overall I would have to say yes which some of you may find surprising given what I have described but it does look great on the shelf and that is what matters to me. Factor in the price and it does put a cloud over it especially when you compare it to the NX-01 refit which was half the price but a nicer issue. There is potential in this model, with a few improvements and a stunning pearl aztec paint job you would have a fantastic 1701 refit from the motion picture. 

Here's to hoping these improvements are made because this XL Enterprise-A does fall apart under closer scrutiny, after all, much like a certain Montgomery Scott, we all know this ship like the back of our hands.

Are you collecting the XL line? What did you think to the Enterprise-A?

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