Friday, 2 May 2014

Excelsior - The Long Road; Eaglemoss Official Starships Collection Issue Eight

It was fate... The Excelsior being handed down to my watchful gaze...

The Excelsior appearing on the big screen the year of my birth. Half of the western world was celebrating Band Aid, the other half were also drooling at a new, sleek starship, attempting to chase Kirk down. Something I've always wondered about The Search for Spock... did the Excelsior have roadside breakdown cover?

"No matter where you go, there you are.

As it was enshrined on the dedication plaque. A poignant phrase for Starfleet's first transwarp attempt. Although it may have been a failure thanks to Scotty's need for souvenirs, this class has been one of the most featured ships in the whole canon of Star Trek. It's had appearances in all of the shows except The Original Series and Enterprise.

Now, before I begin on the model, I have to say this is one of my favourite ships. So if anyone even dares to mention that this looks nothing like the Enterprise-B, they will be savagely beaten. This is the Excelsior, that was the Excelsior Refit. I may not go so far as to wear the uniforms but I am picky that way...

Moving on, the model is pretty, my god, it's stunning. It's like Seven of Nine undressing to find she has some lovely blue hues running over her skin. Unfortunately, and it's very painful to say this, it does appear beauty is only skin deep. She (that is, the model of course) has the same ailment of our beloved Constitution Refit - flimsy. I've been struggling to characterise this properly, since it does appear to be afflicting all of the 'Kirk-era' starships. Structural integrity failures or a stasis field necessity? I understand that these are quite clearly showpieces, as all the models explicitly say 'not a toy'. But these Kirk-era ships are so delicate, I have convinced myself that if a spec of dust were to happen upon them, they would turn to dust themselves. Trust me, there will be at least one point in your life you will have need to move these. Not reassuring thoughts at a recession-busting £9.99 a pop.

Looking past that (trying to stay positive), I do appreciate many things about it - the detail, the style. However to appear objective, I do wonder if I'm simply admiring the ship design or the model itself? I have had many consultations with many of my colleagues over the various releases, including this. I personally can overlook the build flaws. During our communes I always end up back at square #1: "But it's the Excelsior!" - is currently my argument against any negative comments...

The exploration of Excelsior's origins in the accompanying magazine is more than worth a read as she's only the third type of starship ever seen in the franchise after the Enterprise and the Reliant. What is grinding a bit by this point are two things - the need to have a section retelling the appearances of the ship (which, unfortunately is a necessity to attract newbies) and the disparity between the view images in the centre pages and the model that you're looking at less than a foot away. This issue has been underlying since the refit Enteprise in issue two and doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. Ironically much like the Excelsior in The Search for Spock. Also it does help if you get the name of the ship class right on the cover.

Now, here is where I'm troubled. Some of you dedicated readers may also be suffering this affliction... To explain my predicament (and thus explaining why this issue is so late posting!), I need to take you back to 12/12/2013. I had just very happily placed my order for this issue with Eaglemoss directly. Fast forward to today (07/04/2014), almost four months on, and I have just received my order! After a little research from our very own +Hayley Atherton, it appears many of you also are suffering from Eaglemoss' stock issues. So combine that length of time to what I actually received (they say a picture can tell a thousand words?):

Note the angle of the nacelle housing......the 'straightness' of the nacelles...and fact that with two left nacelles (see the fin positioning at the end of each) - if this were even able to generate a warp field, it would likely and literally fly itself inside-out! We've also included a couple of shots below which compare a "proper" Excelsior with the botch-job.

Whilst I'm not prone to being fussy and I do accept (as I have stated in previous reviews), that these are mass produced models for only £9.99, there is a standard at which to expect. For those of you who have also suffered, there is a silver lining.

Like me, your first reaction would probably be to abandon all hope on obtaining a quality collection of Star Trek ships and grudgingly move on. However don't be too hasty!! Give them a message over either Facebook or email and they will happily send a replacement out in short order. The only snag with this is it does depend on stock levels. Something to be expected with a collection that is hitting the international market, not just domestic. Patience is a virtue?!

I do hope this has been of some help, we speak from experience!

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