Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Take a Look in the Mirror: The Official Starships Collection's ISS Enterprise


While not a totally new model, the ISS Enterprise special from the Official Starships Collection arrived this week.

TOS on the left, Mirror on the right
The original Constitution Class ship launched as the 50th issue (seems a long time ago now) but this marks the first web-shop direct special starship available to fans - and no, I haven't forgotten about the shuttles.

At the same price as a regular issue plus the delivery fee there's not really much to grumble about when it comes to the cost of this "M1" issue. OK, some might complain because we've effectively had this one already but there are some significant differences that make it well worth adding into your collection.

So let's take a trip back to a time before Deep Space Nine crossed over and brought us the Intendent, a time before we cringed at the idea of letting Quark loose on the Other Side in The Emperor's New Cloak and after/before Enterprise nailed it with In a Mirror, Darkly. A much simpler, more brutal time if you will...

First up there is the obvious name change from USS to ISS. It's not mind-blowing and is only a letter different but I can't remember the last time someone dared to produce it. But that's the smallest change as we also have a new set of Terran Empire world/dagger emblems in black emblazoned across both nacelles and at the front of the saucer.

Finally to the nacelles where the Mirror Universe ship has retained the bussard collector aerials and the grid exhausts to the rear in the style of the model as was for The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before. Sadly though the oversized deflector dish noted in the magazine has not made the transition into die cast.  Essentially this is the USS Enterprise from The Original Series and issue 50 with different engines and some restickering which means that deflector omission does sting a little bit. Had it been included then this would have been a perfect reproduction but I do feel a little chested since it isn't.  Add to that the point that the colour of the dish is also incorrect and therefore uncorrected from the issue 50 release. Damn. 

TOS on the left, Mirror on the right
As for build quality it is identical to its Prime Universe counterpart even down to some iffy seams on the port side. The stand clip for the saucer will need some filing down again as it's a tight fit and will scuff the dish at the rear.

Compared to the minimal shuttles magazines,  the "M1" issue is an excellent read. Missing out the standard ship views in favour of content (yes, actual content), it's a more than admirable companion to Mirror, Mirror.  Taking us through the details of the ship and the differences to the USS Enterprise, we also get a chunk of info into the Mirror crew, as well as the story behind the classic second season episode. There's more importantly a glimpse of what could have been if William Shatner and the Reece-Stevens had completed their Mirror Universe episode. This is the key piece in this magazine because it - allegedly - was tantalisingly close to happening in season four. Instead we got In a Mirror, Darkly which isn't a bad thing but that potential Kirk return remains a tempting morsel of Enterprise that could have been.  Well worth a note is the artwork here with some spectacular original images of the ISS Enterprise in CG and from the remastered episodes (which are getting some decent exposure recently in the main issues).

This special will not be for everyone since it does duplicate 95% of the 50th issue model but does have those little tweaks that will draw fans to it because it reflects not just the possible from the Mirror Universe but also the original design of the ship for the two pilots (If you are looking to a more detailed review on the main body of the model I didn't want to repeat myself so you can find that under the issue 50 review). To conclude, I'm pretty pleased with this as a package. Not too expensive, well presented and oddly under-marketed it's a completists delight if only for the minor alterations.

Added the ISS Enterprise to your fleet? Was it worth the purchase?

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