Saturday, 13 August 2016

Version 1.5: The NX Refit Special from Eaglemoss

While I'm still waiting for the arrival of my (second) replacement NX-01 special, Chris Groves takes us into the realm of the ship that never was...

One of the great tragedies of Star Trek’s TV history was the abrupt cancellation of Enterprise in 2005 after just four seasons.

Over the years many have campaigned for the return of Enterprise, even a petition to Netflix to create a ‘Season Five’.

Sadly this was not to be, but the NX-Refit lived on in the Enterprise books albeit as a museum piece for some time. Now we have this amazing model as part of the Eaglemoss Star Trek Collection and it is indeed a most impressive article. The thing that is immediately noticeable upon opening the box is it’s size and sheer weight!

Compared to previous specials this one seems to be constructed of much more actual metal and in the hand it feels wonderfully substantial and hefty. Then there is the incredible detailing, the whole model is covered in the essential aztec markings (all accurate to the original NX screen model).

The additional line work and panelling patterns are so accurately interspersed with the aztec feature; this gives the model a breathtaking ‘realism’ if you will. But then the model keeps on giving, when you look at the underside there is the new engineering section that defines the ‘Refit’ description.

Every specific feature has again been attended to, detail, shape and colour are all impeccable.

There is a slight colour variation on the engineering section, a feature that was originally included to show a status of ‘upgrade’ an artistic touch to create that realism again.

The model even has this variation faithfully re-produced a copper type metallic sheen that defines the engineering section as a ‘new addition’. The only tiny shortcoming is the deflector dish; it stands out as a little dull coloured in just plain orange and no specific details. This is completely ignorable overall, as collectors will be too much in awe of the other features.

Ship registry and decals are perfect, defined and sharp and the nacelles are sturdy, constructed of plastic but solid and straight.

The display stand is a bit problematic, I found that the ship is very front heavy and the plastic ‘claw design’ is not secure enough and NX-01 escapes and falls very easily.

Included with the model is of course the magazine, and again this issue is also a genuine special.

The history of the NX class is featured with stunning art and pictures from Doug Drexler and Matt Jeffries early proposals for the ship design.

The Star Trek Official Starships Collection has been a rollercoaster of hits and misses, but this time it is a definite hit, in fact this model is so good that it leaves you hopeful that Eaglemoss will produce more specials to this standard.

All good things indeed, and this model was very much worth waiting for!

After a few months of will-it-won't-it-arrive, the fifth Eaglemoss Starships special beamed in rather unexpectedly.

As Chris has already said, this is an absolute dream of a model and its arrival just enhanced that experience for me.

As with all specials she's packed in polystyrene in her own fully enclosed box ensuring that she arrives in perfect condition.

First impression on opening that box is that, well, she is just damn big and top heavy. We've had both the Enterprise and the ISS Enterprise NX-01 models (same ship let's be honest) and this SS Enterprise refit easily dwarfs that mould in every respect.

The hefty model has a huge metallic saucer that is exquisitely detailed at every millimetre with that underlying aztec paint scheme shimmers in the light playing out a glorious two tone silver coupled with a whole range of decals from cargo loading bay door markings right across to the bold ship registry adorning the front of the vessel. The detailing is blatantly superior to its smaller, original version with much more trim around the central bridge module in particular. Even the paint on the bridge dome and underside sensor module are more precisely finished than they were on the issue four NX-01.

The underneath of the saucer is every inch as good as the top with a full paint job and again that wonderful attention to the decal detail including the two "NX-01" registries on the port and starboard side. What becomes apparent even at this point is just how much there is to see and even on a couple of good scan overs there are still bits that I failed to catch or saw again in a different way. The only real error I can find here - or anywhere as will become apparent is a bit of an uneven paint job on the blue around the saucer's deflector dish. Seriously, that's it and just look at that end result.

Moving towards the rear you can see how this design has been altered from the original we saw in the show to this Version 1.5 evolved by Doug Drexler. Retaining the warp nacelles, the warp field regulator is dropped down into the new secondary hull which offers some familiar styling but more on that shortly.

With the warp engines the exterior vents are now encased and the Starfleet pennant adorns the exterior plating. Look at the tips of the bussard collectors too which now carry the antennae that were a feature of the USS Enterprise in the two pilot episodes. Both of the nacelles are plastic and on their inside edge the warp venting is fitted in translucent blue plastic which keeps this ship very much "alive".

Every space has something new to see as you traverse down the pylons to the new location of the warp field regulator. Again this has been enhanced with more red trim decals and marks the model's transition from the metal saucer. For note the stand positioning on this one has also changed. No longer does the clip fit to the rear of the primary hull and into the recess for the maintenance hatches rather it now slides, much more securely, around the edges of the saucer. Much better position and fit all round, Eaglemoss.
While everything about the saucer has been a change in finish, the new, tubby little secondary hull makes a huge difference to the NX-01. Echoing the lines of the engineering section of NCC-1701, the silver tube's most striking feature has to be the golden deflector dish sitting prominently at the front. It's a wondrous homage to the original 1960's starship design as is the SS Enterprise font that reflects the script used on The Original SeriesGalileo shuttlecraft. Just for note it would have been nice to see the new engineering section rendered with the same aztec paint scheme afforded for the saucer but given the overall effect it's one of those things I didn't actually notice until much later in writing this review.

Even down to the Starfleet pennant on the side of the hull you can see just how Drexler was retrospectively guiding the form of the NX Class towards what would become the Constitution Class of the Kirk era. It's a huge, huge shame that this was never able to be a part of the TV series and as the magazine notes, a real downer that it's probably the most canon non-canon starship that has come into existence as part of the extended Star Trek universe.

I for one have to say that the SS Enterprise NX-01 has to be among the absolute best, top class starships that the collection has produced either as a special or as a regular issue. Everything about it screams quality, care and attention to detail. It is the ultimate starship masterpiece without question and possibly contender (perhaps only Deep Space Nine for me). Every place you look there is detail, embossing, a greater level of precision than we've had before and certainly more than you will ever see on the smaller and less expensive regular issues.

Just being able to see and assimilate such a brilliant model reinforces how disappointing it is that she never got to take a proper flight. Maybe, just maybe, a certain Bryan Fuller might drop a fleeting glance at her in the future of the Discovery series just so this can be 100% canon.

Is this one of Eaglemoss' greatest Star Trek achievements? Did we miss out on a TV treat?

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