Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Special Seven Spins In: Spock's Jellyfish

The 2009 movie got a lot of things right and bridging the gap with Leonard Nimoy reappearing as Spock is certainly one of those. 

Propelling him into that new timeline - the Kelvin branch - was the Jellyfish. A ship not given a specific name in the movie but essential and central to the plot of the film. It is this craft which offers Romulus a chance of survival (but too late) and (spoiler) is key in the defeat of the renegade Nero.

Now Eaglemoss have planted their replica as part of the ever expanding and house-filling Official Starships Collection. Man, I need to build an extension soon...

Moulded from the finest of Chinese plastics, the Jellyfish is a beast of a ship and given the scale that the specials receive it's been done every justice it deserves. For note this is the smallest ship in the seven specials to date, five of which have been from the reboot movies. 

I jest a little here because I really, really like what's been done here. The Jellyfish is a good, solid model in the series and coming at the same time as the rather poor Gorn Starship (issue 86) it's diverted attention from that regular entry at least for the time being.

Let's crack on then. This new special comes as all of its forebears have, in the full polystyrene-packed card box complete with the usual accoutrements of the clear plastic ship grip and black stand plus the extra long magazine. You can check out out unboxing right here...

With all the specials it's a size thing and this ship is no exception. She's not particularly heavy given that she's 100% plastic but that hasn't worked as a detractor from the finished result. It's one Eaglemoss should be proud of and collectors should be more than happy to add to their laden IKEA shelves. 

The colour scheme is limited to a two-tone grey and one shade green with these three intermingled right across the hull. At the front the curved prow of the Jellyfish is the largest piece of the craft and a good look here reveals that the green finish is embossed with an almost leather-like grain while the silver/grey metallic sections remain plain. Right front and centre is the pilot's window coloured blue rather than having a recessed transparent piece fitted. This forward piece is also the heaviest section of the craft as behind that cockpit curve is the spherical red matter chamber. 

The plastic joins are fairly evident to the rear of the front section but do seem to fade away into the background when you attempt to follow them into the tentacles of the rear but they don't take from the craft in any way. The hull embossing does give off that hint at the aquatic but the plating sections manage to drag it back into something space-worthy instead.  

There are a couple of minor blots on the front section where the green has strayed into the grey but it was only on a close up look that I really noticed. Other than those little blips the paintwork is pretty good and the correct in every place. The bigger scale is a big help which means that around the red matter chamber and back towards the propulsion section there is a lot of finer detail, louvred panels and slatted coverings which bring the model to life.

Perhaps the paintwork isn't as worn or as patchy as portrayed in the film or on the magazine cover but this is as near as physically possible. Do note too that the rear section is tilted slightly lower than it is on the cover of the special issue which means there is some of that detail on both of the spinning arms which is hidden away "within" the ship.

My big concern with the Jellyfish came with the rear section. Having a big lump at the front is all good but the rear tendrils (I thought) would be very flexible and prone to breaking. Fortunately they aren't and Eaglemoss have split their mould along each one which in turn gives it that bit more internal support. They are also bang on parallel to each other which isn't something you can say about every pair of warp nacelles...

The two stabilising fins arcing around the sides of the Jellyfish are probably the most fragile piece here, suspended by two small arms to either side. Film accurate they are but it does make these two protrusions a little bit bendier than I'm happy with. Then to the rear there is this huge pointed rear fin that encloses what I believe is the emitter for the red matter buried at the heart of Spock's ship. Significantly this is highlighted further with the use of our favourite blue transparent plastic to make this feature stand out from the rest of the paintwork. 

The two prongs stab out past the curve of the spinning tentacles with a slatted finish and even some greebling on their inside edges. I can't help but think that these two prongs would have benefitted from being made out of metal for two reasons. One; it would have meant that the rear section had a truly metallic feel different to the forward cockpit piece and two; it would have helped with display stability.

What do I mean there? Well, this is one front-heavy and even with the very sturdy stand placement which grips around the lower of the two rear prongs, there's still a decent bit of lean towards the front and down. In fact the rear of the black base on mine is slightly lifted off the table and I do have the concern that a slight tap to my shelves and this one might be doing a "Romulan Warbird" manoeuvre from a great height. 

While she is devoid of some finer weathering that we have seen on craft such as the large scale USS Kelvin this is still a superb ship. I am a bit narked its the first special that's 100% plastic at the same time that a couple of the regular issues have also been near devoid of metal. Hopefully not a sign of radical cost-cutting and just a more suitable way to present these fine machines. 

As for the magazine there's one thing I noticed straight away. It's got not a single image of the ship from the 2009 movie. Not one. We have a brief introduction covering the craft's appearance in the movie but the rest of the pages (from six to 19) focus solely on the extensive design process for the ship and you get the feeling that it was not the easiest of journeys. There are a lot of concept drawings, possible alternatives and masses of refinements that took place before it could be properly realised. There's even a brief piece which deals with the design of the interior including the cockpit and the wildly important red matter chamber. 

A great read to see how far the design had to go - and then come back - before making it into the film and certainly becoming one of the most iconic pieces of the rebooted Star Trek movie era. I would say this is a must for fans of the franchise and with it coming from the hugely successful reboot movie and its links to Spock I wouldn't be shocked if this sells out damn fast before Christmas.

Thinking of getting the Jellyfish? Essential for your collection?

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