Monday, 28 November 2016

Time Gorn By: The Official Starships Collection Issues 87 and 88

Following the horrendous Federation Holoship I was ready for some forgiveness where Eaglemoss is concerned with what purported to be a cracking double act of the Gorn Starship from The Original Series (remastered) and the UTS Aeon from Voyager's third season double header Future's End. However...

The Gorn Starship is tiddly. Tiddly and spindly to be precise and I'm a little disgruntled. Some of this dissatisfaction comes from the consideration of whether this is "really" Star Trek since it's from the remastered episodes rather than the fully grown 1960's originals. Admittedly that would mean the Gorn Starship would be a glowing dot in a box but I'm still not totally convinced which side of the canon/non-canon fence I'm sitting on with these. Honestly these remastered ships have perhaps been some of the most disappointing. Could I have done without the Stella? Yes. Am I not especially interested in the Medusan Starship except for completist reasons? Spot on. 

The same is, tragically, true of the Gorn Starship. I love the Gorn I really do and they are probably one of my all-time favourite Star Trek aliens but this ship and model do leave me wanting. 

For starters it's small (I know I've already said this) and initially I thought that the whole thing was a plastic lump as had been the case with last month's "block" in the form of the Federation Holoship. However on a better and slower inspection it's actually not that bad. The upper hull and pylons are metal while the nacelles and a section on the underbelly and the "tail" are rendered from plastic.

I'm not a fan of the design anyway as it doesn't strike me as a particularly "reptilian" design nor that 60's retro but at least it's different. There's clearly a dragonfly inspiration behind the shape especially with that prominent tail appendage but as with all of The Original Series entries it remains quite plain. Hull surface detail on this small craft is limited to a few upper hull panel formations and recesses with some fin detail on the leading edge of the curved wing/pylons leading to the four nacelles.

The plastic tail to the rear adds a little something to the formula, ending in a silver tip and the red (painted on) glow of the impulse engine. The four warp engines also finish off with purple translucent bussard collectors of two sizes but what I do like here is how the end of plastic nacelle nestles around the purple collector on the upper two tubes. This purple hue also crops up on the underside of the Gorn Starship breaking up the patchwork colour scheme.

What is rather exemplary here is the paint scheme. Look across the whole surface and you'll find its a silver undercoat with a patchy green/brown top layer which gives a worn and rusting effect to the hull. Certainly there's a "swampy" feel to the paint job; dirty even and the great point is that it's not evenly coated so one half isn't just a mirror of the other. Nicely done and adds some character to what is otherwise a bit of a quiet arrival into the realm of the collection.

Reading into the magazine does note that the ship never received a final paint job because it was only seen from a great distance so the colours it has here were never screen used (little naughty but I suppose it's better than receiving a grey blob).

So to issue 88 and something really rather unique; the UTS Aeon. Featured in Voyager we have been teased that the Aeon would be part of the collection since day one (*cough* Fesarius *cough*) and finally it's here. Being only six metres in length the Aeon pays dividends and is the smallest craft ever to appear in the collection. 

A simple dart shape, the opaque cockpit immediately draws your eye because of its sheer size. Even in the show it was blacked out so Eaglemoss have managed to legitimately swerve showing any of the interior! Also at the tip of the nose is a well constructed particle weapon that saw action against Voyager in Future's End.

Comparing this to the other Timeship we've received, the USS Relativity, there is a significant difference in the paint scheme. On the TV the geometric design didn't come off that well making it seem to be solid black however in the flesh it's abundantly clear that the surface is blocked out in a rather crazy - and totally unique - pattern. It will stand out on your shelves! It also wraps around the ship 360 degrees and the more observant will spot that the underside pattern does have some slight variations meaning left/right is not an exact mirror.

Moving aft and on both of the triangular wing sweeps are the two temporal field generators. Big marks up to Eaglemoss here for setting two red transparent segments into the wing and that these two run top to bottom as a single piece. It's a massive statement when you might have expected segments to be planted on the top and bottom of a solid plastic/metal hull. What this does mean is that if you catch the light right you get a wonderful red glow off the two ovals. 

Around both of these features you'll also see a change in the paint scheme and one thing I have seen here is just how precise the finish is here. I know I say it a lot more recently but I firmly believe that their quality control, even on the more sketchy entries, remains strong. Around each there's a blue oval design that blends into the overall effect seamlessly and accentuates the engines - which are both recessed and elevated - exceptionally well. 

At the rear of the upper hull we have two outlets for the temporal/warp engines recessed into the wing. No colour bleed or misalignment is evident. Both are grilled even though they are such a tiny feature of the craft. At the tips of both wings we do have simple blocked out RCS thrusters and in the accompanying magazine you'll see how many of the pieces on the Aeon are instantly recognisable but yet added in such a way that they are still that little bit different. 

Flipping the Aeon over we have a continuation of the paint scheme and also you'll spot that the underside bears two Starfleet pennants which are replicated on the upper hull as well.

As with the thrusters and other features these are slightly different to your expectations being a split oval design which still shouts the delta shield but changes the colours to blue and white rather than the more familiar 23rd and 24th Century red and gold.

The temporal field generators on the underside of the wing are indeed aligned perfectly with the ones set into the top of the wing. You might think this is a bit odd to be commenting on but the lower hull is a single recessed piece of plastic and not a single piece of metal as you might have expected from the slim nature of the Aeon which means that the fact the two halves met so precisely is a good sign of the attention Eaglemoss is paying in regards to their finished product (most of the time).

While I like this cute little ship there are two details distinctly missing from the model which are shouting at you from the front cover of the magazine at the very least and also from the plan views. One of these is the black line which runs around the whole edge of the craft and secondly the white cockpit hatch line. Why these two - especially the second - are not on the Aeon I can only guess but it was a little surprising given they are everywhere else.

Both the Gorn Starship and the Aeon have good solid stand positions with the former gripped around the pylons and the Timeship gripped at the rear. No worries here with divebomb damage and the stands don't hinder any visual appreciation of the new models.

The magazine does have a good selection of pics from Future's End as well as swanky new CG images of the UTS Aeon. There's a standard episode refresh with details on the craft and four pages of designing data from its creator Rick Sternbach. The time travel section looks at what Star Trek episodes showed us of the further future, taking their material purely from later series The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise

It's a rather broad subject and sketchily covered in the magazine but at least it's something different and picks out A Matter of Time from The Next Generation plus Storm Front and Future Tense from Enterprise among the highlights.

A better month with two moderate entries that won't have too many clammering at newsagent doors. Coming off the back of the Holoship certainly makes them look good but there are more entries from recent issues which are far better. Next time we have the Vulcan Vakhlas and a must-have in the form of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-J. Both are ships featured in Enterprise which means there can be no question as to the strength of the end products. I bet the second of these will be an essential for all collectors.

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