Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Starship Garage: Spacedock - The Official Starships Collection Special Edition 15

It's potentially one of Eaglemoss' most ambitious models and one that fans have notched up on their "Must Have" list almost from day one.

Spacedock; the largest structure recreated as part of The Official Starships Collection has arrived as the fifteenth special edition.

At over 20cm tall, Spacedock is an impressive model and only the third stationary object to be included in the series after Deep Space Nine and K-7. Both of those proved to be highlights of the specials and this is no exception.

At the top, Spacedock is perhaps at its weakest with a series of aerials and towers protruding from the centre. They look a little thicker than might have been intended but at least there's some structural integrity there to ward away the occasional knock from the cat.

The overall finishing coat of light grey is then speckled with taupe panels right across the whole of the surface both looking from the top and from underneath. With this there isn't a surface you can't see since every part is just, well, big and open to analysis. There are literally hundreds of little white spots denoting windows right across the surface neatly aligned with a slight niggle that a couple of the rows do seem to have overlapped with the intermittent red decal striping that arcs around the mushroom-shaped docking area. Each of the four main access doors is numbered (apparently no sense back in 1983) 7, 15, 21 and 28. 

With these there could have done with being a little more detail given that these four entrances are simply blank panels with number decals and miss the panel detail that is present all around them even just to note where they meet in the middle. Could these perhaps have been done as four door-sized decals to avoid any challenges?

On the underside of the docking area we have a large circular translucent blue element which you will recall from the movies is brightly illuminated. While not lit up here it does stand out very well against the matt grey hull and is held in place with the only metal section of Spacedock which angles inwards towards the bulbous stem.

On this piece the speckled taupe versus light grey paint scheme continues as well as the reams of white windows but there are some small, deeper circles which appear to be airlocks to the interior sporadically placed around this element. What you don't appreciate unless you're actually in physical contact with the model is that it's not a flat surface. There are subtle panel undulations all over it which your eyes will only just pick up depending on light and angles.

Descending further, we have a series of five different shaped objects from tubes to spheres to make up the majority of Spacedock. On the third piece down - which curves outwards - there are once again the red stripe decals but you can also make out light blue rectangles near to the bottom edge of the section. As with the upper mushroom top and by cross-referencing to the magazine and its onscreen appearances these look like external viewing ports. In fact on the fourth section too there are more indications of docking ports and observation windows. 

On the underside of this section we have four ports which would appear to be small craft landing pads and while K-7 had the ability to open its shuttlebay up, these are too small a scale to offer this up as an option leaving them just to be a surface detail but there does feel to be a bit of depth to them. In fact the lack of illumination does take some of the awe away but it's not something that can be recreated on something that's scaled down from over three miles in size. In parallel to the large translucent blue ring inserted underneath the mushroom top we have a ring of blue segments which were very well illuminated onscreen and one might suspect are linked to some form of internal power system - possibly positioning thrusters of some form?

The bottom three sections are all plastic with a single seam running vertically to join the two halves together. Then to the bottom there's another array of antennas which are not the sturdiest although not as bendable as those on the top.

Due to the scale of this one there is a loss of smaller detail and depth to the openings and windows right across the surface but this doesn't mean it isn't a good result. Spacedock is mightily impressive and comes with one of the collection's most ingenious stand designs; a ring into which the station slides and then sits on over the black base.

The special mag provides a skimpy overview of the role of the station before diving into a 14 page Designing a Vintage Port which traces the origins of Spacedock back to the space station model from The Motion Picture and the choices around what led to creating something different for The Search for Spock that would be reused for the subsequent three movies and also make a guest appearance in The Next Generation as Starbase 74 in 11001001. The magazine also covers how the interior of the station was created for the classic scene in which Kirk and the crew steal the Enterprise and later how it needed to be recreated for The Voyage Home's unveiling of the Enterprise-A.

This is a fantastic model and a very unique item. Some of the more intricate elements such as the antenna are chunky and basic but scale does play against the possibilities here. It looks amazing and feels very sturdy for the main part. If you can find it, get one; you won't be disappointed. 

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