Saturday, 9 March 2019

Organically Speaking: The Official Starships Collection Issues 144 and 145


So the collection charges onwards and this month we're stepping into the realms of The Next Generation and Voyager...

Up first is an instantly recognisable craft from the third year of the Enterprise-D's adventures in the form of Tin Man or more accurately, Gomtuu.

To date the only organically formed ships have been those from Species 8472 and here is Eaglemoss' second attempt to create something very naturally created through plastic. It is a mixed success which overall is better than the result we had with the Bioship but still loses something in the translation from screen to physical hold-in-your-hands model.

In a few brutal words, this is one of the easiest models to build from the whole collection. It's two halves snapped together horizontally. There are no call outs, no aerials or protruding engines; not a one. It's very light as well given the minimal materials used in its construction but you can't just poo-poo it for these reasons.

The finish to Gomtuu is very good with the skin of the ship/creature seemingly layered all the way from front to back just as, is quoted, a pinecone in effect. What does get lost is the glowing, living effect that emanates from between each of the folds and brings Gomtuu to life in the episode. On a model the pulsating yellow just can't happen and however much it can be flowered up it still remains flat on the plastic hull. There's nothing that can be done in this respect as the build material is harshly unforgiving when it comes to creating a natural finish.

Cleverly Eaglemoss have managed to texture the skin/hull of Gomtuu so that it does retain the grainy finish that we see in Tin Man and it helps to take it away from just being two pieces of clipped together plastic. On this point it is worth stating that the two halves are distinctly different in their pattern and can only fit together in one way due to the non-symmetrical join line that runs around the equator of the ship.

At the front there's a hedgehog-head section which acts as the humanoid crew space. There's no distinction anywhere to whether this was added after creation or grew as part of the ship although there is a noticeable difference in texture finish between this nose piece and the larger rear area.

It's a decent enough recreation of the living ship but this is one area that Eaglemoss doesn't excel at and it does stand out against the other "production line" starships. Good effort though and a real chance taken.

In the issue 144 magazine the CG renderings really do breathe amazing life into the craft and comparing the ship to the pics and the shots from the series you can see how precisely Eaglemoss have aligned the segmented hull - it's screen replica perfect.


The initial profile section recounts the little information we know about Gomtuu's past plus the ever-so-standard episode synopsis. The magazine also covers in some detail the offensive and defensive capabilites of the living ship which were displayed in the show.

The double page designing section comprises mainly of Rick Sternbach's magnificent design sketches that cover the evolution of the ship and inspiration from the natural world. Finally the back six pages cover off Costume Design for the groundbreaking third season of The Next Generation touching on all points from the reimagined Starfleet uniforms to the wardrobe for Captain's Holiday through to the Klingon focused Sins of the Father and finally The Best of Both Worlds and how Locutus' look came about.

Great final section here that answers a lot of questions about the look of the show in the year that really made The Next Generation.

To issue 145 and one of those ships that, well, could have waited.

The Nightingale featured in Voyager's final season as Ensign Kim's first ever command. So what's my beef with this one? Simple - it's a barely disguised reworking of the Federation Attack Fighter/Maquis Fighter.

I absolutely preferred the Fighter to this but it's unfair to nail it because of it being a kitbash and focus on the transfer from screen to replica.

The whole top section is a single piece of metal augmented to the rear with plastic impulse engines. The shape of the Nightingale is, of course screen accurate with the hull rammed full of detail whether it's panelling, windows or engine parts. The paint finish across the hull gives an incredibly worn - and ship accurate - finish making this look like it's been in service for a fair few years.  

The challenge is that through this weather-worn look it all becomes a bit jumbled. There's the light grey undercoat from the Federation Fighter overlaid with all the additional detail. in two darker shades of grey. Look closely at the paint scheme though and you'll see that the light grey base is actually worn itself with a matt/gloss/aztec effect to add more aging to the craft. Eaglemoss have packed a lot onto the upper surface of the Nightingale however it does seem a bit OTT given the scale and the area available. 

The window detail around the raised bridge unit is incredibly tiny and barely visible as is some of the recessed panelling. You do have to squint a bit to make some of it out.

Along the top of the internally-placed warp engines, the venting detail is highlighted in orange just across the edges with the intakes to the front are inset in orange plastic which brings a bit of life to the cluttered design.

The underside central hull section is the only large piece made from plastic and continues with the weathered aztec effect yet it manages to avoid the over-complicated dorsal patterning and is a lot easier to take in. The underside is a lot more refined - maybe because it's not something seen heavily in the episode but it also doesn't seem to carry such a weathered finish and a stronger panel definition at every point.  Comparing directly against the metal of the wings, Eaglemoss have managed to keep the paintwork uniform and fluid across the two building materials.

The join line between metal and plastic is perhaps most evident around the warp engine collectors to the front and across the back at the point where there should be a shuttlebay but the thickness of the hull negates this potential and it's left totally blank. Just above this space on a rollbar piece across the back of the Nightingale we have two impulse engines in a slightly greener shade arcing to the back. These have a nice bit of slatted detail to the back and are completed neatly with that underlying weathered effect continuing in a different colour.

In terms of display, the stand fits around the rear engine block and give it the "fake flying" pose that works well on those models that can afford to have a back-grip clip. 

In the magazine we run through the story of the Nightingale from being saved by the Delta Flyer and its crew through to the twist at the finale and all points between including the cloaking device. The subsequent section on the magazine covers the design stage which comes off the back of the Maquis Fighter which became the Federation Attack Fighter that made one more appearance as the title ship of a certain Voyager episode. Lots of good pics of the original model here throughout its life on the franchise as well as some level of understanding of how and why the alterations came about.

Finally there's an interview with Starfleet's most neglected ensign in the form of a chat with Garrett Wang and the life and times of Harry Kim. Over the years Wang has commented (including to myself) about how the role affected him especially in the early years when he felt very left out as a character and almost considered leaving. This interview is a lot more positive, looking at the wins Kim experienced particularly during the last three years of the show as well as a "nice" payoff to finally be promoted to captain for Endgame.

The two ships this month are pretty average. There's nothing outstanding here and the changes to the Nightingale versus the Federation Fighter seem negligible to the point where I question if this one really needed to be in the collection at all. Definitely dropping this one into the bottom of the pile on look and necessity. Gomtuu is the better of the two here but that's not an endorsement. It's ok, very well aligned to the screen given the way in which the carapace/hull/shell is broken up and textured. A memorable ship done as much justice as the collection probably can.

Coming up next month - Fesarius - finally - and Baran's Raider from Gambit

Which was the better result this time? Fan of Tin Man or liking another variation on a theme with Nightingale?


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