Tuesday, 2 July 2019

In the Hands of the Creator: The Official Starships Collection Special Edition: V'Ger


Truly immense; one of the largest craft ever to grace Star Trek - V'Ger.

Created as a vehicle to return the aging Voyager VI probe back to Earth, V'Ger is a huge, daunting and deadly machine with no seeming limit to its abilities or power.

Now in the original The Motion Picture we never actually got to see the whole of the V'Ger structure and were only treated to various parts of it which in turn demonstrated just how flippin' massive the craft was. I for one imagined it as the cloud it is described as and never really considered that there would be a more solid structure residing at the heart of that cloud providing a vessel for the Voyager VI probe.

It would be the 30th anniversary remastered release that would eventually reveal the full extent of Syd Mead's design and it's oddly biological look that would certainly misguide you to think that V'Ger was a creature rather than a machine.

Eaglemoss have wisely decided to release the craft as it appeared in the anniversary edition and not try and box a cloud of space gas and dust - and the resulting Special Edition is magnificent.

Star Trek Online players will immediately recognise the craft from the Borg missions and both this and stories from William Shatner have linked V'Ger to the cybernetic drones since the late 1990's so this model will appeal not just to fans of the movies, but also those who are more recently taking to the franchise in gaming terms too.

Cleverly weighted to the rear which makes displaying it a breeze, V'Ger is amazingly well detailed and possibly the closest to giving a truly organic feel as part of the collection. Stretching in at over 300 million kilometres long, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the surface is going to be cluttered with nuances but the finish on the lengthy model is kept simple and sufficient.

In essence there are three sections to the ship; head, thorax and abdomen. At the front end we have a recessed opening through which the Enterprise began its exploration and the hull sweeps back from this point raised into six ridges that trail back to the six central "wings". The shape is somewhat unique but the inset detail Eaglemoss have included is amazing, Each of the six sides is absolutely identical in this first section wiith the pocked metalwork at the tip of each perfectly painted in. But look closer at the paint itself and you can see the arcs of electrical energy literally running down the hull. It's amazing to see this on the hull and while the first third carries these trails, the second continues them accompanied by a slightly more swirled background pattern of purples and blacks.

This central piece bears a lot more raised detail than the head end. It continues the grandeur and almost cathedralic aspect of V'Ger into the six fins/wings that arc out from the main body. Again the accuracy of the painting here is fantastic alongside the raised "horn" markings and the blue pocked organic/skin styling. It's as though V'Ger itself were displaying its organic origins like a badge. Indeed, I found myself considering it in terms of whales and other large aquatic creatures just because of the shape and scale of this vast spaceship.

While the physical elements embossed into the hull or marked out on the surface are all identical on each of the six sides of the head and thorax sections of V'Ger there are subtle painting differences. Not each side has identical patterning in the same place and there is some variation in the actual top coat which adds to that slightly organic feel. Definitely cudos to Eaglemoss for not just reprocessing the same paint job on every surface here - adds a lot more depth to this fascinating piece.


With the front two thirds being plastic, the back end is rendered in metal which, as noted earlier makes it a lot steadier when it comes to resting V'Ger on its curved base stem. The back end carries a fair bit of weight alongside the continuation of that swirled paint pattern with more of the lighter aqua blue colouring sunk into the lower features of the hull. I think had there been an option to have these glow as with the USS Defiant bonus edition it would have brought V'Ger even more to life. Possibly a trick missed here.

This spherical and subsequently cylindrical section to V'Ger has more of the distinctive electrical energy trails striking along the sides as well as six evenly spaced, prong-edged panels which shroud over the rear propulsion unit.

The detail here isn't neglected either with the rear completed with a six pointed star and a central yellow dome presumably indicating the engine exhaust point. The ship sits nicely on its stand, clipping around the spherical section of the rear third and the balance is spot on thanks to the cleverly weighed construction. Nice one there Eaglemoss. Good thinking.

The magazine certainly makes more of the lighter blue sections and the indication in there would be that these are more organic sections of the craft with a webbed finish to them. The contents of this edition are well worth the read, covering the full design process of V'Ger with innumerable sketches and photos from The Motion Picture as well as Syd Mead's own words on how he came up with the eventual craft. For note, it would only be the later Director's Edition of the first Star Trek movie that would show the true scale of V'Ger from nose to tail.

Mead may have been the man to go to for the exterior of V'Ger but Robert McCall and Doug Turnbull were the ones tasked with imagining what the insides looked like. Again, this is a great section detailing the parts seen by Spock during the flight suit sequence and the parts of V'Ger seen by the Enterprise as it travels to the centre. This whole issue is maxed out with artwork and you can't help but be in awe of the scale that was envisaged for the monstrous spacecraft.

The V'Ger special is just that - special. For once Eaglemoss have managed to create something almost organic while still keeping its alien, ship like qualities in check and truly honouring a classic design from the second damn of Star Trek in the late 1970's. Absolutely love having this one on display because it's so different and it doesn't look too out of place next to the USS Discovery.

Thoroughly recommend this one to long term Star Trek fans as well as those familiar with the ship's appearance in Online. Nicely recreated and some fine work has gone into making this a well-presented piece. Top marks for a special, well deserved.

Loving V'Ger? What ships still deserve the Special treatment?


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