Friday, 27 September 2019

Assimilated Voyager: The Official Starships Collection Bonus Edition

Lurking in the dark recesses of Eaglemoss’ bonus editions is Assimilated Voyager.

Swiftly becoming one of the most featured ships in the collection, this is the fourth variant of the lost Intrepid Class starship following on from ‘normal’ Voyager, Armoured Voyager and Warship Voyager. I think only Nebula and Miranda classes are giving it a good run otherwise!

The core of the model is the same build that we saw way back in issue six with the basic Voyager replica. The shield grid lines, the hull colour and the bulk of the Starfleet detail remains identical to that ship. That being said it means that the jarring errors have also managed to transition across to this edition; the panel lines are washed out due to the colour and it still feels slightly sloppy on execution.

The main attraction on the hull are the Borg upgrades with the sweeping sides of Voyager caked in black and green markings to represent the tech however it just looks a bit blotchy and would have definitely benefited from an XL step up to really allow the detail in the circuitry and glowing Borg equipment to be seen for its full effect.

The cover of the magazine shows all of this in abundance with the tech finely detailed and applied to the hull more than seeming to be "splodged" onto it if you'll pardon the rather untechnical description. Across the primary hull the two sides are a mirror with only slight nuances and the same goes for the Borg tech attached to the top of the warp engines.

Along the spine there is some side-to-side variation but being able to determine any components is a thankless and near impossible task.  From afar this variant looks pretty cool and offers a twist on the basic design but close up it's a much more messy affair.

For some reason even the reaction control thrusters to the rear of the primary hull have lost their rusty red colour for the black of the upgrades and perhaps the biggest faux pas is to leave the bussard collectors unpainted!

On the underside - well, apart from two black Borg tech marks near to the forward RCS thrusters on the primary hull there is absolutely no difference to the issue six edition. Cleverly the whole of the top section - the metal bit - has 90% of the upgrades attached to it while the plastic underside and engines have only a small amount.  Watch out too for the gaping side join around the pylons and shuttlebay; it's a big one and I'm a little disappointed here that it isn't as smoothly concealed as one might have hoped.

The detail of the un-Borged underside is as you would expect and have received from the original and the Warship Voyager variant  - there is zero additional detail although the panelling and two tone grey colour combo is well painted. The phaser strips stand out well against the lighter grey hull which is then finished with twin pennants on the bottoms of the warp engines, curves at the ends of all the phaser strips and a simple black ship registry at the front.

Even down to the red markings around the warp core ejection hatch you can't complain about the detail on the ventral side of Voyager, nor can you be disappointed with the spruced up, lighter blue-backed deflector dish sitting out at the front of engineering. 

From this perspective it does feel like Voyager has received a bit of a tidy up however I wouldn't be planning on displaying her upside down given that the big selling point here should be the fact it's ASSIMILATED Voyager

The stand at least continues with the adjustment from gripping the shuttle landing pad to sliding around the rear of the "spoonhead" hull and balances Voyager amidships in a much more comfortable pose than we first received it.

The bonus edition magazine is split simply into two major sections. The first deals with the events of Scorpion with a leaning more towards Part II since this is when the upgrading of Voyager's abilities were performed so that it would primarily be able to function in fluidic space. 

The images tend to highlight the detail contained within the hull augmentations completed by the Borg and seem only able to take away what little credibility the model had with each page. In fact it also suggests that some of the colour shading particularly in relation to the lifeboats is well off-palette adding to the bland finish that seems to exude from Voyager and reduces its visual effectiveness.

The second half of the magazine focuses on the creation of Species 8472 (the Undine if you're an Online player) and how the creature evolved within the computer from first design right through to being the franchise' first proper CG alien nemesis. There had been other attempts at CG creatures (Macrocosm's parasites) but this was the first attempt at going all out and realising an alien on a larger scale. It's a great read to see how the design evolved and how it was made to be so obviously not a man in a suit even for the facial closeups.

The magazine does provide a lot of background material around the introduction of Species 8472 and precisely how Voyager was upgraded by the Borg to take on this new and powerful threat from outside our universe.

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