Friday, 20 December 2019

Green Lit: The Official Starships Collection Issues 162 and 163

Coming to the collection 25 years after its appearance in the franchise, the Lakul adds an oft discussed starship to the collection.

Seen for only a few moments while held within the Nexus, the Whorfin Class ship would be destroyed with significant loss of life in the seventh Star Trek movie however it's striking design has remained a strong image for myself ever since.

Eaglemoss' latest production brings that very craft to life. I do find that there are certain "facial" similarities between this and the Event Horizon from the film of the same name. There's a distinct industrial/1950's feel to the shape of the Lakul too with its curved grey panelling and odd outslung engines giving it a very unique silhouette. 

Let's take a deeper look into this one. As with a few recent releases, the Lakul was a blink-and-miss but that's not deterred from seeing that the final model was good enough to stand up to the rigours of cinematic scrutiny. 

The metal/plastic mix is a bit more intricate than usual on this one as well with both materials wrapping together at some points, most notably at the back where plastic hull parts are glued on top and underneath of the metal structure.

The shape of the Lakul is very unusual with a half-cylindrical "head" to the front with painted on rather than recessed windows. As noted there's more of this plastic wrap with that forward unit locked into the central metal body. It's a seamless visual transition into the metal body mainly due to the way it is slotted together and the colour match between the sections. In that respect, the Lakul has two distinct grey shades right across the model with the lighter colour highlighting some of the panels top and bottom.

One thing to note is how the plastic sections to the rear have more distinctive panel lines than the metal. Looking at the two column structures to either side of the "head", the detail itself is a tad washed out, more due to the shape rather than the amount of paint used to cover them.

The back end is as interesting as the front, perhaps more so with a plastic housing slipped over the top of the thinned metal body and then a second plastic section slotted in underneath. The wrap effect of the materials really works here and the joins between then are very well camouflaged through the paint scheme. To either side and reaching out from the plastic underside are the two warp pylons. 

These are very sturdy even considering their width and thickness. Attached to either end and continuing the paint theme to their tips are the two stubby warp engines. Panel detail is nice and clean on all these elements with the plastics overall having the better lining impressions. This is backed up with the point that the detail on the very back of the Lakul where there are very clear docking ports and gimbles around the twin hatches.

Given its unconventional appearance and cumbersome frame, Eaglemoss have worked a lovely bit of constructive magic with the Lakul. Pristine paint scheme coupled with a clean build make this a lovely ship for display although you're probably going to have to explain to a lot of people exactly what it is and where it appeared!

The magazine for issue 162 takes us back into the 23rd Century section of Generations, recounting the incident that led to the apparent death of James T Kirk and the loss of the Lakul herself. There are a few additional notes around the ship herself including the fascinating point that the other ship that was destroyed was the Robert Fox named after the ambassador from A Taste of Armageddon in The Original Series.

It's a good issue this time because not only do we get the usual narrative but there are six pages handed over to discussing how the odd design of this ship evolved and what ended up being used on screen. Lots of sketches, pics and more in this bit which made for a very good read. Even more impressive for me, who loves Generations was the final article talking about how they created the Stellar Cartography set for one of the movie's most important scenes. For me this is up there as one of Star Trek's most exciting sets and to have some more background on its conception is fantastic to read.

Back in time now to Enterprise and the Orions. You can tell it's an Orion ship because it's green.

Distinctly resembling a bird/70's sci-fi fighter plane, the Orion Interceptor could easily be a majestic bird of prey with its sewpt and arched wings and that striking beak thrusting out at the front.

In comparison to the Lakul this thing is extremely light with a metal top piece and then a plastic insert for the ventral area as we've seen on numerous occasions.

It's another that I struggle to place within the Enterprise series so I've been a lot more reliant on the magazine to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to reviewing her. However, this is another interesting footnote in the franchise. Eaglemoss have definitely captured the aggressive nature of the ship especially through the forming of the beak on the nose and the red blending back into the solid green of the main hull.

For its size too the Interceptor packs a lot in; there are the ship markings on the nose (unusual outside of Starfleet) plus Orion script and decals applied to the wings. These do lift this model out of the average since they are quite small details that we will have all missed on the show and are now being introduced to properly through the collection.

Along the centre line on the sides and just behind the painted windows of the bridge we have some very small technical detailing which I was surprised to see given the sleek nature and scale of the craft. Within the pieces on the top you can make out shapes of equipment around the smoother hull plating.

That plating itself also seems to have some slight tonal differences across the surface. Not so much a two-tone as a mottled effect which gives off different tones in patches when it catches the light. This works really well to give a used and worn feel to the Interceptor which manages to have some panels in different colours indicating some form of repair work and/or battle damage.

The wings themselves are an extension of the hull, sweeping out into their crescent forms and also curving slightly down to the tips. The thickness of the wings - which includes exhaust openings to the rear definitely help the structure as they are very firm and there's virtually no give in them.

There is a very striking propulsion unit with the Interceptor with a single unit on the topside and then three engines slung underneath. The detail on the panelling and the depth to the exhausts on all four is fairly impressive and gives a sense that these are fed from deep inside the hull. In fact on the underside of the Interceptor it's the engine assembly that's the real draw for me. It looks like it means business and it's rare to see such "antiquated" engine tech in Star Trek that reminds us so clearly of proper rocket boosters.

It's a nice, if forgettable model from Eaglemoss in this case and even with the fancy vents and "cutout" hull sections showing sensor equipment and the like, it doesn't really help this one get a lot of attention. The colour is great, the decals are great and the look is great. As a model it works perfectly but I don't see it being one that we'll be clamouring to see back in stock quickly. It's possibly one of those that we'll suggest could have been dropped for other items that should have been included. 

The Interceptor's magazine follows the standard tried and tested specs and discussion of its appearances in Enterprise followed up by the design process. Lots of good background material to get your teeth into but nothing mind-blowing that you'll be bookmarking for future use I suspect!

Thoughts on the Lakul? Remember the Interceptor? Comment below!

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