Monday, 26 January 2015

Fast Flyer and the Metal Flea: The Official Starships Collection Issues 38 and 39

Fittingly with the 20th anniversary this week there's a Voyager issue from the Eaglemoss stable in January.

Maybe something from Caretaker would have been more fitting but the arrival of the Delta Flyer will be one excitedly welcomed by fans.

A compact model the first thing that struck me is the lack of extremities here.  Everything,  very much due to that infamous 'hot rod'  design is enclosed within the smooth,  bubble-like hull shape.  The finish on mine is pretty decent although a few on Facebook have noted some horrible joins between the metal upper and plastic lower hulls.  Personally I have only one complaint about the finish or the detail on the Delta Flyer and that's in relation to a slightly sloppy paint finish around the main window. I guess being mass produced this is a tricky bit to get right with the different sizes and angles which has left a bit of bleed and misalignment. In fact this is very similar to what we've seen with the misaligned windows on numerous starships over the course.

She might be without extending nacelles however Eaglemoss have included those translucent sections for the warp exhausts and buzzard collectors which also help break up the surface of the Flyer.

Aside from that minor blip on the window finish,  it is very,  very well presented with rear hatch detail,  Starfleet pennants and good underside detail as well as clean panel lines across the surface. Ok,  so there's no green glow effect on the Borg components but that's not likely to be an easy one to replicate as painting them green-tinged might end up just looking horribly tacky.  The decalling is particularly sharp on this model which does contrast a rather blocky paint scheme in places but then there isn't a ton of surface intricacies here. The lack of animated glow does detract from the overall effect but the key surface features are all there including that single torpedo launcher which marks this as the Delta Flyer II rather than the Delta Flyer.

As I've noted many times I'm not the biggest Voyager fan yet this is a good replica from the show however I'm surprised that it's not raised more voices around the inclusion of at least the key shuttlecraft within the series.

Well... That's not strictly true since EU customers are being given the option to pay a bit extra for their subscription and get a four shuttle set featuring iconic craft from The Original Series,  The Next Generation,  Deep Space Nine and Voyager (more at the end!)...

I liked the accompanying magazine with the streamlined Flyer for the history of the craft including it's destruction and replacement (really, Voyager has 18 shuttles eliminated before they built it?!) and a great set of views of the shop which match nicely with the "real" ship in the pack. The design and CG creation sections cover all the aspects of its existence in the real world extensively and there's even a couple of images of the Delta Flyer with the warp nacelles extended in the CG section. Actually the pics in issue 38 are some of the best episode and CG shots produced in the magazines since day one. No fuzzy long shots or blurred motion stills which does make a change and really enhances the quality of the edition. 

Issue 39 brings us into Romulan territory with their unmanned drone ship from the final season of Enterprise. A reused/modified background design, the 'flea' is, unsurprisingly for an entry from the short-lived prequel, meticulously detailed which is unavoidable due to the number of subspace antennae all over the hull. 

It is certainly one of the most unusual designs and in the flesh it's a lot lighter than I remember it from Enterprise. In comparison to the preceding Delta Flyer the surface is much more detailed with both green and silver panelling as well as the external holographic projectors which dot every section of the hull and made the onscreen variant appear as any ship it encountered.

The antennae at the front and on the underside are key pieces of the overall design and Eaglemoss have to be applauded for putting in the effort to make this one a reality. I'm really impressed here although the metal section is buried in the centre underneath the plating and aerials. Why it needed to be metal considering it's hidden away I'm not sure however it does give some weight to the final result and might help weigh it down as the stand design is one of the more bizarre since the Krenim Timeship. The number of aerials at the front is nowhere near the amount that are featured on the magazine cover and while I could easily complain you have to realise just how thin and intricate the threads would be and most likely how expensive and delicate they would have been.

The plan views in the magazine do make the drone look a lot darker than the model itself and more as I recall it from its onscreen appearances however the detail in those images doesn't show up (oddly) as well as it does on the ship. Importantly for both this and the Delta Flyer is that their build quality is second to none. There are no poor joins or sloppy painting which has bugged me on a few ships to this point most notably around window locations (check all the Starfleet entries to the collection for that one). 

I find the insectoid ship incredibly interesting with all it's fins, odd lines and extremities which Eaglemoss have replicated to the best of their abilities considering some of the fiddly points that might have been involved in its design and build.

The magazine covers all the events between the episodes Babel One and The Aenar which saw the drone onscreen. No surprises here as the information is take directly from the episodes but the design section here is one of the most interesting for some time. A guest ship in Voyager more than once, the drone stepped from the shadows into the foreground with some modifications and is now one of the more recognisable vessels from Enterprise.

Both of this month's editions only ever existed as CGI which probably explains the raised detail on both ships however the magazine for the drone highlights that there is quite a bit of surface detail, aside from the thin aerials missing - the larger holoemitters are present and even the smaller versions are replicated but not in such minute detail Indeed, the magazine's images are superb here but do highlight that the model in this instance is slightly substandard. I can't fault Eaglemoss though as price, size and a range of other factors must have come into play. This must have been one of the more difficult to produce given all the facets to account for. Definitely more of a challenge than the straightforward Delta Flyer.

Rounding out the magazine is actually a bit of a gem, giving a hint at what could have been for the fifth season of Enterprise covering the genesis of the Romulan War which was ushered in through the appearance of the drone. 

In conclusion a good month once more (bad ones just don't seem to happen these days) and not without a couple of additional stories. It seems that the Klingon Bird-of-Prey from Star Trek Into Darkness got its first photocall and is due out in March. It looks like a beast in every respect and will be causing a few shelf shuffles given the extended wingspan pictured here.

However, the big one that has UK fans talking is the Shuttlecraft Pack that EU customers will be able to collect for an extra 1.50 Euros per issue. Dropped without any warning and almost totally under the radar, demand and conversation on its appearance and availability is already rife. Comprising of The Original Series' Galileo II, The Next Generation's Type-6, the  Type-9 from Voyager and the Chauffee Type-10 from Deep Space Nine the availability to UK customers who have stayed with the collection since its first day has been causing some grumbles. Hopefully we will see it over here and not have to pay over the odds to get it imported. Apparently these are also a little smaller than the regular ships but I would love to get hold of a set as I've wanted and hoped they would include shuttles at some point.

Additionally we got to see our first peeks at the Intrepid from Issue 44 and the Malon Freighter in Issue 45 thanks to Memory Alpha. Of the three we got to see the D-4 is mega-impressive if only for its size. The Intrepid from Enterprise does look pretty plain and I can't help but mentally compare it to the NX-01 which is still a series highlight nearly 40 issues in. The freighter is, well, brown but with the quality of the pic I can't get a good scan over the hull detail however it does seem to be well defined. Nice image on the mag cover too. I've dropped the pics here for you all to have a good look. I'm not very excited by either with the Enterprise-B and the Pasteur being major must haves for the moment. After these latest reveals I think the Enterprise-C is the next one I can't wait to see.

Fan of the Flyer or revelling in the Romulan Drone this month? Drop us a line!

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