Saturday, 27 February 2021

Son'a Collector: The Official Starships Collection Special 25

The Official Starships Collection has been notoriously light when it's come to featuring the last two TNG movies although recent specials have finally put that to bed.

There's been the Scimitar from Nemesis and more recently the Son'a Command Ship from Insurrection. This time round we get another larger than average model in the lengthy shape of the Son'a Collector.

The site of the ninth Star Trek movie's climax, the Collector sadly doesn't come fully deployed and remains in it's more elegant "closed" form. 

The ship is fairly back-end heavy given all the fins and must have some form of counterweight inside to balance it out for the stand. What's also intriguing is that I can't seem to work out where the metal on the ship is - and if there is indeed any! It seems to be 100% externally plastic at least.

So to the detail and even though it's not shown with "sails unfurled", the Son'a Collector worth an entry into the series. The bulbous head and it's cutaway sections are particularly cool with the six flattened winglets curving out from the main structure. The panelling here is very simple in design and, because of tat, is also very effective. The patterning is also very tactile with the lines distinctly raised or dropped back against the hull.

Most of the "fiddly" work is encapsulated under that shuttlecock nose piece and if you look close there are signs of mechanics set right in the middle. 

Whether intentional or not, the speckled grey on grey paintwork for the main body of the ship adds a few years onto the craft while picking out further details. There are some more solid, darker grey pieces seeming to represent venting along the sides of the main body and also to the rear. Surprisingly for such a simple paint job these areas aren't very carefully coloured with bleed and also patchy finishing evident in more than one or two places. 

Check out along all the mirrored sides too because on this one the patterning has been replicated onto each of the three angles meaning some of those - perhaps intentional - marks do transfer around the ship. Do take note of some of the more "spotty" paint choices which are placed to indicate some of the lighting along the hull and are barely visible against the darker of the greys.

The only other points of colour adding anything different to the surface of the Son'a Collector are hidden behind the curved, large nose section. Each of the splayed arms has a blue engine unit fitted into the rear also helping to identify it's direction of travel! Getting a closer look, these do seem to be the only decals applied to the ship since they have a slight sheen when held up to the light that isn't seen anywhere else on the surfaces of the vessel.

The stand design for the Collector is another new take on display. Offering a longer, stable cradle for the lengthy craft means that the weight is distributed well and it's securely held in place. Just make sure you have a shelf with a bit of depth to accommodate it!

Also a first for the series is the choice to shrink the magazine down to A5 size as is the case with the new Online Starships series. In this case I seriously thought they'd forgotten the magazine (as happened with the Beyond USS Enterprise) but I could breathe again as it was just in the box.

That magazine does show up the precision of the grey paintwork on the Collector especially around the nose and the vent panels. The blue reactor core is also nowhere near as prominent on the model as it is in the CG renderings. On the ship it's only a shade or three different to the light grey of the hull even in the best of illumination.

At least the mag does illustrate the Collector with its sails deployed and ready to sweep up that youthful metaphasic radiation from the rings of the Baku homeworld. There's lots to learn about the design of the ship and also the rest of the fleet from John Eaves. Given this is one of those rarely seen or discussed vessels, the mag for it provides one of - if not the - best source of info on the Son'a fleet from concept drawings and general ideas  through to detailed final plans of both its external and internal layout. 

This was all down to the fact that the finale of Insurrection would be played out between Picard and Ru'afo inside the towering skeleton of the Collector. Therefore the two elements had to match on screen to ensure its believability.

As a model in the series, the Son'a Collector is never going to be a looker or blow you away but given its rarity this is something that is almost certainly worth a second look. It's well constructed and finding a join line is a mission and a half more than just analysing the metal to plastic ratio.

I like that Eaglemoss have taken the time to research and painstakingly recreate this oddment from the ninth Star Trek movie and now we just need that Son'a Command Ship to round out the three!

You can order the Son'a Collector from the Eaglemoss shop now by clicking here and it's priced at £34.99.

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