Friday, 19 November 2021

Delta Dynamo: USS Voyager NCC-74656 XL

Over the course of the Starships Collection we have seen Voyager in several guises.

There was the original for issue six, Armoured Voyager, Borgified Voyager and even a version from the envisaged past of Living Witness but all of those come second to the impressive XL NCC-74656.

I've loved every iteration (maybe slightly less the Borg one) of Voyager and as we've progressed so has the quality. The paint has thinned, the shield grid lines have become more visible and there are a ton of visual upgrades to explore. Even right at the front there's the enhanced detail on the sensor palette and even the forward airlock.

Voyager's surface electronics are clearer to see with the XL and the recessed windows of the primary hull are now marked in rather than just being dips in the surface. Even the tiny lifeboat hatches carry small markings however there are some unforgiveable issues there too.

Catching the hull in the light you can see that some of the thin black linings and also a great deal of the windows (especially at the taper of the neck) are badly aligned to their hull locations. There's a lot of weight to the upper hull as well with HeroCollector making a slight modification to the mould. The arches to the sides of the shuttlebay are now part of the metal upper rather than part of the plastic engineering section.

Colouring in general is a lot more precise. The overall blue of the hull has been dulled down as it had been for the Warship version with the greys of the highlights again as with the Defiant, also turned down. It's interesting to compare the various versions of this ship and see how each has made an improvement. The definition (yep, that word again) between the sections and colourings makes it a lot better on the eye.

The underside of the primary hull is just as well finished with a ton of lifeboat, phaser strip and window detailing. Those windows are once more horribly misaligned. However, there's a good level of precision around the two warp core ejection hatches. In fact on the belly of Voyager there's a whole lot more slim decalling to take in including the red/green port/starboard lights. Right across the base there are a nice set of markings applied. The mark out for the Aeroshuttle (with registry) stands out yet perhaps it's the deflector dish that's the most striking element of the Intrepid Class.

The blue and orange contrast here is spot on and because the hull tones have been taken down a few steps it really catches the eye. In regards to the detail however it's on a par but doesn't surpass the smaller editions.

To the back the shuttlebay itself has received a sticker upgrade both on the landing pad and around the edge. The plastic pylons are well constructed and lead out to the warp engines which follow the familiar route of it forebears. The bussard collectors are split and still too small to fit out with translucent pieces however the warp field grilles are. Between those two, the field coils are painted up in gold and with the final touches of the Starfleet registry and pennants, it's actually a good job.

HeroCollector have also upgraded the ship in a lot of ways. The decals with the ship registry are a vast improvement. The increased level of markings right across Voyager step it in the right direction but those window mis-placements are awful. It's not just on the top but in every location there's a recess point requiring one of the "slit" black or white indicators. Surely there's a better way to get these in the right place.

The magazine covers the groundwork that made the first season with backgrounds on the original briefs for the main characters and the direction of the show plus an article exploring the design choices to make Voyager still feel Starfleet but have an updated look suitable for a new show and starship. Decent read but, as with many of the XLs, it's material that's already been seen elsewhere.

Certainly the winner for "Longest Box", USS Voyager looks the part in most ways - just try not to look too closely as there could be a little disappointment in the finish.

Was this a successful upgrade? Is the XL Voyager a good purchase?

Check out all our Starships posts HERE

You can find out more on the Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection by visiting the Hero Collector website HERE

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1 comment:

  1. I just got this one too. It's a real nice model - but damn is it ruined by the window misalignment. I used nail varnish to remove them and then just filled them in with black marker pen!