Thursday, 18 November 2021

Relay Station 47: The Official Starships Collection Special Issue

 is one of those episodes that comes up for a fair bit of criticism from the TNG era.

Which sort of meant that the announcement of Relay Station 47 was something of a surprise to fans and collectors alike.

There's been a clear emphasis on including space stations (aside from DS9) with HeroCollector recently adding the Jupiter Station to the line on top of K7, Regula One and Spacedock. Yet this one still wouldn't have been high on many fans' list of wants for 2021...or even 2023...

What does shock you on opening the familiar blue HeroCollector box is how small this one is. Relay Station 47 wasn't the biggest installation in the show but it could have done with a bit more upscaling here. What doesn't help its case is that the station itself is so thin it's almost 2D to begin with!

But let's tackle the Starfleet outpost as a model and see how it copes under scrutiny. With the flat antennae and the top assembly being integrated plastic pieces, there's a good amount of weight in the main section of the station. There isn't much to go wrong with the assembly either, given that it's fairly simple form.

The station does benefit from the Starfleet standard aztec paint scheme as well as multiple sections enhanced with the darker blue colouring and in some places a mustard yellow. Thing is that referencing against the episode is quite difficult as the station spent a lot of time in shadow and with the very strong colouring here dulled right down for the screen. This, if you will recall from a lot of our earlier reviews, was a fairly common practice.

Small it might be, but where the Relay Station excels is in the extremities. The aerial/sail assembly which "should" be to the right if we go with the cover picture is well detailed with elements on the vertical and horizontal axis. There is definitely some flex in here although that's unavoidable due to the thin nature of this assembly.

The upper piping section is also nicely completed however in comparison to the CG within the magazine it does appear to be the wrong way round(?) but then the upper drum looks as though it's facing the right way. Minor, but just take a look at where those oblong pieces are in the pics. The panel detail is defined strongly and HeroCollector have avoided over-painting the unit which also retains the grilled elements of the blue sections. . Also if you can't quite make out the text under the station number it reads "Subspace Relay Station".

The stand too is unique for Relay Station 47 with it slotting down into the plastic barrel and onto the stand. Still not sure if it's something I would display every day although it might come into play as a "prop" in Attack Wing or if I'm changing things up on the shelves with a starbases display. 

The key thing with the station is the number - 47 - which is a recurring "in joke" within the franchise. This in turn explains the reason for the inclusion of this piece in the collection and while not one that will be pulling in a massive audience, it does look the part and is well presented. 

The magazine covers over the story of Aquiel before turning to the more interesting background to the station's design process. The plan views nestled between those two sections are well worth a look over even if just for that niggling piping arrangement. Aside from that the two - page and model - do line up particularly well. 

The design process actually reveals this is a reuse of the cryo satellite from the season one TNG finale The Neutral Zone with some modifications. Then, rounding it out is a more light hearted piece on that 47 link that adds to the background of that Star Trek era and not an article that is character or ship focused. 

Relay Station 47 is a great, niche piece of onscreen Trek history and an unexpected entry to the series. Accurate to what we are able to see, it's one for the completists. 

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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