Monday, 22 November 2021

STO Issue 16: AFS Khitomer

With only a slender few issues left in its sadly limited run, the Online Collection is pulling in some excellent editions to round out 20 volumes.

Issue 16 (apologies but the Enterprise-F refit was out of stock so this will be updated with that shortly) is the AFC Khitomer. Aptly named after the location of the infamous peace conference, the first starship to be designed jointly by the Klingons and Federation is a fairly recent addition to the game.

A slender design, the Khitomer attempts to meld two design strands together and does manage to pull it off. The front is very Federation and the back is very distinctly Klingon. But we're here to check out the model rather than offer opinions on the in game creation, more how does HeroCollector handle it.

Honestly, it could do with being bigger and would look stunning as an XL - which they also need to do with the Enterprise-F. Just as with the Excelsior and Enterprise-B, the length versus the box space on this one works completely against it with the ship seemingly squashed into a size that doesn't befit it. 

Windows are mere tiny blobs and barely recognisable out on that scythe edge to the front of the saucer and the distinct blue and yellow panelling seems totally lost on such a small canvas. Even the CSN-01 registry looks crunched up on the small primary hull. 

That's not saying that HeroCollector haven't done all they can here because it is still as STO accurate as possible with that unusual brown edging running the whole way round the Khitomer's leading edge. The mix of colours here is interesting too with that as noted brown linking in with the more typical white base of Starfleet to give an unusual starship look. 

Even in its small diecast form, the Khitomer still smells Klingon with that long neck assembly, replete with bridge-style module nestled on the top and those classic low slung dagger-like nacelles which almost look stolen from Discovery. The forked upper assembly is another distinct Klingon assembly and beautifully brings the combined strengths of the two formidable powers together in one shape. 

However, it still feels a bit crinkly. The mottled, pixelled paint job does convey the online nature of the ship nicely but there is still a lot going on. Some of the yellow striping is arrow straight while the curves are slightly wobbly and uneven. Lifeboat hatches and other miscellaneous decals are just too damn small to really take in with the undulating surface of the hull not helping their placement either top or bottom. 

Most of the best paint and decal work here is towards the rear of the Khitomer. The impulse blocks, warp grilles and markings around that winged section are quite precise with the bussard collectors standing out on the engines. Indeed, it's not that bad a result but as I've looked over her more, it's that primary hull/saucer that doesn't seem to be totally up to scratch on this one and mainly on the top. Underneath the detailing is nice and clean with a decent level of decalling that doesn't overcrowd the surface with a flatter finish for the hatches and ship registry. Even the more curved and circular features here are under better control and just sit right. There is a section of brown paint missing (?) from the edge of the primary hull (see pic on the left side) and continuing on, it seems to flake in and out at several points with a distinct white line in some places.

Under a bit more inspection, the ventral side of the Khitomer is it's best. The blocking is conspicuously better although still not perfect. There is some feathering towards the prongs of the back upper unit which again bugs me a little but it's a step up from the other side.

I cannot emphasise how much this really, really needs to be made into an XL. I think STO fans would go mad for it (and the F) if it were in a bigger scale because this just doesn't work. That's a big shame because I can see a lot of game fans looking forward to this one and coming out relatively disappointed because of the finish. There's nothing to quibble on when it comes to the actually build materials and construction, just how it's wrapped up.

Into the issue 16 magazine and we have an overview of the in-universe story behind the abilities of the AFS Khitomer as well as its journey to creation. This is followed with the real world story of its design and build which details how the team behind STO worked to combine elements of the two distinct cultures into the one vessel. Wisely we then complete the issue with ship stats from the game plus a briefing on the nature and history of the alliance between the Klingons and Federation as seen in the late 24th and early 25th Centuries.

The magazine this time rounds out the ship nicely and it feels as though this is a complete Khitomer package with all elements clearly interlinked and related to the featured vessel. As a bundle, great, but when it comes to some of the touches on the starship model itself there is room for improvement.

Check out all our Online Starships posts HERE

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

Enjoyed this article? Why not like and share to spread the word!

Like our page on Facebook 
Follow us on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment