Tuesday, 16 November 2021

The Original Tough Little Ship: DS9's Runabout XL

I'm already a big fan of the regular scale Runabout from the ships collection and it was one of the best to photograph.

So, opening up this box to take a look at the XL USS Orinoco NCC-72905 was quite an exciting prospect. 

Nor does it disappoint in any way. The Runabout, as with the Delta Flyer which we've covered earlier, is awash with detail at every point. In a simple phrase, yes it is an upscaled version of the regular collection model but you'd be silly not to add this into your set.

Base coated in the familiar Starfleet light grey, everything about the Orinoco just pops out. Yes, it looks awesome displayed with or without the stand (I prefer the latter) but there's much more to get into here.

Everything about it just feels right. The further two darker shades of grey highlight various mechanisms and recessed portions of the ship. The scale, as with the Flyer means that the surface electronics as well as the plating are much more defined. Comparing the two you can see that on the smaller original there are a few lumps and bumps as well as some feathered paint and blemishes. On the XL those are gone, especially around the joins between the hull sections. There are some flaked paint points on a couple of highlights - most notably one right above the port main forward window if you trace your eye back up to the sloping roof above it. Around the roof slope especially you can see that the paint is nowhere near as thickly applied meaning that the shape of the craft is more visible and allows the finer detail to stand that little bit prouder of the hull.  

As this is a sizing up, the joins are in exactly the same place but what we now see is greater depth on the surface and the fineries not being washed out with the paint. The finish feels crisp and even the interior detail on the rollbar is clear to see. Yes, some of the join lines are a little obvious especially along the centre line but this feels much cleaner in a bigger scale. The decals themselves are focused and clear along the sides, nose, pylons and across the top of the ship and all align as you would expect so there's no glaringly wonky angles. This is one of those pieces that works full stop.

Even the engines have those key translucent sections to replicate the bussard collectors and warp field grilles which are only hampered by the fact you can see the connecting pins between the pieces when the light catches them.

One negative point from me on this one is that my Runabout seems to creak a bit around the middle section. I'm guessing this is down to it being a big hollow lump of plastic made of two sections with linking rods but I would have hoped it to be a bit firmer. That taken however, the construction on the Orinoco is pretty solid and that's also thanks to the impulse unit which are fixed in under the engine pylons on either side of the main hull. 

What is a significant upgrade is that from the original, some of the raised panelling is now coloured. Note that mid-grey colour wasn't present on the smaller edition and it's helped to enhance a good deal of the minor features of the Runabout hull surface. It is a significant upgrade once you spot the colouring and overall precision finish improvements and that, for one, simply makes this a must have.

The regular version is decent but doesn't have the translucent underwing elements nor do you get quite the sense of scale and depth that HeroCollector's XL edition succeeds in encapsulating. There's even a few corrections - the fins on the cockpit module no longer have a lurid red front stripe to them for one. The side pennants to the front are also much more precisely aligned to their actual location on the hull thanks to an adjustment in the joint line and even the underside just seems to have a more crisp and clean finish. 

The attention given to upgrading her is noticeable once you take the time and I can guarantee the Runabout will look amazing out on display alongside an XL Defiant and DS9 (for example). Absolutely a favourite of the range and definitely one of the best quality models in the collection, making those key adjustments has just made it even better.

The magazine with the Runabout maxes out on the designing of the support ship and readers will probably be overfamiliar with the material that has been seen in numerous publications since the mid-1990's. However, on this one there's enough of a difference and upgrade in the Orinoco that the accompanying paperwork almost becomes defunct. 

What's your opinion on the XL Runabout? 

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 was disappointed by the lack of hull panelling. And then I found the solution - transfers!