Wednesday, 24 November 2021

USS Defiant NX-74205 XL


The tough little ship is a little bigger with this edition of the XL series from HeroCollector.

Don't let the image on the box fool you either because the enclosed starship is a lot better than it suggests.

The first and most prominent upgrade to the Defiant aside from the size, is the colour. Both the grey base coat and the blue highlights of the original issue eight edition have been toned down and suit the ship a lot better.

The pale blue is much more suitable while the model also benefits from much thinner panel lines which, in retrospect, do overpower the finish of the smaller original. Edging detail such as around the torpedo emplacements are cleaner too and as you look further along the ship it's even more evident in the exposed electronics just behind the nose piece and then into the grille work behind the bridge module.

Defiant is also extremely heavy to the back end indicating that this has been purposely weighted for display and avoiding her being front heavy since it's a rear grip stand. Let's get my one issue out of the way first though; that warhead/nose section is still flimsy to a degree with only a small connection to the main hull holding it in place. It's better than before (because it's bigger) but I wouldn't want to catch it on anything. Easily the weakest part of the model.

Decalling, as with the Runabout, is also more precise with the thin Starfleet red stripes much more suited to the larger scale but aside from those points there is also a marked step up in the quality of the product. The edges are a lot smoother here if you compare the curve forward of the bridge. Some of the recessed circles (nose especially) are not a large and the colours actually line up to the panels.

The warp engines contain those lovely translucent elements to the front in red and then to the rear in blue. Note too here that one of those rear piece is sunk back from the hull plus they are separated by a separate plastic trim that runs vertically. On the regular issue that was just part of the insert painted up grey. 

On the underside it's a similar story of more subtle paintwork combined with that higher definition. Portholes are painted in along the sunken edge near the nacelles, the grille lines are easier to see under a better paint job and there's even some updated painting. The centre of the shuttle hatch is no longer blue and just behind that centre circle there are two smaller circles now in light blue rather than black.

Out on the engines, the red striping is cleaner again but there's added yellow panel detail to the front as well as a black stripe that was totally missing on the first version. Another addition is the underside phaser cannons sitting on the front edge of the warp engines and again totally absent on the smaller one.

Most impressive for myself though has to be the additional red chevron decal under the nose and the correct painting of the "handlebar" feature under the warhead. It's now grey rather than that odd choice of blue. The forward deflector too is spruced up utilising another translucent (but not coloured) piece as an insert. The edge grey on this is very precise and lightyears ahead of the first one. 

Probably the big win with the majority of the XLs comes down to the finish; the paint and decals are in the places they should be. On the smaller issues they were a little to the left for example but here there's no slip. Even the red/green port/starboard lights are in place and the more you look, the more you can see the differences and the reasons that this is a great addition to a starship collection.

In the magazine though it's a sense if deja vu to any long term fans with three sections tackling the Making, Casting and Filming of DS9. The focus, strangely, is much more in Emissary and season one than anything to do with the Defiant but then what is there left to cover? Not a bad read per se, just overfamiliar content for anyone dedicated enough to be buying the XLs. Also, biggest magazine gripe - keep it in some way relevant to the item.

It is a massive improvement in every single sense of the word and this is a ship that will easily be swapped in to take the place of its smaller predecessor. It highlights a lot of the errors, a lot of the "had to do" work that fitted for the 180 issue series but the choice to go bigger was justified. 

As I'm going through the XLs under review it's clearer and clearer that they are another level of product. In some cases the price may be too steep but they give a true appreciation of the ships and present them much more suitably.

USS Defiant maxes out on cool both in DS9 and here in supersized model form. Top flight from HeroCollector and one for permanent display without question.

Were you as enamoured with the Defiant? Let me know below!

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1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately that "sunken" section at the rear of the warp housing is actually a mistake that no one bothered to fix. They based it on the physical Defiant model as it stood several years ago, and in the years since the show ended the mesh covering that area had fallen off. Why no one bothered to check a second image (or a shot from the show itself) is anyone's guess. Great model except for that, the loose nose, and the unpainted impulse engines.

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