Sunday, 12 December 2021

The Official Starships Collection: USS Equinox NCC-72381 XL Edition

First released back in early 2014, the USS Equinox has now made it into a larger scale in the Official Starships Collection.

As with several of its XL predecessors, the Equinox benefits massively from the scale upgrade and that wonderful benefit of eight years model-selling hindsight. 

First up, the hull base colour is completely different and far lighter giving you the immediate notice that this has seen some MAJOR reworking in the last eight years. The lighter shade allows much more of the natural panel work detail to stand out as well as the darker grey printed panel etching to contrast the base coat. In a bit of a twist though, the panels here are not as glaring at their edges as they were and blend more into the model than being overly distinct.

Even down to the pointed primary hull front there are improvements with a more crisp finish to the decals and a brighter blue surrounding the secondary deflector. The open sensor work benefits from the upscale with more of the components "lit" and visible rather than being superficial pieces and over painted.

Window alignment is nigh on perfect thanks to the larger openings on the hull although the partition lines on the square groups of four on either side of the saucer are flat painted out blue. This should be a minor issue to resolve with a dab of grey paint. 

I've been made aware that the font for the ship registry is still incorrect and does seem to be squashed into a small space with only just bearable definition between the black and red. Add in that Eaglemoss have numbered each individual escape pod hatch and the model keeps on giving. On the smaller edition these were, shockingly, GREY!

The sunken bridge also carries a better colour range with the roof panel nicely split and the semi-circular defence grid again precisely split out. Reflect back on the original and there was no colouring on that bridge dome, the registry was simply thin black lettering and the windows were mainly blanked out. Yes, there's that much difference and we're only halfway along.

Moving down the spine, the upgraded details are fantastic with many of the features highlighted through black edging decals. Again, reflect back on the smaller original and there's a dark grey stripe along the spine and none of that finer detail. IN fact there's zero black edging on the collection issue 15 ship.

The impulse engine and the vertical section just behind it are now coloured although the former could have done with being in a different colour. However, this is still a massive improvement. Checking the joint lines by the engines it's clear that some construction has been scaled up but the engine build this time is a light year better.

Instead of the horrible joint lines across the top, the nacelles are joined along the horizontal centre line avoiding trashing the registry and pennant as they were on the original. It has retained the painted on bussard collectors with the wrap grilles in translucent blue. But what's a step up here is the patterning on the engines which was absent previously. There's an added depth to the Equinox XL which trumps both the original and, personal opinion, the "upgraded" USS Rhode Island completely. 

As with the top, the ventral side of the Equinox adds more black edge detail including the landing leg doors and better colour for the docked Waverider. Eaglemoss have changed out to a stronger, more electric blue for the backing of the main deflector. The size of the name and registry has also been corrected so the numbers are now smaller (and correct) versus the equally sized fonts from issue 15.

The selective panelling across that version is most evident when you're looking at the underside while the XL has full and corrected gridding as well as better positioned decals (check the alignment around the warp core ejection hatch). It's better in every single way (maybe with the exception of that main registry font) and a fantastic XL version. Changing up the colours has made a heck of a difference and brought out a lot of elements previously hidden or painted up in the limited selection that was used back in the day. Truthfully it just feels better, more solid and with a few minor adjustments to the build, has resulted in a more accurate depiction of the onscreen Nova Class from Voyager. Small is absolutely best whe it comes to the XLs as we've seen with the Runabout, Defiant and the Delta Flyer so you'll know how excited I am for the USS Pegasus which will be up on here shorty.

The enclosed magazine covers the basics of the Voyager two parter and the background of the ship before plunging into a fairly in depth view on the use of the Defiant pathfinder to become the Equinox. Interviews with John Savage (Ransom) and Titus Welliver (Burke) fill out the edition, making this a very Equinox centric volume as it rightly should be.

A great all round package that adds detail tp the background of the ship on screen and off. I would say purchase of this XL is a no-brainer if you love the ship. It's a massive step up from the standard collection (may have mentioned this a couple of times) with two tons of updated detail and structural strength. Good to see changes made with the model to only take things forward. Magnificent work with only a couple of minor quibbles.

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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