Thursday, 6 January 2022

To The Last: USS Reliant NCC-1864 XL

Aaaaaaah Kirk my old friend, do y-

Sorry, getting all reminiscent for the most revered of Star Trek films by just being in the same room as the HeroCollector XL USS Reliant NCC-1864.

Now you're likely to be getting tired of these by now so I'll try not to repeat too many lyrical waxings while we cover off this classic.

The big thing to recall here is that the original issue 11 Reliant was already an upgrade when it arrived on shelves back in 2014. Eaglemoss had made some steps to resolve the painting issues, thinned the paint out, tidied up the decals and even got that key aztec detailing right.

Move forward to today and the larger Miranda Class which is a brilliant celebration of everything great in the collection. It's frikkin' gorgeous from head to not-so-far-away tail and manages to avoid a lot of the criminal issues that the collection hit - bar one. 

The aztecing is just stunning and with a larger hull canvas to display it, the Reliant blows away the competition with this precise and engrossing paint job. The phaser banks are painted in however the beam points are noticeably missing. Ship registry is particularly loud and proud but god, what the hell happened to the name? The lettering almost disappears into the paintwork and the pics here make it look better (slightly) than it actually is. Special mention here as well because the inner black characters sit bang in the middle of the red bordering. Got to be a rarity!

Eaglemoss have marked in the customary RCS thrusters and navigation lights plus they've avoided recessing the windows and instead have opted to paint them on the edges of the rear section. Even on the bridge module have Eaglemoss chosen to take this approach meaning the windows sit within the grey banding. Note too that the grey banding at the top of the bridge module present on the regular edition has now been removed.

The hull panelling on the XL has much tighter lines between each section and the new paintwork has the added benefit of taking the shine off the whiter finish of the issue 11 version. 

The larger hull also allows for the more precise painting of the exposed technical elements behind the bridge and behind each of the sensor units that are decalled with the Starfleet delta (either side of the bridge). Those latter recesses are much deeper here with the darker grey paint not blotting out the details.

The larger technical elements to the rear of the hull again benefit from the scale and thinner grey coating but for me one of the bigger forward steps is in the work on the sensor bar. Phaser points and photon torpedo tubes are far more recognisable as elements seen on the model in the second Trek movie with the panel work and raised elements looking far, far better and closer to their actual appearance. 

Taking the shine off the paint really has made a massive difference and this is not the first time we've mentioned the paint updates - Enterprise-D and Equinox being two recent ships we've examined from the XLs. 

Onto the underside and the curved striping decals have been thinned (as was done on the dorsal side) and the registry has much better, more screen accurate definition. On the smaller version the coloured borders are absent while here it's back in place as it should be. The RCS thruster detailing has been reined back in while there's been a lot of paintwork updating around the rear, darker grey sections. 

These have been more precisely coloured with the warp field generator getting a good deal of attention. This is now clearly segmented and painted in individually rather than the blanket blue. Nor does the dark grey seem to extend as much around the rear of the ship which does provide some more hull detailing to breath.

A huge reworking comes in the form of the warp engines. The thin oblong drive units feature translucent warp grilles as well as the standard aztec paint scheme. The fitting of the warp nacelles is much more exact. No horrid gaps or flaky edges on this version which has the units tipped off with the ship registry. Their fit into the pylons is seamless with the horizontal join line barely visible.

Construction on the XL USS Reliant has been altered with the whole of the underside of the saucer now a single plastic insert rather than there being an untidy seam halfway along the underside of the ship. This leaves the upper hull, front to back, as the only metal section with the engines, rollbar and already mentioned underside being plastic parts. 

That's not a bad thing because as the Reliant learned from earlier issues in the series, this XL has learnt again and shows the development forward for Eaglemoss. Different construction methods, refreshed decals, updated elements and more reflect that this, unlike the Enterprise-D, is not just a scale up of an existing model. The ship name front and centre does bug the cack out of me because of how it fades into the hull but all said and done that's the biggest gripe I have with the XL starship.

Honest. It's a work of art with the joins all perfectly in sync. From every angle it looks finished and with a lot more care to boot. For anyone who is a fan of The Wrath of Khan or the Miranda Class in one of its many iterations, this is a high class replica and one of the finest that Eaglemoss have produced within the XL line. USS Reliant is a must for anyone and I kick myself for having waited this long to get hold of her. 

Reliant's magazine sticks with Star Trek II and examines the return to the big screen of the classic crew following The Motion Picture as well as the creation of the unique and groundbreaking CG Genesis Device sequence. There's also a dive into the making of the plot-driving Ceti eels and how they were brought to life for The Wrath of Khan.

Easily one of the best all-round packages produced in the XL line and maybe in the collection as a whole. Definitely one for your shelf and one that is destined never to find herself back in a box. Keep an eye out for a price reduction or a sale because this is one you'll need to have in the basket.

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

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