Saturday, 14 May 2022

The Nebula Class: Eaglemoss XL USS Bonchune

Debuting in TNG's fourth season, the Nebula Class would be the first new Federation starship design to grace TV screens since the arrival of the Galaxy Class USS Enterprise in Encounter at Farpoint.

While it is a blatant reworking of the Galaxy Class itself, the Nebula Class would undergo several minor reworkings over its time on screen across TNG, DS9 and fleetingly VGR with the alterations here coming from one of the versions visible during DS9's sixth season.

Ok. Obvious one out of the way from the off, those windows ain't aligning perfectly. I know you expect it however, wise move is that most of the windows apart from the ones at the very edge of the saucer are all decalled on meaning there's no errors there at least. ON the underside, the deflector "squares" are all over the place but thankfully it's underneath.. Lesson learned? I doubt it.

Honestly though, the heavy saucer section of the Bonchune is gorgeous. The aztecing is sharp, lifeboat markings are in the right place and generally line up with the raised hull sections as they should. The ship registry is more than legible with a clear red outline on the numbers - it's all seemingly falling nicely into place here isn't it?

It really does have a great finish which leaves you head-scratching why the D wasn't updated after this. Anyway, we have the more sensible sensor pod at the back rather than the  AWACS monstrosity that was attached to the USS Phoenix or the mini-nacelles of the Melbourne

What I have noticed with this one though is that there are some little paint scuffs and flecks which I've not noticed as much elsewhere. However here along the edges of that triangular rear pod there are a couple. These stand out more because of the light base coat underneath over a darker green/brown segment. 

That said, the pod itself is well detailed with a large amount of grille work plus some very nicely painted up RCS thrusters. Also on the pod, something that I would never have seen or expected replicated - the ship registry and United Federation of Planets script. It's a minor detail but one that onscreen you may never have really seen. Minor kick here is that some of the gold detail has been misaligned and is 50% grey. I would also really like to know the significance of the numbers along the grille edges.

Even the connecting neck section between the pod and hull has been meticulously detailed up with some distinct panel work to the rear and again, the inclusion of a tiny ship registry. The Bonchune feels so very complete because of these touches. The painting in some places (especially around the pod) isn't at Eaglemoss' best yet there's something satisfying about the end result. God, even the fact that my sensor pod is sitting at an angle hasn't put me off.

The distinct aztec over the duck egg blue paint finish continues into the engine pylons. So distinctly reused from the Galaxy Class, the finish is incredibly clean and precise. This isn't shock, it's acknowledgement of a really good job. The use of translucent sections for the grilles and bussard collectors was a standard requirement here and would have made left the model a little flat but hey, they're all in there and look great.

One great touch is the precision job that's been done on the main deflector. Even though this is underneath the ship, the colours don't bleed and each ring of the element is clear to distinguish.

The problem does however lie with a good chunk of the ventral section of the secondary hull because, apart from the Starfleet pennant and the horizontal phaser beam, the alignment of windows and the cargo doors to their physical locations is criminal. The cargo doors are horribly all over the place so if you're displaying, stick this on a low shelf so you'll be looking down on her rather than up. OK, this means you don't see the lovely deflector but it's a price you'll have to pay to appreciate the finer parts of the Bonchune. Honestly, look at the emergency warp core eject hatch and that pennant and you'll see that the aztecing doesn't line up. It's not central and it bugs me to the ends of the earth. 

The accompanying magazine takes a let turn and focuses on TNG's The Wounded. Stepping more into the background of the episode, it discusses more around the prominence of O'Brien, the arrival of the Cardassians and Captain Maxwell than the Nebula Class. There is of course some page space dedicated to the development of the class and the use of the models onscreen both in space and as props.

Final line here; the Nebula Class manages to excite and disappoint with the simple flip of a hull. The top is gorgeous, clean and almost perfect aside from a few tickles that are more than likely issues of mass production. But then the underside of the ship just tosses that good will aside for some inexcusable misses. Is she worth a punt? Yes, but probably when there's a good Eaglemoss offer on because you might be upset at forking out the current price for an XL.

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