Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Heavy Defence: Ty'Gokor Orbital Platform - The Official Starships Collection Special Issue

For some reason in my head I had it that Ty'Gokor was this station and not the planet beneath it.

But after a few decades the penny finally dropped when I got hold of this, the final platform to be released from the now defunct Eaglemoss Starships Collection.

Featured in the fifth season Deep Space Nine opener Apocalypse Rising, the platform acted as one of the defensive measures around what was announced as the most heavily protected piece of the Klingon Empire. 

The site for the presentation of the Order of the Bat'leth, Ty'Gokor's orbital platforms were a rare chance for viewers to see anything resembling a space station borne from the Klingons. While the Federation versions were high tech and clean-lined, there's something loveable about the harsher, grubbier construction here.

Probably the most striking parts of the platform are the four docking arms. All identical in structure, we actually only ever saw the top three because the fourth was hiding the structural arm to hold the model in shot for the camera.

But anyway, the finish imbues that traditional green/brown Klingon colour scheme which unusually here includes some form of aztecing which is most out of place on anything from this part of the galaxy. It does appear to have scorch markings around those docking bay openings although the interiors remain blank and the level of physical detail is a bit hit and miss. The edges of the panels and feature points all seem to be rounded off and smoothed across the upper and lower surfaces while the openings are a little jagged in places.

Each docking port also carries the instantly recognisable Klingon insignia but that can't draw away from the fact that some of the girder detail is completely lost in it transfer from the screen to the model. Most notably this is in the "baffle" structures either side of the docking ports that should not technically exist.

Tracing the arms back to the central structure, there is again a mixed level of detailing with some less than perfect seams. The alignment of the plastic is less than perfect and the masts on the top of the station seem to have chosen their own angles to point at - in some cases anything other than directly up. To be honest that entire antenna assembly is nothing as it appeared on the original model and this is dramatically backed up once you open the magazine. The CG on the cover is, in regards to this piece, also wholly inaccurate and "distracts" from the truth that it's nowhere near realistic. 

Traversing the structure only highlights more of the inaccuracies between this and the studio  model. While the triangle-forming supporting arms are fairly well implemented, the scaffolding-like structures around the platform's central core are only there thanks to some raised bumps on the surface of the plastic. It's very impressionist when you start looking and disappointing at worst.

But, the central, grilled element of the station is pretty spot on. The lattice is clean in its execution with a decent depth between each of the slats. The lower docking port which sit parallel to the grilled area again shares a lot of the issues of its three higher relatives - blocked scaffold piping, slim detailing, however the worst offence comes around the other side where it's noticeable that the two vertical sections are not quite lined up, leaving the panelling and the horizontal curved grille just out. What you also spot by this point is the near total lack f any metal components in the platform. All the way down to this point we've seen plastic alone and it's only when  we descend below the final docking port to the last piece of the core that we get that distinct cold touch.

Where? Right at the very bottom. In fact it's more or less just a weight to balance the structure and plug the hole in the base. Detail again is middling at best with some nice surface embossing and a few raised panel points. Problem is that everything here seems very indistinct given the strength of its features in the (errored) CG and also the model photographs. I would have expected that the scale would have allowed for some freedom but the more industrial nature of the Klingon orbital platform has worked against it.

Having so many pipe-like elements on the exterior of the model turns this from a very interesting structure into something much more blocky and average. Stick this alongside Spacedock or Regula One and they will easily blow it away. This is tragically an example where the final, original piece is just too much to be scaled precisely for the cost and size of these specials. To (literally) cap it all off the antenae at the base of the station are just as wayward as the ones at the top.

Stand fit is good and stable thanks to that metal base weight if nothing else with a unique clear plastic element to slot it all into above that familiar black stand. It does give that nice "floating" effect but doesn't make up for the other issues we've discussed here.

The magazine is pretty good and while the CG isn't 100% accurate it does offer a much better and more highly detailed render of the orbital platform. Passing through the details over the purpose of the platforms as well as details of the fifth season opener, the article is augmented with images from Apocalypse Rising as well as plan views of the station. Designing the unit only maxes out two pages of which over 50% is pictures - and not all of it of the item itself sadly. Then there's seven pages dedicated to episodes where crew have been disguised/altered into other races from the franchise. All in all that last piece is a bit underwhelming although you can see how they tied it in with the Klingon disguises given to Sisko, Odo and O'Brien to infiltrate Ty'Gokor.

As the very last (to date) special produced and shipped, Ty'Gokor leaves me a little cold. It's not the spectacular piece it could be however it is nice to have something more unusual recreated as part of the series. Tragedy is that this could have been sacrificed so we could have had the Caretaker array but alas that one may never see our shores.

This is one for the Klingon fans without doubt and would ideally go in the middle of that Empire display. For me though it's not one I'll be wanting out all too often but does help to complete this incomplete collection.

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