Saturday, 26 August 2023

Wings: Discovery's Klingon Bird of Prey

 Ah Discovery. Remember seasons one and two when it all went down? 

Yep, me too and I hope that in season five we'll get back to some of the quality that the first two batches of episodes provided.

For the time being though I can still gaze longingly at some of the models that were produced by the now-extinct Eaglemoss as I round out the last splatterings left in the "IN" pile. Oddly though it seems the right moment to look back since several sites are not selling these editions plus we have promising more on the way.

Now these are going to be older models that most people who followed the collection will have but for the sakes of my own completism and desire to ensure that everything from them I've got is documented, here are the last of the regular series Discovery ships I have.

These were actually purchased in that last gasp for breath sale the week before it all went Pete Tong and I had to pick quickly!

First up there's the rather impressive if unwieldy Bird of Prey. One of the things levelled against it is that it looks nothing like the classic design nor does it even come close to anything that's been seen since The Search for Spock, even in Enterprise. Still, it fits with the rest of the fleet - as it was designed to  and that's what counts. After all we're not reviewing the model design, more the model itself as a replica of what was on screen in both detail and construction quality.

The Bird of Prey is, honestly, one heck of a beautiful design for the show. From the front you can very clearly see the distinct shape of a classic version of the vessel but that's where the similarities tend to stop.

As we'll see in all the Discovery designs and models, the detail is mind-boggling. Just taking in the wing shape and features here is a task in itself. Aside from the dirt and weathering which is good but not overbearing,.

Constructed in metal, the curving wings have a very textured finish with ribbing extending from the centre of the ship out and just beyond the edges. These are distinctly raised on both the upper and lower surfaces and coloured bronze against the brown base coat. There's also a clever feathered effect at the wing edge which you just can't appreciate on a TV screen but certainly can here. That bronze edging is in evidence right across the Bird of Prey from the wings into the main body and then into the neck and head section. There's a distinct Gothic feel to the way in which this has been designed and that shows through in the model itself.

But there's also an organic piece to the Bird of Prey as running down the centre is a structure that can only be described as its spine replete with a protruding "bone" structure. Again, the detail is just magnificent although, when compared to the images in the magazine you can see that some of the higher level texturing has been lost to the weathering effect.

Some of the detail is there, notably along those feathered wing edges but into the main body the paint finish is smoother just as the bodywork itself tends to become more complex. 

The neck and head section are masterpieces when it comes to modelling with the translucent blue section touched up with bronze detail to seem an integral part of the vessel. There's something almost Alien (intentional capital) about the shape of the ship's body as if it would genuinely open up and strike out a razor sharp tongue. Everything about it says aggression and Eaglemoss managed to replicate its onscreen persona pretty closely.

Plastic models are unforgiving when it comes to cost though and sadly that real finishing texture that's so evident in the magazine does get lost a little. 

Where there is a bit of a tragedy is that these Discovery ships seem to have very little if any annotation to give you an idea of what parts are what. I can work out from the images that the wings do fold with the ship displayed in attack but what's the little piece that sits under the wings and has a piece of transparent blue at its centre? 

The design might look good but fans do want to know there's thought behind some of the features and why certain things are in set places - it's just the way they are!

The only real letdown as far as the Bird of Prey goes are the two forward facing antenna that are fairly obviously much larger than they should be. Any thinner and we'd be approaching Solar Sailor levels of delicate but these two protrusions are fairly solid. The ship is well put together with the metal and plastic sections both curving and meeting with very little indication towards the front of the sweep.

In the magazine the coverage of the design is the clear highlight with the first section only covering the Bird of Prey as part of the Klingon fleet and the actions they were used for in the first season of Discovery. At least with the design article there are a good chunk of pictures to illustrate the extensive work to create this new take on a classic starship. Even goes as far as working out the scale!

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