Saturday, 2 September 2023

J-Ride: The Official Starships Collection USS Voyager NCC-74656-J

One of those ships that we only glimpsed, the Voyager-J was an instant hit with Discovery fans.

Cutting straight into the Discovery line, the Intrepid Class successor employed the distinct features of the 32nd Century while managing to retain that instant recognition as a descendant of the original USS Voyager.

A mid-size model, this is comparable in size to the recently reviewed USS Titan and USS Cerritos. Coming in the standard Eaglemoss box, the Voyager-J also comes in bits. Now it's not because Royal Mail can't look after anything, it's due to the fact that the ship has that wonderful detached nacelles arrangement that pervades the 32nd Century and drives fans into the love or hate camp.

One thing that's immediately obvious from the start is that this iteration of its namesake is a lot sharper than before. The first Voyager wore some sweeping curves that matched the title music but here the J is all points and acute angles.

To say that the design has been simplified for the distant future would be an understatement and near insane. The hull is now almost a flat surface broken only with defence/panel lines. Even the bridge is part of the sweeping primary hull, tapering the near triangle back to the almost invisible neck piece.

The black striping around the hull now represents the windows and indicates just how big the J must be versus the classic edition. Aside from markings for a few sensor platforms and the burgundy RCS thrusters, the surface is incredibly plain and belies the jump in technology for Discovery's third season onwards.

You can but only surmise that the grey stripe behind the bridge is for the shuttlebay as there are very few indications of what anything might be. Not too much of a shock since the ship was barely seen in the show aside from the hull registry.

Build wise, the top of the primary hull only is in metal with the lower insert and the rest of the ship in plastic which does give it more weight to the front and at least feels fairly stable when she's slotted onto the classic Eaglemoss grip and black base.

There is something of a connection to the secondary hull although that's more to make it work as a display item than actually used onscreen since the two hulls are distinctly separated. That secondary hull is just as smooth and streamlined as the saucer with it's distinct "bottle opener" rear. That angular feel also continues and is especially strong if you do slide the original and the J side by side. The deflector here is much more deeply recessed and the hull almost comes to a point at its bottom. One might even suggest that the grey block right at the back is another shuttlebay. 

The overall issue is that there is little to shout about because of the minimalistic nature of the Voyager-J. It's clean, basic and certainly no nonsense. Even the registry under the primary hull has a no frills feel in small and inconspicuous lettering. 

The interesting bit comes in the form of the clear sling which slides over the main body of the ship and then allows the two warp engines to be slotted into holders providing the detached nacelles effect. As on Discovery-A, it's not the cleverest of arrangements but there isn't a lot of choice as to how these can be positioned given the 32nd Century evolution of warp drive.

The engines themselves do feature a nice quartet of cutout sections to the rear as well as some silver detailing to the front with the bussard collectors also painted in silver. The warp grilles on the exterior edges are just painted in here given the slimline construction of the engines. They also feature the 32nd Century Starfleet pennants top and bottom with the registry only on the lower surface.

What else can you say?

Ok, I was not that positive about this model when I knew it was on the way but I've been more than pleasantly surprised with the quality and look. It's a nice piece best displayed alongside that XL USS Voyager NCC-74656 and y'know I think it's one that will be out on the shelves for a while.

The magazine (which actually DID come with this one!) is exceptionally brief on the career of the J but does go into a decent bit of depth around the redesign of the iconic starship alongside some great concept art. Just for a kick there's also the "Coming Soon" featuring the never-released (maybe next year FanHome) 32nd Century Constitution Class. 

Definitely a keeper here although it's now as scarce as dilithium in the 32nd Century and some of the eBay prices are going crazy. Well revamped, well made and well, one you'll be oddly impressed with.

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