Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review: The Official Starships Collection Enterprise-D

With issue two of The Official Starships Collection out in the UK today, it's about time I got my review for the first issue up! Kicking off what is currently planned to be a series of seventy model ships and magazines, is the Galaxy class USS Enterprise-D; which was of course the main starship through seven seasons of TNG, and one movie, plus a brief cameo in Enterprise - I would imagine therefore that the D has had more screentime than any other starship in Trek (with the possibility of her being out-paced by Voyager, with that series having more special effects), and thus we know and love her well. A high bar of familiarity for the first model to live up to. Fortunately the series has launched with all guns blazing, as the latest model of the Enterprise-D is superb.

As you can see, the model is highly detailed, using both molded and painted details to get across every part of the ship. I think what really gives the ship it's impressive look is the aztecing paint-job, which assures there's something going on everywhere across the surface.

She does have a couple of minor flaws: If you look very closely you might see some of the windows prints are fractionally misaligned with the window molds. Also notably absent is detailing around the edge of the saucer - I think this is a matter of scale; as with the accurate thin edge to the saucer there's very little surface to attempt to print on.

The model is pleasing weighty, owing to the large saucer being mostly metal. The top part of the saucer, inside the phaser strip, is plastic, and thanks to using the phaser as a boundary it's almost seamless. The engineering section is entirely plastic, and some of the seams around the different sections of plastic used there are a little more visible, but overall it still looks really good. The different materials work together very well, there's no difference in colour; if not for them feeling different to touch, you'd not be able to tell there's a mix of materials in there.

As one of the most significant and popular ships in Trek, there have of course been may other models of the D over the years. Comparing this to the similarly sized versions, the most recent Hot Wheels model is much less detailed, looking almost clumsy in comparison. It's better compared to the Johnny Lighting or Corgi renditions of the ship, which both have detailed aztecing paint jobs as well. Next to all of these smaller scale versions, the new D has an advantage of its detailing, both modelled and painted, looking particularly sharp, which makes it look especially well made.

Even compared to the much larger DST version of the ship, the aztecing makes this little rendition look far more intricately finished (DST's version does have a lot of hull detailing, but it's done with molded lines in the hull, which don't have the same impact). Overall I'd say this is probably one of the best models of the D there has ever been, which is pretty impressive considering how many there have been!

Like all the ships in the series the D comes with a bespoke stand that sits around the ship, in this case holding snugly around the side of the engineering hull, and then clipping onto the back of the saucer. The big advantage here is there is no hole in the ship for the stand to plug into, you can just slip her off the base and enjoy every detail from every angle without interruption. The magazine includes a handy guide on how to fit the stand around the ship (something Eaglemoss haven't actually followed in all of their own promo-photos!).

Continue reading after the jump for a look at the rest of that magazine:

This whole first issue is delivered on a large format card back, giving it more impact for the launch in shops.

You also get a second magazine with this issue, serving as an introduction to the series.

Notably within that guide we have the first official photos of some of the ships coming later in the series:

Again, owing to the significance of this ship, the eighteen-page magazine has a tough jobs to fill in giving a satisfying read about a ship we know inside-out and have already had entire books dedicated to it. The limited size of the magazine is used well, to give a good overview of the ship, both from in-universe and real world perspectives. I feel for other ships in the series, especially the more obscure ones, these features will be very engaging. For the Enterprise-D though, she's just too familiar for the little in-universe fact file to be that exciting.

The first half of the magazine includes a specification page, giving statistics on the ship. This is followed by a well illustrated four-page profile giving a general overview. There's then a two-page "classic scene" section, which for this issue highlights the saucer separation feature of the ship, again with good use of illustrations. The next two pages give us plan views of the ship, nice for scrutinizing the design.

The latter part of the magazine switches to the  a real world perspective. As is the case with every issue of the magazine I've seen so far, this is the strongest part of the issue, giving an insightful overview of how the ship was designed, with a smattering of concept art over the four-pages. Again, when it comes to the D, this is reasonably familiar content if you have a decent Star Trek library, but it tells the story well in the space it's given.

Following the design section there is a two-page guide to the filming miniatures and CGI models used to portray the ship on the screen. This is interesting information, but I think they dropped the ball with the choice of images; some nice behind the scenes shots showing the models being filmed on the blue-screens and/or with the production crew would have given a nice sense of scale, and indication of how the show was made. More so than has been achieved with the isolated shots of the ship used instead. It's an interesting section none the less.

The final page is "on screen", which makes notes of significant appearances of the ship and a few bits of trivia. I suppose it rounds off the issue, but it's not the most exciting page in the magazine!

Overall, this first issue of the series has got off to a flying start. The model is really excellent, one of the best of the D there has ever been. The magazine, while unavoidably familiar in content, is well presented, serving as a good briefing document on the ship both in-universe and from the real world - I think the promise of this format for other ships in the series is quite exciting. I can't wait for the rest!

If you haven't already, you may still be able to grab a copy of issue 1 in the UK and Ireland, if not Eaglemoss will be launching a back-orders service in the coming weeks. While in the US it's available to order ahead of the launch there in October (still no dates for the rest of the world just yet).

Order links:, Things From Anther World, Entertainment Earth, Forbidden Planet.

For a look at the next few ships in the series, check out my advance reviews of issues one to three, and four and five. For all the details on the entire series, check out my index page, with a complete listing of the series and links to my previous coverage.


Brandon's Blog said...

I REALLY hope this series does well. Hopefully they get around to the less-seen ships such as the Rhode Island and Thunderchild.

Eric Tan said...

Does the saucer separate? I don't think you mentioned this or not. The Hot Wheels one does, and that's a major plus, especially since I got it for my son, who's starting to like Trek.

Lars said...

@ Eric Tan - Sorry it doesn´t seperate.

@ 8 of 5 - On my desk there are now the 2012 and the 2013 version of the 1701-D. I´m not yet sure which I like better.. the 2013 is just a much darker paint-job! By the way.. I´d like an article about all those D-models (with pictures)..

Dream not of tody and thank you for your blog!

Patrick O'Reilly said...

I was disappointed with the model but most of all the magazine. I thought the graphics were poor and the content was basic but then I have read the tech manual. The stand is awful looking. Surely a hole on the bottom would make for a much better display piece? Printing errors aplenty and the shuttlebay error is a biggy.

When are QMX releasing their mid range models? They seem like the best bet for decent display models.

8of5 said...

Brandon - I quite agree, should be a very exciting series.

Eric - No saucer sep I'm afraid. No moving parts on the later Bird of Prey or Intrepid class. I imagine that would make them more expensive to develop.

Lars - I hadn't actually compared until you mentioned. I think I prefer the new darker details, as it makes them more distinct. But then the subtlety of the lighter paint job is also quite nice. I see your dilemma!

I do actually hope to do some sort of guide to previous models with future issues' reviews. But I've not built the database I'm going to need to achieve that yet. And there's just a crazy number of D models!

Patrick - shuttlebay error? I cant agree about the magazine (or indeed the model), all the images look great, and I think you just have to take it for what it is; an overview of the ship. The format just doesn't allow it to compare to the full on book treatments we've been spoiled with for the D.

No news on the QMx models yet, I'm sure I'll be posting all about it when I know anything :)

Patrick O'Reilly said...

Compare the images of shuttlebays 2+3 and those depicted on the model. The size/scale is incorrect. Pretty large error when EM make claims about accuracy.

I thought some of the magazine images were a little lo-res.

I too would be keen to see you review other trek models like the DST range etc.

Robert Gibney said...

Actually, with a bit of gentle wiggling, the saucer can seperate. The metal saucer has 3 vertical pins holding it to the plastic part of the ship. As you can imagine, it's not meant to come off, so the ship is unpainted in that section, but it is at least doable.