Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Review: The Official Starships Collection #2 - USS Enterprise refit

Eaglemoss' Official Starships Collection launches in the US this week, while it's been going more than a month in the UK, so it's about time I caught up with my reviews! Here are my thoughts on the second issue, which is the USS Enterprise, in the refit configuration introduced in The Motion Picture.

This Enterprise is quite a bit lighter than the Enterprise-D in the first issue, thanks to having a narrower, and thus smaller, saucer, which is again made of metal, save for central part on the bottom side. The rest of the ships is made of plastic, and while it looks a bit fragile seems reasonably sturdy (though I wouldn't recommend stressing the nacelle struts!). The stand grips in the same way as the D, hugging around the engineering section and clipping onto the saucer, making it very stable.

I think maybe they went a little over-board with the transparent elements in the nacelles on this one. Specifically I'd like the nacelle caps to have been an opaque material, with more painted details, rather than glowing quite a vivid blue in certain light conditions. I do like that glow effect on the longer parts of the nacelles though.

The saucer section has molded panel lines, which are quite effective. However the engineering hull doesn't have any sort of panel markings, which seems a bit inconsistent. This would have probably helped better hide some of the joins between parts of the model too.

The Enterprise-D, in issue one, set an incredibly high bar, with a remarkably detailed model, which, as I mentioned in my review, looks like it stands up next to just about every D to come before. Unfortunately the refit design doesn't quite match that impressive start to the series.

Where it really disappoints in comparison to the D is the detailing, which is more reliant on molded features, and makes less use of painted finishes. The publishers have already responded to criticism at the lack of aztecing, citing difficulties emulating the original pearlescent paint effect. They seem therefore to have opted not to give her any aztecing at all (while implying the Enterprise-A will have such detailing, with a non-pearl finish), I wish they'd been able to find a compromise though, as it does feel lacking in comparison to the D. While the existing painted details are nice and sharp, there are a few notably absences too; in particular the blue markings on the sides of the engineering hull. Without them that part of the ship seems especially blank.

It's a decent model, but not pushing the envelope as far as renditions of this particular ship go. Had the order of issues been reversed, I'm sure I'd have been much more enthusiastic about this ship, and then blown away by the D coming second. As far as similar sized models go, it seems to be much sharper in molded details than the Hot Wheels version of a few years ago, but not quite as detailed as the Johnny Lightning release.

With five issues now in hand, I feel reassured the quality of the series overall is more at the level shown on the D. It's unfortunate the second issue model has been less ambitious than the other ships in the series, but it is still a good little ship.

Continue after the jump for more photos, and a look at this issue's magazine:

Like the first issue, the retail release of this one comes on an oversized carboard panel, to give it a bit of impact in stores.

As with the Enterprise-D, it's really hard for the magazine for this ship to really tell us much we don't know already from the myriad of resources released over the years. This will surely be the case for all the more significant ships in the series.

We get the usual specification page, a four page in-universe overview, and schematics (which rather highlight some of the missing details on the model). The "classic scene" feature in this issue looks at the spacedock sequence in The Motion Picture, which seems a nice choice for ships-focused Star Trek publication, giving the magazine a chance to detail the shipyard as well as the Enterprise. Unlike the first issue this section is written from a real world perspective, detailing the production of the sequence.

My favourite part of the magazine remains the behind-the-scenes section, with features detailing the designing of the ship, and models used to portray her on-screen. Six pages of production artwork and behind the scenes photos make this an enjoyable summary of how the refit came to be.

In summary, a good, if not exceptional, model, and a magazine of similar attributes, with the behind the scenes features continuing to shine. Thankfully the next issue's model quality pops right back up. Look for a review of that soon. Meanwhile, here's the fleet as of issue two:

For all the latest information on the entire collection, check out my index page for the series.

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