Sunday, 19 January 2014

Review: The Official Starships Collection special #1 - Deep Space 9

The first larger "special" issue of The Official Starships Collection, and the first space station in the series, Deep Space 9, has been out a little while in the UK now, and is just starting to show up in the US. Here are my thoughts on this bigger model.

This model is about 15cm across, and 9.5cm tall, which makes it slightly longer than the longest dimension of other models in the series, but being a circular design a good deal wider than the usual sized ships.

Most of the horizontal parts of the station (the rings, and crossover bridges) are a single metal piece, making the model a substantially weighty and very solid feeling. The docking arms are plastic, as are the finer details: All the docking ports around the outer ring, the weapons sails, and the upper and lower most sections of the central core. The interfaces between plastic and metal parts are generally very good, especially with the weapons sails and docking ports. Where the docking arms join the ring is a little less successful, with noticeable (but not excessive) join-lines - The least successful section of this is on the inner-side of each arm, where the Cardassian-neck-like base of the arm joins with a similar tapering step detail on top of the crossover bridges. Because the base of each arm is flat, it doesn't quite reach down to join one of the steps, leaving a small gap on either side at the base of each arm.

The whole station has a slight speckled metallic finish, which gives some sense of extra detail over all the surfaces, and also makes it look quite distinct compared to the flat finishes or aztec printing of most of the other models in the series. This finish seems to be fractionally more notable on the metal components of the model, making the plastic elements looks ever so slightly different in certain lighting conditions - It's not really that noticeable, but unusual for Eaglemoss not to have achieved absolutely perfect colour matching between the two materials, as they normally do.

There are several other printed finishes, with the inset detailed areas around the station (which are very nicely molded details) picked out in panels of yellow and red, as well as many small window prints, giving a nice sense of scale. The molded details overall are very satisfying, with particularly pleasing finishes to the upper surface of the habitat ring and all the intricate details such as the weapons sails and elements of the central core.

The only areas that seem to be lacking detail are the inner surfaces of the rings, which have a sort of ribbed texture all the way around rather than more specific detailing. It would have been nice if these surfaces had also featured printed windows. I would speculate that the texture was a compromise to give this impression; at a glance the ridges catch the light, giving the impression of many small details.

There is just one thing that I really don't like about this model; which is that it doesn't come with a stand! It is the only model in the series that doesn't have one, other designs which could self-support, as this one happens to be able to do, have stands, as will future specials like the nuEnterprise. So DS9 ends up the odd one out, and feels a bit awkward as a result. Having a stand also lets the ships in the series seem to float, which is rather appropriate for things that exist in space. It's a simple extra that all the other models in the series have, and it really bugs me this one doesn't.

That issue aside, I really like this model. For quite a spindly design it feels very solid. It has lots of nice detailing, and feels very distinct in its finish compared to other models in the series, making it feel suitably alien. Being able to pick up and interact with this, my first model of DS9, has given me a new sense of appreciation for the design too. It really is such a distinctive and iconic design; slightly art deco, but also very alien and unusual. Being able to examine it from every angle has let me enjoy the design of DS9 like never before.

There happened to be two models of DS9 released recently; this one, and a very limited availability Attack Wing gaming model, which you can only get by participating in events. Prior to that there have been a few other models at smaller scales, from Furuta, Romando, and Hallmark. The latter of those three seems to be best in terms of detailing, comparable in many areas to this new model, but also making compromises to the design for the functionality of a christmas tree decoration. Therefore I think we have here, once again from Eaglemoss, the best model available of the subject (with the exception of the much larger AMT model kit, which of course you need to build and finish yourself).

Continue after the jump for more photos, and a look at the accompanying magazine.

Being larger than other ships in the series, this model doesn't fit in the standard box, so has its own bespoke packaging, featuring images of DS9 from different angles on each side. Inside the model is held in two-part block of polystyrene, with a hollow spheroid in which the station sits.

Here's the model perched on the Enterprise-D's stand. See how much nicer it looks floating in the air slightly:

And here for comparison, DS9, alongside the smallest (USS Excelsior) and largest (USS Enterprise-D) ships from the series so far:

While the model is bigger than normal, the accompanying magazine is the normal page-count. It starts with the usual historical overview, given four pages to summarise DS9's role as Terok Nor, a Federation station, and the Dominion War. There are some very nice new-to-me CGI images of the station in this section

This is followed by a two page "Interiors" feature, with lots of images showing us inside the station. While I feel the image selection here is a bit heavy on showing us characters than spaces, this is a section I am very pleased to see, and would welcome more of in future issues, as it showcases some of the set design from inside the featured subject, which I feel has been under-used in other issues.

Then we get the usual two-page spread of orthographic views:

Finally there's the behind-the-scenes section, with four pages dedicated to exploring the design of the station, including details of the initially more exotic history of the station that was planned, and some of the many different concept designs. This is followed by two pages detailing the different physical and CGI models used to portray the station. As ever these pages are insightful reads, and have lots of interesting images.

If you'd like your own copy of Deep Space 9, you can find it at any of these websites:, Things From Another World, Entertainment Earth.

For all my previous reviews, the latest information, and a listing of all the ships in the Starships Collection, see my index page.


Neil Douglas said...

Very helpful review thanks. I already own the hallmark and AMT DS9's so wasn't sure if it's worth getting. It sounds good.

Warren said...

The thing that gets me about the DS9 model is how curved inward the lower docking arms are. Of course, it doesn't look like that on the box it came in.

nwg said...

I also wished it had a stand. I do have a spare Enterprise D model so perhaps I could use the one from that.

Fox said...

It is a "nice" model, but I'm wondering how much of that comes from how disappointing the Excelsior, or "Celsior," and Voyager were.

You forgot to mention the biggest flaw with the DS9 figure: the mold.

Specifically, the lower pylons are not aligned properly (probably because Eaglemoss wanted to use them INSTEAD of an actual base to rest on) and are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too close together. The "tops/bottoms" of the pylons should be horizontal, which is why the figure actually rests better upside-down. Being bent fo far inward, the lower pylongs have less surface area to rest on.

Several of the weapon pylons are also bent slightly

Destructor1701 said...

It's worth mentioning that Playmates also produced a DS9 toy.

From what I can see online, it has quite a handsome sculpt, and a really attractive swivel-stand.

Dan said...

I have the Playmates DS9 and it is really a standout from their line. Came with a scale Enterprise D which attaches to the upper pylon too. Very nice.

There was also a Micro Machines version in the 90s that was decent considering its scale.

Nathan Olonoff said...

Thanks for the review!

I'm really disappointment in this model. The lack of stand, and lack of detail on the outer ring is really upsetting to me, and considering i have the hallmark ornament and playmates toy this one just looks inferior to them.

Sadly, I'm still tempted to go spend the $40 just for the magazine.

Christopher Dilloway said...

My DS9 came broken. I emailed them and I guess they are sending out a new one, but they are currently backordered, so who knows when/if I'll get it

trekman1701 said...

Mine was broken as well, havent contacted eaglemoss yet, but some of the pylons were off when i got it out of the box and the others fell off shortly thereafter