Friday, 4 April 2014

Review: The Official Starships Collection #9 - USS Defiant

Time I caught up with my Eaglemoss reviews! Next in line in The Official Starships Collection is the USS Defiant, so how did Eaglemoss do with this tough little ship? Well it's pretty good overall, but marred by one unfortunate error. Read on to find out more.

The first thing I noticed about this model is that's is quite light, and indeed small. In fact it's the shortest (on its longest side) of any ship in the series up to this issue, just 11cm long; which makes it overall about the same size as the saucer section of the Enterprise-D model. I'm a little surprised by this, as the smaller ships in the series generally have been the ones restricted in overall size due to being long thin designs. The Defiant has the exact opposite proportions, it's pretty much bang-on the 4:3 ratio of the standard box size of these ships, which is why I was anticipating it would be one of the more substantial models in the series. Perhaps that was exactly the reason they decided to make it a bit smaller; maybe it looked too big compared to the other more spindly ships?

Anyway, while being a little smaller than expected, it's still a reasonable handful of starship. The dorsal side of the primary hull is the metal component of this model, with the underside, nacelles and nose all in plastic. Both metal and plastic components have molded details, and while the plastic parts are, as ever, fractionally sharper in those details, the metal section holds up very well, and overall there's a nice consistent finish to the ship.

The nacelles have transparent parts at the front and back, so when caught in the right light they appear to illuminate somewhat. The most complicated part of the model is probably the nacelles, in part to accommodate these multiple parts, which has also resulted in the most obvious joins being down the sides of each nacelle. They've tried to hide this somewhat by having it follow the lines of hull plating. Another obvious join is around the front edge of the saucer, where the top and bottom components come together; being right on the edge I don't find this as noticable though, even while being in a very prominent place on the ship.

Being such a solid design the model is overall pretty sturdy. The only exception is the nose, which is attached to the main hull by a small neck at the back, and is subsequently a little wobbly - But only if you actually flex it, it doesn't rattle around or anything.

The stand for this one clips in at the back, slotting around either side of the ship's tail end. I found mine a pretty snug connection, so it stays on nice and securely. Generally I prefer the ships with the rear (rather than mid-ship) stand connections, as they seem to have the appearance of floating in the air a bit more; so am pretty happy with this one.

The ship has good printed details all over: All the usual text and hull plating, and you couldn't really ask for much more from a ship of this scale. There's just one glaring, and very annoying, error: On the port nacelle the Starfleet emblem is at the wrong end of the red strips, pointing towards the back of the ship, rather than the front. While a small detail on the overall model, it is quite noticeable, and I'm disappointed Eaglemoss don't appear to have made any effort to rectify what is the most significant error in the series to date. I have raised this with the subscription team, and they very quickly sent me a replacement. However, as the entire run seems to be effected, it too has a backwards logo, doh! I believe this has been a problem for the UK and US runs, I'm curious to see if Eaglemoss bother to get it fixed in time for the release of this issue in other markets, which are following several months behind.

Overall though, this is a really good little model of the Defiant, if you can over-look that one printing error then it's pretty much perfect. Such a shame that error does exist though, as it really distracts from an otherwise great little ship.

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

As you can see, the model is very finely detailed all over. There have been a few other Defiant models before, even a chocolate one! But there are only two other examples at this sort of scale, the Furuta model, and Hallmark's christmas tree decoration. Both actually look like quite good models, so I'd say this is a closer call than most, where Eaglemoss invariably comes out on top. I do think the Eaglemoss rendition does still have a slight edge in really refining details, and getting the overall shape spot on - The other two can be a bit soft and/or chunky in places.

This magazine accompanying this issue sticks quite closely to the standard format, although it does give a full six pages to detailing the history of the Defiant, rather than using any space to focus on any particular feature of the ship, as some issues do. As the history section manages to cover all the Defiant's main features I think they made a good call there. There is also the usual two pages spread with orthographic views, which are good for scrutinising the design.

As is so often the case, the most interesting part of the magazine takes us behind-the-scenes, with this issue devoting four pages to the design process, and two to discussing the filming miniatures and CGI models. The design section is a visual feast, with several concept designs taking up to half a page each, so you can really get a good look at what the Defiant could have become.

Overall, this is a really good model, even accounting for the annoying error, and a solid magazine with a particularly good behind-the-scenes section. I'd certainly recommend it to any Defiant fan.

If you'd like your own copy of the USS Defiant, you can find it at any of these websites:,

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

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Andy Johns said...

Nice review. I agree this is one of the best models so far imho. The decal issue sucks...but short of getting a custom decal made ( now theres an idea i may look into) not much we can do.
Keep up the good work on the blog!

nwg said...

The decal issue does not bother me at all.

I am more concerned that the Equinox has Equindx. I don't care if the cgi model had a spelling error(thunderchild too)they should have corrected it.

David Rothman, GMU MSW Student said...

I actually take issue with the contour of the nacelles, they "droop" too much. They should be more in line with the main hull. I believe this is true of the studio model and the cgi model.

Fox said...

I thought that too, but then I spent some time carefully comparing the Eaglemoss figure to the onscreen Defiant and model photos and lineart... And it seems that the Eaglemoss figure is more accurate than my impressions.

I think its mostly because of the angles they used to film the Defiant. Because we really never got a good shot of the forward profile, we never really got to see just how all the parts of the nacelle were angled.


Anyway, nice review. I share almost every sentiment (and I, too, now have two Deviants with backwards stripes).

Except the size. Really?you think the Defiant is too small? It seems average for the line to me, and certainly has an adequate mass to it.

Especially compared to the Excelsior, which is positively (and majorly disappointingly) tiny--its barely any larger than the micro machine version! Hell, its so small they had to paint the deflector on with a black marker.

Billy Morgan said...

I received the USS DEFIANT today and the decals on both sides pointed in the right direction.
I live in the United States.

Billy Morgan said...

I received the USS DEFIANT today and the decals on both sides pointed in the right direction.
I live in the United States.

Billy Morgan said...

I received the USS DEFIANT today and the decals on both sides pointed in the right direction.
I live in the United States.