Issue eleven of The Official Starships Collection was the USS Reliant. I've never been a big fan of the Miranda class (I know, how dare I get foot in the church of Star Trek with such sinful thoughts), having got to know the class growing up with the 24th century series it mostly seemed to me to be cannon fodder for the Borg and the Dominion. While the class might not excite me that much, I do however love this new model.
refit USS Enterprise, which with the same design style didn't come out half as good back in issue two. However it happened, this model is just about perfect.
As is typical in the series, the bulk of the saucer section of this model is the metal component, with part of the lower side of the saucer a plastic insert. The nacelles and roll bar are also plastic, and like many of the other ships, the nacelles feature translucent blue plastic; which gives them a glow effect in the right light conditions.
The finish on the plastic and metal components is very consistent, with both molded panel lines and printed aztecing across the entire saucer giving a very satisfying detailed look. If the model has one flaw, it's that the line separating the plastic and metal parts on the underside of the saucer is quite obvious. A particular shame given the consistent finish of both components, as that would have looked great had it been a bit more seamless.
The detailing all round is excellent, with printed windows around the saucer edge, all the expected hull markings, the numbered shuttlebay doors, and painted on impulse engines. My favourite part of the model is the weapons pod on the roll bar, which has wonderfully intricate detailing to give us accurate representations of the protruding torpedo tubes.
The stand for this one is a rear mounting position, which I generally prefer, giving a nice floating effect, and in this case the fingers aren't too intrusive, so that works especially well. The stand isn't one of the snuggest connections though, so it is one of the models a little more prone to slipping off at the slightest touch.
Stand issues aside, this is a truly fantastic model. And that's coming from someone that remains not that enthusiastic about the Miranda class, so I can only imagine how delighted Reliant lovers out there must be with this brilliant little ship. Here's hoping they take some of the finishes developed for this model and use them to upgrade the Constitution refit model when they get round to doing the Enterprise-A.
Continue after the jump for thoughts on how this compares to other Reliant models, and a look at this issue's magazine.
As one of the more significant non-Enterprise ships in Star Trek, the Reliant is pretty well represented in toy and model ranges of the past, with at least a dozen different versions available to Miranda class fans. In the smaller scale category along the Eaglemoss version stands aside similar models from Hot Wheels, Furuta, Konami, Johnny Lightning, and Hallmark. Universally the Reliant seems to have come out pretty well as a small model, with all those I just listed being at the very least good models of the ship. It looks to me like the Konami and Hallmark versions are probably the best of the previous releases, as both have very well defined details.
As is regularly the case though, I think Eaglemoss has an edge, in this case in two particular areas of detail: While all the other models share the molded panel lines on the saucer seen here, none of the others appear to have aztecing printing as well, which makes the Eaglemoss version look significantly more detailed as a result. The other area where the Eaglemoss version excels is the detailing on the weapons pod, which is so perfect even the best of the other models don't quite reach the same excellence.
The magazine for this issue follows the standard format, with all the focus on the ship, and none of those pesky filler articles. The in-universe front half of the magazine gives us the usual four-page history of the ship, followed by a two page "Classic Scene", in this case the Battle of the Mutara Nebula, and then a two page spread with orthographic views of the ship.
As ever the back-end of the magazine is where the really interesting stuff can be found, with four pages looking at development of the design for the Reliant, and another two pages discussing the filming miniature. In fact the fourth page of the design section is given over entirely to a set of photographs of the miniature, something I'm very happy was allowed to use a whole page so the photos are reasonably big.
The magazine for the issue is spot on what I expect and want from the series, with the behind the scenes stuff as ever being the highlight.
This is really one of the best models in the series, and if you haven't got a copy already, I highly recommend it; I'm sure you won't be disappointed. You can find it at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Entertainment Earth, and Forbidden Planet.
Finally, I'll leave you with the stars of The Wrath of Khan, as rendered by Eaglemoss:
For all my previous reviews, the latest information, and a listing of all the ships in the Starships Collection, see my index page.