Wednesday 9 October 2013

Review: The Official Starships Collection #3 - Klingon Bird of Prey

Onwards with The Official Starships Collection reviews (see issue one, and issue two reviews). The third issue of the series is the first non-Federation ship to feature in the series, the Klingon Bird of Prey.

With the more battered finish of the Bird of Prey, compared to the pristine Federation ships, we get a very different feel with this one. The paint applications have to both give all the detail we want, while not being so crisp and perfect as to loose that weathered look. I think they pulled it off very well!

The entire wing and the top part of the central section of this model is made from metal, while the underside of the central body made from plastic wraps around and projects the neck forward to the head of the ship. The guns on the tips of the wings are also plastic.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing about the model is the way the stand attaches; it's the least intrusive of the series so far, slipping neatly into the gap in the impulse engines, with a satisfying click that holds it very snugly in place. If only ever ship had such a convenient place for the stand to plug into!

All over the ship there's a distressed effect paint job, which gets that weathered look across nicely, and also helps highlight the molded detailing quite well. I find the wings particularly well finished with the selective variations in colour across the panels, and the molded edges of each panel highlighted with a darker colour.

One other nice detail is that they've actually painted inside that slot at the back too.

There have been quite a few Klingon Bird of Prey models over the years, including several at a similar scale. Some versions, including the similar sized Hot Wheels edition, feature movable wings, which would have been nice, but I understand would have made it more expensive. I'd much rather have the higher level of detail here in place of that play feature. I'd say the nearest comparable model is the Corgi version from a few years ago. The Corgi edition has slightly more going on with molded details, but the the paint work is much less finessed - This is especially evident comparing the subtle variations of colour on the wing panels, compared to the harsh two-tone patches on the Corgi version. The Corgi model is also let down by the garish neon orange impulse engine. It would have been nice if Eaglemoss' rendition had the same level of molded detail as Corgi, but the overall effect is superior even without it. I'd say this is probably the best smaller scale Bird of Prey to date.

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

There's a change in the overall presentation of this issue. Gone are the over-sized impact card-backs of the first two isseus, from now on the retail versions come inn a bag with the ship name printed on. The subscriber version forgoes this, delivering the magazines and models loose in a box.

A nice little detail which has been added since the test run last year, the issue numbers and information bars are now coloured, I presume (based on the two Federation blues) by affiliation. So I'd expect the next Klingon ship to have red highlights too.

The usual in-universe section of the magazine details the Bird of Prey, and gives a little background on Klingon life aboard ship. The "classic scene" section from the previous two issues has been replaced by "in action" for the Bird of Prey, with a two page spread detailing how and why the wings move.

Much of the design section of the magazine is given over to photos of a study model, used to bring the design to life. I'm not sure if these have been published before, but they're new to my eyes as best I can recall. This section continues to be the highlight, giving a really interesting summary of the ideas that made this iconic design.

This is a great model and a pretty interesting magazine. After the slightly disappointing second issue its great to see the model jump right back up in detailing. I remain very excited to see this series unfold.

This is the second copy of this model and magazine I have, as I also got the first three issues last year in the initial test run. The Enterprise-D model was a little bit darker in the finalised release, so I knew they'd still been tweaking the designs of the models a bit in the last year. But I was quite surprised to see how dramatically they'd altered the Bird of Prey. In the images below the 2012 version is on the right. As you can see the new version is much brighter, and the paint job rather more detailed. I'm glad they had another look at this, as the final version is a big improvement. It's not just the paint they've altered too, at least one part of the mold is different; they made the grooves at the back of the underside of the wings a bit deeper, which backs a surprisingly big difference to that bit of the ship.

One final thought: It's a nice quirk in scale of the three ships so far, that the Klingon Bird of Prey is loosely in scale with both the previous Enterprises; if you assume one sees it as K'vort class, and the other B'rel.

For all the latest information on the entire Starships Collection, see my index page. And if you'd like to get your own copy of this excellent Bird of Prey, without subscribing to the entire series, it's available to order from Things From Anther World, Entertainment Earth, and Forbidden Planet.

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