Tuesday 17 December 2013

Review: The Official Starships Collection #7 - K't'inga class

Out at the start of January in the US, and already in wild in the UK, is the seventh issue of The Official Starships Collection, their second Klingon ship, the K't'inga class battle cruiser. Here's what I made of it:

Eaglemoss' early promo image
My very first impression of this issue's model was surprise; as after a few months of seeing Eaglemoss' preview images I was expecting something a bit more colourful. It turns out between taking those preview photos and going into production, Eaglemoss decided to switch from a paint job based on the look from The Undiscovered Country and the CGI model, to the more flat-grey finish of the K't'inga's original appearance in The Motion Picture. I admit at first I was a bit disappointed by this decision, as the more colourful look just has a bit more going on, but the grey version we've ended up with has grown on me. After reviewing the K't'inga's appearances it seems they have more or less equal screen-time, with the The Motion Picture footage being reused in several episodes before they got round to creating new footage with the later more colourful finish.

The model we have is not quite as monotone as it first appears; the apparent flat grey paint job is in fact carefully highlighted, with all the panelling on the wing and head sections picked out in a slightly darker grey. This highlighting isn't everywhere, the front face of the wing section, the nacelles, and the raised section on top of the ship, are are all flat grey. I guess they prioritised the areas that needed the extra detail, with the nacelles featuring lots of modelled details already. The head seems to come out best here, with starburst-like patterns in the mold carefully picked out by the darker paint applications. There's also a nice deep hole for the torpedo launcher in the head, so it looks dark, ready to light-up and fire.

Most of the wing section of this model is metal, with the inner section on the underside a plastic piece set in. The edge around that part is reasonably obvious if you scrutinise it, but the other joins with plastic parts (the nacelles, neck, head, and the block on top) are all pretty seamless and well colour matched. The neck being so spindly, I feel inclined to handle it especially carefully, so not to snap it; although I'm probably being over-cautious, it's reasonably sturdy for something so thin.


Aside from the dark grey panel highlights there are a smattering of other details picked out. The grill on top of the ship is painted dark red, there is a small patch of darker grey/black on the underside of the neck, and a band around the head, and a golden dome on the underside of the ship. This dome is shown to be more detailed on images of the both the physical and CGI model in the magazine, with clear photos of the physical model showing the Klingon logo painted over it - This hasn't been translated to the model however. Likewise the logos on the top of the wings seen on the physical model don't appear here.

Like some of the other ships in the series, the impulse engines are made from a clear plastic, so they have a slight glow effect when they catch the light right. Despite this being based on The Motion Picture appearance, I am disappointed the nacelles don't also have transparent elements, to give them a glow effect too, matching many of the K't'inga's later appearances.

The stand on this model is one of the towards-the-back ones, which tend to feel less obtrusive around the ship, but have sometimes also been a little less secure. The way this stand holds the K't'inga is quite loose, but also very stable, it sits in comfortably, but doesn't seem as prone to slipping off at the slightest knock, like a couple of the other ships.

If you take the entire D7/K't'inga class family, there are quite a lot of previous models out there. But narrow it down to specifically the K't'inga and you suddenly find your options limited. As far as pre-painted models go I can only find two comparable releases, the small Konami model, and Hallmark's Christmas tree decoration. Both are quite impressively detailed models, in both molded and painted details. So if you're looking to pick out the best version, I think it's going to be down to your particular feel for how the details have been dealt with. The Eaglemoss version seems to have the edge in terms of consistency of finishes and quality materials, but I think Hallmark's model probably has a slightly more impressive paint job. Both of these other K't'ingas feature the Klingon logos on the wings missing from this new version.

Overall this is a really good model of the K't'inga class, it's well detailed, and has a nice consistent finish. I don't mind that they opted for the Motion Picture colours, but the model doesn't seem to have the wow factor of some of the other models in the series. I think a couple more details; the Klingon logos, and some transparent parts in the nacelles, would have really finished it off nicely.

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

The in-universe section of the magazine gives us the usual overview of the ship, with a four-page history, and a spread featuring orthographic views. The feature spread in this issue examines the K't'inga's master systems display. I'm not sure which episode or film this originates from, but it's nice to get clear reproductions of production art like this, even if it's not all that informative (unless you can read Klingon).

As is ever the case the really good stuff comes with the behind the scenes section, which takes us through the design of the K't'inga, right back from Matt Jefferies original D7 concept art through to details of how they made the digitisation effect in The Motion Picture, and how the model was modified for The Undiscovered Country. There are some particularly good photos of the miniature in this section two which are fun to examine.

So seven issues in we've got two ships from the Klingon fleet, but it's a slightly longer wait for any Klingon completists until the next ship, with the Vor'cha class due in May, as issue twenty.

If you'd like your own copy of the K't'inga class, you can find it at any of these websites:  Amazon.co.uk, Things From Another World, Entertainment Earth, Forbidden Planet.

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


Anonymous said...

"it's nice to get clear reproductions of production art like this, even if it's not all that informative (unless you can read Klingon)."

Actually, I can read Klingon, but that doesn't exactly help in this case ;)

8of5 said...

lol, does it actually say Anything? Or all just gibberish?

Anonymous said...

Just gibberish. But not to worry: We're used to it ;)

nwg said...

I like this model but my one has a gap between the two halves of the neck. It seems to be a common fault with it.

8of5 said...

Could ask for a replacement? If you collect the whole series you'll going to be giving Eaglemoss £100s, so they've got a pretty good incentive to keep you onside and send the odd extra ship out if you have a faulty one.

I did wonder why they chose to do the neck that way; I wonder if it some how makes it less likely to flex/snap by having two layers?

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