Saturday 23 September 2017

Review: The Official Starships Collection - USS Titan

Following a demonstration of fan demand championed by this very website, Eaglemoss have recently released their first bonus issue in The Official Starships Collection featuring a ship that originates from the Star Trek novels, the Luna class USS Titan.

If you're not familiar, the Titan was of course named in Nemesis, as the new command of Captain Riker. But we never saw it until Sean Tourangeau won a competition to design the ship at the heart of the then (a decade ago) new Titan book series. The Luna class has since gone on to appear in Star Trek exhibitions, comics, and video games - It is surely the most prominent of non-canon ships, and indeed is at least technically canon!

I've been clamouring for this since the collection began; so it's safe to say my views may be a little biased - But none the less, continue below for a closer look at this much anticipated model, and the accompanying magazine.

The Titan is a standard sized issue (as opposed to the larger special size), but released as a stand-alone bonus issue. Thanks to it's footprint, the model is fairly large for that size bracket, at about 14.5cm long, and 6.5cm across. With the sensor pod giving it a little extra height, it is 2.5cm tall.

The model is fairly weighty, with a substantial proportion of it being formed from metal; the entire top surface of the saucer, engineering section, and nacelle struts. The sensor pod and nacelles are plastic, as is the inner part of the underside of the saucer, and the underside of the engineering section. Overall the two major parts blend together without noticeable separation lines, thanks to using the phaser strip on the underside of the saucer to hide the join.The lower part of the impulse engine continues this subtle join, although the back-most end of the plastic section, towards the back of the ship does have a more obvious join. Overall I think the construction is well done and the joins very successful.

The ship does not featuring any sort of aztecing, as at this scale that detail would be too small for this design. However it does have abundant modeled in panel lines, with some panels picked out in darker grey - The contrast between the two greys is perhaps a tiny bit too strong, but not distractingly so.

The design features many windows and escape pods, and these are all recreated with a mix of modeled and painted finishes. Both the plastic and metal sections are covered in these details, which are crisply rendered. I particularly like how the Captain's yacht stands out distinctly.

The nacelles feature a mix of painted blue grilles, and transparent plastic red bussard collectors. It might have been nice if the blue sections were also transparent, although they are at different points either side of the nacelle, so the light transmission might have been noticeably uneven (and this would no doubt have been a much more complicated assembly given each nacelle has four different blue grille sections).

The impulse engines also use transparent red plastic, which isn't so effect, as being completely enclosed in the ship it is very dark; painting may have worked better here.

Overall this is a highly detailed model, which is well build, and a pleasing size and weight. Moreover, it's a model of the USS Titan! It was a long shot we'd ever get an official model of this ship, so I am absolutely delighted to have one now, let alone a really good one!

More images, and thoughts on the accompanying magazine, below:

The magazine, starts out following the standard format, with a brief two page summary of the Titan in-universe, using some of the information about the origin of the class from the novels, but not going into any details about the missions depicted in the books.

Another two page spread gives us some nice orthographic views, so we can scrutinise the details of the design.

The entire rest of the magazine is a long piece on the design of the ship, explaining how the original fan competition came about, with comments from Star Trek novels editor at the time, Marco Palmieri. It then shows some of Sean Tourangeau's concept art, and goes on to detail how Sean then refined the design once he had won the competition, and even prints some of his additional artwork for the bridge, shuttles and the like. Also highlighted are some of the novel covers, and the large model of the Titan built for Star Trek: The Tour.

While the piece doesn't illustrate all of the appearances of the Titan, they do at least get mentions, and it is a really good account of how the Titan came to be, and has evolved since.

I could not be happier this issue exists. It includes a great model, and the magazine does an excellent job recording the genesis of the design. If you've not got one yet, find one fast, as Eaglemoss' Ben Robinson reports they have sold out already (more are to be produced though) - A delightful demonstration of just how much demand there is for this not-so-obscure ship from the novels!

PS. We can blame Sean himself for the shortage, he's got a whole fleet!

For a listing of all the ships in the Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, including links to all my previous previews and reviews, see my index page. You can also check my reviews page for links to all my reviews of everything Trek. And you can read my own account of the history of the Titan design on Trek Collective Archives.

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Fox said...

Absolutely fantastic! My Titan is a month away, so I'm really glad to see so many high-resolution photos, especially of the ventral side, which is *never* pictured in the previews.

The only thing I don't like is that the saucer seems... I dunno, weird. Is the edge of the saucer supposed to be that vertical? I tend to think of TNG+ era ships as having more rounded, or narrow rims.

Still, this is really fantastic. I can't overstate how happy I am that we're getting the Titan (and Aventine!) model... something I feel like you, specifically, deserve a lot of credit for. Without your polls, this beauty may never have seen the light of day.

A couple of days ago Ben Robinson posted on Twitter that the Aventine should be coming out soon; I hope you're able to do another review like this for it. TBH I'm must more excited about the Aventine than the Titan. It's a much sleeker design.

Wixiban said...

Thanks for starting the petition for the Titan which resulted in the realisation of the model that so many of us now cherish. I was a little sceptical about having this in the STSS collection but I went ahead and signed the petition multiple times as just can't help myself and knew others were keen. I am not disappointed with the result.

I'm now looking forward to the Aventine as well now and that one looks as good if not better!

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