Monday, 2 September 2013

Review: Eaglemoss Collections Star Trek Starships collection #1

This is not a toy. It probably says that somewhere on the model Enterprise that comes with issue 1 of the new Star Trek ship collection from Eaglemoss Collections. But, hey! I'm going to review it anyway (and attempt to keep technobabble to a minimum so everyone understands which part of the ship I'm talking about when describing it).

I first heard about this last year at Star Trek Destination London, though it was likely being advertised before that. Finally the first issue (of 70 planned + specials) has been released for the bargainous £2.99.

Upon handing over your shiny gold coins at the newsagent you'll be given a rather large (these things always are) piece of cardboard. On one side is a magazine, on the other a 'die-cast' model of the Enterprise-D, as seen for seven years flying through space in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

From collections similar to these in the past, I've come to expect a quickly thrown together magazine with little care taken over it's content. This one was a lot better than that. Around half the magazine is written 'in universe', with a brief (fictional) history of the Enterprise-D. The second half is 'factual', covering the design and making of the model(s) used in making the TV series. It was an interesting read, although little will be new to dedicated fans (who, presumably, will be the main purchasers). It's a little disappointing that despite all the photos of the ship, pictures of the crew are extremely limited (one picture of Ro Laren and one of Geordi). It'd have been nice to have some photos of those who'd served aboard her - especially the captains.

The main reason for buying this magazine, however, is the ship. The Enterprise-D is around 6" long (all the ships to be released are a similar length - so widths will vary a lot - and thus most completely out of scale with one another). While there's a lot being advertised of the die-cast nature of the ship, it's actually only the lower half of the saucer section that's metal, the rest being made of plastic. The metal gives the ship a nice weight, though annoying that the best looking part (and the metal does look a lot better than the plastic) is at the bottom where it's hard to see.

The information bundled with the magazine details the problems with deciding what colour to make the ships, since the original filmed model and that seen on-screen vary wildly. I'm completely happy with the textured grey Endelmoss went with, though this is a completely personal choice and you may well disagree. The paint aps for windows etc are better in some places than others. Nothing looks bad, but it's not perfect either. The deflector dish is the worst part. It was always lit up in the show, so the flat orange colour makes it look a little dull and boring. The engines, on the other hand, are done in a transparent plastic, which look great when the light shines through. Well, the blue engine parts do. The red is too dark for my taste, almost looking black.

And finally to the stand. Which sucks. Eaglemoss decided to make the stands so that the ships clipped to them without the need for 'unsightly' holes in the models for the stands to plug into. This results in large, bulky and ugly stands, which cover up a lot of the hull of the ship. I think a small hole at the bottom of the ship along with a small, subtle stand would have been much better. Think about it - how often, once examined after the initial purchase, are people actually going to take the ship off the stand? Isn't the most likely fate for these ships going to be permanently on the stand, displayed on a shelf? It's not like you're supposed to handle them. After all, they're not toys.

Overall, for £2.99, this is a bargain buy. But as everyone knows magazines tend not to remain at their premiere prices for very long. Issue 2 is £5.99...and from then on it's £9.99 per issue. As one-offs I'd be more than happy to pay this; the ship is worth it. Maybe if they came out one per month. Except they don't, it's a fortnightly release, which is simply too much for me to spend on 70 little ships...70 little ships I have no idea where I'd put. Plus specials. Where in the house are people going to store all those?

Finally, while I've mentioned that the detail on the Enterprise-D is great and near-perfect, there is a problem with issue 2. Yep, just the second issue and there are already inaccuracies with the ship. Eaglemoss must know that fans willing to spend £10 per issue are going to be hard-core and thus giving a ship the wrong colour engines is going to noticed. Hell, I did.

So I've got issue 1, but that's probably it. I might get the Enterprises and maybe the Defiant and (assuming they do one) Deep Space Nine. A nice collection, but too much too fast for me.

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