If you’re an avid collector of Hallmark’s Star Trek ornaments like I am, then you likely eye the “event exclusive” ornament releases with anticipation. Following last year’s event-exclusive NCC-1701 ornament, this year’s exclusive is the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C, featured in the classic Next Generation episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”
The ‘C,’ you say? Hasn’t that been gracing my Christmas tree for the last few years?
Not this version of the ship! This year’s take on the ill-fated starship is a ‘battle-damaged’ take on the Enterprise-C, as seen on-screen in the TNG Season 3 episode.
While the base model appears to be the same 2015’s Enterprise-C standard release, this event-exclusive version has a modified paint job meant to reflect the aftermath of her encounter with the Romulans at Narendra III.
Like that original ornament, Hallmark’s revised Enterprise-C features interior lighting on both the warp nacelles and the forward deflector dish, each of which glow a bright red or blue using the integrated LEDs (powered by a series of watch batteries under the secondary hull).
Lighting is activated by pressing a small button found on the top of the bridge module.
As fans may recall, when the Enterprise-C comes through the time rift in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, she’s clearly seen better days — there are phaser blasts and scorch marks all over her, and she’s downright grungy in appearance… hardly the spit-polished and shiny new version that the 2015 ornament was meant to portray.
The sculpt of the 2017 edition itself is great, matching the 2015 sister version rather exactly. In the end, the only real difference between the ornaments is the updated battle-damage paint — and unfortunately, that’s where I find myself a bit disappointed with the updated ornament.
A portion of the saucer and primary hull on the new model has been painted a darker shade of grey, but it isn’t carried across all of the ship — from the studio photograph of the ornament, it seems quite subtle, but these different grey tones are much more obvious on the ornament itself, and the areas that remain nearly-white stand out for their lack of shading.
The blue hull paint, other light grey elements, and Starfleet markings are otherwise just as bright as on the 2015 counterpart. Looking back at the episode, the whole ship looked dirty, with nothing bright about her — so it seems an odd choice to not treat this ‘battle-damaged’ version with a bit of a darker paint wash to tame that brightness, and further distinguish it from the original version.
The scorches are plentiful, and that does help set it apart from the 2015 model, but when compared with stills from the episode, these marks just don’t feel right. As someone who paints miniatures as a hobby (albeit Dungeons and Dragon ones, not Trek ships), to me the battle damage looks like it was applied with a half-dried permanent marker.
This is particularly true for the bottom of the secondary hull, where it looks like someone just made randomly-placed X-shaped markings with a felt-tip pen, rather than being applied in a more organic shaping, intensity, and placement — it truly appears drawn on the hull.
The model could have benefited from some dry brushing with a wider-tipped brush, which would have made the damage more natural and amorphous in shape. And it’s not as if this kind of realistic battle damage paint job can’t be done; this year’s other starship ornament, Hallmark’s take on the USS Franklin from Star Trek Beyond, has much more natural-looking ‘damage’ though its paint application.
It also would have been nice if the location of the markings was a little more screen-accurate in terms of placement on the hull, too, but it doesn’t seem like episodic reference stills were used much – if at all – in marking up the Enterprise-C.
I realize it’s just an ornament, and I don’t think anyone expects a totally screen-perfect replica — but at the same time, this ‘battle damage’ appears to have been really applied in a haphazardly manner, less evocative of a starship that escaped a trio of Romulan warbirds, and more like the ship went through a poorly-piloted docking maneuver at Earth Station McKinley.
The completionist in me knows that if I were at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend that I’d be waiting in line to grab this ornament, despite its flaws — after all, I’ve gotta’ have ’em all — but it feels more like someone took the easy way out on this one, finding a recent design that could be quickly modified to have an ‘exclusive’ for this year’s convention season.
For those of you interested in picking up one of these Enterprise-C ornament variants, the only places you’ll be able to find them are at Comic-Con International (San Diego, July 20-23), the Official 2017 Star Trek Convention (Las Vegas, August 2-6), and New York Comic Con (October 5-8) — but be quick, only 225 of these will be released per day at each event.
If you can’t get to one of these cons and want your own battle-damaged Enterprise-C, then you could always pick up an extra 2015 version and paint it yourself.