We’re back with another look at the recent subscriber releases from Eaglemoss’ Official Starships Collection, and today it’s a look at issues #104 and 105, the USS Jenolan from “Relics” and the mysterious Smuggler’s Ship from “Unification.”
The Sydney-class USS Jenolan (NCC-2010) is another kitbash to add alongside the Kyushu and Centaur, and it’s a ship I’m really rather fond of. It’s a flipped and nacelled-up version of the SD-103 shuttle that makes a fleeting appearance near the beginning of The Undiscovered Country, but so what? This little ship has a special place in the hearts of fans across the world, as Scotty’s transporter-stasis lifeboat seen in TNG Season 6’s “Relics.”
Crashed on the Dyson Sphere, the Jenolan had seen better days — but here we have it presented in all it’s launch-day glory. She really is a right block of a ship, which makes no matter in space since gravity and aerodynamics aren’t really that important; admittedly, it’s not going to win any beauty prizes.
In essence, this is the Starfleet version of a National Express coach or a cross-channel ferry. It’s no science vessel, cruiser or deep space explorer, it’s effectively a very big shuttle.
The NCC-2010 has some fantastic detail for such a lump. The metal top section isn’t overly covered in detail with the exception of the ship registry to the front which leads into the bridge module — definitely nicked from a Constitution-class model — that trails back again to some exposed mechanics and also to the blue raised warp core cover.
The colour scheme is distinctly Kirk movie-era with a full white overcoat from nose to stern, which makes sense as it crashed on the Dyson Sphere in the 2290s. Having only minimal detail doesn’t crowd the surface, although it does feel a little blocky with the grey touches just sprinkling across the hull.
The central metal section is enclosed by the rest of the plastic build, with the side panels closing in around the metalwork on either side. It’s a quite an impressive piece of construction with four pieces of hull coming together to form the shape of the ship. The hull detail right at the front is a little washed out, with the two side panels on the front “prongs,” making it very obvious since they are much more pronounced.
Along the sides of the hull, we have the United Federation of Planets pennant… however, as has become expected, the three decks of windows are all out of alignment with their recesses on the hull surface.
Flipped over, the real detail on the Jenolan can be uncovered. There’s a lot of engineering works all the way along the ship with some incredibly tiny greebling everywhere you look — though be sure to look out for the very obvious Romulan Warbird nacelle glued in there!
The only really disappointing bit on the Jenolan has to be the joins between the nacelle pylons and the main hull. They are gappy and seem a little misaligned when viewed from the underside. From the front and top it isn’t too bad – again this is the angle you’ll be seeing it from for most of the time.
The pylons are beautifully crafted with a very tight sweep and turn in the middle arcing out to the warp engines, which clearly originate from a Constitution-class ship with that glaring movie-era shape and grille placement. For me, it’s these finishing touches — like the older nacelles and the registry edged in red — that make this such an exciting ship to add to the collection.
While it’s not the streamlined Enterprise-E or an intricate ECS Fortunate freighter, the build of the Jenolan here does impress me. Love it, love it, love it.
Issue #105 travels back a season to “Unification,” and the mysterious Smuggler’s Ship, destroyed by the Enterprise-D at the Qualor II surplus depot. Now, you might be getting a sense of deja vu — since it’s only four issues ago that we saw the Bajoran Freighter, which was another use the same base studio model.
Sure, it’s a little soon after the Bajoran Freighter to be dropping this on,e but there are significant differences between the two — this newer release is a one-coat, black finish all the way across with only the red engines, white portholes and light blue forward viewscreen acting to breakup the darkness.
The ship is two clean halves with the top in plastic and the bottom – which includes the two pairs of “wings” being metal. The wings, the removal of the rear pod and of course the colour change all help to radically alter the look of what was a Bajoran freighter into something a lot more sinister.
In fact, there’s a lot more surface detail on this ship with additional “bobbles” along the upper hull sides at the front and back, as well as more defined mechanics on the upper mid-section. Interestingly, this model also has the fins thinned out that were filled in on the Bajoran freighter.
The aggressive wing formation to the front really set this model off, and add to the look making it almost ready to pounce on an unsuspecting craft. Having them as a single element with the underside of the ship adds a lot of strength and stability to these pieces. The paneling on these isn’t too heavily lined, and contrasts to the extensive markings on the rest of the Smuggler’s Ship.
One clear addition to the ship are the three gun structures on the top, and the single one on the bottom. Again, it adds to that darker purpose for this version of the model — and also it’s great to see that Eaglemoss aren’t shying away from sticking in some very fiddly bits. Without these, I don’t think that the look of this craft would have been quite right somehow.
What amazes me with this issue is how a few changes can make something look completely different and even feel different within an episode of the series. This is a lot more futuristic and tech heavy than the freighter and in only a couple of episodes between appearances it’s barely recognisable. In fact, if I had the choice of which one I would display if it came to it, I would pick this one.
The all over detail on here – top and bottom – is lovely to take in and although it’s one more of the “one shot” starship, the work on this one is exemplary considering this was The Next Generation model era, and not the impressive CG results we’ve had from Enterprise. Really, the only area that suffers a little on finish is the engine block at the rear. The red isn’t as bright as I expected, and it seems to fade into the black of the main body.
The Smuggler’s Ship feels good; it’s a solid, robust piece of Star Trek and even the four gun emplacements are pretty secure. The stand fitting is a singular clip that wraps around the rear, and claps cleverly over the two levels of the hull at the back. It’s a lot of weight at the back of the ship for something with this kind of length, but it still looks and feels fine.
The 500-meter ship gets minimal background in the included magazine, which tends to defer to the plot of” Unification” — but aside from the two new CG pictures and the plan views of the Smuggler’s Ship there is very little of the craft from the episode due to its fleeting appearance.
That said, the CG pics are gorgeous, and help to bring out the hull detail which can be lost, in some lighting, due to the one-colour finish.
I’ve been impressed with this month’s double act. I absolutely love the USS Jenolan, and the Smuggler’s Ship is just different enough from the Bajoran freighter to be successful, but I know some collectors will grumble because of the proximity. Solid entries, well made, and a welcome step back into The Next Generation.
The next pair of subscriber ships to check out is a long-awaited Voyager-era ship, the Kazon Predator-class warship, along with one that eclipses it in popularity — even as a variant release — the classic Klingon Bird of Prey in wings-down attack formation.
Watch for my review of these two ships soon!
Clive Burrell is lead editor at Some Kind of Star Trek.