It’s been five months since Eaglemoss announced that Star Trek: Discovery models would be joining their Official Starships Collection line of ship replicas, and now the Walker-class USS Shenzhou has finally warped in to kick off the series.
The Walker-class design was considered old and outdated by the time the Shenzhou had its fateful encounter at the Battle of the Binary Stars, but it still served Captain Phillipa Georgiou well up until the end of its life, as well as its Mirror Universe counterpart captained by both Danby Connor and Michael Burnham in service of the Terran Empire.
Designed by longtime Star Trek ship creator John Eaves, the class is named for 1960s test pilot Joe Walker, and was shaped much flatter than traditional Starfleet vessels of its era — like the Constitution-class Enterprise — and to avoid having round nacelles, each directive coming from original Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller.
The included magazine includes plenty of behind-the-scenes design information from Eaves, along with a series of preliminary sketches and conceptual versions of the Shenzhou that were created along the way.
Additionally, the new packaging with the Discovery line of models is much more dynamic than the traditional big-blue-box of the standard Official Starships releases.
The Walker-class model itself measures approximately 7.5″ long, which puts it at about the same size as many of the standard Official Starships special releases — about halfway between the monthly subscriber ships and the jumbo XL Starships that have been rolling out over the last year.
The top portion of the double-hulled design is Eaglemoss’ standard die-cast metal, with the underside of the ship and nacelle structure all rendered in molded plastic; as a result, the Shenzhou is much lighter than it might seem at first glance.
Many of the more intricate components, from the forward double-spiked deflector dish to the bridge module underneath the saucer section, are quite nicely detailed, and there’s not really any area to point to that’s presented in below-average quality.
Curiously, however, while there is a nice splash of purple on the hull behind the deflector, the distinctive purple ring on the dish itself, seen in action during “The Vulcan Hello,” isn’t present on this model; this leaves the dish a bit dull.
Additionally, the bridge module dome is painted white on this model, comparable to the look of the light when the ship is seen in wide shots; the close-up at the opening of “The Vulcan Hello” however shows that the dome is truly a yellow-green (illustrated in the gallery below).
Given the overall color tone of this model, however, the white seems to fit the palette much more than a pale green might look, so it’s an acceptable deviance.
The rear half of the ship, in comparison, is full of great detail, from the inset shuttlebay at the rear of the vessel to the complex nacelle assembly grafted onto the dish underneath.
The warp nacelles themselves are plastic as noted above, and while you may not see it from a distance, they do contain a layer of translucent red plastic inside to simulate the glow of the Shenzhou warp drive as seen in the television rendition.
The impulse engines are painted a shade of bright pink on this model, which at first glance seem wildly off-color. The ship engines seen on Star Trek: Discovery, however, have ranged from pink to ochre to red depending on the shot, so it’s almost right in the middle, though perhaps mixing in a bit more orange-red to the paint would tint it a little away from the current Pepto Bismol-ish hue.
The saucer section itself includes the Shenzhou’s most distinctive feature, the twin red strips adorning the dorsal and ventral sides of the ship, which comes from designer John Eaves wanting to make up for the very subtle hull aztecing (another design directive) which had limited visibility on-screen.
The red is applied in a consistent color across both metal and plastic portions of the ship, though in some tiny areas of the textured hull the paint hasn’t quite filled in all of the gaps, allowing slight spots of grey to slip through.
That being said, it’s perhaps excusable in this case, as the older Shenzhou was seen with distressed red paint due to the ship’s age, as seen in this close-up of the ISS Shenzhou from “The Wolf Inside,” the best look we have had at the Walker-class hull markings.
As we’ve mentioned several times in past reviews, window paint alignment to physical hull detailing is somewhat of an ongoing issue with Eaglemoss’ model releases, and we’re happy to say that the majority of the Shenzhou windows are painted on areas that don’t have corresponding texture to match.
That said, there is still a row of windows on each side of the central raised hull area that is just slightly misaligned (seen below) as well as on an outer ring on the underside of the saucer. Thankfully, however, both examples are much less noticeable than on the XL USS Voyager model we reviewed a few weeks ago which makes the Shenzhou one of the better releases in this regard.
One thing we really have to praise this model for is the lack of obvious seams and joins from assembly. Some of the Eaglemoss releases from the past few years have had some pretty glaring gaps where plastic meets die-cast metal, but the Shenzhou isn’t one of them.
Aside from one seam that crosses the underside of the saucer near the bow of the ship, and the unavoidable one on the nacelle sides (due to the red plastic engine insert), every other join is deftly woven into the double-hulled design of the model with a minimum of disruption.
Overall, the Walker-class USS Shenzhou model is a solid start for Eaglemoss’ new Discovery line of ships, and is pretty much identical to the prototype we saw back at New York Comic Con in October.
The second Discovery model coming from Eaglemoss is the USS Discovery itself, due to arrive towards the end of March, followed by the Shepard-class USS Kerala and then the new Klingon Bird of Prey design as issue later in 2018.
Here’s a full gallery of images of the new Shenzhou model:
The USS Shenzhou model is available for order and delivery now from Eaglemoss, retailing to non-subscribers at $54.95 at their US store (and £34.99 in the UK). The USS Discovery model is also available for preorder now (US store, UK store) and of course, you can watch for our review of the Crossfield-class vessel once it arrives.
Keep coming back to TrekCore as we have more of the Official Starships fleet to review in the coming weeks, including the third collection of Star Trek shuttles, designer Andy Probert’s concept model Enterprise-C, and the special glow-in-the-dark Interphase USS Defiant on the way.
In the meantime, sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on the Shenzhou!
In Eaglemoss’ US store, TrekCore readers can use promo code TREKCORE at checkout for 10% off any ‘Star Trek’ collectible purchase $60 or greater (some exclusions apply).