U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 (HD Edition)
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
[My special thanks to the Lynnwood, WA branch of The Comic Stop for holding this in reserve for me!]
In the 23rd Century, humanity has become peaceful with itself (eliminating or changing many sicknesses, breaking down political & social barriers, and dissolving conflicting cultures & religion), healed the Earth of its artificially-created wounds, and is now a major race among many extraterrestrial alien civilizations in an intergalactic organization known as the United Federation of Planets. The Federation has an armada of peaceful exploration & colonization starships, space stations, and star bases under the authority of Starfleet Command, which are manned by multi-species crews of the best and brightest. Starfleet’s flagship, the U.S.S. Enterprise, is a Constitution-class starship dispatched on a five year-long mission of solitary deep-space exploration, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk.
The U.S.S. Enterprise is a heavy cruiser-type starship (registry number NCC-1701) built to sustain long-duration deep-space exploration missions for the United Federation of Planets. Launched in the mid-23rd century, she is 298 meters in length, and is powered by a matter-antimatter warp propulsion reactor which allows her to travel up to Warp Factor 9.6, and more conventional nuclear fusion reactors provide power for the ship itself, her defensive force field generators, and sub-light speed impulse engines. While her aft hangar bay stores two shuttlecraft, the main method of moving personnel & cargo from ship-to-surface is a matter Transporter system. Despite being armed with phaser banks & photon torpedoes, the ship is under standing orders from Starfleet Command to always find a peaceful solution to any dilemma first. With a regular crew of 430, the Enterprise typically operates alone at the unknown edges of Federation space, though she is flexible enough to also serve as a courier, cargo ship, military vessel, and a meeting center for political & religious diplomacy to any outside species. This specific “HD Edition” release of the U.S.S. Enterprise by Diamond Select Toys is based specifically on the version of the computer-generated ship seen in the digitally-remastered episodes. (In 2006, all 79 episodes of The Original Series had all their special-effects replaced with CGI- shot now as if they had had the budget for such quality back in the 60s which the show obviously lacked. Additionally, sound was cleaned-up though not replaced, and the picture-quality was enhanced to the highest levels of clarity possible. The digital remastering of the TV show also allowed for gaps & errors in the original photography& continuity to be fixed, even though events & editing, dialogue, the actors, and the music have remained unaffected.)
A two-part display stand is included. Once the Enterprise is clipped on, the ball-and-socket joint allows for flexible posing. (Be warned: some- including myself- have noted lax friction in the joint, and the ship can often easily fall over, taking the stand with it!) The bottom of the secondary hull is a panel that can be unscrewed to reveal the battery compartment. Two panels are provided with the set- a blank one, and one with a hole that can accept the provided display stand- though only one can be attached at a time.
Anytime the Bridge dome atop the Primary Hull is pressed, several colored LEDs activate in preprogrammed sequence, accompanied by a selection of sound clips taken directly from the classic television series. The two domes on the top/bottom of the saucer section continuously glow white, the green Starboard (right) and red Port (left) anti-collision navigation beacons flicker on/off rapidly, and the two orange Bussard Collector domes at the front of the warp engine nacelles gradually dim & lighten. The LEDs always behave the same way regardless of which audio clip is playing.
Inside, next to the batteries is the activation switch with three positions: Try Me, Off, and On. The ship comes pre-set to Try Me, limiting the electronic feature until it is removed from the box:
- [Kirk]: “Prepare to attack. All hands to Battle Stations.”
(The Try Me clip does not play again when switched to the On position.) The main effects when the switch is in the On position are:
- power-up sound (used many times for different effects- raising shields, warp drive, maneuvering, etc. as there wasn’t enough money in the series’ budget for unique sounds for each)
- [Kirk]: “This is Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise, representing the United Federation of Planet(s).” (The word “Planets” is cut-off abruptly when the clip ends.)
- [Kirk]: “James Kirk, commanding the starship Enterprise.”
- [Kirk]: “Mr. Scott, ready the Transporter Room.”
- photon torpedo firing effect (x1)
- [Kirk]: “Energize”, followed by Transporter sound effect
As a bonus, if you hold down the Bridge button for five seconds, all the lights will turn on but no sound will play. This way, the Enterprise can be displayed with its lights running continuously until you press it again! (Just remember that they’re on; there is no automatic cut-off timer, so it will run until the batteries dry up hours later!)
It was only by reading about the experiences of others in regards to Diamond Select Toys’ reputation for cheap yet good quality recreations that I finally considered getting a replica of the original Enterprise. It had a good size (15” long), an appropriate selection of audio clips takes directly from the series, and the craftsmanship & attention to details were of high caliber. I wanted a collector’s replica without having to assemble a model to exacting standards myself. Playmates Toys had previously made a toy of similar size decades ago, but I didn’t want that (even if I appreciated the durability of a “toy”).
However, as this is now the fourth ‘repaint’ of the classic ship (the other three being based on “The Cage” unaired pilot-episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” series-standard, and one-time ‘evil’ variant from “Mirror, Mirror”) and was produced towards the end of the run, I have decided that many of the flaws I am about to describe are errors stemming from failing molds and tired workers, and are really limited flaws in the one piece I purchased rather than across the entire run:
- The patterned black hull lines across the top of the saucer are misaligned compared to each other.
- There is a significant warping of plastic along the front-left edge of the saucer, enough to expose a sliver of the interior.
- The left/right pieces that make up the engineering hull have a small gap between them on top.
- One of the screw covers on the left side of the engineering hull is missing/was never applied. Additionally the two covers that are present do not fit conform for a streamlined appearance.
- The printed square pattern across the right warp engine pylon is faded.
- The long vane structures across the top of the back of both warp engine nacelles are poorly fitted and show gaps.
- There are many tiny paint smudges and ticks all across the ship. (Aside from LED domes and the stand, all surfaces were painted.)
Additionally, while not a manufacturing error, I found two rather big structurally-unsound areas. The warp engine pylons have quite a bit of give; those nacelles wobble all over the place! To me, this means it would never survive even a short fall intact and could break easily if too much pressure is applied. The other is the display stand. While preserving the arrowhead (which would be adopted as the overall Starfleet emblem after The Original Series ended), I fear that the support arm could detach easily or, worse yet, snap if the ship were even casually bumped! Looks cool, but definitely needs to be reinforced in a future release. The ship is balanced properly on the stand, but you just can’t brush against it and think it’ll withstand that 6” drop. Unfortunately, I must refer to Playmate Toys’ remake-U.S.S. Enterprise from the 2009 reboot film, “Star Trek”, and say that both how it was mounted to its own unique display stand and how sturdy the warp engines were, are more suitable that what is presented here! (The morale of the story? Do not give this set to an 8yr old!)
Despite the numerous flaws above, I can still see that this is a very good recreation of the classic late-1960s design. Make no mistake, though- this is a display piece only and certainly not a toy! I liked the lighting pattern, the sound clips used were nice (though some could have been extended...), the details are well molded & painted, and proportions are correct. Mine had some errors during manufacturing, but I won’t let that get in the way of a positive recommendation for the HD Edition U.S.S. Enterprise!
|Posted 26 February, 2010 - 22:02 by EVA_Unit_4A|