Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EMvTW 08 - USS Excelsior NCC-2000 (Excelsior class)

NOTE:  You can click on most pictures to get a larger view of them.

Moving right along with my Eaglemoss vs. The World series, we now take a look at issue #8, the USS Excelsior.  We are first introduced to this ship in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock where she tries to chase down the USS Enterprise as it escapes from Spacedock.

My collection of this ship is relatively small as there were not a lot of choices to go with when collecting a small scale version.  Currently, I have an Eaglemoss, a Hot Wheels, a Furuta, and two MicroMachines models.

Per Memory Alpha and Beta, "The Excelsior-class was a type of Federation starship used by Starfleet from the late 23rd century through the late 24th century. It was the backbone of Starfleet for nearly a century, making it one of the longest serving starship designs, and one of the most recognizable ships in the fleet."  They go on to say this about the USS Excelsior, "The USS Excelsior (NX-2000, later NCC-2000) was a 23rd century Federation Excelsior-class starship operated by Starfleet. Excelsior was the prototype of her class.  Dubbed "The Great Experiment," the Excelsior was conceived during the early 2280s as the first Starfleet vessel equipped with transwarp drive. An awe-inspiring concept to some, traditional engineers were more skeptical, as in the case of Montgomery Scott, who expressed his doubt in transwarp technology with the analogy, "and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon."  sadly, the drive technology was a failure, however, the ship design went on to become a huge success in starfleet.

If you would like to read more official stuff on this type of ship, feel free to check out the following links:

Excelsior Class Information: Memory Alpha LINK and Memory Beta LINK
USS Excelsior (NCC-2000) Information: Memory Alpha LINK and Memory Beta LINK

As you saw in my collection picture, I own two MicroMachine models.


I'm not sure how I ended up with two of them, but I did.  It's a nice little toy, although the coloring is a bit dark.  The nacelles also suffer from the bending rubber due to thier length.  That is all I will share about them for now as I try to focus my reviews on the slightly larger models.


I'm going to break from tradition and alphabetical order and talk about the Furuta model first.

Before we get into that though, I always like to point out the following for my first time readers that Furuta is a Japanese company that produced a series of gashapon toys.  Gashapon toys are meant to be nothing more than cheap little $1 to $5 bubble gum machine prizes.  I like to remind my readers of this fact so that they can take any critical reviews I may make in the spirit it is given.  I am in no way expecting these toys to be on the level of a Hallmark, Eaglemoss or Hot wheels toy.  I found a neat video about these types of toys and you can check that out at THIS LINK.


Although Furuta did release thier own version of this ship, it was done during thier Volume 3 era where all of thier ships were small.  In fact, the Furuta model was actually smaller than the MicroMachine model.

MicroMachine vs. Furuta

MicroMachine vs. Furuta

I have to say, for it's size though, it's a nice looking little ship.

The sculpted and molded details are actually fairly decent for such a tiny and cheap little toy.  All of the important parts of the ship were etched into the model.

They did a fairly decent job on the paint scheme as well, although they did not highlight the phaser arrays, which leaves the bottom of the saucer section looking very plain.

I was never a big fan of the large open area on the bottom of the secondary hull.  I thought it was a huge waste of open space.  Most models that I've built using Excelsior parts will usually get this area filled in by me.  Furuta's rendition of this hangar bay is OK, but nothing spectacular to write home about.

When I build my own models, I find that I am not a big fan of the painting process.  I particularly despise painting the nacelles from 1:2500 scale Excelsior class ships.  Given how tiny the Frutua model is, I am super impressed with the paint work on thier nacelles.

Whenever I review a Starfleet ship, I like to hyper-focus on the deflector dish as it usually gives me a good idea of the level of attention to details that a manufacturer puts into thier models.  Let's face it, this is a very important part of the ship and should be accurately represented.

Let us remember that the Furuta toy is supposed to be a cheaply made model.  But I have to tell you, we are getting more than our money's worth here.  Furuta managed to not only mold in some details to thier recessed dish, but they even painted it which makes it more visible.

All in all, the Furuta model is nicely done for such a cheap little toy.

Eaglemoss vs. Hot Wheels

One of my biggest complaints about Hallmark besides waiting an entire year for a new model, is that they seem to have forgotten some classic ships to present to us.  They never produced an Excelsior, and I think the collecting world is missing out on something because of that.

As I started getting into collecting and wanting to expand my collection, I found a serious lack of  comparative data out there showing the various small scale pre-built and pre-painted ships available to the collector.  And so I set out to provide this information myself and hopefully help someone make a wiser decision in which model to buy.

So now I present to you what I like to call "the gravy shot", a series of pictures I wished I had seen long ago, and the main reason I started this blog.

 Top = Eaglemoss / Bottom = Hot Wheels

 Top = Eaglemoss / Bottom = Hot Wheels

As you can see from the comparative pictures, there is a major difference in size between the two ships.  There are also some subtle differences in the paint jobs on both ships.



I think the thing that was the most shocking about the Eaglemoss model was it's size.  Up until this model, all of the Eaglemoss Standard Edition models have been a nice handful.  But not so with the Excelsior.

"Let's get small..."

Eaglemoss has used the same sized box for all of thier models.  And I suppose for cost reasons, they are trying to ensure that all of thier models remain affordable by keeping them at a size that fits inside that box.  Unfortunately, the Excelsior is a very long vessel.  and when you try to scale that length down to fit inside the standard sized box, you end up with a model that just looks a bit tiny.

The details on the Eaglemoss model are pretty good... for the most part.  The model sports tons of sculpted and molded in details all over it.  There are lots of panel lines and all of the key components have been molded in.

There is tons of paint on this model.  The ship sports some light aztecing which gives the top and bottom of the saucer section some added flair.  And Eaglemoss did a nice job of accenting the phaser banks and RCS thrusters on her top half as well.  

And then you flip her over and you realize that they must have blown thier budget on paint with the aztecing.  There is supposed to be a big thick ring painted ring on the underside of the saucer section, and it is clearly missing, as are the RCS thrusters.  The sensor dome is also missing some much needed details, which causes it to just blend into the bottom of the saucer section.

Although Eaglemoss' handling of the area around the secondary shuttle bay is not accurate, I like the fact that it is filled in, so they get bonus point from me.  I think that they would have had a hard time producing this in an open format too.  I just wish that they had not used up all thier paint from the aztecing, then maybe they could have added a little color in this area.

The nacelles are one of the biggest selling points for this model.  I love the fantastic usage of the clear blue plastics.

HOWEVER, you can clearly see two nagging issues on my model in regards to this important part of the ship.

First, my nacelles are not aligned very well.  Apparently, this is a more common issue as I've seen some of my fellow reviewers complain about it.

The second issue is unfortunately caused by the use of so much clear plastics.  You can clearly see the join spot on the top clear pieces, which takes on the appearance of a bubble.  Come on now, the warp bubble is supposed to form on the outside of the ship!  LOL!  Unfortunately, I don't think this could have been avoided... or could it???

I guess we can now take a look at Eaglemoss' deflector dish.

Eaglemoss really dropped the ball here.  Eaglemoss went from being super detailed on the top of the ship, and just downright cut back on the bottom of the ship.  And for the deflector dish, they are just going to blob some paint and call it a dish.  They probably could have blobbed a little paint on the upper torpedo launchers as well just to make them stand out from the rest of the neck.  The molded details around my deflector dish seem a bit messed up as well, like someone dinged the model and then painted over it to try to cover up thier mistake.

Putting that deflector dish aside, the Eaglemoss model is a small, but good representation of the ship.

Hot Wheels


This ship is almost too big for my collection tastes.  As I stated earlier, the Excelsior is a very long ship and for the Hot Wheels 1:50 line of models, this equates to a very large model.  I know, I can't be pleased right?  I feel the Eaglemoss ship is too small, and I think this one is too big.

Looking at the top side, they did a great job with the metal and plastic molding, allowing for nice highlights of the various details of the ship.  This great detailing is equally well done on the bottom part of the model as well

As for the paint work, the model is equally well done and the ship is nice and bright with lots of details painted on both the top and bottom of the model.  The only small issues that I came up with is that the bridge paint is a little sparse, allowing it to blend in with the rest of the saucer section.  The back of the engineering hull is plain white and I believe it should be slightly grey in color.  And lastly, they did not paint any red into the impulse engines.  Other than that, it looks great.

Looking at the bottom side of the saucer section, this is where I feel that the paint detail far surpasses Eaglemoss' rendition of the ship.  All of the important pieces are represented as well as some detailing here and there that just make the ship pop.  There is one glaring mistake though.  The registry number is facing the wrong way.

Hot Wheels even did a good job with the secondary shuttle bay.  I like the addition of the paint, thus making this part of the ship stand out more.

I am thinking that I like Hot Wheels' approach to the nacelles better than Eaglemoss'.  Hot Wheels also used clear blue plastics, but only topped the nacelles with them and instead went with psinting the side grills a greyish black.  I personally think they don't look overbearing when colored in this manner.  AND... there is a clear lacking of that join bubble that Eaglemoss had, so I guess the issue could have been avoided.

Taking a nice close look at the deflector dish, we can see that they gave the ship a little extra attention here with the plastic molding as well as paint.  I also like that they gave the upper torpedo launchers a little dash of paint to make them stand out at well.

WARNING: One last note about the Hot Wheels ship.  I used to think it was just an issue with one of my other ships, but as time has gone by, it appears to be a manufacturer issue with all of thier different types of ships.  The stand fits very snugly into the underside of the ship.  I started noticing that my ship was gradually tipping forward as the front of the ship was much heavier on the model.  I would periodically readjust it.    Although this has yet to happen to my Excelsior, on other ships, after several times of removing it for pictures and other purposes, the stand snapped off, leaving the ball joint stuck in the ship.  Obviously, these are not meant to be "played" with and are for display purposes only.  Given the shape if most ships, once they break off the display stand, they will not look so graceful in your display case.

That warning aside, the Hot wheels model is a really nice display piece that had a lot of work put into it.


And that is all the pictures and comparisons I have to share on this ship at this time.  As for pricing, I will continue with the tradition of rounding up the most inexpensive Buy-It-Now prices from eBay at the time of this article's (re)writing (February 2018).

Eaglemoss = $30
Furuta = $10
Hot Wheels = $32
Micro Machine = $7

NOTE: Prices were researched last on February 20th, 2018.  Unfortunately, at the time that I am re-writing this, Eaglemoss does not have this ship in stock on thier website.

We now come to the part of my article where I like to give you my opinion of which ship gives you the "best bang for the buck", which is my rough way of telling you which one is the best one to get, for the best price.  To put this in a nutshell, when I write these, I am trying to give my opinion of which model is the best for the least cost.

This one turns out to be a no-brainer as far as which one is the best bang for your buck.  Although Eaglemoss does a fine job of making a model of this ship, they just can't compete with Hot Wheels attention to details and it's size.  


Every once in a while, I'll have a little extra stuff to share with you that sort of fits in with my comparison articles.

It was bound to eventually happen as you can't have a Star Trek starship collection without making ALL of the Enterprises.  So for issue #40, Eaglemoss finally produced thier rendition of the Enterprise B, which is technically an Excelsior Class Refit.  You can read my review of the Excelsior Class Refit by clicking on THIS LINK.

As always, I hope you found this article useful and informative.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

So for now, "Live long and prosper!!!"

Additional Links To Photos Of My Collection:
Eaglemoss     Furuta     Hot Wheels   
MicroMachine (Good     Marked Up)
Comparative Shots

Other Reviewers Take On The Eaglemoss Model:
Some Kind Of Star Trek
Star Trek Starship Collection

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