Friday, December 12, 2014

EMvTW 11 - USS Reliant NCC-1864 (Miranda class)

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

[Editor's Note (February 2016): This will mark my second re-write of this article.  Now that I've written over 50 of these Eaglemoss vs. The World articles, I feel like I've developed a certain style and flow to the articles and I wanted to make all of them have that same feel across the series.  Consider this the REFIT version of the original article.]

If the Borg Sphere was my shortest article in the "Eaglemoss vs. The World" series, then this will probably be the longest as I have quite a collection of Miranda ships in my fleet.


My Miranda Class collection is made up of a Hallmark, Eaglemoss, Furuta, two Hot Wheels, two standard MicroMachines and one of the Saratoga MicroMachines variants.

Before we get into the comparing of the four main models, let's look quickly at the MicroMachines variants.

 
USS Reliant (NCC1864)

 
USS Saratoga (NCC-31911)

Galoob did a nice job with these tiny little ships.  On occasion, as is the case with these rubberized variants, you get some slight drooping or warping (no pun intended) of the nacelles.  It was cool that they did the Saratoga from the opening scenes of DS9's pilot episode, but the ship just looks too drab without the customary roll-bar that people seem to love on the Miranda class ships.

Eaglemoss vs. Furuta vs. Hallmark vs. Hot Wheels

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", the one picture I wished I had seen long ago, and the main reason I started this blog.

Eaglemoss vs. Furuta vs. Hallmark vs. Hot Wheels

Eaglemoss vs. Furuta vs. Hallmark vs. Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels vs. Hallmark vs. Furuta vs. Eaglemoss

The ships are all pretty close in size and quite frankly, they all have thier charms about them which will make the final decision on the best one a difficult thing to do.

Eaglemoss

 
 
 
 

Eaglemoss really outdid itself with thier rendition of the Reliant.  The sculpting and molding work is superb.  The paint job on her is phenomenal and even bears a slight aztecing to the saucer.  Their attention to the little details is on par with thier rendition of the Enterprise D, but not as busy which in my opinion probably puts this one at the top of the list of best model so far.  

If you follow my articles, you know that I like to pay special attention to the deflector dishes on Starfleet vessels.  A manufacturer's attention to this part of the ship speaks loads on the quality of the model.  


I know, you're now saying, "Ha, they got you." when it came time for me to talk about the deflector dishes on the Reliant.  There has been tons of debate about this and sadly, the persons who designed the ship have not spoken up about it.  What's more frustrating is that Eaglemoss has prided themselves on talking to the original designers, and giving us the juicy details on how these ships came into being.  I would have loved to see them finally squash the big debate.  HOWEVER, they didn't.  A lot of speculation on the internet is that this ship did indeed have deflector dishes, however due to shadowing and thier size, a lot of people just didn't realize what they were.  The area circled on my picture above and below show the locations of the ship's deflector and sensor systems (according to my research, which could very well be wrong as well).  As you can see, Eaglemoss failed to paint them any sort of color, but given that most manufacturers never did, I'm willing to overlook it.  


They did a really nice job on the "roll bar" and weapons pod assembly.  The molding brings out all the important details and the painting gives it that extra oomph.

Furuta


 
 
 
 

I always point the following out 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.

Furuta is the smallest of the Big Four renditions of the Reliant.  Knowing what I've said about gashapon models though, I have to say that although it's not a perfect model, it was still pretty well done.  However, it's not perfect.  

Looking at her topside, the RCS thrusters are not in the right place.  That coupled with the fact that she had two, not three of them.  I like that they molded and painted windows on her to give her some extra detailing.  

The bottom is where things get a bit dodgy.  They didn't paint the phaser banks so they just blend in with the rest of the details and Furuta continued with the wrongly placed RCS thrusters.  At least they kept them symmetrical with the ones on the top side.


Focusing our attention to the deflector dishes, we see that they took the same approach as other manufacturers and left them unpainted.  They did make a nice attempt at giving the bridge module some color to make it stand out.  


The painting on the edges of the "roll bar" is rather shoddy.  I'm not sure why they even painted there as they could have gotten away with a plain white job.  They did mold in the details of the torpedo launchers in the weapons pod and even painted them to make them stand out a little more.  Although it doesn't look that accurate this way, it does serve a purpose in drawing attention to the fact that there is something there.

Hallmark


  
 
 
 

Hallmark's attempt at making a Miranda in 2008 was not too shabby, however, there are a few little issues.  First of all, because the model is lit, certain parts are thicker than they would be in a true to-scale model, but it could not be helped on something this small. 

Looking at the top side of the model, the ship's name is too big, thus causing them to leave off the details for the center phaser bank.  

On the bottom, you see the obvious seem where the battery goes in.  That can't be helped.  

But other than that, it's a pretty good model.



Taking a closer look at the deflector dishes, we find that the ones on the saucer, just like other models, are not colored, however, it appears that Hallmark decided to give the one on the weapons pod a little bit of differing color.

The edges of the "roll bar" are painted, but with them being a clean paint job, it looks pretty nice.  Hallmark molded photon torpedo launchers into the weapons pod, The painting on the inside of the weapons pod is slightly off.


This is one of the newer Hallmark ornaments that is self powered.  The inside of the nacelles and impulse engine and impulse crystal all glow.



Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels actually produced three Miranda Class models.  The first one was the USS Reliant.  the second one was a battle damaged USS Reliant and the the third model was a USS Saratoga.

Let's deal with the battle damaged one first and get that out of the way.  All they really did, was take the USS Reliant model and stick heat apply decals to it that look like damage.  I honestly think that this was a waste.  If they really wanted to give the fans a treat, they would have removed one of the nacelles and the weapons pod.

As for the other two variants that Hot Wheels did, the only difference is the ship name and registry and a tiny bit of extra detailing.



There is a lot of confusion as to why Hot Wheels decided to do this particular Saratoga.  This registry does not appear in any cannon material.  I think that Hot wheels was hoping to move in on the Deep Space 9 series and thought they were replicating Sysko's Saratoga, but got it horribly wrong.  The other thought was that they were trying to replicate the ship from ST4: the Voyage Home, that was disabled by the Whale Probe.  If this is actually the case, then they messed up the registry number which in that movie was NCC-1887.  What ever they were going for here, it was a dumb idea to just re-use the the same ship.  The one advantage though was in the case of saving money.  When I first starting buying Hot Wheels ships, it was cheaper to get the Saratoga so I initially bought that one.  Later, when I decided to refine my collection, I went back and then bought the Reliant.

OK, enough on that.  Hot Wheels has already gotten more attention than they deserve as you will see below.  Let's refocus on what we are really here for,

USS Reliant (NCC-1864)

 
 
 
 

Normally, Hot Wheels does a good job giving the other manufacturers a run for thier money.  The Miranda model is one of the cases where I think Hot Wheels seriously dropped the ball.  Although it is a nice hefty model with great molded details, her paint job leaves you crying out for more.

Just looking at the top side,she is missing the detail paint on the phaser banks, the RCS thrusters and even on those areas that reside above the hanger bays.  Really?  Even the "cheap" Furuta model covered all the basics.

At least Hot Wheels labeled the hanger bay doors.  They must have spent all the paint budget doing just that.

And the bottom side just continues in the tradition of the disappointing lack of paint.  And you also can see the very noticeable seam where the top and bottom of the primary hull were put together.

That brings us to the deflector dish comparison section of the review.  As is typical with the other manufacturers, the dish is not painted and just blends in.  


The weapons pod is clearly an area that could have shined better than the other manufacturer's models, had they not been so skimpy on the paint.  I think that the molding of the torpedo launchers is by far the best of all of them, but this detail is lost in the "white-out" conditions that is occurring all over the model.


In reality, had Hot Wheels not been so terribly stingy with the painting on this one, it would have been a serious contender for "Best Bang For The Buck" award, however, at this point, I am wondering why I even have two of them in my collection.

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.    After the third time of removing it for pictures, the stand snapped off, leaving the ball joint stuck in the ship.  This has not occurred yet on this model, but I would imagine it's just a matter of time before it does.  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. 

Conclusion

And that is all the pictures and comparisons I have to share on this ship at this time.  Which brings us to the pricing portion of my article.  As usual, 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 writing.

Eaglemoss = $27
Furuta = $32
Hallmark = $37
Hot Wheels Reliant = $30
Hot Wheels Saratoga = $32
Micro Machine Reliant = $6
Micro Machine Saratoga = $21

I would now like to wrap this article up by giving you my opinion on which ship gives you the best bang for your buck.  That's my crude way of saying, which one is the best buy.

And so, in conclusion, if you ask me what the "Best Bang For The Buck" is, I would have to say that Eaglemoss wins this one, but only a little bit.  Hallmark's self powered light up model come in really close for me, especially for what you get at that price.  save your money and don't bother with the Hot Wheels versions as they are too expensive for what you are getting.



BONUS ROUND!!!

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.

As it turns out, the Miranda class is a bit of a fan favorite and as such has gotten all sorts of attention in the form of lots of variations.  

In fact, I have so many variants in my collection, that it warranted writing up a whole separate article about them.  You can read that article by following THIS LINK.



Anyway, I hope you found this article useful and informative.  Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions below.

So for now, "Live Long And Prosper!"

Additional Links To Photos Of My Collection:
Eaglemoss     Furuta     Hallmark
Hot Wheels     Reliant     Saratoga
MicroMachine     Reliant     Saratoga  
Comparative Shots

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