Friday, December 12, 2014

EMvTW 11 - USS Reliant NCC-1864 (Miranda Class Refit)

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

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.  The Miranda class is probably one of the highest rated fan favorites in the franchise right after the TOS Era Enterprise and her TMP era counterpart.Refit.  We are first introduced to this style of ship in the form of the USS Reliant (NCC-1864) which graces the big screen in the movie, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan".  We then get to see this class of ship used quite a bit in several of the series.


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


Per Memory Alpha and Beta, "The Miranda-class starship was a type of starship introduced by Starfleet in the late 23rd century and remained in use through the late 24th century."  They go on to say, "The USS Reliant (NCC-1864) was a 23rd century Federation Miranda-class starship operated by Starfleet. In 2285, the Reliant was commanded by Captain Clark Terrell."

I am classifying this ship as a Miranda Class Refit.  Although we never see a TOS era version of this type of ship on screen, there is a reference to the Reliant in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode called "Court Martial" where the Reliant's registry is seen on the wall in the background of one of the scenes, indicating that she was in dock for repairs.  Using that as a point of reference, it can be rationalized that what we see in Star Trek II is in fact, a refit version of the ship, much like we are treated to a refit Constitution class in the movies.

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

Miranda Class Information: Memory Alpha LINK and Memory Beta LINK
USS Reliant (NCC-1864) Information: Memory Alpha LINK and Memory Beta LINK

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

 
USS Reliant (NCC1864)

 
Unlabeled Miranda Class

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.  The second ship in my collection was an extra that I had picked up somewhere.  Not wanting two Reliants in my "fleet", I had markered over the ship's registry.

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

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.  

It has superb sculpt work and molded details.  All those panel lines are crisp and clear and Eaglemoss included the phaser banks and other important features.  


I like the fact that Eaglemoss added in some molded details to those areas of the hull that reside over the shuttle bays.


The paint job on this model 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 the over all appearance is not as busy, which in my opinion probably puts this one at the top of the list of best Eaglemoss model so far.  My only niggling issues is that I wish they had given a little more paint attention to that sensor assembly on the bottom of the primary hull.


The join and seam along the bottom of the hull is blended well to look like it is part of the panel lines.

The engineering section of the ship has also received some great attention both in the molded details department as well as the painted details.

 

While we are back here, let us take a look at the shuttle bay access and impulse engines exhausts.  I'm glad that Eaglemoss chose to at least add some sort of decals to the shuttle doors, otherwise, the lack of paint on the doors would have caused them to blend in.  I also wish that they had made the engine exhaust red instead of yellow.


The nacelles are done up brilliantly with Eaglemoss' great use of clear blue plastic.  I particularly like the molded detailing in those grills.


Of course, you can't have a review of the USS Reliant without taking a good look at that roll-bar that contains weapons and sensors.  The sculpt work is once again nicely done, right down to those phaser cannons on the ends.


The nice sculpt work carries into the actual torpedo launchers too.  The addition of paint to the launcher section, while slightly off center, still brings some needed highlight to this area, and it keeps the launchers from just blending in and us losing sight of thier molded details.


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 where they were.  


The areas circled on my pictures above and below show the locations of the ship's deflector and sensor systems.  At least this is what my online research has informed me.  This information could of course be wrong as well, but it gives us something to talk about.  


Something about these not having any kind of paint to allow them to be more noticable bothers me.  


However, most manufacturers have also chosen to go this non paint route, and given that they don't appear to have any color on screen, I guess we'll have to forgive Eaglemoss and everyone else.  😀

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.  

The model features lots of sculpted and molded details.  The quality surprised me given the original cost of the toy.  All of the tiny windows was a nice bonus.


The paint work, or in some areas, the lack of paint, is what causes this model to lose lots of points.

Looking at her topside, the RCS thrusters are not in the right place, not to mention, the ship had two thrusters points, not three of them.  

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


The rear of the ship isn't too bad though with lots of molded detailing going on.


The lack of paint on the bottom rear makes the model look rather plain when compared to the Eaglemoss model.


Swing to the back of the ship, the shuttle bays look great with the molded details and those doors being painted blue looks good too.  And Furuta even painted the engine with some red to highlight the exhaust areas.


The nacelles are not bad at all.  They are molded to show off all the correct details and the paint work is not bad at all.


I like the Fact the Furuta painted the front of each nacelle as well.  Although this detail is not screen accurate, it does give the ship a little more color.


The painting on the front 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 appearance.  


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.


Focusing our attention to the deflector dishes, we see that Furuta 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 noticable.  


The Furuta model does have some charm, but it doesn't quite measure up to the other manufacturers.  Given that it was a cheap toy, I suppose that this can be forgivable.

Hallmark


 
 
 
 

Hallmark's attempt at making a Miranda class 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. 

The sculpt work and molded details on this model are excellent.  They are crisp and clear and show off all the major and important areas of the ship.  Hallmark even molded in some tiny windows along the sides of the hull.


For the most part, the paint work is great.

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

The detail work for the RCS thrusters is nicely done and well placed, and the painted details on the bridge module are cool to look at.  I particularly like that Hallmark added a little paint to the bottom sensor dome thus drawing some attention to it as well


Sadly, that attention does draw your attention to the obvious seam where the battery goes in.  That "feature" can't be helped, and the fact that it isn't overbearing is a good thing.  I also like that they chose to put the power button on the bottom of the model too, which helps hide it from plain sight.

All the attention to details carries over to the engineering section of the ship.  The engine crystal is made from a molded clear blue plastic and this part of the model even lights up.


Sadly, there is a lack of paint on the bottom of the engineering section, but we are treated to yet another clear blue plastic piece that also lights up.


When I look at the rear of the Hallmark model, I am simply amazed at how well this has been executed.  Those shuttle bay doors with thier vibrant blue and number decals is fantastic.  The impulse engine exhausts are done up in clear red plastic that once again lights up when the model is powered on.


I am particularly fond of how Hallmark handled the nacelles.


The molded details are fine, but the fact that the manufacturer only put clear blue plastic on the inside parts of the nacelles is really close to how the studio model looked.  And these clear blue plastics light up too.


It is now time to take a good hard look at how Hallmark handled the roll-bar.

The parts on the roll-bar seem to be a bit out of proportion and while I would like to chalk it up to wiring, there are no parts that light up in this section of the ship.  My only guess is that Hallmark wanted to try to keep the thickness in line with the nacelle struts so that the roll-bar didn't look oddly different from the other parts of the ship.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 and they painted this part of the ship to give it a more menacing look.  And from this angle, you can see that those phaser cannons are a bit fatter than they should be, but this follows the thickness theme of the entire roll-bar.


Taking a closer look at the deflector and sensor parts, we find that the ones on the saucer, just like other models, are not colored.


In a surprise move though, it looks like Hallmark decided to give the one on the weapons pod a little bit of differing color.


I have kept referring to the fact that this model light up.  This is one of the newer Hallmark ornaments that is self powered which means that it runs on batteries and does not need to be plugged into a light strand.


The inside of the nacelles and impulse engine and impulse crystal all glow.


The Hallmark model has a few flaws, but honestly, it is a good model and I'm willing to overlook those flaws because of how cool it looks when it is powered on.

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels was granted the rights to produce some Star Trek ships.  This series was done as part of thier 1:50 scale line, even though that measurement was way off in most cases.  The models were sold in the same sized boxes that thier 1:50 scale cars would be sold in, hence the scale confusion.

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 and scorch marks.  I honestly think that this was a waste.  If they really wanted to give the fans a treat, they should have removed one of the nacelles and the weapons pod.

Photo Credit: Amazon

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

USS Reliant (NCC-1864) vs. USS Sratoga (NCC-1867)

 USS Reliant (NCC-1864) vs. USS Sratoga (NCC-1867)

USS Reliant (NCC-1864) vs. USS Sratoga (NCC-1867)

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 Nine series and thought they were replicating Benjamin Sisko's Saratoga, but then they got it horribly wrong.  The other thought was that they were trying to replicate the ship from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that was disabled by the Whale Probe.  If this is actually the case, then they messed up with the registry number.  That ship's registry number was NCC-1887.  What ever Hot Wheels was going for here, it was a dumb idea to just re-use the the same model.  The one advantage to this dupliction 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.  since both models are essentially the same, I'm just going to talk about the Reliant.

USS Reliant (NCC-1864)
 
 
 
 

WARNING: One 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. 

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.  This model has a nice hefty feel to it with all of the die cast metal that makes up the majority of the body.


The sculpt work and molded detail are really well done on the Hot Wheels model.  Seeing all of the important aspects of the ship molded in, like the phaser banks and RCS Thrusters had my hopes up when checking over this model.  There are even tiny windows molded into the model all along the sides.


The paint work is what really leave you crying out in agony on this model.

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.

The bottom of the model 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.

When we look at the engineering section of the ship, the one saving grace for the model is the use of clear plastics for the engine crystal.  


How Wheels also graced us with another clear blue plastic piece on the bottom to break up that sea of white paint.


When we focus on the rear of the ship, I was actually surprised by the amount of paint work that occurred back here.  The shuttle bay doors are painted blue and are even numbered!  WOW!  And the impulse engine exhausts have been painted in the correct red color.  Double WOW!


OK, I am willing to admit that the model isn't a complete disappointment.  The nacelles have been nicely molded and even painted well.


And Hot Wheels used clear blue plastics on the inner parts of those nacelles, so we can award a few more points to Hot Wheels for technical accuracy on this part of the ship.


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 these detail are lost in the "white-out" conditions that is occurring all over the model, and especially on the roll-bar.


Sigh.  Is it a torpedo launcher or a snowball launcher?  I can't tell because of all that white.


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


This is even more true on the weapons pod.


In reality, had Hot Wheels not been so terribly stingy with the painting on this model, 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.

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 (re)writing (March 2018).

Eaglemoss = $30
Furuta = $30
Hallmark = $25
Hot Wheels Reliant = $59
Hot Wheels Saratoga = $17
Micro Machine Reliant = $9

NOTE: Prices were researched last on March 7th, 2018.  As of the writing of this article, you can also currently order the Eaglemoss model right from the company themselves for around $23 (shipping unknown).

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.

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 by a little bit.  The Eaglemoss model has better detail and paint work.  Hallmark's self powered light up model comes in at a really close second place for me, especially for what you get at that price.  My last piece of advice is to just save your money and avoid the Hot Wheels stuff.  Thier Reliant isn't worth the money and in the case of the Saratoga, you get what you paid for, a cheap knock-off.



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.  

USS Saratoga (NCC-31911)

First up, let us talk about the USS Saratoga (NCC-31911) from the premiere episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  


Eaglemoss eventually got around to making thier own model of this ship which warranted my removing a few models from this Eaglemoss vs. The World Reliant review.  This allowed me to beef up that new review a tiny bit with appropriate models.  If you are interested in reading that review, you can check it out at THIS LINK.

Miranda Class Variants

Over the years, I have built quite a few variants of the Miranda Class.  Some of these were preexisting resin kits from garage kit makers, while others were models that someone else had built and I decided to try my hand at building them at 1:2500 scale.  Some of those models were just drawings that someone had shared and I then built a static version of thier idea and there were even some times where I came up with my very own design.


The Dakota, Peregrine and Hippocrates class ships were all resin models from garage kit makers.  I have written reviews on all three of these kits so if you wish to learn more about those ships, please check out the following links:

Resin Kit Review: Cozmo Heavy Industries 1:2500 Dakota Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Resin Kit Review: Cozmo Heavy Industries 1:2500 Peregrine Class Starship
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Resin Kit Review: Cozmo Heavy Industries 1:2500 Hippocrates Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

The next type of model that I want to share is the type where I saw someone build a model and decided to make an attempt at duplicating that build in 1:2500 scale for my personal collection.

Miranda Class (TOS Era)
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

The next two models I want to talk about are ones that I like to classify as "From Paper To Plastic" models, meaning that I saw sketches of the model done by someone else, and then I went and built an actual static model from 1:2500 scale parts.

Avenger Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Zodiac Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

And the last type of model I'll share under the category of Miranda Class Variants is models that I designed and built on my own.  And right now, I only have one that classifies for this.

Chiroptera Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Miranda/Constitution Class Hybrids

The fun aspect of kitbashing is that you can re-imagine standard ship types in new configurations.  One style of kitbashing involves merging the technology from a Constitution Class with that of a Miranda Class, and that's what this next group of model is.  The top three models pictured below were designs that I've seen others build, and I decided to mimic thier work, while the bottom starship is my own design.


The first group of ship are once again, models that someone else built and then I had a try at building them in 1:2500 scale.  The Vagabond Refit was never built by the original designer, I just liked to take it a step further and see what she would have looked like during the TMP era.

Vagabond Class
Vagabond Class Refit
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Starstalker Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Spartan Class
You can read all about this ship at THIS LINK.

Terran/Klingon Class Hybrid

The last share that I have for you falls under yet another subsection of Miranda variant.  Sometimes, whether it's by choice or by necessity. two races may combine thier technology.  Kitbashing allows us to bring these type of ship to reality.


I only have one ship that fits this classification.

Praetorius Class
You can read all about this ship at 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     Hallmark
Hot Wheels ( Reliant     Saratoga )
MicroMachine ( Reliant     Markered )
Comparative Shots

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

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