Wednesday, December 16, 2015

EMvTW 50: USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (Constitution class)

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

[Editor's Note (June 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.]

Welcome to article #50 of my Eaglemoss vs. The World series.  This one marks a milestone for my Eaglemoss Collection as it means that I now have all of the classifications that the enterprise came in.  Yes, I know that there are still some to come, like the Enterprise J, the NX Refit and possibly the Enterprise A as well, but it still is quite impressive when you look at all of the Eaglemoss Enterprises lined up.


It gives me a sense of accomplishment looking at that picture.  Also, after writing this article, I will have written 50 articles reviewing the Eaglemoss standard line of ships, three articles about thier special editions, and two articles about thier bonus items, and one article about a special collection item.  That's a lot of "reviews".


As of now, my TOS Enterprise collection consists of and Eaglemoss, a Hot Wheels, a 2006 Hallmark ornament, a Furuta and two MicroMachines models.


For some reason, I ended up with two of Galoob's TOS enterprise MicroMachines.  Here is the better of the two.

 

Unfortunately, the small size does not lend well to painted on details and this otherwise plain looking ship looks even more generic when looked at from beneath.

Eaglemoss vs. Hot Wheels vs. Hallmark vs. Furuta

Before I get knee deep into this comparison and review, I need to point out that Hallmark has released quite a few TOS Enterprise ornaments over the years.  I will discuss these a bit more when we get to the Hallmark portion of the article, but from here on out, I will be using the 2006 Hallmark ornament for my review as in my opinion, it was the best one they did.

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.

Eaglemoss vs. Hot Wheels vs. Hallmark vs. Furuta

Eaglemoss vs. Hot Wheels vs. Hallmark vs. Furuta

As you can see, the How Wheels model is by far the largest, with Hallmark coming in second.  Eaglemoss and Furuta are close in size, but as you'll read the reviews below, are very much different.

Eaglemoss

 
 
 
 

I don't follow the design blog for Ealgemoss as I'd rather be surprised when I get the ships.  I wasn't sure what to expect with this one either.  I figured that Eaglemoss would try to do as best of a job on her as they could seeing that it is The Enterprise.  They had taken flack so many issues ago for thier Enterprise Refit.  But, I was still unsure what to expect because, quite frankly, The TOS Enterprise is a plain looking ship when compared to every other Star Trek ship out there.  I thought it would be interesting to see what they would do with it.  And I was not disappointed.

The molded details in the plastic and metal parts are simple, yet perfect.  The overall base color of the ship seems to be spot on with the filming model.  Even though, this is a relatively simple ship from a design perspective, they still managed to add in a few nice painted on details as well.  I particularly liked the lit and non-lit windows on the neck and primary hull.  These were a nice little touch, that went really far in the over all paint scheme.  Very well done Eaglemoss, very well done.

If I were doing it though, I might have made the shuttlebay doors a slightly darker color.  As it is right now, it just sort of blends in.  HOWEVER, from the quick Google search I just did, they are correct in that they were the same color as the rest of the ship.

The orange colored clear bussard collectors are a really cool touch and they match well with the F Class shuttle that Eaglemoss has just released in its Shuttlecraft Collection.  I like this in that it gives a bit of continuity between those two models.

Whenever I do these comparative reviews of Starfleet ships, I like to hyper-focus on the deflector dishes.  For me, a manufacturers attention to detail on this often small part of the ship can speak loads to me.


As for the clear plastic and red deflector, well, this was slightly disconcerting to me.  I have never seen that piece represented that way before.  I searched and searched and every time, the pictures show it as either brass or copper colored.

The last issue that I had with my model is something that Eaglemoss can't always conquer due to the small size of the ships and the weird configurations.  Sometimes the join seams just don't go flush.


The seam along the hull below the shuttlebay seemed a bit gappy.


And the joins where the nacelle struts connect to the nacelles were not very graceful.

However, we are talking about a $20 model, and quite frankly, those nacelle joins are a bear to deal with when I'm building my own models, so I can overlook this problem.

The faults aside, for the $20 you would normally pay for this ship, I was very impressed with it.

Furuta

 
 
 
 

I always like to point the following out for my first time readers.  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.

The Furuta model is a little disproportionate, especially in regards to the secondary hull.  They did try to mold some details into the plastic and quite frankly, did pretty OK with this.  The painted on details are a lot more sparse than on the Eaglemoss counterpart.

 

Looking at the deflector dish, we can see that Furuta at least got the color in the right ball park.  But that antenna...  How can I say this without being offensive?   It looks like male genitalia the way they made it so thick and elongated.  Sorry folks, I call it like I see it. They probably needed to make it this way so it wouldn't snap off, especially on such a cheap little model.


Honestly, my biggest complaint comes from looking at the nacelle struts.  Mine are bent.  This also seemed to have occurred with my Bird Of Prey (Click the link to read my review on this.) from Furuta as well.  I am curious if other people's Furuta ships had the same issue.  If yours were like this please posts a comment below.

Hallmark

When it comes to Hallmark, I have a mixed bag of emotions in regards to thier releases.  Part of the issue for me is that they only release one ship per year so the collection has taken quite a while to get where it is today.  HOWEVER, they seem to have this wish to release certain ships over and over again.  The Enterprise D (Click the link to read my review on this.) is one such case, and the TOS Enterprise has definitely been over released by Hallmark.

Here is a quick little list of what they released:

1991 - During thier very first year for doing Star Trek ships, they they released the Starship Enterprise.  They did this to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek and it featured lights.  It had to be plugged into your current tree lights though to have power. 


1995 - In addition to thier normal lineup of Star Trek ornaments, Hallmark also released a set of three tiny little ships in what they called "The Ships of Star Trek".  This set consisted of the USS Enterprise (TOS), USS Enterprise-D, and a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.  


Initially, they never stated why they had released them like this, however, in 2001, they released Deep Space 9 (Click the link to read my review on this.), which had tiny hooks on it so that you could hang this set and the one other set that they had produced in 2001 as well.


1996 - Hallamark then did another special release that fell outside of thier normal ornament run called "Star Trek: 30 Years".  This one featured the USS Enterprise with a miniature Galileo shuttlecraft from TOS.  The Enterprise was identical to the 1991 version but was made from diecast zamac with an electroplated nickel exterior.  It also lacked the lights.  The display stand did feature a voice clip of William Shatner as Kirk.


2006 - This is the one I will review very shortly after making my point about them releasing the TOS ship WAY TOO MUCH!!!  Hallmark released yet another TOS Enterprise, however, this one was based off a new sculpting.  It was powered, but only while on it's stand.  The stand would also play a synthesized version of the TOS theme.


2011 - This is one of those years where I think Hallmark just got downright grredy and tried to pull one over on the fans.  They released what they called the USS Defiant Special Edition which was shown both in an episode of TOS as well as ENT.  In reality, all it was was a glow-in-the-dark repaint of 2006 USS Enterprise AND this one had no stand, no lights, or no sound.  they also only released a limited edition of 700 that were only available at the 2011 New York Comic-Con.


2016 - And now, Hallmark has announced for next year, that they will be releasing the USS Enterprise as it appeared in the in pilot episodes configuration.  This time, they will be commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.  HOWEVER, it will be painted gold, and it will be featuring sound.  And there won't be any other ships.  REALLY?  Come on Hallmark, you subjected us to 3 years of NuTrek starships, and of all the other ships available to you, you are releasing this one?  Where's the Enterprise B?  I wouldn't be upset if this was released as an extra and we were still treated to a new ship that we have yet to have seen from them.


OK, let's get back to the review of the 2006 Hallmark ornament, which is so far, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch from Hallmark.

 
 
 
 

OK, all complaints about Hallmark's greed aside, this really is a nice looking model.  

The molded plastic details are really good looking and the paint job, for the most part is great.


They didn't paint any of the windows like Eaglemoss did and the two triangles under the saucer section are not filled in very nicely.  However, they did paint in some other nice details, particularly on the top of the saucer.


I'm really impressed with the deflector dish on this one.  The color and shape are really really good.


As I stated earlier, the ship does have the ability to light up, HOWEVER, only if it was in it's stand.  OK, I'm fine with that concept.  This is obviously meant to be a desk ornament.  SOOO.... why did they put an eye hook in the top of it?  Is this so it could be hung from a tree?  Honestly, as a collector of the Hallmark starships, I would like to display my ships on the tree.  That's what they were designed for right?  So now, I have an un-powered model of the most iconic Star Trek ship ever, hanging next to all these other brightly lit model.  It didn't make sense to me.  But I'll stop there with my complaint, because maybe this is just a problem that only I have with this model.

Overall, Hallmark had produced a nice crisp model of the ship with some lighting difficulties.

Hot Wheels

 
 
 
 

Let's take a look at the most expensive and one of the more rare of the small scale TOS Enterprises.

Hot Wheels was doing really well with thier reproductions of Star Trek ships.  I would love to know why they stopped producing them as they normally produced some high quality stuff for such relatively inexpensive toys.

The molded details in the plastic and metal parts were really well done.  I would dare say that they are on par with the Eaglemoss model.

But painting wise, How Wheels was pretty sparse when it came to some minor details.  This lack of paint becomes really apparent when you compare the saucer sections of Eaglemoss and Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels

Eaglemoss

Hot Wheels

Eaglemoss

Taking a look at the deflector dish, we see that Hot Wheels went with the traditional copper/bronze colored dish as well.


However, the antenna part of the dish leaves me giggling.  My first two thoughts were... "Hello Stubby!" and...  "It sort of reminds me of Pinocchio's nose."  I know that there are certain restraints when it comes to molding plastic and that this was the best they could do, but it still looks a bit awkward to me.

Hot Wheels had also done a nice job with their TOS Enterprise, however, due to it's rarity, the price for one is kind of high.  I got really lucky when I got mine but normally, as a collector trying to save money, the price would probably scare me away.

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.    On a couple of my other Hot Wheel models, after the third or fourth time of removing it for pictures, 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 of most ships, once they break off the display stand, they will not look so graceful in your display case.

Conclusion

At this point in my articles, I like to do a quick check on eBay to get some prices of the ships I've shared with you.  I typically will just round up the most inexpensive Buy-It-Now prices (with shipping included in that price) from eBay at the time of this article's writing.

Eaglemoss = $25 (12/15) - $67 (06/16)
Furuta = $32 (12/15) - $13 (06/16)
Hallmark 1991 = $40 (12/15) - $65 (06/16)
Hallmark 1996 = $22 (12/15) - $26 (06/16)
Hallmark 2006 = 25 (12/15) - $29 (06/16)
Hallmark 2011 (Defiant) = $596 (12/15) - $750 (06/16)
Hot Wheels = $111 (12/15) - $85 (06/16)
MicroMachine = $14 (No Change)

Editor's Note (June 2016): I sometimes find it interesting that when I re-write these articles and do a new price search on the models, how much the prices can fluctuate in 6 to 12 months.  The TOS style Enterprise is no exception.  In those cases when the prices jump dramatically, it will sometimes change the outcome of my final decision.

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 this is where my opinion can sometimes change.  Here was my original recommendation...

"Even with it's red deflector dish, Eaglemoss' model came out on top for me.  Even with the prices the same, Eaglemoss did a far better job on thier Enterprise on thier first attempt at making it, than Hallmark was able to do on thier second attempt at making this ship.  Although Eaglemoss doesn't light up or play music, it still looks nicer during a close up visual inspection."

HOWEVER...  The scarcity of the Eaglemoss model has driven it's price up 2.68 times which for me as a collector trying to save money makes quite a difference.  My new recommendation is now...

"Given the scarcity and the price hiking that has occurred with Eaglemoss' model, I would have to give this one to the 2006 Hallmark model.  It's a well done model that looks great on your desk and in your collection."



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.

Project Time Trap
[1:2500 AMT Round 2 Kitbash]

I was watching TAS one evening and after seeing the episode titled "The Time Trap", I got inspired to build a quick little kitbash of sorts.  In it, the Enterprise joins forces with the Klingons to escape from a very bad situation.  They combine thier two ships to help better utilize the power from both of them.  


The idea to do this quick silly little project suddenly popped into my head.  I had extra TOS era ships in my inventory so what the heck. 

v1

 
 
 
 

This is v1 of the project. It went together rather quick with little to no difficulty.

After building the model, something just didn't seem realistic to me.  Just having the two ships connected like felt really off to me so I decided to do some ad-hoc bracing. 

v2

 
 
 
 

Unfortunately, it now really does look like the enterprise is humping the Klingon vessel.  I'd hate to see that offspring.  Oh wait, you can, it's Martin Shepherd's CD7 Class!


I won't say anymore about that model though as it earned itself a whole separate article.  You can read more about the CD7 Class 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.

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

Additional Links To Photos Of My Collection:
Eaglemoss     Furuta
Project Time Trap: v1     v2     WIP

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