Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Firefly Class - Series 3

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

Wow!  Has it really been three months (November 2016) since my last article? I guess so.  I've hinted before that I would need to take a financial hiatus for a bit so, yeah, that was the result.  I managed to scrape up some money for a birthday present to myself, hence this article.

We're going to stray away from Star Trek for once and take a look at a ship from one of my all time favorite, but short lived TV shows, "Firefly".  At least we did get a movie out of it, but it's been a LOOONG time since we've seen anything else.


We are of course talking about the ship called Serenity, a Firefly Class [Series 3] transport from the TV series called "Firefly" and the feature length movie called "Serenity".  As you can from my collection above, I have managed to acquire two variants of this ship as well as printed my own version.


Per The Firefly and Serenity Database, "The Firefly-class transport ship is a series of Multipurpose, Mid-Bulk Transport boats designed by Allied Spacecraft Corporation. The hulls and engines are constructed at ASC's shipyard at New Burbank, Osiris, with final outfitting being outsourced to a dozen smaller companies, including the newly formed Firefly Ship Works on Hera.  All Fireflys feature a large rear engine module, wing-mounted engines capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), a centralized cargo section, and raised forward section holding the crew quarters and bridge." .  The database goes on to say, "Serenity is the Firefly-class ship, named after the Serenity Valley, and captained by Malcolm Reynolds.  Serenity began her life in August 2459, when her keel was laid. She was one of the earlier Series 3 Fireflies to be constructed, eventually becoming one of a fleet of approximately 28,000. Her history for the next fifty years is largely unknown, except for the fact that she eventually came to rest in a boneyard on Hera. At the time, she was no longer flight-worthy.  She was acquired by Malcolm Reynolds in 2512, shortly after the end of the Unification War."

You can read more about this class of ship at THIS LINK and the Serenity at THIS LINK.

When it comes to getting your hands on a pre-built and pre-painted version of this ship, your choices have always been very limited.  I like my models to be a certain size and quite frankly, most available choices are bigger than I like and way beyond my pay grade.  I've done some quick searching and besides the two I'm going to share, most of the other models you can get are anywhere from $350 all the way up to $3000+!!!

Following is what I like to call the "Gravy Shots" of my articles.  I try to show you a size comparison of everything in my collection to help you make a better decision on your own purchase.

 QMX vs. MakerBot vs. Hasbro

QMX vs. MakerBot vs. Hasbro

So, without further ado, let's look at the two "affordable" ones available at the time of the writing of this article.

Hasbro

 
 
 
 

The Hasbro Serenity is actually not a model after all, but an accessory for a themed Yahtzee game.  One cool "feature" from this boxed set is that the dice have an "oriental" theme to them which falls nicely in line with the show's background.


At roughly 1/261 Scale, this model is a bit large (about 9.5 inches long) for my collecting tastes, but at the time, she was the only thing available to me at the right price.  As you can see, she's a big girl.  She's made out of some sort of rubberized plastic but is rather durable.  

I'm going to break my usual pattern for my reviews a little bit and talk about the paint work first.

The put it simply, the paint work is good.  It's not fantastic, but it gets the job done.  The main body has a bit of a weathered look painted into it thus making her look dirt and heavily used.


Although Hasbro did a fine job producing this model, she is not the most screen accurate of collector pieces.  The rubber/plastic material gives the model a bit of a softened look in regards to her molded details.  And some of her features look out of proportion to the rest of the ship.  Even so, there are still lots of details that have been molded into the model to make it nice to look at.

Some of the key elements, like the bay windows above the mess hall, as well as the airlock hatch are all present.

 

The shuttle bay doors are one of the areas where the ship just seems a bit disproportionate.  They seem awfully bulged out, giving the appearance of a balloon that's being squeezed funny.


As you can see from the following photo, there are no covers over the shuttle bays.

Photo Credit: The Firefly and Serenity Database

Another important area of the ship that has some detailing issues would be the big cargo bay underneath the ship.  It look like Hasbro over detailed the cargo door by adding one too many cross braces.


As you can see from the next picture, these extra molded details that Hasbro has chosen to include messes with the over all look of the cargo door.

Photo Credit: The Firefly and Serenity Database

The most important part of the ship though is the engines.  The Firefly class has a very distinct looking VTOL capable set of engines on thier sides.  Hasbro did a pretty decent job on thier rendering of these engines.

 

The main engine has some nice molded details for it.  The problem occurs with the lack of paint on this area of the model.  With no extra paint back here, this very important part of the ship just blends in with the rest of the hull.

 

There are a few things that make this model different than your standard collector models.

One of these "features" is the the fact that her engine compartment comes off to store your dice and pencils.


Another neat feature of this model is that it comes with removable landing gear.  this allow you to show off the model in two different configurations.

 

Personally, I show mine off without the landing gear and I just store the legs inside the dice compartment.

The end product is a still a pretty good rendition that can offer you something for your collection that won't break your bank.

QMX (Quantum Mechanix)

 
 
 
 

Quantum Mechanix has produced several models of Serenity.  This one is the smallest and measures in at around 8 inches.  They claim that she is 1:1400 Scale.  She is still sort of large for my collecting tastes, but she displays far better than the Hasbro model and she takes up less space.

The paint work on this is as well as you would expect of a more expensive display model.  Excellent.  This model has painted details galore.

 

The sculpted and molded details on this thing are downright shiny.  The model has all sorts of little nooks and crannies and QMX did and fantastic job showing them off.

 

The shuttle bays on this model are much more realistic, and there is a good reason for this fact.


A neat feature of this model is that she comes with removable shuttles.  One is in the docked configuration, while the other is in flight mode.

 
Docked Shuttle
  
Launching Shuttle

Yes, these are tiny little shuttles, so be careful not to lose them.

 

Here you can see the shuttles in the way they are meant to be displayed.


The detail work on this model can be really mind blowing.  Take a look at the cargo bay door.  QMX has even molded in the smaller hatch intio the main door.  And looking at the side of the cargo bay, you can't help but be amazed at the attention to details.

 

The VTOL engines are nicely done.  The molded details give the engines some depth to the intake and exhaust ports.

 
 

The engines have been molded to look like they have been heavily used, with scratches and dings appied in select locations.


I particularly like the attention given to the engine ring.


I think that the most impressive part of the entire model though is that main engine assembly on the back of the ship.  OMG!  This thing is decked out with the details.  Just look at those conduit pipes!  And the actual exhausts have a heavily used look to them with well applied paint.

 

This is the most inexpensive model of Serenity that QMX carries.  We'll talk about the price of this one in a little bit.  The other models they sell range in prices from $350, $3,496, and $7,495 respectively.  That's a lot of credits to hand over.

Also, on a side note, when my model arrived in it's never before opened box, it seems that one of the engine pods and struts broke at some point.  A little super glue fixed the problem, but the issue highlights the fact that the model is fragile, so be careful with her.

Conclusion

And that is all I really have to share at this point on this class of ship.  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 (March 2018).

Hasbro = $23
Quantum Mechanix = Unknown

Note: When I first published this article back in February 2017, I was able to find the model going for around $100.  In a little over a year, it appears that the model has become quite the rarity.

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.

As shiny as the QMX model is, with all of it's little details, that $100 price tag (3/18 Note: God knows how much it would be now) makes her a bit of an investment for me.  Which means that if you want a model of the Serenity, for a really good price, then I'd recommend the Hasbro Yahtzee set.



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.

MakerBot

 
 
 
 

This is my MakerBot 3D printing of Serenity from "Firefly" and "Serenity".

I got the STL files from ThingVerse and then ran it through my work's MakerBot printer.  I'm unsure of her scale, but I tried to print her out at 6 inches to keep her in size to the rest of my collection.

It's an OK rendition of the ship and at the time was all I had.  If you have access to a 3D printer, this might make for a slightly cheaper project that you would have to paint, then you could consider this as an option.




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:
Hasbro     MakerBot
QMX     Comparative Pics

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