Star Trek: Hot Wheels USS Enterprise and USS Reliant by Mattel

I’ve always been a fan of the starship designs in the various Star Trek series, but the original films were always my favorites. Designs like the Motion Picture Enterprise, The Reliant, The Excellcior were all just so cool. Its obvious that the various toy companies who have held the Trek license over the years have had different ideas on how to market these massive vehicles and I can appreciate the problem. When they make them really big (like Playmates or Diamond Select has), they become pricey as well as difficult to collect and display, and apart from the lights and sounds, these ships don’t really do anything to make them exciting toys. Its not like they have any moving parts or firing missile launchers and there’s no way to make them in scale to interact with figures. On the flipside, in the 90s Micro Machines tried to shrink them and make them highly collectible, but in turn they lost a lot of their detail. Not to mention the bendy plastic meant storing them often resulting in the bad kind of warping. It was like Star Trek meets MUSCLE figures. There was the Johnny Lightning line, too, which was a pretty good size, but poor distribution made them almost impossible to find.

Well, here comes Hot Wheels, of all brands, to try their luck at the franchise with a small selection of collectible plastic and diecast metal ships. Hey, if Matchbox could make Voltron toys back in the day, why not Hot Wheels and Star Trek? The initial waves include the Original Motion Picture Enterprise as seen in the first three Trek movies, The Reliant, as seen in Wrath of Khan, the Enterprise-D, as seen in The Next Generation, and a Klingon Bird of Prey as seen in just about every film that had the Klingons in it. They are supposedly releasing one of the 2009 Movie Enterprise, and while I’ve yet to actually see it in stores, it has been up for sale at a few online retailers. The Romulan ship from the new movie is also scheduled as Coming Soon, but I’ll gladly buy anyone reading this an icy cold Coke if that ever happens. There’s simply no way that mess of a ship design could be rendered in plastic and diecast on this scale. It just wouldn’t work.So far, I’ve picked up both the Reliant and the Enterprise.

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All in all, I think the scale on these is about perfect. The Enterprise measures about five or six inches long, making them almost twice the size of the Johnny Lightning Starships. They’re just big enough to show off the finer details. The Enterprise’s primary hull is diecast and the rest is plastic, while the Reliant’s saucer section is diecast and the rest is plastic. The diecast is just enough to give these models some heft and the plastic used is quite good and sturdy and not cheap and bendy.

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There aren’t a lot of paint apps on these, but that’s because both ships are pretty uniform in color. The Enterprise does have some greyish blue near the deflector dish and where the nacelle struts enter the primary hull. I’m not a big fan of this two-tone as its not screen accurate, but it doesn’t look bad, either. Both ships have some paintwork on their warp and impulse engines and shuttle bays. The lettering and numbering on the hulls is inked directly on and it is clear and crisp.

The Enterprise and the Reliant are both in scale with each other, but that’s not the case with all the ships. The Bird of Prey seems a bit oversized, although to be fair, there were supposed to be various versions of that exact same design. The Enterprise-D, on the other hand is way out of scale with these two. It should be much bigger. This was a big deciding factor in me not picking up either of those ships.

All the ships come with plastic black stands with a Starfleet insignia. The stands connect with the ship with a ball and socket so that the ship can be positioned in a number of directions. Its a nice touch, but I’m not sure it was really necessary with ships this small, since you can easily pick them up, take them off the stand, or just move them around.

Ultimately, the only downside on these models is the price… $14.99 is just really, really steep. I realize diecast is expensive, and these are pretty nice models, but I just can’t equate one of these being worth fifteen bucks, and I think that sentiment will sink this line before it gets too big. In fact, I honestly doubt we’ll see any more of these released past the new movie Enterprise, as it seems like a lot of retailers are clearancing these out. I can’t say as I’d be devastated, since I’ve been picky in the ones I’ve purchased thus far, but it would be cool to see The Excelcior or the Constitution Class Enterprise released before the line dies.

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