Star Trek “Starships Collection:” USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A (XL) by Eaglemoss

It’s safe to say that I’m not a fan of what passes for Star Trek these days. For me the only good thing to come out of Discovery and Picard was that they reignited in me a desire to go back and watch the real stuff. Hell, even the worst of Voyager seems like a masterpiece now! I’ve also been building me a fleet of Eaglemoss ships and it’s long past time I open some of these up! And where else to start but with my favorite ship design in all of science fiction history… the singularly majestic Refit Enterprise!

My preference would have been to go with the original 1701, but I happened to find the 1701-A at a really good price and decided to compromise. This is the XL version, which makes it more than twice as big as Eaglemoss’ standard ships (in this case about 10 1/2-inches long), but it still features die-cast metal and plastic construction. It comes in a fully enclosed box with some pictures, including the fail of using a reversed image on the front, rendering the registry on the hull backwards. Ooops! Inside the box, The Enterprise is sandwiched between two styrofoam bricks, and the only assembly required is putting the stand together. Oh, and I’m shooting the ship without the stand for most of the review, for reasons I’ll get to at the end.

Oh what a beauty! I could pour myself a glass of Jameson and gaze lovingly at this ship for hours. When I call this my favorite ship design in sci-fi history, that’s not hyperbole. Them’s the facts. I just love to get lost in its iconic profile and the noble human drive for discovery that it represents. And boy is this a great model! The top half of the saucer is die-cast, giving this ship a hefty, albeit very front-heavy, feel. And if you’ve had some experience collecting Enterprise models, you may know one of the biggest fails tends to be the warp nacelles not aligning properly. Here, they are perfectly straight and parallel, giving the model a gorgeous three-quarter view.

The grills (thermal regulator system) laid into the nacelles looked black to me at first glance, which is how they are usually depicted on most models of this ship that I’ve owned. But much to my surprise, they’re actually cast in transparent blue plastic, which makes for a cool effect when held up to the light. The deflector dish is also cast in transparent blue plastic, which reflects light quite nicely. It doesn’t really resemble a glowing effect, but it does make it stand out. Meanwhile, the hull of the ship is a beautiful off-white, which is smooth and even throughout.

One of the things that really shows the model maker is committed to detail is the aztec pattern in the hull. Here it’s exquisitely executed and manages to be both easy to see and yet equally subtle. Additional paint applications are applied sparingly, but all the most notable points of interest are here. Particular stand outs include the bright yellow Antimatter Fill Port Hatch and the bright blue dual rows of observation windows. The dome on the impulse engine is painted blue, and they even printed the red outline for the cargo hatch under the shuttlebay. Other details include the gray paint on the emergency landing pads on the bottom of the saucer section, and the individual phaser turrets.

The sides of the secondary hull also include the delta emblems pointing toward the deflector dish, as well as the red racing stripes with some damn tiny printing between them. Here you can also see the two circular docking ports, circled by red rings in four segments. There are also some black painted windows scattered around the secondary hull.

The printed lettering on the saucer is sharp and crisp. Each character of both the registry and the name are outlined in red. A close up of the bridge module shows some more blue and red trim, some more tiny windows. The VIP lounge windows can be seen on the back of the bridge module, as well as the tiny bridge docking port. You also get more tiny printing along the edges of the saucer section.

That’s not to say this model is perfect. There are some details omitted, particularly around the edge of the saucer, and there is an unfortunate seam along the bottom of the secondary hull just below the observation windows. And yeah, now I’m really nitpicking. Because all in all, for a ship in this scale, I think they hit all the right points.

Finally, there’s the stand. I both love it and hate it! I love it because it is pretty rock solid and holds the model firmly. There’s no chance of this toppling over. Also, the bottom of the base is covered in swanky felt. On the downside, even though the stand is transparent, I don’t like how it ruins the profile. That’s why I didn’t use it for most of the pictures in this review. Also, sliding it on and off the saucer section makes me worry about scratches. That’s a problem because I constantly want to pick this thing up!

And for all the gushing I’ve done over this model, it had better be damn good, because it set me back $75. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I only need refer you back to what is sadly one of my most viewed reviews, where I trashed the Diamond Select Starship Legends Wrath of Khan Enterprise, and how disappointed I was with it. It was probably the single most disappointing purchase I’ve made in all my toy collecting years. I got into these XL Eaglemoss ships to finally replace that piece of junk and I’m so very glad I did. Sure, this Enterprise is smaller and has no electronics, but it’s beautifully made, extremely durable, and most importantly it looks so good on display. Maybe too good, because I’ve been keeping it on my computer desk for a few weeks now, and I constantly find myself picking it up and wooshing it around. For a non-articulated hunk of metal and plastic, this thing is still loads of fun to me.

Star Trek Enterprise: Captain Jonathan Archer by Art Asylum

Scattered throughout the last few months I’ve been posting features of stuff that I’m finding in my Toy Crawlspace, and some of that has been a cornucopia of Enterprise figures. The Crawlspace hunt has slowed down lately, partly because I’ve been too busy with Christmas coming, and partly because I’m still waiting for the chemical fog bomb I set off to kill the mutant bat infestation that has taken root up there. Anyway, it’s going to be a real struggle for me to keep daily content going this week with how crazy-busy I will be, so I’m trying to tackle some quick and easy stuff. And that’s where Archer comes in, because he’s quite similar to the Malcolm Reed and Travis Mayweather figures I looked at not too long ago. We should be able to do him justice rather briefly.

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There’s the Enterprise packaging. It’s a card and bubble, but it’s huge and the clever use of printed inserts make it look more like a window box than an actual carded figure. The presentation here is great and you can tell a lot of love went into it. The inserts are printed with all sorts of panel lines to make it look like the hull of the ship and the window displays the figure quite nicely. There are even cutouts on the side panels to show off some of his gear. If you’re careful and have a razor blade handy, you might be able to preserve the packaging, but I just tore this sum’bitch open.

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As I’ve noted before, I like the Enterprise uniforms. They look practical and are convincing as something our early deep space explorers might actually wear. They are not, however, the most exciting design for an action figure. Nonetheless, Art Asylum went out of their way to make it something special. The torso part of the jumpsuit is made of soft rubbery plastic laid over the figure’s buck. It’s a cool effect that adds to what could have been a rather boring figure. The suit is loaded with sculpted wrinkles, cinching around the belt, zippers, and it features the departmental piping on the shoulders and the Enterprise patch on the shoulder.

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The Art Asylum inmates have always been pros at sculpting great portraits for their figures and Archer here is no exception. The likeness to Scott Bakula is quite impressive and the paintwork is pretty clean. You need to get in really close to see any tiny inconsistencies in the hairline.

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If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t want your Starfleet Captain sitting on the bridge all day, you should find the articulation here pretty accommodating. The arms have ball joints at the shoulders, swivels the biceps and wrists, and they are hinged at the elbows. The hip joints are concealed by the jumpsuit, but they feel they have some kind of rotating hinge offering a good range of motion. The legs have swivels in the thighs, hinges in the knees, and ball jointed ankles. Archer can swivel at the waist and features a ball jointed neck with a generous range of movement.

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As for accessories, you get the same assortment of Starfleet Gear that came with the other Bridge Officers: A phase pistol, a communicator, and a tricorder. You also get an extra pair of hands. The communicator and tricorder are pretty small and difficult for him to hold all that well, but the phase pistol is still a really cool piece, which Archer can wield brilliantly. Finally, you get the translucent blue Enterprise base stand, which looks beautiful with the figure standing on it, but inexplicably has no pegs to secure him to it. Weird!

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If you’re one of the minority like me that liked Enterprise, then you need this figure in your life. He represents the usual fine sculpting and craftsmanship that I’ve come to expect from Art Asylum and he looks damn fine on the shelf alongside his fellow Starfleet Officers. My only real gripe with this line was that we never did get the entire Bridge Crew in their jumpsuits, and that makes collecting these a little bittersweet. Oh yeah, this figure was also available in a larger bridge base set, which included the Captain’s Chair and a piece of the bridge which could connect to others. I do believe I have one of those kicking around here still in the box, but I haven’t unearthed it yet!

Star Trek Enterprise: Nausicaan Captain by Art Asylum

[Just a quick note, folks. Due to a scheduling snafu, today’s feature turned up briefly on Monday before I woke up saw it had posted, spit coffee all over my cat, and quickly took it down. If you happened by and read it before I took it down then I’m afraid there’s nothing new for you today. Although, I have since did some proof editing and added a couple new pictures, so you can consider this the Special Edition complete with blinking Ewoks and Greedo shooting first.]

As promised a week ago, I’m back with more Enterprise goodness recovered from the dark reaches of the Toy Crawlspace. This time we’re mixing it up by taking a look at one of the aliens in the line. I happened to find the Nausicaan Captain in one of those totes so I’m going to open him up and check him out. I seem to recall not caring a lot about this figure back when I was collecting these guys and I’m pretty sure I got him along with some others. Either way, I don’t seem to have been interested in him enough to bother opening him and he eventually found his way up into the dreaded Crawlspace.

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The packaging is similar to what we saw with Malcolm Reed. It’s a massive bubble set on an equally beefy card.  You get a panel lined deco on the inserts to replicate the ship’s hull; only this time it’s colored brown instead of grey to distinguish it as part of this “Away Team” series. I was never big on them using that term in conjunction with Enterprise. It was adopted during The Next Generation and never used in Classic Trek so it feels rather out of place in a show that was supposed to pre-date both. I should point out, I also was never fond of the writers using aliens that were introduced in Next Gen. It always seemed to me like those should have been races we first encountered after expanding beyond the territorial confines of the Classic Trek era. I’m sure there have been ret-conned explanations, so whatever. Despite all my issues with the series, I still tend to enjoy Enterprise a lot. Let’s bust open the Nausicaan and see what he’s all about.

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I gotta be honest, I do not remember the episode with the Nausicaans, so I’m not judging this figure based on its screen accuracy. That having been said he really is a spectacular design and sculpt. His outfit has a somewhat primitive vibe that looks like it would have been at home in the Classic series. The tunic is rubbery plastic and layered onto the figure’s buck and features a very nice sculpted, texture. This is precisely the kind of detail that makes me love AA’s work so much. The outfit isn’t flashy or even all that interesting, but the design is elevated by AA’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. In other words: This Nausicaan was made with love.

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The Nausicaan design went through some changes over the years and I wasn’t a big fan of this race’s revised look. These guys were a lot scarier and more alien looking early on and later became more humanoid and more in line with the generic Trek “alien of the week” formula. Regardless, the head sculpt is still a superb piece of work. The ridges and creases in his face are all really sharp and well defined, as are the horns and tusks. You don’t tend to see a portrait sculpted this well in mass market figures these days, proving that the inmates at the Art Asylum certainly were pros. The only nitpick I have here is the gloss paint used on the hair. I think it should have been matte. Another nice touch are the bone ridges in his knuckles. You do not want to get punched by one of these guys.

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While the sculpting represents AA’s usual peerless efforts, the Nausicaan Captain got cheated in a few other areas. The Enterprise line didn’t usually skimp on the accessories, but all this guy comes with is his Plasma Pistol. He also got shorted on articulation. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and there are swivels hidden under the soft rubber of his boots. He can also swivel at the waist and his neck is ball jointed. He’s certainly poseable, but the standard swivels in the biceps and thighs are conspicuously missing.

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Yeah, so I wasn’t really chomping at the bit to own a Nausicaan in this series. I don’t think they really belonged in Enterprise, I’m pretty sure they only appeared once, and I can’t even remember their episode off the top of my head. Nonetheless, as is often the case with Art Asylum’s work, this execution here overpowers the lacklustre subject matter. Sure the articulation could have been better, but this is still a great looking figure and a nice addition to my Enterprise shelf. Besides, there were only a handful of alien figures released in this line, so I guess beggers can’t be choosers. If you enjoy the Nausicaans feel free to check out the Playmates version of him, which I featured about a year ago HERE and holy crap, I seem to have been pretty ripped when I wrote that!

Star Trek Enterprise: Lt. Malcolm Reed and Ensign Travis Mayweather by Art Asylum

My Toy Crawlspace truly is the Final Frontier of my collection. It’s a pseudo attic above the garage that has some of my last unorganized totes. I’m going through a lot of those totes this month to cull some things for Ebay and make room up there for a bunch of statue boxes and whatnot. As a result, you’ll start seeing a lot of stuff from out of left field that I like to feature here on FFZ from time to time. Today’s tote brings us to Art Asylum’s amazing line of figures from the TV series Enterprise. A lot of people didn’t like this series, but as a fan of this show I have a fairly persuasive response to the Enterprise haters… F’ck off!

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For the packaging, we’ll look to Reed because he was the figure I found in the tote, still carded, while Travis was already safely tucked away in one of my Star Trek figure drawers. The figures came in a huge bubble that take up the entire card with printed inserts to make it look like the interior of the ship…. or maybe the exterior of the ship… I’m not sure. I always thought it interesting that they chose to put “Star Trek” on the package while the producers of the TV series went out of their way to not include it in the branding of the show. I particularly enjoy the cutouts on the sides that give you a peek at some of the gear and accessories. It’s a great package that looks more like a window box than a card and bubble, and if you’re particularly deft with a razor, you might even be able to persuade it into being collector friendly. I, on the other hand, shredded mine like a dog trying to tear open a packet of pork rinds.

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A while back when I was doing Star Trek Saturdays, I looked at Captain Archer and Chief Tucker in their EVA Suits, but this pair comes donning their regular Starfleet jumpsuits. Some figures were available both in the EVA Suits and their bridge attire, but sadly neither Malcolm nor Travis got the EVA treatment.  I guess someone had to stay on the ship while the rest of the crew went walkabout. As a matter of fact, the biggst failing of this line was that you could never get a complete set of the crew in either space suits or jumpsuits. Boo! In any event, AA did a beautiful job recreating the jumpsuits by making them out of a soft, rubbery plastic that covered a figure buck underneath. It’s an amazing little feat that takes what is a fairly boring and unattractive uniform and makes it something special. While the jointing on the limbs are still visible, the hip joints are completely concealed. I was more than a little surprised that after being stored in a crawlspace for four or five years, the rubber jumpsuits didn’t degrade at all. What’s also cool is that the two figures do not share the same buck or uniform sculpt. In a world where companies like Mattel are happy to save a couple bucks (get it?) by reusing the same body over and over, it’s kind of refreshing to see some of the little guys get it right. There are subtle differences in the jumpsuits and Travis is appropriately just a smidge taller than Malcolm. The piping on the shoulders are colored differently for each of their departments and they each have the correct number of rank pips.

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The portraits on both figures are excellent. The head sculpts really convey the likenesses of Dominic Keating and Anthony Montgomery, but that comes as no surprise because this is Art Asylum and they rarely ever skimped on the likenesses. What’s more the skin tones and paint work are also beautifully done. Malcolm looks like he’s trying to decide whether or not to shoot something in the face and Travis has that look of innocent wonder appropriate for a character that was probably there for the audience to best relate to… or maybe that was Hoshi. Either way, these are great looking portraits.

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As for articulation, these guys make out pretty well. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps and wrists, and hinged at the elbows. The legs have universal movement, which feels like something similar to Mattel’s DCUC hips, there are swivels in the thighs, hinged knees, and ball joints in the ankles. They can both swivel at the waist and have very serviceable ball joints in the neck. Not bad!

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These figures also come loaded with extra bits. They each come with a phase pistol, a communicator, a tricorder, and an extra pair of hands. The gear is all Ok. My one gripe with Art Asylum/Diamond Select’s Trek figures is that sometimes the gear feels undersized. In this case the phase pistols seem about right, but I think the tricorder and communicators could have used a little upsizing. It’s also really tough to get them to hold the smaller things. In the case of the communicator, I almost think it might have been more useful to sculpt an extra hand already holding it.

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Malcolm also comes with a very cool Starfleet weapon case and an extra phase pistol. The case is patterned after the one used in the premier episode, “Broken Bow” to introduce these weapons and just like in the episode both phase pistols can be stowed in the cutouts inside the case. It’s hinged on one side and has a folding carry handle. I really applaud AA for including this piece as it’s more the type of accessory I expect to get with 1:6 scale figures.

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On the less useful side of things, you also get a plastic Enterprise coin and a translucent blue figure stand with the Enterprise patch logo. The stand is beautifully done and the figure looks great standing on it, too bad it doesn’t have a peg to hold the figures. D’oh! I’m still not sure the purpose of the coins. I guess it was just a little something extra. I tried plugging a couple of them into the snack machine at work to get a Snickers bar. To make a long story short, the snack machine doesn’t work any more.

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It’s worth pointing out here that the same Malcolm Reed figure was also available with his Tactical Station on the bridge. The idea was to collect all the Bridge sets and piece together the entire thing. Alas, the line was shit-canned before it could happen and I don’t recall Travis’ Helm Station ever being produced. Either way, I freaking love this line of figures and it made me very sad to see them linger for so long on the pegs at Toys R Us even at clearance prices. With the exception of Playmates’ lightning in a bottle success in the 90’s, Star Trek figures have never seem to fare well at retail and when you couple that with the general unpopularity of Enterprise, these figures were probably doomed to fail from the start. It is a shame because it’s so obvious that the guys at Art Asylum poured the love into them. They just went above and beyond with the sculpts and equipment. On a brighter note, there were quite a few more of these lingering up there in the Toy Crawlspace waiting to be opened and featured, so at least they’ll continue to live on here at FFZ.

Star Trek Enterprise: Captain Jonathan Archer and Charles Tucker in EVA Suits by Art Asylum

Just so y’all know Star Trek Saturday isn’t going to be all Playmates all the time, today we’re going to alter course to check out an anomaly. Enterprise was, of course, the final Star Trek series to date, and while I don’t think it was received well by many, I enjoyed it quite a lot, except for all that third season Xindi nonsense. Art Asylum, a talented and upstart toy company, which has since been absorbed into Diamond Select, did a very impressive line of 6-inch action figures based on the series. Today we’re going to check out Captain Archer and Engineer “Trip” Tucker in their EVA suits.

No package shot, but we’ll get to some packaged examples of Enterprise figures eventually. These figures came in beefy carded bubbles that looked more like window boxes, thanks to all the illustrated inserts in the bubble. Each of these figures was carded separately, but we’re looking at them together because they basically share the same EVA suit body. Well, almost anyway. My Archer figure is slightly larger and his legs are at a bit of a wider stance. I don’t want to take away the fact that AA actually did two separate sculpts for two such similar figures, but for the purposes of this feature, we’re going to treat the bodies as one. Either way, the EVA suits were prominent garb in the first three seasons of Enterprise since the Transporter was still considered to be experimental and the crew had to suit up frequently whenever they went on Away Missions.

The first thing you may notice about these figures when you get them in hand is how hefty they are. The EVA suits aren’t particularly bulky, and yet they feel so satisfyingly heavy. The bulk of the suits are sculpted as part of the figure in a rubbery plastic that feels like the suit probably would in real life. The chest pieces, on the other hand are molded in harder plastic and fit on over the figures’ neck and around the arms. It is removable, but it’s a bear to get back on, so I’m going to bow out of including any photos of the figures with the chest piece removed.

The sculpting on the suits is absolutely fantastic, with every tiny detail of the EVA suits recreated. You get the little stitching, the tubes, the belts, the patches of silver material, and it’s all sculpted to look as if it’s a separate garment. Even the straps that run under the figures’ groins are cast in rubbery plastic over the suit so they can bend with the figure. The front of the chest pieces have a small control panel and feature the character’s name and the Enterprise logo tampo’ed onto them in fine detail. The back of the chest piece has a removable set of cartridges, which I always presumed to be the oxygen tank or O2 scrubbers. The helmets fit over the head and secure to the neck ring with three tabs. There are two main hoses and a wire that all plug into the top of the backpack. It fits together pretty well for display purposes, but because the hoses are so soft and bendy, it can be hard to get them into their holes, and it all tends to pop out pretty easily if you’re fiddling about with the figures.

It’s awesome that the helmets are removable because the head sculpts on these figures are fantastic. The likeness to Scott Bakula and Connor Trinneer is absolutely spot-on and really show off just how talented the guys at Art Asylum were. The paintwork on the faces is pretty solid. With this somewhat larger scale of figure, you get into that area where the usual mass market paint quality sometimes isn’t good enough, but what’s here is certainly looks great. The hairlines are well defined and I’ve always been a fan of the skin being painted on rather than left bare plastic.

Both figures feature the same articulation. The heads are ball jointed, the arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs have a simple “T” joint at the hips, hinges in the knees, and ball joints in the ankles. The figures can also rotate at the waist. What’s here is pretty good and I think the only thing I’m really missing is lateral movement at the hips. Mattel’s DCUC joint would have been most welcome here.

Accessories… ah, well, here’s where I’m a bit foggy because mine seem to be scattered throughout different totes. Each figure has a phase pistol and I’m pretty sure each one came with a communicator as well. It’s possible there may have been some tricorders in there too. Lastly, each one came with a little sculpted Enterprise coin-disc thingy, which serves no real purpose. I find the absence of stands to be a shame. These figures are such outstanding work, they really deserve their own stands.

It’s kind of ironic that the one Star Trek series with the most precarious fan base got some of the best figures, but that was certainly the case here. These guys are absolutely amazing from the heft to the sculpt to the design to the paintwork, I can’t say enough good things about them. They certainly don’t feel like your typical mass market retail figures and yet there they were hanging on the pegs in Target and Toys R Us with the rest of the lines. I rarely have a lot of my Star Trek figures on display, but I always find room for Art Asylum’s Enterprise figures just because they’re so damn impressive. AA did a number of other cool things with this line, so I’m sure we’ll spend quite a few Saturdays checking out the rest of the Enterprise line.