Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E (“Nemesis”) by Diamond Select

Lest you forgot, I’m doing this whole Star Trek Thang on Wednesdays now, which is convenient because I’ve also picked up another one of DST’s Starships. The sixth entry into my fleet is none other than the NCC-1701-E. First introduced in “First Contact” (because Troi crashed the “D” into a planet in the previous film) this new design really looked amazing on screen and represented a bold new look for the intrepid Starship I’ve known and loved for all my life. The Soverign Class Enterprise boldly traveled through three feature films and this newest release is based on the appearance in “Nemesis.” If memory serves, “Insurrection” and “Nemesis” were the first Star Trek films to rely solely on a CGI model of the Enterprise for exterior shots. This design strikes me more as a mash up between the Constitution Refit and the Intrepid Class (ie Voyager) and sort of passes over the Galaxy Class for design elements. This ship also has a severely minimalist profile when viewed viewed straight on, which I still think is pretty damn cool. The result is a very futuristic looking design of a ship that still retains that intangible nobility that I get from all the Enterprises.



The package is exactly what we’ve been seeing all along. You get an elongated blue window box with the classic “Star Trek” logo and a bunch of text about the ship. There’s a “Try Me” window that lets you get a taste of the electronics. The ship comes fully assembled, all you have to do is put together the two halves of the stand and plug the ball into the socket under the ship. You will need a phillips head screwdriver to undo the battery hatch and switch it from “Try Me” to “Play” in order to get the full effect, but unless this is your first DST Starship, you’ve probably been through all this before. Also included in the box is a replacement battery hatch without the socket for the stand and a folded instruction sheet. With the ship measuring just over 18-inches from the tip of the saucer to the back of the nacelles, it’s every bit as long as The Excelsior, but the design makes it look a lot slighter in every other respect.




The first thing that struck me about the “E” when I got it out and all set up was how busy the deco is. This is easily the most complex paint job of any ship in my fleet. It certainly reflects the look of the ship on screen, but with the track record of DST on these ships, more detailed paint apps lead to more potential for flubs. That having been said, the paint on mine is fairly decent, but it falls just short of having that professional look. If I bought this ship loose from Ebay not knowing what it was, I would probably assume that it was a kit that was painted by a fairly competant model builder and not a professional factory piece from an officially licensed company. My ship also had some annoying black paint speckled around the top of the primary hull. I was able to remove nearly all of it with some careful razor work, but having to take a razor to my new fifty dollar model is not something I enjoy doing. When all is said and done, probably the weakest paint is the area around the bussard collectors.




This ship uses a pearlescent plastic, which is somewhat similar to the stuff used for my “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise. While it’s not nearly as light and overall looks much better here, it still allows for some light bleed, which I’ll get to in a just a bit. I do, however, still prefer the denser stuff used for the hulls of the Excelsior and the Enterprise-D. The ship also uses several decals for the registry numbers and “racing” stripes. These are all applied with care and look straight and sharp.



The electronics feature the usual mix of lights and sound. There are lights in the primary hull, which light up bridge and the windows near by as well as the two red impulse engines. This point features a fair amount of light bleeding, which is obvious, but look enough like spot lights on the exterior that I don’t mind it so much. The deflector dish lights up a very bright yellow with virtually no light bleeding at all. Lastly, the bussard collectors on the warp nacelles light up red and the top strips light up blue. Again, you get some light bleeding on the nacelles, mostly around the seams below the red bussard collectors, but the blue nacelle strips look really sharp.The lights only activate when the sound effects are going off and sadly there’s no function to just run the lights. As for the sound effects, here they are…

The sound sampling here feels really generic and features an emphasis on sound effects rather than speech. It’s basically just Picard giving some combat orders and a lot of weapons firing and engine sounds. Granted, “Nemesis” wasn’t a great film, but there were definitely some better quotes that could have been pulled from it. On the other hand, the generic nature of the clips make this ship work for just about any of the last three movies, so I suppose that could be considered a plus.


The stand is slightly better than the standard garbage we’ve been seeing for this line. It has a two-sided triangle post instead of just one like my WoK Enterprise. It does support the ship quite well in a number of positions, but I attribute that to the relatively light weight and good balance of the ship rather than the quality of the stand.



If the scale I use for rating these ships runs from the Awful “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise to the Superb NX Excelsior and Enterprise-D, with most of my other ships falling on upper half of the spectrum, then I would probably place this version of the Enterprise-E exactly midway along the line. The only real QC issues on this piece is the black paint spray and I’ve managed to fix most of that. Yes, the paint around the bussard collectors could be better, but it doesn’t sink to the depths of some of the stuff showcased on the WoK Enterprise. Everything else about this ship (the plastic, paint quality, lighting and sound) I would categorize as quite good, but not quite exceptional. At around $30-35 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, but at $50 it feels rather steep for the quality. Nonetheless, I’m happy to add The Enterprise-E to my Starship Legends shelf and it should be only a matter of time before I break down and pick up the Enterprise-B.

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Excelsior NX-2000 (“Search For Spock”) by Diamond Select

Just a head’s up, peeps, Wednesdays are going to be all about Star Trek for the next few months. If you don’t share my borderline obsession with this franchise then I’m so, so sorry. And I don’t just mean because you’ll be bored here on Wednesdays, but because you’re missing out on a rich and wonderful universe. I’ve got a lot of figures to get through, from various scales and series, but before that I’m kicking things off with a look at a Starship that I have wanted on my shelf for a long, long time. Diamond’s Starship Legends line and me have had our share of ups and downs together. From the dismally disappointing “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise reissue to the works of art that are the Enterprise-D and Bird of Prey, this is a line that I want to collect like crazy, but I’ve been burned and so I approach it cautiously. Today’s purchase is only my fourth ship in the series, but my overwhelming excitement at finally owning the NX-2000 had me throw caution to the wind and buy this baby as soon as it was available. My friends… The Great Experiment… Excelsior!


The box is right in line with releases over the past couple of years. It’s a blue box with the Classic Star Trek logo. The front and top panels has a window so you can see a good piece of the dorsal section of the ship and there’s a cut out with a “Try Me” button that repeats a single phrase and gives you a little taste of the lights. Excelsior arrives all in one piece, with no assembly required. All you have to do is pop the stand together, plug the ship onto it, and your good to go. I can still remember seeing Star Trek III in the theaters and my reaction to seeing The Excelsior. It was amazing to see a brand new Starship design and one that looked so much more futuristic than The Enterprise. The Constitution Class Refit will always be my first love when it comes to Federation ship design, but there’s something about The Excelsior that looks totally badass. The Constitution Refit is every bit the noble explorer, whereas The Excelsior resembles nothing less than a streamlined battleship. I always squee’d a little whenever this class ship made a cameo on The Next Generation and it’s fun to scrutinize the design and see how it influenced the design of the Galaxy Class Starship. Diamond has already had the Star Trek VI version of this ship (NCC-2000) out for a little while now, but I was holding out for her original appearance. Not only for the pre-commission registration number on the hull, but more importantly for the sound clips!


The back of the box features a pretty big inaccuracy in that it shows the Star Trek VI version of the ship rather then the one in the box. Hell, it even lists it as the NCC version on the top, The biggest visible differences are the registry markings and the nacelles, which light up on the NCC version, but not on this one. I’d cry foul at this, but considering the ship comes in a window box, it should be pretty obvious as to what you are actually getting. There are quite a few other differences between the two ships, and since I’ll probably be picking up the NCC version eventually, you can stay tuned for the inevitable comparison feature!



Straightaway, I’ll just say that this is one gorgeously executed ship. It only took a few moments of inspecting it to recognize that this is one of DST’s good ones, with hardly any major QC issues to speak of. It’s kind of sad when I have to start out by pointing that out. It should be a given when buying a $50 collectible model, but as I’ve already pointed out, Starship Legends is a line of highs and lows and DST’s QC is not always where it needs to be. Anyway, the sculpt here captures the unique profile of the Excelsior splendidly and at about 18″ long, this is a beast of a ship, that really tested the limits of my toy-shooting area. The warp nacelles are beautifully aligned and even the way the ship is assembled excludes the possibility of those unsightly gaps that were apparent in my WoK Enterprise. I also really dig the coloring on this piece. The official pics show the ship with a crazy blue tint and mint green accents, but in hand, the coloring is spot on perfect and the details are applied with care. Let’s start off with a closer look at the saucer…


The hull doesn’t have the same hyper-detailed sculpted aztec pattern as the Enterprise, but I don’t think the screen version did either. As a result, you get some deep cut panel lines and concentric circles radiating out from the bridge and an overall cleaner look. The blue and grey patterns that form a horseshoe around the bridge look great as does the neatly printed NX-2000 and U.S.S. EXCELSIOR on the top of the saucer. The last four letters of Excelsior are a little off of alignment, but I’m really nitpicking there. The windows are mostly just painted on, but look fine.


You get a similar layout on the bottom of the ship. There’s a ring running around this side of the saucer with a complex blue pattern. It’s here where the only real paint flubs can be seen. The pattern looks a little smeared on the left hand side. Yeah, I’d rather the ship be perfect, but if this is the worst there is, I’m really OK with that. Everything else looks sharp and beautiful!



The ribbed neck features the two photon torpedo tubes on the front and the recessed deflector dish that is thankfully cast in clear plastic features just a blue ring around it. You can also see the ship’s only other QC problem and that’s a little scarring to the hull right above the deflector dish. I’m just chalking this up to battle damage, even though it was a brand new ship.


The detailing on the sides of the hull are all printed and that includes both the “racing” stripes and the windows. The blue ring around the top of the hull and the blue panels at the bottom look great. There are some notable screw caps on either side of the deflector dish, which are rather obvious, but still better than having to look at exposed screws. You also get the lower secondary torpedo tubes just in front of the Starfleet emblems and “racing stripes” just as a reminder that this thing was built to handle itself in a fight.


Diamond did a beautiful job printing the patterns onto the dorsal section of the secondary hull. It all looks really crisp!




The nacelles look absolutely gorgeous and the alignment is great. I’ll also take this time to point out the debate over where the Shuttle Bay is actually located on the Excelsior. I always assumed it was the recessed cavity under the secondary hull, but the silver segmented area on the tail of the ship sure look like they could be bay doors. It wasn’t until recently that I heard the theory that the recessed cavity under the secondary hull is where the original failed Transwarp Drive might have been situated and has since been removed from subsequent Excelsior Class ships. In my research, I have found images of the Main System Display indicating the Shuttle Bay is indeed recessed under the ship, and that’s good enough for me.




Moving on to electronics! The ship comes with batteries installed so all you have to do is switch it from trial mode to regular mode. Let’s start with the lights. Excelsior has four light points: The dome on the impulse drive lights up blue, the half-dome near the rear of the ship lights up blue, the deflector dish lights up blue, and the two impulse engines light up red. All the lights here are crazy bright LEDs that are quite visible even in a well lit studio environment. They also burn my eyes if I stare at them for more than a second or two. Impressively enough, there’s almost no light bleed through the plastic to speak of. If you want to just enjoy the light show you can hold down the bridge button for a second or two and they will all come on until you press it again. On the other hand, if you want to hear the SFX too, you can just keep pressing the bridge button to cycle through them all. That goes something like this…

Yes, a big reason as to why I wanted this version of the ship was so that I could get the voice clips of Starfleet’s biggest douchebag, Captain Styles, who seemed way too eager to take Kirk down a peg. The selection of clips is great, but there are two missing that I really wish had been included: “Kirk, you do this and you’ll never sit in the captain’s chair again.” and “If he thinks he can get away with Warp Drive, he’s really in for a surprise.” I also wouldn’t have minded a clip of Kirk referring to the ship as The Great Experiment. But what’s here is still fantastic, and the entire sequence with the engine’s failing (complete with flashing lights) makes up for anything that’s missing.


I should also point out that while the stands in this series have been worthy of much scorn, this ship’s stand is actually somewhat improved. Rather than relying on just one side of a triangle to support the model, it now features two, which adds a bit of stability and doesn’t look nearly as cheap. There’s a cylinder that plugs into the bottom of the ship, which then plugs into a ball joint and while I’ve had mixed results with this set up on previous ships, between cracking and just being loose, the system seems to work just fine here. Also, the base is sculpted to resemble the Starfleet insignia worn in the movie.


It’s a shame that buying these ships has to always feel like such a gamble, but in this case it’s one that paid off. I would easily rank this release up with the best of the Starship Legends line, including the Enterprise-D and Bird of Prey. In fact, my satisfaction with this ship will probably have me gunning for another one soon, but I have yet to decide on which one. Still, with all that having been said, at fifty bucks, this is pretty expensive for what you get, especially when you consider that the QC can be wildly inconsistent. On the other hand, Star Trek toys are pretty slim pickings these days and I’m mighty proud to finally be able to put this great ship from Star Trek III on my desk.

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (“Wrath of Khan”) by Diamond Select

Science fiction has given us countless space faring vessels over the decades. Many have been one shot wonders, while select few have come to be considered iconic. But for my money there has never been a space ship more iconic, more graceful, or more beautifully designed than the Constitution Class Refit Enterprise. The ship made its debut in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it wasn’t until Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that we really got to see the ship in all its glory, both trekking through the stars and slugging it out ship-to-ship in a bitter fight to the death. If I were to use one word to describe this incarnation of the Enterprise, that word would be “noble.” I can’t say exactly why, but she has a glorious nobility to her that has always embodied the values of Star Trek to me. And now, I finally have the Starship Legends version of this ship in my collection. Yep… too bad it’s a piece of garbage. Now would be a good time to remind you of my colorful language disclaimer. Ok, let’s do this… Set phasers to maximum disappointment. 


We’ve recently seen the Starship Legends packaging for the Enterprise-D and the Bird of Prey, so this Enterprises’ box should look pretty familiar, although it is a lot more compact and while the other ships came completely assembled, the WoK Enterprise requires you to attach the warp nacelles. This worried me at first, as I like the option of storing the ship in the box. Fortunately, the nacelles can be easily removed again for storage. You get that same blue starfield deco, which looks ok, but doesn’t really convey the Star Trek franchise to me and the combination of the Classic Series font and the image of Kirk in his Classic Series uniform just feels out of place for a ship based on the feature films. The box is fairly collector friendly, although the two pieces of the stand are sealed under plastic, so you will have to tear them up to get those pieces out. Still, you can do it with minimal damage and return everything to the box, which is a good thing, because this is a toy that I’m not anxious to display.




Let’s start with the few good things I have to say about this Enterprise: First, let’s talk about the sculpt. The sculpted detail on this piece is bewilderingly awesome. From the tiny panel lines to the faint Aztec pattern, Diamond obviously did their research and meticulously etched it all into the hull of this toy. Second, let’s talk about the hull’s finish. I wasn’t too sure how much I’d like the pearlescent finish on the plastic, but in person, it really brings out all that detail in the sculpt. If you manipulate the ship in your hands and shift the light around its surface, it really brings out all of those amazing and intricate little patterns. Lastly, there’s the lettering. The lettering on the ship all looks crisp and clear. From the large and obvious printing on the top of the saucer section to the minuscule “United Federation of Planets” on the sides of the saucer and the sides of the primary hull. The lettering is excellent. That’s it, folks… the rest is all downhill from here.


The quality of the plastic on this piece is downright terrible. It feels flimsy and cheap like a ten dollar model kit. There’s a huge gulf separating the quality of this plastic and the stuff used for Diamond’s most recent Bird of Prey. If you silhouette this ship against a light, you can practically see right through it. Seriously, I can see my fingers right through the saucer section! That’s bad enough, but when you activate the lights, they bleed through the flimsy plastic hull and make for a terrible effect. But we’ll get to the electronics in a bit. I’m not done harping on the shitty plastic yet. The top rear of one of the nacelles looks like it was repaired with some kind of gloppy glue and it looks like crap. That right there is a complete absence of quality control. If I purchased this second hand on Ebay, I would accused the seller of shenanigans. Seriously, Diamond? You’ve got to be kidding me with this shit.



The paintwork on the ship is also pretty bad. There’s bleeding and slop all over the place and the deflector dish is painted black. Yes, black. Holy fucking shit on a tribble, why in the name of all the holy mother-fucking Gamesters of Triskelion would you paint the goddamn deflector dish black? Looking at it, it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t a decision that was made to deliberately ruin the whole thing, especially since this the toy is designed to light up.



Which brings me to the electronics. I could take this opportunity to bitch that there’s no option to display the ship with just the lights on, like there was with the Enterprise-D or the Bird of Prey. But that’s ok, because the light effects are so terrible, I wouldn’t want to. They basically just come on in sequence with the sound effects. Diamond made no effort to simulate actual running lights or any of the Enterprise’s on screen lighting effects whatsoever. The back of the bridge lights up, the impulse engine lights up, the area around that shitty black painted deflector dish lights up, and the interior of the warp nacelles light up. Virtually all of the lights that you see are actually just bleeding through the cheap plastic. The ship doesn’t look that great as it is, but it looks worse with the lighting effects illuminated. That’s quite an achievement.




The sound is a mix of sound effects and voice clips from the movie. I suppose I could bitch about the fact that most of the quotes are taken from instances that don’t actually take place on the Enterprise, but this thing is such a mess, I’m going to give it a pass. Here’s the rundown on the audio…

  • Kirk: “Fire!” [ship phaser effects]
  • Khan: “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee!”
  • SFX: Warp
  • Kirk: “I don’t like to lose.”
  • SFX: Alert Claxon
  • Khan: “Let them eat static.”
  • SFX: Impulse
  • Khan: “Fire!” [ship phasers effects]
  • SFX: Hand phaser(!) … What. The. Fuck?
  • Khan: “Times up, Admiral.”
  • Kirk: “Lock phasers on target and await my command.”
  • SFX: Ship Phasers
  • Khan: “Time is a luxury you don’t have.”
  • SFX: Explosion
  • Kirk: “Kirk to Spock.”
  • SFX: Transporter Effect
  • Kirk: “I don’t believe in a no win scenario.”
  • Kirk: Khan scream! 

Wrath of Khan is a highly quotable film, so there’s some good material here, and I’m also a huge fan of the film’s sound effects. The transporters and the phasers sound particularly good.


I took a lot of issue with the stands included with The Enterprise-D. Well, the stand that comes with this ship is in some ways better and in some ways worse. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the stand itself is unbelievably cheap. The other stands featured two sides coming up from the Starfleet insignia base, making up a triangular cross-section, whereas this one only has one, making it seem like a totally deliberate way to shave a couple pennies of cost out of this thing. When I first took it out of the box I  literally thought I was missing a piece. I mean it really is insulting and shameful to have a stand this shitty for a $60 collectible. On the plus side, the ball joint will actually hold the ship upright, which I attribute mostly to this Enterprise weighing a lot less than the Enterprise-D. There is an extra battery cover, which can be swapped out so the bottom of the ship doesn’t have the hole in it for the stand. It seems like a nice bonus, but than I realize the hole for the stand is the least part of this ship’s problems.


I have had nothing but good experiences with Diamond Select and Art Asylum in the past, which is probably why I’m so incredibly surprised and irritated over what a terrible ship this is. It’s so far beneath the other releases in the Starship Legends line, that it feels like it’s some kind of terrible and cruel joke. It just fails on so many levels that it’s almost inconceivable that Diamond would have the nerve to pack it into a box and sell it for $60. SIXTY DOLLARS!!!! Even at a third of the price, I couldn’t have been happy with this thing. I just look at it and think, what a waste of money! Even the novelty packaging Enterprise model that holds my 2009 Star Trek Blu-Ray is better quality collectible than this unfortunate piece of garbage.


Computer, initiate destruct sequence… I’m going to get some Romulan Ale and drink to forget.

This Feature was Re-Shot on 4/23/15

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D by Diamond Select

As I mentioned last Saturday, the fine folks at Diamond Select have taken pity on those of us who missed out on their Starship Legends line by reissuing the ships with some minor tweaks and refreshed packaging. I was quick to jump on board and pre-order the “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise and the “Next Gen” Enterprise-D. I’ve got a little while to wait on WoK Enterprise, but 1701-D showed up at my door this week in a giant slab of a shipping box. I’ve been jonesing after this thing for a long while now, so I couldn’t wait to get her inside and open her up. This is a big ship, there’s a lot to talk about, and there will be some bumps along the way, so sit tight and engage your inertial dampeners…

The huge window box is actually not quite as big as the Bird of Prey’s package, but it is deeper. It’s the same style of blue cloudy star field deco only this time you get a shot of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, with arms crossed, staring out approvingly at you, as if to say, “Well done on buying this ship.” That makes me happy. After all, deep down don’t we all really just want approval from Captain Picard? The Star Trek logo is in “The Original Series” font with “The Next Generation” below it. Wait… they can’t do that… can they? I’ll confess the mixing of the two generations looks weird, like it’s a knock off package or something. The front panel of the box is cut out to show the bulk of the ship, while still hiding the two pieces of shit stands in the lower right corner. There’s a “Try Me” hole in the window so little bastards can run down the batteries when they see it at their local comic shop. The back panel of the box shows a shot of the model with a couple of paragraphs on the series and the ship. It also seems to take great pleasure in chronicling the fact that the mightiest ship in the Starfleet, the Flagship, was destroyed by a small rogue Bird of Prey after Picard gave Riker the keys and Troi crashed it into a planet. Cue Picard Facepalm.

The ship is packaged fully assembled. You just have to clip the wire ties to get it off the tray, and that’s where the fun starts. I honestly didn’t expect to have anything bad to say about this thing, and yet we’re going to start off with one major annoyance. As expected, the ship comes packaged in “Try Me” mode and to get the full effect of the electronics you need to switch it over to “Play Mode.” Unfortunately, the switch is inside the battery compartment on the bottom of the Star Drive section. Some may argue that’s a good thing because the ship doesn’t have a switch exposed on it anywhere, but it didn’t bother me so much with the Bird of Prey. Anyway, this situation sent me scrambling throughout the house to find one of my tiny screwdrivers, which by now I should keep in a very prominent place, but I can never remember where I left it. After about ten minutes of swearing under my breath and rummaging through every junk drawer and catch-all I have in the house, I got my hands on it only to find that I couldn’t budge the screw. Diamond obviously used some kind of self-sealing stembolt (Right? Get it?) to secure the hatch down. I went back to searching until I turned up a pair of vice grips so I could get enough torque and break the seal on the screw. After that it was easy. I also noticed the super shit batteries they put in here, so I’m going to have to go get a couple of packs of the best AAA batteries I can find for the Enterprise and Bird of Prey so they don’t shit battery goo all over the inside of my precious ships. But wait! We’re not done yet! You also need to take off a second battery cover on the top of the Saucer Section right over the main Shuttle Bay and flip a switch under it in order to get the Saucer Separation SFX to work. Yes, the Enterprise is also powered by three additional button batteries in the Saucer. This cover is slid back by inserting a thin implement into a notch and pushing back. It’s a jarring ordeal because I had to apply just a bit more force than I was comfortable with. Keep in mind, as annoying as this all was, it’s just something to deal with during the initial unboxing and not something that’s going to really spoil the enjoyment of the model once you’ve done it. Ok, now that I’ve put everybody to sleep with exciting battery talk, let’s look at the ship.

I was expecting a lot of detail, but I’ll confess the finished sculpt still exceeds my expectations. The Enterprise-D has a lot of surface space, and every bit of it is covered with panel lines. I mean, damn, you can practically see every single plate of tritanium-duranium alloy that went into the hull’s construction. The Escape Pod hatches are sculpted, the ridges on the Shuttle Bay doors, even the little docking hatches on the sides of the Torpedo Bay launchers. If Art Asylum left any details out, I sure as hell can’t find them. There is a little more assembly seaming on this ship than was evident on the Bird of Prey. It’s mostly noticeable along the aft edges of the ship and where the back of the neck meets the front two pieces. They aren’t terrible, but worth mentioning.

The paintwork compliments the sculpted detail wonderfully. Every window is painted onto the ship’s skin from the random windows of crew quarters to the line of panels that runs across the wall of the Conference Room and even the viewports of Ten Forward. The Escape Pod hatches are painted tan and you’ve got a darker grey on the Shuttle Bay doors and the Phaser Array strips. The lettering is all crisp and hugs the hull better than what I remember seeing in the test shots. Of all the tiny details, I think the one that impresses me the most are the tiny scoring lines that run along the perimeter of all the Phaser Arrays. Holy shit that’s cool!

The Saucer Section is secured to the Star Drive Section with some of the most insanely powerful magnets I think I’ve ever seen in a toy. Separating the ship is as easy as pulling them apart. When you go to connect them up again, the magnets will aggressively grab at each other and do the rest. Connecting and reconnecting the two sections give you a sound and light show, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. Obviously reconnecting the two halves of the ship will lead to rubbing on the surface so I’ll probably avoid doing it to excess. I’ll point out here that Diamond stamped a bunch of large type copyright information inside the area where the Saucer Section connects to the neck. It’s annoying and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there on the original release.

The Enterprise comes with two display stands and they are the biggest pieces of shit I’ve ever seen. They’re basically the same style of thin, opaque plastic pieces as the one that came with the Bird of Prey, only these feature the ball joint under the connection points and are sculpted with the Starfleet “Comm Badge” style insignia. They look cheap, but that’s not the problem I have with them. While the Bird of Prey used a fixed connection that works perfectly, these stands use ball joints and they work well until you manipulate them a couple of times and then they fail miserably. The ball joint just can’t handle the weird weight displacement of the ship and it constantly wants to drop the ship forward onto the Saucer Section. They will work fine if you want to pose the ship in an upward climb, but forget about getting it displayed parallel to the surface its standing on. You see those two side shots of the ship? Well, the stands won’t do that anymore. Hey guys, what the hell is the point of a poseable ball joint if it can only hold the ship in one position???  I’ve tried gumming it up with blue tack, which didn’t work.  I may try some nail polish next.

So two stands? Yes, The complete Enterprise displays on either stand by plugging it into the hole closest to the Deflector Dish. You can also display the Enterprise separated by plugging the smaller stand into the middle hole of the Star Drive section and using the larger stand for the Saucer Section. While I doubt I’ll ever display the ship separated, it’s very cool to have this option. The instructions show a plug that can be put into the hole of the Saucer Section to cover it up when you are displaying the ship as one piece. It’s a great idea, but sadly no such plug was included in my box.

Ok, let’s talk electronics and we’ll start with the lights. By pressing and holding the concealed button just below the main Impulse Engine on the Star Drive section, you can put all the lights into “Display Mode” and they’ll stay lit until you press it again. You get red LEDs in all three Impulse Engines and the front of both Warp Nacelles. Blue LEDs light up in the front Deflector Dish and in the strips around the Warp Nacelles. The lights are all bright and gorgeous, particularly the fronts of the Nacelles. There’s one more light, a white Bridge light on the top of the Saucer Sections dome. Alas, this one bleeds through the paint and plastic around it quite a bit. I can sort of convince myself that the light bleeding through is just the light reflecting off the hull. Yeah… sort of.

The sound effects and voice clips aren’t quite as loud and clear as the Bird of Prey’s SFX, but they’re still pretty good. The sounds and voice are activated by pressing the top dome of the Saucer Section and the lights will come on when the sound is activated. One thing I do not like at all is the way the blue Nacelle lights blink to match the speech or sound effect. It’s just like the lights on the top of a Dalek when it talks. What is the point of this, Diamond? WHY? At least all the lights don’t do it. The sounds and voice clips play in the same order and if you hold the button down it’ll run through everything in one long sequence. All of the voice clips are from Captain Picard himself. Here’s what you get…

  • “Open a hailing frequency. This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard.”
  • “Energize.” [Transporter SFX]
  • “Scan for life forms.”
  • “Shields up! Red Alert!” [Red Alert SFX]
  • [Phaser Alarm. Phasers Firing.]
  • “Make it so.”
  • [Warp Drive Engaging]
  • “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” [Replicator SFX]
  • “Dispersal pattern Sierra and fire!” [Torpedoes SFX]
  •  “Transferring command to the battle bridge.”
  • [Impulse Flyby]
  • “Continual fire, all phasers!” [Phaser Alarm. Phasers Firing]
  •  “Damage report!”
  • “Warp 9, Engage!” [Warp SFX]
  • “Let’s make sure history never forgets the name… Enterprise!”

I could have done without the Earl Grey quote, but I adore the way the sequence ends with Picard’s memorable battle cry from “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” The weapon sequences are so awesome that I really wish there was a way to select them specifically to avoid the following scenario: “Hey, wanna hear the Enterprise-D kick some ass?” “Sure!” “Ok, here we go.” [pushes button] “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot!” “Oh…”

Separating the Saucer section plays, “Prepare for emergency saucer sep” and engages the lights and sounds. Reconnecting plays the sound of the moorings locking down. Very cool!

If it sounds like I’m nitpicking the Enterprise more than I did the Bird of Prey, well that’s because I probably am. The Bird of Prey didn’t have as many issues. Besides, this is the goddamn Enterprise after all and I’m going to hold it to higher standards. My issues with some of the electronic SFX are fairly minor and in one case (the lights flashing in time to the voice) just a matter of personal preference. The stands, however, are just poorly executed and considering this is the second time this ship has been released, they should have been fixed. I’d much rather have a stand that gave me less display options but actually worked well. I would even have been willing to pay a little extra for a ratcheting stand. In terms of the ship itself, however, well it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love it so much that even with all the other hiccups, I’m still so very glad that I finally own it. When you consider what the old Playmates Enterprise-D goes for these days, picking up this Diamond version is a no-brainer. At $70 shipped, it’s just worth every penny, horrible stands and all! Now if only I can find a place to display it so I don’t have to put it back in the box.

And that’s going to wrap me up for this week. Tomorrow is my day of rest and I’ll actually be continuing to clean out and organize one of my bottomless toy closets. Next week is going to be a complete run of some of the stuff I find so it should be an interesting mish-mash of who knows what!

Star Trek Starship Legends: Klingon Bird of Prey by Diamond Select

Hey guys, I like me my Star Treks. You’ve probably figured that out by now. One of my great collecting regrets was selling off my fleet of Playmates’ Star Trek ships about 10 years back. They were fairly solid representations of the ships and damn if they haven’t gone up in value. Woops. Bad call on my part! Another regret I’ve had was not jumping on board with Diamond Select’s line of starships as they were originally released. Fortunately, that’s no longer a problem, because 2013 is going to see a slew of re-releases of many of the Diamond’s proud fleet of Enterpriseseses, and I’m not missing out on them this time around. But before we get to the Enterprise, we’re going to kick things off with a look at Diamond Select’s newest release, and their first crack at an alien ship: The Klingon Bird of Prey!

This now iconic ship design was first introduced in Star Trek III, it practically starred in Star Trek IV, and it subsequently appeared in every “Original Crew” movie produced since, including Generations. This particular release, however, is based on the ship’s appearance in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. What’s the difference? Christopher Plummer’s goddamn voice, that’s what.

Word is that Diamond has revamped the packaging for this year’s releases, but seeing as I don’t own any of the past releases, I have no frame of reference. There are things I like about it and things I don’t. It’s a freaking massive window box, but with a wingspan of about 19-inches, the box housing this ship has to be big! The front of the package has a kind of weird trident design cut out to show you some of the detail on the ship’s hull. The box’s deco is a blue cloudy-star motif, which doesn’t really fit Star Trek for me, and I would have much preferred the movie font over the old classic font because it just better fits the context of this ship.

There’s a decent blurb about the Bird of Prey on the back, which correctly points out that the configuration of this ship was applied to various classes from small scouts to larger warships. Oddly is proclaims that the BoP was equipped with photon torpedoes, disrupters and… phasers? It’s been a long time since my days of pouring over the stats in FASA Star Trek ship catalogs, but I’m pretty sure I never saw mention of a phaser bank equipped on a Bird of Prey, but I’m guessing that occurred sometime in the Next Gen era. Anyway, it took me a while to get all the twisty wires off the ship and free it from its tray, but I’m very happy that the ship comes in one piece and doesn’t need to be assembled. The stand does have to be fitted together, but it can easily be taken apart and the whole shebang can be returned to the box for storage.

The ship itself is gorgeous. I always used to think the Playmates version looked good enough (well, at least until I looked at it recently), but damn this thing looks phenomenal. There isn’t a square inch of this thing that doesn’t have some kind of sculpted detail. There’s pipes and vents and all kinds of windows. Hell, it’s easy to get lost in the intricate panels of the wings alone. I’ve misspent a lot of time in my youth sketching the Bird of Prey from various movie stills and FASA books and the like, so I consider myself intimately familiar with the design, and this model does it proud. Sure, close inspection reveals a few hiccups, like the hollow pieces on the back by the engines and a little bit of seaming, again on the back, but I’ve got to remind myself, this is a $60 display piece and not a studio model.

The coloring uses a mix of the base green plastic with all sorts of swirly brush strokes to convey weathering, different colored materials and panels. The red feathered coloring on the undercarriage of the wings is particularly nicely done, as is the brushed metal look of the black and silver grills of the engines. The Klingon writing and markings are all tampos rather than stickers, which goes a long way for both durability and realism. I’ve got nothing but praise for the paintwork on this piece. It looks weathered and battle hardened and awesome.

The Bird of Prey design has three basic wing configurations, and the articulated wings on Diamond’s model allows for all three. The landing mode features them raised up above the hull to allow for ground clearance; the cruising mode has them level with the ship’s hull; and finally the attack mode has them angled downward. Each wing moves independently of each other and the hinges are strong to keep them from flopping about. In fact, it takes a fair amount of effort to get them to move. I really dig the way the teeth interlock on the grills when the wings change position. That’s one delightful little detail that I never really noticed about the design.

And let’s not forget the electronics. The ship features lights, sound effects and a slew of General Chang’s hammy quotes from the movie, all accessed by a button cleverly concealed as a tower above the bridge. By holding down the button you can activate a “Display Mode” in which the powerful LED lights will remain lit. The ship has red LEDs in the rear engine and the front torpedo launcher, various yellow LEDs scattered about the ship’s windows, and a pair of green LEDs to simulate the wing-mounted disrupters. The disruptor lights are ridiculously bright!

The lights, sounds and voice clips cycle through randomly as you tap the button. Here’s the complete catalog:

  • Sound Effect: Cloaking Device Activating.
  • I can see you, Kirk. Can you see me?
  • Sound Effect: Torpedo Firing.
  • Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!
  • Sound Effect: Disrupter cannons firing.
  • I am constant as the Northern Star!
  • Warrior to warrior, you do prefer it this way, don’t you?
  • To be, or not to be.

I’m very impressed at how loud and clear the voice clips are. Sure, some may argue that Commander Kruge’s voice would have been cooler, but Chang certainly was a quotable enemy and as I mentioned in yesterday’s feature, he was one of my favorite things about “The Undiscovered Country.”

Ok, so the stand is kind of cheap looking, as it’s all cast in a smoky colored semi-translucent plastic, but overall I still like it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is easy to attach and remove the ship, which was always my biggest complaint about the Playmates ships. This stand has a simple peg that holds the ship securely and simply pops apart when you want to pick it up and handle it. Secondly, there’s no ball joint to fail making the ship droop. Finally, I actually enjoy the fact that there isn’t any flashy paint on the base. It’s a simple sculpted Klingon emblem, which is just fine. The quality of the ship speaks for itself and it doesn’t need to be upstaged by the stand. I can easily understand some collectors taking issue with the quality of the stand, but I’m fine with Diamond putting as much money into developing the ship as possible. The stand is perfectly functional and that’s all that I need.

Needless to say, I’m suitably impressed with my first Starship Legends acquisition. I had very high expectations and the Bird of Prey certainly lived up to all of them. While I will concede that the Bird of Prey has been way overused in Star Trek over the years, I still love and admire the design. I can remember being in awe of it when it first appeared in Star Trek III, and one of my favorite Trek photos has always been a double-page spread (in Starlog maybe?) of the soon to be doomed Enterprise facing off bow to bow against Kruge’s Bird of Prey. Diamond’s release captures all the greatness of this iconic design. It’s both ugly and graceful at the same time and wonderfully constructed. I knew when I bought it that it would probably be stored in the box, but now that I have it, I’m going to have to make room to put it out. It’s just too glorious and epic not to be on display… at least until next week, when my Enterprise-D arrives.