13 May 2014

Trek Review: Official Starships Collection - Klingon Bird of Prey

Eaglemoss' Official Starships Collection brings us Issue 3 and the first alien ship of the series. What better one to start with than probably the most famous alien ship in the franchise, the Klingon Bird of Prey. First introduced in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, this ship appeared in each of the remaining original series features, The Next Generation, Generations and Deep Space Nine.

The Magazine
Issue 3 follows the nice layout and presentation that has been established with the prior two, introducing a red theme for the Klingons compared to the blue used in the Federation issues. There's plenty of information about the creation of the Bird of Prey and Leonard Nimoy's vision of a bird swooping brought to life for The Search for Spock.

Detailed information about the three different configurations for the Bird of Prey is included with new images for the magazine. I also learned a number of facts about the ship, including how the wings house the in-built warp field generators.

In the section that looks at the filming model for the Bird of Prey, I learned why in The Next Generation appearances the Birds of Prey were firing with their wings in the cruise configuration, as the model aged and the motors for the wing movement were starting to fail. Of course, by the time of Deep Space Nine and the many Klingon appearances in that series, the Bird of Prey was modernised into the computer and the wings were articulated once again.

A great publication once more, the only thing I noticed was that they incorrectly said the Bird of Prey commandeered by Kirk and crew in The Voyage Home was named the Botany Bay, when actually it was named the Bounty in reference to their perceived mutiny against Starfleet. I wonder if Eaglemoss might produce some corrective labels for the magazines in time, as the Star Trek Fact Files did?

The Ship
I want to congratulate and thank Eaglemoss at this point for releasing a model of the Klingon Bird of Prey with the wings in the outstretched, cruise mode. Aside from the AMT model kit (and maybe some rare examples out there), every other displayable or playable replica of this ship has always had the wings in the 'default' attack mode. This probably appeals to most, but for me I've always thought the ship looked way more impressive with the wings outstretched. Think of the scene in The Voyage Home when it decloaks above the whaling ship, or those scenes in The Next Generation when they attacked in Yesterday's Enterprise or even Redemption, Part II. It works for me anyway :)

I feel I can be less critical of this ship as it's alien and doesn't have Starfleet emblems and Federation labels (in English!) to pour over. The Bird of Prey is represented in a nice dark green with weathered panels and a 'used', militaristic look to it - as it should compared to the clean and nearly gleaming Federation ships. The cloak emitter around the bridge appears as it should and the disruptors on the wingtips are quite detailed for the scale. I also like the engine detail at the rear. On the underside, the red, stylised Bird of Prey has also been reproduced.

I can't admit to being the hugest fan of the Bird of Prey, only because it's been seen so often that I feel it lost its specialness, particularly with its many engagements and appearances on Deep Space Nine, but this is still a beautifully presented ship.

I can't fault the model, but the stand attachment to the ship isn't very secure as it latches rather lightly into the rear engine. It doesn't take much for the ship to fall from its perch. It is the least intrusive stand of the three so far, but they could have secured it perhaps a little better.

Still, three issues into the series and I continue to be impressed. I give this an 8/10. Much like the Enterprise -D set a precedence for Federation ships, this is a great start for the alien entries that will appear in this collection and its only let down by a minor typo in the magazine and a flimsy display stand.

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