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  • 15 May 2023

    Gone and in an instant several long awaited models just didn’t arrive.

    It’s the oft repeated story of Eaglemoss and now, many months on we’re starting to see some of the ones that got away.

    Master Replicas secured a good chunk of the Eaglemoss back catalogue plus items that never made it to sale. The first of this bunch is the last XL model which was announced, the Constellation Class USS Stargazer NCC-2893.

    Intended to be a Constitution Class a la the refit/1701-A USS Enterprise, the Stargazer morphed into a new class of ship for the TNG first season episode The Battle as well as a few other appearances later in the show under various different guises. She would also turn up at the Fleet Museum amongst other iconic vessels in Picard’s third season.

    The Stargazer was also one of the first 20 issues announced for the regular sized Starships Collection back in 2012 and certainly caused a few rumblings back then. Eaglemoss were notorious for producing screen accurate vessels which translated into ‘We Didn’t Check What We Made’ since errors fans couldn’t make out on screen were often copied straight to the ships.

    In many instances this was quite quirky as for example with the Stargazer the bottom registry was applied the wrong way round and was duplicated into its miniature version.

    Not so it seems with the XLs. With the Equinox the grating spelling mistake (EQUINDX) was updated and in the quad-engined Stargazer we have the registry not updated but removed completely.

    In fact this ship, while actually pretty impressive, is something of a conundrum. Is it accurate because it certainly isn’t screen accurate so what is this final piece actually based on? Given it’s production history and lack of accompanying magazine you might have to wonder if it was actually completely finished before they boxed it up and shipped.

    Yet Jean-Luc Picard’s first command and the first starship to complete the Picard Maneuver is a worthy purchase for any ship collector (if you can find one now).

    From the top there have certainly been improvements to the finish. The RCS thrusters feature that little more detail (and relevant placing) with the grille work on the surface is far more prominent in a larger scale (and completely recoloured from the grey). The hull benefits from much stronger grid lines that aren't swallowed into the paintwork with the striping around the bridge also being a much crisper alignment and colour. Indeed, the whole bridge module itself has more finesse to its finish with the dome and levels much more recognisable. Even the striping is more in line with the classic movie style of grey edged in red rather than blotchy blue.

    The issue for me comes in the alignment of the registry decals which tend to slip into the valleys of the surface and aren't that well aligned to the hull itself, following their own path rather than the curve of the saucer. Randomly this was something that the original version actually got right however the more screen accurate font and edging.

    Moving towards the rear, the structure in front of the engine mount has received a total rehash with the recessed elements now raised above the hull and leading more naturally into the propulsion units. In fact this is where a lot of the visual upgrades really start to kick in. Detailing here makes it much clearer how these two strut leading to the engine platforms are reused necks from Constitution Class vessels due to their angles and also the inclusion of the photon torpedo launchers. Eaglemoss even managed to add more decal striping in here and window detail adding to the feel of scale.

    While they have also updated the painting of the circular vents (four on this ship!!!), they're only in grey blocks rather than having a blue inset to really make it kick. But that's not to take away from the greater level of surface greebling and painting. Nor from the excellent paintwork on the two side located warp field generators where the lining is particularly ramrod straight.

    Other XLs were known for just being upscaled versions of the originals with simply bigger parts using the same construction techniques. Noticeably on the engines of the Stargazer instead of having the cross-pylon as a piece and then the engines themselves being two halves with that all glued together, the model designers have simply adapted it into an "upper" and "lower" engine assembly. By virtue this adds a lot of strength and stability to the core of the model and reduces six parts for each engine pair down to just two.

    Whether as a benefit from this or another detailing upgrade, the warp engines have much more small level touches with the tips split in grey and white rather than just a grey paint mess and again a smoother application of the Starfleet pennant along the exterior edge (in most cases!!!). To the rear the impulse engines are now painted in red rather than being just plain and simple base grey.

    The forward shuttlebay door too is disappointing. There's no definition to its surface, only recessed and then painted grey, missing out on the horizontally ridged version that should be there and the same goes for the rest of the cargo doors around that saucer edge. Indeed the two which butt onto the warp field generators aren't even painted up.

    Now here's a thing. I couldn't work out if this was an amalgamation of the original studio model and the one built for the Picard Archive in Remembrance for Picard itself. Looking at the shots of that ship there are certain similarities although it doesn't have some of the surface grille work present and has some very distinct painting differences. However, it actual in-line surface details do line up for the most part.

    But then we flip her over and take a look at the work on the ventral side. Immediately that lack of registry (even the wrong way round) hits you straight in the face. As does the point that the forward two surface lump have been massively downsized and the greeble surface work in front of the pylon support is now gone. What DID confuse me and led to some heavy internet research is the placement of the sensor probe/aerial structure that sits next to that engine support. Again the platform that it its on has had some subtle revisions however the aerial itself (at least on mine) has switched sides. Now, on the Picard model and pretty much everything I could find it's on the starboard side if you're viewing from the front so why it's moved is absolutely inexplicable.
    Stand fitting is pretty decent too with the clips sliding neatly around the rear of the primary hull and providing a decent mid-point balance that won't have it suffering from Warbird Syndrome.
    There's something still brilliantly satisfying in just seeing this ship actually make it out of the warehouse and into the hands of collectors after such a long time. Bizarrely its arrival after the end of Picard seems equally fitting since that show included (at a distance) the Stargazer docked at the Fleet Museum. Indeed, this could be the last unreleased starship XL ever if not for a long time so definitely one to enjoy. But then, who knows? Maybe the licence will see a day.
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  • 07 May 2023

    Ten weeks have passed by and fans have experienced what may be the single greatest season of the Kurtzman era and potentially one of the most spectacular runs in Star Trek history.

    We are (of course!!!) talking about the recently concluded Picard third season so be warned if you've not finished it yet, there are SPOILERS ahead.

    Very evident even from episode one was the seismic shift. There seemed to be more direction, a better focus and a real understanding of the core characters which had evaded the show during its earlier seasons. That could might have something to do with this final year being a 10 part long TNG movie. Maybe.

    With a severe cast cull that only retained Patrick Stewart, Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan, season three looked to be doing everything that its star and exec-producer had said would be avoided from day one. Uniforms, an Enterprise (or five) and the full TNG cast reunion which has made Picard essential viewing each and every week.

    From scouring the socials it's clear that fans couldn't wait to see the next episode in what may be one of the most drastic about-turns in the fortunes of a Star Trek series since the Jem'Hadar rammed the USS Odyssey.

    Season three seems to have become something of a revelation and, monumentally, one that has lived up to the hype and as such it's well worth just reflecting back on what has been and potentially what's to come.

    Opening with the moniker "In the 25th Century", the feel of the season seemed to be coming straight out of The Wrath of Khan. Not just in the hinted revenge of the trailers but in the more military sense that the second through sixth movies insinuated.

    With the wonders of hindsight, the trailers really didn't give much away and in some respects managed the perfect magic trick by showing us one thing and yet actually presenting us with something else by the end of Seventeen Seconds.

    And my god doesn't having the episode titles back make a difference?

    Terry Matalas promised that each character would have their time to shine and that's been proven every week. Rather than opening on Jean-Luc himself, The Next Generation led with Beverly on the Eleos and opened up the apparent mystery of the season before returning us to ore familiar surroundings at Chateau Picard.

    Time-jumping from 2399 to 2405, the opening episode insisted to trust no-one with Jean-Luc and Riker getting themselves aboard the brand new USS Titan-A with the hopes of rescuing Dr Crusher.

    But this season has been much more than just a rescue plot. The introduction of a memorable foe in Amanda Plummer's Vadic really upped the game and while she wasn't, ultimately, the super-evil behind the overall arc, her tussling with the Titan was exquisite and supremely memorable. Character has indeed reigned supreme with some of the best moments in the entire franchise history for many of the seasoned players. If you need any proof, flip to the last fifteen minutes of No Win Scenario and say they isn't some of this era's best written and impactful scenes. In fact, scrap that, just watch the whole season and then make that judgement.

    Riker has been in his element with Frakes at the very pinnacle of his game. Commanding the Titan while tackling Vadic or trapped in the gravity well, he has never been in better form, even leading to dismissing Admiral Picard from the bridge. There seems to be a greater depth to William T Riker here. A man who is back out in the galaxy to avoid the struggles in his homelife but facing threats that are just as significant, the retired, pizza cooking captain of Nepenthe seems a million miles way.

    Seven too has been provided with a meatier role as the Titan's less than conformist first officer. Oppressed thanks to Captain Shaw's decision to use her human name of Annika Hansen, Seven seems to be fighting the system initially but becomes much more the team player as we have gone along. But let's deal with that in a second.

    The Worf and Raffi pairing is something that no fan could have expected or realised that they were missing until it came to pass in Disengage. Dorn has grown that little older but Worf seems to be even more compelling and I'm actually preferring this version to some of his younger years on TNG and DS9. Their mission on M'Talas Prime allowed Raffi a world of room to stretch before teaming the pair up with the main cast and taking her off to Daystrom Station alongside Worf and Riker.

    The Picard/Crusher element is something that has been long overlooked and perhaps intentionally ignored even though it's been brought up again and again and even prodded on several occasions within TNG. But, if it hadn't then we wouldn't have received some of the outstanding pieces of this season. For one Beverly's arrival on the bridge of the Titan and the following series of looks and reactions between her and Picard confirm everything the viewer needed to know without a single word being uttered. Magical is an understatement but this, coupled with any point McFadden and Stewart are on screen together is Star Trek gold. Finally after over 30 years there's some expansion of this relationship which feels natural. That said, the reveal that the couple had a son is maybe the season's hardest pill to swallow.

    Ed Speleers Jack Crusher is a startlingly good addition and the relationship between him and his long-distant father has been interesting to watch. In the back of the mind though there is that niggle of him being shoved into the pages of canon without much care and a good deal of the season does rely on his very existence. Was it ultimately a surprise that he was linked in to the Borg? Probably not given that viewers were reminded numerous times about Locutus. The concept of the receiver/transmitter abilities was a cool inclusion harking back to earlier episodes of Picard and more significantly to the opening battle of Star Trek First Contact in 1996. While Jean-Luc can "hear" the Borg, Jack is able to project his thoughts and get others to do his bidding. This all seemed a bit weird and X-Men until it was explained just how this was possible.

    But, it's Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) that seems to be the revelation of the season. brutally honest with a disregard for seniority, Shaw's only priority is the safety of his whole crew and, as we discover, this all stems back to his time aboard the USS Constance and its part at Wolf 359. In comparison Sisko was positively diplomatic when it came to facing Locutus of Borg in Emissary but Shaw doesn't hold back. Shaw's increasing realisation that he needs to work as part of a team to save the Titan does come to illustrate the ability for him to change although much to his chagrin. For some reason through the season I've suspected that someone in the ensemble wouldn't make it to the closing credits of episode ten and, well, I was right. It's a fitting redemption and mirror to how Shaw himself survived Wolf 359 although it does appear fans would have wanted him to stick around for future outings.

    What we did anticipate from the trailer was that Amanda Plummer's Vadic would be the main villain of the season, hell bent on some form of revenge against Picard however within a matter of episodes that assumption has been overturned with her objective more a disruption and distraction.

    And why? Because Picard chose to bring back one of the franchise's most important opponents ever; Changelings.

    Note they're not called Founders at any point since this bunch of shapeshifters are a breakaway faction following the Dominion's crushing defeat at the conclusion of DS9. Bringing chaos and disorder was their forte for many years of the space station series but at this stage in Picard we are none the wiser to their ultimate goal. However, just having them back in the series has changed perceptions and definitely reignited the interest of many a Niner. Combine them with the Borg threat and it's like Doctor Who slamming the Daleks and Cybermen together for Doomsday.

    Admittedly the back end of the season is ridiculously heavy on the fan service and while we can look at it in an overview it's difficult not to discuss some key elements so beware that there are not just SPOILERS but SUPER SPOILERS after this point.

    So let's first touch on some returning characters because that's where the nostalgia really kicks in this final handful of episodes. The out-of-nowhere return of Commander Ro Laren is nothing if not emotional and ties up the dangled threads of TNG's Pre-Emptive Strike while proving that Michelle Forbes was horribly underused for two seasons in the 90s. It's an appearance that gives everything and the scenes of her and Stewart are just golden. I mean how could you better the season after that... let me hold your blood wine.

    Just in fan service we have Captain/Shapeshifter Tuvok for two episodes, Admiral Elizabeth Shelby (for about four minutes), the voice of Walter Koenig as Federation President Anton Chekov (with a speech similar to that of the UFP in The Voyage Home) and then there's the rest of the TNG cast. There's one more but we'll get to that...

    Fans have to wait until deep into the season for the return of LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis and each is well worth it. Geordi's position as head of the Fleet Museum allows for an overload of 90s Trek adoration with just Spacedock alone before getting into the array of exhibits on show. The refit Constitution Class makes its first live action appearance since The Undiscovered Country, Voyager, Defiant and the NX-01 refit tick a whole series of fan boxes as does the inclusion of one stolen Klingon Bird of Prey named HMS Bounty.

    It's easy to be swallowed up in these episodes by all the nods to the past of the franchise and forget that there's actually a plot somewhere buried in the background! Geordi has aged and matured as a character and a father here, becoming a whole lot more than he ever was in TNG. There's more depth and believability to the role and his stance on family is, while not fitting the desire of the crew, probably very on point.

    What makes The Bounty an even greater hour of Star Trek is the choice to split the crew with half on the Titan while Riker, Worf and Raffi tackle Daystrom Station.

    Thought that the Fleet Museum was packed with references then think again because this place is rammed. Filled to the bulkheads with items from multiple series, the station is a treasure trove that has delivered some downright gobsmacking secrets; Project Phoenix anyone? Spare Genesis Device? Attack Tribble? All in there plus a load more that the production team just chucked in for good measure and to see if fans were really paying attention.

    Now, given that he was teased in the trailers, the appearance of Daniel Davis' Moriarty isn't quite what one might have expected but it's still a glorious sequence that leads into a bigger reveal that restores some balance to the Trek universe.

    Actually, The Bounty settles a few points that have been left sort of unanswered; what happened to Lore? B-4? Picard's real body? All answered right in one episode and somehow it doesn't feel rushed. The overarching conspiracy still weaves through the episode although it feels a little distant when faced with so much fan service. The resolution of that internal Soong conflict is satisfying and true Star Trek. How could this be a full reunion without Spiner playing Data in some capacity? It also aligns with the development of the android in the novel series of the last decade in which Data has super evolved. Naturally it means that Spiner doesn't have the excuse of being too old to play his iconic character but all the traits are there plus a few new ones that make him much, much more human.

    It's at this point that it starts to feel that both Raffi and Seven are sort of superfluous to requirements. Reassembling the TNG cast was always the big prize and while it takes another episode to truly get to that point you can see their roles a little downsized the more of the classic cast are on screen. Perhaps their last big hurrah of the season comes from Vadic's takeover of the USS Titan in her attempts to secure Jack Crusher. No, actually, tell a lie. It's not. Seven has an incredibly sweeping character arc in this season which is a far cry from stepping out of an alcove in Scorpion as a full Borg. Shaw really did think she was awesome as we see from his evaluation and the promotion to captain and subsequent command of a starship proves that there is justice in the universe.

    Ok... it seems we can't dance around it anymore. Let's just finish this piece out with some simple admiration, written sobbing and general appreciation for the last two episodes of the season and of the show as a whole.

    With Vadic vanquished following her takeover of the Titan, the crew finally make it to Earth to witness the celebrations of Frontier Day. Cue the arrival (finally) of the Enterprise-F with Shelby sitting in the captain's chair only for it all to go proper bad as the Borg's clever little plan swings into action and assimilates everyone under the age of 25. Thanks for the DNA Jean-Luc, you've wiped out Starfleet.

    Fine, that's a harsh line but without it we wouldn't have a finale which is the most fan servicey hour of Star Trek that has ever been. Go on, I dare you to find another that punches this high and this hard. I'll be a little critical in that some of the elements do feel as though they were borrowed from Battlestar Galactica (interconnected ships) and Star Wars (the run through the Borg Cube) but I didn't care by this point because it was just so stupidly good.

    Of course Geordi was hiding the D in Hanger 12, of course it had to be the way this crew would see out their final adventure together. Was it everything fans could have hoped for? YES and in spades. The bridge was lovingly recreated from scratch (with the dedication plaque that had been on the original set from seasons five to seven), the grotesque return of the Borg Queen was stunning and voiced by Alice Krige which spins not just First Contact but Voyager's Endgame into play. Jack all Borged up as Vox was a startling echo back to Stewart's Locutus of The Best of Both Worlds and I'm sure that on subsequent viewings there will be even more to uncover and fully digest.

    The closing poker game was filmed for a full 45 minutes and unscripted, meaning everything you hear and see is just the cast having fun in a scene that nods directly to All Good Things... All the feels you might say and just soaking up everything that happens in this episode and potentially the whole ten episodes is going to take a while.

    Is the renaming of the Titan to the Enterprise-G a surprise? Apparently not if you listen back to all the musical cues as far back as episode one which all carry traces of themes that suggest nothing less. The Constitution III Class makes perfect sense in a neck aching nod to just about everything classic Trek. Plus, how can you not say that those last five minutes are a stamped, signed, sealed and very public announcement that Terry Matalas (who wrote and directed the finale) is looking to take the Enterprise-G right out there for its own series.

    I mean, as someone puts it right in the closing seconds... the trial has just begun.

  • 09 Apr 2023

    To top the excellent Ships of the Line is going to be a hard act to follow but it looks like this new Romulan faction pack has just the cahoonas to do it.

    Featuring four Romulan ships; a scout, a D’Deridex warbird, Valdore class warbird and the Scimitar, Secrets of the Tal’Shiar has gone exceptionally dark. Just out of the box, the biggest thing to notice is that the four models have all been "cloaked". Rather than polish them up with a new paint scheme such as Ships of the Line did in its nod to Online, these pieces have gone to the other extreme.

    Translucent plastic, the ships retain their distinct features from previous expansions although this time their colouring is speckled with a "stars" effect to simulate the activation of their stealth technology. For the sake of repetition let's skip over analysis of the models as they are exactly the same as before. One further point - what the hell has happened to the quality of the stands and pegs? Ships are leaning all over the place and putting the clear poles together seems to have become a monstrous and rather frustrating task. The stand bases are fine but the pieces between the model and those elements can do one. They're equally as poor as the fittings from the Ships of the Line pack which saw the Sovereign Class nosediving.

    As with the new expansions, the pack has taken account of the new points scoring for the fleet with a few points deducted from each vessel. For once the Scimitar is not too far out of reach to make a decent build but we'll come to that and some of its unique additions in a bit.

    Dropping a whopping four cost points, the Reman Warbird retains its six attack, two defence, seven hull and four shields but now utilises its unique feature to remain cloaked while attacking although it does acquire an Auxiliary Power Token, The named version also slightly changes its upgrade bar to two Tech, two Crew and only a single Weapon upgrade where previously there were two Crew and one Weapon slot available.

    With the Twilight's Wraith D'Deridex Warbird there is a two point adjustment down to a cost of 28 points and the IRW Belak by three to 27. One of the big wins in both this and the Ships of the Line pack is that there are more than one option for your included ships but here only in the case of the D'Deridex and Valdore Class Warbirds. In turn it allows players to tweak their formations out of the box for either a more offensive or defensive strategy. It can also provide balance to a fleet or adjust play so that captains can utilise more flexible tactics on the field.

    In terms of the Captain options, Shinzon makes a welcome return with his ability rewritten and significantly shortened. Now a six point rather than an eight point cost, the Picard clone also wields space for two Elite Actions and the chance to use a free Action while cloaked which will counter the Auxiliary Power Token incurred if the Scimitar fires while cloaked. His flip side i also different should players opt to place him in the Admiral position as Shinzon can then remove Disable or Time Tokens as a Fleet Action.

    The additional four Captains (yes, another four!) of Donatra, Koval, Rekar and Lovok all tend to focus on more offensive abilities and I suppose this is in keeping with the more aggressive nature of the Tal'Shiar. One point here - shouldn't Lovok actually be dual faction Dominion?

    The only reason I would question this is because amongst the Crew options B-4 is dual Romulan/Independent. Nicely plated with the Soong android as well since his ability also has the chance to directly affect an opponent ship if it's named Enterprise with an additional two Time Tokens on the Captain card as well as being able to alter the maneuver of the target ship.

    As with the Captain choices, the Crew complement is packed out with Varak, the Reman Viceroy, Reman Helmsman, T'Rul and Nevala providing various additions to your ships of either two or three points. This might be the ability to equip a Cloaking Device, alter your own moves or increase Captain skill as well as providing some additional forms of defence considering how attacking a lot of this set is. Interestingly B-4 is a five point cost, marking him a significantly higher price tag than any of the other cards in the pack with the exception of Shinzon and a certain super weapon.

    Over in the selection for Elite Actions there is that leaning towards more secretive aspects of the organisation with Covert Research working around the Scan feature and Outflank utilising the Cloak ability (two of this card are included which kind of emphasises its usefulness). I am impressed with the Fire Everything card here as provides a chance to turn an ineffective attack around.

    Deep in the Weapons selection we have standard Aft Disruptor Emitters (x2) which hits ships out of your firing arc and Disruptor Pulse which allows players to hit multiple targets within the firing arc of your ship. Both are blindingly good upgrades which do make me wonder what players will do with a large chunk of their older cards thanks to these more useful cards and not just because of the cost reductions. Flanking Attack is most effective on the Valdore Class as it provides two additional attack dice. More so if you're firing at a ship not in your forward arc since it reduces the opponent's defence by two dice which is a big reduction.

    Of course there's also the Thalaron Weapon which has been somewhat neutered since its original appearance. That cost a ridiculous and game breaking ten points with a ten dice attack. This version is half the cost for a six dice attack that forces the opponent to remove a command or Crew upgrade off the bat and by cancelling a further Critical Damage if successful it can take another of those upgrades away too. Wisely it's a one off discard but still worth a punt for your Reman Warbird if you want to deliver an early crippling blow.

    As for Tech, Secrets of the Tal'Shiar offers two Romulan Cloaking Device upgrades which does benefit craft outside of this expansion as well as the chance to use tighter turns instead of the Sensor Echo shift. Advanced Cloaking means you don't decloak this round but incur an Auxiliary Power Token while Improved Cloaking is even more substantial although purely useable with the Reman Warbird. Instead of flipping all shields to deactivated, only one needs to be turned red adding an incredible level of defence to one of the game's deadliest ships.

    Romulan Ale offers a get out of jail free option by taking Disable tokens from Captain and Crew to be replaced with Time Tokens as well as placing three onto the card itself plus reducing the effectiveness of attacks at and from the chosen ship.

    A cost of one point is more than reasonable here although it is a card that will reduce your battle readiness in some respects although it will counter by not needing an Action to re-enable some upgrades.

    Keeping in line with other packs from the last 12 months, Secrets... includes two Ambassador cards in the form of "It's a Fake!!!" Vreenak and the ill-fated Kimara Creetak. The Ambassador upgrade is something I've still not really tackled in gameplay although the negotiations piece is a nice twist where either acceptance means a "levelling" of the playing field or an increase in hostilities. For these cards there's the chance to increase offensive capability or disable upgrades for one or provide repairs or deduction of Time Tokens on the other. Either way there seems to be a decent advantage - it just depends how you want to play it!

    Fortunately with this box you don't need to go hunting under the insert tray to find the missions as they are back on the standard cards. Crossing the Rubicon faces Donatra against the Scimitar. In the second, The Human from Remus, Shinzon boards a D'Deridex Class Warbird, specifically the Twilight's Wrath to defend a planet against the Dominion. This one does require additional ships and cards from other packs to play out but I suspect that's a clever tool to get players to invest in the other recent faction packs!

    The Romulans are one of my preferred factions if not playing as the Federation and in this set there are lots of quality options to really utilise them to the best of their subversive abilities. All of these later expansion packs have truly delivered another level to the game. Secrets of the Tal'Shiar might be a pack where you use the cards and ignore the models but it's certainly worth using.

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  • 09 Apr 2023

    New year and new start for the gaming line here on Some Kind of Star Trek.

    Rather than the standard "this card does this..." etc etc that I've come to produce, it's time to stir it up a bit and look at the latest faction packs with a bit of a different perspective.

    Yes, there's still photos of all the cards and ships but for 2023 I want to try and think about these releases more in line with what they bring to the game and their impact on play. Undoubtedly there will be an element referring to the stats and some abilities but hopefully this will be a bit more subjective on content.


    Long awaited in the UK, the Federation Ships of the Line faction pack might initially be seen as a follow up to the 2022 To Boldly Go set and comprises of three completely different ships.

    That set offered up Galaxy, Defiant and Miranda Classes while Ships of the Line includes Sovereign, Saber and Prometheus while both packs share the Akira Class.

    But what makes this pack worth the wait and also worth forking out £40 plus? Well for one, it'll certainly appeal to computer gamers with its firm links to Star Trek Online and even includes a code for players to pick up some extra ships and packs. All four of the ship models have been given an Online makeover with some of the best detailing and paintwork that Wizkids has produced since the inception of Attack Wing. Impulse engines are clear, the metallic coat allows for all the surface markings to stand out and it doesn't look like these were hurriedly painted for once. Even the stand tubes are in the right place and at the right angle so I've not ended up with a ship that looks like it's making a suicide dive.

    But even this is just a fraction of the faction(!) because this is one of the most stuffed packs to date. One noticeable upgrade is the use of double-sided ship cards meaning that each named vessel has a reverse side that shows as its generic version. In this way, Ships of the Line offers up two named Sovereign, Saber and Prometheus class ships and one Akira Class to choose from. The significance here is that each of the classes is represented by the Class name ship and this becomes more important as you dig into the bones of the set.

    Over the course of these faction packs Wizkids have made a series of alterations to their product. On the cards there are more specific directions given in a symbolic manner to represent how the cards can be used as well as a dramatic update to the way in which ships and upgrades are costed.

    Back in The Day the USS Enterprise-E was priced up at 32 points but here the Sovereign and Mushashi are a more reasonable 29 points. Likewise the Saber, Prometheus and Akira have also been cut down to allow players a greater range of upgrades within the point boundaries played at events and suggested within the structure of the game.

    Even if you just take the Sovereign, that's four points to use elsewhere with a ship that can still hit with a standard five attack dice.

    Further into the pack there are a range of new Crew, Weapon and Tech upgrades to outfit your ship. For the Prometheus is a more reasonably priced Multi-Vector Assault mode that doesn't suck up all your points.

    Captain options range in skill from seven for Sanders with Necheyev available as both Captain and Admiral alongside Strickler and Patterson.

    As you dig into the pack, Strickler is the first card to really hint at the hidden potential here with his ability designed to work more effectively with the Federation Prototype feature. This is the big draw for the pack which includes four of that card. Able to be equipped only to a ship that has the same name as its class (USS Sovereign for Sovereign Class). That ship can then add an additional upgrade slot of its choice and can re-roll a blank or Battle Station result when defending.

    On top of that, the pack includes a series of upgrades that have one ability but then add anadditional feature should you have that Federation Prototype card in play. For instance both Harry Kim and Lasca allow your ship to repair a hull point as well as their base feature. Sisko removes Time or Disabled tokens but also adds a Battle Station token thanks to that Prototype feature.

    In the Weapons selection there’s a decent shuffle up too with Type 10 phasers now available but taking up two slots. It's a more realistic flavour since this powerful offensive weapon adds an attack die to your ship's firepower and allows two blank results to be rerolled. Dorsal Phasers also make a return providing a solid 360 degree firing arc that is also present with Dorsal Torpedo Pod although this can only be equipped on the Akira Class.

    A 3 cost for Quantum Torpedoes (but only if on certain classes) adds even more firepower to the party with reroll abilities included. Wizkids also making a big change to the way in which the Prometheus Class activates Multi-Vector Assault Mode. Not only is the cost reduced to make it actually usable but it creates two further points from which to launch attacks wth four attack dice, simulating the splitting of the ship.

    In fact the Prometheus Class gets a damn good deal in this pack with both Ablative Hull Armour and Regenerative Shields only able to be used by them.

    Multi-Spectrum Shielding helps add some weight to your (surprise) Shields by a point and the EMH 1 will offer the chance to remove Time Tokens as an Action and return your ship to full active status in a blink.

    The Federation Prototype card (of which there are four included) acts as a new Starship Construction feature. It makes utilising the class-named starship almost a no-brainer, adding either a Weapon, Tech or Crew slot to the vessel and allowing one blank or Battle Station result in defence to be rerolled every time.

    As said, this is a pack which really plays to the possibilities and options with the sense that you could build a fully operational fleet straight from this selection of cards alone and stand a decent chance of coming out on top.

    But that's not all because also included with all the usual tokens (aside from even more shields thank goodness!!!!) is a mission booklet. Usually these are confined to a set of cards but with Ships of the Line, Wizkids have stepped up and created a mini-campaign.

    As a spot of genius at work, the campaign booklet even goes as far as to suggest Escort and Prototype combos of ships. The aim here is to develop the Prototype while you have another ship to protect it. Across the four missions laid out, players can upgrade their shiny new NX-registry starship as long as they can keep hold of it!

    This is certainly a new spin for the game with a self-contained and exciting story to play through not too dissimilar to the way in which ships are developed in Alliance.

    In conclusion, this is probably one of if not the best faction packs released for the game. Offering better costings, more varied upgrades and some stupidly powerful abilities, Ships of the Line really is playable from the box and lets players take command of a great ship and its more unique abilities without having to trade off too much in terms of defences or crew for example. I would definitely recommend this to Attack Wing players old or new and I can only hope that the Romulan pack is just as cracking when we open her up.

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1909 Cameron McCulloch is born.
1938 Ray Uhler is born.
1946 Sharon Thomas is born.
1947 John Dykstra is born.
1949 John E. Glassco is born.
1955 Tony DiMase is born.
1958 Suzie Plakson is born.
1966 Second day of filming on TOS: "Mudd's Women". Teleplay for TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever" is submitted.
1968 Second day of filming on TOS: "Elaan of Troyius". Final script draft for TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome" is submitted, entitled "The Paleface". Story outline for TOS: "Day of the Dove" is submitted.
1969 TOS: "Turnabout Intruder" airs. Series finale.
1970 Henry Kingi, Jr. is born.
1972 The Thirtieth UK Story Arc continues in Valiant & TV21 #36 with the third of nine installments.
1977 Ryan T. Husk is born.
1980 Maryesther Denver dies.
1983 Rickey D'Shon Collins is born.
1987 Fourth day of filming on TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint".
1991 TNG: "In Theory" airs. Thirty-fourth day of filming on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. CIC Video releases Next Generation volumes 14 & 15 on VHS in the UK, beginning the second season release.
1994 Forty-eighth day of filming on Star Trek Generations.
1995 CIC Video releases the Star Trek: The Original Series - Tricorder Pack and Deep Space Nine volume 4.6 on VHS in the UK.
1996 Fortieth day of filming on Star Trek: First Contact.
1997 Sixth day of filming on VOY: "Scorpion, Part II".
1998 Forty-sixth day of filming on Star Trek: Insurrection. Ba'ku village scenes are filmed on location today.
2001 Jamake Highwater dies.
2003 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 3 DVD released in Region 1.
2006 George Kashdan dies.
2008 William John Wheeler dies.
2016 Marcy Vosburgh dies.
2019 Nightbox scenes are filmed for PIC: "Stardust City Rag".

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  • 30 Nov 2022

    Presented below is the complete set of final prices realized for the 303 lots of Star Trek memorabilia that were offered in the Prop Store Nov. 29, 2022 Star Trek: Picard Auction; which concluded yesterday in a live online bidding session at the Prop Store ( auction site.

    The most expensive item in the sale was Lot Number 22, the Data (Brent Spiner) "Daughter" with Back Turned Hand-Painted Framed Painting, which realized a final price of $68,750 (including a 25% buyers premium). Lot #198, an Admiral Jean-Luc Picard Stunt Starfleet Uniform with Production-Quality Replica Combadge sold for a final amount of $55,000 (based on a high bid of $44,000); and Lot #256, a Maurice Picard PADD and Pen with a Yvette Picard Wedding Ring, witnessed a final price of $50,000 (including buyers premium). Other highly notable items in the auction included Lot #7, a Jean-Luc Picard Stunt 2360s Starfleet Uniform with Replica Combadge, which witnessed a final sales price of $36,250 including premium; and Lot #48, a Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) Federation Case and Starfleet Combadge, that sold for $20,000 including premium.

    The following results show the final prices realized for the various memorabilia lots, which includes the additional 25% buyers premium. Just click on any of the images below to view an enlarged version ...

  • 01 Aug 2022

    On the night of Saturday, July 30th, 2022, the world lost another much beloved cast member of Star Trek: The Original Series with the passing of Nichelle Nichols at the age of 89. According to a statement to the New York Times from family spokesperson Sky Conway, the actress died of heart failure at her home in Silver City, New Mexico. Her son, Kyle Johnson, posted the following statement on the actress's offical website "Dear Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World, I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years. Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light, however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all. I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected. Live Long and Prosper, Kyle Johnson".

    Nichelle Nichols, born Grace Dell Nichols on December 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois, played Lt. Uhura, the beautiful and intelligent Communications Officer on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the head of her department aboard the ship and a linguistics expert who handled all ship-to-ship transmissions and communiques to/from Starfleet Command, participated on the occasional landing party expedition, and was a technical specialist in the underlying circuitry of her Bridge workstation – effecting repairs when needed. As a highly skilled senior staff operations division officer, she was capable of substituting for other positions on the Bridge, and, indeed, was assigned to the navigation station by Mr. Spock in “The Naked Time” to replace Lt. Kevin Riley; and also took over Navigations from Lt. Stiles in “Balance of Terror”. In “The Galileo Seven”, while Spock was away in command of the shuttlecraft mission, Uhura manned the Science Station for Kirk and was the one who discovered the planet Taurus II where the shuttle had crashed.

    With her magnificent portrayal of the truly pioneering role of Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols made television history and helped shape the social consciousness of the nation. Uhura was a character that completely broke down the stereotypes of those years – as a black female in a leadership role was simply unheard of in ‘60s television prior to TOS.

    Not all fans of the Original Series are aware that Nichols came extremely close to leaving the show at the completion of the first season; and had in fact met with Gene Roddenberry and resigned after filming the last episode of the year. It was an unanticipated historic encounter literally the next day that caused Nichols to re-evaluate her decision. As described in her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994):The following evening I attended an important NAACP fund-raising event. I was chatting with someone when a man approached and said, ‘Nichelle, there is someone who would like to meet you. He’s a big fan of Star Trek and of Uhura.’ I turned to greet this “fan” and found myself gazing upon the face of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” During their conversation, Nichols mentioned to Dr. King that she did plan to leave the series, and he literally talked her out of that decision with an impassioned and eloquent articulation of the importance of her continued presence on the show. From “Beyond Uhura” .. “’You cannot,” he replied firmly, “and you must not. … You have the first nonstereotypical role on television, male or female ... You have created a character of dignity and grace and beauty and intelligence. … You’re more important for people who don’t look like us. For the first time, the world sees us as we should be seen, as equals, as intelligent people.... Remember, you are not important there in spite of your color. You are important there because of your color.”

    Of course, not only did Nichelle Nichols remain on Star Trek, but on the night of Nov. 22, 1968 – with the broadcast of the 3rd season episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” – she stepped into the history books again by participating in the first televised interracial kiss, between a black woman and a white man (William Shatner), on American network television. Despite a high level of internal controversy about the momentous scene, with NBC executives becoming quite nervous about upsetting or angering audiences in the Deep South, and some well planned conspiracy on the part of Shatner and Nichols to deliberately flub every take of a network requested alternate version of the scene that would feature a fake, simulated kiss - thus leaving the studio with no usable footage except that with the real kiss – the episode in fact was successfully aired and received a tremendously positive response with much enthusiastic fan mail. Indeed, Nichelle Nichols noted in Beyond Uhura that just a single, mildly disapproving letter arrived at the studio, from a white Southerner who wrote: “I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.”

    Between the ages of 12 and 14, Nichols had studied classical ballet at the Chicago Ballet Academy, and she began her entertainment industry career as a singer and dancer, performing with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hamptom before narrowing her focus to acting. She was also a dancer in the 1959 Columbia Pictures musical film Porgy and Bess, and a performer in the 1961 New York City-based musical stage show Kicks & Co. As an actress, Nichols appeared in an episode of Gene Roddenberry’s series The Lieutentant in 1964, and had also played television roles in Peyton Place, Tarzan, and a few other shows prior to being cast in TOS. In later decades, she would lend her voice to such animated series as Batman, Gargoyles, Spider-Man, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Futurama; and, in recent years, the actress has made appearances on such live action/dramatic series as Heroes, The Young and the Restless, and Renegades.

    One of Nichelle Nichols most noteworthy non-acting endeavors was her volunteer work with NASA to assist in the recruitment of women and minorities into America’s space program. A tremendously successful project, Nichols was involved in the program that recruited Dr. Sally Ride – the first female U.S. astronaut; Col. Guion Bluford – the first African-American astronaut, and others. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space is well known to have been greatly inspired to reach for the stars by Nichols performance as Uhura while growing up watching Star Trek well before the TOS actress became affiliated with NASA. Since the mid-80s, Nichols also served on the Board of Governors of the Wernher von Braun founded National Space Society advocacy organization.

    On a personal note, like millions of fans around the world, I feel as if I've lost a family member today. I first met Nichelle Nichols in late July, 1976 at the Toronto Star Trek '76 convention held at the Royal York Hotel in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. All of the Star Trek stars at that event went out of their way to put the fans at ease and were very gracious with their time, even pausing to chat with each fan a bit after signing autographs for them. The same was also true of Ms. Nichols. At the age of 14, despite being awestruck in her presence, I somehow overcame my youthful shyness and asked Nichelle if I might give her a kiss. She smiled, and I recall her bringing her face close to mine and then allowing me to place an innocent kiss on her cheek. After that momentous experience, I was truly in heaven for days! And surprisingly, the story of that kiss does not end in July 1976. Seventeen years later, in the summer of 1993, when I attended a Chicago Dreamwerks convention and told Nichelle of our prior encounter, with no underlying desire other than to thank her for a past kindness, the lovely actress surprisingly rose from her chair at the signing table and stated "History should repeat itself." And this time it was a full kiss on the lips. I do feel so honored to have met this beautiful, inspirational, Star Trek legend several times over the years; and to likely be in a rare category of fans that can claim to have shared a kiss with her on multiple occasions! The world has truly lost an icon, trailblazer and one of its most beautiful and gracious souls, while the heavens have gained a new shining star. Nichelle's legacy will long be celebrated by future generations.

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