Oh my what a hideous spaceship. The Federation’s Oberth class is to the Enterprise as a Camel is to a Stallion – ungainly, lumpen and spits in your face. Well, maybe not the last bit but it is a truly wonky design. What surprised me when I read the accompanying magazine is how often this class of ship has popped up. Sure, I remember the USS Grissom in ST III: The Search for Spock, but I had forgotten several appearances in ST:TNG and even once in ST:DS9. So it appears the Oberth class is the Federation’s work-horse, or if you prefer work-camel.
Regardless of its ugliness the Oberth is definitely a suitable candidate for the collection, and the USS Grissom the best known. Eaglemoss have faithfully reproduced it from its circular saucer section and flat upper hull to the massive boat-shaped secondary hull beneath. The secondary hull appears superfluous especially as it connected to the primary hull by thin pylons. The model feels top-heavy as the primary hull is die-cast metal whilst the nacelles, pylons and secondary hull are plastic. This continues the construction strategy of Eaglemoss to reproduce one or two major parts in metal and the rest in plastic.
One unusual aspect is the variety of detail across the model. The saucer section is as detailed as any ST:TNG era Federation ship with aztecing and tiny windows painted and embossed. The nacelles are also nicely recreated with printed grills rather than just painted on. However the rest of the ship is oddly simple. The aztecing is still there, though larger and blockier but there are large expanses of silver and white. This does appear to be reasonably accurate, but it makes the ship look unfinished. The upper sides of the pylons are completely unpainted which is a shame. Too bad there is no use of transparent plastic on this model – a little for the impulse engines would have been a nice touch.
The build quality is good in parts. My model has quite a few smudged areas of paint work and there is a large join between to top and bottom parts of the saucer. Aside from that there are very few noticeable joins which is surprising given the model’s various parts. This is certainly an interesting model with some nice touches, but some flaws too.
- Detailing: 3/5 (paint work varies and is smudged in places)
- Construction: 4/5 (one bad join keeps it off the top spot)
- Faithfulness: 5/5 (it’s ugly, so full marks there)
- Ship design: 1/5 (What can I say – I don’t like it!)
- Overall: 3/5 (well reproduced with decent detail, but let down in places)
In six issues time I’ll get to review the USS Pasteur, another daft looking ship. So that’ll be nice.