Recently I reviewed the USS Centaur, a ship with barely a few seconds of screen time. Issue 54 is the Steamrunner Class USS Appalachia which is only glimpsed in the background. However regardless of its elusive appearance it is a detailed and carefully designed ship. What I like about these obscure Federation ships is that they try to push the boundaries of design without fully divorcing themselves from the iconic classic saucer and nacelle arrangement.
The Steamrunner Class does adhere to the twin nacelle and saucer section and even has a engineering hull, but in a new arrangement. The nacelles are directly connected to the back of the saucer section, with cowled ramscoops on the saucer itself. The small engineering hull is connected by struts to the nacelles, but is it itself not connected to the saucer. I think it’s quite a sleek, compact design much like the USS Defiant.
For a blink-and-you-miss-it ship it’s surprisingly detailed and this is also case for the model. It’s packed full of detail all over the hull. The saucer (which isn’t really a saucer, more a rounded arrow-head) is densely covered with various panels, sensor palettes and escape pods. It’s a very grey ship, mostly light grey with darker panels and chunky aztecing with red and white decals. The transparent red ramscoops look great recessed in the saucer section as do the large blue grilles that let light through the nacelles. On the back of the saucer is more transparent red plastic, used for the impulse engines and more blue at the ends of the nacelles. It’s good to see so much use of transparent material as it really adds colour.
There are a couple of let downs on this model. Firstly the deflector dish is terrible – it’s the worst reproduction I’ve seen so far, looking nothing like the CGI version. The dish is painted light blue and does nothing to disguise the obvious join between the two halves of the engineering hull. Another lacking area is the shuttlecraft bay doors on the rear of the saucer section. The doors are painted on rather than actually recessed and do not appear to match the layout shown in the accompanying magazine.
Overall this is a decent model. It’s a ship I’d barely even noticed before so it’s a bonus to find it’s actually quite a nice design and in the main well executed. The model is nicely solid with more of it being die-cast metal than plastic and from above you can’t see a single join.
- Detailing: 4/5 – really great, but let down in a couple of places
- Construction: 4/5 – so close, but a bad join right through the deflector dish
- Ship design: 5/5 – an excellent remix of Federation design
- Overall: 4/5 – an interesting design great in so many ways that just misses the full 5/5