Phoenix

This is Zefram Cochrane’s prototype warp capable ship. It’s not the oldest Human built ship in the collection – the SS Botany Bay has that distinction. It is however the oldest ship sporting the iconic twin warp nacelles, setting an aesthetic that dominates Human, Starfleet and ultimately Federation design for hundreds of years. The Phoenix mixes a contemporary space exploration styled vessel with its heat shields, rocket engine and command module with more exotic Star Trek components.

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Eaglemoss have done a wonderful job here, colourfully and faithfully reproducing the Phoenix. The detail is excellent almost throughout and there are plenty of nice touches. In First Contact the nacelles unfold from the sides of the fuselage on pinioned struts. The model does not have this ability, but perfectly recreates the fully deployed position with nicely built nacelles, translucent orange ramscoops at the front, classic turquoise along the side and, barely noticeable at first glance pale blue orbs in the cowled exhaust. These are really great and I love the nod to the Original Series Enterprise design.

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The fuselage is also great with an excellently detailed rocket manifold. There is a barely a bare patch on the model – almost everywhere there are hull pieces, grills, windows, vents and panels. In fact the only disappointing parts are the recessed area the nacelles are stored in during launch. Theses a completely undecorated and present a glaringly large join. Elsewhere the join is not so obvious as the detail of the fuselage obscures it. Interestingly the model is almost identical on both sides; there are only two differences. Some of the grill detail on the underside is more recessed, and on the nose section it has painted on windows on top, and heat shielding underneath.

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The predominant colour of the Phoenix is metallic silver, but there is plenty of other decor that makes this is a very colourful model. Large panelled areas are off-white with almost Starfleet like red lines. Some tiny panels are also painted red, and in a few areas an off-orange. All in all the colour scheme works well.

20160203_204630The Phoenix is definitely one of my recent favourites in the collection. It’s fun to look at, excellently detailed and well built. As only the nacelles, struts and manifold are plastic it has a very satisfying weight. If you don’t have a subscription to the collection, I’d recommend picking this one up as it really looks great on the shelf.

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  • Detailing: 5/5 – Brilliant, only let down on the sides
  • Construction: 5/5 – Good use of materials, shame about the visible joins on the side
  • Ship design: 5/5 – fun blend of Starfleet and contemporary space technology
  • Overall: 5/5 – A collection must
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6 thoughts on “Phoenix

  1. Yes, I agree about the jarring emptiness of the recessed areas on the sides. Quite a contrast to the rest of the ship, and as you say, highlights the join rather than disguise it.

    Looking at the Phonenix, a question occurred to me, if I can wander off-topic for a moment. We know that the ship survived into the 24th century, since Picard saw it in a museum. So how did Cochrane, Riker and LaForge get out of the ship and back to the surface? Did it land somehow? Did they eject the command module? If so, did the rest of the ship somehow survive in orbit for years until it could be retrieved? I never thought about it while watching the movie, but looking at the model, the question came to mind.

  2. ROFL, yeah I’ve had the exact same question. This was a chemical rocket until it reached orbit. No Impulse Drive, No Repulser/Lifting tech. How did it get down. It was clearly a single use space vehicle. I assume the capsule jettisoned and returned to earth? Assuming they didn’t warp themselves into the moon? It looks like there is a protective covering on the nose cone that likely holds a re-entry and parachute system.

    The only thing I can think of for the warp section of the ship, Maybe the Vulcan’s picked it up and brought it back? It is after all what got their attention.

    Those seams and gaps on the side really make me wish this one model had some articulation. More than any other Star Trek ship this one would benefit from being able to swing the nacelles.

  3. Despite the visible join in the nacelle section and the questions on how the Phoenix was able to return to earth, this is a fantastic model. I’ve always loved the design and First Contact is in my opinion the best Star Trek movie ever made. The simple, rocket like design with the warp nacelles, so very well known from all starfleet vessels that were built around earth. for me it is the missing link between conventional spacecraft and warp capable starships. I can find myself in the explanation that the vulcans salvaged the rocket part and that the capsule returned to earth, there are clearly heat shields visible on the underside of the capsule/cockpit. The whole issue of the return to earth is something the makers of the movie didn’t pay attention to (they also didn’t pay attention to the return of the Enterprise to it’s own time). But as I said. it’s a fantastic model with lots of interesting details and I’m very happy with it.

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