The Class-J is a classic atomic-age space ship that looks quite out of place amongst the more sophisticated ships of Star Trek, even those of the TOS era. It is absurdly simple in shape and design – a pleasing boat like shape with gentle curves with bent, angular struts that support rather primitive looking nacelles. There is little in the way of detail, yet enough to make the model interesting and even a little mysterious.
It is the lack of window and hull detailing that give the Class-J its air of mystery. This is a Federation built ship, albeit dated even in 2266 (the year it appeared in the TOS Episode ‘Mudd’s Women’) but its purpose and function is unclear. Couple with the smoky-blue domes that cap either end of the nacelles and the top of the hull it looks unlike any other Federation ship and is distinctly retro in design. I should point out that the magazine tells us the Class-J would have originally been a cargo transport, though repurposed for more personal aims as ship of the week. Also even though the ship appeared in TOS this design is based on the re-mastered TOS from the ’90s, much like the Antares and the forthcoming Orion ship.
The simplicity and plainness does not detract from the model. In fact the simple lines and colour scheme make it stand out more. The hull is entirely silver-grey with a excellent mottled pattern all over. Only a small area on the underside of the struts miss out on the patterning. Most other features are in a pleasant turquoise that matches the blue domes. The only other distinguishing features are the two brown deflectors and a grid of bright red impulse engine exhausts.
Construction is pretty good. The top half of the hull is metal and includes the nacelle struts and impulse engine, so there are no joins there. The bottom half of the hull joins up so well for a moment I thought it was one whole piece. Only the join between the struts and nacelles are poor and very noticeable.
- Detailing: 4/5 – Simple but effective
- Construction: 4/5 – Let down only by the nacelle joins
- Ship design: 4/5 – Oddly retro and mysterious
- Overall: 4/5 – Simple design, well executed
For a change the regular design article is quite short at only two pages, but discusses the crudity of the original (i.e. 1960s) design. This means the special article, ‘Women of Star Trek’ is six pages long and covers seventeen different female characters from the Original Series and the actresses who played them.