USS Saratoga

The USS Saratoga made a brief showing at the very beginning of Deep Space Nine only to be destroyed moments later by the Borg. This is the ship Captain Sisko served on as a Lieutenant Commander during the Battle of Wolf 359 before being stationed at DS9. We now have several ships in the collection that have originated purely from this battle though at least with the Saratoga we do get to see more than just a brief glimpse of it in the background.

This is another Miranda class Starfleet ship but in a slightly different configuration to that of the more well known USS Reliant. Instead of the roll bar of sensors above the saucer section there are two large sensor arrays flanking the saucer. These look like huge weapons and that is what I have always assumed them to be until I read the accompanying magazine. The model is actually slightly larger than the Reliant model, not by much but enough to show it isn’t a straight-up re-purposing of the old Reliant model. The detailing is very similar with the same decals, aztecing and colouring and it all looks very nice, a good traditional Starfleet ship even if those huge sensors look a bit of place.

Unfortunately there is a big let down here – the nacelles. For reasons unknown the usual transparent blue plastic has been eschewed and the grills are painted on. This is a disappointment as the nacelles are crying out for it. I totally expected the model to use this so I was somewhat taken aback. What makes it more unusual is that effort has gone into other places to improve upon the Reliant model. The bussard scoops are now painted and the construction revised to make the joins less obvious. Surely a bit of plastic can’t be that expensive?

There is a lot to like about this model. It really is excellently detailed as you would expect for a TNG-era Starfleet ship, the design is neat if a bit off kilter, construction and paintwork is as good as any other model. But the nacelles are big disappointment and lack the finish it sorely needs. I’ve been rewarding models 5 stars less and less in recent times partly because my standards are higher now but also I feel the collection is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Don’t get me wrong I’m still enjoying receiving the models and writing about them but I’d like to give out five stars a bit more often.

  • Detailing: 4/5 – Up to scratch for a Starfleet model but nacelles let it down
  • Construction: 4/5 – Where’s my transparent plastic!
  • Ship design: 5/5 – B-list Federation chic
  • Overall: 4/5 – Another decent model, but it could have been better

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2 thoughts on “USS Saratoga

  1. Well, it is good to get another decent Federation ship in. It just serves to show how ‘alien’ ships, without good-old mechanical nuts-and-bolts detail, and things like registrations numbers (or a name) are always lacking these essential points. Other than a few Klingon ships that sport the logo of the empire, I can’t think of any non-human ships in the collection that have any identifying marks. It’s a subtle dig that Star Fleet ships are more ‘mundane’ in some way than a sleek, mysterious ship crewed by beings who are not Terrestrial in origin. I wish more Romulan, Vulcan and many other species had ships that looked more like the Saratoga, even without the blue plastic in the nacelles.

    I agree that the glaringly ugly orange sensor arrays look like weapons (or perhaps flowers). Doing them in translucent orange instead of very thick paint would help greatly. The rest of the ship is fine. As far as I know, this will be the last decent Federation model we’ll see for awhile.

  2. I knew from preview pics that the nacelles would be a sold painted piece, but hadn’t expected a bigger size with even better detailing. The Reliant was already pretty good for the size, but apparently a few more millimeters and whatever lessons they’ve learned in 90 issues made for an even better piece. The nacelles, though, yeah… for all the improvements they made to the rest of the ship, these make it look more like a toy. It’s a real shame they didn’t include transparent pieces.

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