Time for another special edition! As is often the case for the specials this model comes from the Kelvinverse and is the first ship in the collection from the latest movie. We should be seeing a swarm ship from Beyond as a special at some point too. The Franklin is an old ship, uncovered on the planet Altamid in an abandoned but ultimately salvageable condition. It predates the NX-01 by a few years though the comparison between the two is difficult to make due to the design differences of the two universes. There is much about the Franklin’s story I don’t understand – it was abandoned by Krall/Edison and his crew to the point where they had either forgotten about it, or didn’t care. It wasn’t terribly hard to repair either so seems like its purloining by Kirk et al was a massive oversight on Krall’s part. Oh well, it’s a cool ship so I’ll let them off. I’m sure someone will be able to explain to me in the comments!
Having escaped from Altamid the Franklin looks a little dirty yet has unscathed structurally. It appears it made a smoother landing than the Enterprise did which is too bad as actually I’d be interested to see a damaged ship in the collection. This model is on a par with the fascinating USS Kelvin special. The ship’s design is almost as simple as you could get for a Starfleet vessel – two huge warp nacelles, angled struts and oval saucer section. Most notable by its absence is the engineering hull, instead the struts attach directly to back of the saucer section. There appears to be no deflector either though why may be due to the ship’s small size. At only about 137 metres long this is one of smallest Starfleet ships ever, almost half the length of the compact NX-01.
There are plenty of interesting details and design decisions to see. Take the cut out section at the back of the saucer, this flows really nicely nacelle struts emerging from the saucer on either side. Likewise the grill design curving around the top of the saucer is very unique and gives the ship a much more utilitarian design than standard Starfleet ships (yes I know the ship was built pre-Starfleet). The whole model is detailed with barely any untouched area, especially as most of the hull has a worn, streaky patina that darkens the otherwise cream colouring. Most of the painted details use the same charcoal colours, such as the various grills, hatches and panels so it is a very monochrome ship. The only bright pieces are the wonderful nacelle ramscoops, nacelle exhausts and tiny red rectangles for the impulse engines. The nacelles follow the aesthetics of the Kelvinverse Enterprise as they are chunky and gently taper towards the exhausts. Detailing on them is good with the same worn effect, and the structure has embossed grills and panelling. I really like the huge ramscoops as they use a translucent orangey-yellow with a painted on cross detail. For the first time I’ve seen in a model the nacelle exhausts also have tiny little translucent domes too which is a nice touch.
Overall the design is very good and its reproduction likewise. The saucer is impressively detailed with so many layered sections and textured surfaces. This is what you should expect for a special edition really, that extra level of detail and thoughtfulness. One glaring flaw is the bridge window though – a plain section with a very bland white rectangle which appears completely at odds with the rest of the model. What is really unusual is this section is a separate piece from the main metal saucer section and I’m not sure why. Aside from this I’m very pleased to welcome this model onto my shelves and it is one of my favourite special editions.
- Detailing: 5/5 – Complex detail and design
- Construction: 5/5 – Well put together and very sturdy
- Ship design: 5/5 – Fascinating design
- Overall: 5/5 – This is a cool ship and a cool model
The magazine is one large article covering the ship’s design. Interesting enough, but not much variety unfortunately.