Last week a big box from Diamond Select Toys arrived at the HQ and I was thrilled to find a shiny new U.S.S. Excelsior in the box. This review is for the Excelsior from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (NCC-2000) featuring lights and audio.
Package Bio: The U.S.S. Excelsior was the first in a new class of Federation starship, larger than the existing Constitution class. It was originally intended to possess transwarp drive, making it capable of greater speed than any other Federation vessel, but the “Great Experiment” ultimately failed after a series of trials under its first commander, Captain Styles. Refitted with standard warp engines, the Excelsior went into service in 2290 under the command of Captain Hikaru Sulu, formerly of the Enterprise. Following the ship’s initial three-year scientific mission, the Excelsior was involved in the battle at Khitomer against an experimental new Klingon bird-of-prey. With the new design deemed a success, new ships in this class were greenlit, including the new Enterprise-B, and the Excelsior-class soon became on of the most widely used designs in Starfleet, remaining in service for nearly a century.
Thoughts: “My God, that’s a big ship,” said Dr. McCoy and he would be correct. From the tip of it’s saucer to the end of the nacelles she measures almost 19 inches, is 5 1/2 inches wide (nacelle to nacelle) and just over 9 inches tall on it’s display stand. Of course, it helps that it’s big and accurate. I pulled up some screen grabs from Star Trek VI and compared them to the Diamond Select starship and was very impressed with the accuracy – it’s vastly improved over the 90’s Playmates starships, which is true of the entire DST starship line-up. Of course any good sculpt is made better with paint and the Excelsior features a ton of paint ops, many of which are small and quite detailed. Most impressive is the “Starship U.S.S. Excelsior – United Federation of Planets” text on the side of the ship which is fully legible. I’m also impressed by how clean the black “windows” are…having done a few Star Trek models in my day, I always dreaded painting the windows. Come to think of it, the whole model painting thing wasn’t my strong suit.
Not only does the Diamond Select Toys U.S.S. Excelsior look great, it sounds great too. Pressing down on the bridge activates the ship’s lights and sounds. The lights on the ship include the warp nacelles, the main deflector dish, impulse engines and the impulse deflection crystals. Sounds include 10 Captain Sulu quotes and 3 sound effects (engines, alert and weapons being fired). The quality of the sounds is quite good, easily understood and not muffled or distorted.
The final thing to touch on is the display stand. Yes, the display stand. While Diamond Select Toys could cut a corner and provided a static display stand – the included stand features a ball joint where the ship sits on the stand. This gives a good amount freedom with the pitch, roll, or yaw of your displayed ship. It’s a really nice touch that really adds to how the piece displays.
Summary: The Excelsior is my first Diamond Select Toys starship, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Based on the Excelsior my expectations for my next starship (probably the Enterprise-A) are super high. The quality sculpt, great paint and fun lights/sound make the Excelsior an A+ ship. She’s available now, so ask at your favorite comic or specialty shop, or look online. Entertainment Earth has it for $49.99.