Preview of the Star Trek:Insurrection Captain's Yacht .

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Tag-Team Preview: Enterprise-E's Captain's Yacht

By Marco Scheloske - images & text © 2001

Scale: None stated. Ship is 5" x 5" (12x12 cm), plaque measures 9 1/2" x 6" (26x17cm
Parts: 3 injection molded styrene, pre-painted
Instructions: N/A; , a numbered and signed "certificate of authenticity" is provided
Decals: Directly printed on the model.
Molding Quality: 8 (nice details, 1 big visible seam where the top and bottom half comes together)
Detail: 9 - well done for a ready-to-display model
Accuracy: 6 - overall shape is ok, but 3 VERY obvious errors
MSRP: $25.00 US available from Star Trek Fan Club
Overall Rating: 8 - A nice piece of work, but I expected more accuracy from a officially licensed and limited product!

[What you get]

"Is it a model? Is it a toy? No, it`s a sculpture!"

That is what I thought when I first saw this model of Captain Picard's Yacht from "Insurrection". Far more accurate than the pewter miniature offered by "Rawcliff" it has its own problems... but let me tell you step by step what you`ll get:

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^ How it comes

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^ Parts


^ Pylons in the corrected configuration

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Image: Bottom view

Image: Front view

Image: Rear view

Image: Port side

Image: Starboard

Image: Plaque

Packed in two vacuformed pieces you get a model that is already built and painted, together with a stand and a very nice base which represents the wall-plaque used in the movie.

The quality of the ship if very good for a toy-like model like this one, and the base is really fantastic - I would like to have such for all of my Trek-models: it is molded in iron-metallic injection plastic, showing a Starfleet-delta together with the designation of the ship and a quote from its namesake, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The yacht itself is molded in light brown/gray injection plastic, the cockpit-windows, pylons, warp-nacelles, some details on the surface and the usual starfleet-signs are directly printed on the model. The bottom looks a bit "naked", but in the movie this area also was not very detailed regarding to the colors, so it is correct. No panels are painted/molded on the surface, which creates a toy-like look. The colors are printed well, all edges are sharp and the placement is in register. Not correct is the black color that is used on the pylons, there should be a middle-gray area instead (as far as I can tell looking the few seconds in the move which shows the yacht while detaching from the Enterprise over and over again, picture by picture). The other colors including the metallic blue and red used on the nacelles seems to be correct.

What can I say about accuracy? Well, the overall shape is captured nicely (and should be on a official licensed product), but I have to mantion 3 very obvious errors:

  1. The area in front of the cockpit is wrong: there should be some kind of thrusters (or is it the main deflector?), but in the model there is only a flat raised panel (compare the screenshot and the pciture of the model, and you`ll see).
  2. The warp-nacelles are too thin - they should be approximately twice as thick as they are.
  3. The most obvious one: The directions the pylons are facing is wrong!!! When the yacht is totally detached from the saucer of the Enterprise , flying towards the planet the pylons are facing DOWN (look at the screenshot and the conceptional drawings). The pylons of the model are facing UP!

The problem with those problems: Except the third one you`ll have to do extremely surgery to the model, and regarding to the fact that it is a limited edition collectors item that can be a problem (if you are a collector yourself or planning to sell it away in the future). I for myself have not chosen yet if i will fix the wrong pylon-color and the wrong shapes of the nose and the nacelles, but i have taken action to the wrong facing pylons: The Model is only glued together directly at its front and back, so it is possible to open it at the sides. The pylons only sticks in two little "noses", so if you CAREFULLY bent the two halfes of the main hull apart you`ll be able to get those pylons out of the ship without leaving any mark. Simply turn them around and change the port and starboard nacelle/pylon set, and you are much closer to the movie-look.

Ok, now you have another problem: The printed markings on the nacelles are wrong-sided now, but this is not so extremely obvious than the other thing. Fixing the marking-problem will also alter the condition as a collectible, so you have to choose wether or not you will do it.

There is a discussion going around wether or not this sculpture is molded from a filming miniature: Let me tell you that this seems to be a marketing-quotation, because the "Certificate of authenticity", signed by John Eaves, Star Trek Illustrator is only speaking about "with PARTS molded directly from items used in the filming of Star Trek: First contact and Star Trek: Insurrection.". The base is molded 1:1 from the plaque used in Insurrection, and I will not contradict that especially the bottom is maybe molded from conceptional parts made for the FX-department to get a "look and feel" for the finally used CGIs, but as the certificate tells not the entire model, just PARTS of the molds are used for the movies!

Final conclusion: Is it worth the money? I`m not totally sure what my conclusion should be, it`s having some problems, but I know not a single Trek-kit which didn`t have those (most of the garage-kit-industry-ones are much better than the big-company-ones, but if you search you`ll find compromises there also). It is surely a collectible, and it looks very good sitting there in my showcase next to the Enterprise-E. The pylon-problem can be fixed very easy, and if you choose to make an accurate model from this sculpture it will be a good starting point. But I for myself have expected a little bit more accuracy from a limited edition and official licensed item like this one. Would I buy it again if i have known all those things I`m telling here before? I guess I would, because it IS a nice addition to each Star Trek collection, and especially to an Enterprise-E model.

By James Cho - images & text © 2002

Molding Quality: 8
Detail: 8
Accuracy: 6
MSRP: $25.00 US available from
Overall Rating: 7 - Note: I had to judge the above based on the fact that this model was already built. Had it been unbuilt and unpainted I would've given the detail and accuracy a 9 each.

I was very pleased to see the Star Trek Fan Club Store finally release a model. Hopefully they'll release more now that liscenced Trek models are few and far between.

The website selling the model claims "Exclusive Captain's Yacht sculpture was built from the original ILM casting, making the finished piece a 1:1 scale model of the shooting miniature used in Star Trek: Insurrection."

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" Display stand was cast directly from the actual plaque used in Star Trek: Insurrection and matches its exact size Ship and plaque are molded plastic. Ship measures 5" x 5", plaque measures 9 1/2" x 6". Yacht sculpture is limited to 5000 pieces"

How does this one stack up? Its a good model but its build is mediocre.

CAVEAT: I'm being somewhat harsh on this model because its fully built. If it had been disassembled and unpainted the following would not have been necessary since they would have been easily corrected during a build up.

The casting has no bubbles. Seems to me that it is a styrene mass produced kit. There are though some flaws in it. There are some pieces that didn't fit 100% perfectly together and the openings however small are still there. There's also a very small hole punctured into bottom of the ship's nose. Its so small I don't mind it.

It seems to have been put there are purpose and its not a casting defect. (I don't know why. Perhaps it was necessary to put a hole in it during the production?) It may not be apparent in the pictures but the ship's surface isn't entirely smooth, its like the surface of a cheesecake. There appear to be nicks, dulled edges and somewhat muted panelling. They seem to be from the actual master mold since they're painted over. This may have been the intention of the manufacturer in an effort to emulate weathering, or perhaps this actual "shooting miniature" wasn't built to be mass produced for the public but just to be good enough for the production team to use. Whatever the intention it its not that bad but does seem to take away a little.

Since this is claimed to be the actual shooting model, that has to mean this thing is very accurate shapewise. No complaints there! The painting is another story.

How well was it painted? Its so-so. Its colors are too primary and inaccurate. There's no attention to detailing.

  1. The warp nacelle windows are painted dark blue.
  2. The bussards are painted the same color of red as the starfleet design logos on the sides.
  3. The windows are flat black.
  4. There's only 2 shades of grey on this model. Both seem inaccurate.
  5. There's no wash, highlighting or other effects that were done on this model for detailing.

All the painting on the model seems to have been done by machine.

The base that comes with the model is a cast of the plaque on the Yacht. Its casted in what appears to be a styrene colored to look metallic. Its very well done and there's no problems with it which creates a problem. The base is bigger and more detailed than the ship. I'm sure most of us would've had it the other way around.

The ship's build is good enough to let it stand on its own. Most model builders of intermediate skill or better would've been able to do better, but considering it'd hurt the model's collectibility, not to mention might even make it worse because it would require too many coats of primer which would further mute the details. I'm not going to do it.

All in all I'm satisfied with the purchase. I'd rather the model had been unbuilt and unpainted, but I realize that Communicator has to sell these to the general clientele most of which aren't model builders. Don't let my detailed and critical analysis make you think this model isn't worth it. For $25 its a good buy. If Star Trek Communicator came out with more similarly priced models of the same quality I'd eagerly buy them too.

Many thanks to Marco's and James' wallets for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Editor's Note: John Eaves, who designed the yacht and mastered the model, send along these comments:

I just saw your review of the yacht and I agree with a lot of what you had to say. Whenever a piece is mass produced problems arise such as bumpy texture, seams, colors, etc. The cost of production is limited also by what the producers wish to pay for the final piece. So, it is usually a gamble as to what you will get when all is said and done. As a collector myself, I too like to collect the unusual Trek items, and if I'm allowed I intend to produce many more in the future. If anything, I felt is was better to get the sculpture out to fellow collectors despite critique and production flaws than not at all.

To best explain the model here is a quicky...the bottom of the yacht is a pull from ILM's 12 foot "E" shooting miniature. The top is sculpted from my concept drawings and roughly from the CG model that you view in the film. I chose to follow more the designs than the CG because the information on the finished CG model was not as accessible as I had hoped in the short time I had to finish the final piece. As far as accuracy is concerned, the scribes and details are correct except for the deflector array on the front of the yacht. The CG model in Insurrection reflected a different deflector and attitudes of the pylons different from what was conceptualized. The miniature was created before the film was completed and the discrepancies were not yet known to me as the sculptor. Despite the minor discrepancies, it was a very fun piece to sculpt.

Anyway, thanks for the review of the ship. I rarely get feedback on the work I do, so it was nice to read. I too would have liked to have made the yacht as a kit to build, but the merchandising platform will not allow me to produce anything except a finished piece, or sculpt. I hope to be able to make kits to build in the future.

John Eaves

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