So I made an order to Studio Bergstrom, primarily for some fighters to round out Leanne’s Directorate fleet, but also to get some of Charles Oines’ not-quite-Star-Trek models to spiff up my demos, and to get a sample of the Outer Rim cruisers. What follows is a review after the unboxing. As usual, click on the pictures to see them at full size.
Bergstrom’s order system is positively retro. Their catalog looks like it was designed in the ’90s, and they still send your PayPal bill via e-mail. While this is a criticism, it’s a common one across the spaceship minis industry: the guys who survive put their effort into their product, and the websites limp along behind.* (There was one manufacturer that didn’t even have a catalog for many years. You had to wade through their blog looking for the latest listings. They are unnamed because they’ve fixed things recently.)
For completeness’ sake, here’s what I ordered:
[ORCDEF-CRUS] ORCDeF Cruiser (x1): 5.5 USD [STH01-3] Seth Fighter (3pk) (x10): 17 USD [ID-MUR-001] Banshee class patrol cruiser (x1): 7.5 USD [ID-XUV-001] Adjudicator heavy cruiser (x1): 8.5 USD [B1-1P] 1in Hex Black Plastic Flight Stand (x3): 0.9 USD
Note the inclusion of the flight stands. The fighters come with flight stands, but the cruisers do not.
One of the themes of this review will be how clean the castings are. There’s absolutely no flash on any of the lead, and the only fill is found in the ORCDeF Cruiser’s mounting hole. (The things that look like flash at the back end of the cruiser are meant to be there.)
I’m not sure I would trust the flight stand with this model — it’s the weightiest mini I’ve handled in a while, and the mounting tab on the flight stand is not very large. I’m probably going to drill out the mounting hole enough to accept the entire width of the flight rod, rather than just the tab.
The thing that that sets Studio Bergstrom apart for me is how many different fleet-scale fighters they sell. While many of them are knock-offs of popular properties, Bergstrom also has a selection of originals. The Seths are one of them, and they’re perfect for use as Directorate fighters. They’ve even got the “eye” in the center of the hull.
The model only has any detail on the top of the fighter. Some buyers might not like this, but I’m of the opinion that sculptors put too much detail on a part of the ship that people don’t see much (the aforementioned Directorate is an example), so this isn’t a negative to me — especially if I end up mounting these on Litko bases instead of the ones that Bergstrom includes with all their fighters.
I’m a little dubious of those versi-bases. They’re rubber bases that you stick pins into, and the fighters are mounted on the pins. I’m not particular hard on my models**, but this strikes me as too delicate even for me.
The Banshee is one of Charles Oines’ designs. Readers may remember that I’ve gotten one of Charles’ other pieces, a space station from Shapeways. This one is obviously inspired by the Star Trek “Birds of Prey,” but only superficially resembles them. As such, I like the basic design a lot.
This model is cast even better than the ORCDeF cruiser. If I were to search for nits, I’d point out that you can still see some artifacts of the 3-D printing process used to create the mold. Once this is painted, though, I expect that no one will notice. (Though it is possible I might have to be more careful with my washes. Keep an eye out for that when I post how the painting turns out.)
Last is the Adjudicator, a Xuvaxi heavy cruiser. The Xuvaxi are “land-dwelling cephalopods” who are apparently big fans of Star Trek. Unlike the Banshee, the Adjudicator doesn’t drift as far from the source material, looking like a cross between a Mirror Universe cruiser and one from Star Trek: Online. It’ll be up to me to find the right color scheme.
As for the quality of the model: it’s awesome. Nothing in that picture is glued, which gives you and idea of how well cast it is. Again, the only nit is the 3-D printing artifacts.
All in all, a successful purchase. Studio Bergstrom is definitely one of the places I’ll be going back to for fighters (the other being Iron Wind Metals), and there’s a fair chance I may end up building fleets around the ships I’ve reviewed today.
*Channeling my day job as a web developer: Bergstrom is doing the right thing from a security perspective. If you’re no good at web design, farm the important part — the payment system — to PayPal, who are the experts.
**My minions, on the other hand, do things like this.