USS Orville XL and standard spaceship and Orville shuttle
Eaglemoss Hero Collector
The third season of The Orville went back into production last month, and while fans wait there are three recently released Orville ship models from Eaglemoss Hero Collector to keep you occupied.
There’s a new starship in town
Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated series Family Guy and American Dad, made no secret of the fact that he was a longtime Star Trek fan. He appeared as a crewmember in two episodes of Star Trek Enterprise (“The Forgotten” and “Affliction”), hired Star Trek actors including Patrick Stewart to provide voices for his animated shows and sprinkled them with jokes about Star Trek. He also used his clout to launch an update of the Carl Sagan science show Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson.
MacFarlane had long wanted to make his own sci-fi space travel show and he made good on that promise in 2017 with the Fox TV show The Orville, starring MacFarlane himself as the captain of the titular spacecraft. While it might have initially seemed like a snarky satire of the genre with a group of misfit characters running a starship, the show took its science fiction plots seriously and was quickly embraced by fans of both MacFarlane’s work and Star Trek (full disclosure: I wrote a book about the series for Titan Publishing called The World of The Orville).
The Orville boasts everything a good Star Trek series does: strong stories, varied, likable characters in brightly colored uniforms, strange aliens and alien cultures, sleek, futuristic technology and weaponry, and spaceships—lots of spaceships. So Eaglemoss recently added The Orville to its line of spacecraft models that already includes the Trek, Alien and Battlestar Galactica universes, and it’s a perfect fit.
The centerpiece of the show and Eaglemoss’ Orville lineup is the Orville itself, a starship roughly equivalent in size to Trek’s U.S.S. Voyager and with a somewhat similar, curvilinear wedge look at least as far as the front half of the ship is concerned. But the Orville is a far more sculptural, organic-looking design built around the idea of “quantum drive rings” in which “spatial tensor coils” process dark energy and fold space, using an exotic substance called dysonium. All of the show’s Planetary Union fleet ships employ this technology, so they are all variations of the same flowing, organic look, with a streamlined front section and various numbers and configurations of quantum drive rings at the rear.
On the Orville, the look suggests both the shape and movement of a whale, with the upper, middle and lower drive rings almost suggesting the motion of a whale’s tail as it sweeps up and down—it’s a striking, beautiful design, and MacFarlane and his team took it a step farther by actually having the ship built as a 5-foot-long miniature for motion control photography to give the show the classic look of series like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager.
Eaglemoss has produced two beautiful recreations of the Orville: an XL ship 10” long and a standard edition about half that size. Both authentically recreate the ship’s sculptural appearance, its paint job of warm gray with darker gray panels, tiny windows, the illuminated vents of the quantum rings, the shuttle bay nestled in front of the drive rings, the upper bridge, and some fine blue pinstripe markings and the ship’s registry numbers.
I like to know what scale these models are since Eaglemoss does not provide this information and their models are not made to any consistent scale (this is known as “box scale” as the models are made to fit into a standard package size rather than a standard scale). Given the similarity in scale to the Voyager, I believe the standard, adorably little Orville model is roughly 1/2400 scale, so in the ballpark of the Eaglemoss and Round 2/Polar Lights U.S.S. Discovery models, while the XL is around 1/1100 or so. When I was working on The Orville book I was able to visit the sets and handle a little study model of the ship (3D printed, like some components of the actual filming miniature)—I immediately coveted the little spaceship so it’s great to finally have an authentic replica of it.
Eaglemoss provides an attractively printed booklet to go with the Orville with background on the vessel and a number of full color views of the ship. Unlike some of the Eaglemoss Trek ship booklets, the Orville one is smaller (about 7” tall by 5 ½” wide) and focuses on information as seen in the show rather than behind-the-scenes tidbits, so there’s nothing about developing the design of the ship, which was worked out by Steven Lineweaver after other artists including Luke McDonald, Andrew Probert and several others had taken a crack at it.
Just like Star Trek vessels, the Orville has a shuttlebay and shuttles, and these closely follow the curvy, bean-like design aesthetic suggested by the larger Orville. And just as on the various Star Trek shows, the shuttle on The Orville was constructed as a full-size prop so that actors could be shown entering and exiting it while it sits either in the Orville shuttlebay or on an outdoor location representing a planet surface. The shuttle design features two quantum rings sweeping upward from its tail, sitting atop a rear exit/airlock, while the front boasts a bubble-like wraparound viewport. What appears to be intakes and exhausts for atmospheric engines on the side of the little ship have the look of curved, folded up wings, retaining the curvilinear look of the overall design aesthetic.
Interestingly, the look of the shuttle isn’t far off from one proposed by Matt Jefferies for the original Star Trek but quickly rejected as too difficult to construct, and the Orville shuttle is a neat demonstration of how construction techniques have evolved by leaps and bounds not only from the 1960s but even the late 1980s and 1990s when Star Trek: The Next Generation was in production. Andrew Probert designed a similarly curved shuttle for TNG that also proved too difficult and expensive to build, and so subsequent shuttle designs for TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and even the theatrical movie Star Trek V kept to the boxy, slab-sided look that went back to the original Sixties Star Trek, with a somewhat curvier shuttlepod only seeing service on Star Trek Enterprise.
The shuttle model is about 4 ¾” long and probably works out to something like 1/72 scale, and also comes with a booklet similar to the one included with the two Orville models, with background on the shuttle and profiles of two of the show’s characters, Helmsman Gordon Malloy, a frequent shuttle pilot, and ship’s doctor Claire Flinn, who winds up crash-landing with her two sons in a shuttle in one episode.
The Orville series still has at least one more season in production and has featured a lot of wonderful spacecraft designs, so it should be a gold mine for Eaglemoss and fans of spaceship models. These three replicas are a great start and should fit in handsomely with your other Trek ships or by themselves.
Eaglemoss Orville models Available now
The first three ships from The Orville Starships Collection from Eaglemoss Hero Collector were released in late 2020. You can get them all at the official Eaglemoss site. The XL ship costs $74.99, the standard ship is $29.95. And the shuttle is also $29.95.
|ECV-197 Orville XL Edition
|ECV-197 Orville (Standard size)
Orville season 2 soundtrack and Season 2.5 comics
If you are looking for even more The Orville to hold you over until season three, the soundtrack for season two was just released by La La Lands Records. You can pick up the 2-CD set at lalandrecords.com for $21.98, or the digital version at Amazon for $11.49.
In December the fourth issue of The Orville “Season 2.5” comics written by The Orville writer/executive producer David Goodman came out. All four issues will be released in a trade paperback collection in April, which you can pre-order at Amazon for $19.99, or pre-0rder the digital version for $7.79.
More Orville model photos
Keep up with all the Orville news and analysis at TrekMovie.com.