Product: Red Dwarf & Starbug Twinpack
Price: £9.99 from Corgi (+ £2.95 P&P), £11.99 from RDSUK (+ £2.99 P&P)
Ah, the Corgi models. Originally designed to tie in with the Movie, we first reported on them in May 2003; and they’ve finally been released – in time for Christmas. So, were they worth the wait?
Pretty snazzy. I especially like the JMC logo on the front. And on the back is the following blurb; unusual in blurbs about Dwarf in that it’s not the slightest bit annoying:
“Red Dwarf was a Jupiter Mining Corporation Vessel developed for the recovery and shipping of mineral ore. Cast adrift three million years into deep space, its sole human inhabitant became vending machine repairman Dave Lister… who has about as much interest in mining as personal hygiene.
Red Dwarf’s key shuttlecraft are its fleet of Starbugs. The Starbug line is adaptable and manoeuvrable, but also prone to crashing at a moment’s notice. Its utter lack of defensive capabilities make it exactly the kind of ship you don’t want stranded on in hostine space.”
Excellent. No sign of SMHEG anywhere. Sadly, the back of the packing (along with some lovely publicity photos of the cast) is a big fuck-off (and I mean fuck-off) picture of the Re-mastered/VIII ship. Hardly surprising, given the circumstances, but still: bah.
Rest assured that the models are securely fixed in the packaging, so there’s not much danger of damage to them; to release, simply cut the ties at the back. The models also come with small plastic stands to place them on. Pretty cheap and plasticky, but they don’t look too bad once the models are on them, and what do you expect for this price?
I’ve managed to lose one already. Argh.
Now, as you know, I’m always going on about not judging something before it’s actually released. Things can surprise you – what looks like it will be shit often isn’t, and vice versa. It amazes me how many people know the Movie will be awful before it’s even entered production…
Nevertheless, I made an exception for the Corgi Dwarf, as did Ian. A few choice snippets:
“The Red Dwarf one, however, is FUCKING ATROCIOUS. I’m having difficulty remembering a worse piece of merchandise.” – Ian, August 27th 2003
“…the Corgi models, which, if you recall, are based on a huge pencil…” – Ian, October 10th 2003
“Corgi’s Red Dwarf model looks shit. We’re told that this is not the finished paint design, so presumably any faults with the colour can be fixed. Good. Unfortunately, this is the final shape design, and there appears to have been a massive error. I’m not quite sure how everyone at Corgi and GNP have missed this, but they appear to have made a toy based on a huge fucking red pencil. Surely, if you’re going to market a toy at Red Dwarf fans, the eponymous ship would be a better icon to use.” – Ian, March 26th 2004
“…it still looks SHIT.” – John, May 2nd 2004
“Christ, that picture of Dwarf makes the model look even more RUBBISH than I’d previously thought.” – John, November 29th 2004
So, am I wrong? Have I been convinced? When I finally got the model out of the box, did I sit crying in a corner bemoaning my foolishness?
No. Sorry, it still looks SHIT.
It looks nicer than I had expected, to be fair. In particular, one problem with the Re-mastered/VIII model of the ship was the fact that it was BRIGHT RED. This model isn’t; it’s a darker red, with plenty of shading. I’m no models aficianado – I’ve always been interested, but just never had the time/money – but to my eye, the paint job and modelling is lovely. There’s no dening that.
But it simply suffers from not being the model of Dwarf that we all know and love; instead, it’s a representation of some (compared to earlier series) poor effects work. And the shape is still wrong – it’s supposed to be an ugly hulk of a mining ship, not a sleek streamlined spacecraft. With Bastard Boosters. And the bloody meteorites/moons/whatever they are still look like they are deliberately built into the ship, rather than having crashed into it – and look appalling. (All this and more is dealt with in my Model Behaviour article – note the footnote at the end, though.)
What gets me about this is that models like these were designed for the fans. And ask most fans which they preferred – a model of the ship from the first five series which made them fall in love with Dwarf in the first place, or a model from Re-mastered/VIII, and guess what answer you would get. It seems an absolutely ludicrous decision. I’m positive they would have sold more if they’d used the original Dwarf. After all, some people would buy a model of the original ship, but not one of the Re-mastered/VIII – but would anyone buy the latter and not the former?
Apparently it was Corgi themselves who decided to do this version of the ship. It’s a wasted opportunity, as a version of the original Dwarf ship to this standard would be lovely and a must-have item. As it is, it’s just shit. And really not worth you owning.
Now we’re talking. This is gorgeous. Where do I start?
I could talk about the detailed design – perfect in every way, despite the model being so small. I could talk about the gorgeous paint job on it; no “paint it all dark green and it’ll look OK here” – it’s got excellent shading. But the picture probably shows most of what I feel about this particular model.
You really, really have to own this. And place it on your monitor. And fly it around the room at regular intervals throughout the day. It’s the only decent thing a Dwarf fan could do.
It’s on top of my monitor. Permanently. Ready for take-off at a moment’s notice.
I often don’t find figures convincing. Whether you’re meant to or not, unless a figure is obviously caricatured, I always end up comparing them to the real thing – and find them wanting, particularly the faces. This is especially a problem with small models.
The body/clothing on both of the Rimmer and Lister models is fine – I particuarly like the detail that Rimmer’s costume has ridden up around his arms as he is doing the salute. (The salute itself is also a nice touch.) As for the faces: Lister is is OK, but doesn’t really look much like Craig – but Rimmer just looks awful. They’ve just not captured Chris Barrie in any way whatsoever. The colour of the face is also dodgy – he looks far too pale. A bit of a shame. Still, I suppose they are small models, so it must be difficult to do much, especially at this price.
Oh, you want a proper picture so you can see what I’m on about? Fine. Heathen.
As if you didn’t already know. Dwarf shit, Starbug lovely – to loosely paraphrase Orwell.
I said a while ago that Red Dwarf and Starbug models bought individually came with one of the Rimmer or Lister models each. This doesn’t actually appear to be the case. The Dwarf model simply isn’t worth owning – so it’s up to you whether you think buying the twinpack (£9.99 from Corgi) is worth it for the figures. I’d say it probably was – even with Rimmer’s face – but Starbug is the main attraction. If you’re on a budget, £4.99 (Corgi again) for just the Starbug model is well worth it.
You might as well throw Dwarf in the bin.