Unbowed by Khan's Bloodlust

To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell's heart, I stab at thee; for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

—Khan Noonien Singh

So great was his thirst for vengeance that Khan, the eponymous villain of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, cited Herman Melville's Moby-Dick to express his enmity toward James T. Kirk. Just as Captain Ahab needed his whaling ship Pequod to hunt his quarry, Khan needed to steal a vessel that could rival even the famed U.S.S. Enterprise.

The Miranda-class U.S.S. Reliant was that vessel, and to honor it, QMx FX Cinema Arts has re-created it in glorious detail.

Our screen-accurate, hand-built, 1:250 scale Reliant Artisan Replica features:

  • More than 100 parts: cast, fiberglass and laser cut.
  • 20 paint colors masked and layered to create the distinctive Aztec hull pattern.
  • Illuminated warp and impulse engines.
  • Triggered weapons systems with authentic sound.
  • Detailed shuttle bay, with scale vehicles, crew and photo-etched brass railings.
  • Ship's Dedication Papers signed by the artists.

Designing the Framework

Using reference images of the Reliant from CBS, QMx FX Cinema Arts creates 3-D files, then performs all prototyping, 3-D printing, mold work and casting in-house.

When creating a physical ship from digital reference, the team gives careful consideration to the ship’s center of gravity, how much of a skeletal system will be required, and where brass and steel supports will be placed.

When the designs are finalized, the metal alloy armature is smithed and plasma cut. Interlocking pieces of the frame are bolted together, allowing parts of the ship to be more easily removed for adjustments or replacement during assembly.

Molding & Casting

QMx creates its own molds using various consistencies of resin thickened with silica. Two layers of woven fiberglass mesh are sandwiched between four liquid resin layers, securing each mold in place.

Phyllis Eblan, QMx FX Cinema Arts operations director, says applying the liquid coats to the mesh is like “brushing water,” a difficult but necessary process that prevents air bubbles from forming pits in the mold that would weaken the resulting parts. The resin also contains a wax that rises during the curing process, providing a smooth finish with no tackiness.

Using these custom-made molds, resin parts are cast, cured, trimmed and polished. The parts are then are lacquered, primed and painted. Building a single Reliant replica requires a team of five artists, and takes 150 work hours.

Finishing Touches

Once completed, the replica is attached to a custom-welded adjustable mount, displaying the ship above a lighted acrylic display. Dedicated fans will note the Translight display gives the Reliant the appearance of flying through the Mutara Nebula, the site of its dramatic final engagement with the Enterprise.

Khan may have elected to go down with the ship rather than surrender, but unless QMx collectors also plan to activate the Genesis Device, the U.S.S. Reliant will take them to the final frontier for years to come.


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