Avengers: Infinity War introduced an impressive new spacecraft, replacing the marvellous Milano which sustained damage when absconding from the Sovereign. This attractive vehicle, named the Benatar, includes existing and innovative design features to achieve distinction.
The Guardians’ Ship recreates the vehicle with unprecedented accuracy, rivalling Star Wars’ popular Ultimate Collector Series! Splendid detail enshrouds this whole spacecraft and appealing minifigures are also included, although Drax is noticeably absent. Nevertheless, the model is paramount here and seems exceptional.
Several depictions of Star-Lord have become available since 2014, although certain features have remained very consistent. This figure accordingly includes a dark red jacket and medium nougat hair piece, although their designs have been updated. This head was created for Owen Grady from Jurassic World but suits Peter Quill perfectly, while these dual-moulded legs create boots and enhance the entire minifigure.
Thor accompanies the Guardians here, taking inspiration from Avengers: Endgame and thus appearing somewhat bedraggled. Despite featuring flesh arms in the main product image, this minifigure actually includes pearl dark grey arms so matches the movie and the character fromAvengers: Endgame Final Battle. The textured hair element and double-sided head also return from that playset.
This fabric cape appears suitably majestic, although Thor is no longer wearing his cape when departing with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Nevertheless, the minifigure looks impressive and Stormbreaker is provided, as normal. Peter Quill wields his trademark Quad Blasters, although their standard pearl dark grey colour has been replaced with pearl silver on this occasion.
Rocket Raccoon has been updated significantly since his last appearance inAvengers Ultimate Quinjet, featuring a new head component which no longer integrates shoulder armour. This element includes superb decoration but the ears could have been improved. However, the torso and textured tail both appear excellent, closely resembles the onscreen character.
Substantial changes have also been introduced for Groot, whose constituent pieces are now dark tan instead of reddish brown. Either colour works nicely, although the lighter shade does show the printing more clearly. This is fortunate because the texture looks absolutely fantastic, covering the head, torso, legs and feet. Groot’s unusual head component looks marvellous too.
Ravager Attack provided our only previous Mantis minifigure, hence her return here is appreciated. Her clothing has been refined since 2017, now featuring enhanced detail, but the legs remain plain which seems somewhat disappointing. The rubbery hair piece looks splendid though, while Mantis’ head displays calm and angry expressions.
Drax and Nebula would have completed the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Unfortunately, a generic Chitauri is supplied instead. This minifigure definitely improves upon earlier designs, especially since the head now features an accurate golden helmet. Similar printing continues across either side of the torso, where technological armour surrounds alien skin.
The warrior includes a golden particle rifle which looks reasonable, although this accessory is simpler than its equivalent fromBlack Panther Dragon Flyer. Rocket’s weapon features attractive detail though, comprising several interesting elements and a printed keypad beneath the handgrip.
The Completed Model
The Guardians’ Ship shares definite similarities with Ultimate Collector Series models, resting on an elegant display stand and exploiting the substantial scale to integrate extensive detail. The wingspan reaches nearly 59cm and the organic shaping looks spectacular, closely resembling the source material. The coalescing between the fuselage and the wings appears particularly outstanding.
Furthermore, the stand includes a turntable underneath the spacecraft, enabling rotation which is excellent for display. The vessel appears exceptionally dynamic when realistically angled and adjusting the position reveals additional detail. Fortunately, attention has evidently been focused upon every surface, hence the model looks equally impressive when viewed from any angle.
The display stand certainly resembles Ultimate Collector Series examples, featuring the same black colour scheme with familiar shapes. However, this design incorporates more substantial Technic structure and appears relatively spindly, particularly immediately beneath the Benatar where the turntable is situated. Several unsightly Technic elements accordingly remain visible which is disappointing.
Moreover, no plaque is present which is surprising because they have accompanied previous Super Heroes sets, includingThe Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition. However, this stand looks adequate without a plaque, spoiled only by the conspicuous Technic beams and blue pins that remain exposed. These issues are bothersome but the colourful vehicle monopolises attention.
While the display stand is certainly welcome, I think the Benatar looks marvellous without the support. No landing gear is included, unfortunately, but the underside is relatively smooth and the drooped control surfaces remain above the ground. Detaching the vessel is simple as well, since four Technic axles are plugged into the belly. These provide a secure connection but are easily separated when necessary.
Thanos: Ultimate Battle yielded our first rendition of the Benatar, capturing its essential features quite nicely. However, the new design improves upon its predecessor in every regard, as anticipated given its size. That becomes especially apparent when comparing them directly because the 2018 depiction is considerably smaller and lacks the rear thruster booms, instead accommodating the pod from Thor’s Weapon Quest.
Despite their differing scales, these spacecraft incorporate the same 8×6 canopy component. However, the metallic silver decoration seems more intricate while the trans-clear canopy has been replaced with a trans-purple piece. Trans-clear would probably have been more accurate, although the purple colour appears much more impressive in my opinion.
The combination of orange and light bluish grey elements around the cockpit looks excellent, again corresponding with the original vehicle. Additionally, I appreciate this mixing of studded and smooth pieces, which gives the appearance of textured hull panels and continues across the entire vessel. The binoculars representing mechanical detail look superb as well.
Opening the trans-purple canopy provides adequate access to the interior, although reaching inside becomes easier after opening the complete forward section. Two seats are included for minifigures and their tandem arrangement is appropriate, with articulated control yokes beside the second seat. Additional room would have been welcome for improved accuracy though, of course.
Bulbous intakes are situated behind the cockpit, comprising various curved slopes. They look wonderful and I love the cooling fins under the wings. Moreover, the colour scheme maintains tremendous authenticity, employing various wedge plates and curved plates to create suitable shapes. I appreciate the avoidance of stickers here, although they are required elsewhere.
Orange and light bluish grey colours also decorate the underside of the wings, alongside the circular thrusters. They are simply assembled using 4×8 half-circle plates with layered dishes which are attached upside down. The smaller 6×6 dish is trans-opalescent light blue, creating the appearance of glowing engines. This element returns fromMoana’s Island Home.
Impressive texture continues above the fuselage, where dark bluish grey ingots and colourful 1×1 tiles represent subtle mechanical detail. Moreover, the orange and light bluish grey colour blocking looks magnificent when compared with the original vehicle, relying primarily upon 2×2 angled tiles. Only two stickers are required for this shaping, on the leading edges of each wing.
Removing the roof, in two sections, reveals consistent detail inside the fuselage. Stickers are applied around the cockpit entrance, displaying various control systems and a status indicator which features the Benatar. The rounded entrance also appears authentic and the trans-purple canopy casts beautiful pink lighting inside, matching the Benatar’s internal lighting onscreen.
Thor’s presence confirms that this model of the Benatar is based upon its appearance towards the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, hence Gamora’s image is displayed. Some vacant clips are available for storing weapons while the floor comprises sand blue and pearl silver elements. These appear appropriately industrial, reflecting this spacecraft’s spartan interior.
Contrary to the alien surroundings, a standard coffee machine is fixed opposite the computer display! This is effectively constructed to occupy the smallest possible area, leaving adequate space for minifigures to walk along the corridor and access the maintenance bay. That room is particularly difficult to reach inside though, with the arched entranceway.
However, removing this archway is easy and improves accessibility. Various light bluish grey elements form mechanical detail and I love the trans-pink 1×1 slope that represents a control console. Between this maintenance bay, the living space and the cockpit, there is room for all five Guardians of the Galaxy inside the Benatar, although there are only enough seats for four.
Unfortunately, this model lacks the deployable auxiliary pod which appears during Avengers: Infinity War. That would definitely have been an excellent addition, although creating enough space for the pod would compromise the outward appearance of the vehicle. For that reason, omitting the auxiliary pod was probably sensible, especially since its precise location onboard remains unclear.
Enormous thruster booms are connected behind the fuselage. These were completely missing from the previous creation and they look fantastic, again combining curved slopes and studded plates to good effect. Additionally, two articulated actuators are located on each side, linking the fuselage to the twin thruster booms and therefore replicating the source material.
Accurate manoeuvring flaps are also included, matching those which extend as the Benatar prepares to land. These panels appear almost seamless and I appreciate the tiny body flaps below the aforementioned actuators, demonstrating excellent attention to detail. Opening the flaps also reveals continued texture underneath, flanking numerous round thrusters.
Each boom is connected to the fuselage using two ball joints, with cosmetic support from the articulated actuators. They can accordingly move outwards which reflects the original vehicle and reveals twin cylindrical engine housings. These thruster booms cannot move downwards though, as exhibited before Thor’s departure at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.
Opening both thruster booms also creates space between them, exposing further mechanical details. Roller skates and dark bluish grey ingots are brilliantly integrated here, underneath an authentic viewport which is visible on the original vessel. Such extraordinary attention to detail exceeds almost any previous Marvel Super Heroes set and definitely matches the standard of large-scale Star Wars vehicles.
Accuracy and detailing were undoubtedly the primary concerns when developingThe Guardians’ Ship and the resulting model is absolutely extraordinary! The shape looks perfect when compared with the source material and I appreciate the integration of numerous wedge plates, curved slopes and tiles to recreate authentic markings. Those above the fuselage and wings appear particularly attractive.
The minifigure selection seems reasonable too, although Drax and Nebula are conspicuously omitted which is frustrating. Fortunately, the model is sufficiently enjoyable to overshadow this issue and I think the price of £134.99 or $149.99 represents good value, given the outstanding quality achieved here. I would therefore highly recommend this set to any Marvel fan!