REVIEW: Cool Rockets Buck Rogers Battle Cruiser
Vintage Rocket Ship Blasts Out of Classic Comics...
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Cool Rockets, the brainchild of model maker Jeff Brewer, is dedicated to retro rocket ships. In addition to creating cool replicas and models for collectors Cool Rockets also makes all sorts of custom decorations, trophies, and other large-scale items incorporating space ships. The exciting news is that the company has launched its Buck Rogers Series commemorating the amazing “futuristic” spacecraft depicted in the “Buck Rogers and the 25th Century” comics of the 1930s-1940s. With design elements from a bygone era, these craft make for incredibly unique display pieces. Today we’ll be taking a look at the first release from the Buck Rogers line, the intimidating Battle Cruiser!
Anthony Rogers, a World War I veteran frozen in time and awakened in 2419, first appeared in the magazine “Amazing Stories” in 1928. A year later a slightly re-tooled “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D.” was the very first science fiction comic strip with Rogers, a veteran pilot, awakening in 2429 and joining the fight for freedom alongside Wilma Deering. The comic strip would run for decades, following Buck’s adventures in the future on various planets. One of the hallmarks of Buck Rogers was its depiction of futuristic science, specifically rocket ships. A true product of its time, the artwork was fanciful and bold, with crazy designs and odd embellishments. That inspiration was a perfect fit for Cool Rockets.
The Buck Rogers Battle Cruiser comes packaged in a stately box that evokes the classic sci-fi spirit. Covered in a star field, the box has a photo of the Cruiser on all four sides and the top; the same image appears on the front, sides, and top, while the back panel has an “over the shoulder” view that also shows the ship’s base. All sides also have the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. logo and the ship’s name in cool retro fonts that really stand out. The front panel has additional image at the bottom, while the back has a full description of the Buck Rogers line and Cool Rockets. Speaking of which, the Cool Rockets logo also appears on each panel of the box. Inside you’ll find the Cruiser securely held in a styrofoam “coffin,” ready to blast off.
The Battle Cruiser dates back to the very early days of Buck Rogers, and is immediately recognizable as a product of its era. Classified as a “bullet shape,” the Cruiser has a unique design with a sloping conical nosecone, reinforced ring, tapering fuselage flanked by long fins and other protrusions, and a sizeable cylindrical rocket engine from which extends a cone of flame. The Cool Rockets version is an 11 inch long resin ship that’s fully assembled and painted, ready for display right out of the box. It’s even attached to its own display base (more on this later).
While it’s based on a relatively simple design, the Battle Cruiser has a very detailed sculpt. There are tons of embellishments on the hull, from the many concentric circles to the rings and rows of minute “rivets.” The two long fins have gentle curves and eye-catching holes punched in them, while more protrusions ring the ship’s aft section. Two vanes point toward the craft’s rear, while a pair of curved structures hangs beneath the central fuselage. The Cruiser’s engine is comprised of a ring of long, narrow tubes, with a clear post linking to the flame effect. One of the coolest features of the rocket is the main gun turret, a raised housing on the front of the ship with a tiny metal gun barrel!
While a lot of modern military spacecraft are depicted in boring grays or blacks, the classic Buck Rogers ships were full of color (often clashing), and the Battle Cruiser is no exception. The large central section is primarily a deep, brownish orange with yellow protrusions and green accents. The forward nosecone alternates between blue and orange rings, with a solid yellow tip. Leading toward the engine are blue, yellow, and brown rings, and the thruster assembly itself is silvery blue. The paint on the ship has a worn look with some interesting bleed through of colors (especially in the blue on the nosecone), while the cone of flame erupting from the engine graduates from red to yellow the further from the ship it goes. The overall mix of light and dark colors actually works together nicely, again highlighting the classic look and feel.
The Battle Cruiser is pre-mounted on a very unique display base. The very bottom is a curvilinear shape with the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. logo in raised lettering as well as the name of the ship and the Cool Rockets logo. All of those are in different fonts, all retro, with everything in red except for the last one in blue. A raised platform is ringed and topped with gear-like designs, and a thin post extends from its center to hold up the Cruiser. As dynamic as the ship, the base is very cool and completes the look of this piece much better than a boring old black or silver stand would.
The Battle Cruiser is a limited production run of 1000 pieces, and each one comes with a card (itself a cool retro design) with its specific number. The ship is the first of Cool Rockets’ Buck Rogers series; their website also shows the Asterite but it’s not in stock. High quality spaceship replicas are not cheap, and the Battle Cruiser’s price tag of $150 is in line with other limited edition replicas. You won’t easily find something as unique as this, and it’ll look great in any spaceship collection or by itself on display as a conversation piece. You can get yours at Buck Rogers Battle Cruiser | Cool Rockets.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Cool Rockets