Tantive IV & Consular-class space cruiser

Who can forget the opening shot of the original Star Wars? As an impressionable 7-year-old sat in the cinema it was like I'd been transported to another world, another time, (or a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, as someone once noted). So its no surprise that the Rebel blockade Runner, or the Tantive IV to give it its proper name, should be one of my favourite ships from the Star Wars universe.
Picture from Wookipedia
Picture from Wookipedia
Most people know of its lengthy design history, having started life as Han Solo's Millennium Falcon before moving to Alderraan. When that design was rejected for being too reminiscent of Space: 1999's Eagle Transporter, it was adapted to become the CR90. The most obvious change was replacing its cockpit area with the distinctive "hammerhead" bridge section.
Picture from Wookipedia
In addition, the escape pods were relocated to the lower hull, with laser cannons being mounted where the pods had originally been placed. This was essential because Tantive IV had to launch an escape pod while inside the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Devastator's ventral hangar bay.

It was originally christened the Star of Alderaan before having its name changed to the Tantive IV. Production referred to the vehicle as a "Rebel starfighter," a "Galactic Cruiser," and a "Rebel blockade runner" at various times throughout the making of Star Wars, while the term "Alderaan star cruiser" was also used during the making of Episode III.
Two versions of the Tantive IV have been released as part of Hasbro's Titanium range. The first is the battered version from A New Hope, complete with red markings on the hammerhead section.
The second version is the original markings seen at the end of Revenge of The Sith. This is meant to be the same ship but 25 years earlier, this time with mainly blue markings.
Its interesting to compare these two to the Micro Machine version released in the 1990's. I'd failed to notice how many liberties had been taken with the design in order to accommodate the production process. The ship has been shortened making it feel like a baby version compared to its Titanium 'mother'.
The Consular-class space cruiser was one of the first ships seen in The Phantom Menace. It boded well for a film full of the same design law and thoughtful homage/lineage to the original trilogy. Alas, it was not to be. While The Phantom Menace does try to play with the design lineage but its soon thrown out the window when Attack of The Clones comes along.
Picture from Wookipedia
The Consular-class cruiser was based on rejected concept art for the Millennium Falcon, which would eventually be modified to become the Tantive IV. For The Phantom Menace, the Republic cruiser was designed as a "devolved" version of the Tantive IV to provide a link to the original trilogy. The rejected Millennium Falcon concept art was also used as the basis for the Corellian gunship, resulting in that vessel closely resembling the Consular-class cruiser.
Picture from Wookipedia
The Consular-class space cruiser was painted red to declare its diplomatic immunity and to also serve as a warning not to attack. Red was the color of ambassadorial relations and neutrality for capital ships of the Republic, according to Wookipedia

The Republic cruiser was equipped with a salon pod that served as a secure meeting area for Republic representatives and leaders of groups in conflict. There was also a variety of salon pods that catered to different alien species. In emergency situations, the entire salon pod could eject from the mother craft, and with its own sensors and life support equipment, protect the diplomatic crew on board. The craft also carried a number of escape pods.
I have 3 different versions of this ship: the largest is an Action Fleet toy, the middle one is from the titanium range and the smallest is a snap together model kit.
The action fleet version has some nice detail but is intended to be more toy than collectible. The front section opens so you can put in two little figures which came with the ship, (and have been thrown away!)It comes with a display stand but also has folding landing legs, which I don't think are seen in the film model. The engines can be made to 'glow' by moving a switch which pushes an orange plastic plane to the top of the engines.
Next up is the Titanium die cast model from Hasbro.It has the expected level of detail from this range, not bad but room for improvement.
This also has a landing leg and the glowing engines gizmo!
Finally its the snap fix kit, I have no idea of the manufacturer.
Some nice detail, but its very light and the plastic is slightly translucent being quite thin in places.


If this is a consular ship then where is the Ambassador !? Commander tear this ship apart until you have those plans, and bring me the passengers I want them alive !
Niel Bushnell said…
They've all been very naughty and I've sent them to bed without any supper.
David said…
Nice comparisons. The small, snap-together version of the Republic Cruiser is by AMT/ERTL.