Despite having any number of models I could be painting for Warhammer, 40K or even D&D, I found it impossible to resist the siren call of Mongoose Publishing's new Star Fleet models, inspired by the original Star Trek television series.
I had explored the original Star Fleet Battles game many years ago and just found it too tedious to be enjoyable, with its cumbersome energy allocation and damage recording piled on top of a turn with 32 separate phases for moving and shooting. It was like they had taken the premise of starship versus starship combat and sucked all the fun out of it, and accordingly created a game more amenable to budgeting and scheduling ("Shutting off power to the zero-gravity washrooms Captain!") than tactics or drama. For years I kept the original rulebook in my night table since it duplicated the effect of a Class II soporific without a prescription. The game certainly has its fans though, and is still being played more than two decades after I set it aside in favor of the FASA Tactical Starship Combat Simulator and GW's excellent Battlefleet Gothic.
Mongoose's game, A Call to Arms, borrowed a lot of the good stuff from BFG, abstracted it even further, and used its Babylon 5 licenses a setting before creating their own sci-fi background. B5 has drifted away from relevancy in a way that Star Trek never has, so they have partnered with Amarillo Design Bureau, makers of the Star Fleet Battles hexagon-based boardgame, for this new joint endeavour.
The ADB designs are drawn from form over function, with larger, more powerfully armed ships requiring three or even four additional warp nacelles, so many of their ships lack the grace of the Enterprise's iconic lines, or the gunslinger menace of the Klingon D7 battlecruiser. They don't usually stray too far from the original principles though, and you can usually tell what fleet a given ship is associated with, and usually a sense of its role or at least relative strength just by looking at it, which is pretty critical to miniatures gaming.
Past experience has taught me that before exploring the rules or models, I needed to be sure there would be opponents for me to put my fleet up against, so I asked noted Star Trek fan (Trekker? Trekkie? If you are splitting those hairs, the odds are you've already lost, my friend) Earl if he would be interested, and sealed the deal by giving him first dibs on the Federation, with myself angling for the Klingons. Earl suggested his brother Sean might be interested, and he quickly oriented himself to the Romulans.