Monday, 1 September 2014

Aeroshuttle test footage, and more Voyager behind the scenes goodies

Maybe you've heard of the Aeroshuttle? It was the captain's yacht-like smallcraft attached to the underside of the USS Voyager's saucer section. It was basically Voyager's personal runabout.

The Aeroshuttle never appeared on-screen; it's role was ultimately filled by the Delta Flyer. But over the years has popped up in the pages of several behind-the-scenes and technical publications, comics, Ships of the Line, and most recently in the Voyager issue of The Official Starships Collection, which examined the launch sequence of the shuttle. Well now we can see that launch sequence in motion, as visual effects artist Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz has posted a concept test video of the Aeroshuttle launch:

Here's what Mojo had to say about the footage:
This was a visual effects concept test to show the producers of Voyager what a launch sequence of the (as of yet) unused "Aeroshuttle" might look like. This special craft was capable of warp speeds and able to fly in a planetary atmosphere. Ultimately, the decision was made to leave the Aeroshuttle alone and introduce the Delta Flyer (this was shortly before the movie "Insurrection," which featured a launch sequence of the Captain's Yacht - the producers didn't want Voyager to "steal the thunder" of such a scene from the upcoming movie). The test was created by Voyager CGI Supervisors Rob Bonchune and Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz, under the supervision of VFX Producer Dan Curry.
Star Trek designer Rick Sternbach has also be sharing some behind the scenes Voyager stuff lately, on Facebook, in the lead up to next year's 20th anniversary of the series. That includes this concept art for what would eventually evolve into the Aeroshuttle.
The not-so-small AeroShuttle tucked up under the Voyager forward hull was based roughly on the Starfleet Runabout spaceframe, in hopes that if we ever saw it, we could modify the existing set from DS9. Ah, sadly, it was not to be, but we did get to see the ventral side and I did get to write a bit of imagined history for Star Trek The Magazine. The craft began life as a concept patterned after a manta ray and was nicknamed as such. That turned into the AeroWing, which coincidentally was a copyrighted name for a toy connected to The Mighty Ducks. Headscratching ensued. AeroShuttle became the in-house term.
Continue after the jump for a look back through the evolution of the USS Voyager design:

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Titan petition, 1000 down, 4000 to go!

A little over a week ago I started a petition to get the USS Titan included in The Official Starships Collection. This came after my interview with The Collection's manager, Ben Robinson, who noted:
...if more than 5,000 people sign up solemnly promising to buy a Titan or an Enterprise-F, we'll almost certainly do it.
Ben later clarified that five-thousand is the number of pre-orders he would need to get a special issue of The Collection made.
I am completely serious about doing ships like the Titan, the Ent-F, the Aventine etc IF we can get enough people committing to buying them. What I need is 5,000 plus email addresses that we can contact. If they all agree to pre-order a ship we'll do it as a special in addition to the regular ones we have planned. If you wanted it as a regular priced issue I'd need a lot more names. 5,000 is a big ask believe me!

As of today we are over a fifth of the way there, with now more than one-thousand signatures on the petition. Of course that means we still need to find almost four-thousand more Titan fans to make this happen! So we need to spread the word - Lots of you have already been sharing the petition on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere - Please continue to do so, we need to track down every Titan fan that would sign up for a model, and get them to sign! The more people hear about it the sooner we can make out way to five-thousand and get that model made.

Thanks already to other Trek bloggers and podcasters that have run features on the campaign. So far I noticed pieces by Star Trek Blog, Visionary Trek, Trek Lit Reviews, and Literary Treks. If there are any other Trek or sci-fi webmasters reading, a signal boost to the petition would really help it along. But every voice helps, if you know just one person that reads the Titan novels, make sure they know about this.

If you're not yet convinced on the case for the Titan, I have compiled a history of Sean Tourangeau's design. The Titan, by name, is a canon ship, and the design has appeared not just on the covers of the Titan book series, but in comics, calendars, video games, and exhibitions. And history aside, it's a cool Starfleet ship design, and we all love those!

So, sign that petition, and then spread the word. Let's make this happen!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ship bits: Runabout, blueprints, model kits, and Borg Cube

Some assorted starships news here, starting with out first look at Eaglemoss's Danube class runabout model. What looks like it might be one of the highlights of the The Official Starships Collection, this will be making its way to the UK first in a couple of months, as issue thirty-two of the series. These images were posted on The Collection's Facebook page:

Meanwhile, new in ThinkGeek's catalogue is this cool poster of the original USS Enterprise, presented blue-print style. The center-piece of the poster is the cutaway diagram of the Enterprise from the USS Enterprise Haynes Manual.

Continue after the jump for a couple more starship updates:

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Interview: Rob Caswell on the art of Seekers

Out now are the first two books in the new novel series, Seekers. The books are written by the same team that brought us Vanguard (and indeed it follows on from that series), with novels alternating between David Mack, and Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. But now there's another member of the creative team, Rob Caswell, the artist that inspired the series with his brilliant fan art book cover designs, and is now creating real covers for the published books. Rob spoke to me about his work on the new series (interview continues after the jump):

The original and Caswell version of Blish's Star Trek 6
So Rob, you inspired an original Star Trek book series, that's quite something! For those not familiar, can you remind us how you got from Blish-book homages to the books on our shelves today?
I guess the condensed version of the story goes like this. As a personal project I decided to create new book covers for all twelve of the original James Blish “novelizations”, updating the imagery with details of what we were then seeing in the “remastered” version of TOS, which was airing at the time. I had so much fun with that I wanted to do more, so I created a fictional Star Trek spin off TV series – The Seekers – and popped out about five well-weathered covers, posting the results on my Deviant Art site.

Years passed and I was unaware that, behind the scenes, the writing team who handled the monumental “Vanguard” TOS novel series was looking for some new direction to take their work. They ran across my Seekers treatments and got excited with the idea of making this series idea become real, using me as the cover artist and keeping my ‘70’s Blish cover graphics treatments. To “Trekkies of a certain age” those big, bold book numbers below the Star Trek name hits a nostalgic sweet spot.

So that’s how I got pulled in – ye olde cycle of inspiration. It’s a testament to how the internet has changed our creative pursuits. Twenty years ago I may have done these images and just stuck ‘em in a drawer where no one else would ever see them. The internet offers all kinds of new ways for creative people to share their work and inspire one another.
Two of Rob's covers for the imagined series, The Seekers:

City on the Edge of Forever #3 preview

New this week from IDW is part three of their comic book adaptation of Harlan Ellison's original teleplay for City on the Edge of Forever. The halfway mark in the series sees Kirk and Spock doing their 20th century thing, as you can see in the five-page preview below (continues after the jump):

Compendium rebate

Out next month is Star Trek: The Compendium, the new bluray release of both nuTrek films, which will include the IMAX version of Into Darkness, and all the extra features that were previously sprinkled around different retailer exclusive releases (plus a couple of new ones).

If you already have these films, you might be a bit perturbed at having to buy them again to get the complete Into Darkness experience, which is why Paramount have set up a rebate. If you go, here, and download a form to mail in, Paramount will reunite you with five dollars, as long as you've bought a bluray version of either of the films before.

It appears this offer is only open to US residents, and indeed The Compendium is only going on sale in North America. The rest of the world might be able to track down the apparently region free release, but maybe we'll also get our own versions of the complete Into Darkness bluray release some time later.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Book bits: Lust's Latinum cover, and other book updates

Books news. First up, the cover has been revealed for Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found), the new DS9 ebook coming next month from Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann.

As the cover subtly implies, the story focuses on Quark on the new DS9, here's a reminder of the blurb:
Business is down at Quark’s Public House, Café, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy to Bajor. Way down. Lower level of hell down. The station is bustling, but residents and visitors are spending more time (and latinum) at the new Deep Space 9's park, sports fields, theater, swimming complex, and who knows what else, than they are at Quark’s establishment. All of Quark's misfortunes just could be reversed, however, when he finds out that one of the steamiest holonovels to hit the Alpha Quadrant in years is up for grabs. And he has an inroad to acquiring it before anyone else. Or does he?

Continue after the jump for more Trek books news, from TNG and Seekers:

New Starships Collection previews

Pre-orders for the latest issues in the The Official Starships Collection are starting to appear on online retailers, giving us the first look at issues thirty-three and thirty-four, the Cardassian Hideki class, and Vulcan Surak class. Entertainment Earth posted images of both models:

While Man of Action Figures has revealed cover drafts:

The Collection's website has also been updated, with new preview images of issues twenty-nine and thirty, the Jem'Hadar fighter and Nausicaan fighter. Both images show new views of the models, which both appear to have some interesting metallic finishes. Continue after the jump for a look at those, and more updates:

Comic bits: November releases, and other updates

It looks like a slim month for Star Trek comics in November. IDW's latest solicitations list just one new release, part five of the nuTrek/DS9 crossover The Q Gambit. Here's the solicitation (via Previews):

Star Trek (ongoing) #39: The Q Gambit #5

Written by Mike Johnson, with art and cover by Tony Shasteen. Also available in a subscriber variant photo-cover.
It's the penultimate chapter of the "The Q Gambit"! Captains Kirk and Sisko must work together to fight back against the forces of the Dominion! Meanwhile, Spock attempts to free the Enterprise and her crew from the clutches of the nefarious Dukat! And just what is Q planning for everyone involved? The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance in this all-new story produced in association with STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci!

In other comics news, John Byrne has give some hints (on his forums) at future issues of his New Visions photo-comics series:
Finished the fifth issue, today. The stardate I used places it firmly within the third season. Hope I'm not making it TOO easy for the trolls!

On to 6, probably next week. Thinking about a swing in the other direction, there. A story set between the second pilot and the first episode. Just hope there are enough shots of Mark Piper! If nothing else, a chance to play with a "transitional" bridge, maybe.
Both of these issues should be showing up early in 2015. Which is also when we can expect the omnibus release of City on the Edge of Forever. Amazon now list a hardcover release for February next year. They give this short description:
For the first time ever, a visual presentation of the much-discussed, unrevised, unadulterated version of Harlan Ellison's award-winning Star Trek teleplay script, "The City on the Edge of Forever!" See the story as Mr. Ellison originally intended!

Work is still ongoing on that series, J.K. Woodward has recently posted several behind the scenes glimpses at his art from the series, on his Instagram. Check them out after the jump:

Sunday, 24 August 2014


There seem to be Star Trek fan films popping up left, right, and center of late, but some really stand out from the crowd, and Axanar is one of those. If you have somehow missed all the hype about this impressive production, Axanar sets out to tell the story of Garth of Izar in the Four Years War. As the Axanar Kickstarter page describes:
Axanar takes place 21 years before the events of “Where no Man Has Gone Before”. It tells the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero and the role model for a generation of Starfleet officers. Garth charted more planets than any other Captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar. His exploits are required reading at Starfleet Academy.

This is the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart, and whose resolution solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk's time.

It is the year 2245, four years into the war with the Klingons.
The Axanar team are looking to fund a feature film to tell this story, and incredibly have already raised almost $600,000 in their Kickstarter campaign, which closes in just a few hours - At the close of the Kickstarter campaign, they had got up to $638,471! This was to be the first of several Kickstarters to get them to their full budget of $750,000, but they have smashed their initial $100,000 goal for this first effort. And quite right too, what they have already shown is amazing work.

Released a few weeks ago was Prelude to Axanar, a twenty-minute film setting up the Four Years War, in the style of a history documentary.  This on its own is an amazing piece of work, and a completely original approach to Star Trek. If you've not seen yet (or even if you have), check it out:

Aside from impressive production values, Axanar also has an amazing cast, including Gary Graham reprising Enterprise's Soval. Also starring are Star Trek veterans Tony Todd, J.G. Hertzler, and Garrett Wang, and Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch, and Kate Vernon.

There's some beautiful design work too, the featured ship, the USS Ares, was designed by Sean Tourangeau (designer of the USS Titan), and the effects work is being done by Tobias Richter. Continue after the jump for a look at some of the ship designs to be featured, many are prime universe interpretations of nuTrek designs: