Saturday, 30 November 2013

Latest Trek-wear

A round up of the latest Star Trek stuff you can wear, starting with the winning design from Her Universe and ThinkGeek's Make it Sew competition. Jeremy Sniatecki's EntHERprise, which cunningly turned the female gender emblem into the Enterprise, is the winner, and now available from ThinkGeek:

Also new from Her Universe is their Live Long and Prosper hoody, which uses the zip placement between fingers on a hand to create the Vulcan hand sign, when the zip is pulled down:

And a new T-shirt, featuring Juan Ortiz's City on the Edge of Forever artwork:

Back with ThinkGeek, there's another variation of the TNG uniform, this time applied to T-shirts:

Meanwhile Brainstorm Gear has announced a new range of cycling and running clothing with Star Trek designs. They've launched it with a TOS design, available in male and female cuts:

And finally, Buckle Down have released a new range of seatbelt style belts, with various Star Trek logos, and designs based on Gold Key Comics (see more after the jump):

Into Darkness' almost Bird of Prey

Visual effects artist Pierre Drolet has updated his website with a page showing of his proposed design for the Klingon Bird of Prey in Star Trek Into Darkness. Here's what he had to say about his version of the nuBird of Prey:
I have been asked to design a small Klingon attack ship "Bird Of Prey" style for the movie Star Trek Into Darkness. The design concept has been rejected by the JJ Abram art department halfway before I could finished it. A lot of Star Trek fans who saw the unfinished version of the Klingon BOP on my website, ask me if I will complete it. So, here we go! I just took a few days to make it look close to what I was aiming, and this is my vision of the redesign Klingon ship.

You can see more of the Drolet's Bird of Prey on his website, and while you're there make sure to have a good look around, it's full of Star Trek (and Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and more) goodness.

Meanwhile for a good look at the Bird of Prey design that did make the cut, check out my previous behind the scenes article, with a video and stills examining the Qo'noS sequence in Into Darkness.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Book bits: New blurbs, maps, and more

The latest book blurbs, starting with TWO new blurbs for David R. George III's new Lost Era novel, One Constant Star. The Simon and Schuster online catalog has been updated with the following blurb:

While Amazon's listing has this briefer summary now:

UPDATE: David R. George III has asked me to take down the blurbs as they are apparently highlight inaccurate. A new and more accurate one should appear later!
The Simon and Schuster catalog also now has a pretty general blurb up for the second Seekers book, Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward's Point of Divergence:
Following the events of the Vanguard series, Starfleet has committed to a continuing program of exploration and colonization of the Taurus Reach. While other Starfleet vessels continue their ongoing assignments in the region, maintaining security and supporting the handful of established colonies and trade routes, the U.S.S. Endeavour and the U.S.S. Sagittarius, two vessels previously assigned to Starbase 47, spearhead a new exploration initiative. And you will not believe what happens next… meanwhile has posted a new excerpt from next month's Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library, in the form of a native map of Cardassian space which will be included in the book and map set: posted this alongside an interview with the artist, Ian Fullwood. Here's a short snippet of his description of how this design came together:
In the background I decided to produce a reptilian-type texture to hold the whole thing together. This had to be obvious enough, but not overpowering. The grid ties in with the Cardassian themes of 3 (triangles). Again, I did not want this to be overpowering on the main Cardie area, but obvious enough outside it to give it a map type 'grid unit' feel. One has to remember that these processes don't happen singly. More often than not they are formed as part of a whole. Everything has to gel together, so some items of design may get discarded along the route or some may become more pronounced; it's all about trying to find a balance that works. One of the reference points I was using was the Cardassian screens from DS9. These beautiful creations were my inspiration for the edging around the map. I tried different combinations of my own designs to ensure they were incorporated into the map, giving people a reference point that would make it uniquely Cardassian. I still had to keep in mind that this was a printed map and not a screen, so I wanted the colors to be more muted.
Amazon have also updated their listing for Stellar Cartography, with their look inside featuring giving us a look at a few pages of the book part of the set. Continue after the jump for a look at some of those preview pages, as well as highlights from recent and Literary Treks interviews with James Swallow and David Mack.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Trek Toys updates: Latest figures and props

A few bits of toy (and general collectables news), starting with the reveal of the next wave of Skele-Treks figures. The new range of Mexican inspired TOS and TNG characters is due to start in December with a collection of three five-inch tall figures, they are to be followed by six two-inch versions (of the same characters, joined by three others), in January. Now retailers are starting to list wave two of the smaller scale figures, which are expected in March. Those will be Uhura, a Mugato, Khan (Wrath of Khan style), Riker, Worf, and Deanna Troi. Ikon Collectables posted this artwork depicting the new characters:

At a somewhat larger scale, DST have revealed the packaging for their first TNG figure in the seven inch Star Trek Select range. Captain Picard and his broken Borg are expected in December. Here's how DST describe him:
Dynamically sculpted by Patrick Pigott, Art Asylum’s lead Star Trek figure sculptor since 2003, Picard’s default stance is firing a phaser at an unseen foe, but seven points of articulation in his upper body allow him a wide range of expressive poses. Also, his hands and legs are interchangeable with other figures in the Select line, which means you’ll be able to give him Mr. Spock’s classic Tricorder and Phaser. He stands atop a base representing the interior of a Borg cube, and the torso and arm of an exploded Borg rests at his feet. The parts are also removable from the base, so you can take them back to the Enterprise for study when the figure hits stores in late December.

If you prefer to be the one pointing a phaser at things, then there's good news from Round 2 Models. Last year they were planning to re-issue the "exploration set" (a set of prop model kits including the TOS phaser, communicator, and tricorder), but then pulled it from their schedule due to issues with the tooling. It would appear that has been remedied, as they have now relisted it on their website, and expect it to be out in January. They have also updated their packaging design.

Finally, for a fancier prop, QMx are offering a new set of commbadges are part of the variety of items items they are selling on Black Friday. The badges have been made using the original prop molds, and using the same techniques, with painted resin and velcro attachments to a plaque. Included are the TNG badge, and for the first time from QMx Voyager and Bajoran badges. There will be just a hundred in this format available:

QMx's other Black Friday offerings include the very limited edition ringship Enterprise replica model, a stand-alone release of the nuTrek phaser from the Amazon exclusive bluray set, and combo packs of their Trekkies figurines.

Enterprise-D pizza cutter, and other Trek stuff around the home

ThinkGeek have revealed the next generation in pizza cutting technology! Following on from one of their most eye-catching and ingenious inventions, the USS Enterprise pizza cutter, they have now made available the Enterprise-D version. Owing to the ovoid shape of the D's saucer, the actual pizza cutting wheel is suspended below, and thrusting forward from, the molded saucer, this time around:

For another splash of TNG in your kitchen, DST have revealed the packaging for their forthcoming TNG ice-cube tray (which they now expect to be out next month):

UPDATE: ThinkGeek are also ready to supply something to put those ice-cubes in, with their new USS Enterprise branded tumblers:

Ready to stop those ice-cube-chilled glasses leaving rings all over, the store has recently added some new coasters, featuring starship schematics:

Also newly available from the store, are some Christmas items. They're offering Starfleet delta lights, and a Starfleet issue stocking:

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Khitomer Conflict, Part 3 preview

Out this week is the twenty-seventh issue in the nuTrek ongoing comic series, the penultimate issue of the four-part follow-up to the Section 31 and Klingon elements of Into Darkness, The Khitomer Conflict. Here's a seven page preview (continues after the jump):

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Karl Urban likes pinball

Stern Pinball have released a new advert for their Star Trek pinball machines, featuring Karl Urban (aka nuTrek's Doctor McCoy). He seems to enjoy the game, and also reveals there will be a new speech update featuring his voice coming out some time:

For more about Stern's new Star Trek pinball machines, see my previous report.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Protectors cover

Simon and Schuster have updated their listing for Kirsten Beyer's next Voyager novel, Protectors, revealing the cover for the book, which is due in February:

If you missed it before, here's the blurb for this one:
Following the destruction of four fleet vessels at the hands of the Omega Continuum, the U.S.S. Voyager and U.S.S. Demeter set course for a region of the Delta Quadrant far beyond anything previously explored. Captain Chakotay is determined to prove to Starfleet Command that the fleet’s ongoing mission is vital to Federation interests…and the key to doing so may lie in a distress call Voyager received nine years earlier, but could not investigate. Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway is recalled to the Alpha Quadrant for an evaluation period to determine her next assignment. Given the trauma she has recently endured, Admiral Akaar, Starfleet’s Commander-in-Chief, questions Janeway’s fitness to command the fleet. Janeway’s primary concern remains the fleet’s safety. For their mission to continue, she must find a way to secure the resources they require. But the uncertainty of her superior officers has left her powerless to act in their best interests...
Protectors will be the first of a three book arc which will apparently tie up some of the plot points from the relaunch series so far. Beyer announced a few days ago the next book will be Acts of Contrition. Commenting on the TrekBBS since then she also reassured readers that she also intends to continue beyond that point:
I have no reason to believe that after these two books, Voyager, or my run, will end. This will merely conclude all of the major story arcs that have been in development since Full Circle and take us up to or very near the end of the fleet's first year in the Delta Quadrant.

Beyond that, it's too early to speculate on anything else.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review: The Official Starships Collection #4 - Enterprise NX-01

Out this week in the US is the fourth issue of The Official Starships Collection, the Enterprise NX-01, which was released a few weeks ago in the UK. Continuing from the brilliant model of the Klingon Bird of Prey in the previous issue (see my review), the NX-01 really impresses, I think it's probably the best model in the series so far.

Of Eaglemoss' ships so far I think this ship probably has the highest proportion of metal parts; the nacelles are the only plastic parts in the entire model. As more ships in the series have been released, I'm generally coming to expect the metal portions of the models to have slightly softer edges than the plastic detailing - But this time around the metal sections are very finely detailed, with the molded hull panel lines perfectly scaled to bring out the detail without overwhelming it (in contrast to the rather strong lines on the earlier 1701 refit model).

What really works for this model is the balance of molded and printed detailing. There is an intricate aztec print across the entire ship, using a metalic paint that is just subtly different from the underlying silvery hull. This looks especially effective when swooshing the ship, as light moves across the surface highlighting different sections of the print.

I would speculate part of the reason this is such a good model is that the reference CGI model for the NX-01 is probably one of the most detailed available to The Collection of any of the ships. It seems like they've gone to no small effort to take full advantage of that resource; comparing the model to the orthographic views on the Ship Profile pages of the magazine, just about every little detail of the plating, and the various systems dotted about the exterior of the ship, can be found on the model.

The stand for this model is also particularly elegant and unobtrusive, slipping neatly into the back of the saucer.

Considering Enterprise has generated very little in the way of tie-in products compared to the other series, there are surprisingly numerous options available if you want a model of the NX-01. The only other one I own is the much larger Art Asylum model. The larger scale of that version does mean it has some areas of smaller scale detailing the Eaglemoss version cant squeeze in. But on many other areas of the ship this new smaller version is actually more detailed, with tiny printed markings around the cargo and shuttle bays for example, which are completely missing from the larger version. Where I feel the Eaglemoss model really has the edge is that lovely subtle aztecing, in stark contrast to the almost leopard-like appearance of the dark aztecing on the Art Asylum version.

There are several other smaller scale models of the NX-01 available, including Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, and F-Toys versions. But as is becoming increasingly clear as this series progresses, the Eaglemoss versions of any given ship at this scale tend to be the most finely finished. Looking at images of the other smaller scale renditions, that appears to be as true as ever with the NX-01.

Continue after the jump for more images of the model, and a look at the accompanying magazine.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Books bits: More Voyager, Seekers tease, comic commentary, and fun books

The latest updates from the world of Trek publishing: Starting with news of the next next Voyager book! With the next book in the Voyager relaunch series, Protectors, due for release in February, Kirsten Beyer has announced she is already under-way on the next instalment. Posting on the TrekBBS, she revealed she is busy working on, Acts of Contrition, which will continue to tell a "bigger story" in the series, which she hopes to conclude in a third book. Beyer isn't yet aware of a release date for this one, but she is meant to be finishing it by mid-December, so I'd guess it has a good chance of being one of the gaps towards the end of the year in the 2014 schedule - Which would mean a triple Voyager year, if you count the TOS crossover in Greg Cox's No Time Like the Past.

Beyer also teased one thing to look forward to in Protectors, a meeting of Janeway and Picard:
Janeway comes to Picard seekeing a little perspective from somoene with whom she has shared many common experiences. One of the oddest realities to confront while writing it was that despite the fact that these two have a great deal in common, they really don't know each other all that well.
In another prose tease, I didn't spot it when he first posted, but looking at David Mack's recent post about Seekers, I noticed the teaser cover (ie not the real one) for the his first book in the series, Second Nature, has now been updated, with not just the new title, but a Klingon Bird of Prey menacing the USS Sagittarius:

Meanwhile, in the world of Trek comics, have posted their second Writer's Log feature, this time Mike Johnson explains some of choices he made in Khan #2, including taking the series out of real world history (spoilers):
Here we see that the nuclear nightmare of the Cold War did in fact take place within the timeline of the STAR TREK universe, but not as a result of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Augments were responsible. Their attacks on Moscow and Washington D.C. signaled the beginning of their worldwide takeover.

Initially we discussed the Augments launching a singular attack on New York City, but in developing the story we realized that an attack on the capitals of the Cold War, the two most powerful nations of the time, was both logical and appropriately symbolic. Logical in that the attacks would immediately reset the balance of power in the world and create a void that the Augments could fill themselves, and symbolic in that the ascension of the Augments represented the end of our historical timeline and the beginning of the new one that leads to the 23rd century as we know it in STAR TREK.

This was the biggest point of discussion in developing the story: whether to make a clean break from “our” timeline, or whether to attempt to preserve history as we know it from the “real” 1990’s and early 2000’s. Ultimately the deciding factor was to embrace canon as we know it from STAR TREK itself, and in “Space Seed” it is clear that the 1990’s did not play out as we lived them. It’s a question that every story set in a specified future time period has to address eventually, given that our present will eventually catch up to it on the calendar. In fact, we’re only fifty years away from first contact with the Vulcans!
In the more whimsical realms of Star Trek publishing, Amazon have recently added a listing (which I found via Allyn Gibson on the TrekBBS. UPDATE: And may-not-be-final cover via the Simon and Schuster catalog), for a new Star Trek children's book from Cider Mill Press. Fun with Kirk and Spock, is due out in April, and the blurb tells you all about it:
See the Enterprise. See the Enterprise go boldly. Go Go Go, Enterprise! Go Boldly! Join Kirk and Spock as they go boldly where no parody has gone before!

Since the 1930’s, the book Fun with Dick and Jane and its various adaptations have helped children learn to read. It’s inspired several parodies and movie and television references, but none as amusing as this clever spoof, written with Trekkies in mind! The characteristic simplicity of the classic book is used in Fun with Kirk and Spock, delighting Trek fans with creative sequences and humorous illustrations.
Finally, Amazon have also updated their listing for Running Press' forthcoming miniature book and light-up USS Enterprise set, with a new image showing the, presumably, final form of the model:

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Latest Star Trek novelty items

A few bits and bobs for you to ponder, starting with the latest additions to the Star Trek golf range: Now available from the store are golf club covers, and golf balls, both (as ever everything is) styled after the TOS uniforms:

The TOS uniform has also recently found itself prepared for the youngest recruits in Starfleet, with We Love Fine's new baby onesies:

Also taking a TOS influence is the latest version of Spock socks, these ones come from Threadless:

TOS doesn't get all the fun though, earlier this year an Enterprise-D bottle opener was released. The stardrive section is magnetised, as a dock for the saucer, which containers the actual bottle opener. Mock-up images of it have been around for a while, but now Busted Tees have posted a nice set of images showing the real thing, which looks pretty neat:

And there's more still, continue after the jump for Rubik's cubes, keyrings, and credit cards!