Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Latest Trek book covers

Simon and Schuster have updated their listing for James Swallow's TNG ebook, The Stuff of Dreams, with a new cover! There's still new blurb for this novella, which is less than a month away, but the cover is full of nexus (known details of the plot can be found on my previous reports here, and here)

In other cover news, Amazon have added a cover for the book-only edition of Federation: The First 150 Years. This was initially listed as a paperback reprint, but now seems to be a hardcover release; I believe this will not come with the electronic pedestal (and massive box) of the first hardcover edition, hence the lower price. The cover is much the same as the original version, except the words Star Trek now appear on the actual book - On the deluxe edition it said Star Trek on the box, but left the book itself appearing to be a real world in-universe copy.

If you're curious about Federation: The First 150 Years but haven't checked it out yet (or even if you have), one of Literary Trek's recent podcasts included an interview with the author, David A Goodman, in which he discussed working on that book, among other things. The most recent podcast from Literary Treks also included an interview, with David R. George III, discussing many of his Trek works.

Back with covers, Amazon have also put up a cover for Star Trek, Volume 5, which will collect the four flashback issues of the Star Trek ongoing series, which are in the midst of being released along side Countdown to Darkness continuing the in-universe present-day story telling. The omnibus will reuse the artwork form the recently released Uhura flashback, which will be the second story in the book.

DST's Klingon disruptor

DST have released their official images of the new Klingon disruptor, including the box art, and a look at the Action Figure Xpress exclusive Search For Spock variant. The standard edition is the familiar TNG and DS9 version of the weapon, while Action Figure Express get the original movie version.

DST also released videos demonstrating the light and sound affects of both versions, you can see those after the jump:

Showing off STO's ships

Cryptic have been showing off some of their ships in Star Trek Online lately, including this new wallpaper with all the Enterprise classes:

They also posted this video highlighting all the new designs to appear in the game recently:

Hive #4 preview

Comics Continuum have posted previews of this week's IDW releases, including the much delayed final issue of the TNG Borg spectacular, Hive. Here are the first seven pages (continues after the jump):


Monday, 25 February 2013

Getting to know the new Gorn

Entertainment Weekly have posted what they promise to be the first in a series of articles introducing us to the various new Gorn sub-species in the new Star Trek video game. They seem to working their way down from the most powerful, starting with the Gorn Commander:

Wow, he is nasty — but also a somewhat regal bearing, no?  In the new game, the Commander is the leader of the Gorn and his lime-colored shock troops have invaded New Vulcan, the refuge that is home to the survivor community from Mr. Spock’s obliterated homeworld. The Commander is large (10-feet tall) and in charge (which he gives him plenty of opportunity for torture and arranged blood-sport).
Next down are the Gorn Sentinels:

...one of the largest, strongest, and most vicious of the hissing invaders. Their weapon of choice is the Arc Driver, the most powerful handheld weapon in their clawed clutches — it unleashes a bolt of energy that disintegrates all organic matter — especially if they are wrapped in a red shirt. Sentinels are visually imposing but their tactical power make them more than just another ugly face.
Game Trailers have also posted a new video preview of the game, with new footage of game-play and Paramount's Brian Miller explaining some of the game features. We get a nice look at how the tricorder works in the game. The Star Trek feature starts at about the two minute mark:

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review: Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary

I was very excited when the first listings appeared for Dorling Kindersley's Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary; owning a few of their Star Wars and Lego books, and being familiar with their many other books, I knew a Star Trek version of their information and image dense take on the universe would be a real treat. And I wasn't wrong!

The Star Trek Visual Dictionary covers the entire prime timeline Star Trek universe, or at least all the live-action TV series and films. TAS is left out, but I can understand why; it could have made the otherwise all "real" visuals inconsistent. After a forward from John de Lancie (aka Q) and a two page spread introducing the the Star Trek universe with a map of the galaxy, the book is in vaguely chronological order. Each of the series gets spreads for the hero ship, each captain, and each crew. The entire rest of the book is then arranged around the various species of the Star Trek universe, with the founding members of the Federation coupled with the Enterprise area of the book at the start, and species most strongly associated with DS9 and Voyager towards the end of the book, while the middle of the book includes everyone else, after the TOS and TNG intros. Each species gets anything from half a page, up to two two-page spreads for the major races (Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Dominion, and Cardassians). See the contents page image for an idea of exactly what's covered:

In some ways this feels like a fresh take on the old The Worlds of the Federation book, which also took a species-by-species view of the Star Trek universe, although with rather more non-canon expansions in that book. The downside of this format is that a few reasonably major areas of Trek are left out; there are no references to the mirror universe, alternate timelines, or the far future of the Trek universe we have occasionally glimpsed. While these are big areas of Star Trek lore, I can imagine their omissions being an editorial choice to focus on the core prime timeline. Perhaps more notable for a starship lover such as myself is that only the TV-hero Starfleet ships get any love; while mentioned, you wont see the Enterprise-A, Enterprise-E, Excelsior or any of the minor ships of Starfleet here. Starship designs from other species are well represented however.

Indeed the choice to mostly arrange the book by species gives some of the more obscure races a chance to shine as the book explores the culture and technology of each subject it covers. One of my favourite recurring elements in the book is spotlighting alien musical instruments, from the familiar Vulcan lute, to the bizarre Klingon concertina.

Andorians getting some much deserved attention.
Being such a dedicated trekkie, it's hard for me to give a wholly objective view of the book, but it feels like it would function well as an introduction to the Star Trek universe to newer Star Trek fans; covering all the major characters, species, technologies, and moments of Star Trek history. At the same time it's a real treat for those of us that are deeply familiar with Trek, thanks to the wealth of high quality imagery, particularly when it comes to props; some of which are delightfully obscure, and I'm sure have never had this level of attention in a Trek publication before. The chance to get a look at some of these alone, especially the brilliantly designed and incredibly well made props from Enterprise, are reason enough to buy this book. The production design from across the Star Trek series really gets a chance to shine here.

A page full of Klingon props
The author, Paul Ruditis, manages the same balancing act as the designers, in making the book both an accessible introduction to Trek, while giving the more familiar reader something interesting. Managing not too go into too much detail about subject one could easily get carried away on, while at the same time giving over room to give us paragraphs on such subjects as Human literature, the Carbon Creek incident (with one of my favourite props accompanying), and the inherent collectability the Ferengi design into their weapons to give them more of a market.

Insert on the Carbon Creek Incident, with brilliant retro Vulcan weapon.
My favourite part of the text by far though, are the labels accompanying most of the images. Some are practical guides to parts of technology or biology, but many are gloriously deadpan; with Porthos labelled simply "beagle", on the same page Keiko O'Biran is used to illustrate a typical Human female, with the excellent label informing us "leggings common in women's fashion". My favourite is the double labelling of one of Phlox's animal containers:

Phlox and his gadgets
At ninty-four pages this book manages to cram an impressive amount of Trek in. I feel it would be a great introduction for newbie trekkies, but also has lots of treats for the more familiar. I really hope this book is a success, as I would love to see similarly attractive and in-depth treatment to other areas of the Trekverse; perhaps a Star Trek starships guide in the same format, a look at all the lovely new designs coming out of the nuTrek films, or maybe one of DK's incredible cross section books!

Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary is due out next month, although Amazon appear to have already started shipping it in some countries, so you needn't wait that long! It's also due out, translated into German, in April.

Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, Amazon.it, Amazon.co.jp, Things From Another World, Entertainment Earth, Forbidden Planet.

Thanks to DK for sending me a copy to have an early look at. You can seem more sample pages on my previous reports, here, here, here, and here, plus pages from the German edition, here.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Round 2 round-up; NX refit cometh!

A catch up of Round 2's AMT and Polar Lights Star Trek model kits, starting with what is surely the most exciting addition to their range: Round 2 have announced they will be re-releasing their Polar Lights 1:1000 scale NX-01 model kit in October, with additional parts to build it as the Doug Drexlr's refit design, as seen in Ships of the Line 2011. Here's their description:
The last Star Trek® telelvision show was simply called Enterprise™. It featured the predecessor to the famous U.S.S. Enterprise™ NCC-1701. The Enterprise™ NX-01 was the first insterstellar exploration craft. Though the shape was sleak, it lacked certain aspects that came with the expectations of an "Enterprise™". After the show wrapped up series production designer, Doug Drexler, took the ship's design to the next stage. By adjusting the warp engines a bit and adding a secondary hull, the NX-01 Refit bore a closer resemblance to the TOS version of the ship. This kit includes options to build either the NX-01 or, for the first time, the NX-01 Refit version of the Enterprise™.

The box art features new rendering by ship designer doug drexler.
They are also planning a re-release of the 1:350 scale NX-01 kit, which will also feature new Drexler box art as well. That one is coming in June:

Moving on to the next Enterprise, September will see a re-release of the 1:1000 scale TOS USS Enterprise, and this time they're making it a Space Seed edition, by throwing in a new Botany Bay model:

In July they will be re-issuing the AMT TOS bridge module, and adding loads of extra parts to really round it out:
The set of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 became memorable as the primary location for many of Star Trek's best episodes. The model kit set originally released by AMT in the mid seventies supplied modelers with an opportunity to build a set of their own. The kit is now re-released with the key addition of new figures and added details. Spock's and Sulu's scopes are present for the first time in the set. Parts to build six figures are included with options to build Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, Checkov, Ohura, Scotty or other "red shirts". Additional wall sections are also included for the first time to allow the set to be built completely in the round. New updated decals are included for accurate displays.
Round 2's brand new 1:350 scale TOS USS Enterprise is also out now, as art kits to give it cool lighting effects or to build it as either of the pilot versions.


Not to the leave the various Enterprise's without anyone to bother them, also recently re-released are the Klingon K'tinga class, and a cool new version of the D7 with Romulan decals:

June will see a re-release of their Spock figurine, this time coming in one of their retro lunch-tins:

Finally there are more Cadet Series mini-ship model sets coming. Available imminently is the new TOS three pack, containing the USS Enterprise from the previous Cadet Series release, joined by new a Romulan Bird of Prey, and Klingon D7:

While out already is the TOS movie-era three pack, with the refit Enterprise again previously released, with new Miranda class and K'tinga class kits:

You can CGI renderings of all the parts in the movie-era kit on Round 2's blog.

More Hot Wheels Star Trek

It looks like the Kelvin and co won't be the only new Hot Wheels Star Trek starships this year, we can also expect new smaller scale version of the nuTrek USS Enterprise. As reported by T-Hunted, already appearing on sale in Malaysia is this new nuTrek Enterprise, hidden amongst Hot Wheels' similar sized toy car range as part of their "Imagination" line, which includes other vehicle designs from fiction such as Bat-mobiles and Angry Birds vehicles. Here she is:

Thanks to my regular reader and toy expert Darth Duranium for pointing me toward this one.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Behind the scenes on QMx's Trekkies

QMx have posted a behind-the-scenes look at the development of their new Trekkies Q-Pop figurines. Commenting on them, designer Mohammad Haque noted he wanted to come up with something unique:
I didn’t want just chibi-style figures, I wanted to do something no one had done before. I came up with idea of a speech bubble, with Kirk saying, ‘Pew! Pew! Pew!’ But I wanted the collector to be able to write his or her own words. So I came up with the idea of a speech-bubble whiteboard.

The article also explains the name, Q-Pop, Q, short for quite, and pop is the speech bubble. Also noted is that the speech bubbles can be removed if collector's wish to only have the figures on display.


The article also promises more Q-Pop figurines on the way, including Doctor McCoy, Scotty, and several cutified villains. The first three figures, Kirk, Spock, and Uhura, will be out this summer.

First look at On Board the USS Enterprise's virtual tour

TrekCore have posted stills from the new CD-ROM virtual tour coming with the new On Board the Enterprise book, which is due out next month, but has now started shipping. TrekCore report the tour works using browser based software (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc). Here are some views of Tobias Richter's new CGI interiors of the USS Enterprise-D:


You can see several sample pages from the accompanying book in my previous report.

In other non-fiction news, StarTrek.com have launched a competition to win copies of Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary, and in doing so have relased one more preview page from that book:

Finally, Amazon have added a listing for a paperback version of Federation: The First 150 Years. Coming without the giant plastic pedestal of the hardcover edition, it will be a bit cheaper (and easier to store...), and is due out in October.

Enterprise bluray collectors in Germany get personalised dedication plaque

Amazon in Germany have announced their latest exclusive Star Trek home video release. Previously they have done steelbook editions of many of the Star Trek releases, and lately the TNG steelbooks have also come with pin-badges based on the various emblems seen in the series (see previous report). For Enterprise they're really pushing the boat out and including a set postcards with each season!

But wait, there's more! Each set of postcards will also come with a code. If you buy all four seasons you can then input those codes on the German Star Trek website, and order yourself a version of the Enterprise NX-01 dedication plaque, customised with your name in place of Captain Archers. It will look something like this:

Here's a poster Amazon put up explaining the whole thing:

Beam Me Up, the Q Pop Star Trek art show

If you're lucky enough to live in LA at the moment you're in range of an exciting Star Trek art exhibition being held at the Q Pop gallery/store. Beam Me Up opened on the 16th, and runs until the 2nd of March. Within you will find all sorts of Star Trek art; beautiful, quirky, sexy, and every other adjective you could imagine.

If like me you happen not to live remotely close to LA, then don't feel too hard done by, as many of the artists contributing work to the show are online too. Here are a few of my favourite pieces (continues after the jump). Starting with my new favoruite bit of Star Trek art ever, the ingenious TOS bridge by Jasmin Lai:

Kassandra Heller's sumptuous take on Trek. This is actually just one section of a larger piece; you can see some other chunks on Heller's tumblr.

A super cute This Side of Paradise illustration from Joey Chou:

Zach Bellisimo's selection of Star Trek monsters:

Erin Bernas Pearce's Geordi LaForge Beetle:

Dusty Abell's insanely characterful TOS gathering: