Saturday, 29 November 2014

Latest vision for the refit USS Voyager

Starship designer Mark Rademaker, has recently posted several new images in his Flickr gallery, including his latest tease at the possible form the refit slipstream-enabled USS Voyager, from Kirsten Beyer's Voyager relaunch novels:

Cross Cult's Voyager refit design.
Mark does note in his comments that this remains just a possible design direction (and indeed the image is dated 2012, so it could be very out of date). Although it's fairly consistent with the previous teaser images, in the general direction at least; overall sleeker form, new larger nacelles, and an extended dorsal section, which might house a secondary shuttlebay. If you're curious, I've had a look back through my archives, to find the previous teaser images, the first from way back in 2010! Check out the development of the new look Voyager, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here!

I'm itching to see the Voyager refit completed, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait; Mark never disappoints with his ship designs. Until then, we'll just have to live with the slightly less elegant interpretation of the refit, as seen on the German cover for Full Circle.

Another newly released image from Mark shows a cover draft for his cover for the forthcoming John Jackson Miller TNG/Aventine novel, Takedown. Here's the concept and final version, featuring the USS Aventine in action:

Check out Mark's Flickr gallery for more Voyager, Aventine, and other starship images.

New Enterprise soundtrack collection

La La Land Records have announced their latest Star Trek soundtrack release, a four-disc collection of music from Star Trek: Enterprise. The collection will include five hours of music from across the series, featuring the work of Dennis McCarthy, Kevin Kiner, Jay Chattaway, David Bell, Paul Baillargeon, Velton Ray Bunch, Mark McKenzie, John Frizzell and Brian Tyler.

Following the same format as the previous Deep Space Nine collection, there is a disc each focusing on the work of Dennis McCarthy and Jay Chattaway, followed by a bit-of-everyone disc, and the final disc giving more extended coverage to the music from a selection of prominent episodes (which amusingly has resulted in These Are the Voyages being included on the "Fan Favorites" disc).

Limited to three-thousand copies, the collection will go on sale next Tuesday, and the first two-hundred copies will include an autographed card signed by Dennis McCarthy, David Bell and John Frizzell.  Here's the description, posted on the La La Land Facebook page
La-La Land Records and CBS proudly present the original television soundtrack to STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, starring Scott Bakula, John Billingsley and Jolene Blalock. This stunning 4-CD collection showcases the powerful work of the notably talented composers who kept this prequel STAR TREK series at warp speed for four exciting seasons. The music expertly runs the gambit from the bold and thrilling to the thoughtful and emotional – it’s essential science fiction music that touches the heart while it opens the mind. Disc One features the music of Dennis McCarthy, Disc Two showcases Jay Chattaway’s work, while Disc Three’s “Veterans and New Recruits” highlights a variety of composers as does Disc Four’s “Fan Favorites,” which includes music from such episodes as In A Mirror, Darkly, Parts I and II and “Regeneration” among others. Produced by Ford A. Thaxton, James Nelson, Mark Banning and Lukas Kendall and mastered by James Nelson, this special release of 3000 Units includes a 36-Page Booklet featuring in-depth notes by writer Jeff Bond, with new comments from McCarthy, Chattaway and others.
Continue after the jump for the full track listing:

Friday, 28 November 2014

Her Universe warms up with latest Star Trek releases

Her Universe have added several new Star Trek designs to their clothing collection recently, and they must be starting to feel the chill of winter, as all the latest releases are long sleeved. There are two new quote-based designs. From Kirk we have "Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning", with the Enterprise whooshing through. This is available as a long sleeved T-shirt:

While on a hoodie, from Spock we have "I have been, and always shall be, your friend", which also features the Enterprise, as well as a pattern of stars which form the Vulcan hand sign. Check that out after the jump:

TNG season 7 gag reel

In less than a week's time the final season of TNG on bluray will be released, which sadly for now means the end of the Star Trek in high definition project (keep buying them people, we NEED DS9 and Voyager to finish things off!). Perhaps to cheer us up after that thought, Gamma Squad have released an excerpt from the new gag reel that will be included in this final season box set. Enjoy:

Season seven, and the stand-alone release of All Good Things..., will be out in December, as will the complete TNG series boxset (the latter released to the UK market only at the moment, but it is region free).

Attack Wing DS9 and other recent releases

Newly out from Wizkids in their Attack Wing range is the oversized gaming "miniature" of Deep Space 9, which is probably also the best pre-made model of the station ever released. With new released come new images, so here's a look at that model, and how it's packaged (these particular images via eBay):

Another big Attack Wing model is due out next month, their Borg Cube. Continue after the jump for a look at that, as well as the latest of they regular releases:

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Klingon Bloodwine

Vinport, makers of Star Trek branded wine, have announced a new exotic import in their collection, Klingon Bloodwine! Here's what they have to say about it:
Klingon Bloodwine
Klingon Bloodwine is a wine traditionally consumed in celebration and victory. Whether drunk while reveling in triumph or simply enjoying life among friends, this could be the finest vintage of Klingon Bloodwine until 2309. Traditionally twice as strong as whiskey and best served warm, this sanguine version of Bloodwine is more human-friendly at 13% ABV and can be served slightly chilled or at cellar temperature (60-65 F.)

The Labels
Star Trek fans everywhere will recognize the label of Klingon Bloodwine, a symbol comprised of the bat’leth or “sword of honor,” a traditional Klingon weapon. The back label includes the victorious Klingon phrase: “Celebrate! Tomorrow we may die!” (yIlop! wa’IeS chaq maHegh!). Also, "Bloodwine" appears across the middle of the back label in the original Klingon language (not transposed into the Latin alphabet).

The Wine
The 2012 Klingon Bloodwine is a medium-bodied red blend of Malbec, Syrah and Petit Verdot from the Paso Robles AVA in California. Klingon Bloodwine can be enjoyed with grilled meats and mature cheeses, or traditional Klingon fare such as Heart of Targ.

Tasting Notes from the Winemaker
Rich, rustic, fruit focused and complex. Concentrated raspberry and cherry aromas. Notes of spicy vanilla oak round out the nose. On the palate, the wine is savory and rich, with dark berry flavors and ripe plum. Velvety tannins and well balanced acidity lead to a smooth, lingering finish.
They will be shipping this in just a couple of weeks, and it is available either in single bottles, or packs of six.

Romulan Bird of Prey model kit

There's a new ship model kit on the way from Round 2 Models, the latest in their collection of 1:1000 scale models, the TOS Romulan Bird of Prey. The Round 2 blog has recently posted previews of the work in progress model, which is apparently pretty much done, and looking lovely. Just needs a nice big bird decal to finish it off (more images after the jump):

Monday, 24 November 2014

Press-Out and Build USS Enterprise

There's a newly released Star Trek Haynes Manual, but this one is a bit different to the previous technical manuals. The Haynes USS Enterprise Press-Out and Build Manual, is part book, part model kit, including a cardboard kit that builds a fifty centimetre long model of the original USS Enterprise. Here's the official description:
Trivia manual and model kit for the USS Enterprise, the main starship featured in Star Trek (the original series). The front portion of the book is packed with information about the ship that served under the command of Captain James T. Kirk in the popular sci-fi TV series that started in 1966. The back portion of this Haynes manual features a series of press-out cardboard shapes that assemble to make a large (50 cm) model of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.

I believe the book component of this is reusing content from the Haynes USS Enterprise Manual, presumably focusing on the Constitution class section of that book, which covered all the main prime-universe starships Enterprise. Continue after the jump for a look at how the model is built:

Saturday, 22 November 2014

1:350 scale USS Reliant from QMx

QMx have announced a second artisan replica model of the USS Reliant. Earlier in the year they revealed their 1:250 scale model, complete with fully fitted out shuttlebays, and all the impressive details and lighting one expects from one of QMx's model ships. And now they've previewed a smaller 1:350 scale version, which at just under $5000 is half the price of its larger sibling.

The new sixty-eight centimeter long version still has all the high quality details and finishes we've come to expect from the artisan replica range (though no shuttlebays on this one), representing one-hundred-and-fifty hours of work by five of QMx's artisans. Like all ships in the range, you can also customise it, with options to change the base, add battle damage, or anything else you'd care to request, if the artisans can pull it off.

Perhaps most importantly, the small size means it is also perfectly in scale with QMx's artisan replica USS Enterprise refit, ready to recreate scenes from The Wrath of Khan (and if you just want all ships at one scale, the NX-01 artisan replica is also 1:350). This will be a limited edition of two-hundred-and-fifty ships. Lots more images after the jump:

Pop! vinyl TNG range revealed

A collection of eight new TNG characters in Funko's Pop! vinyl figure range have been revealed, thanks to new listings on Entertainment Earth. On offer will be Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, Troi, and La Forge, plus Locutus and a generic Klingon. They are all expected to arrive in March, check them all out, continuing after the jump:

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review: Metal Earth Vor'cha class

Newly available from Fascinations are the four Star Trek starships in their Metal Earth range of laser etched steel model kits. I've got all four to play with, and am going to take a close look at each.

Hoping the angular design might be easier than the curvy forms of the other ships in the range, I've opted to start with the Klingon Vor'cha class.

The kits are delivered on two square sheets of steel, which come packaged with extensive instructions in a flat packet which is about the size of a mass market paperback book cover.

The instructions recommend the use of needle-nose pliers to help build the model, and I also found a craft knife very handy to separate out the components from the metal sheets, where they are held on with small tabs.

The Vor'cha class is built from thirty-nine separate components, ranging from miniscule details, through to the two large pieces that make up much of the basic shape of the ship. These are all held together with little tabs which slot into small holes, and are secured by making a twist in the tab so it doesn't slide out again.

It's quite fiddly work, but very satisfying too, as small oddly shaped bits of metal suddenly turn into satisfying clusters of details. For this ship you basically build it up in two sections, forming the top and bottom, before the most fiddly bit of the job, lining up all the tabs to connect those two halves together. The head is then added on, and you're done, with the base having already been attached in the process of making the underside of the ship.

The final result feels surprisingly solid! Although I wouldn't want to test that rigidity too much! What's most impressive though, is all the detail; almost every surface is coated edge-to-edge in laser etched lines, building up the panels and other details all over the ship. Combined with all the 3D detailing from the built up sections, and the end result is quite spectacular. Plus, it's literally shiny - The steel finish looks great!

I thought these models looked pretty good in the preview images, but the result in hand is even better. With enough care, you can build a very solid and neat model, and that build is pretty fun too; it took me the better part of two hours to build the eleven centimeter long model - I'll be interested to see if I speed up with the other models, now I'm familiar with following the instructions and the building technique.

Continue after the jump for lots more images of the final model:

Latest Starships Collection previews

Online retailers have added listings for several new issues of The Official Starships Collection. Due out in February and March in the UK, and April in the US, issues forty and forty-one will be the refit Excelsior class USS Enterprise-B, and the Klingon Raptor class. Covers have been released for both (although the designs often change between solicitation and publication), but only the Raptor class model has been previewed. (Sources: Entertainment Earth, Big Bad Toy Store, Man of Action Figures)

As well as the regular issues, the fourth special issue, the Klingon D4 class, has also been solicited. Alas the model for that has not been previewed either, but here's the description:
The latest special in the STAR TREK: THE OFFICIAL STARSHIPS COLLECTION is a dramatic update of one of the most iconic enemy vessels in the STAR TREK universe - a Klingon patrol ship, from 2013's hit movie STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Every detail of this oversized model has been reproduced with careful reference to the original CG model created by ILM. The accompanying magazine explores the design process and includes never-seen-before concept artwork and new interviews with the ship's creators.
Here's the stand-in cover, plus the final cover for the third special, the USS Vengeance, which has already found its way to UK subscribers:

Continue after the jump for more new preview images from other issues in the series:

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mini phaser ornament from QMx

Black Friday is a little over a week away, and when it does arrive, QMx will have a cool exclusive Star Trek item on offer. They have made a miniaturised version of the nuTrek phaser, ready to hang on your Christmas tree. Based on the full size version which QMx made for use in the films as well as offering replicas, the new mini version has all the details, right down to a rotating barrel which can be switched to either stun to kill! A little under nine centimeters on its longest side, the mini phaser comes in a neat little box, and will be available exclusively next Friday. Check out more images after the jump:

Comic bits: February previews, behind the scenes, and international releases

IDW have released their solicitations for February, which include three Star Trek releases. Check out the details of all those, plus some other Star Trek comics news, continuing below after the jump:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #3
Written by Scott and David Tipton. Art by Rachael Stott.
It's the battle for the ages! Taylor has escaped the Planet of the Apes, and Captain Kirk must bring him back! Plus, the Klingon/Gorilla alliance makes its move against Dr. Zaius and Ape City!
The cover is by Rachael Stott, subscription cover by Kevin Wada, and variant Gold key style photo-cover (the latter hasn't been released yet).

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

New Star Trek business card cases

Icon Heroes, producers of Star Trek office products, have revealed two new items in their range. Coming in the second quarter of 2015 will be new embossed metal business card cases, available in designs featuring either the USS Enterprise or a Starfleet command division delta:

This is the second set of products aimed at those of us who like to distribute business cards; previously Icon Heroes have released a live long and prosper hand desktop card holder too.

Latest Starfleet issue casual wear

ThinkGeek have recently added several items of Starfleet uniform inspired clothing to their catalogue. The latest are the TOS uniform style slippers, which naturally are available in all three department colours:

Meanwhile in the 24th century, there are A-line dresses, also in three colours:

There are also several new uniform inspired hoodies. Check them out after the jump:

Review: Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Teleplay.

The recently concluded five-part comic adaptation of Harlan Ellison's original telelplay for The City on the Edge of Forever is almost unique in Star Trek comics history. To the best of my recollections there has been just one other episode adapted into comic form, the TNG finale, All Good Things..., and while most of the movies have also been adapted, aside from the odd deleted scene they have not strayed far from the on-screen presentations. The City on the Edge of Forever though, is like an episode of Star Trek from an alternate reality. My thoughts on the series continue after the jump below.

From the first few pages we are introduced to a much darker version of The Original Series, with the antagonist of the story, Beckwith, a drug dealer on the Enterprise, having signed on to starship duty to gather riches from exotic worlds and retire early to a life of luxury - A stark contrast to the good natured humans of the Starfleet we have come to know over the decades since this script was first written.

Beckwith takes the place of McCoy in the story as we know it from the television episode, and in doing so changes the tone throughout. Now we are not on a mission rescue a friend, we are out to stop a dangerous distasteful criminal (and in either case correct the timeline).

The mysterious and ethereal Guardians of Forever
This also gives us a great contrast with Edith Keeler, who in this version of the story is perhaps a little further along in her mission of peace in the world, already giving public addresses; well on the way to the future peace-maker that would ultimately lead to US defeat in the second world war - Or at least we can understand that from the episode, as the comic is more ambiguous about her future, with Spock inferring her significance in history from a riddle the Guardians give him and Kirk before they follow Beckwith, rather than having read the precise history they must avert off a tricorder screen, as in the episode. At any rate, Keeler is the good in reflection to Beckwith's evil, something that makes the ending all the more ambiguous when Beckwith tries to save Keeler from her death.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Book bits: New Voyager blurb, TOS excerpt, and more

Books news! First up there is a new blurb for Kirsten Beyer's next Voyager novel, Atonement, which comes via the Simon and Schuster digital catalogue. The book, due out next September, will be completing the trilogy begun in Protectors and Acts of Contrition, and this early-stage blurb unsurprisingly makes clear several plot points form those books will be resolved:
Admiral Kathryn Janeway faces a tribunal determined to execute her for supposed crimes committed during Voyager’s maiden trek through the Delta Quadrant. Captain Chakotay knows that the Kinara, several species now allied against the Full Circle fleet, are not all they appear to be. The Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant—a pact he cannot trust—is his only hope for unraveling the Kinara’s true agenda and rescuing Admiral Janeway. Meanwhile, Seven and Tom Paris are forced to betray the trust of their superiors in a desperate bid to reveal the lengths to which a fellow officer has gone in the name of protecting the Federation from the legendary Caeliar.

Meanwhile, the next book on the schedule should be starting to show up in the coming days. Amazon now has an excerpt up for Greg Cox's TOS book, Foul Deeds Will Rise. You can read all of chapter one, which starts like this:
Captain’s log. Stardate 8514.6

The Enterprise has embarked on a peacekeeping mission to the Savinia system, where two warring planets, Pavak and Oyolo, are attempting to end years of bitter hostility. Although neither planet is a member of the Federation, we have been invited by both parties to act as an impartial mediator. The Enterprise will serve as neutral territory for the upcoming peace negotiations, while also patrolling the space between the two worlds in order to deter any attacks. Given the atrocities and bloodshed on both sides of the conflict, there are bound to be hard feelings among the delegates. I don’t envy the Federation ambassador assigned to this mission.

Who just happens to have a familiar face . . .

“Well, they’re not shooting at each other yet,” Ambassador Kevin Riley said. “That’s a positive sign, I suppose.”

The Enterprise approached the rendezvous point. On the bridge’s main viewer, two small diplomatic courier crafts from Pavak and Oyolo faced off against each other in the demilitarized zone between the planets. The couriers were essentially streamlined shuttlecrafts, designed for interplanetary travel within the solar system. Kirk recalled that both races possessed rudimentary warp technology, but had scarcely ventured beyond their own system. He briefly considered raising the Enterprise’s shields, but he decided against it. The shuttles posed little threat to the starship, and arriving with shields up, as though expecting trouble, hardly sent the right message.

“I admire your optimism, Ambassador,” Kirk said from the captain’s chair. He was wearing his dress uniform in anticipation of the delegates’ imminent arrival. Medals adorned the front of his double-breasted maroon jacket. “From what I gather, you have your work cut out for you.”

“You can say that again.” Riley stood beside Kirk’s chair in the sunken command circle at the center of the bridge. His conservative gray suit was a good deal less colorful than the then-regulation gold tunic he’d worn when he’d first served aboard the original Enterprise, some two decades ago. Years in the diplomatic corps had added some seasoning to his face and a neatly trimmed brown beard made him look more mature as well. “I have to say I’ve enjoyed the trip here, though. It’s good to be back on the Enterprise again . . . well, an Enterprise at least.”

“I know what you mean,” Kirk said. This new vessel wasn’t quite the same as his old ship, which had gone down in flames above the Genesis Planet a few years back, but he was getting used to it. And certainly it had proven itself during some tight situations, beginning with that business on Nimbus III. “And it’s been a pleasure to have you back aboard, if only for this mission.”

“We’re being hailed by both delegations,” Uhura reported from the communications station. “They’re ready to be beamed aboard.”

Continue after the jump for a behind the scenes book-cover development tale, and the latest updates from the German Star Trek publisher.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

New apparel previews (updated)

Page created 13th November 2014. Last updated 15th November 2014.

Crowded Coop's big range of Star Trek bags and other accessories is just starting to make its way into the world, and ThinkGeek have added many items in the collection to their Star Trek offering. As is typical of ThinkGeek, they have some excellent product photos, giving us the best look yet at these new designs. So let's check them out (continues after the jump)

The red Uhura make-up bag has a magnetic flap with a built in mirror on the inside, surrounded by golden Star Trek themed prints. And just so you know who's bag you're borrowing, it has a little Uhura signature on the front.

The tote bag in the retro tech collection features a graphical USS Enterprise with department colour contrails, zipping past a planet. The print interior is blue for this one:

Friday, 14 November 2014

Get in costume with Trevco's new full bleed uniform T-shirts

Trevco have been releasing impressive full bleed sublimation print design Star Trek T-shirts for a while now, extending a variety of designs to cover the entire surface of a T-shirt, rather than the traditional rectangular window. Their latest wave of releases in this format makes great use of the technique to give a huge range of Star Trek costume designs, including uniforms from all eras, and a few one-off characters and joke costumes.

The TOS era has the most fun in this range, with designs including a dead red shirt, tribble covered wrap uniform, Pike in his wheelchair, and the Gorn:

There are also all the regular uniform shirts. Continue after the jump to have a look at those and all the other designs in the range:

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Titan petition breaks the 2000 mark!

We're forty percent of the way to having a model USS Titan! Have you added your name to the petition?

A little while ago I ran an interview with Ben Robinson, the manager Eaglemoss' starship model and magazine series, The Official Starships Collection. Talking to Ben he gave a ray of hope for thus who would love to see non-canon ships, such as the Titan, Aventine, or Enterprise-F, included in the series:
...if more than 5,000 people sign up solemnly promising to buy a Titan or an Enterprise-F, we'll almost certainly do it. If anyone wants to make that happen then feel free - it's a serious offer. But, whatever you do, don't email me! I'm not going to count 5,000 emails.
Ben later clarified that if we can gather five thousand names, and email contacts to hand over to Ben to arrange a pre-order, then that would be enough for him to commission a ship as an additional special issue in the series. With that offer made, the mission was obvious: Pick a ship, and gather five thousand names.

There are several ships from the Star Trek litverse I would love to see included in the series, but I felt it would be best to focus on one at a time, and the strongest candidate to me seemed to be the USS Titan. The Titan is of course a canon ship (by name at least), and the design, by Sean Tourangeau, has also been around a bit longer than some of the other prominent litverse ships - As a result it's gotten around, having appeared not just on cover of Star Trek: Titan novels, but also in the pages of the Star Trek Magazine, in the comic series Hive, in Star Trek Online, and even as a large physical model at several Star Trek exhibitions! If you're interested in the history of the design, check out my Picturing the USS Titan article.

The petition has been going for some time, and today, thanks to a signal boost from the Star Trek: Titan TV series campaign Facebook page, it has passed over the two-thousand name mark.

There has been a constant trickle of support over the last couple of months, but by the normal daily rate of new supporters we're still a bit under two years away from the goal! I think we can beat that! We've got almost half way in less than three months! So once again I call upon all Titan fans to spread the word; tell friends, share the petition on Facebook and Twitter, blog about it, anything you can do to find those Titan fans! Thanks to all of you that have been shouting about it already. I'm sure this goal is achievable, and we will get the Titan, and hopefully the Aventine and others too.

Join the petition: 5000 names to include the USS Titan in Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection.