Friday, 31 January 2014

Latest starship developments from Holland Space Yards

The starship designers and engineers at Holland Space Yards have been busy working on developments in Starfleet's slipstream fleet lately. That is to say, master starship designer Mark Rademaker, has posted some interesting new images, and video, lately. First up, the his latest development drawing for the Full Circle refit of the USS Voyager:


Mark also posted a video on Facebook, demonstrating a hidden feature on another class in the Full Circle fleet. Prepare to have your mind blown by the sheer elegance of the Vesta class performing saucer separation:




Finally Mark has also recently posted several images of his smaller slipstream ship, the USS Spirit, the star of Mark's second Ships of the Line image, from the 2009 calendar. These latest images are actually a slightly different design to that used in the calendar, with different nacelle pylons. Here she is, untextured, having made a water landing, which really seems to suit the design:


Mark also posted a series of orthagraphic views of the USS Spirit; this side view shows what's below the water-line quite nicely:


You can see the other views of the Spirit, and more of Mark's designs, in his Star Trek album on Facebook.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

More images of Square Enix's Kirk and Spock

Square Enix have released several new images of their nuTrek Kirk and Spock Play Arts KAI action figures. This time they're showing off how poseable the figures are, as well as pointing out the accessories and extra hands to be included. Reporting on the images, Toy Ark have also revealed the pricing and release dates for these; we should expect to see them in August, for $90 each. For more photos continue after the jump, and see my previous report.

UPDATE: Entertainment Earth now have these available for pre-order. They claim they will be nine-and-a-half inches tall, while Toy Ark have suggested they are eleven inches.



Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Comic bits: Parallel Lives, IDW Limited, and essays

Out this week is the twenty-ninth issue of the nuTrek ongoing comic series, part one of a new story, Parallel Lives. StarTrek.com recently ran and interview with the issue's writer, Mike Johnson, and artist Yasmin Liang. Johnson gave this summary of the issue, which features a gender-swapped reality:
Without giving too much away, we start right away with the introduction of Jane Tiberia Kirk and her crew on the Enterprise. From there things get progressively weirder until Jane comes face to face with her doppleganger, a fellow starship captain with an unusual name: James Tiberius Kirk.
Both also talked about the inception of the story, and their work on it. Here's a snippet in which Liang explains her approach to drawing the suddenly female dominated crew:
I spent a lot of time humming and hahhing about how body language would translate. I figured a lot of Kirk's boisterous swagger and confidence would be present no matter what gender and from there, it started to make a lot of sense. These characters are so strong at their core that a lot of what makes them who they are would be present regardless of what gender, race or even species they are! I suppose the biggest challenge was trying to find a balance in their likenesses since they're based off of male actors. I also didn't want them all to be the same.
You can read the full interview on StarTrek.com, and can also find a seven-page preview of the comic, in my previous report.

Meanwhile, back from the early days of the ongoing series, IDW Limited have announced their second super limited edition Star Trek book. Operation Annihilate is a reprint of the second ongoing omnibus (which includes two two-part stories, Operation: Annihilate, and Vulcan's Vengeance), in an exclusive hardcover binding, presented in a tray case. Each issue is signed by the writer, Mike Johnson, and a pair of artists from the series (which artists vary depending which version of the set you go for). Each set also comes with four prints of artwork from the series. There are three different versions available: The Red Label, limited to one-hundred-and-seventy-five copies, comes with the standard stuff described above. The Black Label, of which there are just fifty copies, comes with all that, plus a piece of original artwork by Joe Corroney. And the most limited version, the Blue Label, with just fifteen copies, comes with a piece of artwork by Tim Bradstreet.

I posted a few examples of the art Joe Corroney has done for this some time ago. IDW Limited's Twitter posted a couple more samples, from both Corroney and Bradstreet:


IDW Limited are currently taking pre-orders for these, expecting them to be sent out in February.

Finally, several familiar names are involved in a new book of essays exploring the world of Star Trek comics. Coming this summer from Sequart Organization is New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, a collection of essays exploring every facet of Star Trek comics; from Gold Key through to IDW, and the many, sometimes rather unusual, things in-between.

Several Star Trek fans, comic writers, and novelists are contributing. I'm sure you'll recognise more than a few names from this list: Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato, Julian Darius, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Robert Greenberger, Rich Handley, Mark Martinez, Tom Mason, David McIntee, Martín A. Pérez, Alan J. Porter, Colin Smith, Scott Tipton, Cody Walker, and Dayton Ward. It's edited by Joseph F. Berenato, and features snazzy cover art from Patricio Carbajal.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Christopher L. Bennett announces three new titles on the way

There's no end to books news in the last few days! The latest comes from Christopher L. Bennett, who has just announced on his blog that he is now signed up to bring us a Department of Temporal Investigations ebook, and two more Rise of the Federation novels!

The ebook, to be titled, The Collectors, will be coming first, expected late in 2014. This will be the third instalment in Bennett's DTI series, but the first in this shorter format. While the previous novels did a lot of joining up the dots of Star Trek time travel, this novella will be focused more on telling an original story using what Bennett has established in his books, as he described:
...it’s a story I had a great deal of fun writing, delving deeper into two elements from Watching the Clock that I’ve been eager to explore in more depth: The Eridian Vault, where the DTI stores dangerous temporal artifacts (sort of a Warehouse 13 for time travel), and the mysterious Agent Jena Noi of the 31st-century Federation Temporal Agency.
Bennett expects his next Enterprise novel, the third in his Rise of the Federation series, to see publication in early 2015. This book, tentatively titled Uncertain Logic, will be linked to the next, which Bennett expects to follow in early 2016. He gave some details of these too:
The two books will each stand on their own but have a common story arc connecting them, with the latter story arising from the consequences of the former. (That’s why I got contracted for the two books together. I thought I’d have to talk my editor into that, but she was just, “Sure, I’ll start the paperwork.”) And both books will continue to flesh out ideas from Enterprise, reveal the origins of elements from The Original Series and beyond, and feature original worldbuilding and exploration as well.

Margaret Clark spills the beans on Trek-lit in 2014 and beyond

For a little over a year now, Trek FM's Literary Treks podcast has been bringing us regular interviews with Star Trek authors, giving us something like DVD extra features, in their discussions of how each book came to be, and analysis of the subject they explore. This week's episode has an extra special interview, not with an author, but with Margaret Clark, the Star Trek books editor at Simon and Schuster. Clark talked extensively about her work on Trek, back to working on DC Comics, and her first jobs with Simon and Schuster, through to master-minding the current run of books, including big events like Destiny and The Fall. Clark also revealed the details of several new novels and ebooks coming in the future.

Those include the first news of new TOS movie era novel by Greg Cox, coming late 2014, and the reveal John Jackson Miller will be continuing in Trek, after his ebook debut next month, with a full novel in 2015, featuring the USS Aventine.

UPDATE: John Jackson Miller has blogged about his new novel, noting that in addition to the crew of the Aventine it will feature TNG characters, and will also fit into the overall exploration theme Margaret Clark is going for in the next wave of novels.

Clark also shed some light on some of the books we already know about. Confirming Una McCormack's Home Again will feature Beverly Crusher as DS9's temporary chief medical officer, she also mentioned another familiar doctor will play a key role.

She also noted she is scheduling Kirsten Beyer's trilogy of Voyager stories close together. February's Protectors starts it off, only having to wait until October for the continuation in Acts of Contrition. While Clark didn't state it, if we were to get a similar gap between books then we can expect part three in the middle of 2015.

Talking about Jeffrey Lang's Light Fantastic, she mentioned most holographic characters in Trekdom will feature, and also noted it will be the only Data story we get for some time:
Jeff's book is fantastic; it's a sequel to Cold Equations, it's the only book that Data will be in through the next nineteen months - I'm looking at the 2015 schedule, and he's not in any of those books either. Data to me is like saffron, he should be used very sparingly. I told Jeff, you have the only Data story this year, he's like "you're kidding me?". I said "Nope, no one else has, you have to write a heeeell of a book". That's not what Data is any-more, Data's not a Starfleet person. This is a sequel to Immortal Coil, it's also a sequel to Cold Equations. It's a TNG book, it's Geordi, it's Data, it's evil holograms, it's got good holograms, it's unexpected people suddenly. It's a great read, it really is.
Clark also mentioned David R. George III checked over DS9 portions of the story to keep them in line with the new station design.

Here's the now complete 2014 schedule for Star Trek novels:

As well as the novels, Clark spoke about the ebook line, including announcing two new ones, a Department of Temporal Investigations novella coming from Christopher L. Bennett, and a TNG book featuring Q at Picard and Crusher's wedding, called Q Are Cordially Uninvited.

UPDATE: Christopher L. Bennett has revealed the title of his ebook as The Collectors, as well as announcing he will be writing two more novels. See separate report for full details.

Clark also mentioned a DS9 novella, called Lust, Latinum, Lost and Found. She didn't give the author, but presumably this is the DS9 ebook Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are writing. Clark gave a brief summary:
This is a Quark story, where he's trying desperately, because there are so many more distractions on this new station, he's not the only game in town, and he's trying to buy the latest version of Vulcan love slave.
Here's the schedule for ebook novellas:

Also discussed was the possibility of new Star Trek audiobooks. Apparently it is something the publishers are talking about right now, and have asked for suggestions as to which books could get the audio-treatment. Clark is keen on getting Andrew Robinson to read his Garak novel, A Stitch in Time.

For the full interview with Margaret Clark, make sure to go and listen to Literary Treks. And for full coverage of all the Star Trek books, including links to all my previous article with covers, blurbs and more, hit the prose button on my 2014 schedule page. Or to get really prepared, I've recently added a 2015 schedule page too, to keep track of these first few publications we know are coming.

New book descriptions

A couple of new descriptions have popped up for new Star Trek books. Due out next month is John Jackson Miller's post-The Fall Titan ebook, Absent Enemies, and Simon and Schuster have finally released a blurb:
Newly promoted Admiral William Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are ordered to race to Garadius IV—a planet Riker knows all too well from an unsuccessful peace mission when he was still first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. But this time, he finds a mysterious new situation: one with the potential to imperil the entire Federation. One of the warring parties has simply vanished…

Also nominally out next month, but starting to show up already, is Kirsten Beyer's latest Voyager novel, Protectors. Beyer has written in introduction to the book for StarTrek.com, including a detailed description of the book's storylines:
At the end of The Eternal Tide, a newly resurrected Admiral Kathryn Janeway was offered command of the fleet. As Protectors opens, that offer has been rescinded, pending an exhaustive physical and psychological evaluation. A number of her fellow officers have honest and well-founded doubts about the admiral’s current fitness for command. It will be up to Janeway to prove them wrong, or spend the next two-and-a-half years monitoring the fleet’s activities from a desk in San Francisco. Putting those doubts to rest, however, will require the admiral to confront some hard truths and buried fears; ones she’s spent her entire existence refusing to face.

Captain Chakotay knows that for the fleet’s explorations to continue, he’s going to have to demonstrate to Command that despite heavy losses, their original mission remains vital to Starfleet’s interests. He pins his hopes on a distress call Voyager received nine years earlier, but was unable to answer. Voyager and Demeter journey thousands of light years beyond any territory charted in the Delta Quadrant, by the Federation or the Borg. The alien technology they discover is mysterious and dangerous, and Chakotay butts heads from the start with Demeter’s captain, Commander Liam O’Donnell. Their investigation yields unexpected results, some, beautiful, some, horrifying. Their quest to save a dying world will lead them to place they could never have imagined, introduce them to a civilization as powerful as their own, and set the stage for an untimely reunion with several species Chakotay sincerely hoped to never encounter again.

A remote Starbase in the Beta Quadrant has recovered a single survivor from a vessel they have identified as Caeliar. The Doctor, Voyager’s former EMH, is brought in to confirm this, and learns a great deal more than the true identity of patient “C-1.” While the fleet has been exploring the Delta Quadrant, a new plague has arisen closer to home; one that appears to have been caused by Caeliar catoms. Unless a cure can be found, the body count of sixty-three billion the Borg left in their wake is going to grow. Starfleet believes they already have the best minds in the Federation working to find that cure. They don’t. Nor do they understand the true nature of the threat they are facing.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Book bits: Serpents, Voyager, and German covers

The latest books news, starting with the first look at the cover for Jeff Mariotte's TOS movie-era return to A Private Little War's planet Neural, Serpents in the Garden. Amazon have added this cover to their listings:


Serpents in the Garden is due out in May. Meanwhile Kirsten Beyer has posted news of another 2014 book on the TrekBBS, revealing her next Voyager novel, Acts of Contrition, is to be the October book. Thanks to Unreality SF's Jens Defner for pointing me towards that news.

And further thanks to Jens for helping decipher some of the latest news from German publisher Cross Cult, who have released final versions of several of their covers for forthcoming books on their Star Trek books Facebook page. The big news is that they plan to release Michael A. Martin's Romulan War books as a trilogy, having opted to split Beneath the Raptor's Wing (Unter den Schwingen des Raubvogels) into two books. Here's the new cover art for the first part:


They have also released the finalised version of the second part, which uses the previously released artwork for the book when it was to be a single volume. They've yet to release the final version of To Brave the Storm, but they previously released artwork, so you can get an idea of what the final triptych will look like:


Books parts of Unter den Schwingen des Raubvogels are expected in August, while the German version of To Brave the Storm has to wait until early 2015.

Continue after the jump for a look at the finalised versions of several other Cross Cult books:

Starships Collection's Stargazer, Vor'cha, nuEnterprise, and Canadian launch

Online retailers have added listings for a couple more issues of The Official Starships Collection, giving us the first look at the Constellation class USS Stargazer, and the Klingon Vor'cha class, which will be issues nineteen and twenty, due in April/May in the UK, and June/July in the US.



Both issues will next be showing up in Canada it seems, as Eaglemoss have now got a site up ready for the Canadian launch. They don't yet specify a date, other than early-2014. The first issue will be C$6.95, going up to C$24.95 per issue after. The subscription model will be the same as the US, with the subscription extras spread out over the first eighteen months.

Eaglemoss have also emailed out recently, to promote their second larger special issue, the nuTrek USS Enterprise, revealing the cover for this issue:


StarTrek.com also recently ran an article from The Collection's editor, Ben Robinson, in which he shared some of the nuTrek concept art he has been looking through to put together the magazine for this issue. Specifically he posted many variations from Alex Jaeger, trying out options for how to articulate the Enterprise's warp nacelles at warp. I've put a few after the jump, but you can see the whole range of options considered, on StarTrek.com.

Friday, 24 January 2014

QMx's Voyager combadge

QMx have added a listing for latest Star Trek prop, the Voyager communicator badge. Like the previous TNG reproduction, they have made the badge look extra shiny with metallic finishes, and added a magnetic clasp to securely hold it in place without pins. Here's what QMx had to say about it:
Our Voyager communicator badge (also seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) was crafted using one of the only remaining sets of original molds, which were painstakingly restored in our artisan model shop. With the restored molds we were able to replicate the prop's size and shape exactly.

To get the colors and paint details, we studied an actual screen-used badge. And once we had the design of the original matched, we took the whole thing a step further – rendering the replica in gold and silver-finished metal (the on-screen props were made of painted resin).

What sets this wearable badge apart from the original is the clasp, which uses strong, short-field magnets that are embedded in the badge itself and in a glossy backplate. No more pinholes in delicate fabric. It can even be worn on leather and suede.
QMx are currently signing up a waiting list for pre-orders; I'd expect it to become available in the next few months. UPDATE: Entertainment Earth have also now listed the badge, and they expect to have it by April.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Tuvok coming to Star Trek Online

Cryptic Studios have announced their latest bit of Star Trek casting. Following from Denise Crosby returning as Natasha Yar and Sela, and Michael Dorn voicing Worf in the Star Trek Online, the next actor to bring their character back to life in the game with Tim Russ. Tuvok, now an admiral and in command of the USS Voyager, will be turning up in STO's 4th anniversary feature episode, "A Step Between Stars". Cryptic released the following video, in which Russ discusses his latest reprisal of the role:



Book bits: Post-The Fall hints, Rise of the Federation, and more

Next time on TNG and DS9...
A few bits of books news for you, starting with the new hints of Trek-lit to come after The Fall. In a recent interview with Trek FM's Literary Treks podcast, Dayton Ward, mainly discussing his finale to The Fall, Peaceable Kingdoms, also briefly discussed what's coming next, giving the first hint of what Una McCormack's Home Again might be dealing with, and also seeming to give further confirmation David R. George III will be continue the DS9 story at some point, as well as maybe seeming to imply he is himself in line to continue the TNG adventures:
I think it takes place fairly soon after Peaceable Kingdoms, at least in the continuity. In fact I believe it's going to follow up on a thread. Because right now Crusher, the way I had it at the end of Peaceable Kingdoms, Crusher's on her way to DS9 to act as an interim chief medical officer, until they can find a permanent replacement for Bashir. Now whether she stays there or not, remains to be seen, but given her family situation, I don't expect that she'll stay there very long. Plus I kind of said at the end of Peaceable Kingdoms, that she's going to meet up with the Enterprise at some point soon. But I think Una wants to tell a story with her at DS9, before I, or whoever, gets to pick them up again. It will be fun with, David George is writing a story where she is going to be the CMO of Deep Space 9, so you know, who knows...
Meanwhile in another podcast, Trek Mate's Ten Forward, James Swallow, also primarily talking about his The Fall entry, The Poisoned Chalice, also briefly discussed next month's Titan ebook, Absent Enemies, confirming John Jackson Miller's novella will picking up the Titan thread following The Fall:
That follows directly on from the events of The Poisoned Chalice. It's a bit more of a stand-alone story, but that's got some interesting stuff. Again, it has Riker as Admiral, trying to fit that in with the role that Titan's portrayed in previous books.
Meanwhile, looking ahead to April's release of the next Enterprise: Rise of the Federation novel, Tower of Babel, Christopher L. Bennett has updated his website, with commentary on the development of the novel, including discussion of what the book will be exploring:
It's hard for me to look at Tower of Babel objectively, since the writing process was so turbulent. There are probably things I could've done better, but now that I think about it, there are a number of things I'm rather proud of. In particular, I had fun with the worldbuilding of the Rigel system, taking all the disparate references to Rigel this and Rigel that in the screen canon, along with the ones in the current novel continuity, and building a cohesive whole out of them. Why did I choose Rigel as the first major addition to the young Federation? Because I wanted Archer to go after a major prize, a coalition of worlds whose addition to the union would increase its size and power significantly in one fell swoop, so that the stakes would be as high as possible. And I didn't just want to create some hitherto-unknown civilization, since that would raise the question of why it was never heard of later on. Rigel has so many distinct worlds and cultures that it gave me a rich multispecies community in a single system -- although it did come with certain conceptual problems and contradictions that I had to navigate my way around. Also, ENT's "Demons" and "Terra Prime" had included Rigelians among the delegates to the initial Coalition of Planets talks, and a couple of earlier sources (the classic Spaceflight Chronology and the novel Starfleet Year One) had postulated Rigel as a founding or very early member of the Federation, in contrast to the traditionally accepted founders of Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri. So the idea of Rigel being in at the beginning, or nearly so, had some precedent.
A little closer still, next month's Voyager novel, Kirsten Beyer's Protectors, is starting to show up right now, and Simon and Schuster have put up an excerpt to tempt you with. You can find all of chapter one, here.

Continue after the jump for a little more from the authors of The Fall books:

Anovos' Wrath of Khan uniform

Anovos have revealed their latest replica uniform, their first from The Wrath of Khan. They're kicking of their range of reproductions from the film with Captain Spock's uniform, complete with belt, badge and rank insignia. Here's what Anovos had to say, posting on Facebook, about the development process:
In keeping with Anovos’ attention to detail; no expense was spared in our research and development of Captain Spock’s Standard Uniform. Not only did we examine patterns and reference materials used in the design of costumer Robert Fletcher’s iconic uniforms, but we reverse engineered a screen used Star Trek II uniform from our personal archives. This piece provided more information about Wrath of Khan era uniforms than any single resource could, and became the basis of our own exacting recreation.

In addition to screen accurate patterning; our Captain Spock Standard Uniform uses a custom created and dyed cavalry twill that replicates the look and feel of the original uniform’s wool élastique while being a more comfortable, durable, and cost effective fabric. We also perfectly recreated the Officer’s Chest Insignia using an original Star Trek II badge as a physical reference, creating in the process the most screen accurate replica of the Officer’s Chest Insignia ever offered. But we didn’t stop there. We applied the same process to all of the pins and accoutrements found throughout the uniform, from the Captain’s rank insignia to the distinctive chain found in the uniform.
Anovos are initially making two-hundred of these, with four tiers of pre-orders; the first batch of eighty are being offered for $950, stepping up eventually to the full retail price of $1200.


Continue after the jump for more images and a look at some of the details of the uniform:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The spinning starships gallery of giddiness

Eaglemoss have updated the galleries on the The Official Starships Collection's website with new images of forthcoming ships in the series. Including this week's (in the UK at least) much anticipated Akira class model. While preparing to post these images, it occurred to me that the 360 degree preview images could be turned into animations, and once I'd done one I found myself unable to resist doing them all (as you'll be able to see if you continue down page).


As well as 360 shots, Eaglemoss have also released top and bottom images of each ship, so here's a new look at the Akira from both sides:


The Collection's Facebook page also posted a preview page from the magazine. It looks a bit peculiar with the two-page spread chopped in half, but here's the start of the history of the Akira class:


Continue after the jump for previews of the next three issues. Plus animations of all the models in the series so far!

Enterprise season four bluray extra features

Out in April is the fourth season of Enterprise, on bluray. TrekCore have posted a press release, which gives us details of the extra features in this final season of the series. Those include all the old DVD extras, plus an even more extensive selection of new material than usual, with a four-part documentary, Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise. The titles for each part might give some insight into what the interviews from cast and crew will discuss: "New Voices", "Memorable Voyages", "Final Approach", and "End of an Era".

On top of that there will be another of round-table discussion, which the release describes as follows:
A special highlight to the collection is "In Conversation: Writing Star Trek Enterprise," an exclusive, 90-minute writing staff reunion special. The compelling discussion includes series creator and executive producer Brannon Braga, along with Mike Sussman, André Bormanis, David Goodman, Chris Black, Phyllis Strong, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, all detailing some of the series’ most fascinating behind-the-scenes stories.
In addition to the previously released audio and text commentaries on select episodes, there will also be five new audio commentaries:
  • The Forge, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Mike and Denise Okuda.
  • Observer Effect, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Mike and Denise Okuda.
  • United, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens and David Livingston.
  • Demons, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, André Bormanis, Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating.
  • Terra Prime, with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, André Bormanis, Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating.
See TrekCore's article for a full disc by disc breakdown of everything in the set.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Review: The Official Starships Collection special #1 - Deep Space 9

The first larger "special" issue of The Official Starships Collection, and the first space station in the series, Deep Space 9, has been out a little while in the UK now, and is just starting to show up in the US. Here are my thoughts on this bigger model.


This model is about 15cm across, and 9.5cm tall, which makes it slightly longer than the longest dimension of other models in the series, but being a circular design a good deal wider than the usual sized ships.

Most of the horizontal parts of the station (the rings, and crossover bridges) are a single metal piece, making the model a substantially weighty and very solid feeling. The docking arms are plastic, as are the finer details: All the docking ports around the outer ring, the weapons sails, and the upper and lower most sections of the central core. The interfaces between plastic and metal parts are generally very good, especially with the weapons sails and docking ports. Where the docking arms join the ring is a little less successful, with noticeable (but not excessive) join-lines - The least successful section of this is on the inner-side of each arm, where the Cardassian-neck-like base of the arm joins with a similar tapering step detail on top of the crossover bridges. Because the base of each arm is flat, it doesn't quite reach down to join one of the steps, leaving a small gap on either side at the base of each arm.

The whole station has a slight speckled metallic finish, which gives some sense of extra detail over all the surfaces, and also makes it look quite distinct compared to the flat finishes or aztec printing of most of the other models in the series. This finish seems to be fractionally more notable on the metal components of the model, making the plastic elements looks ever so slightly different in certain lighting conditions - It's not really that noticeable, but unusual for Eaglemoss not to have achieved absolutely perfect colour matching between the two materials, as they normally do.

There are several other printed finishes, with the inset detailed areas around the station (which are very nicely molded details) picked out in panels of yellow and red, as well as many small window prints, giving a nice sense of scale. The molded details overall are very satisfying, with particularly pleasing finishes to the upper surface of the habitat ring and all the intricate details such as the weapons sails and elements of the central core.

The only areas that seem to be lacking detail are the inner surfaces of the rings, which have a sort of ribbed texture all the way around rather than more specific detailing. It would have been nice if these surfaces had also featured printed windows. I would speculate that the texture was a compromise to give this impression; at a glance the ridges catch the light, giving the impression of many small details.

There is just one thing that I really don't like about this model; which is that it doesn't come with a stand! It is the only model in the series that doesn't have one, other designs which could self-support, as this one happens to be able to do, have stands, as will future specials like the nuEnterprise. So DS9 ends up the odd one out, and feels a bit awkward as a result. Having a stand also lets the ships in the series seem to float, which is rather appropriate for things that exist in space. It's a simple extra that all the other models in the series have, and it really bugs me this one doesn't.

That issue aside, I really like this model. For quite a spindly design it feels very solid. It has lots of nice detailing, and feels very distinct in its finish compared to other models in the series, making it feel suitably alien. Being able to pick up and interact with this, my first model of DS9, has given me a new sense of appreciation for the design too. It really is such a distinctive and iconic design; slightly art deco, but also very alien and unusual. Being able to examine it from every angle has let me enjoy the design of DS9 like never before.

There happened to be two models of DS9 released recently; this one, and a very limited availability Attack Wing gaming model, which you can only get by participating in events. Prior to that there have been a few other models at smaller scales, from Furuta, Romando, and Hallmark. The latter of those three seems to be best in terms of detailing, comparable in many areas to this new model, but also making compromises to the design for the functionality of a christmas tree decoration. Therefore I think we have here, once again from Eaglemoss, the best model available of the subject (with the exception of the much larger AMT model kit, which of course you need to build and finish yourself).

Continue after the jump for more photos, and a look at the accompanying magazine.

Tower of Babel cover and blurb

Due out in April is Tower of Babel, the second book in Christopher L. Bennett's early-years of the Federation Enterprise relaunch, Rise of the Federation. StarTrek.com have now released the cover, featuring the T'Pol's ship, the Columbia class (NX refit) USS Endeavour, and Reed's Intrepid class USS Pioneer:

UPDATE: The image below now clicks through to a higher res version, to get a closer look at Doug Drexler's artwork:


They also released a newly extended blurb:
The United Federation of Planets has weathered its first major crisis, but its growing pains are just beginning. Admiral Jonathan Archer hopes to bring the diverse inhabitants of the powerful and prosperous Rigel system into the Federation, jump-starting the young nation's growth and stabilizing a key sector of space. Archer and the Federation's top diplomats journey to the planetoid Babel to debate Rigel's admission…but a looming presidential race heats up the idealogical divide within the young nation, jeopardizing the talks and threatening to undo the fragile unity Archer has worked so hard to preserve.

Meanwhile, the sinister Orion Syndicate recruits new allies of its own, seeking to beat the Federation at its own game. Determined to keep Rigel out of the union, they help a hostile Rigelian faction capture sensitive state secrets along with Starfleet hostages, including a young officer with a vital destiny. Captain Malcolm Reed, Captain T'Pol, and their courageous crews must now brave the wonders and dangers of Rigel's many worlds to track down the captives before the system is plunged into all-out war.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Comics bits: April releases, photo-comics update, and Khan

IDW have released their solicitations for April. There will be just one Star Trek comic that month, part two of the latest story in the nuTrek ongoing series, I, Enterprise, which will be the thirty-second issue of the series. As ever Mike Johnson will be writing, with Erfan Fajar continuing on art and cover duty. Here's how IDW describe the issue:
The concluding chapter of "I, Enterprise"! The flagship of the fleet is now a sentient entity with a mind of its own... and it doesn't take kindly to the biological "invaders" inside its hull! How do Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew fight an enemy upon which their very survival depends?
There will be two covers, Fajar's regular cover featuring 0718, the cyborg crewmember introduced in Into Darkness, and a Tron-style USS Enterprise. The subscription variant cover uses the crashing Enterprise from Into Darkness:


While that's it for April, there is a bit more comics news. Continue after the jump for the latest on John Byrne's photo-comics, and the Khan prequel series: