Thursday 30 April 2020

TNG tech from the cancelled Build the Enterprise-D partwork

Do you like starship tech? Well here's a treat for you, pages of awesome techy goodness from the cancelled Build the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D partwork. Including stunning new artwork not previously seen.

First, a refresh on the history: About a decade ago DeAgostini in Japan hatched an ambitious plan to release a 100-part model kit and magazine partwork, to Build the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The large model, with lighting, would have included the ability to pull away part of the hull to reveal deck-plates, detailing every room inside the ship. The series would also have come with a comprehensive new set of blueprints for the ship on loose sheets, and a magazine covering technical details, mission log styled episode summaries, and new interviews with the cast and crew. Alas the first test run of the series coincided with the Japanese tsunami in 2011, and market wasn't receptive to such an ambitious project at that moment. So it was lost to time.

I've reported on this lost gem a few times before, and thanks to editor Tim Leng have been able to share several pages from the publication before as well. Now Tim has shared a bunch more of the techy pages from the series, on the Star Trek Prop Enthusiasts Facebook group, giving us another look at what could have been.

These pages are all from either the Apparatus or Critical Systems sections of the magazine. Each features brand new CGI artwork, detailing the subject matter, and in several cases revealing parts of the ship that never made it to screen. These sections, along with the blueprints and detailing of the model, were created in coordination with Enterprise-D designer Rick Sternbach.

Like the old Star Trek Fact Files, these pages were gum-bound, so could be pulled out and filed away in a sensible order, building up the reference work as the series continued.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

La Sirena comes to Star Trek Online, plus other new game ships

Got lots of starshipy updates from Star Trek Online today, including a chance to pick a future design, some remasters of classics, and I think the first ship from Picard to join the game. Continue below to check them out:

First up, from Picard we have La Sirena, which they're calling a Heavy Raider. The ship will be one of many available as a possible bonus upon opening a Research and Development Pack or a Duty Officer Pack purchased between May 7th and May 11th.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Beautiful concept art for Picard and Discovery title sequences

Artists who worked on the title sequences for Picard, Discovery, and Short Treks have shared some of their concept artwork for all those show's opening credits, giving us a glimpse of ideas that never made it to screen, and early iterations of many that did.

All the current Trek shows have stunning and creative title sequences, all produced by Prologue Films. Many of these concepts take the ideas even further, with some really beautiful abstraction and visualisation of ideas from the shows. I'm especially taken by the creative ways the Borg Cube has been represented in many of these Picard concept sequences.

This first sequence was shared by Filipe Carvalho on his Instagram who describes the theme as "a journey within Jean Luc through his own memories and obstacles." This seems a much more minimalist approach than the final design, and Picard himself a much more prominent element, with his figure, often minute, in many of shots. The overall effect seems even more introspective than the final version, so seems very fitting for the tone of Picard:

Sunday 26 April 2020

Interview: Science Division's interactive tribbles

Last year Science Division promised to bring the world life-like interactive tribbles; using sound, motion, and even a mobile app to bring their fluffy friends (with bespoke extra soft fur) to life.

Despite the complications of the Covid-19 crisis, they have just finished shipping out there initial pre-orders, and are now fully open for business for all your ongoing tribble needs.

Science Division is the creation of Kayleigha and Jay, a wife and husband team whose love for Trek and desire for a realistic tribble pet lead to learn coding, found a company, work out manufacturing, and find their way to being officially licensed by CBS - An impressive feat and real show Trek-love. I had a chat with Kayleigha about how mission-tribble is going:

Kayleigha amongst the tribble hoards.
I have this vision of your home being something like the tribble-filled scenes of every tribble episode... Have you been able to keep your tribble hoard under control?
During the development process we joked that the Tribbles were multiplying digitally more than anything else. I (Kayleigha) do all of the graphic design and social media for the business. We’re now onto our second external hard drive of Tribble photos, videos, and business documents. That being said, now that our stock has arrived, we do have a room full of Tribbles. Sadly, they are all boxed up to keep them safe. I did take the opportunity to bury myself in prototype Tribbles, though. I couldn’t resist. 

Saturday 25 April 2020

Star Trek comic covers, and other updates

IDW have been busy releasing cover art for several forthcoming releases - Quite when they'll be forthcoming remains uncertain, while we await the rescheduling of Star Trek comics releases beyond the current Covid-19 publishing pause - Continue below to check out the latest TOS, Picard, TNG, and DS9 comic updates:

First up, a vividly brutal Klingon cover  by Stephen Thompson for issue fourteen of the TOS Year Five series. This will be part-two of the Klingon-focused story Guide of Fire.

Friday 24 April 2020

Cherry Tree reveal their Pixmit hoodie

Borg Cube PC makers Cherry Tree have revealed the final look of their pixmit hoodies, which are part of a pack of goodies you can get when you order one of their Picard Borg Cube PCs. The pixmet, (sort of Romulan tarot cards) "destroyer" card was of course featured in Picard, giving Cherry Tree a chance to produce a really distinct bit of Trek merch. Check out below, plus a look at their actual PCs!

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Book bits: New Picard novel, The Unsettling Stars excerpts, and other updates

A few Star Trek book updates today, including previews of the latest release, a new audiobook cover, and story-time with Spock! Continue below for all that, but first, new book news!

Simon and Schuster have added new listings for "Untitled STP", a new Picard novel due out in December. Like the first Picard novel, The Last Best Hope (see review), this will initially be a hardcover release, of course also available as an ebook, and audiobook (The Last Best Hope is getting a paperback release later this year too, so presumably that will come along later for this new book as well). There are no details on authorship or what the book will be about just yet (I'm crossing my fingers for a Seven/Hugh XB/Fenris Rangers backstory book).

Coming back to the present, the latest Star Trek novel just released is the first adult Kelvin timeline book (following the young adult series of some years ago), Alan Dean Foster's The Unsettling Stars. Set shortly after the first Kelvin timeline movie, this book was originally due out before Into Darkness was released, but was put on hold for years, until now! Along with David Mack's More Beautiful Than Death, due later in the year, this book has been rescued from limbo. Here's a reminder of the blurb:

Monday 20 April 2020

DS9 behind the scenes: Defiant miniature, alien makeup, concept art, and more

In my latest round-up of behind the scenes Star Trek goodies I'm taking a look at some of the latest things I've come across from the production of Deep Space Nine. It's a gloriously diverse collection of amazing alien make-up, beautiful concept art, props, miniatures and more. Continue below to check it all out.

First up, perhaps my favourite behind the scenes thing to enjoy, lots of pictures of a beautiful starship miniature; in this case the USS Defiant. These were shared online in a gallery I believe can be credited to visual effects artist and miniature maker Bill George. We can see every nook and cranny of this tough little ship as a result, all brightly light in outdoor light.

Saturday 18 April 2020

Live long and prosper with the latest Covid-inspired Trek-wear and homewear!

Rule of Acquisition number 23: Nothing is more important than your health... except for your money.
Whoever runs the Star Trek Shop is definitely a Ferengi. Or possibly an over-enthusiastic public health official. Either way, they've taken on some Covid Crisis inspiration in their latest offerings of Star Trek apparel and homeware. Continue below to check out their new pandemic designs:

There are two concepts they've played with, the first of which here is using the "Live Long and Prosper" hand gesture as means of social distance greeting. This first design spells that out mostly clearly and upbeatly:

Thursday 16 April 2020

Big Star Trek starships in real life

After more than half a century of inspiring trekkies world-wide, Star Trek has left a mark on the world. Sometimes more literally than you might imagine; all over the world you can find Star Trek starships, on displays, in parades, as corporate headquarters, and even in dentist offices. I thought it would be fun to try and track down the big Star Trek starships there are out there; I was surprised how many I came up with! Continue below to check them out.

The REALLY big ones

First I thought we should look at the seriously huge ones; I'm talking several times the size of human, or even full-sized recreations. These are rare, and their fidelity to the original designs vary, but some are very impressive.

Perhaps the most screen accurate of the big Star Trek ships in real life was the Borg Sphere that formed the thematic heart of the old Borg Assimilator roller coaster at the Carowinds Amusement Park in North Carolina. Alas Paramount sold the park in 2006, and soon after the Star Trek theming for the ride was striped off. And so, as seemed to be the habit of Borg Spheres crashed on Earth, this ship is lost to time.

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Hallmark previews 2020 Star Trek Keepsake decorations

Hallmark have released lots of new images of this year's range of Keepsake Christmas decorations, including of course all the Star Trek pieces in the collection. This year the Star Trek offering is going in a completely new direction; instead of franchise-spanning assortment of ships, figurines, and small scenes we've grown accustomed to in recent years, this time everything is one theme, all inspired by the original mirror universe episode Mirror, Mirror; and they're all interactive!

As part of Hallmark's Storytellers range all the pieces this year, and over the next couple of years too, interact with each other to tell the story from the episode; with every decoration featuring light and sound functions. Which characters you get will determine which bits of dialogue are activated when they start playing off of each other (you'll need to get a seperate Hallmark's Keepsake Power Cord to power and connect them all). As the collection expands over the next few years you should be able to build ever more elaborate "performances".

The highlight of this initial wave is the impressive USS Enterprise tree topper, which sits upon a pyramid of Starfleet deltas, which illuminate, and form a base for further upward lighting of the ship. The ship itself also has lit parts. This piece does include its own power adapter, and also comes with a remote (also delta shaped) to activate the performance (or you can press a button on the ship itself). On it's own it plays the Star Trek theme music, and if connected to the other Storytellers it starts telling the story too. Jake Angell is credited as the designer of this decoration:

Monday 13 April 2020

Dark Remnant's USS Galileo concept art

Last year VR Studios and Strange Lizard created Star Trek: Dark Remnant, a VR game available at Dave and Buster's locations in the US. Set in the Kelvin timeline the games features the USS Enterprise and a Klingon battle cruiser, but also a brand new ship, a small "advanced stellar research vessel", the USS Galileo. The unique ship features a bridge inside a large window/forcefield bubble, giving players wide unobstructed views of the action unfolding around them in the game. Several of the artists who worked on the ship have shared their work online, so we can get a good look at this unique and obscure design.

Most of the artwork here was shared by Paul Jouard, who also credits Andrian Luchian and MuYoung Kim, who provided blockout models and concept sketches respectively. These first two Jouard notes as being the final paintovers:

Saturday 11 April 2020

Review: Picard: The Last Best Hope

Alongside the first season of Picard, Simon and Schuster delivered The Last Best Hope, the first Picard tie-in novel, which was written by Una McCormack. The book takes us through the entire Romulan rescue mission; showing Picard's work to tirelessly to build up the resources necessary to save the Romulan people, only to have wider events undo that mission, and Picard's entire sense of person, bringing him the place where we find him as the series starts. The outline of that we saw in the TV series; this book files in the details.

This was also the first hardcover novel Star Trek novel for many years; did it earn that prestige format? Well I think yes, absolutely, wholeheartedly, in fact I would go so far as to say this is possibly the most impactful Star Trek tie-in work there has ever been. Continue below for my thoughts on why.

Thursday 9 April 2020

Picard behind the scenes: XBs, synths, and other characters and actor antics

Another batch of behind the scenes Picard goodies today, care of the cast and crew. This time I'm just looking at characters and cast, so dive in for lots of XBs, synths, Romulans and other people of the Picard universe.

First up, the only (non-flashback) full Borg seen up-close in the series, who was played by no less than the head of the makeup department James Mackinnon. He shared these photos to give us an even better look at the character:

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Star Trek comics update: Delayed releases, Khan, Gary Seven, and other Year Five covers, and more

Lots of Star Trek comics updates today, but maybe the last big update in a little while, as the comics industry goes into hibernation over the Covid-19 crisis period. Continue below to check out a bunch of new covers, artwork, and other updates. But first, an update on what's going on with comics right now.

A couple of weeks ago Diamond Comic Distributors, who distribute comics from all the big comic companies, announced that owing to the increased uncertainty throughout the production and sales network, and wishing to play a part in stopping the spread of Covid-19, they were suspending shipping to retailers from April 1st onwards. Following this IDW, the Star Trek comics publisher, announced they would be reducing planned publications, initially through to July.

Of course that means all the currently planned Star Trek comics will be delayed by at least a few months. In fact they were already a bit behind anyway, with solicited March releases not making it out by the end of the month.

Delayed will be Year Five from issue 11 onwards (that issue was originally due in February), the Khan focused TOS mirror universe one-shot (which was expected in March), the new DS9 series Too Long a Sacrifice (which was due to start in April), and the reissue of Debt of Honor (due in June). Before everything ground to a halt, did put up a preview for the imminent release of Year Five #11, but the issue didn't quite manage to make it to the real world.

Presumably this could have knock on effects for as-yet unannounced planned releases later in the year too - Or if we're lucky maybe we'll just get bumper releases to catch up!

Anywho, to see us through the next few lean months, some of the Star Trek artists have been sharing their recent creations. Here for instance is a striking George Caltsoudas cover for Hell's Mirror, the TOS mirror universe one-shot featuring Khan:

Monday 6 April 2020

Star Trek jigsaws to wind away your time

Stuck at home in need of something to do? Maybe you need a jigsaw puzzle to fill a few hours? Well lucky you, there are several recent Star Trek designs just waiting to be put together. Continue below to check out the latest:

New to the world of Star Trek are Cobble Hill, who last year launched a range of Star Trek designs spanning all the older series. All of their Star Trek designs are 1000 piece puzzles, and all come with a poster too (I assume of the same design).

My favourite of the collection is their Women of Star Trek puzzle, which celebrates all the major female characters from TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise:

Sunday 5 April 2020

A Star Trek concert and virtual roller coaster, care of the Movie Park

Here's a nice musical treat, in the vein of many an online arts streaming event in these days of quarantine, the Movie Park Germany theme park have released a 24-minute video of the recording of the music for their Operation Enterprise roller coaster. Opened a few years ago, this is currently the world's only Star Trek roller coaster, and also includes a tour through set recreations, all accompanied by specially recorded music; a mix of classic Trek themes, and brand new music composed just for the ride. You can check out the music, which is pretty rousing, right here:

Friday 3 April 2020

The Starships of Star Trek Picard

Star Trek Picard expanded the fleet of the Star Trek universe with quite a wide variety of ships, including a heroic Borg Cube, giant space flowers, and an impressive expansion of Romulan starship design. I thought it would be fun to have a look back through all the ships featured; so continue below starships fans:

Picard is the only Trek TV series apart from DS9 not to have its primary setting aboard a Starfleet starship with the very familiar saucer and nacelles silhouette. Instead we got La Sirena, Cristóbal Rios' Kaplan F17 Speed Freighter.

Picard season one soundtrack details

Lakeshore Records have today released the full season one soundtrack for Picard. The album includes Jeff Russo's music from the entire season, including all the tracks from the previous Chapter One soundtrack, the Blue Skies cover featuring Isa Briones which released as a single last week, plus 26 new tracks filling out the rest of the season's music. That adds up to a 55 track release, with more than 2.5 hours of music!

This is available now as a digital download or stream, and according to a tweet from Jeff Russo there will be a CD release later, plus a vinyl edition with a smaller selection of tracks (but no doubt much prettier presentation).

Continue below for the full track listing:

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Kelvin timeline behind the scenes round-up: Prosthetics, costumes, props, concept art, and photos!

Do you enjoy a visit to the Kelvin timeline? Then dive below for a look back at some behind the scenes goodies to recently surface from the production of all three films! Including lots of on set photography, concept art, alien prosthetics, costumes, and props!

We can start almost right at the start, with Alnschloss K'Bentayr, a crew member on the USS Kelvin. The prosthetic mask for this character is currently up for sale from The Prop Gallery, giving us a great chance for a closer look. Check her out:

Doctor McCoy dilemma in latest TOS novel

Simon and Schuster have announced a new forthcoming Star Trek book, the latest TOS novel from Greg Cox. A Contest of Principles will be a five-year-mission era tale focusing on Doctor McCoy and Nurse Chapel; an extraordinary timely selection, when I'm sure we're all ready to celebrate the work of the medical professions! Here's the blurb:
An epic new Star Trek saga by New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox set during the original five-year mission!

The planet Vok is holding its first free elections after years of oppressive military rule. Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise have been dispatched by Starfleet to serve as impartial observers, but remaining neutral proves a challenge, as Kirk confronts a tangled web of scandal, conspiracy, and assassination plots—with the stability of an entire sector at stake.

To make matters worse, Dr. Leonard McCoy has vanished while on a mission of mercy to Braco, a nearby planet only a system away. With Kirk unable to abandon his vital mission on Vok to hunt for his friend, it’s up to First Officer Spock and Christine Chapel to lead a team in search of the missing doctor, even if it means risking whatever fate befell McCoy.

Unknown to his friends and crewmates, however, McCoy has been spirited away to another world, Ozalor, where he’s expected to find a cure for a mysterious ailment plaguing a member of the planet’s ruling family. Torn between his Hippocratic oath and his desire to escape, McCoy finds himself at the center of deadly palace intrigues—and a struggle for power that may ultimately consume all three worlds!
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