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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Year Five #12: The Mission Who Walks Like a Man, part 2 preview

Out this week from IDW is Star Trek Year Five #12, the second half of the Gary Seven story The Mission Who Walks Like a Man. This story resolves the tease from the very first book in the Year Five series, and so acts as something of a mid-series finale (and a very satisfying one too), with another twelve issues still to come to fill out the final year of the USS Enterprise's TV-era five year mission under Kirk.

The book is written by Year Five showrunners Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, with a host of artists contributing: Kieran McKeown is credited for pages 1-11 and 17-20, Silvia Califano for pages 13-16, and Stephen Thompson for page 12. Colours are also a jumble of contributors, with Thomas Deer on pages 1-11, 17-18, and 20, John-Paul Bove for pages 12-16, and 19, and Charlie Kirchoff for page 12. That twelfth page does represent that tease page from the first issue, so that explains some of multitude of credits in this issue!

Following the usual format for the series, the book is available in two covers: Either the main cover, with a menacing shadow of gun pointed at Kirk, by Stephen Thompson, with colour by Charlie Kirchoff. Or there's the retail incentive cover from JJ Lendl, who continues their travel poster series with Circe V, the planet the USS Enterprise escape pods ended up landing on.

Continue below to check out the covers and a five page preview, plus some other comics updates.

A look back at Kevin Francis's semi-lost range of Star Trek toby jugs

I love an obscure bit of Star Trek merchandise, and something that caught my eye in the hunt for such oddities recently is Kevin Francis Ceramics' range of Star Trek toby jugs. Or almost range: While the company worked up designs for at least eleven different TOS and TNG characters, only four ever appear to have made it into production - And all of those were in limited editions of between 350 and 650 a piece, so even they are quite illusive items. Continue below to have a look back at what could have been an ambitious and distinctive Star Trek collection.

Toby jugs, for the unfamiliar, are normally a ceramic mug in the form of a character, traditionally a sitting rotund man with his own mug of ale in hand. They can be practical drinking vessels, but they're more often produced to be novelties and collectors items. A few companies have had a go a some form of character or figural mug in the Star Trek realm before, perhaps most notably Applause, who produced quite a fairly large range of character's heads as mugs. A couple of years before them though (circa 1995), Kevin Francis went down a far more ambitious and artisan path.

You can get a really good sense of what they were creating in one of the designs they did manage to get to market, the Borg drone toby mug - As you can see, he's barely a mug at all! This tall standing character casts aside the typical constrains and practicalities of the toby mug format to focus on delivering an impressive ceramic sculpture. Setting this apart from your usual figurine though, at the back of this character you find a Borg Cube streaking through space; this is the handle. A hole at the top of the head allows liquid to be poured in and drunk out from, and so this is still a functional mug (if maybe slightly difficultly so).

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Picard behind the scenes: Alien make-up and prosthetics round-up

I've gathered up some of the latest Picard behind the scenes images and info I've come across in relation to the design and creation of the many aliens of the series. There are familiar species and characters here, plus some much more exotic creations. Continue below to check them out.

First up a glimpse at the recreation of one of my favourite Star Trek species, the Andorians. Sculptor Nicholas Rinehard shared these images of their work on the latest iteration of the Andorian antenna. They used a random head cast for the purposes of sculpting, so don't expect to spot this exact Andorian on-screen:


Friday, 26 June 2020

Vannen launch USS Enterprise artist watches

Watch makers Vannen have entered the world of Star Trek with two new watches inspired by the USS Enterprise and designed by artist Tom Whalen. Available now, the USS Enterprise watch is offered in grey or white variants, with just 200 being produced of each. Continue below to check them out, and find out how they were made:


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Review: Science Division's Interactive Tribble

Science Division's Interactive Tribbles have started to find their way out into the world, and one of them has found it's way to me to have a play with. It's proved to be no trouble at all, but plenty of fun. Continue below for my thoughts on the deluxe ball of fluff.

While there have been many tribbles produced over the years, at various sizes and colours (and as a tribble lover I have a few myself!), but there's never been one like this. Some have featured sounds and vibration features before, but always requiring a squeeze to make them go - This one is almost alive! Tucked inside is a little box of tricks that makes the tribble coo (or scream), vibrate, sense when it's touched, and links it up with features enables by a mobile app - Although many of the things the tribble can do can be controlled without an app (see below).

Get into uniform with the latest Star Trek face-masks

The Star Trek Shop has expanded its range of Star Trek face-masks with seven new designs joining the collection, based on TOS, TNG, and Discovery; these join the previous TOS and Picard options. Most of these fill an obvious costuming opportunity, taking inspiration from a variety of Starfleet uniforms. There's also a Star Trek pride design.

As was the case with the previous designs, ViacomCBS are donating all the profits from the sale of these to Feeding America's COVID-19 Response. Continue below to check out all the options:

TNG and Discovery uniforms are both represented by one design each, both command division:


Tuesday, 23 June 2020

TNG crew frustration continues with Commander Riker facepalming bust

It's a tough year, in recognition of this Icon Heroes have turned their facepalming busts into a series, with Commander Riker now joining Captain Picard (who himself just recently had a third edition release announced).

The new Commander Riker facepalming bust, based on a moment from the episode A Matter of Perspective, is 7.9 inches tall, and a limited edition of 1701. Made from polystone, and hand painted, this is officially not just a bust, but also a paperweight. It is also officially a San Diego Comic Con exclusive, but of course there is no SDCC this Covid infected year, so you'll just have to get one via Icon Heroes' website.


2021 Star Trek calendar previews

The Star Trek calendars for 2021 are starting to arrive already, and so the publishers have been putting out new previews to help us decide which one to choose. There's no shortage of options this year, with six designs for the US market, two for the UK, and two in Germany as well! Continue below to check them out.

My calendar of choice is the Ships of the Line starship art calendar, and this year looks like another spectacular entry in this long running series:


Friday, 19 June 2020

Lower Decks preview images, and other Trek TV updates

At last some new previews of Lower Decks have hit the net today. Continue below to check them out, plus updates from the rest of on-screen Trek:

Entertainment Weekly have released two shiny new stills from Lower Decks, along with an interview with the creator, Mike McMahan, all helping paint a picture of what this new animated comedy series will be like. Behold, our heroes (Beckett Mariner, Tendi, Rutherford, and Brad Boimler) , seemingly in a more relaxed moment:


Note (on the right) Boimler's shoes; the Starfleet branding department seem to have gone all out on that colourful footwear, with Starfleet deltas on the soles!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Unique silver USS Enterprise from Rawcliffe's old miniatures line departs spacedock

Check out this shiny little beauty. This is a solid silver model of the USS Enterprise (aside from some small solid gold details), made by sculptor Mark Eliot Schwabe, based on the sculpting he created for Rawcliffe's old Star Trek pewter model starship range.


CBS supporting Black Lives Matter with Star Trek United streaming and fundraising event

CBS are throwing their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement with a fundraising and streaming event that celebrates Star Trek's long running commitment to embracing diversity, and striving for a better future.

CBS have found a suitable quote from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to emphasise this legacy:
Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences…
On Wednesday 17th of June (today!) CBS are encouraging us to tweet #StarTrekUnitedGives, and for each tweet with this hashtag they will donation one dollar towards organisations "doing the real-world work of championing diversity and fighting injustice", including Black Strategy Fund, Movement for Black Lives, and Black Lives Matter. Here are some of the stars of Trek introducing the event:



In addition to this, they have curated a selection of Star Trek episodes that focus on the fight for equality or on overcoming difference, and will be making them available to stream for free on multiple platforms, including CBS.com, StarTrek.comPlutoTV for a week, and just for the day also on Twitch, also starting today.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Star Trek Online introduces the Picard Romulan Bird of Prey. Plus other new ships and updates

The Star Trek Online shipyards have been busy lately, with new and updated ships coming regularly. Continue below to check out all the latest, starting with...

The Romulan Bird of Prey seen in Picard is coming to the game. And that means we can get a really good look at the new version of the bird of prey paint job, which is only seen fleetingly on-screen (see Ships of Picard article). Behold:


Picard behind the scenes: Sets and locations

Star Trek Picard took us on an adventure spanning multiple planets, quite a lot of places on Earth, and of course a few starships too. Since the series' release, those involved in the production of the show have gradually been sharing their work bringing all those places to life. I've gathered up the latest I've found to explore the work of Picard's set designers and decorators, and location staff. Continue below to check out the worlds of Picard:

I'm going to star with starships, and of course the main ship of the series La Sirena. Picard Set Decorator Lisa Alkofer recently had a great interview with SetDecor, discussing all the sets from the series, giving loads of insights into what was built or decorated, and sharing great behind the scenes photos from several sets. Including these views into the huge La Sirena set:


Saturday, 13 June 2020

Fleet Command introduces Harry Mudd to the Kelvin timeline

The Kelvin timeline video game Fleet Command has revealed the latest story arc in the game; Outlaws, which will introduce Harry Mudd to the Kelvin timeline, and curiously seems to team him up with Khan! - Who was himself liberated from his freezer when the Augments became a faction in the game last year. Continue below to find out more.


Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Book bits: Agents of Influence excerpts, and new audiobook covers

Out this week is the newest TOS novel, Dayton Ward's Agents of Influence. Set in the five year mission era, this is a a Klingon focused espionage tale; the book features undercover Starfleet spies working in Klingon space. Continue below to check excerpts from the print and audio edition, plus some other book updates.

First, a reminder of the blurb:
An epic new Star Trek saga by New York Times bestselling author Dayton Ward set during the original Five-Year Mission!

For years, Starfleet Intelligence agents have carried out undercover assignments deep within the Klingon Empire. Surgically altered and rigorously trained in Klingon culture, they operate in plain sight and without any direct support, while collecting information and infiltrating the highest levels of imperial power. Their actions have given Starfleet valuable insight into the inner workings of Klingon government and its relentless military apparatus.

After three of Starfleet’s longest serving agents fear exposure, they initiate emergency extraction procedures. Their planned rendezvous with the USS Endeavour goes awry, threatening to reveal their activities and the damaging intelligence they’ve collected during their mission. Tasked by Starfleet to salvage the botched rescue attempt, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise must discover the truth behind a secret weapons experiment while avoiding an interstellar incident with the potential to ignite a new war between the Federation and one of its oldest adversaries.

Monday, 8 June 2020

No need to worry about social distancing with your new Star Trek cardboard companions

Feeling lonely in lockdown? Well how about a full sized Gorn to keep you company? That's just one of the characters available from Prime Party as life-size TOS cardboard-cutouts. Continue below to check out their range:


Sunday, 7 June 2020

Star Trek (2009) storyboards reveal unseen and alternate creature designs

Storyboard artist Richard Bennett has been sharing some of his work from the first Kelvin timeline movie, Star Trek, revealing some really cool creature designs, and a cut scene. Continue below to check them out.

This first sequence, which Bennett shared in two posts on his Instagram account, reveals a cut scene where Spock travels through a series of conduits, and encounters a huge snake-like creature, with lots of teeth and tendrils!


Saturday, 6 June 2020

Voyager behind the scenes: Miniatures, concept art, aliens, props, and more

I've gathered some of the Voyager behind the scenes bits and pieces I've come across lately, for a look behind the scenes on the series. Continue below for a look at starship miniatures, cool concept art, props, alien make-up, and more from the production of Voyager.


This first item is a foam-core mock-up of the USS Voyager miniature, created as a reference for episodes that involved Voyager landing on planet surfaces. This is currently up for sale on Ebay (for quite an ambitious price!); the seller says they obtained it from visual effects supervisor Dan Curry, and has a note describing how it was used:
These models were created by the Voyager Art Department at my request to bring on location and used a line shots where Voyager has landed and is sitting on the ground. It would be impractical to bring the expensive model out of the motion control stage and risk damage. This technique provides an accurate reference for photographing the hero miniature in the studio as well as a temporary composite for the editors to cut into the work print to give a sense of scale to the scene. 

CherryTree fire a shrinking ray at their Picard Borg Cube PC

Borg Cube PC makers Cherry Tree have created a miniaturised version of their Picard Borg Cube model. The new Picard ITX Borg Cube PC is 7.5 inches either side, making it an eighth the size of the larger ATX model. Just like the larger version it can bit fitted out with different specs, based around either Intel or AMD processors, or you can just get it as a case to build however you like.


Friday, 5 June 2020

Mego TNG action figure preview images

Due out this month are the first TNG action figures in the revival range from Mego. This initial offering includes Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Lieutenant Commander Data, both sporting Mego-fied TNG TV era uniforms. Mego have released a bunch of new photos of both, so you can check them out, below:


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Facepalming Picard bust returns, and is now taller!

The Picard facepalming bust is back! Icon Heroes eternally frustrated polystone paperweight is reborn at a new larger 8 inch tall format (rather than 5.5 inches before). They've also adjusted to sculpt slightly, and painted the combadge on the base this time.

Picard is perhaps facepalming this time because this is nominally a San Diego Comic Con exclusive; but there is no San Diego Comic Con this year! Instead he'll be exclusively available via the distributors Previews, which means you'll be able to order him at most comic book and collectables shops, and some online retailers, such as Entertainment Earth.

This will be a limited edition of 1701. Continue below for lots more images.


Screen-Trek round-up: Picard and Short Treks home video releases, plus Lower Decks, Discovery and Picard production updates

While things are moving slowly in the world of TV production right now, there are still quite a few updates from all corners of the current on-screen Star Trek universe: Continue below for the latest from Lower Decks, Picard, and Discovery productions. But first, some home video updates:

First up, Amazon now have a listing up for the Picard season one bluray and DVD release. At the moment it's just using the basic poster art, and doesn't even have a date, let alone any details of extra features and the like. You can get pre-orders in already though, and the listing probably indicates it's just a few months away.

Meanwhile the latest home video release came just yesterday, with the US release of Short Treks, which includes all the Discovery and Strange New Worlds related shorts (leaving out the Picard prequel, which will presumably come on the Picard season set instead). Some international release dates for the collection have now been announced too: It will arrive in the UK on the 13th of July, and Australia on the 15th of July.

The collection comes with an assortment of behind the scenes featurettes (see my previous report for a full listing), and CBS Home Entertainment have been busy releasing excerpts from several of them over the last few days. Continue below to check them out:

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Year Five #11: The Mission Who Walks Like a Man, part 1 preview

Star Trek comics are back! After a couple of months hiatus IDW have resumed shipments of new comics, with Star Trek Year Five #11 the first to emerge from the Trekverse. This is the start of the latest two-parter in the series, with the rather delightful Bond-esque title The Mission Who Walks Like a Man referencing interstellar Aegis agent Gary Seven stepping into the spotlight.

The book is written by Year Five showrunners Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, with art by Stephen Thompson, partially inked by Maria Keane, and coloured by Charlie Kirchoff.

The book is offered in two covers; I think a couple of best in the series so far (which hasn't been short on great covers!). The main cover, prominently featuring Gary Seven's cat Isis, with a clever play on her shadow, is as ever by Stephen Thompson, with colour by Charlie Kirchoff. And there's a retail incentive cover from JJ Lendl, who has wholly embraced the spy movie poster style, and also features Isis, and Seven.

Continue below to check out the covers and a five page preview, plus a little comics update.

Monday, 1 June 2020

FanSets reveal Discovery season 3 Burnham, and other new pins

FanSets, makers of collectable pins, are so excited about Discovery season 3's arrival (whenever that might be), that they've travelling to the future already and and brought back the new look Michael Burnham; with her rather spectacular hair. Check out this new pin below, and other new Star Trek pins from Fansets: