Villordsutch reviews Star Trek: Designing Starships – The USS Voyager and Beyond…
In this latest Eaglemoss Hero Collector Star Trek book, titled Star Trek: Designing Starships – The USS Voyager and Beyond, I was expecting perhaps a cluster of pages on Voyager, the Delta Flyer, the hairy Kazon and narrow-minded Voth, with a wee bit of the associated ships’ episode background dotted around here and there. Looking great and giving you a smattering of Trek lore. What more could you ask for? Within the first few pages I realised this book wasn’t that.
Imagine if you will, walking around a Sweet Shop and then all of a sudden the lights dim and you see the shop keeper lock the door for the night. Score! What an amazing thing to happen. Now imagine if you’re a Trekkie and all of a sudden, as you’re wandering around the amalgamated archives of Paramount and CBS, the lights dim and the security guard locks the door for the night, where do you head to? Obviously the Star Trek section! It’s here, thankfully, in The USS Voyager and Beyond that Hero Collector makes sure that you never have to explain yourself in a court of law, as to why you keep finding yourself locked in strange buildings at night.
Hero Collector have not only embraced the ships and vessels of Star Trek: Voyager, but have gone far beyond that. Returning all the way to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, showing us the birth of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, creating background ships for Star Trek: The Original Series (Remastered) that originally came from the Star Trek: The Animated Series. It’s quite frankly fascinating to follow the path of Star Trek starship design to see how everything comes together.
We’re given access to early sketches from such amazing Star Trek designers as Rick Sternbach, Mike Okuda and John Eaves (to name but a few), some who have been with the show and all of its interactions since the 1970’s. To see the USS Voyager with a dorsal fin is bizarre, and a glimpse of a Star Trek: The Next Generation Romulan Warbird (in its original concept image) with the wings along the vertical not horizontal seems completely out of place! Not only this, but along with the sketches and numerous designs for these well known vessels, there are the stories behind the work being told too; occasionally recounted by the designers themselves.
The world of Star Trek ship design has come a long way – it seems – from design to expensive models being created just as an example piece, for the shows producers to physically see it, before a final model is created for the show. Now the designers are working with the CG artists, as new ships are being recreated in 3D space and extra flourishes being added by the CG artist. Yes, the model-creating life has sadly diminished, but reading mature Trek designers seemingly embrace the CG world is quite interesting. Especially it would seem, when it came to “Aliens of the Week” and the turnaround of alien craft needed to be done rapidly.
Some interesting points, in amongst the fascinating amount of information, that really stuck out included:- Designers were sometimes given the same task to see who came out with the best ship (I bet twelve Quatloos on Sternbach), the Klingon Bird-of-Prey was actually built for the Romulans, a rumour had it Paramount had the Klingon Uniforms in storage so the Romulans were dropped, Syd Mead (designer of V’Ger’s huge starship) was selected due to his work for US Steel, before Star Trek: The Motion Picture he’d never worked before on a movie. He has gone on to work on such films including Blade Runner, Tron Aliens and more recently Blade Runner 2049.
If you want to see what the world of Star Trek could have looked like and to read how it became what it is, then Star Trek: Designing Starships – The USS Voyager and Beyond is a must. A truly fascinating read through the history of Trek.
Star Trek: Designing Starships – The USS Voyager and Beyond is available to buy now from Hero Collector here.