Star Trek: The Art of John Eaves

So, I bought a new book the other day:

The book without the dust cover is cool, as we see a yellow line version of Eaves’s concept for the Borg cube from First Contact.

Anyway, I’ve been a fan of John Eaves’s work for years, I have his old sketch book from the movies Generations and First Contact. Eaves’s Star Trek career spans over 30 years, as he started out in Greg Jein’s model shop for Star Trek V, and he also drew concept work for the Klingon disruptor cannon and the Starfleet shuttlecraft, though the shuttle concept wasn’t used. He moved out of the model shop and into the concept art department for TNG and DS9, continuing to the TNG movies and Enterprise, and has done concept work for the first two JJTrek movies and Discovery. He not only designs ships, but props as well, as everything in a Sci-Fi movie usually has to be made and needs concept work to visualize designs.

Anyway, good book. I’ve only read the Discovery part, though I skimmed over some of the rest. I wanted to know why certain things were done they way they are for Discovery, and this book answers some of that.

So, that’s what I have for now. Good book, especially if concept art fascinates you as it does me.

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Badges? We don’t need no….

No, seriously, badges are cool. Especially when you’re talking about Star Trek badges. I used to see where they’d sell the Star Trek badges and rank pins, etc, especially back in the ’90s, but I could never buy them back then, being a teenager and all. Plus, that was before online shopping and you had to mail order a lot of stuff like this. But, now we have Ebay. I found this little beauty on there:

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Now, the copyright on the back is 1992 and the seller says it’s new. I know these were produced for a number of years, so it’s possible to have unopened stock from back then. It’s also possible this is a recast copy from China. I really have no idea. It wasn’t in any kind of packaging, but I don’t know if they always were, especially if they were for a convention or something. I’ve seen some stuff like this selling on there with the old “Star Trek: The Experience” packaging. I know a lot of stuff like this was officially reproduced for that. Either way, I like it, it’s cool. I love the TWOK style uniforms, and I’ve always liked this badge. I’d love to have a TWOK style jacket, but I don’t see that happening. All the ones I’ve seen are prohibitively expensive, plus I have issues finding jackets with long enough sleeves. If they’re not available in tall sizes, it’s a crap shoot. So, I’ll be content with the pin. 🙂

By the way, getting a pic of this was a bitch because it’s so shiny. The flash just made it dark, so I had to take the pic without it. Having it not reflect my phone and everything else was a chore too. So, I took a photo in relatively low light and then played with the brightness and contrast in GIMP.

Avalon Universe

I know the subject of Star Trek fan films has been a sore one lately. I find that a lot of people don’t seem to understand what happened, and think CBS is to blame for what went down with Star Trek: Axanar. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Alec Peters, the dude who was running Axanar, was breaking every rule of Star Trek fan films. He was intentionally trying to make money off of Axanar, which was a no-go with fan films from day one. He was giving unlicensed merchandise for donations, essentially selling stuff to make money to do his film. That’s another no-go. He did some other things, including ignore several cease and desist letters from CBS, forcing CBS to sue him. His defense was that there weren’t clear rules for fan films, as CBS mainly ignored fan films so long as they stayed within a few small guidelines, such as not making money and so on. So, in response to his stupidity, CBS wrote a list of official guidelines for fan films. Thus, Alec Peters is to blame for the state of things, not CBS. Though, people still blame CBS.

Anyway, on a random search for “Star Trek” during my bus ride home from work yesterday, I stumbled upon Avalon Universe. Link

This is a group based in Georgia that’s making Star Trek fan films within CBS’s guidelines. Theyr’e not the best scripted, they don’t have the best acting, their uniforms are mostly JJ Trek style, because one of CBS’s guidelines is that, if you buy uniforms, you have to buy officially licensed ones. So, it looks like they bought theirs from the official Star Trek store. Their special effects are quite nice. But, what matters most is that they get the essence of Star Trek. This crew exemplifies what fan films are all about: fans making films. It’s not about making money, it’s not about one upping CBS else by making professional quality content that’s more popular than theirs, it’s about making Star Trek for fans by fans. That’s they way it should be.

Anyway, here’s their first episode. It’s a two parter, to keep within CBS’s guidelines for length:

They released another episode last week, and you can view it by clicking on their YouTube link above. As I said, it’s got its share of issues, but it’s got the heart of Star Trek, and that’s what it’s all about.

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Why do people forget about this show? I was just looking at an article on Screenrant about decisions that hurt and saved Star Trek. Link Interesting read, but it contains an error in the opening paragraphs. They claim there are six Star Trek television series. No doubt, this is their list:

1. TOS
2. TNG
3. DS9
4. Voyager
5. Enterprise
6. Discovery

That’s an incomplete list. This is the real list of Star Trek shows:

1. TOS
2. TAS
3. TNG
4. DS9
5. Voyager
6. Enterprise
7. Discovery

Yes, seven shows, not six. I don’t know why daft idiots who write articles can’t find this information, it’s available on many websites.

For those who don’t know, the story goes like this. Star Trek should never have been canceled. In 1969, TV ratings weren’t broken down into demographics. Had they been, the people at NBC would have known the show was popular with young men, a key demographic. When they realized this, Paramount knew they needed to make more Star Trek. Dreams of movies and live action TV shows were in the cards, but the quickest way to get Star Trek back on (besides syndication) was animation. So, Filmation was commissioned to do a Saturday morning cartoon. It ran for 22 episodes between 1974 and 75. It even won Star Trek’s first Emmy, for Oustanding Children’s Show, due partly to having outstanding writing by many of the same writers from TOS. The original actors all lent their voices, except Walter Koenig, but he wrote an episode. Fans even voted to add the series to the official canon over a decade ago. Yet, people forget it exists. Why?

Aztec Hull Pattern.

NeoTrinarty asked what Aztec hull pattern is, and I figure the best way to describe it is with a post and pictures. Basically, Aztec, Aztecing, Aztec pattern, whatever you want to call it, is a blanket term for the hull panel patterns done on Star Trek ships, to show the individual plates that comprise the hull. It first started appearing way back in the late ’70s.

Origins

When they were making Star Trek: The Motion Picture, one thing they had to do was decide how best to represent the Enterprise on the big screen. They’d already scrapped the model being built for Phase II and had done some tweaks to the design to give the model more detail needed for the size at which it would be seen. Finally, someone came up with the idea to paint all of the individual panels on the ship, thus giving it a sense of scale and more detail. (I’ll go into why this isn’t necessary for scale in a moment) They came up with a pattern that is now known as “Aztec” and painted it on the hull in paints that varied slightly in color and shininess. Here’s a great screen capture from TMP showing the pattern on the hull, thanks to Trek Core:

Now, that’s the Aztec pattern in all its glory. As you can see, it’s very subtle. In fact, it’s so subtle that it only appears clearly in certain lighting conditions and up close. In wider shots, it’s still there, but harder to make out:


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Discovery Ships

OK, let me start by saying I don’t like “Star Trek” Discovery. (yes, Star Trek is in quotes, like I do with Into Darkness) Oh, how I wanted to like it. I gave it the ol’ college try, signed up for a 1 week free trial of BS All Access. Discovery was the only show I watched, so I went to cancel my sub before having to pay and they offered a month free. So, I accepted and continued with Discovery. The first two episodes (pilot) were OK, kind of like a long prologue for the series, a movie lead-in if you will. I dealt with the visual changes. Yes, the Klingons are fugly, their ships resemble nothing Klingon from before and I didn’t care much for the Starfleet designs at all. I don’t like the uniforms, sets or the ships. At least, I didn’t like them for the 2250s era. I get why this was done. Much like the Kelvin timeline movies, CBS didn’t actually make this series, they’re just putting their name on it and distributing it. So, nothing is allowed to look like it did originally, so it’s a visual reboot. However, I can look past the visuals if the story is good and if I like the characters. This is where I had issues. Like I said, the two parter was decent. I thought it was a strong lead-in for the series. I liked the characters OK, and thought it was really interesting having the main character be a prisoner. Then the rest of the episodes started, the “main story,” if you will. It pretty much jumped the shark right at that point, in my opinion.

After they got to the Discovery, the whole thing fell apart for me. For starters, adding tension by having everyone blame Buhrman for the war is stupid. Even if Starfleet tried peaceful solutions, they had to know from past experiences that the Klingons were going to fire upon them. I mean, it happened all the time on Enterprise whenever Archer tried being nice. War was inevitable, yet Starfleet has adopted this illogical attitude that it was all her fault. That’s just stupid. Anyway, what makes it worse is that the characters are all unlikable for me. Buhrman turned into this creature of self pity whose permanent stank face got on my nerves after about 5 minutes. (and the chick playing her is hot, so that’s saying a lot) Lorca is a totally unlikable character for me and always was. Stameets started off really annoying, but did get a little better before I stopped watching. Tilly was probably the most likable character. Then there was Saru. I thought he was OK until he created a computer program to “grade” him as acting Captain based on the performances of other captains. That’s where I lost any respect for him. I have no problem with any of the actors, they were just badly written. Then there was “Haryy Mudd.” Sure, let’s take one of the most beloved scoundrels in Star Trek and completely change him. Plus, they got Rainn Wilson to play him and I can’t stand Rainn.

Aside from the characters, the writing on the show is just bad. Really bad science, anachronistic technology and just dumb plots and plot devices. Please, a SPORE DRIVE!? C’mon, let’s get serious here! That’s a horrible plot device, and the way the saucer spins looks stupid. Also, there are many times where Starfleet officers on the show ignored rules, including the Prime Directive, and there’s no repercussions to it. Starfleet even ordered them to do it at times. Ugh.

So, is it all bad? I stopped watching after the episode “Choose Your Pain.” I chose to end mine and not watch that show anymore. I’d rather watch The Orville, which is more Star Trek than Discovery is. Hell, many Star Trek alums have even lent their talents to the series. But, there is one redeeming thing about Discovery: John Eaves. Anyone who is familiar with my blog should know that I’m an Eaves fan. Before I even knew who he was, I loved his work. I bought his sketchbook on the movies Generations and First Contact back when it came out because I love his style and his designs. And, he’s the main concept illustrator on Discovery, or at least he was for 9 episodes. I don’t know if he’s still with the show, but he’s working on some movies too. His work is very much in demand.

Anyway, my friend Dan “Madkoifish” Uyeno posted these on a forum, the only CGI forum I still participate in:

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Saturday Morning Star Trek

Ah, the seventies. Who could forget it? Well, to be honest, I could because I was born in 1979. 😉

These days, most people know of the existence of a TV series in the ’70s that was a revival of Star Trek. However, this wonderful series was nearly lost to time, until it was put on VHS back in the late 1990s. Then, in 2006, after CBS acquired Paramount, they wanted to do a DVD release, so to gauge fan interest they did a fan poll to decide if the series should be considered part of Star Trek canon. Fan interest was there, and the series got a release on DVD, and that was fantastic. Fast forward to 2017, and you can get the box set for $12.99 in the U.S. on Amazon:

I love this series. For those who don’t know, here’s a brief history. In 1969, NBC messed up big time and canceled Star Trek, due to its old faulty rating system, which made it look like the show was a failure. When they re-ran the numbers in the early ’70s using better demographics, they quickly realized that the show in fact was winning their target demographic, males age 18-45. So, they immediately syndicated Star Trek. Hungry for more, they decided to do another Star Trek series, this time an animated series done by Filmation. What followed was essentially Star Trek season 4, a series of 22 half hour episodes aired on Saturday mornings. Was this the best move? Well, the series won an Emmy in 1975 for Best Children’s Series, so you be the judge. This was the first Star Trek Emmy win.

To me, it’s just a great series with some good writing. There was a writers’ strike going on, but only for live action shows. This meant a lot of writers were left with nothing better to do. So, many of the same people who wrote for TOS came back. All of the actors came back except Walter Koenig, though he did write an episode. Aside from their iconic roles, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols and James Doohan provided a number of the voices for other characters, George Takei also voiced a few aliens. They replaced Chekov with a three armed and three legged navigator named Arex, who would have been impossible to create in the 1960s on TV. In fact, the series had many more aliens that looked nonhuman due to the much less limited animation format. Anyway, add it all up and you have a really good series, though it did suffer from a few technical issues, most notably coloring issues. (most animated show suffer from coloring issues)

Anyway, I was on Amazon the other day because I needed to order a couple things, and that box set was right there on my main page under my recommendations. I saw it, saw the price and had it in my cart before I even had time to think about it. So, now it’s all mine. The box is pretty cool, much nicer than a lot of Star Trek box sets. The white case is plastic, and the discs are inside in a thing that pulls out. I guess, with four discs, they figured they could go a bit more elaborate with the box. All said, it’s a steal at $12.99. 😀

Beyond

A few months back, I went and saw Star Trek Beyond in the theater and really enjoyed it.  In my opinion, it’s the best movie in the Nu Trek series.  Since then, I’ve been patiently waiting for the Blu-Ray release.  I’d had the Amazon gift set of the film pre-ordered because I wanted the model of the Franklin it came with, even though I don’t need a 4K or a 3D copy of the film.  Well, I cancelled that the other day and decided to just buy the movie at work.  I’m sure glad I did, because I like the Walmart gift set much better:

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Standard Blu-Ray, (works great for me) a DVD I’ll give to my Dad, a digital copy I’ll never use and three little ship models.  All for around half the price of the Amazon gift set.  The models are OK, they’re about Micro Machines size and quality.  Though, from one of the reviews I read on Amazon, their model isn’t any better.  (I guess someone paid for some ultra fast shipping, which can be done)  Anyway, I’m glad I got this set, it has the discs I want, three models and I got it a lot quicker.  Here’s a couple quick snaps of the models:

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Sorry for the kind of blurry pics, best I can do.  I did do a little enhancement in GIMP to make them a bit better.  Also, ignore the stuff behind them, my desk is my catch-all.  😉

What’s this now?

$50?  Shut up and take my money!

 

I was at Walmart last night perusing the movies after my shift and I found this wonderful item for only $50.  I had to buy it.  Plus, I used my employee discount and got $5 off, so it was actually less than $50 with tax.  I’m stoked, because I didn’t have this series on Blu-Ray.

Apparently, they’re the same discs previously released by CBS, which some people whined about on Amazon.  However, for those of us who don’t/didn’t already have those, it’s wonderful.  It’s not very expensive either.  For 20 Blu-Rays, that’s only $2.50 per disc.  I personally like this style of case better than the old DVD ones they did with the big cardboard and plastic things that folded out.  So, it’s a win-win for me.

Unfortunately, while I was on the way home from work, (on the bus) I read that talented actor Anton Yelchin, who played Checkov in the newer movies, passed away in a freak accident at his home.  That’s truly sad, as he was a good actor and I thought he did a great job of playing the role of Chekov, and I also liked him in other things I saw him in.  He was only 27 years old.  So, while there was some joy in my day, there was also a moment of sadness when I read this tragic news.  (please, respect the man and no comments on not liking the newer ST films)