The Eaglemoss Official Star Trek Starships Collection is one of the single best licensed products in Star Trek history in terms of quality, price point and Trek nuance. Since debuting in 2012 and running through the production of more than 100 different ship models to date, anyone who has picked up a sample — or collected them all — will attest to the care and accuracy put into the final product.
With the model collection as a backdrop, Eaglemoss has released Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection — Designing Starships, two hardcover volumes which feature production details for the bulk of their model designs. The majority of articles featured in the Designing Starships double set are reproductions of the lead article in the carefully crafted 16-page magazines that accompany each model.
But it’s not just the magazine content alone — in addition to those reprinted articles (combined here in two beautiful hard-bound editions), however, each volume also features expanded original content in the opening section that breaks down the design history of some of Star Trek’s most famous ships.
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Volume One opens with an expansive, detailed history of the Enterprise. From immaculately reproduced Matt Jefferies sketches and notes that were part of his original Enterprise design to a complete section on Ralph McQuarrie’s re-imagining of the ship for the failed Planet of the Titans reboot, no detail is missed when it comes to the original Enterprise designs.
There’s even a rarely seen look at Matt Jefferies’ redesign of the Enterprise for the 1970’s Star Trek: Phase II television series that never saw the light of the day!
From there, the book breaks down Andrew Probert’s contributions to the refit design which debuted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and his work in creating the the iconic Enterprise-D for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The first 50 pages are rounded out with sections on the Enterprise-C, -D, and -E, and Jonathan Archer’s Enterprise NX-01, featuring the amazing work of John Eaves and Doug Drexler. (Of course, they are featured throughout each book, an overall highlight of the two volumes.)
The rest of Volume One features 158 pages of design secrets on more than 20 other ships and shuttles, dissecting everything from deep-cut choices like the USS Dauntless from Voyager’s “Hope and Fear,” to Annorax’s Krenim weapon (“Year of Hell”) and the redesign of the Tholian starship featured in Star Trek: Enterprise (“In a Mirror, Darkly”).
No ship is too abstract for Ben Robinson and his Eaglemoss team, who do an excellent job of breaking down each ship design with creative notes and interviews with the designers throughout. Each article reveals something you didn’t know about the creative process in one ship after another.
Volume Two contains the same level of quality, opening with a 20-page expansive section on Rick Sternbach’s iconic USS Voyager design, which is followed by a plethora of Delta Quadrant ships in the opening 50 pages of the book, including the never-seen-on-screen Aeroshuttle, the Delta Flyer, Neelix’s shuttle Baxial (“The Chute”), the USS Raven (“Dark Frontier”), the USS Prometheus (“Message in a Bottle”) and the ill-fated USS Equinox (“Equinox”).
More abstract choices in the 160-page second volume include three standout Xindi ships (Insectoid, Reptilian and Aquatic) from Star Trek: Enterprise‘s third season, designed by Eaves, Drexler and Eaves again, respectively. More Enterprise-era choices include the Andorian Battle Cruiser (“Cease Fire”), the NX-Alpha (featured in the standout episode “First Flight”) and the sleek Enterprise-J (“Azati Prime”).
The story behind each of these designs echo every article in the book, from early sketches to finished product with detailed notes and sketches.
The list and themes of other ships included in each book run the gamut from Romulan — the Drone Ship (“Babel One”), 22nd-century Bird of Prey (“Minefield”), the 24th Century D’deridex-class Warbird (“The Neutral Zone”) and the Valdore (Star Trek: Nemesis) — to Vulcan Suurok-class (“Breaking the Ice”), as well as the Vulcan D’Kyr-type (“Shockwave, Part II”) and Vahklas transport ship (“Fusion”).
In discussing Andrew Probert’s original Romulan Warbird (D’deridex-class), a fascinating sketch is featured of his original vertical design, which had the same general look and feel of the final horizontal design, but standing on one end. Those stark images and details are a highlight of Volume Two.
One other section in Volume Two deserving of a callout is a 20-page section on V’Ger (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and the design elements included in the flight inside V’Ger. This original section features artwork from the great Syd Mead and Robert McCall, integrated with the visual effects of Doug Trumball. It’s a wonderful oral history of the visuals from the first Star Trek film.
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The most notable item missing from the reprinted articles on each design is the section detailing the appearance history of each ship, a valuable resource summary for some of the lesser-known ships. It’s understandable that it wasn’t included in these reprinted articles. After all, these books are obviously about designing the ships, where no stone is left unturned in breaking down the creation of more than 67 ships in the two volumes.
Ultimately, while these volumes aren’t necessarily essential if you’ve collected the 16-page magazines included with each ship, these two volumes are an excellent addition for the completest collector of the Eaglemoss starship models.
In Eaglemoss’ US store, TrekCore readers can use promo code TREKCORE at checkout for 10% off any ‘Star Trek’ collectible purchase $50 or greater (Starships, Plaques, Binders, Graphic Novels).