As European I'm not that different from the homegrown fan in appreciating Star Trek and in trying to express my attachment to the whole franchise. That being said, I do have a preference namely the unsung heroes of the whole experience, the Starships or the "Belles of the Ball", as former Star Trek Production Illustrator Doug Drexler once called them. I used to be in my youth a modeler and I distinctly remember the frustration of not being able to get good reference pictures of the studio models. It is something that has always irked me ever since. No longer a modeler, I do still have a burning desire to know everything there is to know about Star Ship design and their makers. And now, as Star Trek: The Original Series slowly fades into memory, former production staffers and outsiders have started blogging or otherwise sharing their experiences through the web and details and imagery in general are becoming more and more available, availability of which I could only dream of not that long ago. True, some information was available before the advent of the Internet, but it was almost always fragmented and scattered over a myriad of publications (and often not in that good a quality), and actually still is in this Internet age.
Fortunately former Star Trek production staffers like Doug Drexler, John Eaves and many others have started blogging and sharing their knowledge with others, finally enabling us to get more coherent behind-the-scenes stories and images. And even before them non-studio affiliated people, pioneers like William S. McCullars, through his, now unfortunately defunct, IDIC-websitewbm; David Shaw who pieced together much of the earliest history of the two original Enterprise studio models and posted his findings on several blogs; Curt McAloney, who owns clippings of the only known two color behind-the-scenes films, enabling him to publish the only known Original Series studio model color stills on his StarTrekHistory-website and modeler Kuhn Global, who provided a platform for photographs of the various studio models on his ModelerMagic-website, have started the work on chronicling the history of the studio models.
Through their gracious efforts I'm more and more able to piece together the real life stories of the forgotten heroes and their creators of Star Trek, the Star Ships. And Memory Alpha provides a great platform to collect all the fragmented information into a coherent story and maybe one day their whole story will have been told as thoroughly as the stories are on the live performers.
"I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful write-up you did on my Wiki page. I was blown away! Thank you so much!"
– Doug Drexler, Senior Production Illustrator, 29 December 2013, on copy edit efforts on his MA entry (source)
"Let me say that YOUR articles documenting the various shows and ships are as important as anything I have done, and I mean that sincerely. I am very grateful to you. Thank you for celebrating Richard Datin."
– Doug Drexler, Senior Production Illustrator, 22 February 2014, self-explanatory (source)
Being a MA archivist and back ground researcher is my primary interest, and my work did solicit the above kind acknowledgments from former Star Trek production staffers. While I am understandably proud of these, the purpose of this section is not in any way meant as, for lack of a better word, "self-glorification", but rather to serve as an aid for me to keep track of my work. Contributions I've made as archivist, which include the early ones as User:188.8.131.52, my ID before registering, are the following:
Listed below for reference sake are transcripts of private email correspondence, I had the good fortune and privilege to engage in, with former Star Trek production staffers, regarding sundry matters such as picture use permission and supplementary background information. I reserved the right to redact privacy sensitive information, such as email addresses and confidential matters, with "[...]".
Visual Effects Coordinator: picture use permission
Onderwerp: Re: Requests
Van: Privateer Pictures <[...].com>
Datum: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:46:48+0100
Aan: rob [...]<[...].nl>
Sorry for not seeing this for so long. I've been working on several other jobs and have pretty much ignored my Privateer Pictures account.
First, feel free to use any of the photographs as long as they are used appropriately and no in a derogatory, inflammatory or unpleasant manner.
On 19 Apr 2013, at 18:09, rob [...] wrote:
> Dear Mr. Buckner,
> Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Robert [...], a prolific editor on the Memory Alpha Star Trek Wiki site. The reason I'm writing to you is on behalf of this site, as I'm asking your permission to use some of your photographs. While I'm perfectly aware that I might come across as a run-of-the-mill "Trekkie", my only recourse to that is to direct you to the articles I've written under my ""Sennim" pseudonym, for the Memory Alpha site being the most elaborate:
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Constitution_class_model
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Galaxy_class_model
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/CGI
> In those I've taken excepionally care to give credit to where credit is due. In this vein I'd like permission to use images you've given to http://flare.solareclipse.net/ultimatebb.php/topic/6/2781.html#000000 and http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/ds9tm.htm to be also used as illustrations for:
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Centaur_type#Physical_model
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Miranda_class_model#Other_filming_models
> As for credits, Memory Alpha is very strict about these, I could give it to your user profile (you know you have one over there as http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/User:AdamB), or to your personal website, as you prefer.
> As this is not enough I'd also like to have your permission to publish your photograph, holding the Yupp model as featured on the DrexFiles for:
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Adam_Buckner
> resulting in somewthing like this:
> - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/David_Lombardi
> I'm perfectly aware that this is much to ask for, but that being said, I'm also convinced of the nescessity of giving credit where credit is due to all those production staffers who have slaved in anonomity, giving generations of viewers of Star Trek something they always remember.
> My two cents.
> Warm regards,
> Robert [...]
> P.S.: [...]
Senior Production Illustrator: picture use permission & background information
-------- Originele bericht --------
Datum: Sat, 22 Feb 2014 06:59:05 -0800 (PST)
Van: Doug Drexler <[...@...].com>
Up for air! Yes! Defiance has been very busy... and an even more interesting season!
In case I haven't said it, I am gratified to pieces that you enjoyed the DrexFiles so much. It was just as much fun for me! I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of Trek, as you know! That was always my motivation!
Let me say that YOUR articles documenting the various shows and ships are as important as anything I have done, and I mean that sincerely. I am very grateful to you. Thank you for celebrating Richard Datin.
>>I'm gathering info for an update of the Galaxy-class model page; I know CBS Digital built an entirely new E-D CGI model to stand in for the physical models for those instances on the remastered TNG where original film elememets were missing: I know (thanks to our mutual friend Jörg-bless his soul-) where they are applied; I know the model is upgraded to approximate the appeareance of the physical 4-foot model later on. However, what I do not know is, who built the model at CBS (Jörg suspects Tobias Richter, but isn't sure), and in which software it is constructed (Lightwave 3D?)<<
Yes, I asked Tobias if we could use his D model, as it was one of the best I had seen. We did not use it very much while I was involved, as Paramount had taken good care of the original elements. There were some interesting issues with using it. For one thing, Tobias inset all of the windows (the way he imagined they would be... that, and using the set windows and their inset as reference. That created problems when I set up shots, because as soon as you went off axis, the windows went dark. This was because you were now seeing the window frame. On Greg's miniature's, the windows were created using masking tape that was painted over, and then peeled off. That meant that no matter how far off axis you went, the windows were blazing. To fix that on the Richter model, I illuminated the window insets. Presto! It looked like the show.
The other problem was that everyone builds their ships at imaginary in-universe sizes. Therefore, the Richter ship was about 2000' long. When I did my shots, I called Gary Hutzel to find out what lenses they used when shooting the miniature. Much to my surprise, when using those numbers, I could not get the CG model to line up with the original footage! What gives?!
The truth is that the Enterprise has always been able to fit in the back of a truck. So I made my CG model the length of the real world miniatures that they shot with. To get the same lens distortion that the E exhibited, you need the same size lens, distance to camera, and model size. Bingo! I applied this to the shots I've done for Star Trek Continues, the TOS fan show as well. My CG model was 11 feet long, not 947'. It worked like a charm.
Tobias built his ship in Maya. the shots were created in Lightwave.
>>Might I obtain your permission to use photos from your blog (I know it is off-line, but man, did I download a lot of them). I know of the troubles, so I will only ask permission of those I'm absolutely sure of you yourself have taken (the one I'm thinking of right now is the one of Mike applying decals onto the Voyager model, for use in the Intrepid-class model article.<<
Absolutely. Anything you want.
>>This is perhaps especially brazen, but you've mentioned once in your blog that you still have somewhere the D7 studio model slides you've taken for trhe Giant poster books, but have not stumbled onto them yet. If you ever do, please remember me? (You have the only known clear BTS photos of the D7 model in its original livery, would go great with the D7 model article on MA)<<
I will find them for you : )
Ok... back to work! Look forward to hearing from you, and thanks again!
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:35 AM, rob [...] <[...]@[...].nl> wrote:
No worries! Take your time, I figured as much that your were busy with work (2nd season Defiance I take it, look forward to it)
Op 27-1-2014 16:26, Doug Drexler schreef:
> I am so sorry that I am only now getting back to you! Life at work has been challenging!
> I am out the door to work as we speak. I promise I will fully address your kind E-mail to me this week.
> I so appreciate all the work YOU have done!
> On Friday, January 3, 2014 11:56 AM, rob [...] <[...]@[...].nl> wrote:
First off, A Very Happy 2014, and that the new year may bring you and yours everything you wish for!!!
I am thrilled (actually, geeked out of my skull, as your buddy John Eaves would say) that my editorial efforts on your Memory Alpha (MA) page does meet with your kind approval, for which I'm exceedingly grateful.
But in all honesty, it is I would should be thanking You, for the gift of your DrexFiles. The first time I was exposed to Star Trek in 1973 (the first time it was aired in my home country, The Netherlands), I was hooked. But as much I was in love in everything Star Trek, from that very first moment, the visual effects (VFX), the starship studio models in particular, garnered a special place in my heart and have done so ever since. A frustrated modeler from then on, foaming for decades at the fact that so little behind-the-scenes (BTS) info was available, I became and on-and-off Star Trek fan, growing accustomed to the fact that BTS info was fed to the general public on a fragemented and occassional base. That was untill the DrexFiles; You've stated that you were "blown away" by my editorial efforts on your entry; Well, I was flabbergasted, overwhelmed, intoxicated and frankly, utterly blown away by the sheer amount of BTS info provided by you and your former co-workers, most notatbly (but not exclusively) Mike, Rick and Andy. As a matter of fact, it was due to the DrexFiles that I've decided to become a regular editorial researcher for MA. There was so much valuable Trek BTS info in your blog, too valuable not to be shared with the rest of the Trek community, and I found MA the most apt medium to do it through (a MA admin once informed me that the DrexFiles was more than 450 times referenced to, most of them I am responsible for). My work since then can be seen at my userpage:
If you are so inclined, and if you find yourself in a position of leasure time (which I doubt you have), you might want to sample the the Constitution-class model (both original and refit), the Galaxy-class model, the Studio model, and CGI articles on MA, which I, in all modesty, consider to be some of my best work. I did expand my research and writing beyond the studio models proper to the creators, old and new, of them and the companies they worked for as well, as I believed they themselves earned a place in the limelights as well, as much as the actopors, directors and producers do. For example, the very first Trek model maker, Richard Datin, didn't have an entry on MA untill I created one.
And it is in this vein that I treated your MA entry. If I've sounded until now as too "windbagged", I apologize. I firstly treated your entry as all those other VFX staffers who should receive the same kudos, normally reserved to the more glamorous staffers like actors, directors and such. But secondly, running the risk of sounding a bit presumptious, I took it upon myself to keep an eye on your entry, editing and adding apt information whenever I came upon it, as a courtesy from one (very appreciative) fan to another, so getting your seal of approval is very much appreciated.
Again, running the risk of sounding too greedy (but you did offer) there are some issues you might help me with:
-I'm gathering info for an update of the Galaxy-class model page; I know CBS Digital built an entirely new E-D CGI model to stand in for the physical models for those instances on the remastered TNG where original film elememets were missing: I know (thanks to our mutual friend Jörg-bless his soul-) where they are applied; I know the model is upgraded to approximate the appeareance of the physical 4-foot model later on. However, what I do not know is, who built the model at CBS (Jörg suspects Tobias Richter, but isn't sure), and in which software it is constructed (Lightwave 3D?)
-Might I obtain your permission to use photos from your blog (I know it is off-line, but man, did I download a lot of them). I know of the troubles, so I will only ask permission of those I'm absolutely sure of you yourself have taken (the one I'm thinking of right now is the one of Mike applying decals onto the Voyager model, for use in the Intrepid-class model article.
- This is perhaps especially brazen, but you've mentioned once in your blog that you still have somewhere the D7 studio model slides you've taken for trhe Giant poster books, but have not stumbled onto them yet. If you ever do, please remember me? (You have the only known clear BTS photos of the D7 model in its original livery, would go great with the D7 model article on MA)
Op 29-12-2013 1:26, Doug Drexler schreef:
> My name is Doug Drexler. Jorg Hillebrand gave me your E-mail address.
> I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful write-up you did on my Wiki page. I was blown away! Thank you so much! If I can ever be of help, please don't hesitate to ask!
Refit-Enterprise Model Painter: picture use permission & background information
Onderwerp: Re: EBook purchase
Van: Paul Olsen <[...].com>
Datum: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 09:21:10+0000
Got it, thanks very much and thanks for the heads-up, will check my PayPal settings...In the meantime you might want to check out my Memory Alpha profile
I'm an editor for that site with a special interest in studio models, and have written for it for four years now. One of the major articles I've written is
that includes your contribution as well, from what I've been able to piece together from your website and your replies on several modeler blogs. On my to do list are entries on you yourself (if that is alright with you) and now your book as well (once I've read it that is). You can sample my style of writing in the Ron Gress entry. If I have your go-ahead, might I have permission to use three pictures? The ones I'm thinking of are the one you sitting next to the model, you with Patrick Stewart and of course the book cover...
Again thank you very much and kind regards,
Well...that site is VERY impressive...the work that has gone into it and the accuracy is overwhelming. By all means use any of the pictures you want. On anything about me, if you reference the book (which I assume you will). I would appreciate a link to the book site, if you don’t mind.
Great to see an up-to-date photo of Ron Gress...I haven’t seen Ron for over 20 years...he’s a very talented artist and a lovely guy. But as you’ll see in the book, Mark Stetson is the real gentleman of the bunch, and deserves all his good fortune. I couldn’t have written the book without Mark’s kind and constant input. He’s always there for his friends.
I think you’ll find Richard Taylor’s contribution interesting, in terms of what Andy Probert has said---[...]...Richard and Jim Dow were the big boys in the creation of the Enterprise, and Chris Crump designed the life-saving, strong-as-an-ox armature of the model, which saved my ass on several occasions when I banged into the saucer or the nacelles. And Mark was the man who guided the final finish before paint on the model...he was meticulous, and knew his craft backwards and brought everyone else up to his level. The finish on the model would not be there had it not been for Mark leading the way.
All the best,