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Star Trek: Bridge Commander 2 - Kenneth Emerson (Project Lead) Interview

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 03 December 2012 · 79,233 views

Star Trek: Bridge Commander 2 - Kenneth Emerson (Project Lead) Interview Bridge Commander was (and still) one of the top Star Trek games played. Many in the gaming community have hoped for a sequel to this great game. Kenneth Emerson was one of those that wanted to see Bridge Commander 2 become a reality. After years of concept work, the fan-created BC2 game will be released on December 21st. We caught up with Kenneth for a pre-release interview about this much-anticipated game sequel.

TrekCore: When and how did the Bridge Commander 2 project begin?

Kenneth Emerson: The Bridge Commander 2 project began in 2009, I started working on it by programming it from scratch, I used bits of code from a previous game I was working on in 2007.

TrekCore: How has the project evolved over its long history?

Kenneth Emerson: The project has both evolved in complexity and graphically speaking.

TrekCore: What is the storyline?

Kenneth Emerson: At the moment there is not much of a story line, only that the game is placed 10 years after the dominion war, it's pretty much sandbox until I can find someone to come up with a good storyline.

TrekCore: What's the time frame of the game?

Kenneth Emerson: Bridge Commander 2 is set approximately 10 years after the Dominion war, the Jem'Hadar still exist, but they only exist in the Gamma Quadrant, players will probably find a few rogue squadrons in the Alpha or Beta Quadrants, however.

TrekCore: Will the game have a multi-player option?

Kenneth Emerson: Bridge Commander 2 will be able to support up to 3200 players per Quadrant (Server), possibly more if I need to then I can program the servers to piggy-back off of each other to lessen the load.

TrekCore: Is it true that BC2 will boast over 200 Federation, 40 Klingon and 40 Romulan ships?

Kenneth Emerson: Yes the rumors are true, eventually Bridge Commander 2 will boast over 200 Federation Starships, 40 Klingon, 40 Romulan, and many more, including Cardassian, Jem'Hadar, and others.

TrekCore: A lot of positive news has been generated lately about the Unity game engine. How has the game engine benefited BC2?

Kenneth Emerson: The Unity Game Engine was only used for prototyping purposes in early development, it would not do justice to Bridge Commander 2 in the long run, mainly because of the Licensing options, and the cost to purchase a License just to develop Bridge Commander 2.

TrekCore: Can you share some screenshots?

Kenneth Emerson: Yes, Screenshots are usually posted on the official website in the forums or in the Gallery at http://stbc2.com/ or at http://indiedb.com/g...dge-commander-2.

TrekCore: Is there any other informaton you'd like to add?

Kenneth Emerson: An important note for users to remember for release:
When Bridge Commander 2 is released on December 21st, consider it an Alpha version that will be constantly changing, this is a huge project for one person to do alone, thankfully a few kind modelers have donated models to the game, I would like to give them credit below.

Credits for the Models:
Rick Knox
Raul Mamoru
And the TrekMods Team for their contributions

And I wanted to say thank you to all of my fans for following my progress, and contributing in any way you can to the game, I'm doing this so we can all have a fun game to play, if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to stop by the official site, register and please list your suggestion.


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 7

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 03 July 2012 · 326,267 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The final article of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

The Type 6 Computer

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The conclusion in our series of articles on the computer props of the original series will cover the type 6 prop. Since the type 6 units got less screen time than any of its counterparts; this series concludes somewhat with a whimper instead of a bang. Even though the type 6 units did not get the exposure during the series that the other computer props did; the type 6 units are still an interesting subject and also will complete the study of most of the regularly seen smaller computer / control panel type set pieces from the original Star Trek series. The type 6 units themselves were very unique in both appearance and location of the control panel. The front of the unit consisted of two angled planes with the control panel portion of it on the top angled section and the bottom part consisting of a nearly featureless long angled section. The only features on the large bottom angled portion of the prop were two of the now familiar mounting tubes near the bottom and some screws around the perimeter which attached the face of the unit to the frame. The sides of the type 6 were flat and featureless.

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The first appearance of the type 6 computer from the episode “The Galileo Seven”

There were two type 6 units which we will identify as the “Alpha” and “Beta” models. Both of the units were hero models with working lights and switches. Like the previous type 5 models; the type 6 was designed to only be wall mounted. The reason for the unusual shape of the type 6 units and the atypical top control panel location may be due to their original mounting position at the upper tapered wall within the shuttlecraft. Even though the type 6 appeared smaller than the type 4 units; the outside dimensions were actually the exact size as the type 4 units. The type 6 computers would fit into the same cut-outs used in the series as the type 4 units did. These would primarily be in the shuttlecraft interior, bottom of the large console units seen in several episodes or in the cut-outs in the walls in the Auxiliary Control Room or in the Emergency Manual Monitor station situated above the engineering set. The type 6 units appeared to be smaller than the other units because the control panel portion was the smallest of all of the props we have looked at.

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The side-by-side configuration of the type 6 in the shuttlecraft interior as seen in the episode “The Galileo Seven." Notice the tapered wall which was most likely the reason for the angled design of the type 6 and type 4 computers.

The control panel portion of the prop consisted of 9 of the familiar round lights which we saw on both the type 4 and type 5 computers. The type 6 however had three noticeably larger distinctive rounded rectangular lights that were staggered in the center of the control panel. The larger lights stood out more than any of the others that we have seen during this series of articles. Just like the other props we have studied; the type 6 light colors were unique to each unit. There were also 4 toggle switches below the lights but unlike our previous study of the other units; the type 6 computer toggle switches were the same colors for both units. The switch colors on both units from left to right were; black, red, red, black. The switches on these units were also smaller than the ones we have seen on the preceding computers. On either side of the toggle switch bank there were the familiar mounting tubes making a total of four of the mounting tubes on the type 6 computers which was needed due to the truncated depth of the type 6 unit.

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The first good view of both type 6 units was in part one of “The Menagerie”

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These two views show the differences in lighting between the two type 6 units

The type 6 computers like the type 4A and type 5 units; made their debut in the episode “The Galileo Seven” as part of the interior instrumentation in the shuttlecraft. The unit was mounted on the interior wall where the wall tapered inward. This “sloping in” wall section is probably the reason the type 6 was designed with the control panel located on the top and the explanation for the unusual angled shape of the type 6 unit. The shape of the type 6 and also the angled front of the type 4, which was also mounted on the tapered wall, would allow better access to the controls of each. The location of the type 6 in “The Galileo Seven” episode precluded much screen time in that episode because the wall it was located was removed for much of the filming which was done from that side of the set. Both units were located behind the entry hatch and forward of the hand phaser locker. The type 6 units were on the opposite side of the shuttlecraft interior than the other units previously reviewed. In the few scenes we saw them in; we see that they were mounted in a side-by-side configuration with the “Beta” unit nearer the front of the shuttlecraft. They were situated behind the character Boma which would put them adjacent to McCoy’s station. Even though this is the first appearance of the type 6 we can’t make out much detail in the “Galileo” episode.

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Spock contacting the Enterprise with both type 6 units in the background from part one of the episode “The Menagerie.” This typically was where we saw them as only background set dressing.

The first good view of the type 6 units where we could distinguish the difference between them was in part one of the episode “The Menagerie.” We saw both type 6 units next to each at the bottom of the larger console units in the Starbase Operations set and got a particularly good view of them as Spock crept into the room behind the consoles that the type 6 units were mounted into. The obvious distinguishing feature between the two units is the different colors of the large rectangular lights in the center of the control panel. We will identify the left unit as “Alpha” and the right as “Beta.” On the “Alpha” unit the staggered rectangular light colors were from left to right; red, green and yellow. In the first season episodes the color of the rectangular lights on “Beta” from left to right were; blue, yellow and red. The “Beta” lights would be change for the following seasons. Since the switch colors were the same on both units; differentiating them can be difficult if the lights were turned off. The appearance in that episode was indicative of the scenes throughout the series in which we saw the type 6 units; usually only as colorful background set dressing.

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Even though they appeared to be small, the type 6 units were actually the same size as the type 4 units and were interchangeable in the cut-outs that were used throughout the series.

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“Alpha” was not in this position at the beginning of the episode “A Taste of Armageddon” but was placed there for the climatic ending because of the console it was mounted in which was the only one with the flip-down face.

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“Beta” was only seen in the background in the “A Taste of Armageddon” episode

We saw both units again mounted in the bottom of the console computers in the episode “The Alternative Factor.” There was little more than a quick view of each one in the engineering section when Lazarus was stealing the dilithium crystals and the subsequent fire. Both units also appeared in the episode “A Taste of Armageddon” mounted in the bottom of the war computer consoles. At first they are barely visible but at the climatic ending when Kirk blows up the war room the “Alpha” unit can be seen in the forefront to the left on the three forward facing war computers. It had been moved there because the console it was mounted in was the only unit that had a flip-down face and this was needed for a scene when Spock is analyzing the interior circuitry to determine how the units are interconnected. The “Beta” unit can be seen mounted on a separate console unit which is the console that had the phasers and communicators stored in the compartment above “Beta.”

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We only see a glimpse of both type 6 units in the episode “The Alternative Factor”

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If you didn’t know it was there you would probably never notice “Beta” in the background from the episode “Metamorphosis”

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McCoy used the type 6 “Beta” control panel from “Metamorphosis” but most likely few noticed.

The first second season appearance of the type 6 unit was in the episode “Metamorphosis” again in the shuttlecraft. We could barely make out “Beta” behind Commissioner Hedford in the episode teaser. This appearance was somewhat interesting because the type 6 was located on the opposite side from its original location in the shuttlecraft interior. It was now in the original location of the type 4 “Beta” as seen in the episode “The Galileo Seven.” Again these units even though they appeared to be smaller; were the same size as the type 4 units. Was the change in location of the type 6 done intentionally to give the illusion that this was a different shuttlecraft? An interesting question but probably the change was unintentional; as we have seen that the production crew would stick the closest prop into the nearest hole. This was most likely just happenstance but it is an interesting prospect none-the-less. We only saw part of “Beta” which was almost completely hidden. In one scene McCoy seemed to be using the control panel but the type 6 unit was mostly obscured and its role barely discernable.

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The second and third season version of the “Beta” unit

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“Beta” where it would remain for the rest of the series in the Emergency Manual Monitor set from the episode “Mirror, Mirror”

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The “Mirror, Mirror” episode is the only time we see the functions of the toggle switches on either of the type 6 units

In the episode “Mirror, Mirror” we finally saw the type 6 featured; albeit only for a few seconds. Scotty used the “Beta” unit in the Emergency Manuel Monitor to bypass power to the transporter. This was the only time in the series that we saw the toggle switches operate and could determine their control functions. We never did see the toggle function on the “Alpha” unit so we have no way of knowing if the control functions were same as on the “Beta” unit. In the “Mirror, Mirror” episode if you look closely you could see that the type 6 unit had been modified from its first season configuration.

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Note: The round lights randomly flashed on the actual set piece but not for the purposes of this animation.

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“Beta” made a brief appearance in what became its final resting place on the Emergency Manual Monitor set as seen in this cap from “I Mudd”.

Apparently sometime between the first and second season several of the resin lights had fallen off of “Beta” and were replaced. As we know; little regard was given to the placement of the colored lights and in this case as was the normal practice; the replacements were just reattached in random fashion. There were three lights that were changed; two of the larger rectangular lights and one of the small round lights on the left of the unit. Since the rectangular lights were a specific size and did not match other lights; it appears that the same lights were simply reattached but the positions were reversed. The blue light which was previously on the left side was moved to the center and exchanged places with the yellow light. The original green round light apparently was lost and was replaced with a clear light. The “Beta” unit would remain in this configuration for the remainder of the series.

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Type 6 Computer Side-by-Side Comparison

We saw “Beta” again but unlit in the Emergency Manual Monitor from the episode “I Mudd” as Norman was taking over the ship. We only saw it as Norman passes by it on his way out of the room. The “Alpha” unit made its last appearance on-screen in the “The Immunity Syndrome.” The unit however, could barely be seen in the episode at its location behind the metal screen wall in the shuttlecraft interior. “Alpha” appears to be mounted in one of the larger console computers as we saw previously in several episodes. The final and perhaps the best scene showing the type 6 unit was from the episode “Lights of Zetar.” In that episode we got a quick but great view of the “Beta” model as Lt. Romaine leans up against the side wall of the Emergency Manual Monitor set.

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"Alpha" hidden behind the screen wall in the episode "The Immunity Syndrome." Of note is the set dressing covering the hole where the type 4 should be behind the co-pilot chair.

Why was the “Alpha” unit never seen again in the series after “The Immunity Syndrome” episode? Its absence was most likely due to the fact that it was not a viable shape to get consistent use as equipment and therefore had limited screen time. There were no more shuttlecraft interior scenes shot and the larger computer consoles that is was most often seen in were not used again after “The Immunity Syndrome.” The “Beta” unit was used exclusively in the Emergency Manual Monitor set after its brief appearance in “Metamorphosis.” The fact that “Beta” was never used any place else and the fact that “Alpha” was never seen again leads us to believe that these irregularly shape type 6 units just didn’t fit into the set dressing required for most episodes.

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The best view of the type 6 unit in the entire series from the episode “The Lights of Zetar”

From this series of articles we have seen that 8 of the 12 computer props that we have looked at were a reuse of the shuttlecraft interior instrumentation. As we indicated in previous articles; the exterior and interior set of the shuttlecraft was provided by the AMT Corporation in exchange for model kit rights at no cost to the production. We can speculate that they supplied the interior instrumentation as well. The type 4, type 5 and type 6 units had nothing in common with the three previous types that were made by the studio; further solidifying the assumption that the three later types came from AMT. The common characteristics of the type 4, type 5 and type 6 units and the fact that they were not seen before the “Galileo” episode reinforces the proposition that these were indeed part of the AMT deal. If that is the case; Desilu struck gold with the AMT agreement receiving not only the shuttlecraft exterior and interior sets but also instrumentation that would appear in numerous episodes and in many locations other than the shuttlecraft throughout the entire series. In any case the computer props that were part of the original series have fueled the imagination of countless individuals over the decades since the episodes originally aired. They can be considered a precursor to the computer revolution that continues to this day. Perhaps with the current development of voice recognition software and the increased processing power of today’s computers; the wonder and awe we felt when we saw Kirk, Spock and the crew interacting with the TOS computers may be a reality for us in the very near future.

This concludes our series of articles on the computer props of the original series; we hope that you have enjoyed them. Any questions, comments or corrections can be directed to us at: tosgraphics69 at gmail.com


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 6

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 26 June 2012 · 136,894 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The sixth of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

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The sixth installment in our succession of articles detailing the original series computers will discuss the type 5 prop. The type 5 units are different from the previous types that we have looked at in that they were designed to be only wall mounted units. The housing was not such that it could be used on a table top like all previous versions of these props that we have been studying. There were two Type 5 computers and like the Type 4A models they made their first appearance in the episode "The Galileo Seven" as part of the interior wall mounted instruments of the shuttlecraft. Both were "hero" models with working lights and switches. These computer props were smaller than the type 4A. The type 5 computers stood out more than any other of the original series computers because of the unusual arrangement of the lights. The type 5 computers were flat faced grey rectangular units with 21 seemingly randomly staggered lights and four switches mounted under the lights in a side to side configuration (as opposed to the up & down configuration on the Type 4A units). There were two of the familiar mounting tubes on the face at each end of the switch bank and also 4 screws that connected the face to the body. Each unit measured approximately 12" long and 8" high. They were identifiable by the colored lights which were unique to each unit. As we know this was the norm for the computer props. The switch colors also were distinctive on each unit. As mentioned earlier the type 5 computers only appeared as wall mounted units and in some episodes it appears that only the front face of the panel was used; without the body portion. These type 5 units were first seen as the camera panned through the shuttlecraft interior during the beginning teaser of the episode “The Galileo Seven.” They were located adjacent to the character Gaetano's station. The units were in a stacked configuration in the shuttlecraft. We will identify the top unit as "Alpha" and the bottom unit as "Beta."

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The first appearance of the type 5 units from the episode “The Galileo Seven.” “Alpha” is the top unit and “Beta” the bottom.

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Here from the same episode we see the type 5 units powered down. This gives a great view of the unusual arrangement of the lights.

Because of the smaller size of the type 5 units; in many episodes they could be seen together as part of some instrumentation for a particular episode. As we know from our previous study of the other units; the lighted resin jewels were typically different colors on each unit and the same is true of the type 5 units. The easiest way to distinguish them however is by the switch colors. On “Alpha” the switch colors from left to right were: white, red, black and white. On the “Beta” unit the switch colors were; black, red, white and black. As with the previous Type 4 models the Type 5 units also appeared several times in part one of the episode "The Menagerie." They appeared both as part of the shuttlecraft interior instrumentation and also they could be seen mounted in the base of the larger console computers in the Starbase Operations room. In the episode "The Alternative Factor" we saw both “Alpha” and “Beta” mounted to the wall panel in the engineering section that housed the dilithium crystals. These type 5 units were very versatile and non-descript such that they could be added as set-dressing and kind of blend into the background whenever a few switches and lights were needed. They could be turned in any direction which added to the flexibility of the type 5 making them appear as different instrument packages. This is evident between the “Alternative Factor” and "The Return of the Archons" episodes where the type 5 units were used in completely different roles. In “The Return of the Archons” both "Alpha" and "Beta" were part of a major story element as components of the absorption chamber control console. Between those two episodes we saw the type 5 units used in very different roles but still primarily as only part of the background set. An interesting note on the “Archons” console is that the perimeter of the console itself was covered with perforated cardboard.

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“Alpha” installed upside down in part one of “The Menagerie”

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“Beta” also from part one of “The Menagerie”

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On the right hand side we saw a quick view of both units in the shuttlecraft also from part one of the episode “The Menagerie”

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Both units are seen together from the episode “The Alternative Factor”

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Despite the obvious problem stemming from the sabotage of the engineering section; we got a good view of both units in the episode “The Alternative Factor”

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Both type 5 units mounted on the console from the absorption chamber from the episode “The Return of the Archons.” “Alpha” is on the left and “Beta” on the right hand side of the console.

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Here we can see “Beta” and also the corrugated cardboard that was covering the perimeter of the console.

Both units seemed to make another appearance together as part of war computers in the episode “Taste of Armageddon.” If you look closely however you will see that both are the “Beta” unit. The console unit that “Beta” was mounted to was moved from the front row as seen the first time the war room is shown to the back corner at the end of the episode. The reason being is that only one of the large console units had a flip down face (also seen in part one of “The Menagerie). Near the end of the episode when Spock is determining how the war computers were tied together; he must flip down the face of one. Obviously when the set was dressed they neglected to consider where the console that flipped down was and that was corrected later; moving “Beta” from the front row the back.

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“Beta” at the bottom of a large console computer in the war room from the episode “A Taste of Armageddon”

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“Beta” also appeared in a second location from the same episode when the consoles units were rearranged on the set.

The first appearance of a Type 5 in season two was in the episode "The Changeling" in the Auxiliary Control Room. We saw "Beta" mounted behind the metal screen wall on a section which was a reuse of the old engineering set from the first season engineering room. The original engineering console was changed when they added the ships ladder in the middle of the engineering set. The old left-over set piece was reused in the auxiliary control room set behind the screening. Funny that “Beta” was not there just a few episodes earlier in "The Doomsday Machine." This was just another example of how they continually tweaked the sets by adding set dressings and other greeblies as the series went on. We saw "Beta" again on the far side of the emergency manual monitor room in the episode “Mirror, Mirror.” It was located opposite of the access ladder to the set. Scotty went over and opened an access panel right below the unit in that episode. We saw "Beta" again in the same position in "I Mudd" when Norman was taking over the ship in the beginning teaser portion of the episode.

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“Beta” in the Auxiliary Control room from “The Changeling”

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Norman used the “Beta” unit to help take over the Enterprise in the episode “I Mudd”

A few episodes later we again saw "Beta" in two separate locations in the same episode. In "The Immunity Syndrome" it was in its familiar position in the emergency manual monitor but also it was aboard the shuttlecraft as part of one of the large console computers that was added to analyze the amoeba type organism. In the third season we saw the somewhat elusive "Alpha" in the position previously held by "Beta" in the auxiliary control room in the episode "And the Children Shall Lead." The first and only change to one of the units appeared in the episode "The Lights of Zetar" where the "Alpha" unit was painted black in its first appearance at "Beta's" previous position in the emergency manual monitor. “Alpha” remained at this position for the remainder of the series in the position that we saw “Beta” at in many episodes. We saw "Beta" a few episodes later in "The Way to Eden" in the auxiliary control room where "Alpha" was seen just a few episodes previously. It is interesting how they randomly moved the units around whenever they needed them and just stuck any unit in the slot. The random nature of the specific unit locations is a little confusing especially since after the first season these units mostly appeared in only 2 locations. Two units, two locations; why not just leave them in place? It's also funny how "Beta" seemed to be used much more then it's counterpart. Considering their limited screen time; the type 5 units may be the most recognizable of all the computer props due to the random pattern of the light arrangement which really made them stand out. It certainly catches your eye and makes most of us wonder what they were thinking when they drilled out the face. The pattern of the lights had no rhyme or reason to it but still created an interesting look on camera.

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“Beta” in the Emergency Manual Monitor in the episode “The Immunity Syndrome”

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“Beta” also appeared in the shuttlecraft in “The Immunity Syndrome”

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“Alpha” in the back of the Auxiliary Control Room from the episode “And the Children Shall Lead”

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“Alpha” was painted black in this scene from “The Lights of Zetar”

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“Beta” in the background of the Auxiliary Control Room from the episode “Way to Eden”

Next up the Type 6 (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-7/)


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 5

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 19 June 2012 · 96,776 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The fifth of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

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“Alpha” in its late 1st season configuration

In part five of our series on the computer props of the original series we will cover the type 4B. The type 4B is probably the prop that most people who know the show think of when considering the computer props from the original series. The reason for that perception is that it was prominently featured in many episodes. The treatment of the type 4B in many scripts was actually that of another character; it had its own dialog, multiple close-ups and it was an important element to many of the story plots. The type 4B as its name implies is a derivative of the type 4A with some of the same basic design characteristics. The type 4B was a hero model with working lights and switches like its type 4A counterparts. The overall shape of the unit was the same as the type 4A with the exception that the type 4B had a base added to the bottom with additional control switches and a data cartridge slot. As mentioned in the previous article; the type 4B most certainly was a modified type 4A unit. Speculation is that when the shuttlecraft interior set was delivered to Desilu; there was either an extra type 4A included as a spare unit or the extra unit was intended to be mounted on the wall but was replaced by the phaser locker seen in the episode “The Galileo Seven.” In any case the budget for the original series was so tight that having a spare prop unused was not an option. Most likely the spare unit was modified to change its appearance so that it could be used for filming yet fulfill a different roll than the existing type 4A units. The location of the lights and controls were an exact match to the type 4A in the unmodified areas of the prop. If the type 4B was an entirely new prop; why would they make it so similar to the type 4A? The answer is of course; they would not have. Other than the added base; the changes to the prop are minor. Below are the changes which differentiated the type 4B from the type 4A:
1. The 4 left hand side toggles switches on the face of the unit were replaced with round knobs
2 The top right side bank of lights was reduced from 7 columns of 3 lights on the type 4A to 6 columns of 3 lights on the type 4B for a total of 18 lights. A long rectangular red/orange light was added to the left of the upper bank of lights. The cut-out for this light exactly matches the location of the 3 lights that would have been at that location on the type 4A. Obviously the three end lights were cut out to make the rectangular light.
3. A base was added that extends past the edges on the sides and front. On the front top of the base there are 7 push button style switches with silver bases. Two red on the left side, a slot for a data cartridge and then the remaining five push button style switches in black on the left side.
4. A large rectangular part was added to the back presumably to attach the base to the body of the type 4B (“Alpha” model only).
The control functions of the type 4B were different from the type 4A model. In the earlier type 4A computers the left toggle switches controlled the lights. On the type 4B the knobs that replaced the toggle switches had no real function. Each of the five black push buttons on the right side of the base controlled one of five lights in the row below the bank of lights. One of the two red push buttons on the right of the base operated the added rectangular light next to the top bank of lights. The other activated the lighting sequence for the bank of 18 lights.


There were two variations of the type 4B computers. Even though we saw two versions of this prop there most likely was only one unit which was modified after the first season. We only see “Alpha” in the first season. It was never seen (except in some stock footage) again after the first season episode “Space Seed.” On the “Alpha” version of the prop the control knobs on the left side of the face were black with tiny white arrows on them. The first appearance of the “Alpha” version was in the episode “Court Martial” in Commodore Stones office. In that scene we saw the first version of the “Alpha” unit which was painted in a light grey/cream color. The same “Alpha” prop was re-used during the court room scenes in this same episode but the base, sides and top were repainted a battleship grey. This was done to make it appear to be a different unit than the one in Stones office. It is obvious by the colored lights which are an exact match that these were indeed the same type 4B unit.

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“Alpha” In Commodore Stones office in the episode “Court Martial”

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“Alpha” was repainted for its court room appearance in an effort to make it appear as a different prop from the Commodores from the “Court Martial” episode

The next time we saw the 4B “Alpha” was in the trial during "The Menagerie" and we got a great view of it. It had some lettering added to the face and to the top of the base. We can also clearly see the part in the back that connected the top piece to the base section. In the episode "A Taste of Armageddon" we see “Alpha” sitting on top of one of the war computers. During one scene in the episode we saw all four type 4 units together which would be the only time in the entire series that we would see them in concert. The Alpha unit appears unchanged in this episode from its previous appearance in “The Menagerie.” You can see the lettering is still on the unit. There was also a good view of “Alpha” from the side in this episode which was a fairly rare view. At the end of "A Taste of Armageddon" during the climactic scene when Kirk blows-up the war room computers; we see "Alpha" engulfed in flames. This was the last time "Alpha" was filmed which most certainly could be attributed to damage caused by the special effects explosions and subsequent fire. We see “Alpha" again in the next episode “Space Seed” however, even though this episode was next in the production order; it was actually filmed before the "A Taste of Armageddon" episode. We can speculate that after the “Armageddon” episode; “Alpha” was damaged and had to be stripped and refurbished. From what we know of the production; little notice was given to the arrangement of the colored lights when they were installed originally or when the type 4B was rebuilt; they were just randomly installed. The "Space Seed" appearance would be the last time “Alpha” is seen during the series other than a close-up in the second season episode “The Deadly Years.” The "Deadly Years" scene was obviously stock footage because other than the close-up; it’s clearly the “Beta” unit on set. So what happened to “Alpha” and why didn’t we see it again? We can reasonably hypostasize that it was damaged during the explosion and fire from "A Taste of Armageddon" and was rebuilt into the "Beta" model. This seems the obvious conclusion since the unit is noticeably exposed to flames in the “Armageddon” episode and the fact that we never saw the “Alpha” version of the prop again after the scene from the aforementioned episode.

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A nice view of “Alpha” from the episode “The Menagerie.” Notice the added lettering.

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“Alpha” from the episode “A Taste of Armageddon” You can see the lettering that was added from the earlier episode was still in place here.

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This scene from “A Taste of Armageddon” is the only time in the series that we see all four type4 computer props together.

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A nice rare side view of “Alpha” from the same episode

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“Alpha” engulfed in flames at the climax of “A Taste of Armageddon.” This was the last time “Alpha” was filmed in the series and the likely reason why it was rebuilt into the "Beta" model.

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The last true appearance in the series of “Alpha” from the episode “Space Seed”

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The type 4B “Beta”


The type 4B “Beta” was the last of the type 4 computer props that we saw during the series. When we think of the original series computers most of us think of this unit because it was featured in several episodes and had some great close-ups. The “Beta” unit was only seen in the second and third season. The difference between the “Alpha” and “Beta” versions was more apparent than they were between the different type 4A models. The differences between the two type 4B units were as follows:
1. Many of the colored lights on the face had been changed.
2. The black knobs were replaced with multi-colored, tiered knobs which added more interest visually to the prop.
3. The wide connecting piece in the back of the unit that presumably connected the base to the top segment was removed.
4. The lettering was removed and the prop appears to have been painted.
The first appearance of the “Beta” model of the type 4B was in the second season episode “Wolf in the Fold.” In this episode we got some really great close-up views of the “Beta” model. The changes were readily apparent from the “Alpha” model in the briefing room scenes; particularly noticeable were the colored knobs on the face. The new knobs colors from top to bottom were: dark blue-grey, brown, light blue grey, and red. Other than the different knobs you probably would not notice a huge difference between the “Beta” and “Alpha” models.

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“Beta” from the episode “Wolf in the Fold”

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A fantastic close-up from the episode “Wolf in the Fold” showing the differences from the “Alpha” to the “Beta” models.

The next time we saw “Beta” was in the episode "Mirror, Mirror." In this episode the “Beta” prop appeared both in Kirk’s quarters in one scene and in Spock’s quarters in another. In both scenes the “Beta” computer was central to the story line as separately both Kirk and Spock queried it regarding the individual problems that they faced. In both scenes we got great views of “Beta” and of minor interest; this was the only episode in the original series that any Enterprise computer had a male voice. Although the story leads us to believe that these were different computers; in comparing the two it is obvious that they were the same prop.
“Beta” made its next appearance in "The Deadly Years" during the competency hearing for Kirk. Interestingly in this episode the close-ups clearly showed “Alpha” but this was obviously just stock footage from season one. In all of the long shots we can clearly see “Beta” was actually the computer on the briefing room set during filming. We saw “Beta” again in the science lab in the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" and also in the background of Spock's quarters in "Journey to Babel." In both episodes “Beta” is nothing more that background set dressing.

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“Beta” in Kirk's quarters in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode.

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“Beta” again from “Mirror Mirror” in Spock’s quarters.

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A long shot from the episode “The Deadly Years” showing “Beta”

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The close-up of the type 4B computer from the episode “The Deadly Years” is of the “Alpha” model but this was just stock footage that was used for this scene.

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“Beta” can be seen as background set-dressing in the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”

The last appearance of “Beta” in the second season was in the episode “The Omega Glory” when it appeared on the planet as part of McCoy’s medical equipment. There was a scene in the episode when Spock tries to contact the ship using the “Beta” unit. In the scene Captain Tracy ends up disintegrating “Beta” before Spock can make contact with the Enterprise.

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“Beta” on the planet Omega IV from the episode “The Omega Glory”

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Spock does not get to contact the Enterprise in this sequence from the episode “The Omega Glory”

“Beta” made its third season debut in the episode "The Enterprise Incident" but only as background set dressing. We saw “Beta” again in a minor role but its part was an important story element in the episode “Wink of an Eye.” Kirk used “Beta” to record his message telling Spock & McCoy that he had been accelerated beyond their ability to see him. We did not see “Beta” again until the episode “The Lights of Zetar” where it had a wonderful close-up in the briefing room scene when they realized that Lt. Romaine's brain waves were identical to the aliens. The final appearance of “Beta” was in the episode "The Way to Eden" as Spock tried to find the planet Eden in his cabin. Here in Spock's quarters we could see that there was lettering added to the face of “Beta” but we can’t make out what it is. Although the type 4B computers had less screen-time than many of its counterparts; it is the one that most people remember from show. It was unforgettable because it was an important story element in many of the episodes and its colorful appearance made it easy to recognize. Many of the plot lines portrayed “Beta” almost as a character and the interaction that the actors had with it made this prop the most recognized of all of the original series computers props.

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“Beta” in the background from the episode “The Enterprise Incident”

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“Beta” had an important role in the episode “Wink of an Eye”

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Another great “Beta” close-up from the episode “The Lights of Zetar”

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“Beta” made its last appearance in the episode “The Way to Eden.” Notice that lettering was added but sadly we will never know what the lettering was.

The type 4B appears in the following episodes:
15 Court Martial (Alpha)
16 The Menagerie (Alpha)
23 A Taste of Armageddon (Alpha)
24 Space Seed (Alpha)
36 Wolf in the Fold (Beta)
39 Mirror, Mirror (Beta)
44 Journey to Babel (Beta)
54 The Omega Glory (Beta)
59 The Enterprise Incident (Beta)
68 Wink of an Eye (Beta)
73 Lights of Zetar (Beta)
75 Way to Eden (Beta)

Up next the type 5 . . .what is a type 5? (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-6/)


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 4

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 12 June 2012 · 76,548 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The fourth of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

In part four of our continuing examination of the computer props from the classic TOS series we will look at the type 4 computer. There were four of these props with two basic variants of the type 4; the “A” and “B” models. All four units were “hero” models in that they had functioning controls and lights. The type 4 computer prop was a grey rectangular box which had an angled front. Common characteristics of both variations were a row of controls on the left hand side and various lights across the front. The lights themselves were actually clear resin hemispheres that were lit from behind. For simplicity in this article we will call these simply “the lights.” There were also two curious round tubes that protruded slightly out of the front about half-way down the face. Speculation is that these holes were used to mount the units to various walls as needed. These mounting tubes appeared to be hollow all the way through the back of the unit as you can see through them at times. Also visible on the face were six screws that mounted the face to the body. The shells were likely made of wood but it appears from the texture visible in certain views of the front that the face was made from fiberboard or what is commonly referred to as masonite. Although there were only four type 4 units used during the show; there were modifications to them throughout filming of the series. This article will focus on the type 4A and its variants with the type 4B to follow in the next installment.

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Control functions of the “Alpha” type 4A

There were a total of three type 4A computer props. Generally all three had the same physical characteristics. They varied in the colors of the lights, toggle switch colors and the function of the switches which controlled the lights. The type 4A computer had a column of 4 toggle switches on the left-hand face of the unit. The toggle switch colors were different on each unit but were all a combination of white, red or black in color. There was a bank of 21 multi-colored lights consisting of 3 rows of 7 which spread across the face to the right hand side. Below there was a row of 5 additional lights. In our analysis we will use the different light and toggle switch colors which were unique to each in identifying specific type 4A units. These were by far the most versatile of the computer props; constantly appearing in various locations throughout the series. We will look at these individually because there is a lot of information to cover. First we will discuss the type 4A “Alpha” unit.

The type 4A “Alpha” first appeared with its other two sister type 4A units in the episode “The Galileo Seven.” In addition to identifying it by the light colors; it can also easily be recognized by the toggle switch colors which were from the top down; white, red, red, white. All of the type 4A computers were first seen as part of the shuttlecraft interior instrumentation. Since we know that the AMT Corporation supplied both the shuttlecraft exterior and interior set; we can speculate that the type 4 units were supplied to the show as a part of the interior set. That would have given them three type 4 props for the Shuttlecraft interior and a single spare to be used as a back-up unit. The spare unit most likely became the Type 4B unit which we will discuss in a following article. In “The Galileo Seven” all three type 4A units were mounted on the wall of the craft. “Alpha” was the unit installed towards the front in the shuttlecraft behind the co-pilot. The “Alpha” version is the first unit we saw as the camera passes Phyllis Douglas as Yeoman Mears. She was seen throwing the toggles on it when she said “Phase one separation normal” during the opening teaser.

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“Alpha” in the episode “The Galileo Seven”

It was also seen here in the same location in part one of the episode “The Menagerie” as well. In addition to appearing in the shuttlecraft; it also appeared in that same episode in the Starbase Operations Center down on the planet. It can be seen at the bottom of one of the bank of larger console computers. The next time we saw “Alpha” was as part of the Eminiar VII's war computers. It was once again a part of one of the larger console computers seen in the war room.

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A quick view of “Alpha” in the shuttlecraft from the episode “The Menagerie” (part 1)

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Commodore Mendez next to “Alpha” from “The Menagerie” (part 1)

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Here we see “Alpha” installed in the bottom of a computer console at Starbase Operations in part one of “The Menagerie.”

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Here is a good shot of all three of the type 4A computers all installed at the bottom of the console units. We also see a type 4B sitting on top of one of the consoles. This is the only scene in the series that shows all four type 4 units together.

“Alpha” made its second season debut in the episode "The Changeling" as part of the auxiliary control room. It is mounted to a wall status panel where a crewman is working while he is suppose to be watching Nomad. He should have kept a better eye on the robot! Obviously the sets had openings where they could insert anyone of these computers into the wall because later we see “Beta” in this same location. This was precisely what happened in the shuttlecraft interior later in the second season. Next time we saw “Alpha” it had been installed in the emergency manual monitor above the engineering set in the episode "Mirror Mirror." Interestingly in that episode only it was installed upside down; presumably to subtly but intentionally give the illusion of things being turned up-side-down in the alternate universe. As the season went on it appeared at this same location in the episode "The Immunity Syndrome" but it has been turned back to the correct orientation. This was the last time we see “Alpha” in season two.

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“Alpha” in the auxiliary control room from the episode “The Changeling”

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“Alpha” installed upside-down in the episode “Mirror, Mirror.” This was a great subtle way to let us know that we are in an alternate universe.

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“Alpha” was returned to the correct orientation in “The Immunity Syndrome”

It is not until the later third season episode "The Lights of Zetar" that we saw “Alpha” again. We got a good look at it again in the emergency manual monitor as Lt. Romaine leans up against it. This was the last time we saw “Alpha” in the series.

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“SCOTTY!” A nice close-up of “Alpha” from “Lights of Zetar”


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“Beta” control functions

“Beta” was the second type 4A computer that we saw in the episode “The Galileo Seven.” It was located near where Scotty sat during the teaser at the beginning of that episode. It was also in the same position in the first part of the episode “The Menagerie.” This unit is identified by the different colored lights and the toggle switch colors. The toggle switch colors of “Beta” from the top down were; black, red, white, black. Like its sisters, “Beta” also appeared in the Starbase Operations Center in the first part of "The Menagerie." It was installed in the bottom section of large console computer unit and can be seen when Spock uses the Vulcan neck pinch on the first technician. It was seen in this same console in “The Alternative Factor” after Lazarus knocked out the technician. Again like the other type 4A units; it was also a part of the Eminiar VII war computer complex where it was mounted at the bottom of one of the larger console computers. “Beta” was in one of the units facing the entrance of the war room.

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“Beta” from “The Galileo Seven” episode

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Kirk turning off “Beta” from “The Menagerie” (part 1)

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Also from “The Meagerie” part 1, “Beta” installed at the bottom of a large console unit.

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“Beta” in the background from “The Alternative Factor” episode

The first appearance of “Beta” in the second season was in the episode "Metamorphosis" in the shuttlecraft. This time however it was moved to the front position previously occupied by “Alpha.” It seems clear that no thought was given to which unit went where; the set decorator would simply put the most readily available unit in any position. The “Beta” unit maintained the front position in the shuttlecraft during its appearance in the episode "The Doomsday Machine" although in both episodes we only saw glimpses of it. Later in the second season in the episode “I Mudd” we saw “Beta” mounted to the wall in the auxiliary control; again in a position that “Alpha” had previously occupied. In that episode we saw that there had been some lettering added to the face of the unit. The “Beta” unit remained in the auxiliary control room for the rest of the series. We saw it in that position in the episodes “By Any Other Name,” “And the Children Shall Lead” and its last appearance in the show in the episode “The Way to Eden.”

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A quick background view of “Beta” from the episode “Metamorphosis”

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Another background view of “Beta” from “The Doomsday Machine”

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“Beta” in the Auxiliary Control Room from the “I Mudd” episode

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“Beta” in its final resting place in the Auxilary Control Room from the episode “And the Children Shall Lead”

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“Beta seen in the same location from “The Way to Eden” next to Phyllis Douglas who also played Yeoman Mears in “The Galileo Seven”

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“Beta” animated sequence from "Way to Eden"


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“Gamma” control functions

The third type 4A will be identified as “Gamma.” Again as with the other two type 4A units; “Gamma” made its first appearance in the episode "The Galileo Seven." It was not mounted on the same interior wall that the other two type 4A computers were; it was mounted on the opposite side next to the entry door. We only saw a quick view of it at the doorway as the camera was looking out through the hatch as Spock and the remaining crewmen attend the funeral. “Gamma” however had a glorious close-up at the climax of the episode when Spock jettisoned the fuel and ignited it. This close-up view of “Gamma” by far is the best we see during the series of the type 4A. In the close-up we can make out the lettering on the face portion of the prop. This lettering was added specifically for this close-up because it is not on “Gamma” when it was seen earlier in the episode. The next time we saw “Gamma” was in the episode "The Alternative Factor" when it was part of a larger computer console in the engineering area where they had the dilitium crystals. It could be seen at the bottom of the console in the scene when Lazarus overtakes the technician. As with the other two type 4As we also saw “Gamma” in the war room of Eminiar VII from "A Taste of Armageddon.

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This is the first appearance in the series of “Gamma” from the episode “The Galileo Seven.” This is the only time we see it without the lettering on its face.

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“Gamma” close-up from “The Galileo Seven”

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“Gamma” installed near the bottom of a type 7 from “The Alternative Factor”

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Here is “Gamma” showing the missing resin light on the top right.

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“Gamma” atop the test chamber from“Operation - Annihilate!”

Notice the misshapen replacement light on the upper right corner.
Sometime before the episode “A Taste of Armageddon” the top right resin light had fallen off “Gamma” and was not replaced for that episode. Before we saw it again it appears that a few other of the colored resin lights had fallen off. All of them were replaced by the time it appeared again in the episode “Operation: Annihilate!” Three lights were changed; the green one at the upper right corner in the bank of 21 lights was replaced with a bigger different shaped red/orange part. The new part was a very different size and shape from the original one. Even though it obviously did not match the other lights; it remained unchanged on Gamma throughout the rest of the series. The two other lights replaced were the first two left-hand lights in the bottom row of five lights. The far left light was changed from blue to red and the one next to it on the right (the famous "Fuel Jettison" light from "The Galileo Seven") was changed from red to pink. “Gamma” was next seen in the last episode of the first season "Operation - Annihilate!" In this episode it was now mounted atop the test chamber that they were trying to destroy the brain cell creature in. In this episode only; there was some sort of circuitry board on top of “Gamma.” Sometime prior to this episode the label "Fuel Jettison" that was seen in the “The Galileo Seven” close-up was removed from the number 3 toggle and that area was left blank; with no replacement lettering. All other labels remained for the rest of the series and “Gamma” remained mounted atop the test chamber for the rest of the series as well. The test stand itself continued to have different parts added to it as the series progressed; “Gamma” itself remained unchanged during the second season. There is a wonderful view of “Gamma” in the episode “Obsession” which gave a view of the balance of the lettering that was off screen and couldn’t be seen in the episode “The Galileo Seven.” “Gamma” can be seen almost in every scene in McCoy's lab and for the most part remained there, however it did make one appearance down on the surface of the planet Omega IV during the episode "The Omega Glory." Other than that one episode it was confined to the Enterprise medical lab.

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The first second season appearance of “Gamma” from“The Immunity Syndrome”

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A nice close-up of “Gamma” from the episode “Obsession”

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Using McCoy’s lab equipment including “Gamma” in an effort to try an overload the Kelvins power source from the episode “By Any Other Name”.

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“Gamma” from the episode “Return to Tomorrow”

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Nice view of the misshaped replacement part on the upper right side of “Gamma” from the episode “The Omega Glory”

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The author’s type 4 original configuration “Gamma” with its cousin the type 2

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Sequence from "Return to Tomorrow"

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The first appearance of “Gamma” in the third season was in the episode "Elaan of Troyius" again in McCoy's lab. The unit had been modified in the third season by an data cartridge slot that was added to the face of “Gamma”. We saw it in the background in the episode "Wink of an Eye" when Kirk was trying to get a message to Spock but it was not featured in the scene. In the episode “The Lights of Zetar” it was also seen in the background during the scene after Scotty was zapped while trying to put Lt. Romaine into the pressure chamber. “Gamma” makes its final screen appearance in the final episode of the series "Turnabout Intruder" again in the lab. The final appearance of “Gamma” is a solitary shot of it standing alone in the lab. The type 4 computer props were workhorses during the filming of the show. They had prominent roles in several of the stories and were background players in many more. They worked well in the show because they were more than just static set dressings. The type 4 computers added familiar shapes with colorful blinking lights to many scenes that otherwise would have been boring.

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A good view of the added data cartridge slot and the bigger upper right replacement light from the episode “Elaan of Troyius”

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“Gamma” seen in the background in the episode “Wink of an Eye”along with its cousin a type 4B

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Another background appearance of “Gamma” from “The Lights of Zetar”

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The final appearance of Gamma from the final episode “Turnabout Intruder”

The type 4A's computers appear in these episodes:
14 The Galileo Seven (Alpha, Beta, Gamma)
16 The Menagerie part 1 (Alpha, Beta)
20 The Alternative Factor (Beta, Gamma)
23 A Taste of Armageddon (Alpha, Beta, Gamma)
29 Operation - Annihilate! (Gamma)
31 Metamorphosis (Beta)
35 The Doomsday Machine (Beta)
37 The Changeling (Alpha)
39 Mirror, Mirror (Alpha)
41 I Mudd (Beta)
44 The Immunity Syndrome (Alpha, Gamma)
47 Obsession (Gamma)
50 By Any Other Name (Alpha, Gamma)
51 Return to Tomorrow (Gamma)
54 The Omega Glory (Gamma)
57 Elaan of Troyius (Gamma)
60 And the Children Shall Lead (Beta)
68 Wink of an Eye (Gamma)
73 Lights of Zetar (Alpha, Gamma)
75 Way to Eden (Beta)
79 Turnabout Intruder (Gamma)

Next up the mysterious Type 4B (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-5/)


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 3

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 05 June 2012 · 371,735 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The third of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

Previously we have looked at both the type 1 & type 2 computer props. For the most part very little changes were made to either of these props throughout the series. Moving on to the type 3 units; now things get a little interesting! The type 3 computers were flat-topped triangular shaped grey units that had identical controls on each angled side. It was a versatile unit designed so that the appearance of it could be altered to make it look like different units. There appears to be only two of these units. One unit appears to be a hero model with working lights and the other appears to be static without any lighting. The control configuration on each side consists of a single raised panel with 6 staggered black buttons; all surrounded with a silver bezel base. Each of these buttons when depressed activated a light behind a long frosted segmented red and green band above the buttons. The red and green band was separated by narrow yellow lines. On the right hand side there were two toggles and on the left side there is a large yellow light. On one side of the unit the two toggles were yellow; on the other side they were black. This was the only difference in the two sides of each type 3 prop. The top toggle switch activated the large yellow light on the left side of that side of the unit. The bottom toggle operated a bank of lights on top of the unit. This unit is interesting because the top was able to be modified into different configurations; something we have not yet seen in our analysis of these computer props.

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The first time we see a type 3 on screen during “Conscience of the King”

The first appearance of this prop was in the episode "Conscience of the King" during the rec room scene while Uhura (while playing the Vulcan harp no less) was singing to Riley down in the engine room. We will identify this configuration as “Alpha.” In this “Alpha” configuration the prop had a long frosted rectangular section on top of the unit with six flashing lights inside on each side (for a total of 12 lights divided by spacers). The edges of the frosted section were outlined in black. In addition on the top above the frosted rectangular section there was a long multi-colored segmented panel (3 rows of 21 sections) that was connected to a clear round acrylic rod on each side. The acrylic rod was connected to the top of the computer by a narrower acrylic rod on each side. Two of these type 3 computers props appeared together for the first time in the same “Alpha” configuration in the episode "The Alternative Factor," again in the rec room.

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In “The Alternative Factor” we see two “Alpha” versions on screen for the first time

The next appearance of the type 3 prop was in the episode "A Taste of Armageddon" as an Eminiar VII computer on the desk of the general council. Here we saw both units; the presumed static and the hero props together in what we will call configuration "Beta." In this configuration all of the top parts had been removed and were changed to a triangular shaped frosted lens that covered the twelve lights on top. The new top piece also extended over the holes where the acrylic rods were connected on the “Alpha” configuration. Throughout this episode in the council chambers we saw them side-by-side but only with one lighted at any one time. At one point in the episode they apparently switched them around; so it appears that the other unit was lighted. We can hypothesize that only one of these units was actually a lighted hero model since we never see both of these units lit up at the same time. It is not unusual that the toggles were such that the unit should be on; but it is not. If they both had lighting it seems unlikely that they would not have them both illuminated. The next appearance of the type 3 also in configuration "Beta" is in "Errand of Mercy" when it was depicted as a Klingon computer. This appears to have been the static version since the toggle position should have turned on the lighting.

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”A Taste of Armageddon” – Notice that only one of these type 3 units are lighted at any one time

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The “Beta” version from “Errand of Mercy.” Notice in the bottom photo that the toggles are in the “on” position but no lights are on. This is most likely the static version of the type 3

The second season debut of the type 3 (hero model) back in its original “Alpha” configuration was during the episode "Who Mourns for Adonais" when it is seen on the bridge next to the helm station. It was the type 3 computer operated by Lt. Leslie that helped Sulu determine where Apollo’s power source was located. In "Amok Time" we saw it in the same “Alpha” configuration but unlit in Spock’s quarters. In one scene the red and green frosted area appeared to be colored black. This was only black gaffers tape installed prior to filming to dampen glare from the over-head studio lights. This was done frequently on the show; most notably on the bridge. You could often see a black panel covering the bridge displays. Next we saw the hero “Alpha” configuration is in the back-ground in the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." The next variation; configuration "Gamma,” was seen in the episode "The Immunity Syndrome" in Kirks quarters. Configuration "Gamma" is the same as "Alpha" except the segmented panel and acrylic rods have been removed. Silver plugs were inserted into the holes where the rods were attached to the top of the unit. The prop seemed to be getting a little beat-up by this time as you can see the paint is chipped on the edges.

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Pin-pointing Apollo’s power source with a type 3 from “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

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The type 3 in Spock’s quarters from the episode “Amok Time.” In the bottom photo notice the black tape over the panel.

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The first appearance of the “Gamma” version from “The Immunity Syndrome” episode

Finally for the first time we see two different configurations in the same episode in "By Any Other Name." In that episode we see configuration "Alpha" in the rec room scenes both when Spock and Rojan are playing chess and also during the fight scene. It also appears in configuration "Beta" in Kirks quarters. Both units appear unlit but the toggles are in the off position so we can’t tell if either or both are the hero or static version. Next we saw the lighted hero version in its “Alpha” configuration still in Kirks quarters in the episode "The Ultimate Computer" and again in following episode in "The Omega Glory" as part of McCoy's medical equipment. This was the last appearance of the type 3 in the second season.

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In the episode “By Any Other Name” we see two different configurations in the same episode.

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In “The Omega Glory” the “Alpha” hero version is seen on the planet.

The type 3 made it first appearance in the third season episode "And the Children Shall Lead" where we see configuration "Alpha" in the background: unlighted. The next appearance was of the hero version in the same configuration "Alpha" in the episode "Day of the Dove" where the Klingons bring up the diagram of the ship. The last time we see this prop is in "Wink of an Eye" in Kirks quarters also in configuration "Alpha." From what we have seen on screen we can deduce that there were only 2 type 3 computers; a hero and a static version and the tops were changed to the "Beta" or “Gamma” configuration when needed. There is no way of knowing for certain but due to the budget constraints it seems unlikely that there were more than two of these type 3 props used in the show. The fact that its appearance could be quickly and easily changed to give the illusion of different instruments is very logical given the time and money constraints well documented during the filming of the series. Even though these versatile units didn’t get a significant amount of screen time; the flexibility of changing their appearance added to the production value of the show by keeping this basic design visually interesting.

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The type 3 helped the Klingons with the layout of the ship in “Day of the Dove”

The type 3 computer appears in these episodes:
13 - Conscience of the King
20 - Alternative Factor
23 – A Taste of Armageddon
27 – Errand of Mercy
33 – Who Mourns for Adonais?
34 – Amok Time
42 – Trouble with Tribbles
48 – Immunity Syndrome
50 – By Any Other Name
53 – The Ultimate Computer
54 – The Omega Glory
60 – And the Children Shall Lead
66 – Day of the Dove
68 – Wink of an Eye
Coming up next – the type 4A (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-4/)


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS, Part 2

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 29 May 2012 · 89,031 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

The Type 2 computer prop also known as the bio-computer, made its first appearance in the episode "Miri." That episode required a need to show that there were portable computing units and other instrumentation that could be transported down to the surface of a planet. The type 2 prop was one of the instruments created to fulfill that purpose in the episode. It went on to appear in many episodes in all three seasons. Although the unit was modified and repainted; there appears to have been only one unit made which was a hero model (with working lights and switches).

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A good view of the type 2 in its original configuration from the episode "Miri"

The type 2 computer prop was a blue-grey unit with an angled front and a flat top. It sat on top of an unobtrusive black base that appears to be permanently attached to the bottom of the unit. On the front angled surface there was a black panel which had 10 buttons and 10 corresponding red lights on it. The buttons themselves were individually labeled 0 to 9 from left to right. Each button when depressed activated the corresponding red light above it. There was also a black panel on the top of the type 2. On the left of the top panel there was button and a grouping of 4 lights. The button was the same style button that we see on the captain's chair and at each of the various intercom stations. It is a large white button with a black bezel. When pushed this button activated the four lights that would blink in a random pattern. At times it would appear that the lights moved in a specific pattern but they did not. They were just flashing lights that seemed to create random patterns as the differing rates of the flashing would match-up. The lights were red, yellow, green, and white. The top configuration of the type 2 changed in the first season. In the earliest episodes on the top right side there appears to be a simple black hemisphere but this was changed into a light by the end of the first season. Specifically between the episodes "Tomorrow is Yesterday" when it was painted a darker color with the black hemisphere on the top right; to the episode "Devil in the Dark" when it had been modified with the light on the right side of the top and it was painted a lighter "camera friendly" light blue/grey. It remained in this configuration with no modifications for the remainder of the series.

The other button on the top near the center was a small red momentary button. On the early version of this prop with the black hemisphere we never saw this button have any function. After the modification this button activated a larger single flashing light on the right side of the top. Seen most notably in the episode "Operation - Annihilate!" when Kirk realizes that the creatures could be destroyed by light. The only other feature on the top was a data cartridge tape slot on the right side.

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”Tomorrow is Yesterday” was the last appearance of the original version before the type 2 was modified

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The moment with Kirk realizes that perhaps light will destroy the creatures from “Operation - Annihilate!” Here we see the modified version of the Type 2

Perhaps the most memorable moment we remember of the type 2 is from the scene in “Tomorrow is Yesterday” when in the Captains Quarters it became too affectionate towards Kirk. During the second season it was seen in various places around the ship but typically it was seen in McCoy's lab. It was also featured prominently in the episode "The Omega Glory" along with several other props (reminiscent of the “Miri” episode) on the planet surface as McCoy tried to isolate why the landing party had immunity on the surface.

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Here is a great view from “The Omega Glory” of the type 2 clearly showing the modified light on the top right side.

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Notice McCoy using the tape slot in this scene from “The Omega Glory”

The type 2 also had a seldom used feature which was a curious rectangular opening on the right side end of this prop. Apparently its purpose was for samples or Petri dishes to be slid into this area for analysis. The slot was also used as data tape storage but this function is only seen in the one episode "Paradise Syndrome." We saw this unit in a few more third season episodes and it made its last appearance in the final episode "Turnabout Intruder."

In April 1977, in the Star Trek Poster Book (if you are old enough to remember those publications), there appeared an article entitled "The Medical Technology of Star Trek" written by Geoffrey Mandel. In the article he refers to this computer as the "Cat Brain" computer. The "Cat Brain" moniker used to describe the type 2 computer can be originally attributed to Mr. James Blish. Mr. Blish wrote the adaptations of the Star Trek episodes into a series of books but he was also a trained biologist. In present-day the term “Cat Brain” when referring to computers indicates a neural network capable of exceeding the processing power of a feline cortex. In the novelization of the “Miri” story; Mr. Blish writes that at McCoy's requests that they get a computer down to the planet to help him with isolating and identifying the disease, Kirk instructs Lieutenant Farrell:
"Ship us down the biggest portable bio-computer--the cat-brain job."
Since Mr. Blish in many cases used early versions of the scripts for the basis of his adaptations; it is not know whether he added the term “cat-brain” on his own or if it was an element that was not used in the aired version of the episode. In any case it was never a part of the final filmed version of “Miri.”

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From the Star Trek Poster Book

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Devil in the Dark giving us a good view of the side opening. This is the first episode showing the modified type 2 computer

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”The Paradise Syndrome” showing the side slot being used for data tape storage

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The type 2 was seen when Spock was interrogating Nomad in “The Changeling”

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”The Trouble with Tribbles” shows the type 2 where it was often seen; in McCoy’s lab

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There is nothing like having your own personal type 2. A Fan made type 2 (built by the author of this series)

The type 2 computer appeared in the following episodes:
12 Miri
21 Tomorrow is Yesterday
26 Devil in the Dark (in the mining office)
29 Operation - Annihilate!
37 The Changeling
40 The Deadly Years
42 The Trouble with Tribbles
44 The Immunity Syndrome
47 Obsession
50 By Any Other Name
51 Return to Tomorrow
54 The Omega Glory
58 The Paradise Syndrome
57 Elaan of Troyius
64 The Tholian Web
68 Wink of an Eye
79 Turnabout Intruder

Next up the Type 3 (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-3/).


The "PC" Props of Star Trek TOS

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 20 May 2012 · 82,426 views

by Will Smith of http://tosgraphics.com

This is the first of a seven part series that will analyze and detail the computer props as seen in the original series of Star Trek.

For most people back in the 1960's and early 70's the thought of having a portable desk-top computer that you could use to do multiple tasks was unthinkable. During the show we see the crew use these computers to do amazing things. That is what made these computer props from Star Trek so intriguing and just plain cool. During the run of the original series there were several varieties of computer props that were used. There were many different models; the first appearing on-screen beginning in the very first episode filmed and fittingly the same computer also appeared in the very last episode. Over this series of articles we will document each of these props, characteristics of each and their evolution during the run of the series. There were many different varieties of the computer props. For the purposes of this series of articles we will label them "type 1," "type 2" etc. with variations of each type as "alpha," "beta," etc. as determined by when they first appeared on screen (in filming order; not the order the episodes were aired on TV).

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The Corbomite Maneuver

The first appearance of the type 1 computer was in the briefing room scene during "The Corbomite Maneuver." This is probably the prop that got the most screen time because it was incorporated into the briefing room table. It is visible in every scene filmed in the briefing room; mostly because Spock generally operated it. The type 1 would get screen-time along with Spock during these scenes. There appears to have been only one type 1 computer made for the series and it was a hero model (with functioning switches and lights). The type 1 was a blue-grey console with two large black back-lit panels facing the operator. It has 5 toggle switches down the right side (4 red with one white toggle switch in the center). Each of these 5 toggle switches operated a bank of lights located either on the top or bottom portion of the back-lit panels. In addition to the toggles there were 4 colored rocker switches adjacent to them near the bottom right side of the console. The rocker switches from left to right were colored white, blue, yellow & red.

Type 1 Control Functions:

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When the toggle switch was flipped to the left it would light up one of 5 lights illuminating a section of the computer display panel. Here is the break-down on the toggle functions in order from top to bottom:
1 – Controlled the light on the top right side.
2 – Controlled the light on the top center.
3 – Controlled the light on the top left side.
4 – Controlled the light on the bottom right.
5 – Controlled the light on the bottom left.
C - (rocker switch) Controls the desk mounted intercom
The rest of the bottom rocker switches appear to have no function as seen in the series.

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Mudd's Women

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The Alternative Factor

The type 1 saw virtually no modifications or changes during the entire run of the series. The first time we see a portion of it lighted was a scene from "Mudd's Women" when the bottom right section was lit. The first appearance of it fully lighted was the briefing room scene from "The Man Trap." In the episode "Court Martial" do we see it in two different locations; in the briefing room and also in Kirks quarters on the starbase. This is the one and only time during the entire series that we see this unit outside of the briefing room. The type 1 was most prominently seen with some great close-ups during the second season episode "Wolf in the Fold." In the briefing room scenes from that episode we get a close-up view of it completely lit up and in different configurations. Even though the type 1 computer appears slim at the base it actually extends pretty far below the table top. This was to accommodate the lights that illuminated the lower panel display. The top main portion apparently could be removed (without the bulky lower section that appears below the briefing room table) still allowing the upper bank of lights to function.

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Space Seed

In some instances the computer had no power source connected to it at all. We can determine this because of the position of the toggles which would have illuminated some section of the display had the unit been powered.

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Operation - Annihilate!

This prop early in the series defined the power of the computer in a small compact unit and paved the way for its many counterparts that were to follow as the series progressed.

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Wolf in the Fold

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Samuel T. Coggly was NOT a fan of the type 1. From "Court Martial"

The type 1 computer prop appeared in these episodes:
03 The Corbomite Maneuver
04 Mudd's Women
05 The Enemy Within
06 The Man Trap
07 The Naked Time
08 Charlie X
09 Balance of Terror
15 Court Martial
20 The Alternative Factor
21 Tomorrow is Yesterday
24 Space Seed
29 Operation: Annihilate
32 Fridays Child
36 Wolf in the Fold
37 The Changeling
40 The Deadly Years
42 Trouble with Tribbles
47 Obsession
48 The Immunity Syndrome
50 By Any Other Name
51 Return to Tomorrow
53 The Ultimate Computer
55 Assignment Earth
57 Elaan of Troyius
62 Is there in Truth no Beauty
64 The Tholian Web
68 Wink of an Eye
73 Lights of Zetar
77 The Savage Curtain
79 Turnabout Intruder (back portion only)

Next we will visit the type 2 computer prop (http://theomegasecto...rek-tos-part-2/).


Board Topics March 31, 2012

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 31 March 2012 · 41,559 views

What is your favorite non-Trek character/show?

How to get an autograph from Patrick Stewart?

What happened to Chekov's phaser?

The Star Trek 2 set had walls built around it.

Are Trek 2 stars feuding?


Board Topics: March 25, 2012

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 25 March 2012 · 4,093 views

Cheile has added some new graphic fiddles - including Sigourney Weaver in a Starfleet Uniform.

What were the Cardassians doing during the TOS era?

The Star Trek 2 set has been blocked off to stop the paparazzi:

Time between ST IV and V?

Employers are asking for Facebook Logins from their potential employees…

The new Battlestar Galactica TV movie and web series trailer was leaked and removed…


Board Topics: March 18, 2012

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 18 March 2012 · 66,264 views

Steve Neill, who worked on Star Trek TMP make up and other Hollywood SFX has stopped by to introduce his fan series project:

7,000 replies and counting: What was the last Star Trek episode you watched?

Trek artists, you have a little time left to still enter our icon contest:

Trying to date "Far Beyond the Stars"

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Take a trip to Beijing and see the intense pollution caused by industry:


Board Topics: March 11, 2012

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 11 March 2012 · 2,209 views

Discussing which Trek actors we have met. So far Frontier is REALLY showing is geek cred.


If you could remove anything from canon…

Here's what I would remove and change:


1. Get rid of Star Trek: The Motions Picture and make a different one....I didn't like the first trek movie, it was so boring lol

2. Star Trek: Nemesis - Not have Data die...get rid of the prototype one instead which would have Picard think it was actually Data

3. Star Trek XI: Not have Vulcan destroyed in the alternate timeline

TV Series:

TNG: Not have Tasha died...keep her around longer and have her depart but not die

DS9: Get rid of Ezri Dax by not having Jadzia Dax die

VOY: Less Janeway/Chakotay focus. Have more Seven of Nine/Torres focus :)

Chime in: http://theomegasecto...ing-from-canon/

We just released the TNG Blu-Ray caps for "The Inner Light":

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Reminder: Artistic? Get involved in our icon contest:


Board Topics: March 3, 2012

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 02 March 2012 · 119,567 views

Star Trek (2009) & Beyond

The most active discussions are around the spy photos released lately.

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Happy Russia:

Someone obviously not Vulcan who's kicking Spock's ass, as well as wearing a Starfleet tunic?



Couldn't it just be a new character? I could definatly think of a worse idea than basing it around "Where No Man Has Gone Before", so that's alright if it is.

Join in the discussion here: http://theomegasecto...e-of-new-movie/

Mess Hall

The trials an tribulations of fixing a car mirror… http://theomegasecto...ing-about-cars/

Fan Trek

New Icon Contest Up: http://theomegasecto...2-free-for-all/

Mackenzie Calhoun concluded 6x6 of his sixth season of Star Trek Enterprise

TeaKirk added some new Chekov avatars


Levar Burton on Face Off

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 18 February 2012 · 1,334 views

I’m contacting you on behalf of Syfy regarding the upcoming appearance of Levar Burton in next week’s all new episode of the networks hit series, Face Off. As you know, Levar Burton is an American actor most notable for his role as Lt. Georgi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and I believe your readers will be thrilled to watch as he guest judges the all new episode.

Face Off is a competition/elimination series exploring the world of special-effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination that allows them to create amazing works of living art. Judging the Face Off competition are some of the most renowned names in the SFX world -- three-time Academy Award winner Ve Neill, famed special make-up effects artist Glenn Hetrick and director/creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos. Together, they make a panel that is tough, smart and direct.

In the episode, the contestants learn that for their Spotlight Challenge they will be working with a client, none other than creature designer, director and series judge, Patrick Tatopoulos. Each of the artists must select one of Patrick’s sketches to serve as the inspiration for an original alien creation. On the Face Off reveal stage, the contestants are elated to see guest judge Burton but quickly grow concerned when they learn that two artists will be sent packing this week.

The Face Off artists are whittled down week by week as they compete to outshine their competition. The winning SFX artist will earn $100,000 in seed money to help encourage their special effects career, a year’s supply of Alcone make up products, a Reinvented 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid and the coveted exposure to help launch a career.

I kindly ask for you to share this information to your readers as I believe they would be thrilled to watch his return to television. Thanks so much and please let me know if you have any questions.



Star Trek Fan Day at St. Louis Science Center

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 11 February 2012 · 8,291 views

February 13, 2012

For further information, contact:
Russ Hitzemann, Director of Marketing and Membership Operations, Saint Louis Science Center,
314.289.4484, rhitzemann@slsc.org

Star Trek Fan Day at the Saint Louis Science Center
Saturday, March 24

ST. LOUIS – Star Trek fans can plan to spend the day at the Saint Louis Science Center on Saturday, March 24, attending a series of Star Trek lectures and visiting Star Trek: The Exhibition.

At 11 am, Professor John Tenuto, a sociology professor at the College of Lake County, Illinois will present “Pictures of the Future: Rare Photos from the Making of Star Trek II and VI”. Professor Tenuto, College of Lake County, Illinois, will share rare, behind-the-scenes images, including the only known pictures of William Shatner and Ricardo Montalban together on stage, from the making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Based on four years of research by Tenuto and his wife, fellow sociology professor Maria Jose Tenuto, the images are culled from the University of Iowa's Nicholas Meyer Paper Collection. The presentation will also share behind the scene stories of the contributions of the artists who helped make these films among the most popular of the Star Trek franchise. The Tenutos work on these photos was recently featured on Film Score Monthly's CD release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

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At 1 pm, artist Craig Skaggs will discuss his work as a designer of Star Trek models for The Bradford Exchange. He will show his drawings and describe the process he goes through to create these collector’s items.

At 2 pm, Professor Tenuto will again take the podium to present, “A Celebration of Fans: The History of the Official Star Trek Fan Club”. Before the Internet, the Official Star Trek Fan Club was an information lifeline for fans through its publication, the Star Trek Communicator. Professor Tenuto has extensively researched the magazine’s archives and found rare photos, including the only known photo of Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas together. The presentation will also include many other wonderful behind-the-scenes photos from the making of the Star Trek television shows and films. Also included is a fun look at 45 years of Star Trek collectibles. Learn about the special place that Star Trek has in McDonald's Happy Meal history. Enjoy photos and stories of some of the most unusual collectibles ever made (like the Kraft Star Trek marshmallow dispenser!) and take a retro trip through categories of collecting such as food items, action figures, books, playsets and video games. Both casual and serious collectors alike will enjoy the nostalgic and sociological discussion of Star Trek memorabilia from Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, and the Star Trek movies.

All lectures are free to the public and will be held in the Science Center’s May Hall. During the day there will be drawings for Star Trek posters and for the opportunity to have a front-row seat on Friday, April 6 when writer David Gerrold (“The Trouble with Tribbles”) describes his experiences writing for the original series.

Tickets to Star Trek: The Exhibition are $14.00 for adults, $12.00 for seniors and college students with an ID and $10.00 for children and members of the military. Science Center Members receive half-price tickets. To order tickets and for more information go to boldlygoexplore.org


Thank you for your interest in covering the Saint Louis Science Center. We ask that you include the full names of our institution: Saint Louis
Science Center, OMNIMAX® Theater, Boeing Hall and James S. McDonnell Planetarium when writing your story.

Saint Louis Science Center
The mission of the Saint Louis Science Center is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. It is one of the top five science centers in the United States, serving 1.2 million visitors annually. It was recently named one of the "Top 10 Science Centers for Families" by Parents magazine and one of "America's Most Visited Museums" by Forbes Traveler Magazine and is the only museum in Missouri to be named to either list. The Saint Louis Science Center complex includes a four-story OMNIMAX® Theater, a state-of-the-art Boeing Hall and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. For more information about the Saint Louis Science Center and its programs, please visit slsc.org


The Props of TOS

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 25 December 2009 · 276,121 views

Published: August 20, 2011IntroductionIf you're reading this, you're likely one of them too – a Trek fan bitten by that special hard-core bug. Some enjoy donning the occasional Star Fleet uniform, or building meticulous scale models of the ships. Others have learned to speak Klingon. And still for more, the spirit of Star Trek is best embodied by the fun gadgets wielded by the characters. In particular, the immense, portable power first seen in the The Original Series "Landing Set" trio of the communicator, phaser, and tricorder seized many a young imagination. Years later, this passion for these objects has fueled a keen desire by many to build or buy replicas of their favorites props, or for a lucky few, even to own the actual originals used on the set from 1966 to 1969.

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Given the high energies - and high stakes - involved, debate has raged for decades within the hobby over the exact details of these props. What exactly did they look like? How were they made? And, what happened to them after the show ended? Mysteries endured, and, yes, even forgeries flourished in the uncertainty. Fortunately, due to three factors: the pooling of data made possible by the Internet, the new availability of DVD and HD screen caps (thanks TrekCore), and the detailed study of a few tucked-away surviving authentic props, the veil shrouding these items has, in some places, lifted.We hope to eventually cover here, for the TrekCore audience, all three items from the classic Landing Set; examining them not as 23rd Century devices but as iconic artifacts from a 1960s TV production. Let's start with possibly the most beloved, and certainly the best studied, of the bunch: the flip-open communicator.PART 1: THE COMMUNICATOR

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In the spring of 1966, Gene Rodenberry asked Wah Ming Chang (left), a 49 year-old gifted independent special effects artist, to make some props for his new TV series that had been given the green light after an unprecedented two pilots. Wah had previously provided some of the creature effects for the first pilot and was the ideal artist to improve upon the initial large clunky transparent communicators that were used early on. This new prop was a unique and durable assemblage of plastic, metal and assorted odds and ends that presaged the flip cell phone by nearly three decades. He slapped them together quickly, perhaps in only a few days, as his invoice was dated around the first day they were needed on the set (in the beam-over scene at the end of the The Corbomite Maneuver). A few elements were off-the-shelf "found" components, but the majority of the communicator; the shell, antenna and moiré ring, was completely hand-crafted from scratch.

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According to the records Wah himself kept, he was paid for providing to Desilu a total of ten new black-bodied communicators; two "heroes" with a stop watch-driven spinning effect intended for close-ups, and eight static "dummies" for normal work-a-day filming and rugged action. It should be noted that the terms "hero" and "dummy" props are standard in film making.

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A brief explanation of the basic parts:
  • Kydex Shells – at the time a new plastic, it is semi-gloss black with a light pitted "haircell" texture.
  • Aluminum Midplate – 1/16 sheet aluminum.
  • Control Panel – a very thin aluminum, some actually cut a bit too long to sit flat on the shell.
  • Control Knobs – Aurora "Vibrator" and "Thunderjet" slot car wheel hubs.
  • Mic Grill – a piece of the speaker grill from a Coronet-Windsor transistor radio.
  • Jewels – Swarovski rhinestones atop the same Aurora slot car wheel hubs, but inverted.
  • Moiré Pattern – cut from the Edmund Scientific "The Science of Moiré Patterns" book and kit.
  • Bezel Ring – a short, machined length of 1-1/4" aluminum pipe.
  • Velcro – also at the time a relatively new material, glued on the back.

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A fun fact – some of you old-time grade schoolers might vaguely recognize the general shape of the communicator body… Wah sliced up and reassembled the corners of a "Sterling" Pencil Box, a common lunchbox accessory in the 1960s. He then cast the downsized rough assembly in plaster, which could endure the heat from the Kydex sheets being vacuformed over it. This all was verified recently by members of the TrekPropZone forum. Here is such a pencil box, still intact:

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For the two heroes, Wah installed a mechanical stopwatch to slowly rotate a pattern of radiating lines beneath another similar layer, creating a moving "spider" moiré (pronounced "Mwah-RAY") effect of expanding and shrinking arcs. To rewind the watch without taking off the prop's back shell every time, he had a brass shaft protrude through the shell just a bit that could be turned with a screwdriver. Because the axis of the stopwatch and the shaft are at different angles, a rubber hose, acting like a universal joint, cleverly connected the two.

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The show's property master Irving Feinberg seems to have grabbed from his box just enough props for that single day's shooting. That normally meant just one communicator got used again and again by all the actors in numerous scenes. Thus episodes commonly feature only one or two models, which rotate around from episode to episode at random. Who on Earth would ever notice, right?Fortunately for us, Wah made each of his comminicators completely unique, as if trying to imbue them with individual personalities. They all had a different moiré pattern, different jewels, then beyond that, varying bits of solder on the antenna, Velcro lengths, knob placement and dozens of other little "tells." Four decades later, those differences came in handy when trying to indentify and differentiate them.Throughout the years, a few of the better-known models acquired from hobbyists nicknames, such as the "Spock Hero," the "TMOST," the "Dwyer," etc. But knowing there were a full ten that needed IDs, we at the HeroComm research project opted to standardize on a Greek alphabet nomenclature. So, here they are:

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1969 to TodayOnce the show was cancelled in early 1969, the props and set dressings were stored, according to Herb Solow's and Bob Justman's book "Inside Star Trek - The Real Story," in a studio shed (likely out in the sweltering California sun), which at some point was broken into and left open to be further scavenged. Regardless, some of the props eventually ended up with show staff Jim Rugg and John Dwyer, a few were kept and later given away by Gene Roddenberry, a bunch made it to the shelves of Hollywood prop rental shop Ellis Mercantile, and still others in their boxes were used as door stops, played with by children, destroyed, and tossed. Only in the late 1990s, as the generation who grew up on the show finally ascended into affluence, did these items begin to acquire exceptional monetary value as the rarest-of-rare collectables.At this current time, we publically know the whereabouts of four Wah comminicators. They have overall endured the decades extremely well, with only some oxidative yellowing of the glues and the Kydex showing a few spots of oh-so-slight deformation, probably from their being stored in that hot studio shed. Well-known prop builder Greg Jein owns EPSILON and ZETA. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen purchased DELTA in a 2001 Profiles in History auction for $37,500. That one, now at the SciFi Museum in Seattle, is the only one currently viewable to the public. Lastly, the most famous of the ten, the ALPHA hero, came to our attention as the private owner was hoping someone could tell him if it was genuine. Exhaustive research by our group has since unequivocally proven it is. A fifth was reported lost long ago by John Dwyer's then-young son. This leaves five more communicators still unaccounted for. We have high hopes these survive, well-preserved by their protective owners. Our investigation and outreach continues.Details of All Ten Communicator PropsBelow is a brief summary on each one, highlighting their moiré pattern and jewel colors, as well as showing off a few of their best angles...

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Current Status: Private collection, anonymous owner.The most salivated-over and replicated comm, due to its gorgeous star turns in "Friday's Child" and "Patterns of Force," it was rediscovered in 2006 and has since been fully documented inside and out, wonderfully allowing us to precisely know Wah's ingenious technique for spinning that moiré pattern.

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Current Status: Unknown.Familiar mostly through its only close-up in "Day of the Dove," this lesser-known of the two heroes differs more from its famous sister than most people realize – with a modified "spider" moiré configuration mounted lower in the control well and an antenna that opens only around 45 degrees past vertical (less than any other comm).

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Current Status: Unknown.Famous from its picture in Stephen Whitfield's book "The Making of Star Trek," this prop was used aplenty, in episodes and publicity stills. It is unique in that the antenna is long enough to close down outside of the control well instead of inside it. The red center jewel was glued on crooked.

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Current Status: Collection of Paul Allen, viewable at the Seattle Sci Fi Museum.This comm was also used all over the place. When it fell to the ground in "This Side of Paradise," its antenna bounced open from a rubber band wrapped around the wire near the hinge wheels. It is easy to ID in screen caps from its thick moiré bezel ring and its empty screw holes on the bottom.

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Current Status: Private collection of Greg Jein.Control knobs placed far apart and a large tarnish blotch on the antenna makes this often-used comm easy to find in screen caps. It had those traits removed during a refurbishment by the now-current owner. It is the only one of the four surviving comm whose antenna still flips open with ease as we're used to seeing on the show.

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Current Status: Private collection of Greg Jein.Its antenna hinge is impinged on the axle, which may be why we only see this comm twice in three years; disassembled in "Patterns of Force" and sitting motionless on a table in "Spock's Brain." The current owner took it apart again, which has allowed for the wonderful, detailed examination of all the individual parts.

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Current Status: Unknown.This seemingly fine prop got almost no camera time - so no good inside close-ups exist. What we do know is its antenna has flattened sides and some distinct mild tarnish blotches. Inside, the moiré pattern might be a logarithmic spiral in a bezel ring mounted very low in the well. The outer jewel colors are pretty much a total guess.

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Current Status: Unknown.While it is the only comm without a red center jewel, most of the inside features are not well known for lack of advantageous close-ups. It has the boxy-ist bends on the antenna's four sides and a very low-positioned moiré ring. Screen caps hint at a possible two-layer moiré pattern, marred by a generous smear of excess glue.

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Current Status: Unknown.Seen often early in the series, it seemed to have later been relegated to the bottom of the box. It is the only one of three comms whose antenna, which got badly kinked in the middle right off, swings all the way to the back that also had no screws. This combined with an off-angled cut along its Velcro's rear edge are the ways to ID it from just about any angle.

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Current Status: Unknown.This comm got the best close-up of any dummy, in "The Omega Glory." It was seen lots throughout, eventually also getting its antenna kinked inward in the center. It has the easiest-to-spot-from-a-distance moiré pattern, plus a very large antenna solder mark and Velcro glue stains. The center jewel is a ruby cabochon from a wrist watch crown, like those Wah later used on his two tricorders.PostscriptAs was hinted earlier, a good number of forgeries also were disseminated during the 1980s and 90, back when nobody really knew what an authentic comm prop was suppose to look like. The most prominent name in this illicit business was Mark (or Marc) English, known (both he and his forgeries) as ME. As best as anyone can tell, he acted as a distributor for several "craftsmen." So deep is the permeation of MEs that some have been illustrated in "real" prop books and websites, shown in Smithsonian exhibits, and even sold through prominent auction houses. Fortunately, all MEs and other fakes carry distinct features that allow them to be instantly identified. They no longer pose a serious threat to the integrity of the prop-collecting field. In addition, the exact type of Kydex plastic, Velcro, glues and perforated brass used by Wah are all decades out of production - with remaining stocks long depleted - making it absolutely impossible to now create a replica communicator good enough to fool a well-trained expert.Lastly, on an introspective note… much of what we all do in studying props is interpret evidence, and not everyone agrees with all of HeroComm's interpretations. One well-known prop builder curiously believes the rediscovered ALPHA is a fake, although he has never bothered to say why, yet alone try to rebut our conclusive finding. And a collector prominent on the web is quite convinced his obvious ME forgery is the actual KAPPA. Still, in fairness, the HeroComm project does not formally authenticate vintage props. Typically the only time that happens is when they're up for high-profile auction, and there are now well-established industry protocols in place for that. The last time an actual TOS communicator was sold that way was ten years ago. Thus we here remain open to the updating of any of our information should the data indicate so.About the Authorswww.HeroComm.com is a free and open library of all knowledge that can be gathered on The Original Series Star Trek classic communicator prop. Our primary goals are to 1) honor its creator Wah Ming Chang by assisting hobbyists in building faithfully accurate replica props (recognizing that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), and 2) to aid in locating, authenticating, and preserving those actual communicators he built. Our associates and collaborators have gathered as a non-competitive, anonymous partnership to advance these common goals for the benefit of everyone. If you think you may have something to contribute, we would heartily welcome your assistance. We can be reached through our website.


End of Year Message

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 24 December 2009 · 127,385 views

Author: Michael Broadhead

Another year at TrekCore ends... What a year it has been! This is TrekCore's fourth year online! We usually post a celebratory message in November on the anniversary, but the myself and Adam (webmasters) have been very busy exploring the world! I have been away from my home in Canada for 14 months traveling and working, and Adam is in the 3rd month of his around the world trip. Thus many, many of the updates this year are due to our incredible group of volunteer staff! Special thanks (in no particular order) go out to Bob, Doug, Dave, Randy, and Sam - without your dedication vines would have grown over the site this year!

So what were some big highlights this year?

Well, it started out with all of us being amazed by the generous support from the community for our fundraiser. The tribble auction and photo sales (super thanks to Michael Grecco) helped ensure TrekCore's long future!

We expanded our YouTube Channel to have over a thousand videos!

We got on Twitter!

We created an Audio section with tons of new audio and better navigation!

We started the Theme Galleries project to help make navigating our hundreds of thousands of images a little easier!

Of course, Star Trek came out in theatres and surprised everyone by its popularity! In the summer we saw the largest number of viewers ever for our site. And lately everyone has been enjoying the amazing high definition screencaps from the movie!

Our home page was redesigned to help with navigation to our multimedia. As you know, it includes other site headlines so you never miss the latest Star Trek news. Starting today, the homepage now displays TrekCore headlines by default (where before it would display the mixed headlines by default). Do not worry, the mixed headlines are still there, you just need to click the "All" link to see them. This change was necessitated by the revival of the franchise this year - when we first started designing the new page, the other Star Trek websites were not updating nearly as much as they are now. So to ensure our own updates aren't lost in the news, we've made this change.

The Omega Sector (our forums) were upgraded to version 3 of Invision Board and redesigned! There are many more ways to interact now!

Those are the highlights I can recall at the moment... So many little updates throughout the year have really helped flesh the site out.

So what can you expect in 2010?

We're going continuing to screencap the first 10 movies in HD!

We will see many more episodes of TOS in HD!

Star Trek Online will be making a big splash in February when it launches! We'll continue to bring coverage of that!

More audio caps!

More contests!

Many more high quality product images - we now have access to all the official images and will be incorporating them into the site.

New games? If Star Trek Online does well, we should see some new game announcements!

No fundraiser! (I'm super excited about NOT having to ask for money!)

So thanks for visiting! Thanks to those sending us emails pointing out bugs or errors and for the positive feedback. We read it all and even fish through the SPAM to make sure nothing gets missed!

What do you want to see in 2010? How did we do in 2009? Let use know by hitting the Comment button below!

P.S. I recently saw Patrick Stewart guest star in the BBC comedy "Extras". He's in the season finale of season 1, and does this HILARIOUS scene where he does the dialog from the "I've seen everything" fake audio interview from a few years back. The one where he talks about making people's clothes falling off... Yeah you know the one ;) Now imagine him actually saying the dialog in a TV show - pure gold!


Star Trek DVD Box Sets Giveaway

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 16 November 2009 · 963 views

TrekCore has two Star Trek box sets to give away! One is the OriginalMotion Picture Collection 7-disc Standard DVD box set; and the other isthe Next Generation Motion Picture Collection 5-disc Standard DVD boxset.

To enter the Original Motion Picture Collection contest, find theTrekCore image of your favorite TOS character, and copy and paste theimage URL in an email message to trekcore.rtaman at gmail dot com.

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To enter the Next Generation Motion Picture Collection contest, findthe TrekCore image of your favorite TNG character, and copy and pastethe image URL in an email message to trekcore.rtaman at gmail dot com.

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You may submit one entry for each box set. The names containing TOSimage links will be entered into a "hat" to win the Original MotionPicture Collection. The names containing TNG image links will beentered into a "hat" to win the Next Generation Motion PictureCollection. Different people will win each box set.

This contest is open now, and all entries must be received by 11:59 pmEST on December 12, 2009. The two winners will be notified by email onDecember 13, 2009. The contest is open to anyone (except for TrekCorestaff ... sorry) in the US, Canada, US territories, and Bermuda (theDVD is region code 1). Entries outside those areas will not be accepted.


Star Trek 3-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 09 November 2009 · 110,005 views

Author: rta-man

The Star Trek 3-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition will be released on Blu-ray disc, in the US, on November 17, 2009. This three-disc set contains the theatrical release of Star Trek (XI), bonus material including the BD Live feature "NASA News", a digital copy of the movie, and the Star Trek D-A-C free trial game. The discs are packaged in a blue case inside a white cardboard slipcase.

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The audio is in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and French 5.1 Dolby Digital with English. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing), French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The sound duplicated that in which I experienced in a movie theater. As far as video quality goes, what can I say. It's high def! The digital video quality is theoretically almost perfect. (disclaimer) The quality YOU see is be based on your entertainment system setup. (/disclaimer) The quality I saw was in between standard movie theater quality and IMAX. The colors were deep and crisp, and lines were perfectly defined.

If your Blu-ray player is BD-Live ready (or if you watch the DVD on your computer), you can access the NASA News BD-Live feature. The menu gives you the top ten news stories from NASA and selected daily NASA images. Today, it was an image of the Palmer Station in Antarctica taken from NASA's DC-8 fly-over during Operation Ice Bridge. Unfortunately, there's no option to save the image.

The movie itself is great. It's action-packed from the beginning to the end. I liked the SFX and the attention to detail of the ships and shuttles. Every button and ship action was accompanied by a sound familiar with the Original Series.

Disc 2 has the special features To Boldly Go, Casting, A New Vision, Starships, Aliens, Planets, Props and Costumes, Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek, Score, Gene Roddenberry's Vision, Deleted Scenes, Starfleet Vessel Simulator, Gag Reel, and Trailers. Given the title Starfleet Vessel Simulator, I thought it was some sort of flight simulator. Instead, it's an exterior ship inspection of the USS Enterprise and the Romulan mining vessel Narada.

Disc 3 contains 3 digital copies of the movie. One is a 720 x 300, 1.3 GB WMV file, for playback on the PC; another is a 320 x 136, 537 MB WMV file; and the other is a 1.8 GB file for iTunes. The first two require a download code input prior to playback.

This disc also contains a weblink to the Star Trek D-A-C free game trial for the PC, XBox 360, and Playstation Network. The game isn't available for download until November 12th.

The bottom line is I recommend getting this 3-disc set as opposed to the single-disc version. The 3 free game trials and 3 digital copies of the movie are well worth the extra $11.


Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection DVD Review

Posted by TrekCoreNews, 06 October 2009 · 14,181 views

Author: rta-man

The Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection was released on Standard DVD disc, in the US, on September 22, 2009. This seven-disc set contains the original theatrical editions of the first six Star Trek movies, and a bonus DVD titled, "Star Trek: Captain's Summit". The discs are packaged in thin, black cases inside a white cardboard slipcase.

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The audio is in Dolby Digitial English 5.1 Surround EX, French 2.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono, and Portuguese Mono. Subtitles are available in English, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Each DVD, except for disc seven, begins with the theatrical trailer of Star Trek XI. It's nice to watch this one or two times, but you may want to fast forward through this part for the rest of the DVDs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the extras. They contain numerous interviews with the stars and production staff of Star Trek. The first of these was titled "The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture". In it, Star Trek writers Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens explained the first mention of a Star Trek movie. Gene Roddenberry announced at a science fiction convention in 1968 in Oakland, CA, that he was talking to Paramount about making a movie about Kirk and Spock's academy years. It took eleven more years until the first movie was produced.

In the disc three featurette "Spock: The Early Years", Stephen Manley was interviewed. He played Spock at age seventeen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. As you remember, his character performed pon far with Lt. Saavik (played by Robin Curtis). Would you believe that Stephen has pon far'ed with eight females at various Star Trek conventions?

The visual effects were another bonus feature I enjoyed. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, large scale models were used for all ship scenes. The use of CGI graphics was in its infancy and visual effects was still an art form. The nebula scene was a huge water tank, filled with thinly separated fresh and salt water, then by adding various chemicals they created swirling effects. This stuff is classic! During the scenes when Khan destroyed the Enterprise, the modelers put steel wool inside the model, and heated it with a flame to give each scene that sparkling look. I loved this stuff!

The most common of the Star Trek Universe bonus featurettes is the Starfleet Academy SCISEC (Science Security) Briefs. Each one technically explains an anomaly from each film. The Briefs listed in the movies are the "Mystery Behind V'Ger", "Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI", "Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer", "The Whale Probe", "Nimbus III", and "Praxis".

Disc seven is titled, "Star Trek: The Captains' Summit". Although during the feature, it's referred to the "Star Trek Summit". For the first time ever, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes are together to share memories of their tenure with the franchise. This 70-minute interview session is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. This is a VERY nice feature. Although I wondered why they split it up into three parts. It doesn't play as one 70-minute show. If you want to watch the whole thing, you must sit through two short commercial breaks, but without the commercials.

This box set will compliment your DVD collection nicely.

May 2015

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Nebula image in header courtesy Ali Ries.