Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Cushman Brothers on Trek Untold!

 Trek Untold

Ships of the Line Calendar!!!

Two Years in a row the calendar centrefold for Star Trek Ships of the line!!! What a blessing!  Big thanks to Doug Drexler for facilitating this amazing experience!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Finishing Defiant

20+ years ago I had one last project slated to become a poster with SciPubTech… the Defiant… The Defiant had just been announced and I was able to include an exterior drawing with my DS9 Poster… Over the subsequent seasons and in First Contact the Defiant became a legendary baddass ship and a full cutaway planned to come right after the Voyager Poster…. But then the market for Trek took a bit of a dive and the poster which was drawn and ready was put on the shelf where it sat… Until 2022 where it’s joining the Ships Of The Line Calendar!!! The feelings of regret have dissolved into relief and a big thanks to Doug Drexler and my brother Matthew for helping make it a reality…. Sorry I can’t show you in high def but I can share some of the historical images of what might have been…. Over the years I have shared the pencil final drawing in various posts and a quick search of google will turn it up!!!

Every drawing starts here with an image of a model...  It helps cut to the chase with size and proportion and with the right lens the correct perspective.

As you can see the highly dynamic comp for the poster in the lower right including plans to show a runabout also cut away...

While I didnt use it for the calendar ... perhaps one day it will make a future year.

Next came the initial pencil drawing which would have gone to the color artist in 1999... Sadly it sat in a tube for over 20 years... The Trek Product stream like Trek slid into a hiatus until JJ Trek of 2009. And then products began to re-emerge.

Now that trek was back and the need for new products I pulled the drawing out and scanned it and began the process of tracing it into Adobe Illustrator. after that I spent nearly 2 months filling in all the base colors of every element of the drawing....  it was tedious but I had great samples sent to me by the Star Trek Art Department including images from the set so I could sample all the colors that they used on the show.  Once that was completed the file went to my brother Matt who began to add the shadows and highlights that give the illustration the 3D quality.   My next step was to create the background.  Time was tight and I thought of several different scenarios but I just didn't like any of them.   Then I remembered I had photographed the real DS9 model when the Star Trek Exhibit was in Detroit at the Henry Ford Museum. I had about a dozen views in high res so I began to crop them and place them behind the art until I found a good view. I then photoshopped lights in the windows bringing the station to life. I found a hubble star field image for the stars in the background.   I then sent that final art to my brother who began to match the lighting with that of the defiant completing the look.I will revise this post in July when the Calender hits the bookstore shelves with the next steps 

Amazon recently posted these images and started taking preorders ... Once they start shipping I will revise this post with the final image!

PS. This was not my first drawing of the Defiant.... first came the exterior used on the DS9 cutaway poster... But then my first simplified cutaway drawing was used by Playmates Toys

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Day Deep Space Nine Made it to Space!

Making It Into Space! In September 1996 Matt and I traveled to the Manned Space Flight Centre in Huntsville Alabama to help celebrate: Star Trek 30: A Weekend on Earth.   We met Joel Williamson the senior ISS design engineer who purchased a Deep Space Nine poster, he shared that the ISS team collectively loved the show and that the poster would ultimately be bound for the station in 1997.  It was a nice thought at the time but with delays in the construction missions I quickly forgot about it...  Twenty two years later Matt reconnected with Joel while working on another project and learned that indeed my DS9 poster had made the trip into space! It was launched on May 19th 2000 aboard the shuttle Atlantis/ STS 101 an ISS construction flight!  The poster returned 10 days later and hangs in the ISS program office! This amazing experience has shown me that there is no limit how far and high you can go! #celebrity #spacetravel #collectibles #design #illustration #honor

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lets Get It Right.... This Is A ReBoot!

Discovery can't be part of the prime time line... This is the original Enterprise Built and flown 10 Years Before Discovery.... And in service 15 years after Discovery

Feeling very sad at the events in the world today....  It seems we have made no progress at all... Just when the world needs a Star Trek on TV to remind us about diversity and equality and respect the world of Trek is on edge with arguments that are mounting about the coming Star Trek Show… Not real real world problems but over some fictional stuff 

To all the people looking forward to Discovery great!  Im sure it will be an awesome show that hundreds of people have put in hard work on….  You may be new to Star Trek or just a casual fan and  how it looks or plays out may not affect you… please watch in bliss!

Just a very small selection of the books I have bought!

I am not one of those fans….

I'm a little more invested in the show…  I started when it first aired on TV… I saw every episode the night it originally aired….   It was awesome but sometime along 1970 fandom and the powers to be started adding to the story… first with some blue prints and then a tech manual… and then over the years more books came out starting with the original concordance and ending up most recently with a 2 volume encyclopedia!  Carefully gleaned fictional facts and historical record from over 750 hours of Star Trek programing…  Every reference point and fictional turn in the story. Technical manuals and CD Roms ….iPad apps that contain the thousands of facts carefully laid out in the form of LCARS screens….  Ship Models, Props, Uniforms….  An entire universe carefully crafted for the most discerning fan to fully envelope themselves in.  And when I say I am invested… I am, both Intellectually and financially….   

So as you can see the argument over the look of this new show could cause many of us fans to be a bit disappointed and actually a bit angry to see the neophytes at CBS to wreak havoc over our carefully Paramount created world.   When JJ came out it was a bit of the same feeling but we were pleasantly surprised when JJ took the alternate timeline/universe route…  We even had Mr. Spock to bridge the two….  all ended up fine….

Lets look at two other shows that have been remade and talk about their outcomes:

Lost In Space TV remake (never made it past the pilot/never aired)
Lost in Space Movie (great movie... a one off as many fans could not relate to the changes)
Lost In Space Netflix (unknown)


Battle Star Galactica (Reboot, more realistic and serious, father son relationship, Galactica remained largely
the same ship though curvier, vipers same… shuttles same many of the fleet ships exactly the same… early
cylons were a total nod to the fans…. show was highly successful) 

Even JJs version of Star Wars connected totally to the original… Rogue One Amazing!!!  

So clearly the case of Galactica and Star Wars the fans were largely respected and the shows were a success shows that changed the story and look and feel were not as successful.   It should be mentioned that The Next Gen episode Relics Deep Space Nines episode Trials and Tribulations and Enterprises A mirror Darkly parts one and two were some of the highest watched episodes of Trek to date all featured the original Enterprise!  Finally more proof of this can be found in many of the Star Trek Fan produced episodes, new voyages, ST Continues and culminating in Axinar which clearly show such massive fan approval that CBS shuttered them from making more full episodes!

So whats different now?

This new show Discovery takes place in 2255 and features ships, aliens, equipment and storylines that have nothing to do with our again carefully crafted universe…   Spock never once mentioned a human sister, Klingons never looked so alien to both versions we enjoyed and so neatly explained in Star Trek Enterprise.  The ships bear little or no resemblance to the ships of that era…   The costumes bear little or no resemblance…  and the introduction of Harry Mudd so early in the timeline just makes no sense and promises to be the new Dr. Smith of sci fi…..   

This argument could end today…right now with no more troll hater posts if CBS would just say the Discovery was a reboot, reimagining of the Star Trek Universe period.  Everyone could walk away from that pretty happy knowing that their time invested in the universe crafted and packaged and sold to over 50 years was not being trashed by a network who refused to buy the show the first time it came out!

Monday, August 7, 2017

21 Years Ago Today!!!

21 years ago today I was working my part time admin job at SciPubTech answering phones and fulfilling poster orders when I got a surprise birthday present from our licensing rep at paramount... A lovely lady named Seema Malhutra... Inside were a couple of the just released Enterprise D Blueprints!!! I was transported back to when I was 10 and had just gotten my first Franz Joesph prints!!!! It was very exciting... Inside the box was a SciPubTech flyer we had arranged to be in each box to sell our posters... standing next to my desk I saw there was a booklet that I began to devour.... Susan the office manager screamed from across the building for me to turn to page 5!!! And it was then that I began to sit down and ended up doing my best KIrk (Search for Spock) miss the chair and fell on my butt! Wow! I got a nod in the book!!! Can't begin to say how that moment felt!!! Suffice to say many of you know from my blog the difficult road I had with my Enterprise D poster... but in that moment it had all been worth it!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Getting The Details Right!

Part of working with studios on these big projects is getting the details right… I learned that there were three different models for all three films… each subtly different…  and that there were people who had already done a lot of the leg work to rectify some of these inconsistencies…  In comes Lora Johnson during the drawing process for the Millennium Falcon… Lora had worked on some of the earliest books and magazines called the Star Wars Technical Journals.

In speaking to her on the Falcon project one of the biggest misconceptions was the upper hatch Lando uses to save Luke who is hanging by a thread from the bottom of Bespin.   Many Cutaways have been drawn but only one has ever gotten this detail right… The first cutaway… My cut away.   All subsequent versions show the hatch to port but in fact the hatch in the film is on the Starboard side side.

The incorrect side

When referencing the original model you can see that the Port side shows no hatch whereas the Starboard side does show a hatch… as well the details of the set Lando emerges from coincide with the Starboard hatch and not the Port side.

Port side no hatch!

Details are everything

"After that I need to show that the lift-tube is not on the side that Lucasfilm put it in plans. These images show, categorically without any room for doubt, that the lift is on the starboard side of the ship. The images are reinforced with the logic seen on film: the movement of the ship under Luke to Starboard, and Lando taking him to Leia in the cockpit which is now closer and on the same side of the ship as the lift - instead of taking him from Port, past the medical bunk, to Starboard and then back to Port.

The surface details are from the 5 foot Falcon, Starboard side - not Port. The far-right image is the Port side - the details are completely different. " - CrazyCraig - RPF Board

The final proof comes with the use of light and perspective.... in the frame grab of the Falcon approaching Luke we see the relationship of light on the scene... the sunset like light is coming from the rear and starboard of the falcon and you can see the same light in the close up of the hatch...

What you can also see is the direction the Falcon is moving as Lando emerges establishing forward
momentum in the scene... The reward requires lightening the frame to see the curve of the top of the Falcon fall away towards starboard.  This is incontrovertible.

And that's why the first ever cutaway of the Falcon is the most accurate!  Now I’m sure there are tons of people who will vehemently disagree… Hell Lora will tell you even I was a hard sell initially but the proof is in the those small details and while Lucas film may have mental moved it post filming the facts remain that starboard is the answer!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Greed: Putting the Pieces Together…

Many of you have read the STORY first told on my blog about the lawsuit in and around of the Star Trek Enterprise D poster. After providing JDT and Associates with all of my hard work and trusting them to market and pay me for the Enterprise D cutaway poster… one of the largest and most printed cutaways ever they abdicated their responsibility to me by stopping to pay me and forcing a two day trial which they lost to the tune of $62,000.  While I won the battle I too lost the war as they filed for bankruptcy the next day.   Many years of grief and lessons learned under that bridge and while it hurt me significantly I got past it and the love of the fan became my only payment for the work in the end and let me tell you that became more than enough… It also spurred both me and my brother Matt to find a new representative in ScPubTech and we successfully published a ton of other posters for both Star trek and Star Wars.

Tonight while searching my Star Wars Pinterest I found a website by artist Brian Sauriol detailing his work on the Millennium Falcon Poster which never made it to press.  I had seen the work and sussed out the connection that JDT had dumped my Falcon concept in lieu for working with him.  The cost of the project paid for by Enterprise D moneys but now under the corporate name Nonpariel Communications…. same Address at 2242 Star Court in Rochester Hills, same owner Julie D. Targos.

Scroll back to 1991 we had just finished the Enterprise printing in Chicago and I showed Targos the idea of the Falcon cutaway I had started….  I based the illustration off of an original MPC Falcon Model kit I built… the details were not the best but the proportions were perfect.  She put the idea on hold so we could start selling Enterprise posters…

This was that concept illustration and the final line drawing and finished poster.


By 94 we were in court and one evening before the trial I got a phone call from Brian Sauriol who was not unknown to me as he was a teacher at Macomb Community College and one of the people who supplied the area illustration shops with new graduates… Yet I really didn’t know him so it was a strange call… He felt compelled to ask me to stop with my law suit with JDT and Targos….  I had not known the connection or why he of all people would contact me… The phone call ended badly and it creeped me out.

In 1995 I was at Miller Art Supply picking up some framed posters and thats when I saw the Sauriol Falcon also recently framed and the connection had been made.   By 1995 we were already contracted to do the Falcon, X-Wing and ATAT posters for the debut of the revised Star Wars episodes 4-6…  It became clear to me that the lawsuit and bankruptcy had foiled this duo's plans and in the end it was my Falcon that made the debut to the world!

This seemed like perfect karma yet there was always some level of supposition of the Sauriol, Targos connection based on the scary phone call and details I did not have.   Tonight it all became clear with THIS SITE found.  

The site was published in 2013 and bills the Falcon as a project hidden for two decades! The details of the sources he used explain why the illustration is so inaccurate…. the photos shown of the hasbro kids toy… bloated and out of proportion and the list of details are limited…. By the time I worked on finishing the Falcon Lucas Film had supplied me with full blue prints and photos but was also interested in a Falcon that squared three films worth of changing details into one final illustration… I consulted with designers and received notes from Lucas himself.

Who would admit to using a hasbro kids toy as reference for a serious cut away?

Tonight the details finally and completely come together… Now I know…  What I feel is more completely vindicated but I also feel a sense of forgiveness for two truly pathetic people who took my ideas and art and tried to take the benefits of that work and make it their own.  I have to forgive them because the alternative is to be consumed by the anger over the greatest loss in my professional life.

But there is more to it than that... there was the lesson to never give up on my dreams to keep pushing for what was right and so I want to impress upon anyone who takes on a project such as this... They are labors of love and they are for the fans and they come before money and profit... and with all honesty they come from the heart!

Monday, January 27, 2014


The final finished piece I completed for printing was for the show Voyager.  It was one of the funnest of all the ships to work on.  The ship is smaller that most of the others which allowed me to get more detail into the cuts... and at the time I was working on it our relationship with the Paramount folks was at its highest... and tons and tons of technical details flowed into this drawing.  Like all of my previous posters the drawing was in pencil using the tools of an illustrator... no computer generated portions of the drawing.

Once the initial drawing was generated it went to Paramount where the art department folks would go over the details with a fine tooth comb and they would leave notes on the drawing as you can see below.  At the time I was working on this drawing 7 of 9 was just coming on the show and one of the areas that I had to rework was her alcove area in the cargo bay...  You can see the blue rectangle in the upper hull here with the notes from the art department which was also sent with blue prints of the new set.

One of the cool aspects of this poster is it included a cut away of the Delta Flyer!

This was also fairly new to the show and as such I got to add to the technical canon of the show by showing areas you would never see on the show.  The computers and warp core and nacelles as well as some of the rarely discussed Borg tech.

Another part of doing this work was getting models to work from!

The final results of all this work comes after the image is rendered in color.  This was the second poster I worked on that did not get the secondary ink line drawing.  It went straight from pencil to color.  Additionally many of the patterns, colors and textures were supped by Paramount in the form of samples and photos that were input into the colorist computer and added digitally!  This really added to the realism of the final piece....

I have one last image still up my sleeve but have decided that I want to complete the image from drawing to finished rendering....  The Defiant.

Stay tuned for this one!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review Of Star Trek Into Darkness

Ok so I have had a couple views of this film and I am ready to talk about it in a semi coherent way. First let me say that to talk about  the film is to spoil it for those who haven't seen it… and ultimately
I would say this is a film to be seen. So If you haven't see it yet STOP READING NOW!

I remember sitting in a theater in 1982… The early afternoon matinee ..I had taken the afternoon off from work and just had to see this film as early as I possibly could.  I remember walking out of the theater somewhat stunned with the remnants of tears in my eyes… Spock was dead… He died a hero…  And the ultimate Star Trek Baddie Khan went down in history as the one who killed him….What an awesome movie… 

Thirty one years later JJ Abrams has re spun the Wrath of Kahn in an imaginative and creative way continuing to use the change in the timeline created in the first 2009 reboot film to give him license.
Early leaks that the return of Kahn were vigorously denied… and to see that indeed he is in this film makes me feel stupid for believing the early hype and retractions…  Not happy with that feeling JJ.

With out giving a blow by blow lets just say the events unfolded in the first film scared Starfleet shytless and they engage the use of Section 31 (star fleets covert operations first seen in DS9 and Enterprise..something that would have made Roddenberry roll in his grave) into a plan to keep the federation safe…(homeland security style)  They create a massive dreadnaut ship called Vengeance… all done up in black and created in shapes reminiscent of stealth tech as if that shyt works in space… Section 31/the Federation dig up Kahn and coheres him into using his super power skills to rid them of the impending Klingon attack and war.

Needless to say you don't let an angry powerful genie out of the bottle and expect the plan to work…. 
Kahn sets into a convincing rampage(9/11 style weapons of mass destruction on London) and Kirk and Spock set out to stop him… and the balance of the wrath of kahn plays out… But this time Kirk Dies saving the ship and Spock is on the other side of the glass… and with tears falling from his eyes screams Kaaaaaaahhhhhnnnnn!

To quote Nordling from : "It’s just an opportunity for Abrams, Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci to shove fan service down the audience’s throat.  There’s no special meaning or weight to it, and when Spock screams “KHAN!” at the top of his lungs, it feels like an insult.  It feels like the filmmakers think so little of STAR TREK and the fans; that all we want to see are the same stories over and over."

And this is the prime failure point in the film… While rebooted I am tired of rehashed story lines, rehashed dialog. One could see Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci in front of a storyboard of Wrath of Kahn re arranging the scenes…. and taking the easy way out by filling in the cracks.  They did a fine job of this by introducing fast paced heart pounding action scenes into the less than creative storyline and in doing so made a film that was still enjoyable to watch.

Some secondary points of failure in this film included the recreation of several scenes from the first film… Pike picking Kirk back out of the bar..really?!  I believe in you now lets get out of this dive!… Been there done that!
The pararashooting scene remade into a ship to ship space jump…. been there done that!
The Enterprise bursting through the clouds of earth repeating the burst it made out of the clouds of Titan in the first film… Been There Done That!
The reintroduction of Spock Prime in this film was nearly unforgivable as it suited no purpose other that to yet again feature Leonard Nimoy in the film…  (read this… Love Leonard Nimoy and if he was to be in this film then he should have had a purpose)  Again been there done that!

The size of the Vengeance is idiotic at best…Wait the size of the Enterprise has been idiotic since the first film.. On most charts the new enterprise is bigger than the Enterprise D,  Bigger than the Battlestar Galactica which is nearly 2 kilometers long… Vengeance is 4 times the size….  I can only conclude that Ryan Church is compensating for something as none of these need to be this big…. Not even to be cinematic… The enterprise was very cinematic in first Star Trek Movie at 1 quarter the size.  Oh yes and please quit blowing the crap out of the damn ship!!!  Jeezzz

Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor but in what way can he play a east asian prince which is who Kahn was?! 

In fact all of the actors did a splendid job in their roles….  Again this film was not a total loss.  It WAS enjoyable to watch but the simple fact remains this is JJ's last chance at bat… the next film needs to show that He and the writers can create a film of their own… boldly going to places we have never been to before…. seeing things yet unseen and facing challenges in a Star Trek way that have yet to be experienced.    

Now one more word of advise to JJ Abrams… I believe the next Star Trek Film will be better…  The comments I have written tonight are being written by many reviewers and I am sure he will be able to put a film together that will continue to bring in the new audience with out insulting the old…  But this word of advise is not about the next trek film.

JJ will be helming the next Star Wars Trilogy…  I can't say that I would want to be him going into that project… What I can say is the Star Wars Universe does not need a reboot…  We want characters we know… ships we know and the Galaxy far far away that we know…. We don't want a new Millennium Falcon….  we don't want reworked  R2D2 or C3PO… You've already signed all the primary actors from Return of the Jedi…. Take the story in to the future in an expected and logical way….  and in my opinion leave Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci at home to work on a fresh trek…  Get some good Star Wars people to help you with this next trilogy.

Here is another review provided by my brother and partner in crime in the Star Trek/Star Wars world:

--Big brother saw it the way I saw it. The purpose of this film, I believe was to pull at the heart strings of core fans for which there are fewer now. Perhaps the younger movie goers, who have no recollection of Star Trek history will think this is a great movie. By itself with youthful ignorance, it was a good movie, but that's not what it's about to a fan generated industries. Remember, it took a grass roots movement and lots of fan mail to reboot the franchise.

The fact that JJ. just reversed rolls and put in the same script dialogue was completely insulting. THE SAME DIALOGUE.... I was saying the dialogue to my wife before the actors opened their mouths.... The second law of Thermal Dynamics, even in a different timeline was violated. The ending was totally figured out thanks to Kahn's remarkable blood properties saving the little girls life. wouldn't hurt to put a little M. Night Shyamalan in the next movie.

As for scale (the geek switch has been activated) The New Enterprise is not much bigger that the original and Motion picture Enterprise. The original scale for witch it was meant to represent is more evident in this movie than the first. The Bridge window is a dead give-a-way. I swear I saw objects in the saucer windows too. The shuttle bay is a little bigger fore the aft portion of the secondary hull is a little wider. Let's face it. Name me a miniature that was built to fit the movie sets perfectly or the other way around with exception of older trek ships (OST and TNG). Room for imagination is ok and expected, but to change the scale without changing the miniature is stupid. The fact that the scale was changed to Galactic proportions to satisfy a cameraman is now rendered moot. I almost gave JJ a break on this because I thought he cared mare about the story making the scale of a ship is somewhat frivolous. But after watching the latest installment, the story is clearly secondary.

On the plus side, I liked the way they used a real experimental Fusion reactor for the warp core. Better than more Beer factory. But wait a minute. Didn't they eject multiple warp cores in the first 6 or 7? I'm getting headache.

I'm guessing the new movie will be about Klingons and I only hope they don't kill Captain Kirk's illegitimate child from a knocked up Dr. Marcus as a way to enrage the young captain into all out war. Damn, I should put money on this.