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This Week in Star Trek News!

John de Lancie crashed the Star Trek: Picard global panel confirming his presence in season 2. Sir Patrick Stewart also introduced a new teaser trailer for the 2022 season, filled end to end with easter eggs that longtime Trekkies will be eager to dissect and interpret.

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STAR TREK First Contact Day!

Happy FIRST CONTACT DAY!
(yeah, that's a thing)

Greetings Trekkies! 

 Monday, April 5th ViacomCBS will be honoring the Star Trek franchise with its annual observance of First Contact Day. 

Of course (and, as depicted in the film Star Trek: First Contact) April 5th, 2063 is the day that humans first make contact with beings from the planet Vulcan, marking the most pivotal moment in human exploration in Star Trek's history. 

Our April 5th will be different, but loaded through and through with Star Trek goodness at StarTrek.com/FirstContact, so let's take a quick look at everything they'll have to offer.

Very much like September 8th's Star Trek Day - ViacomCBS' new virtual event will celebrate, honor & commemorate this date in "history of the future" by providing Trekkies & Trekkers exclusive programming, themed panels with guests from classic and current Star Trek television series along with the cast of Star Trek: First Contact, exclusive news from the all over the Star Trek Universe on Paramount+, curated episode marathons, and the return of the #StarTrekUnitedGives initiative.  

"On April 5, for every person that tweets the hashtag StarTrekUnitedGives (#StarTrekUnitedGives), Paramount+ will donate $1 to organizations who do the real-world work of championing equality, social justice and the pursuit of scientific advancements." -ViacomCBS

The Day's main event (kind of like being in Hall H at SDCC) will start at 3PM EDT (12PM PDT) on April 5, when Star Trek Day's emcees Wil Wheaton & Mica Burton will host 3 hours of panels and presentations, right in the middle of a 12 hour Star Trek episode marathon. 

The full schedule of events can be found here: https://blog.trekcore.com/2021/03/star-trek-first-contact-day-april-5-event/ , but here’s a few that I’ll be paying special attention to...

 A "Special Presentation" event begins at 3PM EDT / 12PM PDT with a “special announcement and presentation by Patrick Stewart,” with details yet to be revealed. I’ve no idea what this is going to be. A teaser for Star Trek: Picard season 2? A full trailer for the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? ViacomCBS has proven that they love to drop cool things during events like this, so I’m not gonna miss it! 

Star Trek: Discovery Costume Designer Gersha Phillips, Senior Concept Designer Neville Page, VFX Supervisor Jason Zimmerman and Star Trek: Picard Make-up & Prosthetics Department Head James Mackinnon come together in conversation about creating the art of Star Trek in the “Creating First Contacts” Panel at 4PM EDT / 1PM PDT. These folks are friends of ours, and help with the intricate world (Galaxy?) building that goes into every episode made in the Star Trek Universe. 

I LOVE the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, and so from 5PM ET / 2PM PT I’ll be streaming the “Second Contact'' panel with Mike McMahan (creator of Star Trek: Lower Decks), Paul F. Tompkins, the co-host of official Star Trek podcast The Pod Directive, and TNG's Brent Spiner &  Jonathan Frakes discussing how some of the ridiculous "B-Stories'' from earlier Trek shows inspired Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Just like September's Star Trek Day event, all of these panels, and more will be available to fans worldwide through the official website — www.StarTrek.com/FirstContact — and will also stream for free in the U.S. on PlutoTV and Paramount+’s Twitch page. And, if you can’t watch it live - don’t stress about it. All of this content should be available later on the Paramount+ dedicated YouTube channel, and to streaming subscribers on Paramount+.

If that isn't enough Star Trek in one dose, episodes from all of the television shows (each one featuring it's own “iconic first contact") starting with The Original Series’ “Arena.”  

How's that for a concentrated taste of Star Trek for you? All of that and more, including perhaps a few new Star Trek announcements, product launches? Crazy, and more than enough to keep me watching all day. See ya there?

LLAP, John

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John Cooley April 05, 2021 0 tags (show)

A Vital, Necessary Act - STAR TREK

On a more serious note

So, I'm going to deviate somewhat from the stuff I normally write to touch on something serious for a change. I don't do this often, but in the best tradition of Star Trek itself I'm not shying away from a topical issue I feel is important to discuss.

Over a year into this ongoing pandemic we have a number of vaccines available around the world with even more on the way. Researchers, Scientists, Doctors, Nurses, and all manner of medical personnel in laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and tents have worked tirelessly (my own wife among them) for this moment. For many of these people the work has shifted from caring for the sick and dying, to vaccinating humanity against this disease. It's a vital, and necessary act.

Just as vital and for the good of our species - is the need for everyone able to receive a vaccination to do so. 

The other day I took the first of two shots required for vaccination against Covid-19, and within an hour of that dose I encountered people who said that they had no intention of being inoculated against this virus. Not because they had any physiological reason to refuse the vaccine, but because they simply didn't want it. That disturbed me greatly. 

I had encountered someone (more than one) with an ideological objection to a preventative shot against a viral entity whose very existence has been so costly to our entire world. 

Why?  

I thought of Star Trek, and medical personnel like Doctor McCoy, Nurse Chapel (eventually an M.D. herself), Doctor M'Benga and others like Crusher, Bashir, Voyager’s EMH, and Phlox - who searched for cures to deadly ailments usually under dire circumstances.

You wouldn't refuse medication from any of them, right? So why now? 

There's actually quite a few reasons people give - allergic reactions to certain medical ingredients is one valid reason. But among the vast majority of people refusing to take their medicine, it really comes down to trust. 

Distrust in today's institutions, in governments, in medical centers, and leaders. 

Decades (in some cases centuries) of systematic, institutionalized inequality has eroded the trust necessary for some people to roll up their sleeves for a shot, and that can't just be hand-waved away.

But, like it or not - believe it or not... mass inoculation has to happen. 

For your own health, for the health of people you love, for the health of people around you, in your community, in your country, and for your species, we all need to do the simple heroic thing and be vaccinated. 

While worldwide clinical trials have largely proven that almost everyone can receive Covid-19 vaccines, there may be some who have underlying medical issues, and thus valid concerns about being vaccinated. With that in mind, 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has provided an info page to help people with these concerns which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/underlying-conditions.html 

People forget, but the Polio virus once raged around the world, destroying lives everywhere it went. When the Salk Vaccine became available, people took it. 

When the later Sabin-Chumakov vaccine became available, even more had access to it and between the two vaccines numbers of world wide infections nosedived by 90%. Since then the number of cases reported each year has continually - significantly dropped. 

For example, there were an estimated 350,000 cases reported in 1988; now contrast that against just 33 cases of wild Polio in 2018! Today, Polio has mostly been eradicated from our planet through the cooperation of nations around the world and because of ordinary people like you and me taking the vaccine.

That kind of success story can happen again, but only if everyone pulls together to see it done. It requires the same commitment to one another that Spock demonstrated so well in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when he said; 

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” 

That axiom is perfect for the situation we find ourselves in today. 

There are no magic words I have that can make anyone feel better regarding something they feel unsure about. 

Some people out there - justified or not - feel that by rolling up their sleeve they are opening themselves up to a risk. Here again, Gene Roddenberry has something to say about risk in a scene he inserted into the script for "Return to Tomorrow."

"Risk … risk is our business. 

That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her."

Captain Kirk was talking about a different circumstance than the one we find ourselves in today, but he's not wrong. There's risk in every decision we make in life. You can't live without it, but we can’t afford to let doubt keep us from taking those risks that benefit all humanity.

I know that our blogs are usually focused on the more fun aspects of our shared fandoms, but this topic is too important, and the price of inaction too costly to go without some measure of discussion. 

As concerned citizens of our shared planet we ask that if you are medically able to do so, that you please consider taking the vaccine as it becomes available to you. You'll be doing more for yourself, your fellow humans, and our future than you may realize. 

We have great things to do together, united by this common simple act as the people that inhabit Planet Earth. 

Remember, “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning.”

Live Long and Prosper, 
John 

If you live in the United States and would like more information about getting a Covid-19 vaccination as the rollout continues, please checkout NBC’s “Plan Your Vaccine” website which has useful tools for determining your eligibility and vaccination locations within the 50 states.

https://www.nbcnews.com/specials/plan-your-vaccine/ 

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Ghostbusters - In Universe Storytelling

In Universe Storytelling

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to Ghostbusters, almost everything in print is written from the point of view that the Ghostbusters. Their adventures and artifacts are "real" things in our universe. Even our own products like our pocket size ESP Test Cards were presented as if they had been a promotional item from the WKRR Chanel 12 series World of the Psychic with Dr. Peter Venkman.

This approach means that the events of the first two Ghostbusters films have "happened" in our own real world. Just imagine having a conversation with your friend about the time the four Ghostbusters battled Gozer on the roof of a building in Central Park West? "Oh, I remember exactly what I was doing when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appeared."

You don't see this sort of high concept in-universe treatment much anymore - aside from Ghostbusters tie-ins, and that's a shame. At one point in the 1970s and '80s it was fairly common, and more importantly it was Fun. In-Universe books like The Star Trek Technical Manual, Gnomes, and a whole host of others once made up their own section of the WaldenBooks in your local mall.

Ghostbusters' decades-long institutional love of the in-universe style of storytelling I think, comes from Ray Stantz himself - Dan Aykroyd. His original concept for what was once called The GhostSmashers was filled with so much detail that as Ghostbusters evolved much of that material found new life in tie-ins that were created with the notion that they had just slipped off the movie screen and into our lives. The use of in-universe material appears to be a concept Dan had played around with before as the co-creator, and chief editor of Judith Jacklin Belushi and Tino Insana's best selling book Blues Brothers: Private. That book was a movie tie-in that was presented as essentially a folder of photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and of course police reports. Ghostbusters in-universe tie-ins like The Tobin Spirit Guide, and The Official Ghostbuster Training Manual, Hayne's Ectomobile Owner's Workshop Manual, and others owe their existence to Dan Aykroyd's genius attention to detail.

It's that attention to detail that we aspired to with every Ghostbusters product we've ever made. From the No-Ghost patch, to recreating the specific shapes for the lettering used on the original team's name tapes, to every scratch, dent, and paint chip found on the Spengler Legacy Proton Pack.

Those "perfect imperfections" are hallmarks if you will, and they act as a sort of certification of authenticity. They testify that our Proton Pack was derived directly from the actual Proton Pack Harrold Ramis wore during the filming of the original Ghostbusters film. 

Some of those imperfections, dents in the shell, gouges and scratches found on the 1983 "hero" Spengler Pack in the Sony Archives were physically incorporated into our Legacy Proton Packs. Why? Easy. The point was that we always wanted our stuff to feel like it escaped from the world the Ghostbusters called home, and returned with us to our place of origin in the nearest convenient parallel dimension.

-John

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John Cooley March 29, 2021 0 tags (show)

Ghostbusters Everywhere

I was at a store last night, when it dawned on me that I was surrounded by Ghostbusters everywhere I looked. Action figures & cars, backpacks & t-shirts, any department I walked into had the No Ghost symbol displayed somewhere. Breakfast cereal. Now the jaded, media aware version of me knew that what I was experiencing was the result of a studio's perpetual marketing machine to promote Ghostbusters: Afterlife - placed in motion before the pandemic shifted cinematic release schedule.

I know that, and I don't care. I love seeing reminders of what was one of my favorite summers ever...everywhere I go. As a kid, I wore so many iterations of that symbol, from my rushed into production light blue t-shirt, to an arm patch on my jacket and more.

Later, my little brother and I "became" Ghostbusters running around with makeshift proton packs on our backs fashioned out of boxes and round Christmas cookie tins. Those were good times, and I hope kids still play like that.

I was thinking of those old packs we made the first time I saw our Legacy Spengler Proton Pack. I wish those scruffy kids could have seen these then. It would have melted their little minds. Between the heft of the thing, the feel of what looks like a prop straight off of Egon's back, the lights, the weathering, all of it. They'd have been amazed.

I mean, I am amazed. What our team has done to bring these things into the physical world is astounding, and I don't even know everything they did to make these. I don't want to know. I want to believe that these came from an old firehouse in midtown.

So, life today is very much as it was in 1984. I'm running around town with our No Ghost patch on my arm, and have haunting dreams of Spengler's own Proton Pack on my back. 

 Dreams worth sharing, and we're sharing them right now. 

Sincerely,
John “Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts” Cooley

ABOUT ME

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS 

ATTENTION:
Spengler Pack RETIRED

All good things must come to an end, and as such we’re retiring the Spengler Pack. After March 31, 2021 this product reservation will be permanently closed.

 We are proud to close the door on this once-back ordered product and do the same with our next awaited project! So if you missed out earlier, this is your last opportunity to grab this iconic collectible before its gone forever. 

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John Cooley March 25, 2021 0 tags (show)

Star Trek NEWS is Everywhere

STAR TREK NEWS is EVERYWHERE

Edith Keeler once said that we had to survive "because the days and the years ahead are worth living for." When she said that in "City on the Edge of Forever'' she wasn't speaking to the fans of a little sci-fi tv series, but her message was still apt, even if it felt off to someone who only wanted more Star Trek during the early years of syndication. 

Seriously. I know I can sound a bit like some sort of evangelist for Star Trek sometimes, but what she said back then feels like it resonates now. Nearly every day brings some news about Star Trek.

Last week brought reports from all over the franchise - the most exciting of which was the announcement of five new cast members joining the ongoing production of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. 

Babs Olusanmokun (“Black Mirror,” “Dune”), Christina Chong (“Tom and Jerry,” “Black Mirror''), Celia Rose Gooding (“Jagged Little Pill”), Jess Bush (“Skinford,” “Les Norton”) and Melissa Navia (“Dietland,” “Billions”) will join as series regulars.

There have been some rumors circulating through subspace for a week now about who these new cast members may be playing, but to date there has been no actual statement from Paramount+ regarding what the additional character identities are. We'll all just have to wait and see...for now.

Another other piece of news that I'm uber-excited for is that "The Toys That Made Us'' creator/director Brian Volk-Weiss, and his The Nacelle Company is producing an eight episode documentary series for The History Channel called "The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek." 

Featuring every aspect and era of the franchise from the development of TOS to Paramount+. No stranger to the franchise, Brian's taken on Star Trek for that channel before with his 2016 anniversary documentary "50 Years of Star Trek," and a Star Trek episode of his fun show "The Toys That Made Us." I can't wait to watch this new series, and expect it to be just as fun as Brian's other Star Trek projects.  

BTW - Brian (if you're reading) please take a moment to read this piece on the phenomenon of "Kirk Drift" before doing a final edit on the TOS episode.

https://boingboing.net/2017/04/30/on-kirk-drift-the-stran.html

It's important & worthwhile reading for any Trek fan, especially someone taking on a documentary that encompasses the whole franchise.

From the other side of the franchise we hear that Star Trek: Short Treks and Star Trek: Discovery writer Kalinda Vazquez has been tapped to write the fourth film in Paramount Pictures & Bad Robot's Kelvin Timeline series. A writer with an already impressive resume, Kalinda wrote one of the most entertaining "Short Treks" so far, "Ask Not" which featured Captain Pike, and Cadet Thira Sidhu.

In addition to her writing credits for the Star Trek franchise and other projects, Kalinda is also fascinating having grown up a Trekkie, in a household of Star Trek fans who even named her after The Original Series character "Kalinda" (a scout dispatched by The Kelvan Empire of the Andromeda Galaxy) in the episode "By Any Other Name." She knows Star Trek backward and forward, and we can't wait to see what she brings to us with her first Trek movie.

At the top of this piece I mentioned that it seems as though we get Star Trek news almost everyday now. It's true, and all of this is on top of the regular product and novel announcements, virtual convention schedule, and more that we seem to receive everyday now!

LLAP, 
John

ABOUT ME

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.

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John Cooley March 24, 2021 0 tags (show)

Last Call for Ghostbusters Proton Pack

ATTENTION:
Spengler Pack RETIRED 

All good things must come to an end, and as such we’re retiring the Spengler Pack. After March 31, 2021 this product reservation will be permanently closed.

It is the first hallmark high-end prop replica to come from our Texas facility, and it’s something that our production team has really sunk their teeth into. Truly, it is the finest recreation of a prop replica our team has been proud to produce. 

With other backordered projects — formerly from other outside vendors — being assimilated into the production line at our Texas facility, we can’t hold the door open on the Spengler packs forever. 


So, we’re giving you THIS FINAL CHANCE to grab the Ghostbusters Spengler Legacy Proton Pack. 

Payment Plans ARE available, of course, and you’re invited to reach out to our sales team if interested. 

That said, we’re closing the window — for good — on the Spengler pack come March 31, 2021.

 We are proud to close the door on this once-back ordered product and do the same with our next awaited project! So if you missed out earlier, this is your last opportunity to grab this iconic collectible before its gone forever. 

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Joe Salcedo March 24, 2021 0 tags (show)

Where did Starship "Aztecing" come from !?

There's a lot of
Star Trek to watch.

Seriously, go look up "Star Trek'' on Paramount+ and see for yourself. 

Out of all that content, and perhaps more there is one scene that stands out in my mind as my favorite. Wait...yeah, it's my favorite. No question about it. I love its look, acting, pacing, musical score, everything about it.

It's the moment in the film that we're reintroduced to one of the most important characters in the entire franchise, the original U.S.S. ENTERPRISE NCC-1701.

(and to quote Mr. Scott one more time - "No bloody A, B, C, or D.")

And she's never more beautiful than in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The concept was perfect. To account for the need for a much more detailed ship for the silver screen, the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series had just spent 18 months in drydock being redesigned and refit to bring her back to being THE ship of the line she had always been. 

The Enterprise's introductory scene had to tell an entire story in the 7 minutes of the movie allotted to it. And it does that in style. 

Admiral Kirk is ferried via TravelPod to the ship by Chief Engineer Scott, and along the way falls head over heels in love again with HIS ship (and so do we).

The Enterprise in The Motion Picture is an Art Deco masterpiece based on Matt Jefferies’s original design for the ship as seen in The Original Series with some changes added from the ship designed for Star Trek: Phase II (the unmade 1977 series) by Jefferies and designer Mike Minor. 

But the finished ship in the film owes the majority of its finished look to production art director Richard Taylor, designer Andrew Probert, and Doug Trumbull who had begun to wonder what a ship like that might look like in deep space. 

“The shell of the model existed and it was just a big fiberglass model, and it didn't have much detail to it,” 

said Trumbull.

"And whoever was designing the process of making the visual effects hadn't really thought about what I was thinking about, which was how do you see the Enterprise when it's in deep space, when it's not near the sun or a star or anything?  

 What's the source of light? Where's the key light? Where's the fill light? How are you going to make this thing beautiful? 

And my thought about it was how to make it light itself up, kind of like the Titanic at night. And make it light itself up by having lights onboard the nacelles, shining on the fuselage, and from the fuselage shining upon the nacelles, and make it look like it's self-illuminated. 

So I didn't have to justify a key light because there wouldn't be one. And no one had ever thought of that."

An enormous team was eventually responsible for bringing the Enterprise into its final physical form, but it was Richard Taylor who thought of cladding the starship in its distinctive opalescent skin.  

"One of the things we did with all of the models was to give their surfaces details and interesting designs. A smooth object has no scale so it’s important in model work to find ways of creating scale. Sometimes it’s very subtle but it’s one of the most important elements in model photography. I had this idea of giving the surface of the Enterprise a patterned, plated look and we made masks for the surface to create that surface effect. We did experiments with Crescent Metal Powders and other iridescent and pearlescent paints. So, in the end, we made pearlescent body panels that varied from each other by minute differences in color and reflectivity. "

“There were multiple masks that were used to give the surface the complex texture you see on the screen. The painting was phenomenal." Taylor later elaborated that, "As we worked up the Enterprise it became apparent to me that we needed a special paint technique to give the surface of the ship scale. Literally, the different spectral qualities of paint and the thickness of one coat of paint could make the surface detail of the Enterprise believable. I had done some tests with different paints as a painter and knew of the Crescent Metal Powder paints and their pearlescent pigments. Jim Dow and I looked into them as he had used them as well on his 1935 Ford, did a little test, and decided some combination of those pigments would work. Designing the pattern and doing the actual painting, now that was going to be one hell of a job for someone to tackle."

The intricate patterning which was eventually called the "Aztec pattern" was applied to the model by Zuzana Swansea and Paul Olsen. 

Working for nearly eight months Olsen, with some help from Swansea, applied a high-gloss pearlescent lacquer coating which gave the Enterprise a chameleon-like appearance in the movie, which changed its color appearance depending on the type and direction of the lighting rig used. 

The Enterprise's Aztec pattern was only visible if the light hit the model at an oblique angle.  Olsen later remembered; 

"I used four pearl colors that were transparent: a blue, a gold, a red, and a green. They all flip-flopped to their complements when the viewing angle changed. Beautiful. 

By varying the amount of color, and the mixture of several colors on top of each other, I obtained myriad colors and depth of color."

While acknowledging Taylor, Olsen, and Swansea for the "Aztec-pattern" design, Andrew Probert is also credited for its creation saying, 

"Richard asked me to come up with an overall scheme of surface paneling to give the ship another level of detail. I agreed that it would give the Enterprise more credibility as a manufactured spacecraft, even though panel lines wouldn't be visible at the scale distance needed to encompass the entire ship in a shot.

Richard thought a subtle differencing of the paint scheme would accentuate those panels and that worked really well. For the saucer, he came up with "Aztec Pattern" panels providing a series of interlocking edges in order to reinforce the ship's surface tensile strength.

So it is unsurprising that the refit was one of the key inspirations in the redesign of Star Trek: Discovery's U.S.S. ENTERPRISE in 2017. 

John Eaves’ reinterpretation of the "original'' Enterprise took elements from three ships ("The Cage," "Original Series," and "Motion Picture") and melded them into a fresh take on the ship for the 21st century. 

From the Motion Picture ship, the Star Trek: Discovery art department took the swept-back nacelle struts, and the "Aztec Pattern" hull detailing seen on almost all Starfleet ships since 1979 (2271?). 

In a way, it reminds me of a child born of Matt Jeffries and Andrew Probert's Enterprises.


We've spent a considerable amount of time training and mastering these fantastic new methods to replicate Captain Christopher Pike's beautiful U.S.S. Enterprise for our own Studio Scale Miniature program

From new printing techniques, new miniature construction & lighting rigs, to painting the intricate Aztec Pattern on the starship's hull. 

And we tested those skills by working on The Motion Picture refit of the ship.  If you want to know how to do something right, you gotta start at the beginning.  The Aztec hull patterning seen on nearly every Starfleet ship began with Admiral Kirk’s refit Enterprise. 

Here again, Star Trek’s most beautiful ship has things to teach us about the future.  

We'll have more on our latest iteration of Star Trek: Discovery's U.S.S. ENTERPRISE and other studio-scale miniatures in the future, but until then remember...  "The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning..." 

LLAP,
John

ABOUT ME

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS

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Close Up Look - Ghostbusters Spengler Legacy Proton Pack Collectible

 


Exclusive Close-Up Look!

Here's one of our Spengler Legacy Proton Packs close up with interactive lights and full weathering. 

Shop Now

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Lighting Test - Enterprise Studio Scale Starship

 

Now that's a well-lit Nacelle!

Here's one of our lighting tests of the starboard nacelle for Captain Pike's Enterprise as seen on STAR TREK DISCOVERY.

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