sci-ficandy: over organia


Way back in 2001, Pocket Books commissioned me to author a Star Trek coffee table book of cool starship imagery (I bet you didn’t know that the Ships of the Line calendar series was created as a testbed for the book).  My concept was to feature moments from the history of Star Trek that clearly happened but for whatever reason were never actually seen (mostly due to budget constraints of the various series).  One of these moments was from “Errand of Mercy,” in which Kirk and Spock “negotiate” with the Klingons on the surface of a peaceful world while both Federation and Klingon starships amass in orbit, ready for battle…

While the story of what happened to the ill-fated book is best left for another day, I thought I’d share one of my favorite test images which finally visualizes this moment – complete with an homage to Franz Joseph’s designs from the original Star Trek Technical Manual (feel free to download the picture in all its hi-res glory).  If there is enough interest, I’ll see if I can find the project’s backup CDs and piece together a little more of the Unseen Frontier!  

[Special thanks to Daren Dochterman for his picture-perfect Constitution Class model and to Andrew Bradbury for creating the slice-and-diced fleet]


50 Responses to “sci-ficandy: over organia”

  1. 1 Lowell
    October 19, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I would love to see mote images from the Ships of the Line! This is an amazing imge – thanks for sharing!

  2. October 19, 2009 at 6:21 am

    That is gorgeous. I’m particularly fond of the Joseph designs. (I am wondering why the tug is there without a container, but I guess every phaser helps.)

  3. 3 Verbz
    October 19, 2009 at 7:05 am

    This is awesome…I’d love to see more.

  4. 4 eddyman592
    October 19, 2009 at 7:24 am

    That is such an awesome pic. I use to read that manuel as a kid and be confused as to why those ship were never shown in the tv show. Being brought up with TNG, I didn’t really understand the meaning of budget constraints back then. So seeing more of this would be awesome.

  5. October 19, 2009 at 7:45 am


    Just what I was thinking. Maybe the crew of the tug got the old “you’re the only available ship in the sector… oh, except the Enterprise and some scout we don’t care about”.

  6. 6 Fer
    October 19, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Oh… My… God. That is beautiful. THANK YOU for sharing this!!

    I know well the book project you’re referring to (What was it called? “Declassified Images from the Final Frontier,” or something like that?) and was very disappointed when I learned it was canceled. So YES, any additional images you have would be very, very welcome!

    Thanks again for this one!!

  7. October 19, 2009 at 9:30 am

    This is pretty much original work, I can’t tell you how valuable it is for a fan to see. Or maybe you already know ;-)

    Thank you!

  8. October 19, 2009 at 10:21 am

    “If there is enough interest, I’ll see if I can find the project’s backup CDs and piece together a little more of the Unseen Frontier!”

    Ummm, hell yes? I mean, please do!

  9. October 19, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Hey, waitaminute! NCC-612 should be a scout! (I think, my tech manual is at home. (Yes, it is cannon. Thankyouverymuch.))

  10. 10 GreyKnight
    October 19, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Always wondered what happened to the Unseen Frontier book. Superb image. Thank you.

  11. 11 Buck
    October 19, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Gorgeous! Would love to see more.

    How’d the light saber repair go?

  12. 12 Scott
    October 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Just like the Federation. Bring a tug and a scout to a gunfight.

  13. 13 Tripper
    October 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Aren’t tugs pretty overpowered for their size anyway?

  14. 14 The Hey
    October 19, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Please share the ill-fated story. I’ve heard it from you before but you need to share it with all your readers.

  15. 15 meshula
    October 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Would love to see the Unseen Frontier!

  16. 16 Andy
    October 20, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Very nice, love to see more images you created for the book.

  17. October 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Do you honsetly think anyone coming to this site is even slightly interested in seeing awesome, never before seen images from one of their favorite show’s universe? That’s crazy talk! :)

    Your such a tease.

  18. 18 Boris
    October 20, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Church: only bits and pieces of FJ-verse are canon, so technically there’s nothing to stop Mojo from getting the registry range wrong. :)

    (Every tug in FJ’s list is numbered either NCC-38xx or NCC-39xx, as reproduced here: http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Ptolemy_class. NCC-612 is the Pegasus, an FJ scout.)

    BTW, Mojo: how did you (plan to) get Pocket to sanction an FJ design? I thought there were licensing issues, at least at the time.

  19. 19 CenturionTerminator
    October 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    This is wonderful, Mojo.

    Is there any chance that this very scene could be re-created in a future, remastered edition of “Errand of Mercy”?

    It would be great to see the new but old ships in action.

    I was a bit disappointed at the new Enterprise in the rebooted Star Trek film.

  20. 20 darthmojo
    October 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    BORIS: you are certainly one well-informed nerd! You are correct that Paramount does not have the rights to use much of the new designs as seen in Joseph’s technical manual (which is why the United Federation of Planets seal we’ve seen in Trek is not quite the same as in the book). However, I only found this out myself after I submitted that image to Pocket Books, so in the final version I would have had to alter the ships so as to only slightly resemble the Joseph variations. So, in a sense, we should all be thankfull the book never materialized or else we would have never seen this picture! I suppose it could have always ended up in the “Unseen Unseen Frontier.”

    And yes, the registry is wrong on the tug, but do you think I could pass up the chance to name a ship “Pegasus?” :)

    TERMINATOR: To include a scene like this in a new version of “Errand of Mercy” would require rediting the show and allowing for entirely new scenes; the team that did the recent remaster only took it upon themselves to replace what was already there (and a low orbit battle between fed and Klingon ships was not on screen in the original). As much as something like this would be fun to do, it’s unlikely that anyone will be commissioning a NEW new version of the original series anytime soon.

    Ok, we now have proof that the iPhone was programmed by nerds – the auto spell checker automatically capitalized the word “Klingon!”

  21. October 20, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    @Boris, yeah I know the ‘official’ line, but dammit FSJ was canon enough for us when we were kids, and Great Bird and his ensuing legal battles be damned, it’s canon enough now. *tips out a bit of Mountain Dew for Franz*

    Forgot to check the Tech Manual (which has solved more arguments b/t The GF and I than any other publication) last night but Boris’ site lists NCC-612 as a scout/destroyer which sounds right to these pointy ears.

    This is in no way intended to be a criticism, just a nerd throw-down. /pushing up taped glasses

  22. October 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Ah crap, missed the part of Boris’ post after the link. Got distracted by the shiny. Soooo, pretty much what he said.

  23. 23 darthmojo
    October 21, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I agree that, in spirit if not in fact, Joseph’s stuff is canon. And Church, if you have a girlfriend that engages in debates over registry numbers with you, I have to ask – have you ever seen “The Crying Game?” Just checking.

  24. October 21, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I saw the ‘surprise’ in The Crying Game coming from the get-go, so I’m pretty sure about this one. To be fair, we haven’t actually thrown down on registry numbers, more like ‘which deck is the bowling alley on?’ (Why would it be in engineering? Noise?)

  25. October 21, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I like the TOSness of Organia. It’s got that brightly coloured TOS look, while still having the extra level of detail needed to make it look like a real planet. I liked most of the work done on the remastered episodes, but they did make a lot of the planets look kind of generic and Earth-like. I missed the wacky ’60s colours.

  26. October 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    ooo, prettyprettypretty.

    and @Church – if I was that tug cap’n heading into battle, I think I’d dump my container first. speed, maneuverability, bla bla bla.

  27. 27 Boris
    October 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    FJ’s publications absolutely were well-executed and highly influential, and if it were up to me, they’d be integrated into the current extended continuity or even canon where possible (especially since a lot of the stuff was already sprinkled throughout TMP, TWOK, and TSFS). Alex Rosenzweig and Jon Lane managed to incorporate much of the older continuity into the text of “Starship Spotter” (conceived overall and visually by Mojo and Rob Bonchune), rather than use the new policies as an excuse to reinvent the wheel unnecessarily, especially when it comes to high-quality (and formerly licensed!) sources that have been largely ignored in recent years, such as “Star Trek: The Motion Picture Blueprints” and many others. However, I also recognize that Paramount owns Star Trek and decides what it should be, so I’m not really interested in creating or exploring unlicensed fan continuities, only in strengthening the official one wherever necessary, primarily by discussing Star Trek topics within that framework.

  28. 28 Scott
    October 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Despite some nattering nabobs of nerdism; nice work, Darth. It’s now my desktop image.

  29. 29 Michael Llaneza
    October 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    So Mojo… no Federation Dreadnought in the shot ? For shame sir, for shame. It’s in the tech manual and would have made more sense than the tug.

  30. October 22, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Very cool Mojo. I’m a huge FJS fan, so this was extra special to see. Thanks!

  31. October 22, 2009 at 6:09 am

    @Roger True, I’m just wondering why it’d be there in the first place. (Maybe it was nearby and the Feds figured it’d be safer amongst the others?)

    @Michael, I love me some dreadnoughts, but they were uncompleted as of the Tech Manual, so it would probably be anachronistic for them to be there.

  32. 32 Boris
    October 22, 2009 at 11:34 am

    The tug was probably sent to Organia because it can fire phasers. Before leaving spacedock, it could’ve been retrofitted on the fly with a nacelle originally intended for the Pegasus :), which also suggests that it wasn’t in the best shape for a tug. We know that Starfleet doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation when it comes to scrambling battlefleets on short notice, with Wolf 359 featuring a collection of extremely odd starship designs never seen before or after.

  33. 33 Michael Llaneza
    October 22, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    There’s a very unusual quirk in Star Trek licensing. Franz Joseph Designs had sublicensing rights. A game company in Texas, Task Force Games bought rights to the Technical Manual. TFG produced a very detailed space combat game called Star Fleet Battles. They put in several pods for the tug to carry, most fo them were from the Tech Manual but they added an armed pod with the firepower of a dreadought. SFB later became the Starfleet Command games (I and II anyway).

    No pod on this tug, Mojo never played SFB. Not that he missed much, the rules lawyers were *put in charge of the game*.

  34. 34 Balentius
    October 23, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Bit late, but I definitely want to add my voice to those wanting more from the “Unseen Frontier”. I missed the first Ships of the Line calendar (darn relatives not getting it for me…) but when I got the next one, I saw the blurb about the book. Several years later, the ships of the line book came out – with the pictures SMALLER than the calendars. Grr…

    So, yes, please! :)

  35. October 23, 2009 at 10:56 am

    @Michael, Ah! I remembered seeing a battle pod at one point, but forgot where.

  36. 36 Foravalon
    October 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Yes yes yes! I’ve been waiting to see images from the book since 2001! The first and best SOTL! Anything and everything you Got Mojo, you rock!

  37. 37 darthmojo
    October 24, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Why a bring a tug to a starship fight, you ask? If memory serves, Sulu got his ass handed to him in the first go-around with the Klingons over Organia, so he headed for the nearest starbase, got the ship repaired and went back with whatever ships were near enough to join the fight in a hurry. It would have been a big cooincidence if a dreadnaught just happened to be nearby!

    I think it’s also more dramatic if the good guys look outgunned.

    I also wanted it to look like the Enterprise was in charge and leading the way – a heavier ship would have made the Enterprise play second fiddle, and the Enterprise NEVER plays second fiddle!

  38. October 25, 2009 at 8:39 am

    This is great stuff, would love to see more if you have it.


  39. 39 Simon
    October 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Another vote for more of the unseen “Unseen Frontier” (please find those CDs!!!)

    As far as the book goes, there’s a lot of correction needed to be “canon”. But in ST:TMP, the voiceovers at Epsilon 9 call out many ships listed in the book, including “dreadnought Entente”.

    For those wondering why a tug would be at Organia, look at Starfleet using an Oberth at Wolf 359!

  40. 40 Jim in NZ
    October 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Most definitely would love to see more. Can never get enough of these starship images.

  41. 41 Woody
    November 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I can’t wait to see more! Now where are those darn CD’s? LOL

  42. 42 zombieadl
    November 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Heck the tug could have a Battle Pod on it if you were doing the game Star Fleet Battles (or its baby sibling, Federation Commander) and really outgun the Enterprise there. But yeah, if you want the Feds too look like they’re out gunned, you succeeded.

  43. 43 SFB LOVER
    December 14, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I love the tos ships. One of my favorite SFB ships to play was the battle tug. As previously mentioned it was armed far better than most other fed. ships. I’d love to see more pics like this, especialy one of a battle tug going wild and blazing away in an awsome fire-fight with a couple of klingon light cruisers!

    great pic, love to see more pics of the ships in the old starfleet manual.

  44. March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hi. Just a belated note to add that I, too, would like to see the other images from that project. This “confrontation at Organia” is really cool, and I’d bet so are the others.


  45. July 6, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Mr. Mojo:

    I am very interested in your Franz Joseph works here. Can I assume that they are not 3D models?

  46. 46 AggieJohn
    October 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I definitely love what I am seeing I can’t believe that this project did not get finished. I f this pic is any indication of what could have been I am sad. I really hope to see the others. I think the concept is really neat too, Star Trek, short of Star Trek: the motion picture and the new release has always worked on a small budget and a lot is always cut down due to cost, there is also a tendency to use stock footage to fill in the holes, the D7 in Enterprise is a prime example. I would love to see what a great artist could do interpreting some of the never seen scenes with the sky as the limit.

  47. December 4, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Dear Mojo,

    Just a note to encourage you to find the CDs containing the images from Unseen Frontier, providing you don’t enter into copyright hassles from Paramount/CBS. I have no doube the images will becom classics, as what you’ve already shown are extraordinary.

    Next year in Luna City,

    David K. M. Klaus

  48. July 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

    How to be a nerd:
    a)Come here from IO9.
    b)See that there’s a tug in the picture. Prepare to show off nerd cred by saying, “Hey, there’s a tug!”
    c)See that someone pointed this out. Prepare to show off UBER nerd cred by discussing the SFB “weapons pod” for tugs.
    d)See that someone already mentioned that, too.
    f)Hope that nobody notices you were unable to resist the urge to be pedantic even though other people had made all the points you were going to make by writing a post making those points, wholly unnecessarily.

  49. February 25, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Really, really REALLY want more!

  50. September 5, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog
    and I’m inspired! Very useful info particularly the closing section :
    ) I handle such information a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

October 2009

%d bloggers like this: