As time progressed, so too did my drawing skills. The revamped Mooncress... which
was called the Cirrus, vaguely resembled a Federation starship. Unfortunately, it was
not all consistant with "modern" starships. When it was destroyed, the Cirrus was
replaced by the Starcress... which lead to the Stardust... which ultimately lead to the
When I finally decided to bring TFF onto the Internet, I knew
that I had to get serious about ship design. The very earliest
incarnations of TFF featured a Meridian-class Starlight. The
design was swift, agile, and the predecessor to the USS
Voyager. These images are shots of an acutal model built for
VGR. Obviously, they refined Voyager's design a bit AFTER
this model was built, but it was an obvious starting point.
I was quite fond of this design. In fact, it existed as the
Starlight for quite a few years. But there was one small
problem... I only had four pictures of the ship. Quite
frankly, that wasn't going to cut it. My name didn't carry
much weight at the time, so I couldn't just go around and ask
someone at Scifi-Art to make a 3D model of the ship for me...
Thus, the Meridian-class starship Starlight met its demise.
And in retrospect, I don't like the design today as much as I
did back then... So I'm kind of glad it's gone.
With the Intrepid-prototype out of the question, I started looking for a starship that
was a bit more practical for me to use. Sure, I didn't have a 3D program back in 1998,
but I was on good terms with several 3D artists at the time, and the chances of them
making images for TFF were quite good.
And thus, the Starlight became a Nautalus class starship. This was also the first time
that its registry, NCC-72080 came into use. For a while, it seemed like everything
was falling into place.
There was just one problem.
When I went looking for the
designer of this here starship,
the guy was nowhere to be seen.
Apparently he fell off the face of
the Earth after designing this
beast... And so, I was again left
with an incredible FOUR images
of the Starlight.
Undeterred, I copied and pasted
the ship into DOZENS of crappy
images. Unfortunately, I knew
that those copied/pasted images
would be unacceptable on the
Internet, so... It was back to
Without a decent-looking starship in sight, I started growing
desperate. I resorted to hand-drawn images. Indeed, my artistic
skills had improved a bit more by 1998... I wouldn't quite say
these images are GOOD, but they are far superior to the demonic
toaster up above. "Demonic Toaster." That sounds like a
summon from Baiten Kaitos... "UNLEASH WHOLE-GRAINED FURY
UPON THE BATTLEFIELD! I SUMMON YOU... DEMONIC TOASTER!"
When I got home that day, I noted that
the designs were curiously similar to
one of those ships in Star Trek: First
Contact. So I pulled out the... First
Contact LASER DISK (there's a trend that
didn't quite catch on) and compared...
Lo and behold, my starship designs were
quite similar to ... that funny-looking
ship. Whose name I did not know...
So, to the Internet I went, searching for
the ship that would soon be known to
me as AKIRA...
These images were drawn in my 6th Hour Math Class. They also explain why I cannot
for the life of me calculate a quadratic equation... Not that I would want to calculate
a quadratic equation in the first place. I mean, really... who does that sort of crap in
every day life? Not I.
Anyway, while I was not paying attention to the quadratic equations, I was paying
plenty of attention to my mad artistic skillz. And the designs cropping up in my
notebook were definitely promising...
Once I finally decided to make the Starlight an
Akira, I broke down and purchased an actual 3D
program, that way I could make my own
images... and NOT have to use Microsoft Paint.
And so I acquried a program called trueSpace.
Admittedly, it's not the most powerful program
on the market, but I was dirt poor... so I had to
settle for something that I could afford. As is
obvious from these images, it could crank out
some decent-looking stuff when properly used,
but... I was never really pleased with this
rendition of the Starlight. It wasn't very
accurate when compared to the studio model,
and well... the textures were just bad.
Still, it got the job done. This version of the Starlight appeared along with the series itself in late
1999. I used the mesh for the entirety of the First Season before finally coming to the conclusion
that it just wasn't going to cut it. I needed something BETTER...
The newly revamped Starlight
appeared in the beginning of
Season Two. The model itself
Thus, with the start of Season Three came
the start of the third Starlight. This was
the excellent 3D mesh from Scifi Art... and
while I could make the thing look decent,
it never quite looked as good as anything
that the guys over at Scifi Art could make.
Probably because the model was not
intended for trueSpace. Whatever the
case, Starlight v3 looked good enough to
last the entirety of Seasons Three and
Four... But since I was incredibly picky, I
was constantly on the lookout for
something better... And when Season Five
came along, I found it...
As I would hope everyone knows by now, the Starlight is an Akira-class starship.
Technically speaking, I had absolutely nothing to do with its design. It was first seen
fighting the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact... LONG before TFF first appeared. Still, the
Starlight's evolution into an Akira-class starship was an ordeal all in its own, and so I
present to you the creation of everyone's favorite starship.
As much as I *hate* to bring this beast out, the sad truth is, the
Starlight started here, with the Mooncress. The most revolting
ship in the fleet, its design was ... not at all inspired. It looks
like the Borg assimilated a freaking toaster for crying out loud.
Thankfully, I canned this design shortly after the ship's
destruction. This bad boy was never in conisderation for the
name Starlight. I don't think it would have lasted very long in
combat against the Elorg, anyway...
was a slight upgrade from the original, but it still
had its flaws, mainly the catamarans were flat
instead of rounded... And my textures were
crappy to say the least. Probably a bit too
cartoony for their own good... and of course, my
unfortunate lighting schemes didn't help matters.
Near the end of Season Two, I went back and
redid the textures. The result is the image on
the left. They looked a little bit better, but
really, the end result was nothing to get excited
The Starlight took its final form in Season Five. This model, created by Mike Wright, looked truly
excellent. And since a friend kindly upgraded me to 3DS MAX, I was well on my way to success. After
countless long years, the USS Starlight had arrived. Just in time for it to end... as the Fifth Season also
marked the FINAL year of Star Trek: The Final Frontier. All good things must end, right?
Well, at least TFF gets to end with a bang. And a very pretty-looking starship.