Monday, November 13, 2017

Ask Barking Alien - Lost in Space

Foomf asks, "Have you ever created models, or art of Traveller spacecraft?"

The answer to this is yes. Unfortunately, I have no proof.

I'll explain...

Most of the spacecraft art, whether two, or three dimensional, that I've made for Traveller over the years was made long ago. It's been at least 10-15 years since I've made anything of a model-kit, or original illustration nature. 

Never particularly good at drawing Science Fiction vehicles (especially starships), and yet loving them to pieces, I would most often use already existing art found in books, and magazines. Eventually I met other gaming friends better at illustrating spacecraft, and left the depictions to them. 

I am pretty good at imagining, and designing ships, just not getting them on paper.

As my modeling skills improved, and I started to customize Japanese Robot models more, and more, I tried my hand at customizing Star Trek, and Star Wars models. I sold a battle damaged Klingon K'Tinga that I'd made, which originally hung down from the ceiling in the old Forbidden Planet comic book store here in New York. I later sold a customized A-Wing fighter diorama that included miniatures originally made for Star Wars D6.

By the time I started college I had begun creating kit-bashed speeder vehicles, and shuttles for Traveller, but this was around 1989-1990. We did not have cameras in our pockets like we do now, and so I never took pictures of any of my work. I also never kept any of it, since I rarely used miniatures in my own games. Instead, as with the K'Tinga, and the A-Wing, I made it a habit of selling my pieces to supplement my income.

So, the answer to the question is yes, I have made models of original ship designs, but no such works remain in my possession, and no photos exist of them that I am aware of.

You'll just have to take my word for it.

Barking Alien


  1. See, I think with your art connections you should have custom illustrations of every non-standard spacecraft or vehicle in any Traveller or Trek game. I'm not saying it's fair, just that it would be my expectation based on your posts here

    I rarely did pictures or models or miniatures for these, but I did plenty of design work in both Traveller and FASA Trek.

    We often took the Star Fleet Battles illustrations for inspiration then came up with an interesting design for that look in the Trek RPG.

    Traveller I just went nuts and have a ton of designs that never even made it into a game. When Megatraveller integrated the vehicle design rules I got way into that side of things. Heck, when The New Era brought in the full design sequence I was designing _guns_ for individual planetary and pocket empire militaries.

    Then there was Battletech. I know it's not your cup of tea but "design your won" has been a big part of that game from the beginning and I still have folders full of hand-written mech sheets from before we had PC design programs. Thank goodness for sheet protectors!

  2. I have been trying (between getting married, buying a new house and moving to it just this month) to come up with a good question for you. Yet only one has come to me, and it is neither about gaming nor about what you like (quite the opposite), so I don't think it qualifies. But... why dou you dislike Star Trek: Voyager so much? XD

    1. First, Congratulations!!! I am really happy for you Miguel! Thanks for sharing the good new here on Barking Alien.

      Now then...Why do I dislike Voyager?

      Hmm. There are a lot of reasons. It find it easily the weakest link in the Star Trek chain, not counting the absolutely awful Abrams led Kelvin-verse and the new STD.

      The reasons are many as I said, but the some of the main issues I have with it are:

      Technology vs. Situation:

      In the series, a very advanced ship is lost in a distant part of our galaxy, in a space age variation of the classic 'marooned on a desert island' genre. OK fine. Why then does this not effect the ship or it crew at all? OK once in a while it plays into the plot of an episode, but they can create transwarp, build the delta flyer, they have incredible weapons tech - they are able to do things with less resources that the entirety of Starfleet couldn't do back in the Alpha Quadrant. The ship is a Mary Sue of Technobabble.


      All this at the expense of character. By the end of seven years, I felt like I barely know anything about most of the crew. Especially Janeway. The first series to feature a female captain, and she was never fully realized as a character. We know more about Kirk, Picard, and Sisko then we ever get to know about Janeway.

      Most of the characters were simply never fleshed out, and seem somewhat two dimensional.


      Unlike previous ST shows, which were largely written by Science Fiction writers, Voyager was written almost exclusively by TV writers. Many of the same people who worked on 'Murder She Wrote', worked on Voyager.

      The end result was very cliche concepts, resorting to poorly thought out plots, the need to wow you all the time with newer, bigger, badder tech (as noted above), and the Mary Sue complex finding its way into key characters like Janeway, and Seven of Nine. Ugh. I couldn't stand Seven of Nine. "Look, people like the Borg episodes according to Nielson ratings, so we'll make a Borg character...and we'll put here in a sexy catsuit...because, ya'know, sex sells. Yeah! This is gold!" Did I mention ugh? Ugh.

      Finally, Janeway as really written badly. The dynamic of many episodes became - Plot hook, Janeway makes a bad decision, it gets the crew/ship in hot water, the team/7 of 9 mostly figures a way out, Janeway approves it, Janeway is COMMENDED FOR HOW GOOD A CAPTAIN SHE IS. WTH?

      Sorry, that show just annoys the heck out of me.

  3. I must admit I liked a lot Seven of Nine and most of the crew. In fact, I think the feeling of the crew and the ship was the strong point of Voyager. But Janeway was indeed very badly writen, and, even worse, very incoherent from episode to episode. This, in turn, affected Chakotay, which was her counterpart. So, the dashing renegade freedom fighter was usually the voice of calm and reason within the ship.

    As for the other things, it is surprising that the professional TV writers were so sloppy in planning the series' long term. They didn't anticipate the challenges coming from its basic premise: lack of technology and known civilizations from previous shows.

    Anyway, thank you for your answer!

    1. Thank you for asking the question, and for being such a good sport about the answer.

      I can't tell you how many times people have asked me why I don't like D&D, only to get upset about my answers. It's hard hearing someone speak ill of something you like, but at the same time you should only ask for an opinion if you're ready to hear one.