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Jackill's StarFleet Data Sheets, Starships, A-Era, Volume 1 & 2


By Jeffrey Griffin - images & text © 2009

Type: Softbound, 164pp (each), by Eric Kristiansen
MSRP: $29.95 USD (~$31.90 CAN/ 20.12 EUR) available from Jackill's
Overall Rating: 9.5 - Very nice set of books that go a long way towards fueling the imagination for kitbashing

[First book's cover]

[Second book cover]

^ Second book cover

Image: Sample page

It's been almost two decades now since the first of the Jackill's books was published, done indepdently of any major publishing company. That first book, Jackill's StarFleet Reference Manual, Ships of the Fleet, Volume 1, was a work of art to my eyes, having only seen two other books anything like it - the much revered "Franz Joseph StarFleet Technical Manual" (published 1975) and the "Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One" book published by MasterCom DataCenter (1988). The only other work I'd ever seen along these lines other than the aforementioned books were the old FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game - and the majority of those original Federation designs left me wanting something better.

Enter Eric "Jackill" Kristiansen!

The fist book was published in 1992, with a total of three Volumes. A few years later, Eric re-published the first Volume after revising it to include some updated information corrections, as well as a few additional ships. Eric has also published a number of "Data Sheets" based on the designs found in those books, as well as a large number of other designs that he's published independently of those books, as well as based directly on ships from various Star Trek series.

These two books in this review collect a number of those ships, introduce new versions and are so much better in that they include more views than previously seen. A lot of the additional information included in the original books - number of shuttlecraft and ships in each class, for instance - is no longer present, but all the rest of the "Treknical" data is still present. And as already mentioned, there's no lack of awesome images of ships.

What I Got

Each book has a glossy, slick cover of a ship in a port view, done as a line drawing. The books are each 8 1/2" / 21.6cm by 11" / 27.9cm format, also being roughly 1/2" / 1.3cm thick. It has to be viewed at 90degrees from a standard book cover - which is also how the pages of each of the ships in these books are laid out. They're more like a calendar in that you turn the book on it's side to view the contents. Volume 1 has a green flash over roughly 1/4 of the cover, the ever present Jackill's Head in the lower left corner, done in yellow-gold, the Movie Era StarFleet Arrowhead with circle and has the Abbe-class PT Destroyer on the cover. Volume 2 has a purple flash over roughly 1/4 of the cover, the ever present Jackill's Head in the lower left corner, done in yellow-gold, the Movie Era StarFleet Arrowhead with circle and has the Griff-class Escort Destroyer on the cover (named after yours truly, shameless plug!).

Each ship entry covers a total of six pages, with the first page containing a large forward view of the ship in question. Subsequent pages give the necessary five-views, as well as a "cutaway" view from centerline. Statistics are included, which cover the ship's classification, ships class name, overall dimensions and the dimensions for the saucer, nacelle and secondary hull (where appropriate) are included, as well as the number of weapons emitters, crew complements, ships speeds and "Treknical" data such as weapons and shield strength power.

Each book covers the TOS Movie Era and are sub-titled the "A-Era". All of these designs are some variation on the basic Refit Enterprise (NCC-1701 or NCC-1701-A) components, as well as at two original new nacelle designs. Many of these have been seen in the previous Jackill's works, but there are likely half-again as many new designs as old. Each of the books has 26 individual ship designs in them, the majority original from either Eric or submitted to him by others. Eric has also "updated" some of the original works to include saucer-mounted navigational deflectors, which I first recall seeing on the Abbe-class PT Destroyer model conversion kit from Thomas Models (now PNT Models) in the mid-90's.

A number of these designs that Eric has included over the years are either original designs he came up with, or those from other fans. Many of Eric's original designs are named after friends, such as the Brownfield-class Light Scout, Rosenzweig-class Attack Cruiser, Waclawski-class Light Crusier and others. I also have the honor of having one of my designs included - the Christopher-class Heavy Corvette - as well as have the aforementioned Griff-class Escort Destroyer named after me. Really gets my Inner Geek going full time!

There are only three downsides that I can think of with these books. The first is that we don't get any entries for auxiliaries - shuttlecraft, fighters or Work Bees - in them. The second is that I sort of liked the information on shuttlecraft and hangar facilities included with each ship, as well as additional names and registries. The third is that these are the only books in this new format released thus far - I find myself wanting more. Hopefully sales will be such that Eric publishes more of these works.

Conclusions

I'm extremely excited about owning these two works and am eager to see more original designs - either from Eric or other folks - included in any future works. These are the sorts of books that fuel the imagination of Star Trek Engineers everywhere, helping to keep any number of fresh, new designs coming in to the Star Fleet Design Bureau desks. Even if someone doesn't build an exact version of one of these ships, there's always someone creative and original enough to improve upon the existing works of others.

It's my hope that by helping get the word out on these books that more people will purchase them and be as inspired as I have over the years. It also can't hurt to give Eric the incentive to publish more of these.


Many thanks to Jackill's for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 6000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2008 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 19 November 2009.