Ivan Congreve describes the epic planning and building of the stunning set for the Star Trek game, “Savage Dove, Star Date 5894.44”. Photos by John Treadaway. In 2010/2011, we built and developed a 1/10 scale Star Trek game based on a reproduction of the bridge and a small section of corridors from the original series USS Enterprise. Players took turns in helping the crew regain control of the Enterprise and beat off the alien entity controlling it. The players fought off Gorns, Klingons and some of the crew to achieve this, while trying to find the beloved Captain Kirk, Spock, Scott and McCoy.
The new game this year is set further on in the five year mission and borrows from two episodes in the third season of the original series. The hideous rock creature Yarnek from the planet Excalbia has previously tested the human race and their capacity for good and evil, as well as their relative strengths and weaknesses. However, Yarnek has been contacted by an ephemeral Entity from elsewhere in the Enterprise’s past. This Entity had fed from the energy given off by the warring nature of the Enterprise’s crew when it set them fighting the Klingons in hand to hand combat on star date 5630.3. Working together, Yarnek and the Entity develop a plan to further test the Enterprise crew – and by extension the whole human race – with a new devilish scenario: calling up a variety of foes from the crew’s recent past, the inhuman duo summon reptilian Gorns (slow but powerful and vicious fighters); the cunning, almost superhuman Khan Noonian Singh with one of his eugenic henchmen direct from CetiAlpha V; plus – for good measure – another bunch of devious Klingons. These evil aliens will again be set against
the crewmen of the Enterprise in a fight to the death armed – so as to prolong the combat - with just primitive weaponry (unless the combatants can find more sophisticated weapons).
Okay, the wrong episode, but the premise is similar: can the Enterprise officers defend their ship and save their own lives? Can they find better weapons on board than the swords, improvised clubs and the bare fists they have available? Or can the powerful spacefaring lizards, the cunning Klingon Empire and Khan’s genetically engineered supermen win out before the selfdestruct sequence that the captain has set blows up the ship? That self-destruct is set for (and the game runs for) one hour (or so…). Player Teams will consist of (on the Evil side): a Gorn Captain and two additional Gorns crew lizards, a Klingon Commander and two additional Klingon officers, and Khan and Khan’s first officer Rodriguez. On the Federation side, players will have three teams selected from the following: Kirk and a Yeoman (Dax); Spock and Uhura; Scott with two engineering redshirts (O’Brien and B’Fuselek, the Andorian); or McKoy, Checkov and Sulu. The game system is based on the Star Wars Epic Duels board game, which we have also adapted for use in other games we have run in the past recent past (Lord of the Rings being an example): it makes for a fast and simple, mostly card driven combat system that reflects the differing capabilities of the characters. The scenery is, yes, built to 1/10 scale! Are you mad? Well, if you ask my friends and after building four full size Daleks for a role playing game and countless other gaming projects, maybe! But I do like building things. Building the scenery was a mammoth task of getting all the info and plans together to build it. I started with scanning the Technical Manual plans so that I could set them to a true 1/10 scale; this was a simpler thing to do than I thought. Once I had the plans scaled up, I started with a scale template of one of the sections of the bridge and a template of one of the figures. This gave me a feel for what it would look like and an idea of the final size of the complete model. I used 3mm MDF in most of the sections and 5mm MDF in the construction of the frame. This gave the frame good rigidity and meant that the other bits built on it would aid in that rigid construction. I also wanted the panels to be lit up so as to give a good feel of the overall effect of the bridge during the game. Then I purchased a digital picture frame that I could use as the main viewing screen on the bridge. It was felt that the bridge area alone was too small an area to set the game in. So, I thought, to help with the movement of the figures and the dynamics of the game movement, it would be best to set out the area around and on the bridge in a hex system. I used the Hexon system from Kallistra (great chaps to deal with), and even when I ordered over the ’net the deliveries arrived well packed and in a very timely manner. On the outside of the bridge I used the hexes ‘as is’, by which I mean set up on their 10mm height. As for the bridge interior, as it were, I cut off the 10mm base and just used the hex top. I felt that the plain hexes were not what the bridge needed, so I got the ‘green grass’ hexes and painted them in the colours of the carpet on the bridge! I feel this looks right, giving a real feel to the area of a fully carpeted floor.
had to make a few compromises in the area of the viewing screen and the turbo lift. The bulkhead over the panels should really go all the way around, but I felt that this would make an already difficult area hard to reach and make moving figures around more difficult, so I left off the overhead bulkhead to help in the game play, and viewing of the gaming area. I don’t think this distracts from the overall feel of the bridge and in fact I have come to like the way it looks. The next area of construction was the corridor section. In my original plans and my hopes/ ideas, I was going to be able to build the whole of the set of the Star Trek series. This was, however, going to be too big for the average gamer to reach across the table and move the figures, so a compromise was needed. The engineering section alone was as big as the bridge. Also for us and – well yes, you – to reach over the rooms into the corridor was going to be very difficult. I decided therefore to just work on one section, that of the Jefferies tube, the Brig, McCoy’s lab, (this I relabelled, as they did in the show, as 2nd Engineering) and the intersection of the two corridors. I felt that this would give a good feel of the curved corridor section with enough rooms off it to give good game play. The Jefferies tube also linked the outer Bridge corridor with this section. You can see that I once again used the Hexon system to cover the floor. The construction of the corridor section was a lot easier and again I used MDF, and glued all the panels together with hot glue. What a wonderful device, quick and easy with great bonding power, especially when I use the ‘hot’ setting on my glue gun. I was able to run beads of the glue down the sections giving the MDF a great rigidity and looking (when painted) like welding on the sheets. I used the hot glue for all the areas of the corridor and once it was hardened, and sprayed over with a good car body primer, it did indeed look like welds where it showed. I had to use a sandwich of MDF for the outer corridor to match the look of the corridors in the series. The Jefferies tube, as you can see, is offset to one side and is made of a cardboard tube, with the stairway inside cut out of timber. Unlike the doors on the bridge, which open as in the ‘real thing’, these doors open by sliding up. I felt there was not enough room to open the door on the corridor section sideways, so I made slots in the door frames so they could open by sliding up and out of the doorway. The primer was car body primer paint for the Bridge and in the corridor was a water-based paint. The colours were matched from the Technical Manual and from reference information on many websites. The main overall colour, though, was matched in with the starting point of the “Captains Chair”, which, although it looks white, is the original white/grey of the series chair and walls. The colours do look darker in the series, but this has more to do with the lighting on the set, and this lighting does change during the series. The lighting in the panels and under the Bridge panels is achieved with a couple of sets of LED Christmas tree lights. I used the flashing on and off of the Christmas tree lights to give the effect of the Aliens’ intervention with the power systems. You may also notice that the Bridge has two cameras fitted in the section next to the viewing screen and over Uhura’s communication panel. These are HD web cams, and with the expertise of Tim, are linked up to not only to a computer, but also broadcast over a local wireless network so you can all enjoy the game from anywhere in the venue!
I hope you enjoy/enjoyed the game, and though as Warlord members we are not allowed to be judged or put ourselves into the game competition, I hope that you feel that the hard work that we have all put in has produced an enjoyable event for the show. If you can’t make it, I hope you enjoy looking at the models! Thanks to: Tim, Pete, Brian, Kev, John, Carron and Caroline for their help with the game