Latest News

[Inside Trek] Bill Krause: From Convention to Screen

[Inside Trek] Bill Krause: From Convention to Screen

Almost ten years ago now an unknown in the model making world entered a competition after being nudged by a friend, just because. Entering two of his favourite home-made Starfleet designs was a simple bit of fun thats now led to being an iconic part of Star Trek history.

Being a huge Star Trek fan from an early age, Bill Krause would always wonder what other ships were out there that weren’t the Enterprise. After all, the original series only showcased one starship design before the remastered version added in one or two smaller elements of the 70’s animated series and even when the movies expanded the universe a little more there were still only a few different designs from the simpler Reliant to the more advanced Excelsior.

So off he went to design his ships, expanding on the 23rd century. Like all of us though, life got in the way. But after returing from a prosperous creative career, including animation and production, Krause went back to his passion and in 2015 submitted two of his own Starfleet designs – the Shangri-La and the Wasp – into a competition at Wondercon. A move that would catch the eye of Star Trek veteran Doug Drexler.

Impressed with the designs and the work that went into building the customised models, Drexler brought Krause on board for the annual Ships of the Line calendar which has showcased many talented artists.

Avoiding the computer generated imaging other talented artists used, Krause focused on his passion and a rare talent in the current era, using physical models to craft his entries, the first being submitted for the 2018 edition.

“I used the Wasp for that, which was the first ship used which was actually a physical model composited into a scene,” Krause explained in an interview with Heavy, “I still think, to this day, I think I’m the only guy who’s still compositing stuff in the calendar with real physical models, not 3D models.”

His story didn’t end there. Having became friends with several of Star Trek’s renowned artists since meeting NX-01 designer Doug Drexler, another Enterprise designer began to encourage Krause to take the next step. Long time Trek artist, and the man behind the Enterprise E, John Eaves submitted a portfolio of work to producers on Star Trek Picard.

Eaves’ name dropping Krause for some of his unique methods, particularly self-illuminated registries, he was eventually brought on board for his first on screen work by production designer Dave Blass. Being made aware of his talents through Eaves, Blass tasked Kraus with building the physical models for the Stargazers briefing room; both the original Stargazer from the Next Generation as well as the Sagan class that debuted in the season.

Oh, and there was a spare slot to add a third, unique design which gave him a chance to shine by crafting a TOS-Era version of the Stargazer for the display that would be seen for a split second. Yet still, the seeds were planted.

When it came to season three, Kraus and Dexler worked in tandem to build two key ships in the series, and both were unsurprisingly based on his work. Not only that, but it all came full circle from that original Wondercon competition.

In tandem with Drexler, the Wasp was redesigned and inspired the USS Intrepid, an intimidating and overbearing starship with a unique underslung hull. The other? The hero ship of the season, Constitution-III class USS Titan. Based on the Shangri-La class he designed years before, the Titan was a modernised version of the design that merged the 80’s and 2000’s design elements into a retro-callback for Starfleet. Using the same lines and elements, from the spliced primary hull to chunky engineering section, the new Titan was a direct callback to that original model and even included a gold plated version of the Shangri-La in the ready room.

To further solidify Krause’s place in Star Trek history, following it’s renegade mission the USS Titan was renamed the USS Enterprise, starting a whole new legacy for Krause to add to Trek history.

As the Star Trek Universe expands to Academy, Section 31 and more Strange New Worlds, iot’s uncertain if Krause will return to the franchise without the much requested Legacy show being produced. However, the model maker is forever busy without his ships being on screen as he works on regular commissions for custom built starship models for fans across the world.

You can see his work, and works in progress, through his Instagram account.

Our latest issue of Comms takes a look at the last year of Star Trek, sci fi, superheropes and more!! With the usual features including What If, Fistful Of Data and more, the “All Good Things” issue of Comms is available as part of SFCQ2’s free membership! To find out more visit our Comms preview or Enlist Today!

ADM JT Marczynka, DoFA
Creator of things, writer of words, caffeine addict. Director of Communications for Starfleet Command Quadrant 2.

Lost Password