If you’re a Star Trek fan, the probability is high that you’re familiar with a company called Hero Collector. You’ve probably seen their die-cast ships posted on someone’s social media page, or you may even own a few yourself. Most Trekkies are aware of them due to their excellent miniaturized starship replicas, but one of the other things the company does is produce all sorts of books related to the franchise. If you’ve been hanging out on this site for a while, you’ve likely seen reviews of their fun Star Trek Nerd Search book and their epic cocktail book, but they also make great reference books that pertain to all the series. I just reviewed the DS9 Illustrated handbook (which I raved about), but as someone who is already a frequent buyer of their models, I love their work on ships. It goes without saying that when they released their newest reference guide, “Star Trek Shipyards: 2151-2293“, I had to beam this one into my bookshelf right away.
Written by Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley, this edition of the Shipyards book is billed as “The Encyclopedia of Star Trek Ships”, and rightfully so. This edition fills in the blanks from the other entries in this series, which has included volumes about the Klingon fleet, friends & foes in the Delta Quadrant, and an upcoming book featuring ships from the Alpha and Beta quadrants. This particular section is the sibling of their 2294 to the Future book, but don’t let these dates confuse you.
If you know the chronology of Trek, you already know this book discusses the early days of pre-federation flight. While you may think it starts with Zefram Cochrane’s ship, you would be wrong! Before we even get to the first successful warp by humans, we have the Botany Bay (made sometime in the 1990s) and OV-165, so we are already getting a bit timey-wimey to quote another franchise.
The point being, while this book specifically refers to “Star Trek: Discovery“, “Star Trek: Enterprise“, the original series and the initial handful of movies, it bounces around through other shows too. Star Trek has never been afraid to do a little time-travelling, so you’ll see ships from other shows and films outside of the specific timeline in the title. For example, the book ends with the Enterprise-B, but you’ll also learn about the U.S.S. Bozeman, U.S.S Cochrane, and Scotty’s shuttlecraft from Star Trek TNG.
All of the ships and shuttles are treated with great detail and delve into their creation, purpose, operational history, episodes they appeared in, and technical layouts for even more information on how they function. My personal highlights were the sections on the Miranda and Excelsior Class starships, The Intrepid, and a better look at many of the ships from the first season of Discovery that we didn’t get to see a ton of time with on-screen like the U.S.S. Shran and U.S.S Edison. The text is joined with 3-D rendering, production images, and screengrabs to better tell their respective stories.
You’ll also get chapters on Earth Cargo Service ships, Daedelus class ships, the Shenzhou, Oberth class ships, and many more. Please keep in mind, this book exclusively looks at Starfleet ships, as Hero Collector has other books covering the vehicles of other species.
The book also includes a few glossaries like size charts to compare the ships shown in its pages, a list of significant events in their timeline, and an illustrated class listing with the names of more ships from each type discussed.
With a book like this, I feared for how much technobabble could have been thrown into this. Thankfully, it’s a very easy to digest read that has it clearly be a reference book while also a coffee table book. It’s got a lot of info, but it’s not a total overload with intense schematics that would turn away casuals, while also giving something for the hardcore fans to dig deep into. Read it one sitting, or let it rest on your bookshelf until you need to pull it out to check something – there’s no wrong way to enjoy this book!
You can pick up Star Trek Shipyards Star Trek Starships: 2151-2293 The Encyclopedia of Starfleet Ships from Amazon.com at this link here. If you’re really into this type of book or looking for an all-inclusive gift for the Trekkie in your life, I also recommend the Federation Box Set that includes this book, the 2294-future, and federation members books to complete the trifecta.
A review copy of this book was provided by Hero Collector. The opinions and views expressed in this review are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation, beyond that of providing a review copy, has been provided to the reviewer.