Star Trek Alumni Steve Neill recently issued a “general distress call” asking for help from anyone who can render assistance. His wife, Gilly, was recently diagnosed with two forms of cancer and with no healthcare and little ability to work, they are struggling to make ends meet.
For those of you who do not know, Steve worked as part of the makeup crew on numerous Star Trek films including The Motion Picture, The Undiscovered Country, not to forget Star Trek The Next Generation.
Far from resting on his laurels, Steve got right to work trying to find ways to raise money and with a little help from our good friend Doug Drexler, he has found a way to raise money whilst giving something back to the community!
Here is what Doug had to say:
Many of us have contributed monetarily to their fight with donations, or by having Steve build models (he’s a Hollywood pro). It occurred to me that I could donate the Zefram Cochrane statuette as something Steve could sell to raise money. The Cochrane is actually my property and I loaned it to the show, so there is no conflict with Paramount.
And so, with Drexler’s donation in hand, Steve Neill has now turned his garage into a full fledged statue production powerhouse and he is now churning out the statues as fast as he can. Each statue is hand crafted, numbered and custom made to order and several of them have been signed by both Steve Neill himself and Doug Drexler.
To give you an idea of the work that goes into each statue, we chatted with Steve and got some details about the process of making one:
First, we made a mold from the original mold that Doug had on hand. In my video series, I show how I made the silicone mold in two pieces. A second mold is used for the hand pointing to the stars. Next up I made the castings from a polyurethane two part resin called 1630. The parts are removed from the molds and hand finished and painted bronze with patina. The bases are made by my friend Jeff Helps who worked with Doug to get an accurate shaped replica of the original base used in Jonathan Archers ready room, except that ours are cast in two part resin with mixed in tints into it to give it a real marble look. The statues are then mounted to the base just like the original, through the base.
You can view a video below which contains some details about how the statues are being produced and scroll down further for a funny anecdote about some of the history behind the statues. For more information you can check out Steve Neill’s website at http://www.sneillfx.com/ and his blog at http://steveneill.wordpress.com/
To purchase a statue, you can contact Steve Neill directly at email@example.com
Some History….and the stolen glory (by Doug Drexler)
Star Trek: First Contact was high point of the TNG the features. It had a lot going for it, including plenty of action, our favorite villains, humor, and one of the great historical Trek characters, Zefram Cochrane. One of my favorite moments, is when the ever enthusiastic Geordi LaForge gushes to Cochrane about his statue, which will one day tower over the site they are standing on.
While working on the color version of the Star Trek Encyclopedia with Mike and Denise, it occurred to me what a cool thing it would be to include a picture of Cochrane’s statue. M & D enthusiastically agreed, and I went directly to the art supply on Laurel Canyon, picked up an armature, some roma plastilina, and got to work. By the end of the day, there it stood. I had based it on Levar’s descriptive pose, and added some plans to the crook of Cochranes arm. The final touch was to adapt Picard’s distinctive two finger “engage!” point, as if our erstwhile captain was invoking this very statue each time he gave the order for the great starship to go to warp.
Fast forward to “Enterprise”. Right there in the series bible, it says that the ship’s captain, Jonathan Archer, idolizes Zefram Cochrane. What a great bit of set dressing for Archer’s quarters the sculpture would make. I packed it in my bag, brought it with me to Paramount the next day, and set it prominently on top of my computer monitor .
I’ve learned a lesson working with strong willed, and independent creative people. Never push an idea, let them come to it themselves. Jimmy Mees, our brilliant set decorator was one of those guys. So I bided my time. I knew that on the day Rick Berman inspected the dressed sets, Jimmy would rush into the office wide eyed, looking for appropriate, and last minute set dressing.
On the day, my buddy Jim Vanover, ace Okudagram animator said, “hey Dougie, why don’t you give the Cochy to Jimmy Mees for Archer’s quarters?” I smiled, looked at my watch, and counted down, “3…2…1.” The door to the office banged open, and there stood Mr. Mees with that hunter’s look. His eyes darted around the office in search of prey. “I need last minute, inspired, additional set dressing for Archer’s quarters! Make it quick, ’cause Berman is on his way over to stage 8!” “Hmmmmmm…” I said, raising my arm and pointing at nothing in particular. Jimmy’s eyes snapped to where I indicated. “What? Where?” Playing it for maximum drama, I slowly rotated a full 360, pointing all the way. Jimmy’s head followed like a dog glued to a treat. “Could you … use… a statue… of ARCHER’S… HERO…….. PERHAPS?” My pointing finger came to rest on the sculpture. Jimmy eyes popped out of their sockets. “PERFECT! GENIUS!” he snatched up the Cochy and made for the stage, leaving behind a cloud of dust. Vanover looked at me with admiration. “You’re good!” He said.
A little later, I’m standing in the art department kitchenette, cleaning someone else’s peanut butter off of my coveted bread knife for the eighteenth time. Jimmy Mees walks into the department looking quite pleased with himself. “Well, that couldn’t have gone better!’ He beamed. “Oh, and Doug, when Berman saw that statue of Cochrane he was astonished! He said… Where did you ever find THAT?!” Hee, hee, heeee! I squealed (on the inside), puffing my chest out, I awaited my accolades. “I told him I sculpted it!” grinned Jimmy.