A while back I was watching the Undiscovered Country and I was very interested in the scene where Admiral Cartwirght, Sarek, the Chief of Starfleet and the Federation President were talking about the potential rescue operation of Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy from the Klingon penal asteroid Rura Penthe.
This scene also introduced Rene Auberjonois into Star Trek as Colonel West, the guy who explained to the President of the tactical plan to rescue our heroes by use of a paper flip chart.
I found this flip chart fascinating, I wanted to see it in more detail, I wanted to know just what plan Starfleet had cooked up to potentially start an all out war with the Klingons.
I searched the internet for years trying to find a good quality copy of this chart but damn, I couldn’t find anything but a few fuzzy screen captures that showed as much detail as someone looking at Saturn with the naked eye, they were awful.
Then HD came along, and I thought “Now I can finally find what I’m looking for”, but alas, the screen captures were still not good enough to get any detail.
I finally came across some images that showed close-ups of some areas of the main page of the chart taken by some guy who managed to get his hands on the original chart used in the movie, but still, not the full chart showing all the detail.
What I did come across though was a list of all the star names and what grid they belonged to and a small full face photo along with other information such as ship names and registries from other pages of the chart.
But none of this gave me a hands on full size copy of the chart to study, so I decided to make my own!
This was the largest graphic I had ever tried to make and it took me about 8 weeks on and off to complete, and I managed to do all 6 pages of the flip chart.
I am absolutely stoked with the way this project turned out, the full size version is over 5000 pixels in width and will print out on a flip chart with no loss in resolution.
I heard that Rene was to appear that the Destination Star Trek London convention in 2012 so I decided that I would print out the main page onto A3 and have him sign it. The print was fantastic, all the detail was perfect, every star name could be read. When I handed this to Rene he was fixated on it, he could’nt take his eyes off it, he studies the entire sheet before looking up to me and asked “Did you make this?, it’s amazing”
He said he remebered the chart well, and was impressed by the level of detail Mike Okuda put into making something that would never be fully seen on screen and was equally impressed by my level of detail in re-creating this prop.
I asked if I could be cheeky and have a photo with him, so he said it would be his pleasure, so he took my chart and held it up as I leaned in, while my girlfriend took the photo.
One of those amazing moments in life I will never forget.
Below are a few images of the stages I went through in making the chart, plus that photo with Rene.
And below, my photo with Rene and the signed copy.