How is a Klingon Bird-of- Prey like a football player? In a lot more ways than you’d think.
Nilo Rodis-Jamero designed the iconic warship that first appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and has been the Klingon’s go-to ship in various Trek movies, TV shows and games ever since. But Bill George, the man behind the virtual Sci-Fi Air Show, worked out the final details. “It was a really wonderful design and it was even animated — there weren’t a lot of spaceships that actually moved around and did things,” he says. “It was unique that way. It had an interesting genesis, too, because there were a couple of sketches of what the ship should be, and back then they would have three or four drawings that had elements everyone liked, and it was up to you as a model-maker to pull out all the best elements and create a hybrid in three dimensions. Very often there’d be a three-quarter view from the front and you’d have to figure out what the back looked like — there were never blueprints to work from. The cool thing about the Bird-of-Prey was that Nilo Rodis-Jamero did a sketch of this big muscleman posing with his arms down and said, ‘This is what it should look like.’ It had nothing to do with the spaceship, it was just the posture and the attitude. That was the inspiration for the upper piece that has that muscular feel to it. The other thing was extrapolating on a football player’s shoulder pads, and the main cockpit has this tube around the front of it, which was born out of being like a football helmet.”