The Life and Times of Shuttlepod Beignet
In early 2008, the USS Corsair discussed what display prop should be built to help promote the group and the new upcoming Star Trek Movie. It was determined something “big” was needed to draw the attention of not only fans but the press and others.
One suggestion was to build a “Guardian of Forever” but the member tasked with that project had his interest wane with the group and a new idea was needed. Fortunately the new Star Trek movie was pushed back from Christmas 2008 to May 2009.
Member, Edward Tunis, had help build a Helm/Nav Console for his previous chapter but wanted to do something different. He discovered a website where a man was making large displays out of cardboard, Castles, Pirate ships, Army Tank and others. Then Edward remembers seeing people make models out of paper. Why not take a “paper model” of a something and make it bigger and out of cardboard. It would be lightweight and could be broken down for easy travel.
The special fasteners were obtained as well as the blueprints of a paper model shuttlecraft and mounds of large sheets of cardboard were gathered. The Type 15 Shuttlepod, seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation was chosen because of its lack of curved features, which might not translate well into cardboard.
After making a few pieces the project was in doubt. After nudging from his father-in-law, Edward Tunis switched his medium of construction to plywood and 2×4. Edward printed out a blueprint this time of the Shuttlepod and blew it up as large as he could on a single sheet of paper. Making the judgment call of “one inch equals one foot” he and his father-in-law set out to construct what later became known as simply “The Prop”. Little did they realize that guestimation of size would put them at a ten foot long Shuttlepod (and only a few inches off from 1:1 scale!)
There is not much to say about the actual construction besides the work crew measured twice…. Then three times…. Then a few more…. Then cut….. and cut some more until it fit. One funny moment was after one of sides were attached, Edward and his father-in-law took a step back to look at how their creation had progressed only to watch the side they just put up fall over…. Because there were no nails in the nail gun!!!!
After the framing was all done, other members pitched in to help with painting. The next major step after painting was to apply graphics. The lettering was simple decals purchased at a local hobby shop and the shuttle number was printed on clear paper with an inkjet printer. Not the best solution but what we had to get things finished within the week in time to deliver the pod to the local movie theater.
After loading the Shuttlepod onto a trailer and another member loading the “engines” into their pickup the convoy left for the movie theater. The interesting note about the movie theater is the width of the Shuttlepod was a few inches too wide for the double doors. With six or more people carrying the chapter’s new pride and joy it finally made it to its first assignment.
A year later the shuttle got an upgrade in graphics. While at the Movie Theater the employees there did their best to keep it clean. One employee even got a glass cleaner to clean off the “windshield” only to smudge the number on the nose of the Shuttlepod. It was decided that Shuttlepod needed a name. Several serious names were batted about – some being names of pirates, to types of swords (used by pirates. The final name “Beignet” won out. The logic? Because it’s big and white and hollow like a Beignet (a French style doughnut for you non-Louisiana folk).
In January 2010, RTA (ready to apply) vinyl graphics were purchased and the Beignet finally had her name on the side as well as new lettering and numbering.
If you are going to have a special event that involves Star Trek or Science Fiction why open a channel and hail us to see if the Shuttlepod is available to make an appearance at your event. Please note that due to logistics, assistance maybe required for the shuttlepod to attend your event or function.
<<<SHUTTLEPOD BEIGNET AWAY MISSIONS LOGS:>>>
Stardate 200905.01 – 06.07
Shuttlepod #04 arrives at the Rave Theatre near the Mall of Louisiana for the latest Star Trek Movie. At this time the shuttle had yet to have a name. The event was covered by a WAFB doing a live remote and The Advocate (Baton Rouge newspaper).
Shuttlepod Beignet touched down at the corner of 5th & North Blvd in Baton Rouge, LA to assist in promoting the science fiction theme for the Krewe of Mutts. (Click here to read more about this mission.)
Shuttlepod Beignet is transported to outpost Holden 21 for storage awaiting next assignment.
Shuttlepod Beignet recieves some minor repairs while at outpost Holden 21.
Shuttlepod Beignet made an appearance at a Starfleet Conference where elements of both the Second and Third Fleet met.
201304.19 – 06.08
Shuttlepod Beignet arrives at the AMC Theatre near the Mall of Louisiana for Star Trek Into Darkness.
201306.08 – Present
Shuttlepod Beignet arrives at Starbase Tunis for refit. Several upgrades are made.