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Meet the Model Maker Bill Krause and His Physical Starship Models

Star Trek Explorer #7, on stands tomorrow, features the designer taking us behind-the-scenes as he talks about his unique contributions to Star Trek: Picard.

Illustrated banner featuring Star Trek Explorer #7 magazine cover

With tomorrow's release of Star Trek Explorer #7, we continue the celebration of the third season of Star Trek: Picard and its thrilling, epic conclusion of the saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Within the pages of the latest issues of Star Trek Explorer, dive into an all-new and exclusive interview with actor and director Jonathan Frakes, plus designer Bill Krause takes fans behind-the-scenes as he talks about his unique contributions to the series. Fans can expect a tease of the new Star Trek: Resurgence game, interviews with Star Trek writers John Jackson Miller and Christopher Cantwell, and an exploration of how Star Trek's Treknology is being reimagined and realized today.

That's not all as some of the creators and talent behind Star Trek: Prodigy, including Kate Mulgrew, Bill Campbell, and Ronny Cox, join in a roundtable discussion of their first season, part two of a conversation with Nana Visitor, a definitive guide to Star Trek crossovers, and two all-new and exclusive short fiction stories.

Star Trek Explorer#7 is on-sale Tuesday, May 2, and you can grab a copy at your preferred retailer! Did you know that if you subscribe (US/CAN, UK/Ireland, World, Digital), you can save up to 25%. Plus, subscribers receive an exclusive digital supplement with extra content and two additional exclusive short stories!

Star Trek Explorer #7 cover featuring Jonathan Frakes


Bill Krause is living the dream. The lifelong Star Trek fan, who’s both an aficionado of the franchise’s many ships and a passionate model builder has contributed to Star Trek: Picard, and in an age when everything is done digitally, Krause designs and crafts physical models. Star Trek Explorer #7, on sale now, relates his remarkable story, and you can read an extract here…

Bill Krause and one of his Star Trek models


STAR TREK EXPLORER: How deep is your Star Trek love?

Bill Krause: Pretty deep. I’ve been a fan since the original series, having grown up with that in the early 1970s, with the reruns in syndication. In my neighborhood, myself as well as my friends all played Star Trek every year, every summer, wearing Star Trek shirts. That was my childhood, I remember, and it’s always been part of my life. As the franchise evolved, so did I. it’s been nearly 50 years.

STAR TREK EXPLORER: How did you become so into the ships?

Bill Krause: I’ve always been interested in model building. Of course, the ship was the thing I could model. Kits were pretty rare, at the time. You could get the U.S.S. Enterprise as a kit. Eventually, when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out, you could get other ships. When it was just the U.S.S. Enterprise, I was more interested in seeing what other ships were out there, so I started to design and build my own ships that might not have been seen, but maybe were in the background.

U.S.S. Endurance shuttlecraft model


STAR TREK EXPLORER: You spent 30-plus years in Ohio working in video production, editing, graphic design, and animation, and ran your own company. You retired a few years ago, and pursued ship-building again in earnest, which led you to Star Trek’s Doug Drexler, John Eaves, and Dave Blass. Take us through that.

Bill Krause: Once I got into college, married, and had kids, there wasn’t much time for doing starship stuff as a hobby. It was about 2015 when I returned to the hobby, designing my own ships, and posting lots of photos on Facebook. It was picked up by Doug. He was a judge for an online starship design contest, and liked what he saw. At that time, I was posting images of my starship models composited with space backgrounds. He was doing that kind of thing with the Ships of the Line calendar, so he invited me to submit artwork, using my models as the subject. Most of these calendars had been done using all digital assets, all computer-created backgrounds and ships, but I was using actual physical model ships. I still am. I think I’m one of the few people still doing that. The calendar was my gig once a year.

At some point, my name got dropped around Paramount to CBS. John Eaves, who was also a friend – and who’d been trying to get my foot in the door for a while – had me put together a portfolio of my model work to submit for Star Trek: Picard season one. I said, “That’d be great. I’d love to do that.” Of course, they didn’t really need my work for that series.

Bill Krause's model of the U.S.S. Voyager


STAR TREK EXPLORER: But they did need something for season two…

Bill Krause: When season two rolled around, my name got brought back into the conversation. John was trying to propose the idea of self-illuminated registries on the starship’s hull, rather than spotlights, I’d been doing this physically, with my models, having backlit letters and numbers on the back of the hull. They were going to do that for some of the ships in season two, and they – Dave Blass, Terry Matalas, John, the whole Picard art department – were all directed to my Instagram account. They looked at my stuff and said, “Yeah, we can do that.” John sold them on the idea.

They eventually decided not to do that, but my name was still there. Dave thought, “Maybe he can build these prop models.” So I built the gold-plated ready room models seen in the back of the lounge on the new U.S.S. Stargazer. Through Instagram, they contacted me to build the new ship model, the Sagan-class, designed by Doug, Dave and John, and also recreate a new Constellation U.S.S. Stargazer, that Rick Sternbach built back in the 1980s. While I was doing that, they asked, “Can you design and build a predecessor to the Stargazer, the first ship to bear the name?” I said, “Absolutely, I’d be thrilled.” I got to design and then build that as well. They were all built and gold plated to be hung on the wall, for season two. Then season three rolled around…