Sunday, January 30, 2011

Solar System Map to the Twelve Colonies of Kobol

Just came across this bit of news about Battlestar Galactica. A map of the solar system of the Twelve Colonies design by BG writer Jane Espenson and science advisor Kevin Grazier. Actual artwork done by Geoffrey Mandel.

First of all, the map is a work of art and is very beautiful. so much detail to try and soak up. Another thing - since it comes from the staff of the tv series Caprica; its now cannon. This is the OFFICIAL map of the colonies at the time of the start of the Battlestar Galactica movie/tv series.

Quoting from the io9 article about the map:

Not only is this map a thing of great beauty, but it's totally official — Grazier was science advisor for Battlestar Galactica from the very beginning, and helped to define a lot of the show's concepts. And Espenson, as the original showrunner for the prequel series Caprica, had to do a lot of thinking about exactly how the Twelve Colonies were laid out. This info comes straight from the creators — and from the showrunner's bible for BSG and Caprica. And Grazier, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, verifies that the info in this map is "scientifically plausible." It was created by Hollywood graphic designer Geoffrey Mandel, who made countless adjustments as the technical data underwent scrutiny.

We're excited to present an exclusive high-res image of the map, which sells for $14.95 from Quantum Mechanix and measures 27" by 39". This is one item that should definitely be on your Dradis.

We asked Espenson and Grazier some questions about the map, and they ended up telling us a lot more about the science and backstory of Battlestar Galactica:

I didn't realize there were four different stars in the Cyrannus star system. I had always wondered if there were just 12 habitable planets clustered around a single sun. Where did the idea of four different stars come from? Was this in the show bible someplace? I'm especially curious about Leonis, the "heart of the colonies," which I don't think we ever heard about. Also, Scorpion, the "playground of the colonies." Is that the colonial version of Risa?

Jane(Espenson): Even back before Caprica the show existed, I believe Kevin and I had talked a bit about the configuration of the colonies. All the work on that is his. I instinctively loved the idea of a star cluster. The idea of 12 habitable planets all orbiting one star just seemed unworkable. And crowded. This group of stars makes so much sense. Kevin was at work on the configuration of stars and planets long before we shot a single frame.

Kevin(Grazier): Indeed, the instant Ron hired me on BSG, I was so excited, I went home, read the series bible and the first two scripts for "33" and "Water", then proceeded to hack out a document on the astronomy of the Twelve Colonies – how might we get twelve habitable planets in one star system (which is stated in Ron's series bible).

I (Charlie Jane Anders) suggested that either the Twelve Colonies are spread across a couple neighboring stars at the edge of a star cluster, OR that they were orbiting a multiple star system like Castor (six stars in three binary pairs), or a summer target well-known to amateur astronomers, Epsilon Lyrae (the famous double-double star). The latter became our touchstone for the star system that supported the planets of the Twelve Colonies. end quote.

There you go - a guide to what was once the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Now in control of the Cylons!

1. by Charlie Jane Anders.(
2. Quantum Mechanix (

Friday, January 21, 2011

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome Prequel series!

This is one of the problems living like I do without satellite or cable tv at one's beck and call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While researching on how the live action Space Cruiser Yamato movie did in December 2010 when it was released, I came across a post about Battlestar Galactica will have ANOTHER prequel series. Link is posted below in the Ref section.

Basically, the story centers on a young 20 something Ensign William Adama in the First Cylon War. The story picks up in the tenth year of that conflict, and he (Adama); has just been posted to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet - The Galactica. No word as of yet if Nico Cortez, who played the young Adama from the "Razor" TV movie, will be in this new series or not.

Like the original, the first story of this new series will start off with a two hour pilot film. Expected release date at the end of 2011 or early 2012.

1. "SyFy Greenlights Prequel BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME" by Brendan Bettinger. October 23, 2010. (
2. "" (
3. concept artworks shown. (

Sunday, January 16, 2011

USS Cheyenne Operations Manual & YouTube Video Discovery

Since I published my book about the fictional starship U.S.S. Cheyenne back in 1995, I've always tried to keep a eye out for anything relating to that ship. I'm still trying to figure out what happened to all those 16 years in between!

Over those years, someone will usually seek me out requesting if they can purchase a copy of my book from my reserve stock. Well, first off - I don't have a reserve stock to sell. I just have my own personal copy that's been marked up with needed corrections and one unmarked copy if I ever do manage to come up with the money to do another print run.

But with Print on Demand publishing now available for the past several years, I am getting the itch to get my book back into publication again. Question now becomes if I should just print off an exact copy or add to it.

Add to that, when I originally did that book, not a lot was known about the special effects model that was built for the Wolf 359 battle scene with the Borg. After the book came out, there were major differences between it and what I interpret from viewing the video tape of the show I made - over and over again. Gawd - remember video tape! Now we have screen capture and can burn to DVD disc whatever we want! The major differences from my drawing and what really was built was the pylons off the much shorter dorsal/ventral necks were straighter. No graceful curves.

The book was done with my Apple LCIII computer using Canvas 3.5 drawing software and the book layout was Adobe PageMaker version 5 or 6 if I remember correctly. Over the years, I was more or less able to keep pace and upgrade my systems until Apple switched over to the Intel chip. Now I work off of a laptop using Windows Vista-and I am not able to recover the majority of my artwork off my floppy discs and transfer them over to a CD for archive storage.

Now we have 3d cgi software programs that people are making their own fan base movies (re: Star Trek: Phase II anybody?). Anyway, its Sunday morning and I did a Google search for USS Cheyenne and discovered this YouTube video someone created. It is of the saucer separation maneuver for this class of vessel.

And for those of you who looked me up over the years asking about getting your own copy of the USS Cheyenne Operations Manual. First off, a big THANK YOU! Second, I hope with Print on Demand technology, a new, revised Manual can be produced. No promises for this year. But hopefully before the 20th Anniversary of its original printing a way can be found to put it back into print again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

eRC B-25J Mitchell Bomber Model Airplane

This is a amazing kit. Receiver ready basically. All I have to do as glue the wings on and program
my radio. Well... there is more to do than just that of course.

I finally got it out of "lay-a-away" from my local hobby ship on December 31, 2010. While only $300 bucks, paying a little bit at a time and then when a emerengy comes up, having to put off a payment for a month or two. Well, buying the model took longer than I thought it would back when I first started paying money down on it back in May of 2010.

But anyho... Today was a fine day and since I now have a "workshop" over at my friend's place, I finally had time to look this model over and start to put it together.

I other previous experience with eRC came in the form of the Ready to Fly (RTF) Spitfire. But the B-25J that I am now working on is from a different company - but Hobby Lobby markets this product under its' eRC brand. Made out of EPO foam, its fuselage length is 41 inches. Wingspan is 53.25 inches giving a wing area of 356 square inches. Five channels are needed (Alieron, Elevator, Rudder, Retracts, Throttle). It even has working navigation lights.

Now, my model comes with the 20 Amp speed control. The newer kits come with the 30 Amp ESC. The bomber is done up as the "Apache Princess." The real B-25 did not have counter-rotating 3-blade props - but this kit is set up for that to make it more stabe for brand new multi-engine flyers. Power is provided by the 3-cell 2200 mAh LiPo battery. The kit even comes with its own charger.

To guide this model through the air, I now have a JR 10sxII transmitter (a older version of the 10X transmitter to be sure). Its going to be on 72Mhz for right now. Someday I hope I can afford the 2.4GHz module that can connect to this readio.

On the day that I am writing this post, I managed to shoe-horm all the wiring from each wing into the fuselage and glue the wings in place. My biggest complaint thus far on this model is HOW the wings mate to the fuselage.

It would have been nice if this model had also been designed to include a working bomb bay. Because then it would have been easier to get both wire sets from each wing and to organize them better than the small foam hatch on the bottom of the fuse ahead of the bomb bay.

In the process of this build, I am planning on getting a camera for FPV video taking some time in the future. So my thinking is to make the glass nose removable and putting the camera in there when ready.

And if this model can survive my first test flights of it, then I will have something to fly with at our local club's 2011 Warbird event later this year.

UPDATE (March 23, 2011): Its all put together now. Just need a few odds and ends like making the front bombardier nose removable to allow me to stick a small FPV camera up front if I ever get one of those key chain video cameras. Anyway, here is a picture of it up on its landing gear sitting on th dirt runway of the Lubbock Oddball RC Society (LORCS).

Ref. Hobby Lobby website ( pictures taken from same source.