The Starfleet Technical Manual in the News


So I click on another story about The Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph and read a totally
incorrect story on how it came about.

The manual is the single largest reason that replicas hit the scene so big in the mid 1970s. Franz was a Star Trek fan and contrary to this article was solely responsible for his work. There was no exchange of information between Majel Barrett Roddenberry and Franz Joseph and if there was it would be written in fan club newsletters of the time.

Each time I read an article about the Manual I usually share it with Karen Schnaubelt, Franz’s daughter. She replied on this that her father relied on still photos at the time and measurements of AMT Models. Franz was also author of The Star Trek Blueprints. Both publications were seen onscreen in Star Trek movies and TV. The Manual and Blueprints are concidered Canon.

How the Star Trek Technical Manual went from Fanflic to Canon and Back Again.


Here is a picture of Franz Joseph. The props and other Star Trek information featured in his Technical Manual were nothing short of amazing. His influence affected prop makers, cosplay and collectors for years.


Certain I saw elements from his Technical Manual in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” as I re-watched it over the weekend.


Joseph Franz, huh? Wonder where the author got his “info.”?

On edit: I guess he got t here:

“Page issues” indicate no sources.


I’m pretty sure his deck plans show up in WOK.


V’ger Probe from TMP at Spock’s/Science Station, they look like Franz Tech Manual drawings to me.


In the History it says: “a project blessed with privileged access to original props and carpenter’s blueprints” citation needed.

Besides that being untrue Lincoln Enterprises at the time (mid 1970s ) had no access to props or blueprints except a copy of stage 9 and 10 sold in their catalog. They were looking for prop makers to make replicas. The internet is full or errors. The Star Trek Technical Manual is available below in .pdf. If that work was in my family I’d be all over my rights!

The Star Trek Technical Manual


Very cool Sharon. Thanks for posting those pics.

Canon is a strange beast and in the end each fan decides for themselves what counts. It is after all, fiction.

But… even if you look through the eyes of Paramount/CBS a lot of what counts as canon is contradictory. And in the case of the screen shots above does that mean those specific pages are canon or the entire work they were pulled from are canon? We all know that many of the diagrams in the Tech Manual are wrong so they are clearly not canon. And don’t take this as a criticism of the tech manual. I love my copy and it was the best we had back then.


I’ve long owned the tech manual but it’s been awhile since I’ve paged through it, so I was re-familiarizing myself with it. It’s really extraordinary to think about all the work that went into it, especially in a time without easy references and research or digital illustration and publishing tools. It actually kind of boggles my mind thinking about it.

I also can’t easily imagine what it was like for fans to get their hands on it when it first came out.


Well being one of the fans who purchased this when it first came out… Excited for sure, even tho I thought some of the schematics were off (phaser being the most glaring) but it was an incredible book at the time…
I still have my copy…


Got the Tech Manual as a birthday gift way back when (vinyl cover version). I was so excited. Can’t begin to tell you how many nights I stayed up late studying every detail in that book. But I was a little disappointed that it was missing a lot of the medical props. That is until I discovered the Starfleet Medical Reference Manual.


The fan stuff was the best Star Trek material that ever came out. I knew the Tech Manual was coming via the fan club S.T.A.R. and saw it one morning on my way to a work meeting. It was simply the best thing at the time. The Blueprints were also incredible. Then there was the Star Trek Maps in 1980. They had a limited release. This was due I think to the death of Michael McMaster who did the Bridge and Klingon K7 blueprints. He was working on the Maps before an accident in 1978. The 1970s was when all this fan work was done. If I had to pick one publication, it would have to be the Tech Manual, despite it’s inaccuracies, it was a beautiful piece of work.

Michael McMaster


I loaned my technical manual to a good friend about 5 years ago… he never returned it and claims I never loaned it to him. :frowning:


That’s an automatic downgrade to “mediocre friend” where I come from :unamused:


Yeah, and he claims to be this big Christian and all, not that there’s anything wrong with that.:slightly_smiling_face:


Not touching that “Christian” comment with a 10 foot pole :grinning:, but I long ago set a policy of not lending cherished books out to friends after losing too many…cherished books. Thankfully I never loaned out my tech manual - between my wife and I, we have two copies owned since we were both children.

Seems to be a history of tragedy occurring to early blueprinters - Allen Everhardt, who drew up some nice plans of the shuttlecraft Galileo was killed in an explosion in one of the main gun turrets on the USS Iowa in the late 80s - the artist who built my 18" wood Galileo used Everhardt’s plans, with a few minor departures.

Perhaps it is sacrilege to say this in this forum, but I’m a big fan of the “good enough for government work” principle when it come to my Trek models and prop replicas - all of my pieces have some departures from “perfect accuracy” that I am aware of (and probably others I’m not) and they USUALLY don’t cause too many short circuits in my head. And so I love the early technical publications for the talent and effort (and reasonable approximations) they represent.


Couldn’t agree more!


There is no right way when it comes to preference. Some build screen accurate, others idealized and most are somewhere in between. Have fun and collect what you want in the way that you want. BUT… no matter what we still want to see pics!


Exactly, it’s Art.


I love accuracy probably more than most but ultimately I want to be happy. When I built my large Galileo replica I used features from both the full sized set piece and the miniature.