Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Ben Robinson (born 14 June 1969; age 50) is the English writer and editor of several Star Trek-related reference works and projects.

Robinson is the grandson of Bernard Robinson, most notably known as the production designer of most Hammer films made from 1957 until 1968. [1] [2]

A 1991 University of York graduate holding a Master's degree in English and Related Literature, Robinson was a Star Trek: The Original Series fan from an early age. He remarked, "I can't even remember the first episode of Star Trek I saw. I've literally been watching since before I can remember. I must’ve been watching re-runs in the 70s when I was a toddler." [3]

In 1996, Robinson's first two years of working for GE Fabbri saw him serve as one of the initiators, editors and writers of the comprehensive and long-running Star Trek Fact Files partwork magazine. He worked alongside Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Marcus Riley, Penny L. Juday, Larry Nemecek, Guy Vardaman, and Tim Gaskill on this project.

Following the tremendous success of the Fact Files and sales of more than 50 million copies, Robinson was reassigned to edit its derivative US counterpart called Star Trek: The Magazine in 1998. One of Robinson's most notable contributions to this publication was his in-depth interview of TOS' Art Director, Matt Jefferies. It was published over five issues during the 2000-2002 run of the magazine, and was widely considered to be the most comprehensive first-hand account of the legendary designer's work on the USS Enterprise and Star Trek ever published.

Later, Robinson followed this up with an interview featuring Andrew Probert, Jefferies' successor for the next television incarnation of the franchise, likewise spread over several issues. [4] Over this period, he conducted interviews with many of the actors, designers, directors, writers, and effects artists involved with the franchise. Robinson has stated that Nicholas Meyer, Leonard Nimoy and Robert Wise were among his favorite interviewees.

Robinson was the first Star Trek publication editor to fully realize that the computer generated imagery produced for live-action Star Trek projects, especially imagery of studio models, was singularly well-suited for illustrative purposes in licensed print publications. Foundation Imaging's Robert Bonchune became an enthusiastic and willing confederate as Robinson pursued this approach.

In 1998, production-used CG imagery premiered in issue 69 of The Fact Files and was seen in all subsequent issues and in its US magazine derivative. [5] In turn, Bonchune, together with his supervisor Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz, garnered the inspiration to produce the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar series using similar illustrations.

When Haynes Publishing sought advice on creating the USS Enterprise Owners' Workshop Manual, Robinson was one of those approached through CBS Consumer Products, ultimately leading to him writing the manual in its entirety, apart from one chapter. Robinson again approached Marcus Riley to assist him with some writing and editing, alongside Michael Okuda in the role of technical consultant and co-editor. Once again, Robinson solicited the input of Rob Bonchune for the preparation of the CG starship imagery.

In 2012, Robinson subsequently authored much of Haynes' follow-up publication, the Klingon Bird of Prey Owners' Workshop Manual, where he enlisted the talents of Rick Sternbach and CG modeler Ed Giddings.

Ben Robinson of Eaglemoss at con

Ben Robinson at a convention

Robinson is currently employed by partwork publisher Eaglemoss Publishing, following its merger with GE Fabbri in 2011. His current title is Editorial Manager of Global Developments, and he manages a number of licensed product lines based on entertainment properties including Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, James Bond, Marvel Comics, and Back to the Future, the latter including a Delorean time machine model partwork – the Delorean being originally designed by Andrew Probert for that franchise.

He is also the project manager for the Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection partwork magazine where he has enlisted the assistance of a number of veteran Star Trek artists including Rob Bonchune, Doug Drexler, Greg Jein, Adam Lebowitz, and Mike Okuda. Robinson co-authors and oversees the preparation of the magazine, supervises the creation and decoration of the starship miniatures, and commissions new CGI models. Launched in 2018, Robinson also performs that role for the Star Trek: Discovery The Official Starships Collection partwork.

Robinson has authored or co-authored the Designing Starships, Shipyards, and Illustrated Handbook series of Star Trek reference books. The first two of these series are principally compiled from content included in the magazines from the two Official Starships Collection partworks, while the latter incorporates updated material from the Star Trek Fact Files. Under the Hero Collector imprint, some books from the first series were first published and retailed by Eaglemoss, subsequent to their republishing (in revised editions) by Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House has exclusively published the latter two book series.

Ben Robinson is also the author of Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration for Penguin Random House, and he co-authored Star Trek: The Artistry of Dan Curry with Dan Curry for Titan Books. Both of these reference books are slated for release in 2020. [6] [7]

He also supervises the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection, Star Trek: The Official Busts Collection, Star Trek: The Next Generation Build The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, and forthcoming Star Trek Online: The Official Starships Collection partworks for Eaglemoss/Hero Collector.

After more than twenty years of research and many hours spent interviewing artists associated with the franchise's many incarnations, Robinson has amassed a sizable archive of (reproduced) production art. Much of this material has not been seen in CBS' own Star Trek archives.

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