(written from a Production point of view)
The Official Star Trek The Next Generation: Build the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D was a partwork magazine conceived by the Japanese branch of De Agostini. Planned to run for 100 issues to develop a cutaway model of the USS Enterprise-D and an updated set of deck-by-deck blueprints for the starship, the initial test run of the magazine in Japan in June 2011 failed to develop sufficient demand, in light of the earthquake and tsunami affecting the country at the time. Only seven test issues were published before the title was canceled.
Conception and development Edit
Conceived after the conclusion of the Japanese versions of the Star Trek Fact Files and the DVD/magazine version of Star Trek: The Collector's Edition, called "Star Trek: Best Episode Collection", Japanese editors wanted to continue with the publication of a Star Trek partworks. As chief editor Tim Leng recalled on his blog of 3 July 2011, "About 18 months ago the Japanese team who I worked closely with to produce the Japanese Fact Files and Best Episode Collection came to me with an idea they'd had for a new Star Trek part-works. The project was called Build the Enterprise, and as you might guess, the idea was that you would get to build a model of the Enterprise (the TNG version) week by week. Bearing in mind I'd been working on these sorts of things for a decade by this point, I was surprised to find that my fanboy side completely and utterly pushed to the fore; I thought the idea was amazing, and I was very keen to get going on it." 
The format eventually decided upon was that of a part-work that consisted of magazines, a model kit of the USS Enterprise-D and a set of revised Enterprise-D blueprints, to be collected over the span of an 100-issue run. As Leng stated, "What I should say here is that the Japanese team don't do things by halves. They literally threw everything bar the kitchen sink at this project."  Both Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda were invited to revisit and update their original writings on the technical aspects of the Enterprise-D, which they did in detail. Sternbach revisited his Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints and updated them, whereas Okuda revisited the texts he wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual and updated those. As with its original source material, additional technical aspects were included that were not necessarily seen or referenced to in canon. A prime example was the dissertation of the Galaxy-class life boat, featured in issue two, that was never seen or referenced to in canon, but discussed in detail in that issue, based upon detailed annotations by Sternbach. 
Although intended as a newsstand release, the opportunity was offered to subscribe to the publication. Subscribers were to receive as a gift an in-scale (completed) model of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
Leng was convinced DeAgostini had hit upon a winning formula, and the company had a TV commercial produced to promote the product for the Japanese public.  Unfortunately, as it turned out, fate conspired against the product. According to Leng, "And then we tested it in May and ... well, it failed. Didn't. Expect. That... What's really upsetting about this is that there's little - nothing, really - wrong with the product; what was mainly responsible for the product failing was that we launched it in the wake of the terrible earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan back in March. After experiencing something like that, people understandably just weren't in the mood to start buying into a collectible magazine/model series. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time." 
At the time of cancellation, seven (test) issues were released and the editorial work on issues eight through eleven was completed. In recognition for his efforts, Sternbach was sent a complete model by the publisher. 
Once decided upon on how the product should be marketed, it was released eventually in the vein of a true DeAgostini product and as such consisted, packaged in a marketable box, of a:
- Model kit
This essentially was to be the main proponent of the whole package. The model had an unprecedented scale of 1:900. But what was more, the model was to be built up deck-by-deck with sheets of transparent Plexiglas into which the blueprints, based upon Sternbach's upgraded blueprints, were laser etched, resulting in perceived 3D imagery.
The whole intent was all decks being represented by their corresponding slates of laser-etched Plexiglas sheets, to be eventually assembled with internal LED lighting for viewing from different angles. The innards of the Enterprise-D model were to be covered up with pre-painted hull covers that were, as per request of the Japanese producers, as accurate as possible, especially where the "Aztec-pattern" was concerned. The model could be displayed as an one-piece ship, or separately in saucer separated mode.
A magazine was also included in the package, it concentrating on all the aspects of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. As Tim Leng was retained as the chief-editor, it came as no surprise that the contents of the magazine were organized much like the Star Trek Fact Files, i.e. contents organized according to six main categories, pages of which dispersed throughout the run of the publication, easily detached from its original publication to be collected afterwards into its corresponding category. The eventual intent was that the whole be collected in four binders, consisting of 1,200 pages in total as projected.
- Blueprint set
De facto this was Rick Sternbach revisiting his work he had done on the Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints. He did this with much gusto and got to address issues he had never had the opportunity to do so before. It eventually resulted in a much enhanced version of the Blueprints that also served as the master for the cross-section parts of the specialty model of the DeAgostini publication. According to chief-editor Leng it was so detailed that, "if you zoom in at the leading edge of deck ten, you could actually see Guinan standing behind the bar at Ten Forward." In the end, with the help of Tim Earls, Sternbach produced a large series of revised blueprint sheets of the USS Enterprise-D for the Japanese production. One hundred sheets, just shy of A1 format when unfolded, were projected to be collected in a custom made case, that was to be delivered to subscribers with issue 5. In order to make it stand out from the originals, it was decided to have a darker blue background applied to these sets of blueprints.
As stated, the 24-page (including covers and publisher boost, and stub-pages) magazine was organized along the lines of the Star Trek Fact Files. Gabriel Koerner and former Foundation Imaging employee Robert Bonchune (from issue three onward) were the artists responsible for all the new computer generated imagery (CGI) on the magazine covers. The new imagery was reproduced on the inside back-cover without text imprints for optional framing purposes. All texts were originally submitted in English and edited at the editorial offices of GE Fabbri – the mother publisher of the Fact Files and Best Episode Collection – and were subsequently forwarded for translation into Japanese to the Japanese editorial bureau of DeAgostini for publication. To ensure smooth coordination, Leng, just as he had been for the prior Star Trek Japanese language projects, was for the duration of the project stationed in Tokyo as liaison. The recurrent sections were:
- Tour of Deck: Companion article of the accompanying blue-print sheets, providing more elaborate descriptions of the sheets, written from an in-universe perspective.
- Critical Systems: Technical articles about the various on-board systems of the USS Enterprise-D. Written and illustrated by Michael Okuda along the lines of the work he had done previously for the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. Also written from an in-universe perspective.
- Apparatus: Technical articles about the various pieces of hardware in use aboard the USS Enterprise-D, written by Okuda and based upon elaborated technical annotations by Rick Sternbach from an in-universe perspective. The articles were illustrated with new CGI imagery by CGI artist Rob Garrard, a former Fact Files contributor.
- Mission Logs: Episode guide from an in-universe perspective. A slightly differing approach to the guide was taken by Leng. He felt that the guide should be in line with the overall concept of the product and so the texts were written with emphasis on the role the starship played in the specific episodes. The writing was based on much of the work Larry Nemecek had done earlier for the episode guides of Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion and The Fact Files. (source)
- Star Trek Memories: Real-world interviews with actors, producers, directors, and production staffers associated with Star Trek: The Next Generation. The interviews were done by Larry Nemecek, many of them especially for this publication, while other, yet unpublished ones, stemmed from his archive. (source)
- Step-by-Step: Description and assembly manual of the model kit parts.
Apart from the former Star Trek staffers, the writing staff, responsible for much of the article texts, further consisted of Tim Leng himself, Chris Dows, Peter Griffiths (like Leng, former Fact Files writers), as well as new comers like Rebecca Levine and James Goss. (source)
|#||Box cover||Contents||Magazine cover||Contents|
|1. 14 June 2011||
|2. 21 June 2011||
|3. 28 June 2011||
|4. 5 July 2011||
|5. 12 July 2011||
|6. 19 July 2011||
|7. 2 August 2011||