Those of you who have been SerenityStuff visitors for some time might have been wondering what fan-favorite replica maker Whitefall (Ben Mund) has been doing since he got picked up as one of QMx's Artisans. Folks, he's been taking one of his best unofficial prop replicas and making it into an even better official one. This is his set of ship's papers, with all the documents a captain would want to have handy the next time the Alliance comes calling, in a custom-made leather holder.
Ben's original replica was a faithful recreation of the one from "Firefly," which didn't contain much in the way of actual 'versy stuff. The pages contained mostly filler, legal boilerplate, and was never intended to be seen up close. After a great deal of work, with input from "Serenity" graphic designer Geoff Mandel and access to tons of source material, this is a brand new, built-from-scratch set of ship's papers the way it should have been. Insanely detailed, plain fun to read.
In this set of 13 full-color sheets of various sizes up to 8-1/2" x 14," the certificates are hand stamped with the official seals of the Alliance and hand signed in English and Chinese by the appropriate Alliance officials. The documents contain endorsements required to operate a variety of ship systems along with system maps, operating licenses, safety inspections and a wealth of background material on what it takes to operate a Firefly-Class Transport in the 'Verse.
From the press release:
"As part of our research into creating the Ship Papers, we went back to some originals props from the series, but were disappointed to find there was really nothing there," said Andy Gore, QMx Director of Marketing and project manager for the Ship Papers. "They were just some trust documents that someone slapped a new title on to look good on camera, but they didn't have any actual 'Verse content in them."
Operating alone and with no support either from the studio or Serenity's creative team, Mund had already done a tremendous job prototyping a set of "idealized" ship papers. QMx wanted to take Mund's concept, but make it as real and authentic as possible.
"We went to Ben to help us make the Ship Papers so realistic, they look like you just walked into Mal's cabin and found them laying on his desk," Gore said. "Ben has a track record of creating paper props of excruciating detail and breathtaking beauty. But we think he's outdone himself with the Ship Papers."
The company offered Mund complete access to QMx's considerable resources – including an extensive archive of original drawings and background materials, and the Serenity Brain Trust (the team responsible for advising on the development of the Official Serenity Blueprints) – and told him "go crazy!"
"Five hundred additional years of history gives you a lot to draw on, so I spent a good deal of time going through official documents from civil war parchments to digital customs regulations to get a blend of elements that felt right," said Ben Mund, QMx artisan and design lead on the Ship Papers project. "Artistically, I worked to stay within the design ethos of the 'Verse – blending a little bit of the Old West look with the cold, hard high-tech look of the Alliance."
"With access to the source material as well as input from Serenity's graphic designer, Geoffrey Mandel, these papers are far and away better than anything I could have done on my own," Mund said. "Every single page was built from scratch, with information, graphics and other details true to the source material."
The Official Serenity Ship Papers includes a hand-signed certificate from the designer and come wrapped up in a fashion-grade, hand-crafted leather wallet with brass fittings and a hand-made screw-down plate. The papers feature rich details – such as gold ink, duo-tone stamps, an embossed metal clip and paper watermarked with Alliance emblems. It damn well feels official.
QMx's Official Serenity Ship Papers set goes on sale at 6 p.m. EDT today for $119. Sales will be limited to 1,500 pieces. You can find more information and pictures at the QMx site.