Review: Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manual

As the holiday season draws near, your favorite Klingon may be in need of some technical help with his or her Bird-of-Prey. Never fear, the fine folks at Haynes have your friend’s technical needs in mind as they roll out their brand new Owners’ Workshop Manual for the iconic Klingon starship. The TrekMovie review below.


by Rick Sternbach and Ben Robinson
Hardcover – 119 pages (full color)
Haynes and Gallery Books – November 2012 – $28.00

Two years after Haynes’ release of its first Star Trek themed book, dedicated to the various incarnations of the USS Enterprise, the publisher of automotive self-help books is back with another stab at an iconic Star Trek vessel, this time the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. In my review of the Enterprise manual, I stated: "… the Haynes manual glosses over the technical material in the guise of a historical recollection of what made each vessel unique… The “U.S.S. Enterprise Owners’ Workshop Manual” feels more like a middle-school history book written ten to fifteen years after the conclusion of the Next Generation movies". Having taken a few moments to look back at the Enterprise manual, I stand by that criticism and can tell you that the latest Haynes offering is a vastly superior offering for fans of Star Trek technical goodness.

Hope somebody loaned Riker a copy of this book

After a foreword written by J.G. Hertzler (under the makeup of General Martok), the book is broken down into several sections: Commissioning a Bird-of-Prey, background on the I.K.S. Rotarran (Martok’s ship from DS9), Weapons and Defensive Systems, Propulsion and Navigation, Ship’s Systems, Life on Board, and a Fleet Comparison. Each section dedicates just enough space to basic and, sometimes, more advanced information on the bird-of-prey, that it feels like the kind of book (er, file?) that might have been given to Commander Riker before he took his posting as XO through the officer exchange program.

The commissioning section dedicates a surprisingly hefty amount of space to the odds and ends of Klingon fleet management, starship construction processes, and how the political and feudal lines of the Empire manage to intertwine in the development and deployment of new Klingon vessels. To be honest, this section alone makes the manual more than worth its asking price.

Quite possibly the best section of the book begins here [click to enlarge]

The system breakdowns featured in the book are interesting and are far more engagingly written than we saw in 2010’s effort, quite possibly because Klingon cultural, philosophical, and biological background is weaved into the ethics of starship design. While occasionally bordering on the repetitive, Sternbach and Robinson make it clear that design redundancy is one outstanding feature of Klingon design, and it is borrowed directly from the resiliency of Klingon physiology.

High quality original artwork and well written information combine to make this manual superior to Haynes’ 2010 effort [click to enlarge]

Compiling together much of what we have observed in televised Star Trek, the Life on Board section serves to give a unified feeling to what we have observed on film, and gives equally logical and expansive detail on the way that ships, at least of the Bird-of-Prey type, are staffed.

The fleet comparisons are interesting – devoting a page each to several different Klingon ships that have been glimpsed on-screen, from Enterprise through Deep Space Nine. There is nothing terribly spectacular in the section – though the section dedicated to discussing the Negh’Var class provides some interesting exploration of the leadership styles and personal practices of Gowron and Martok.

The central portion – dedicated to a deck by deck breakdown of the typical Bird-of-Prey is well done, and stands in the tradition of nearly any strong blueprint of a starship. It reminds me most directly of the deck and system displays of the Belknap-class striker cruiser from the early 1990’s edition of "Ships of the Star Fleet" published by Mastercom Data Center. Those of us who were heavily involved in Trek technical stuff back in those days were often held in awe by the work of the team that put together that series, and it is absolutely a joy to behold something that feels like a bit of a hearkening back to that era.

Ships of the Star Fleet was, quite possibly, the high-water mark of Star Trek technical work. This manual happily captures much of its spirit.

There are a few minor issues with the manual – and those who have read my review on the Enterprise manual will probably recognize them immediately. While much of the artwork is new and amazing, the screencaps – which are of varying quality – continue to detract from the sense of immersion that one wishes to have when reading a genuine technical manual. Even the great ones, such as the nice photo of the refit Enterprise and Kruge’s vessel squaring off over Genesis detract somewhat from the feeling of realism when one remembers that nobody else was present to image the events.

So, while the issue of screen-grab imagery remains a sore point in this outing, everything else about the Haynes Bird-of-Prey effort is absolutely astounding… a far more satisfying book than its predecessor, and definitely worth the price of purchase.

The "Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manual" is available in stores now.

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Nebula – Class manual would be great :-)

What! It’s not underware!

Great point and well expressed that a sense of immersion into the world of Star Trek is what fans want while reading a book like this, and that the stills from the movies and shows detract. A book like this works best when it stays in character. Nice looking cutaways, though!

So if they have Kruge’s ship, which interior do they use? The one from ST:III or ST:IV? Because they were inexplicably completely different. :)

I hear they are hard to get parts for. Everything is on intergalactic back order!

4. Perry

During their months of exile on Vulcan, they did a refit and probably moved things around.

Why do they write bI’rel, I thought it’s be’rel… :p XD

6) And in so doing, happened upon something awfully close to the way every other klingon-operated BOP looked! Not too likely.

Great, I was wondering why my Bird-of-Prey was making a weird clinking noise every time I hit warp five. I just spent like 500 darseks on the propulsion system two months ago, too. Money pit.

I actually enjoyed the Enterprise manual. I thought it was quite informative, and had a lot of good images, and schematics.

As for Kruge’s Bird-Of-Prey bridge looking totally different in III and IV, I just try to ignore that. There’s really no logical explanation, unless the bridge in III was Kruge’s modification, and that the IV bridge was the normal design that the Enterprise crew found to be easier to man.

Or, Kruge’s bridge was merely an auxillary one that he preferred.

Though in all likelyhood, Kruge’s bride looks more Romulan than Klingon. When the designers designed the bridge, they might have assumed that it was for a Romulan Bird-Of-Prey, which was mentioned in the early scripts.

And good review Anthony! Also, I had no idea you worked on Trek technical stuff twenty years ago. Interesting.

BTW, DK is going to publish a “Star Trek” Visual Dictionary book, similar to what they have done for “Star Wars”, “Indiana Jones”, etc.

Ships of the Starfleet. Thanks Anthony for fond memories. I have book 1, i could never find any others in the affordable range. Could you guys possibly throw me somewhere I could find them?

YES! Now I will have a tactical advantage over them in Star Trek Online!!!!!

Montreal_Paul: So they did a refit that made it look even older and in worse shape than before? :)

#11 – SotSF volumes 1 and 2 were the only ones published. Volume 3, which was to deal with heavier ships never made it to press. A quick search on ebay turns up two copies at $5.00 or less US at the moment, one of them on buy it now.

Glad to see there’s no rants about ST:D trailer… or lack thereof. I also liked the Enterprise book. I’m using it as one of my references for a large-scale build of both the TOS and Refit E’s.

oops. fergot to mention i’m planning on getting this book also.

6. Yes, a refit to make it look more Klingon. The Vulcans like authenticity.

I have Mr. Scott’s technical manual to the Enterprise. Excuse me, but nuff’ said.

Ok. While it’s cool they are using General Martok’s ship as the model, I wish there was some more D-7 love. Yeah, I know it’s a BoP book, but the D-7 is the real Klingon ship to me. The BoP is a knock-off of the Romulan version. It was supposed to be a Romulan ship in Star Trek III.

Except that it is Father(?) Robert Lyons who has done this review… just saying.

I bought the Enterprise manual for fun. It was nice.
I’ve also seen a Millennium Falcon manual. But my only issue with the Klingon manual is that it only covers ONE class of ship. The Enterprise manual was neat because it covered ALL of the starships named Enterprise. It was more like having a ‘history of’ book rather than a just a manual.

I’d love to have seen a manual or handbook of all known classes of Klingon ships. Limiting it to just the Bird of Prey class is kind of a half-a$$ effort, in my opinion.

I’ll skip it….


The correction was made well after I posted. Originally it had Anthony’s name at the top.

Ships of the Star Fleet was produced by a “team” of two guys: Todd Guenther and Aridas Sofia (who designed the Belknap). Aridas runs the discussion forum Federation Reference and Guenther occasionally shows up there as Calon Riel (the “author” of SotSF):

Has anyone with a few billion dollars to his name yet considered how cool it would be to actually build a Klingon Bird of Prey?

Compared with any of the various Starship Enterprises, such a vessel would probably be much more cost-effective.

Of course, there’s that little thing known as warp technology to conquer, but, hey, what’s life without a few challenges here and there?

Also, transportation technology needs to be invented. Not to mention the principles underlying same needs to be discovered (no, quantum teleportation by itself won’t do.)

But seriously — I love these blueprints.

Upon discovery of copies of this book 2,000 years from now, archeologists and authors of the far future will be scratching their heads. Books will be written…. I can just see the title: “Human (?) Species Starflight Indicated By Primitive Cellulose-Based Information Source: An Examination of the Evidence of Ancient Star Travelers: Starflight of the Gods?” By Erich Von Farfuturer. (Multiverse Publishers, New New New York.)

I think the reviewer makes good points but fails to realise the age-old issue of trying to make this book and the Enteprrise book appealing to a casual Star Trek fan too.

I don’t agree with his points on the USS Enterprise Workshop Manual at all as I felt it gave a lot of infomation on each of the Enterprise ships.

I think one has to remember that these are fun and informative gift books rather than useful technical books – no one is really going to go out there in their dads garage and build an Enterprise. Imagining that kind of thing with such a serious book just wouldn’t work. Star Trek’s appeal has changed from the days of the huge Enterprise D Technical Manual so the Haynes Workshop Book’s really reflect the change in what people are looking for in terms of Star Trek reference books.

I just found out that DK are releasing a Star Trek Visual Dictionary! Which should be awesome!!!

I always wanted to know where the warp drive is supposed to be on a Bird of Prey, considering it has this large cannons at the tip of the wings, where you’d normally expect the warp nacelles to be (like it is the case with the D7 class).

I wanna know where the sway bars are located. And the upper control arms.

After all, if it’s a maintenance manual (I have a Haynes 1999 Ford Ranger manual), what good is it if it doesn’t show you poorly-lit pictures taken from impossible angles of where parts are located? :-)

“I always wanted to know where the warp drive is supposed to be on a Bird of Prey”

It’s in the wings. Go buy the book and learn more fascinating facts.

I’ve got the Enterprise Haynes Manual and an excellent read it is.
Stripping the Transporter system and rebuilding it is strictly best left to Scotty though. And don’t even get me started on sourcing some dylithium crystals of a cold winters morning when the engines won’t fire up. Jump leads from the family VW Golf don’t help one little bit either.

Hold On Just One Second!!

There’s a Ships of the Starfleet Book? And I have never even heard of it?

I gotta get me one of these! Oh, and the BOP book, too.

If you remember Kirk’s Trial in Star Trek IV they had footage of the refit against the Bird of Prey so the book is keeping to it’s fictional realms.

#31. Flim Flam

I agree. I figure the Grissom was there to do scientific investigation so one of the first thing it did was launch a series of probes stationary and orbiting that would geostationary and polar around the Genesis planet. I assumed the images were recovered from that network of devices.

#32. “thing” should be “things” and “would” should be “would include”

Cool. I might just pick this up.

@31/32. Think back to TMP:: if Epsilon 9 is destroyed, how are we seeing pictures after it’s destroyed from where Epsilon 9 was!?! We just have to assume that in Trek’s universe, there are “recording buoys” all over the place: which certainly is indicated in TOS by the Valiant, and by The Neutral Zone.

I kind of wish the Haynes people would go back and re-release their Enterprise manual with a version for each version of the Enterprise and give much more technical information about each ship.
I want to feel like I can build myself an Enterprise out of spare parts in my backyard after I’m done.

Perhaps some people, including perhaps the authors of this book, seem to be missing a huge distinction in the size of the Bird of Prey small-class Klingon ship seen in Trek 3 and 4, and the Klingon Battle Cruiser large-class Klingon ship seen in TMP, Trek 6, and TOS. The bird of play is probably 15-20% of the size of the Battle Cruiser. This is proven in Trek 3 when Kruge says, “they have me outgunned 8 to 1.”


I believe there are three different classes of Birds-Of-Prey, with the K’vort class being the largest. The D12 and B’rel classes are the same design, and size.

On the other hand, the exact scale and size of the ships in “Star Trek” have NEVER been depicted accurately. There has always been inconsistencies when showing a number of ships on screen at the same time.

We never got a correct size ratio depicted of the Enterprise D versus the Romulan Warbird until “The Pegaus” in the seventh season of TNG.

The manual here depicts the Rottarran, Martok’s B’rel class ship. So its the small one.


Damn typos.

It’s also hard to mend a broken Bird-Of-Prey wing.

#35. The Sinfonian – November 24, 2012

That too. But also thought there was a subspace science instrument network that the fleet could tap into as needed. I mean how else could Enterprise with its limited sensors see Reliant on the other side of that lifeless moon while Khan was oblivious to their location? Answer: Enterprise was monitoring Khan via Regula 1’s sensors.

@ 24. Hat Rick. Just for a laugh I thought I’d respond with this post as it sort of corresponds as to how the future discovery of a deteriorated Klingon manual may play out. It takes place in the year 3126 and is indeed a very rare find as pointed out by future historians as a major game changer that actually played out in our current recent history. By clicking on my name you should arrive to the link of this 4 minute mockumentary. Hope you enjoy this as you try to count the somewhat obvious inaccuracies.

R.I.P. Larry Hagman who passed away today. Known as Major Nelson, an astronaut of NASA from the show I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970) which noticably aired during the TOS 1st run era. He also played J.R. Ewing on Dallas later in his life.
Also on this date in 1991 we lost musicians, Freddie Mercury of Queen & Eric Carr of Kiss

Read this today, they give some details of other Klingon ships but not in great detail. Not a bad book

I prefer the K’Tinga class battlecruiser over the Bird of Prey…

@Well Of Souls (42), most interesting! Thank you very much. I will check out your mockumentary.

Isn’t Trek great? It is such a fertile universe for the imagination, as well as an inspiration for science and technology.

Even though Treknology is fictional, it’s nice to imagine that thousands of years from now, humanity will be able to do some of the things told in its stories.

Alpha Centauri, for instance, is not that far away if one thinks of our scientific trajectory in a hundred years. I would think that even if we won’t discover star drives for quite a long time, we could easily send ion-propelled probes to that system within a century. (Their are proposals that, today, would have a probe arrive there in about 60 years or so.)

A generation-ship could reach it within two generations.

It’s only 4.367 light years away.

And it has a planet orbiting it.

“Treknology” is most certainly great HR. Aside from good story telling much of the hi-tech stuff was actually researched as theoretically possible as Gene would consult the knowledgable resources. When the budget couldn’t afford props some things had to be made up, such as the transporter. Of which in turn, that outside of the box thinking has scientists actually trying to develop one.
The desire to travel in space was instilled in my imagination from the moment I 1st heard William Shatner’s “Space…”. However I chose the path as a musician & that lifestyle doesn’t correlate well with the necessary mindset required of an astronaut LOL.
Nonetheless I still love my hi-tech stuff and a wide variety of movies & music. Trek 2009 was directly responsible for my eventual purchase of a BluRay player. It was a nice addition to my Onkyo 7.2 harmonically balanced system w/ all Klipsch speakers viewed on my 50″ plasma.
There was a new breakthrough in theoretical space travel that I was reading a few months ago that totally fascinated me. Tthe link may have been submitted by 1 of our posters here in 1 of the articles. Could have been the Prometheus site too as there is a lot of out-of-the-box conversations there as well. If I find it, I’ll post it.

Still paper? Why? I see no reason why this should be a big and not an awesome app for iPad and Android tablets. The interface and sound effects could match Klingon computer systems, there could be animation and more.

From the pictures here, the inside of the book looks designed well, but the cover is horrible and looks like its from the 80s.

*should be a big book

@NCC-73515 (#7):
“Why do they write bI’rel, I thought it’s be’rel… :p XD”

The bI’rel spelling is originally from a Bird-of-Prey cutaway poster from 1998, translated by Marc Okrand.

The same poster also gave us qIvo’rIt as a romanized Klingon spelling of K’Vort.