“Uhura Queen of Comms” Saber – A tribute to Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols

nuqneH and welcome to the other franchise of the final frontier….Star Trek. Today I present my tribute to the actress and space pioneer Nichelle Nichols who portrayed Lt Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek series (and the first six movies) and sadly passed away recently. It was the news of Nichelle’s passing and a conversation with my friend Resa (from Graffiti Lux and Murals – Link: https://graffitiluxandmurals.com/ ) about Star Trek, the Emmy’s and Nichelle’s role that prompted me to create a saber in Ms Nichol’s honour.

Nichelle was (and still is) THE Lt Uhura, communications officer from the original show and canon movies. Uhura however was very nearly named Lt Sulu but this was changed to help the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry achieve a diverse cast and George Takei’s character was named Sulu instead. Whilst reading for the part of Uhura, Nichelle had a book with her titled “Uhuru” by Robert Ruark. Uhuru means “freedom” in Swahili and when this was explained to Gene he adapted the word to “Uhura”. Lt Uhura first appeared in Star Trek in the episode titled “Man Trap” and joined the crew of the Enterprise as chief communications officer. OK, I think that will do as an introduction so I had best show you the saber I designed for Ms Nichols, this is “Uhura – Queen of Comms”…

With this saber I tried to capture the physical appearance of Uhura (sort of) in a similar way that I recreated Robocop with my “Pacifier” design. The saber is the same red colour as Uhura’s Starfleet uniform and even has the same black trim around the emitter to represent the collar design, whilst there is gold trim to signify her rank insignia bands on the sleeves. The emitter has nice slotted windows to allow the blade to shine through. The emitter is also contoured to provide grip and adds a bit of curve to the handle. There are slight bulges on either side of the hilt to replicate arms and you can see the gold trim on the “sleeves”. Of course all Starfleet uniforms must have the famous Federation emblem and so too does this hilt and the emblem also doubles as the saber’s activation switch. This emblem is 3D modelled and not just a graphic pasted on. Alright, I had best quickly move on to Gallery Two as I have a special “extra” later in this post so here are some detail pictures…..

Now you can clearly see the details I mentioned already but in these shots you can see the Covertech Wheel which is used to hang the saber on your belt, but also around the bottom of the handgrip you can see further gold trim and the handgrip appears slightly misshapen. The saber isn’t misshapen, I intentionally created a flared edge to make the bottom of the handgrip look like the hemline of Uhura’s uniform skirt. Below that there are sections to represent her legs and finally her black boots form the pommel end cap with the orange/gold rings in the pommel opening. These rings reminded me of Uhura’s earrings, those classic 60’s style hooped designs.

Uhura and Nichelle herself were both great communicators and inspirational. Nichelle was one of the first African American actresses to appear as a main character and had many fans including Martin Luther King Jr, who once spoke with Nichelle when she considered leaving the show and convinced her to stay aboard the Enterprise because she was such a positive role model. Uhura travelled space but as far as I know Nichelle never made it into space but was approached by NASA to be an ambassador to try and encourage more women and ethnic minority applicants to join the Air Force and NASA. So Nichelle was sort of an honourary astronaut! And because Nichelle and Uhura were such great communicators I thought “what else can I do to make this tribute extra poignant?” The answer….I created Uhura’s iconic communications desk earpiece! Here is Gallery Three with the comlink earpiece….

The first photo shows an actual studio prop of the earpiece to compare with my recreation. I did tweak the angled earbud section slightly so it would be more sturdy and I added a small plunger button on the earbud to allow Uhura to activate it as she held the comlink in place. Otherwise I think this is fairly close to the original prop.

And that just about ends this message and post, I hope I have done both Lt Uhura and Ms Nichols justice with this design. I also hope my friend and fellow Trekkie fan Nancy enjoyed this post as she just posted an article about the 40th anniversary of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. You might like to see that on her blog Graphic Novelty² (link: https://graphicnovelty2.com/ ).

I’d like to thank you all for checking this post out and for all the support you give me and my little site. All the kind words and comments are much appreciated, Please call back for future posts as I conclude my Katana saber series, I complete my Mad Max collection and finish off with some “new” Star Wars vehicle models. Till next time……Live long and prosper……

“Uhura Queen of Comms Saber” is a For Tyeth Editions creation inspired by Nichelle Nichols and Lt Nyota Uhura from CBS/Paramount’s Star Trek franchise. The saber design, models and renders were created by For Tyeth/FTSabersite and are ©Copyright of For Tyeth/FTSabersite 2016-2022. Star Trek and all names, logos, images and related materials are Trademark and ©Copyrights of Desiluu Productions, and Paramount Television Pictures.

19 thoughts on ““Uhura Queen of Comms” Saber – A tribute to Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols”

    1. Hello Spira, thanks so much. I was concerned whilst doing these recent tribute sabers that people may not think them suitable or serious enoughbut they are my way of paying my respects. Thank you for reassuring me.

    1. Hi there NT, glad you like the hilt. Since I learnt how to create more curved/organic shapes I have been able to get more artistic and basically “sculpt” a handle or part rather than just use basic regular tubes or cylinders. So happy you could see Uhura and Nichelle in the saber.

    1. Hello Nancy, thank you also…it’s reassuring to hear that I accomplished what I intended with this design. As I mention to Spira I was worried that the sabers may not be considered serious enough to be a proper tribute. I’m glad Nichelle and Uhura communicated themselves through this lightaber. And you are most deserving of the shout-out, it is the least I can do considering all the fun and informative posts/reviews you have published that I read. Thanks so much…and again, Live long and prosper.

    1. Hi TVTA, thanks to you. I really like to take care when I design hilts like this but I have found that the build idea comes to me quickly as the subject matter is so poignant. Luckily Nichelle and Uhura were so iconic.

  1. Brilliant, Tyeth!
    This is your best saber, ever! You really put a lot of Uhura into the design. LOVE!!!!!
    The earpiece is a sweet addition.
    I am touched by this tribute!

    BTW – The Emmys are tomorrow night.
    Boba Fett got 4 nominations, in case you don’t already know.
    Best Sci-fi Costumes
    Best Stunt Coordination
    Best Special Visual Effects
    Best Sound Editing

    OH Thank you for the shout out!

    1. Hello Resa, so glad you liked the tribute to Nichelle. I did promise I would get round to making a saber for her and because I was a little late posting this I decided to add the extra Easter Egg with the communicator earpiece.
      And thanks for the Emmy news, I hadn’t heard the latest nominations as it was Disney’s big Showcase Day where they preview all the upcoming shows and there was a lot of Mandalorian and Kenobi news to digest.. Hopefully Boba Fett will get at least one or two awards out of the four.
      Finally, thanks for the kind comments and the reblog! Live long and prosper.

  2. Reblogged this on Graffiti Lux Art & More and commented:
    The Emmys are tomorrow night. I hope they pay some tribute to Nichelle Nichols.

    Nichelle was one of the first African American female actors to appear as a main character in a tv series. She went on to work with NASA.

    When she considered leaving the show, Martin Luther King Jr. convinced her to stay aboard the Enterprise because she was such a positive role model.

    Tyeth has made a lovely light saber, as part of his tribute to her.

    1. Greetings Dale. Thank you so much, I try to incorporate details into all my designs to make them personal to the person/inspiration for each saber. However with these tribute saber designs I make even more effort to get them right.

    1. Hello John and welcome. I am so pleased you like this small tribute. I have mentioned before to other people that I am always wary not to offend and I like to create a tribute that folks understand so comments like yours are reassuring to me I did ok. Thanks for visiting.

    1. Greetings walkingoffthechessboard, glad you found my little tribute fitting. I was a Trekkie when I was younger and loved watching the show. Uhura had an aura about her all the time despite not being utilised as a character as much as Kirk, Spock and Bones but I always noticed her. It was only later though when the Internet became a thing that I could delve into her and Nichelle’s stories. Thank you for the kind words.

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