Greg Jein, the legendary hands-on modelmaker responsible for the creation of some of the most iconic visual effects in cinematic history, including a legacy of work on Star Trek movies and television, and has passed away at the age of 76. He had been in declining health for some time. He passed away May 22, 2022, but only just now are we learning of his passing from friends and collegues on the ‘net.
Longtime “Star Trek” graphic designer Michael Okuda, on June 28, 2022, wrote the following on Facebook:
“Deeply saddened by passing of legendary modelmaker Gregory Jein, whose work ranged from ‘Dark Star’ and the Jolly Green Giant to ‘Firefox,’ ‘Buckaroo Banzai,’ ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Star Trek.’ Greg had a wry sense of humor and was endlessly inventive. He always seemed to find a way to provide us with spaceships, even when only a tiny budget was available. He genuinely loved ‘Star Trek,’ and was always generous with his expertise and his experience, giving many top modelers their start in the business. Greg had been ill for some time, but his passing is nevertheless a gut punch. The world of ‘Star Trek’ and of fantastic filmmaking has gotten a little smaller with the passing of our friend, Gregory Jein.”
Another familiar “Star Trek” figure, illustrator Rick Sternbach, also commented via Facebook about Jein’s death. On June 28, 2022, he wrote,
“Some of us had heard inklings earlier but the news is now out. Greg Jein has passed, and the film and miniature world is a better place for his having lived in it and contributed so much. I first got to meet Greg in the late 70s, and followed his exploits up to and beyond the times he and his colleagues brought some of my ‘Star Trek’ ship designs to life. Thank you for your friendship, and your amazing talent.”
Greg Jein was a Chinese American model designer who created miniatures for use in the special effects portions of many films and television series. He has been doing so since the 1970s. Jein has twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on the films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and 1941 (1979), and also nominated for an Outstanding Special Visual Effects Emmy for his work on Angels in America.
It was Jein who built the model of Star Trek franchise Klingon Vor’cha starship (designed by Rick Sternbach) featured in the hit TV shows Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The studio model for the Star Trek Ferengi Marauder spaceship, designed by Andrew Probert was also made by Jein; the model was constructed of resin, fiberglass, and aluminum.
The family has not yet released information on the cause of death, or memorial arrangements.
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I’m sorry to hear of his passing. He did so much wonderful work.
I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ll miss him and his kindness and humor.