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Orne January 17 2009 01:38 AM

Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery

Taking account of the brutal lessons learned from the Enterprise v. Reliant battle during the Genesis Planet crisis, the loss of the USS Grissom, and the lackluster performance figures of the experimental (or less generously, "bloated") Excelsior prototype, StarFleet urgently authorized a new ship program which would lead to a radical upgrade of the Enterprise-class refits - and the similar later-build Pike-class heavy cruisers. While the Excelsior program was publicly stripped back to basics and rebuilt, behind a curtain of secrecy unseen since the early days of Earth's second world war.....utilizing primary and engineering hull components held in secure storage in the event of war, and built within an asteroid-shipyard far from traveled sectors, the backbone of the new refit design was rapidly laid and fleshed out. Taking a cue from its registry-number and named "Discovery", the re-constructed hull featured a blend of tested and radical features: the primary saucer configuration was expanded in volume, with the contours smoothed into a more warp-dynamic shape, a further benefit being reduced surface- area upkeep; a refined Excelsior-class warp-engine, which shed that prototype's poorly-engineered automate flourishes; quick-response thrusters and multiple impulse-engine ports to increase maneuvering; added phaser-turrets with interlocking firing-arcs, and the more powerful Avenger-class megaphaser/photon- torpedo emplacements, fore and aft; the standard nacelles were completely jettisoned for new warp-propulsion/impulse engine hybrids evolved from Vulcan research efforts; and to further enhance exploration missions, the engineering hull dimensions were altered to include dual shuttle-bays and a larger interconnecting cargo bay, replete with a varied complement of shuttlecraft, work-bees, amphibian scouts, and the covert addition of a small wing of powerful fighters (launched from behind concealed hull-hatches) as defense against surprise attacks where the ship was rendered incapable of immediate defense, ala the Reliant and BOP engagements which ultimately led to the destruction of Enterprise. The entire hull/nacelle configuration was intensively armored with laminated neutronium foils (skinned from the alien Doomsday Machine rendered inert in 2267) to resist weapons bombardment should ship-forceshields be weakened sufficiently.


Because the BBS won't let me make attachments yet, here's links to the 3-view plans and model photos described below......

(If the links aren't working, go to, and click
'Starship Discovery' at bottom of the lefthand menu.)

The design for the Discovery was laid out as a 1/636 scale model in 1982, and was one of the first scratchbuilds I attempted. The saucer used bits and pieces from the TMP toy ship, but was mostly constructed from sheet plastic and package blister shapes, and the nacelle center sections were reversed (and heavily re- worked) Vulcan shuttle nacelles, with the ends and top section scratchbuilt from wood and plastic; the engineering hull was scratchbuilt, with pop bottle plastic wrapped around a balsa framework. The nacelle and main pylons were scratchbuilt. (I would link some better photos of the model, but it's currently in pieces while I rebuild it.) In 1984 I refined the design more on paper, shortening the secondary hull and refining the saucer, and adding some Refit details. For the Anaheim 20th anniversary Trek convention (where I fielded heavy speculation that this was possibly an ILM design for the 'new' ST-IV Enterprise), I drew a new set of 3-views, adding more detail and tightening up the design. When I read about the "upgrade challenge" I scanned the plans into the computer and went at it one more time; this time I decided to lose the Excelsior style grille-inserts in the nacelle foresections and replace them with the less gimmicky (and preferred) bussard-caps/coils; moved the bridge airlock higher and simplied the bridge exterior; revised the lower section of the engineering hull.

(Original model/design copyright 1982, 2009 by Orne Montgomery. Original 3-view plans/design copyright 1984, 1986, 2009 by Orne Montgomery.)

judexavier January 17 2009 03:56 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Nice orthos!
I like neck/blending you used.
Also, those impulse engines are very cool.

Nice work!

Any more photos of the model?

Hyperspace05 January 17 2009 05:11 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Nice work! :)

Can't say I like the ... um... "wide behind" very much though. ;) The petal type shuttle bay doors look odd side by side.

Orne January 17 2009 07:58 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Judexavier (like your work also) that's all the photos for now. Shot those with a box brownie and lost the others, and never got around to taking more before I went at the model with a hacksaw.

Hyperspace - this was my way of taking the Ken Adams TMP concept with enlarged secondary hull, and not turning it into a Star Destroyer with a saucer hood ornament.

BorgMan January 17 2009 12:11 PM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
A pretty nice design, I'd almost say it's the Sovereign of TMP...

Orne January 18 2009 02:28 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Will try to locate the box with the Discovery modules and shoot some digital pictures; in the middle of remodeling the house and the 'drydock' is buried for the moment.

Borgman, thanx. Like that Leopard frigate, have you posted any 3-views or graphics of it?

Eric Cheung January 18 2009 07:45 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
I too had a ship and class called Discovery (my uncle and I designed it after the shoddy pylons from the Star Trek VI kit for the NCC-1701-A fell off). It sounds like you chose almost exactly the same era for your ship of the same name. Not surprisingly it shares some design elements with mine. Perhaps I'll post a thread of my own class of the same name (I was a little disappointed to learn that Star Trek: Legacy used the name for the ENT-era Conestoga ships).

I decided the name "Discovery" didn't really apply anymore because it looked utilitarian, like it was made around the time of the Excelsior, or perhaps around the time just after the Khitomer Accords (I made these modifications after I tried to replicate the battle damage from the Battle of Khitomer), but from spare parts, designed for a quick production cycles as a way to supplement other forces. I kept the name because I figured the Corps of Engineers would appreciate the irony of such a name going to a class that was merely a repurposing of older parts.

As far as your ship, it's an impressive job, not just because it's so from scratch. I think I might have consolidated the shuttlebays into one and made the color scheme lighter, but otherwise it's a pretty cool design that looks like something from the early movie era.

Orne January 18 2009 10:20 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Haven't finished it yet, but working on a similar engineering hull and nacelles for the 1/350 refit kit (four of these in my collection and spare parts galore); the aft section of the wedge is wider, with the interconnecting cargo bay expanded horizontally, with central bay doors, between two standard refit hangar bay sterns. In spite of that, the beam isn't much larger than the versions here.

My two largest influences when I was a kid was Kubrick/Clarke's '2001' and Whitfield's 'The Making of Star Trek'; 'Discovery'/NX-2001 was a natural name choice.

SonicRanger January 18 2009 05:28 PM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
I like the proportions and shapes of the model better than the orthos.

retrotrekker January 19 2009 01:15 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery

Orne January 19 2009 04:50 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Sorry, haven't had any live Gah! on hand since Quark's Bar shut down.

I cut down the length of the engineering hull from the model to make it match the dimensions of the refit; the 1/350 conversion above is closer to the original model that way, so the wider beam wouldn't look so squat.

BorgMan January 22 2009 12:39 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
Thanx Orne, the ship is made by Voron, I just made the 3D model :)

You can find the original views of the ship here.

Patrickivan January 22 2009 03:03 PM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
She's got a big backyard, yet I am still strangely attracted to her...

The end of the nacelles and the impulse engines seem a little over stylized for my taste. I'd simplify them a wee bit.

Well done overall!

Orne January 23 2009 06:17 AM

Re: Jan. art challenge - Starship Discovery
The nacelle ends are cowling for Vulcan hybrid impulse-engine section (two separate systems, one on the saucer, and these). Take into account the original drawings were completed in the early eighties, everything was a little 'out there', but agree with you some of it is over-done. The 1/350 hull/nacelles I'm building started with this design but will be a bit more practical in appearance.

Orne February 5 2009 11:49 AM

Starship Discovery
Some photos of the 1/350 scale engineering hull for Starship Discovery described above. The main section was built up over a balsa framework, with sheet styrene sections wrapped around the stringers and bulkheads.

Also, while the earlier links may still go somewhere, I'm in the middle to transferring my website to another service. New links for the artwork, etc.

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