View Single Post
Old December 6 2008, 10:01 PM   #88
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Up sizing the movie Enterprise

The real issue of size has always been that there's nothing 100% certain about any of it. The only "real" indicator was the on-screen (but unreadable) 947' number off of one of Matt Jefferies' comparison sketches (showing the 1701 and a Klingon Battlecruiser) in one episode. And, as has been pointed out more than once, he clearly didn't consider the design he provided to be "fully developed." It was, as I stated once (and got flamed over!) a "sketch" rather than a fully-realized design.

These days, many folks have tried to turn it into a real, fully-realized design. Franz Joseph did it first, back in the 1970s, and those were "official plans" signed off on by Paramount and by Roddenberry (though both later on tried to refute everything FJ did... mainly as a turf-battle thing, not due to technical merits). But the idea of trying to "make it all make sense" has been a hobby of some of us here for 40 years or more. So it's not like you can come in and just say "well, why don't we change this?" and not have it come across as a little bit... uh... "brash?"

I accepted the 947' number for years, but over time, started to realize that there were details on the real ship that weren't quite the same as what I THOUGHT I'd seen on-screen (the advent of video-tape certainly helped in that regard!). Today, we have some VERY accurate blueprints of the exterior of the studio model, though the two best-regarded ones still deviate slightly in subtle ways. But while these show the FORM very well, they don't show the SIZE or the INTERNAL CONFIGURATION so well.

That's where the "Matt Jefferies' original intent" stuff really started to come into play. People started comparing the window locations on the model and realized where Jefferies had originally intended deck-lines to have been, for instance.... and it matched up surprisingly well to Jefferies' original TOS-era sketches.

Now, one of the biggest issues with the FJ blueprints from 1974 was that he was bound by Roddenberry's claim that everyone on the ship was an officer (something that was in direct violation of on-screen evidence in numerous episodes!) So FJ's prints turned massive amounts of the internal volume of the ship into private or semi-private cabin space, reducing (as mentioned, above) the available volume for actual WORKING spaces (labs, engineering spaces, control facilities, etc). My own attempt at fitting things into the volume have been based upon reducing the total cabin-related volume by the scheme I described in my earlier post.

I've got a pretty fine model I've used as my starting point (thanks, TallGuy!), which I've been gradually populating internally.

What I discovered was that the deck heights work better if the ship is larger... my "ideal number" turned out to be 1,108', actually... but that's so close to 1080' that I chose to just lock in on that number and lower ceiling heights appropriately. I've allowed for reasonably thick walls and floor/ceilings because these are actual structural elements of the ship... consisting of load-bearing members as well as being heavily populated by plumbing, wiring, and ship's systems components. My walls are typically between 18" and 3' in thickness (thicker ones less common but present in more heavily stressed regions) with my deck thicknesses being about 2'. The hull skin is typically 18" thick... if the internal structure was less robust, this would have to be much heavier, of course.

I found out that I could keep the 10' ceilings for corridors with the 1080' version... assuming that the segments seen in the corridor ceilings are actually mechanical members and that cabin spaces have their ceiling suspended from those members (and thus being less tall overall). I found out that the hangar could work, with a 24' shuttlecraft (Warped9 did some great work on this as well, and I consider his to be the definitive "make it all fit" work on TOS shuttlecraft to date!) without interfering with the pylons on the 1080' version while it does interfere if you use the 947' version (see David Shaw's sketch above, for instance, which uses the 947' number).

I did discover that 11 decks in the primary hull is sort of nonsensical anyway... 10 decks, in the 1080' version, works very nicely (assuming you leave the bridge-dome nub as the turbolift shaft!)

The only real "tweak" that came into play here... where an existing set didn't work exactly as built... was the bridge. The centerline of the lift shaft is further out on the model, at this scale, then it was on the physical set. But the physical set can be tweaked very slightly... enough to justify by "different camera lenses" if you like... and it fits quite nicely. (You just have to accept that Pike had that bridge rearranged so that he didn't have the turbolift door right behind him... apparently the guy hated hearing the whoosh and not being able to see who was sneaking up behind him, so he had the bridge rearranged to annoy some of the TrekBBS posters!)

Seriously, I'm 100% sold on the 1080' thing... though I accept that some folks will always stick with the 947' number. I don't think Jefferies would have minded upsizing the ship by this small amount based upon a more rigorous study of the layout than he ever performed. He clearly was willing to improve on the design over time.

The big issue with your original suggestion, Westwords2020, is that you simply said "why not make it twice as big?" You gave a few examples of big ships. But you failed to support your argument with anything that would either convince us that it SHOULD be increased, or that by doing so you wouldn't be tossing out (for no good reason) 40+ years worth of familiarization so many of us have devoted so much time to already.

There are a number of real naval types (both currently serving and veterans) on here... and there are quite a few real technical types (myself among them) on here who've actually been involved with design at this sort of level for real-world applications (and who as a result try to apply our real-world perspective to this fictional universe).

Over time, most of us are open to adjusting our perspectives... IF YOU MAKE A STRONG, VALID ARGUMENT. I'd heard the 1080 vs. 947 debate for a long time and just stuck with the 947 number because it was "official," til I did the legwork myself and realized that one actually made more sense. I changed my mind because I was convinced, in other words... not by passion, but by logic.

None of us are totally dedicated to the idea that everything ever seen on-screen is inviolable and cannot be questioned. If that was the case, we'd have to accept that Starbase 11 kept their computers in the Enterprise's engineering bay! The trick is to look past the production necessities and to try to make what we have... what we've seen on-screen... fit into some logical framework. And many people... probably tens of thousands, over the years... have dedicated their time and energy to doing so already.
Cary L. Brown is offline   Reply With Quote