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Old April 11 2009, 05:37 PM   #20
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Location: Twin Cities
Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Praetor wrote: View Post
Say, Shaw, that's not bad at all, and seems very accurate given what resources you must have had available at the time. I'd have loved to have seen that model...
Yeah, I didn't have much. As I recall these were just about all the references I had to work from at the time...

And they were all printed images (from before I had computers that would let me dissect them for study) and measurements were made from Xerox copies or tracings (so as not to damage the originals). Of course I also didn't use computers for drawing them either, they were done using traditional pencil/paper and ink/vellum techniques.

Strangely enough the final model looked a lot like the final study model of the Excelsior (but with better paint and hull graphics). Shortly after finishing my model the kit came out, and I built one of those into the USS Hood (and used fiber optics for lighting it).


Maybe (while I'm hemming and hawing on which direction to go on this model) we could use this thread to discuss the history of the model I'm attempting to replicate. The original thread that was used two years ago while I was working on my plans is gone because the old site software deleted threads after a certain age.

People still seem to wonder about this model and I was short on details in my plans as I was more concerned with the drawings (and the models geometry) than the history at the time. Since then I've been collecting together a lot more about the history (of both models), and can even point out which episodes featured the 33 inch model in all three seasons.

So in the next few days I'll put together that information, along with some before and after diagrams of the model discussing the differences between how it looked in The Cage/WNMHGB and how it looked when altered to better match the series alterations made to the 11 foot model.

To get started, here is a collection of images of the 33 inch model I put together a while back.

And a review of the early production history...
  • Nov. 4, 1964 (Wednesday): Richard Datin agrees to build an approximate three foot long model based on an early set of plans which give a real world scale of 1:48 (if this had been the final drawings, this would have been the 540' version, but the proportions of this early drawing are actually significantly different from the final plans).
  • Nov. 7, 1964 (Saturday): The final construction plans are finished. These plans include the scale reference of FULL SIZE & 3" = 1'-0" TO LARGE MINIATURE. My reconstruction of those plans can be found here.
  • Nov. 8, 1964 (Sunday): Richard Datin receives the plans and starts building the full size 33 inch model out of kiln-dried sugar pine.
  • Nov. 15, 1964 (Sunday): A little more than a week later the 33 inch model is presented to Roddenberry for approval. I'd guess this is where the addition of exterior windows was requested (which were not part of the original design), and the model returns with Datin after this viewing of it.
  • Dec. 8, 1964 (Tuesday): Construction is started on the 11 foot model.
  • Dec. 14, 1964 (Monday): The 33 inch model is delivered to Roddenberry for final approval while The Cage was being filmed in Culver City (there are images of Hunter and Roddenberry examining the model on this date). This model is used for all effects shots in The Cage except the most important one (the zoom in on the bridge).
  • Dec. 24, 1964 (Thursday): Shooting of The Cage wraps, only one effects shot still outstanding (all other model shots use the 33 inch model).
  • Dec. 29, 1964 (Tuesday): The 11 foot model (built by Datin, Mel Keys and Vern Sion) was delivered to the Howard A. Anderson studio. This version is unpowered and the windows are painted on the surface of the model... and even then the model was designed to be shot from the right side only.
  • Jan. 23, 1965 (Saturday): After The Cage is already in the can and waiting for network approval of the new series, additional test shots of the 11 foot model are taken in it's original condition.
  • Jan. 30, 1965 (Saturday): Aspects of the ship's size (like it being 190,000 tons) were being distributed to the media in the descriptions of the new show.

I'm still working on nailing down more info, but this is a good start.

As for when the model was seen, I'm working on a shot list, but in generally it was seen in every episode of TOS (as it went swooshing by in the opening credits). It was used for all but the bridge zoom in shot in The Cage, it was used for the shot of the Enterprise leaving the barrier in WNMHGB. It was used for the shots of the Enterprise from below in Tomorrow is Yesterday (two different angles). Though it was generally retired by the second season (an AMT model of the Enterprise was constructed to take it's place at the same time as the Constellation was made), it did appear in By Any Other Name (exiting the barrier and zooming towards the Andromeda Galaxy) using shots of the model from WNMHGB and The Cage. In the third season it appeared in Is There In Truth No Beauty? (two speeding Enterprise shots before entering the barrier and one of the ship exiting the barrier), again using shots of the model from The Cage and WNMHGB. It's last appearance on screen (and the first using new footage since Tomorrow is Yesterday) was in Requiem for Methuselah when it played a reduced Enterprise sitting on a table top (and what I am aiming for my model to generally look like when finished).

I think it is generally known that after the series ended it was given to Roddenberry (who displayed it on his desk throughout the 1970s), but was lost after it was loaned to someone in the early 1980s. The person (or persons) didn't return the model and Roddenberry claimed to have forgotten who it was that he loaned it to. It is still missing to this day.
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