On the other hand, did the USS Valkyrie ever make it to the TV or movie series? If not, does this even count?
is not a distinct model, but a relabeling of the one and only photographic piece. Supposedly, the new labels did appear in some episode or another (because somebody went to the trouble of doing the relabeling, and it was not an idle labor of love because the workmanship is pretty crappy
). But neither the new labels nor the underside can be discerned in any episode or movie. And that "Peak Performance" shot, unlikely to be any sharper in the blu-ray release, is our only canonical glimpse to the bottom of the ship. Canonically, Constellation
class ships don't have undersides!
Well, we do see some of the underside but from a really side angle so canonically, they do have undersides, but no close-up exists. However the Hathaway does fire her ventral rim simulated weapons from the forward rim position, matching that of the forward dorsal rim.
I'm thinking with those painted white in the front and lacking in torpedo launcher details that those are not torpedo launchers at all for the top and bottom parts.
The principal problem with that is that the ship does have torpedo tubes. If we give torpedo tube identity to some other fixture that looks completely unlike a torpedo tube, then what right do we have to declare that these familiar-looking fixtures are not allowed to be torpedo tubes?
Familiar-looking minus the actual familiar tube itself = not a torpedo launcher, IMO. Since we've seen in DS9 the Mirandas fire torpedoes from the bottom of the saucer ala TOS Enterprise then the Constellation-class could also have them in the same spot.
For myself, I don't understand why Captain Picard ordered his ship to be abandoned.
Because there was no point in remaining aboard?
The ship no longer moved on her own. She could not take the heroes home. Shuttles could.
On the other hand, the ship no longer did anything else on her own, either. She could not continue her mission. Nobody could.
Now postulate that the ship could not be repaired on the spot, not with the resources at hand.
So, going to the shuttles and flying home would be the sensible thing to do!
Should the ship have been recovered later?
...Why bother if she was outdated junk anyway? Starfleet can afford to lose old ships; it scuttled the Lantree
instead of trying to decontaminate her, say.
Should the ship have been scuttled on the spot?
...Why? She wasn't a traffic hazard. Her falling in enemy hands should not be a problem - if the enemy wants the piece of junk, he's quite welcome, as long as Picard has remembered to push the button that erases Starfleet secrets from the computers. And perhaps some friendly party in need will stumble onto her instead? Scuttling is not particularly logical except in certain very specific circumstances, such as those applying to naval warfare here on Earth.
There were some valuable items on the ship however. She still carried most of her photon torpedo load and fully armed. Wasn't there a whole DS9 episode devoted to the theft of torpedo warheads to the Maquis?
As to the damage, interestingly, the ship was "on fire" and they put everyone
in shuttles. But oddly if they could travel for weeks in shuttles why couldn't they hang around and put out the fire? All her main systems were still operational.
PICARD: It was a save our skins maneuver. We were finished. On fire. We had to abandon ship. We limped through space in shuttlecraft for weeks before we were picked up. I haven't thought about this for years.
RIKER: Enterprise to Stargazer, please respond. Enterprise to Captain Picard aboard Stargazer. Please answer. Mister Data, what was Stargazer's condition?
DATA: Considerable fire damage to interior surface reported, sir. But none of her main systems were crippled.
RIKER: Armaments, Lieutenant Yar?
TASHA: Six photon torpedoes short, sir, probably used when the Captain destroyed his Ferengi attackers nine years ago. Otherwise fully armed.
Another reason why you don't want to leave an intact ship around also so you don't have someone else flying around in it blowing stuff up in the the Federation's name. Imagine if a Founder got a hold of the Stargazer from the Ferengi and went and destroyed the Zenkethi base?