The Ent-D looked gorgeous on the big screen in GEN. Sure the model wasn't greatly practical for shooting or maneuvering but they quickly went to CGI anyway so that idea is a wash.
The Ent-D was as much of a character in TNG as everyonbe else and it's just disgusting how easily and quickly she was destroyed and dismissed as if she was just another piece of the set they didn't want anymore.
One thing I that I've always hated was the attitude the writers seemed to take about it. Having the characters just transplanted into a new ship in the very next movie always left a bad taste for me. As if the writers just couldn't understand that the viewers can get just as attached to the sets and models the same way we do to the people
and actors. I've got a greater emotional connection to the 1701-D than I do to its successor.
The Ent-E never had that same connection to me. It was just a "nothing ship" IMO, I didn't care
about it. Whereas seeing 1701-D tackling the Borg invasion attempt or fighting the Son'a would at least have registered an emotional connection to me. Of course, the old Enterprise D sets were all being converted for use on Voyager, so on a practical level I'm afraid the death of 1701-D was a necessity.
The sets really do form a connection. My mom is a big Star Trek fan and loved TOS. Her and my father watching TNG during its first run is what got me into Star Trek so much, I literally grew up with it on in our house all the time from the day I was born.
Anyways, one of the things my mom always tells me about when TNG first aired was that she didn't connect to the ship right away. One of her initial reactions about the bridge set: "WHERE ARE THE RED DOORS?!"