The shots they did with the physical 1701 model for the DS9 Tribble episode are a million times better than the best CGI shot in TOS-R.
Agreed. There's no digital replacement for a physical, detailed body, and your example--compared to TOS-R--proves the point.
Financially it is just impossible to shoot miniatures mo-con economically anymore, according to everybody. I do not understand why, and it is a question I've been asking industry professionals for 15 years. Always the same vague 'stage costs too high/system rental too high' which just seems very unlikely given the budgets allocated.
I always found the economic issue suspect, as a TOS job--if simply replicating all original shots--is not the Return of the Jedi
space battle over Endor. Many seem to forget just how vast the TOS universe appeared--like the 1701 really had to travel just to run into another vessel (part of the appeal, rather than overpopulated, Star Wars
-esque space scenes).
Following the TOS path, certain new flybys could be recycled as much as the original FX shots (if so desired)--only with completely clean work. Add the rare extra element (Klingon, Romulan, K-7, Aurora
, Tholian, etc.), and its nowhere near the cost of a full production of modern hour-long TV.
Instead, we were "treated" to the hokey, dated out of the gates TOS-R, which is no more realistic than graphics for the common Wii game.