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Old August 14 2013, 04:29 PM   #40
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Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
It has become some sort of Trek practice to adopt these TOS pre-production for pre-TOS ships and we have two examples: The Enterprise XXV 330 goes way back to early TOS pre-production as does the Daedalus Class.

Here is Jefferies’ (popular) pre-production sketch of the Enterprise. The essential design is two warp engines and saucer joined as an element with the secondary connected to element holding the engines. What happened if we were to adopt the essential design for another and new pre-TOS ship? It would look like a vessel of the Oberth Class.

In terms of evolution the next step could be either to attach the warp engines to the secondary hull instead (Enterprise) or to relocate components of the secondary hull into the saucer and have the secondary hull reduced to a roll bar with sensor and/or torpedo pod (Reliant).

That’s what I saw (after looking at these pre-production sketches) and where my theory sprang from originally (indeed, putting something upside down opens new perspectives).
Okay, I do better understand your rationale now. I'm afraid I still don't wholly agree. Yes, I do definitely see how Jefferies' concept art could be a primitive version of the Oberth design - but if I'm understanding you correctly you're suggesting that some members of this design were converted into Oberths and some were converted into Mirandas? I quite honestly just don't like that. If we preclude that the Starship class was the top of the line in TOS (as everything, including background materials seems to suggest - biggest, best, etc) then surely Starfleet had medium and small vessels as well? Having there just be an "other" Starships design seems too... simple. Now, a scaled down version of Jefferies design being a proto-Oberth, I might be able to wrap my head around.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
If it has to fit GUT (Grand Unified Theory) and doesn’t take into account that the registry scheme may have changed or been modified somewhere between the late 23rd and the 24th Century it’s a problem, indeed.

But if I ignored retroactive continuity and instead focus on the Jefferies Registry Scheme (JRS) for the era of Kirk and pre-TOS it works well from the 1st Federation design series (Daedalus) up to the 20th (Excelsior).

Possible, but not desirable when we can have an easy to understand explanation that doesn’t go into rationalization overdrive. Therefore, I can’t leave it at that as this would be like giving in to petrified dogma to me, no offense!

How can (finally) applying something that was there from the beginning (JRS) and works for the Kirk era possibly register as a retroactive attempt, that’s a contradiction.

It’s the retroactive ignorance of the Jefferies Scheme which is the culprit that started the mess, and things went south when the Constellation Class Hathaway got the same “25” prefix as the Exelsior II Class Repulse although it had been previously established that the prefix of the Stargazer (Constellation Class) was “28”.

Obviously, the registry scheme had radically changed from that moment forward…
Hm. I could go with this. So, two things here. One, is my overt skepticism of the JRS. As much as I adore the man, I am skeptical as this being the true original intention, as well as its place in the overall scheme of the franchise. Now, ignoring anything 24th century is one thing, but if we do take TNG into account, then we are faced with some older ships with murky registries, as you say.

So perhaps, there was indeed a registry schema change at some point - and that change was to change from the JRS to a newer, simply sequential registry scheme, to fit with the fact that the production team similarly abandoned or ignored the JRS. So perhaps you're right - JRS until circa the 2280s, and then it all goes to hell.

Let's touch briefly on the JRS. Which ships are we presupposing fit to witch number? Going by what we have seen or what was spelled out on screen on TOS or the TOS films:

05 - Revere type (TMP chatter)
06 - Oberth (or whatever its earlier name may've been), includes Scout U.S.S. Columbia (TMP chatter)
17 - Constitution aka Starship
18 - Miranda
20 - Excelsior
21 - Entente type (TMP chatter)

Extrapolated from TNG, somewhat dubious:
19 - Constellation (?)
25 - Excelsior (?)
28 - Constellation (?)

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Sometime in the early 23rd Century? Can you please elaborate, does this have something to do with ENT and GUT?
Sorry, yes. I was concluding in my mind that if we take the registry scheme sequentially rather than using the JRS, as we might have to do with certain schools of thought, then we might find ourselves with ancient ships of low registry.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
TMoST only mentioned “Destroyer Class”, “Scout Class” first popped up in ST III. Unfortunately Reliant is a starship, according to Chekov’s log entry, hence Starship Class and not Destroyer Class. Personally I would have preferred it to belong to the Destroyer Class.

The apparent problem is that if these classes refer to size (my theory) then we only know that up to 395’ it’s Scout Class and longer than 765’ (Reliant) it’s definitely Starship Class. And in between there’s the Destroyer Class and even maybe a Cruiser Class.
Ah, my bad. I believe I was recalling the TNG TM's mention of different ship types - which doesn't really jive with the TOS way of thinking. TMoST and other sources indicate the Enterprise (or at least its embryonic Yorktown, memory fails at the moment) as being a "space cruiser." Perhaps Starship class = space cruiser? Or Starship class includes several different types, including cruisers? And Reliant is a starship, sure, but is she a Starship? But, that's yet another can of worms.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
You are now talking about the Oberth Class TNG version. No doubt that the vessels were upgraded. However, the depiction of decks inside the secondary hull or pod strikes me as an attempt to put a square peg into a round hole. Since I first saw the Grissom on the screen and noticed the tiny and bended pylons, it seemed rather certain to me that the window-less pod was an uninhabitable area, entirely devoted to fuel and mechanical devices.

(I could better imagine the pod to have been some kind of major payload and think of the Oberth Class as an analogy to a torpedo bomber or ancient naval fireship (much like the abuse of the rebel transports in the unrealized VFX scenes from Return of The Jedi…). Steer your payload straight at the enemy’s vessel and detach with the saucer module in the last minute. The Oberth Class could have been a formidable Romulan Warbird killer in the mid 22nd Century ).
Generally agreed about the pod, but it all depends how much credence we want to give to onscreen evidence, and how much authority we want to give to MSDs. TNG Oberths were indeed no doubt upgraded, and part of my point was that surely their versatility and upgradeability (yeah, that's a word...) was what ensured their longevity. Indeed, that's probably the point of the pod - put whatever you want down there. Shall we live dangerously and suggest that TOS era ships had their warp reactors in their nacelles, a warp core addition being a later "design graft" necessitated by the change in technology?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
TPTB have provided the answer for Matt Jefferies (well, the Enterprise ringship is a design of his inspired from his early TOS production sketches) regarding the Daedalus Class which brings me full circle back to the beginning of the post.

I have no doubt that NCC-1831 on the starship status chart in “Court Martial” referred to a Miranda (18th design), do not think that the Carolina was an Oberth, either, but feel confident that the USS Valiant was a vessel of the Oberth Class.
I guess I just don't get why you feel so confident about Valiant. I understand that you took the study model and concluded the modelmakers were trying to do a continuity throwback to TOS - but indeed if they were I would expect it was probably to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and I certainly do not think they intended that to be the design of S.S. Valiant. In other words, I think it was a name throwback only. My point was that, sure, it could be, but it could also be a Starship. Or a Miranda. Or an Antares type. Or a design we haven't seen before. Using the study model as evidence is just tenuous.

Let us not forget that, for all their successes, the ILM modelmakers didn't even do the windows right on the Excelsior based on what size she was supposed to be - or the Oberth for that matter.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I hope to live long enough to see a talented CGI artist work with the entire widescreen (!) matte painting of the capitol of Eminiar VII, remove the aqueduct in the foreground to have “X-ray-vision” for an unobstructed view of the Valiant’s saucer module having touched down in the central park, and the crew having first contact with the predecessors of Anan Seven.
Hm, would you then posit that in the pre-TOS 23rd century, vessel saucers made planetfall regularly, per the lines in TMoST? I could buy that, I think. It does nicely explain the penchant for saucer sections that Starfleet seems to have, and ties into "Forbidden Planet."

FWIW, I would also throw TOS-R into the mix. Do we wish to take anything done there into account? I lean towards no... simply because what was done there was based on backstage materials which I tend to find make too many assumptions.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I don't know how we can reliably conclude the actual amount of scouts and destroyers built from the number of Federation cruiser design series? TMoST suggests large numbers, IMHO. The starships go first, then the "others" follow.
I find that interesting. I always got the impression of a relatively small fleet. What in TMoST makes you think large?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I should also mention, that I try not to let preference influence my treknological work efforts. Onscreen information is Canon # 1 to me, actual production background information Canon # 2, both of those are the "essentials" and not "up for grabs" unless these essentials have been accurately evaluated and considered.
I would agree with that - but we must also address #1 with a grain of salt. Some on-screen information is wrong due to production constraints. Similarly, I have utmost respect for creative intent, but sometimes onscreen evidence invalidates it.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I should have been more precise. Matt Jefferies created the Enterprise and participated in the actual production of TOS, Franz Joseph didn't. For me, this makes JRS authentic and genuine while the FJ system is conjectural (but I have to acknowledge its post-TOS and -TAS influence and felt it necessary to reflect this "school of thought").

Of course, to assume that the last two (of four) registry digits refer to a sequential building order of a vessel from this design series (a changed premise deviating from Jefferies original concept but apparently continued by Franz Joseph) had become obsolete or debatable by the starship status chart featured in "Court-Martial" as "1697" would otherwise indicate 97 starships of the 16th design.

As in the case of "..64" I believe it's a contact code issued based on availability (and taken from a "deceased" starship).
I'm sorry but I have to point out that it is entirely possible that Jefferies hadn't thought of it yet. We know why he picked 1701 - they were visually distinguishable. But I don't believe we have ever concretely proven when he came up with 17th, 1st. We know that it was stated to be an afterthought, but we don't know when. It's entirely possible he thought it up after "Court Martial."

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Praetor brought up the hazardous nature of the (TOS) warp engines Jefferies deliberately designed away for the ship, apparently as a possibility to easily jettison these in case of danger.

Of course, like the Oberth Class, the warp nacelles of the Miranda Class equally seem to be to too close for comfort. But then, what's the "hazardous element" of the old TOS warp nacelles?

The warp field coils, the matter-antimatter reactors or the antimatter confinement pods?

I think it's the antimatter confinement (confinement failure = you are dead) and in case of Reliant it's probably stored in the roll-bar pod (and can instantly fuel photon torpedos). The antimatter storage volume of the pod equals that of the TMP Enterprise (it has to be stored somewhere aboard Reliant).

Why we didn't get a bigger blast in ST II when Reliant's pod was destroyed I don't know (at least the remaining torpedos should have created quite some firework ). Apparently both torpedos and antimatter fuel may have been depleted at this time (but Enterprise was unaware of it).
So, I may be thinking too retroactively here. I initially really don't like the idea of the Reliant pod containing the antimatter. That should mean that the antimatter has to go down into the ship, into the reactor, be processed, and go into the nacelles? It feels entirely too... complicated.

I think in TOS days there was something of an assumption that the engines contained the reactors as well as the propulsive, erm, elements, not unlike an aircraft. Which, following this logic would put the fuel in the pylons, maybe. In any case, as Jefferies admitted, he didn't know how the hell it worked, but just rationalized that it needed to go away from people. I've taken this to assume the warp effects were unhealthy - but perhaps ships like Oberth somehow protected their crew? If pragmatism (and multi-mission capability) dictated the nacelles needed to be close to the saucer so the pod was swappable, perhaps the covered, cowled appearance of the Oberth nacelles was how this was gotten around? Regarding the antimatter itself, I assume that it is taken for granted that flying faster than light in a ship contains inherent dangers, akin to flying in a modern aircraft in the real world. We should remember to take that into account - no ship is "boom" proof.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q

Last edited by Praetor; August 14 2013 at 04:54 PM.
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