Robert Comsol wrote:
Had the ILM model makers truly relied on FJ’s Technical Manual, then giving the Grissom a registry of “638” was somewhat unethical as it pushed FJ’s concept of one-nacelled scout ships over the cliff (they should have rather gone with a prefix beginning with “4” or “7”), IMHO.
Um, how so? The last of FJ's scout's had a registry of 625, so using 638 doesn't contradict anything in the Tech Manual.
I’m not sure that’s truly the case. I think it’s rather probable that they knew the Epsilon Nine subspace chatter:
“Scout Columbia NCC-621 to rendezvous with Scout Revere NCC-595 on Stardate 7411.4”
So here we did have a “Scout Class” vessel (Ken Ralston) and the ILM model makers probably and simply added an iconic “17” (!) to arrive at their registry number “638” for the Grissom.
I think it's much more likely that they pulled a copy of a book off a shelf than it is they happened to remember some inconsequential background chatter from a movie five years prior. YMMV.
The registry number, I admit, is less than conclusive. The overall pattern in Trek seems to be sequential registries. If NCC-1701 is launched in 2245 (assuming Capt. April existed), and NCC-2593 (Hathaway) by 2285, then surely NCC-638 would have been launched at least sometime before 2245... more than 10 years anyway. The problem with having there be some great reset in the early 23rd century means that registry numbers seem to get scarily high scarily fast. Plus, conjecturally (unless it was stated in dialog and I"m forgetting) we have the NCC-173 in service at least by 2167 to be lost the same year. And, not to throw the Kelvin into the mix, but the Kelvin is NCC-514 and in service by 2233 pre-temporal mumbo jumbo.
So you have at least:
0176 - 2176
0514 - 2233*
1701 - 2245*
2593 - 2285
You have, more or less, the registries jumping by 2400 in about 100 years, again assuming sequentiality. That would place NCC-1300 around 2235, and, NCC-600 circa 2200 in my admittedly rough estimation.
That's why FJ's system is nice for the TOS-era... it doesn't have to be sequential. The Ptolemies
, which were Constitution
contemporaries, were already in the 3800 range. Now, we didn't get any of those registries on screen, but we do know from the background chatter mentioned above that 2120 was active by TMP. Which I guess doesn't prove anything, since that slides really well into your chart above!
But agreed, all the latter-day shows seem to imply registries are
sequential. But even if you assume sequential, we do have a bit of an "out" for why SF seemed to go through so few in its first 100 years, but through so many in its second. If we take TAS into account, then it would appear that freighters and transports get registries with a letter in them. So Huron
's registry at F1913 would be a separate registry from whatever ship got 1913. So there would be an unknown number of registries with a preceding letter up until at least TOS, and then at some point prior to TNG, SF decided to drop the letter, and freighters, transports, etc. (even runabouts!) all get "regular" NCC numbers. This could at least somewhat account for the number "explosion".