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Old September 25 2013, 06:17 PM   #39
Shaw
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Location: Twin Cities
Re: Phase II Enterprise Study Model

QuinnTV wrote: View Post
Shaw wrote: View Post
That is the TMP model as originally finished. The model was damaged (bridge/B/C deck structure)....
Interesting. I've never heard this tidbit. I'd like to know more!
Okay, so what I can gather (including conversations with some people and published interviews with others) this seems to be how this unfolded…

In December of 1977 it was officially released to the production people working on Star Trek Phase II that the series was going to be reworked into a movie. And that Robert Abel and Associates would be the lead for special effects. I think that Magicam may have known about this even before everyone else was let in. Meetings were set up for Abel, Richard Taylor, Roddenberry and some others to review what had been produced so far for Phase II and to see what could be used in the movie. The meeting for miniatures took place at Magicam's workshop.

Here is the thing, I've seen two sets of photos from this inspection… and they don't include the same people or models. Taylor seemed to be at the shop earlier looking over Magicam's work but is absent from images later when Brick Price and Don Loos brought over elements of the Phase II Enterprise and assembled it for inspection. In later interviews Taylor described a two and a half to three foot model that wasn't designed to be lit with not much surface details. The Phase II Enterprise was over five feet long and was intended to be fully lit. I don't think Taylor actually ever saw the Phase II Enterprise. What he seems to be describing was the 33 inch TOS Enterprise that was being used as a reference for Phase II.

Why does this matter? The Phase II Enterprise model was deemed unusable because it was too small to show up nicely on the large screen. A larger (eight foot) model was decided on and Magicam was given the project rather than Brick Price and Don Loos. This was important to Magicam because they were just starting out and the TMP Enterprise would be a nice boost to their resume.

Taylor wasn't a fan of the Enterprise design, but Roddenberry was adamant about keeping the overall design. Taylor enlisted Andrew Probert to help him redesign the Enterprise, using Jefferies plans as a starting point. This is funny in that Taylor has consistently taken credit for moving the nacelle design from the TOS cylinders to the TMP "rectilinear" style, seeming to have forgotten that his nacelle design was actually a modification of Jefferies' Phase II nacelles.

Here is a comparison of the Taylor/Probert Enterprise next to the Jefferies' Enterprise…


This is a more honest representation of their contributions to the design than what Taylor usually shows (which is a comparison with Franz Joseph's TOS Enterprise plans).

At any rate, these new plans were what Magicam used to build the TMP Enterprise. The model was built and test shots were taken. This was when more shuffling came about and Abel and Taylor found themselves no longer part of the production.

So two events occurred, Douglas Trumbull took over and it rained in Southern California. The idea was put forward for the Enterprise to have self illumination spot lights which was going to require some changes to the model. Unfortunately the model, while in storage, found itself under a leak in the roof that wrecked the bridge/B/C deck structure and damaged the upper surface of the primary hull. Rather than rebuild it the way it was, they took this opportunity to redesign it into what we eventually saw on screen.

But yes, the damage was extensive enough that large areas of the model needed to be repainted and one of the things that was not included in the refinishing was the racing stripes. The only part of those that made it to the final version were the lines on the upper dorsal and part of the lines around the RCS mounts on the primary hull.



Slightly off topic, Taylor's description of the 33 inch TOS Enterprise model confirms other accounts that the model was loaned to Robert Abel and Associates in 1978. Unfortunately it also shows that the people working there had no idea what it was or how it might have been valuable. And with Taylor's attitude of "scrap everything and start over", it isn't any wonder that when Roddenberry contacted Abel to get the model back they weren't able to find it.

I'm not saying that Taylor destroyed the 33 inch Enterprise, but if his attitude was indicative of those working at Robert Abel and Associates, it isn't surprising that that was the mission she never returned from.
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