I was going to mention Grissom as I was reading your reply. It's funny also that it was one of the ships that made it so far into the future along with ships like the BoPs, and Excelsiors.
What's also funny is how the new trek E, a ship that I could like if not for some silly things (well things I find silly) is so loved, yet so devoid of all the greebles that everyone has come to love. I mean, the scale is too big for me (but whatever), and I absolutely hate the nacelles, and proportions of some bits relative to others, but there it's not over detailed unnecessarily. It has what it needs and doesn't go too far.
So maybe that will bring a small reprise to the over crazy looking ships (ignore the Vengence when you read what I'm writing
I think you hit it on the head that it was TMP E's little details that helped make the scale of the ship seem so large compared to the TOS E that didn't have any features real world views could relate to. But there's a fine balance in my opinion.