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Old June 1 2013, 12:37 AM   #1
Albertese
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Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

So, I've been thinking lately about the Romulan BoP and I was wondering several things about what's going on inside it's hull. I was wondering what my fellow board members thought about it.

For example, how big is this ship? The markings along the edge, if considered to be windows comparable to the Enterprise's would suggest a rim that's three decks thick. Maybe they're not windows and the ship is quite small, like the Klingon BoP from Star Trek III, IV, and VI. If they aren't windows, then what might they be?

How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?" I wonder how closly riding in one of these would compare to a mid-twentieth Century diesel sub...

Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?

What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?

And, unless it comes up organically from discusssing something else, I would consider it a kindness if we don't bring up anything about the "warp powered" vs. "Simple impulse powered" debate. That poor horse has been beat enough already....

But what thoughts do you guys have on this?

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Last edited by Albertese; June 1 2013 at 01:17 AM.
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Old June 1 2013, 01:34 AM   #2
Unwrapped
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Have you seen the 1977 bluepints? I can't think of too many other technical sources for the BOP. The crew suggested here is around 170, while FASA suggested 150 and their improved model had 162.
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Old June 1 2013, 01:38 AM   #3
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Albertese wrote: View Post
For example, how big is this ship? The markings along the edge, if considered to be windows comparable to the Enterprise's would suggest a rim that's three decks thick. Maybe they're not windows and the ship is quite small, like the Klingon BoP from Star Trek III, IV, and VI. If they aren't windows, then what might they be?
I believe these markings along the edge to be portholes that give us a vague idea about the actual size and I have little doubt that the command center is located on top.

Albertese wrote: View Post
How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?" I wonder how closly riding in one of these would compare to a mid-twentieth Century diesel sub...
I think the cramped bridge gives us an idea that the rest of the ship is equally cramped and was an analogy for a submarine just as the theme of the episode itself.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
No. To me the whole vessel always seemed like a flying fusion reactor in space where something was done with the fusion plasma to accelerate it to warp speed and mix it with some volatile ingredient.

Albertese wrote: View Post
What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
I always envisoned the Bird of Prey had some kind of small craft aboard and that it would have looked like Lazarus' craft from "The Alternative Factor", something reminiscent of an egg (it's a bird) and a little submarine thingy.

Bob
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Old June 1 2013, 04:06 AM   #4
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Albertese wrote: View Post
For example, how big is this ship? The markings along the edge, if considered to be windows comparable to the Enterprise's would suggest a rim that's three decks thick.
That's kinda what I'm thinking based on the exterior.

Albertese wrote: View Post
How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?" I wonder how closly riding in one of these would compare to a mid-twentieth Century diesel sub...
That's anyone's guess. But I suppose if the only part we see is the bridge and extended it to the rest of the ship then living space would be pretty tight like a submarine. Probably the fuel, engines, cloaking device and super weapon takes up the rest of the volume of the ship.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
Doubtful. The TNG AQS was supposedly able to run practically forever. The TOS Romulan BOP had limited fuel and had to juggle her fuel usage between engines and weapons.

Albertese wrote: View Post
What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
Dunno. Any guess could work. Do they even have transporters at that time or was it all part of the trade with the Klingons to get new tech?
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Old June 1 2013, 06:42 AM   #5
Albertese
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Unicron wrote: View Post
Have you seen the 1977 bluepints? I can't think of too many other technical sources for the BOP. The crew suggested here is around 170, while FASA suggested 150 and their improved model had 162.
I am familiar with those! But, I'm trying to start more from scratch, here. I know there isn't too terrible much from the show to draw on...

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Albertese wrote: View Post
For example, how big is this ship? The markings along the edge, if considered to be windows comparable to the Enterprise's would suggest a rim that's three decks thick. Maybe they're not windows and the ship is quite small, like the Klingon BoP from Star Trek III, IV, and VI. If they aren't windows, then what might they be?
I believe these markings along the edge to be portholes that give us a vague idea about the actual size and I have little doubt that the command center is located on top.

...

Albertese wrote: View Post
Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
No. To me the whole vessel always seemed like a flying fusion reactor in space where something was done with the fusion plasma to accelerate it to warp speed and mix it with some volatile ingredient.
I pretty well agree with this flying fusion reactor idea.

Albertese wrote: View Post
What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
I always envisoned the Bird of Prey had some kind of small craft aboard and that it would have looked like Lazarus' craft from "The Alternative Factor", something reminiscent of an egg (it's a bird) and a little submarine thingy.

Bob
Interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about it looking like an egg... seems to thematically cute to me... but... maybe. I wonder where the hangar would be.

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Albertese wrote: View Post
For example, how big is this ship? The markings along the edge, if considered to be windows comparable to the Enterprise's would suggest a rim that's three decks thick.
That's kinda what I'm thinking based on the exterior.

Albertese wrote: View Post
How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?" I wonder how closly riding in one of these would compare to a mid-twentieth Century diesel sub...
That's anyone's guess. But I suppose if the only part we see is the bridge and extended it to the rest of the ship then living space would be pretty tight like a submarine. Probably the fuel, engines, cloaking device and super weapon takes up the rest of the volume of the ship.
This makes sense.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
Doubtful. The TNG AQS was supposedly able to run practically forever. The TOS Romulan BOP had limited fuel and had to juggle her fuel usage between engines and weapons.
Excellent point. Yet, something still prevents the modern Warbirds from firing while cloaked... I wonder what prevents them from doing so. Perhaps the power requirements for cloaking such a huge vessel still preclude the use of weapons while cloaked. Sensors don't seem effected by the cloak so why should that screw with targeting? I really don't know... I'm just kinda "thinking out loud" here...

Albertese wrote: View Post
What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
Dunno. Any guess could work. Do they even have transporters at that time or was it all part of the trade with the Klingons to get new tech?
That's a good question regarding the presence of transporters. I don't know if there is anything that says that either way...

--Alex
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Old June 1 2013, 02:31 PM   #6
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I think the TNG episode "Face of the Enemy" has some interesting information about why the Romulans don't "Fire while cloaked". Since they monitor and regulate all their transmissions to maintain their stealthiness with the cloak on, they theoretically could fire their weapons. It would probably give them away the moment their disruptors "locked" onto their target (like how other ships know they are being locked onto.)

However, in the cases we've seen them where they could do so it still might be an issue of how much power is available to fire their weapons with the cloak up. They might only be able to scorch some paint with available disruptor power under cloak whereas without cloak they would be able to blow big stuff up...
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Old June 1 2013, 07:23 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

If they aren't windows, then what might they be?
The only alternative that comes to mind is similar holes on the sides of the ship's inspiration, the WWII submarine. A spaceship wouldn't need holes for flooding, I guess, even if she landed frequently on planets with atmospheres. But the flooding function more generally represents the sub coming to an understanding with its environment, i.e. diving; on the BoP, the holes might thus be argued to be a component of the cloaking device.

How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?"
Having a large crew would somewhat defeat the dramatic setup wherein a top "captain" and his trusted "lieutenant" companion form a major component of the command team, with a "politruk" completing the picture and everybody else being utterly insignificant; a ship with hundreds of crew would probably have a great many officers to upset the dramatic balance.

OTOH, if the cramped bridge interior matches the topside external shape, the ship still ought to have space for hundreds if they are equally tightly packed - and if the machinery inside takes no more room relatively than in a WWII sub. But I'd prefer to give more space to machinery and to trim down the crew a lot, so that Kirk eventually causes the deaths of relatively few people compared to the 430 that would have died in Romulan hands.

Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
That would be just perfect. Scotty's mistaking of the ship's construction and capabilities would be dramatically highly satisfactory, and we could even draw further parallels and say that Praetor Hitler is short on dilithium from the Remanian dilithium fields, and has to resort to exotic contraptions to power his forces...

Of course, the tech is really primitive at this point, but it has future potential...

What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
I agree with Bob on really small, nicely pseudo-aerodynamic liaison craft (perhaps also thinking back to Diane Duane's use of such in The Romulan Way). Then again, I think that from the known capabilities of starships it follows that they all can automatically also land on planets and take off from them.

Yet, something still prevents the modern Warbirds from firing while cloaked... I wonder what prevents them from doing so.
IMHO it's a matter of doctrine only: with a cloakship/submarine, you can go for perfect stealth or partial stealth. The former is often overkill (at least in the submarine analogy), since most enemies are half blind to being with, and it suffices to merely confuse their vision a tad more. But Romulans are cowards at heart, having waged few open wars and played lots and lots of waiting games where the firing of a shot is not even an option. They go for extreme stealth even when there's no real value to it, simply because they are so obsessed about being able to go everywhere completely unseen.

So a Romulan ship is rigged to be as silent as an SSBN from the 1980s. A Klingon ship is rigged to be only as silent as a convoy-hunting Type VII from the happy hunting days of the early 1940s. Technology would allow for the reversing of roles (and indeed Klingon cloaks are often seen fooling the best Romulan defenses), but it's a doctrinal and cultural issue.

Do they even have transporters at that time or was it all part of the trade with the Klingons to get new tech?
I really don't much appreciate this "trade with the Klingons" theory - the battle cruisers of "The Enterprise Incident" could just as well be war trophies or something. But I do want to believe in them having transporters, because the state of Romulan art in ENT is IMHO dramatically perfect for explaining every aspect about the Romulan history as described in TOS. Starship technology parity in most areas and superiority in telecontrol and camouflage tech justifies the war where neither side sees each other, and transporters further facilitate a "mop-up" after a battle...

Apart from that, I don't see a good foothold for "TOS-internal" arguments here. TOS doesn't feature Romulans boarding the hero ship, although they no doubt would have, had certain battles gone differently. Romulans don't set foot on planets, either. So transporter capacity is a non-issue through and through.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old June 1 2013, 08:19 PM   #8
feek61
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

In the original script the Romulan BOP was suppose to be the same size as the saucer section of the Enterprise. In fact, CDR Hanson in the original script talks about spies and how they have basically stolen the federations starship design of the primary hull and used it for the BOP.
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Old June 1 2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I thought I read in an article somewhere that the original idea was that the ship was a Federation ship that the Romulans stole. I'd have to find the article or script to be sure.
I always liked the blueprints/deck plans for it. Nice small ship with the front half basically being the plasma weapon. I can't think of how those prints could be improved much.
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Old June 1 2013, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I love that plasma torpedo. A smoke ring warp coil as the weapon--its own energy powering it.
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Old June 1 2013, 11:10 PM   #11
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

As far as firing while cloaked, "Face of the Enemy" seemed to confirm the notion that the cloak has to be carefully regulated to prevent any stray emissions from leaking out and being detectable. I seem to recall that something similar was suggested in "Tin Man" when the first warbird was pushing its engines so hard the Enterprise could detect it briefly, but I'd have to check the transcript and see what the dialogue says. I always got the impression from TUC that Chang's prototype (Dakronh) traded the ability to fire while cloaked for being more vulnerable while the ship was maneuvering in combat and generating more "tailpipe" waste. The novelization states that the Enterprise's torpedo systems generate a neutron surge while active, making the reader wonder if the assassins could actually access that system to attack Kronos One. This also gives more context to Chekov's line that only another ship could produce a neutron surge "that large."
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Old June 2 2013, 07:27 AM   #12
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

wildstar wrote: View Post
I thought I read in an article somewhere that the original idea was that the ship was a Federation ship that the Romulans stole. I'd have to find the article or script to be sure.
I always liked the blueprints/deck plans for it. Nice small ship with the front half basically being the plasma weapon. I can't think of how those prints could be improved much.
No, it was espionage based on Federation designs.
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Old June 3 2013, 10:28 AM   #13
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

The design isn't a 1:1 carbon copy of an existing Federation starship, since the outpost commander doesn't recognize it. But one wonders... Perhaps the Romulans copied some elements without quite realizing what they were for, this cargo-cult approach explaining the obvious warp nacelles on a ship that fools Scotty into thinking "simple impulse", and the rows upon rows of portholes on a ship where tall people have trouble walking straight.

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Old June 3 2013, 12:12 PM   #14
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
If they aren't windows, then what might they be?
The only alternative that comes to mind is similar holes on the sides of the ship's inspiration, the WWII submarine. A spaceship wouldn't need holes for flooding, I guess, even if she landed frequently on planets with atmospheres. But the flooding function more generally represents the sub coming to an understanding with its environment, i.e. diving; on the BoP, the holes might thus be argued to be a component of the cloaking device.
You inspired me to take a second and close look at these "portholes" with the obvious analogy to a WWII submarine in mind and I agree.
Some of the bow holes might be torpedo / missile launchers and the plasma weapon launcher in the center could have just been added for the mission we saw in "Balance of Terror".

The in/outlets of a WWII submarine serve the purpose of submerging the vehicle (= rendering it "invisible"), therefore I know believe that the holes on top of the Romulan Bird of Prey serve the same purpose, i.e. rendering the vessel literally invisible.

Just because the propulsion units resemble warp nacelles they don't necessarily have to be those. These have a noticable exhaust at the stern and I already argued in another thread that the nacelle caps of the Enterprise could just be these enigmatic antimatter reactors of the warp nacelles, mentioned repeatedly in TOS.
In this particular case these might just be nuclear fusion reactors which power the BoP's weapon and cloaking device and also provide the exhaust reactants for Impulse Fusion drive.

Bob
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Old June 3 2013, 01:31 PM   #15
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
The design isn't a 1:1 carbon copy of an existing Federation starship, since the outpost commander doesn't recognize it. But one wonders... Perhaps the Romulans copied some elements without quite realizing what they were for, this cargo-cult approach explaining the obvious warp nacelles on a ship that fools Scotty into thinking "simple impulse", and the rows upon rows of portholes on a ship where tall people have trouble walking straight.

Timo Saloniemi
Or all along, nacelles = "simple impulse" and warp nacelles have extra greebles on them
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