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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old August 4 2013, 06:39 AM   #1
SicOne
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So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Has there ever been a decent explanation, both in terms of show production as well as in-universe why the Star Trek universe is flooded with Miranda-class starships in the time of TNG/DS9/Voy but seldom (if ever) populated with Constitution-refit-class ships?

In-universe, the impression I am under is that most Con-refits were indeed just that, refits of existing Constitution (original)-class ships that had already been in service 30-40 years prior to the refits, then served another two or three decades post-refit (there was interesting conversation vis-a-vis the Enterprise-A of ST5 being a newbuild versus a refit of an existing starship elsewhere in Trek Tech that led to this question) before the spaceframe aged out, with very few newbuilds of Con-re.

Likewise, though there were probably a few earlier ships shaped like the Mirandas that were refitted into the Miranda-class between ST1 and ST2, the overwhelming majority of Mirandas extant in modern Trek times are newbuilds occurring from the 2270s into the 2330s or thereabouts, as opposed to refits of existing pre-Miranda ships...otherwise, the class would probably be referred to as Miranda-refit-class instead of just Miranda.

I think the likely studio explanation of this is that they wanted more focus on the Galaxy-class and not on the Constitution-refit and thus didn't necessarily want to show a Galaxy next to a Con-re during the airing of TNG, but I don't really understand why the powers-that-be would worry about something petty like that; additionally, there were probably tons of Miranda-class models available for use. But it stands to reason that there's significantly better explanations, both in terms of show-making as well as in-universe.

Thoughts, folks?
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Old August 4 2013, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

In-universe: The Mirandas were probably cheaper to produce. And they seem to have been easily adaptable to a variety of roles. We see them with the roll-bar (TWoK), without (USS Lantree in TNG), and with other things glued onto the hull (USS Bozeman). Also, the Constitution class ships were (I assume) mostly sent out on long-range/long-duration missions, and there were probably fewer of them left to last as long as the Mirandas seem to have.

Real-world: TPTB were probably afraid that the casual viewer would confuse any Constitution class ship with Enterprise and think that Kirk was going to show up any second.
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Old August 4 2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

I dont find it shocking or strange at all.. The USAF B-52's have been an active service for almost 60 years now. When they are retired some of them will be almost 100 years old.
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Old August 4 2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

SicOne wrote: View Post
I think the likely studio explanation of this is that they wanted more focus on the Galaxy-class and not on the Constitution-refit and thus didn't necessarily want to show a Galaxy next to a Con-re during the airing of TNG, but I don't really understand why the powers-that-be would worry about something petty like that; additionally, there were probably tons of Miranda-class models available for use.
Mysterion wrote: View Post
Real-world: TPTB were probably afraid that the casual viewer would confuse any Constitution class ship with Enterprise and think that Kirk was going to show up any second.
Not quite true. TPTB would have gladly re-used the TMP Enterprise model...especially if it meant that they would not have to build a new model. This exact scenario would have happened with Picard's Stargazer if Greg Jein hadn't built his new model in time to be filmed. It also might have happened in "Yesterday's Enterprise" (on Drexler's blog, Okuda talks about how the producers initially didn't want an Ent-C model built, which would have forced them to rewrite the episode so that the ship would have been the Ent-A or Ent-B). Luckily, none of the above happened, and the only time we see the TMP Enterprise in TNG Trek is the destroyed model built for STIII, in BoBW Pt. 2.

The real-world reason why we saw the Miranda class over the Constitution class was because ILM built a Miranda class CGI model along with the Akira, Saber, Steamrunner, and Norway class CGI models for First Contact. When ILM was forced to turn over all its CGI meshes to CBS for remapping and use in DS9, the Miranda was included. Besides the Norway mesh which was accidentally lost, this is why we see an inordinate amount of Akiras, Steamrunners, Sabers and Mirandas in the DS9 fleet scenes. Conversely, in order to create a CGI version of the Constitution, they would have had to scan the original physical model, something they never did (a CGI model was built for the director's cut of TMP, but that was after DS9 had finished).

As for an in-universe explanation, I don't think there is a good one. There's nothing inherently special about the Miranda class that makes it any different from its other contemporaries (the Constitution, Constellation, Soyuz and Sydney classes), and yet we see tons of them in the fleet scenes and zero of the other classes. And if ILM hadn't built a CGI model of it, I guarantee we wouldn't have seen it at all in those scenes.

Saturn0660 wrote: View Post
I dont find it shocking or strange at all.. The USAF B-52's have been an active service for almost 60 years now. When they are retired some of them will be almost 100 years old.
In that regard, sure. But the problem here is that lots of other, newer classes were built as well, and none of them were shown in the fleet scenes, while tons of Mirandas were. Would it be realistic to have an airplane fleet composed entirely of B-52s when there are tons of other more advanced jets and fighters?
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Old August 5 2013, 03:18 AM   #5
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

It would've been neat if they adjusted the texture maps for the CGI Mirandas to match the same metal/paint of the later generation ships like Voyager and Galaxy-class (blue/green).
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Old August 5 2013, 03:26 AM   #6
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Dukhat wrote: View Post

In that regard, sure. But the problem here is that lots of other, newer classes were built as well, and none of them were shown in the fleet scenes, while tons of Mirandas were. Would it be realistic to have an airplane fleet composed entirely of B-52s when there are tons of other more advanced jets and fighters?
Yet we do..
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Old August 5 2013, 03:41 AM   #7
Dukhat
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Saturn0660 wrote: View Post
Dukhat wrote: View Post

In that regard, sure. But the problem here is that lots of other, newer classes were built as well, and none of them were shown in the fleet scenes, while tons of Mirandas were. Would it be realistic to have an airplane fleet composed entirely of B-52s when there are tons of other more advanced jets and fighters?
Yet we do..
So we send every single B-52 we have into combat at the same time in the same place?
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Old August 5 2013, 05:06 AM   #8
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Dukhat wrote: View Post
So we send every single B-52 we have into combat at the same time in the same place?
I dunno, thats above my pay-grade.
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Old August 5 2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

SicOne wrote: View Post
Has there ever been a decent explanation, both in terms of show production as well as in-universe why the Star Trek universe is flooded with Miranda-class starships in the time of TNG/DS9/Voy but seldom (if ever) populated with Constitution-refit-class ships?
The Constitution Class Enterprise (i.e. NCC-1701-A) had the trademark of being "Kirk's ship", thus it's appearance in TNG at a time when we still had movies with the original Crew would have confused general audiences.

In-universe we might consider looking at the analogy of Nelson's Navy in the early 19th Century. The Royal Navy still had ships of the line like HMS Victory (or the fictional HMS Defiant depicted as a painting in "In a Mirror, Darkly") but the young US Navy felt that the faster and more maneuverable frigates like the USS Constitution would be more efficient and usable, and this turned out to be a good decision.

In a Trek context the Miranda Class could have equally turned out to be design that allowed for more flexibility and use than the Constitution Class that may have started to look like a dinosaur.

Alternately, we do not know if they could already do baryon sweeps ("Starship Mine") in the 23rd Century, something the Constitution Class might have required more frequently than starships of the Miranda Class.
Baryon sweep technology may have arrived too late to "save" Constitution and Soyuz Class starships from the junkyard.

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Old August 5 2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

We can argue two ways here, to the same general outcome...

We can say with good conscience that the two classes were very dissimilar. Perhaps the configuration with the nacelles dangling on long pylons is advantageous for high speed, but tends to wear down somewhat faster? Also, high speed is an asset useful to all starships, but very high speed might be something of a silver bullet. Perhaps Starfleet wouldn't need all that many record-breakers, as compared with slower ships otherwise carrying the same gear.

Indeed, we can argue that the two classes weren't all that different, save for the warp engine configuration, the impulse engine type and so forth. Sooner or later, it would turn out that standardizing on a single design would serve all the purposes previously sought with a variety of designs, and some random factor might have Starfleet favor the nacelles-down variant.

Military history is full of examples of this happening, really - when you look at WWII tanks, say. The Sherman chassis was picked out of multiple basically equal options and put to a variety of uses, with varying turrets, and eventually a few of those variants gained longevity (some may still be serving!) while others disappeared completely, being retired or modified into the more useful types. On the other hand, towards the end of their service lives, these veterans again received diversifying refits: their ownership was now diverse, and no single user would be mass-producing any particular variant.

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Old August 5 2013, 01:29 PM   #11
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

IIRC, the B-1s and the B-52s have essentially the same mission - conventional bombing. The B-2s are tasked with the nuclear mission these days, but they've been mostly used for pinpoint conventional bombing in Iraq & Afghanistan. So we currently have three generations of vehicles designed over 30 or 40 years all doing basically the same thing.
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Old August 5 2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

...And since the job of a starship seems to be to do everything, all the starship generations would essentially be overlapping. With a single class surviving for about a century, and gradually moving from frontline to rear echelon versions of the same do-all mission, and with new models coming out every thirty years or so, there'd be three or four general purpose starship designs in simultaneous use in every size category.

Goes a long way in answering the questions of the parallel thread on "too many classes"...

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Old August 5 2013, 03:58 PM   #13
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

And as for age and longevity of a single class type, hell, the Klingons have been using the same D-7/K'T'inga space frame type for over 300 years. A "nacelles-down" design, too, for that matter.

Hmmm...
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Old August 5 2013, 04:48 PM   #14
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

I believe I recall Roddenberry making "no Connies" an edict in early TNG, just as he decided the main ensemble should not include a Vulcan.
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Old August 5 2013, 08:49 PM   #15
Dukhat
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
The Constitution Class Enterprise (i.e. NCC-1701-A) had the trademark of being "Kirk's ship", thus it's appearance in TNG at a time when we still had movies with the original Crew would have confused general audiences.
Darkwing wrote: View Post
I believe I recall Roddenberry making "no Connies" an edict in early TNG, just as he decided the main ensemble should not include a Vulcan.
And as I mentioned above, none of that is remotely true. And as for what Gene wanted, well, he wanted no Klingons either and yet we got them by episode 19.

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And as for age and longevity of a single class type, hell, the Klingons have been using the same D-7/K'T'inga space frame type for over 300 years. A "nacelles-down" design, too, for that matter.
Well, we weren't supposed to see a K'T'Inga in ENT, as the 22nd century version of the Klingon ship was nixed by the producers. But hey, logic was never UPN's strong point.
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