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Old August 13 2013, 12:24 PM   #31
Robert Comsol
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

@ The_Beef

Thanks for the clarification.

The decisive question remains whether the unusual exterior features (i.e. apparent saucer module separation capability, matter-antimatter-reactors in the front caps of the warp nacelles, disproportionate size of secondary hull in comparison to saucer hull etc.) are sufficient evidence for a pre-TOS design lineage.

Regarding the interpretation of the three-digit registry I think it depends whether you prefer that just three-digits indicate classification and/or type or the vessel or the first digit which in the case of "638" would indicate a "cruiser of the 6th Federation design", according to Matt Jefferies, the father of the Enterprise.

Where it gets a little confusing is the distinction between "cruiser" and "starship".
His original TOS pre-production sketch with the "cruiser" reference could come from the pre-production stage were the Enterprise was just a cruiser before that changed to "Starship" (as a type she would become "Space Cruiser").

Considering that already the pre-TOS Archon was a "starship" according to Kirk (please not another history "lesson"...), I assume Jefferies would have revised his "cruiser design" to "starship design".
Alternately, one may assume that the design series from # 1 thru #17 featured equally cruisers or starships.

But there must be a distinction between "cruiser" and "starship" according to Scotty in TNG's "Relics": "I served on a freighter, a cruiser, and a starship."

(unless and in retrospect the Enterprise was that cruiser and the Excelsior that starship )

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Old August 13 2013, 06:08 PM   #32
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Quite an old well, but it appears there's still water in it.

A few thoughts. First and foremost, I don't see Oberth as being a missing link between Constitution and Miranda, nor do I see it as being a precursor to Constitution. I see it as being an older, somewhat less versatile vessel of similar age to the other two classes.

I think part of the problem with the Oberth lays with its registry, and the inherent nature of registries. It's my opinion that trying to use registry to guess age isn't going to get us anywhere. Why did the makers of STIII pick NCC-638? I think someone else correctly stated that NCC-2000 was meant to suggest shiny, new, and big. I think the low registry of Grissom was meant only to suggest a less powerful ship, and we should probably leave it at that. While I am a fan of Mr. Jefferies' registry schema, I do not think anyone in latter-day Trek made any effort to adhere to it whatsoever, and we cannot retroactively attempt to apply it with any measure of success.

What do we actually know about the class's history and mission?
  • Oberth class ships with registries in the NCC-600 range were in service in the 2280s, and may've been considered "scout-class" vessels
  • Oberth class ships with registries circa NCC-19000 and NCC-59000 remained in service into the 2370s, at least
  • Oberth class ships were usually seen conducting scientific surveys, Pegasus excluded
  • Some Oberth class ships appeared to be operated by civilian groups
From this, I would infer that indeed the Oberth class was designed for scout/survey expeditions. The design was probably simple and easy to maintain, allowing for a long design life.

Was the design older than the Constitution? Assuming registries are at least somewhat sequential, probably. I don't know that it was as old as a 22nd century design, though, and would prefer if it weren't. (I've suspected for a while that sometime in the early 23rd century Starfleet registries were reset - perhaps as the result of a major fleet integration between the various Federation worlds. I don't base this on anything other than the fact that it would make life a bit easier.)

I suspect that in the TOS nomenclature of Starship vs. not, that the Oberth would have probably been considered a Scout-class vessel. If memory serves, TMoST does mention such ships. If we are to take TMoST further into account, Mirandas may be the 'Destroyer Class,' where Kirk attained his first command.

I suspect the Grissom as seen in TSFS had undergone a refit or two bringing it technologically close to par with its Constitution and Miranda cousins.

What do we actually know about the ship's size and arrangement?
  • TSFS and Mr. Probert scaled the ship at around 120 meters long; some depictions vary but this appears to be creative intent.
  • The "secondary hull" is connected by two pylons rather than a single neck to the saucer and nacelles. This is rather unique in Starfleet design, as the closest similar feature would seem to be the mission pod on the Nebula class.
  • The ship's nacelles are very close to the saucer, which seems antithetical to the Jefferies design ethos of "get them the hell away from living people."
  • The S.S. Vico, at least, contained many different science stations; however, as no two Oberth interiors matched closely, we may surmise this was not the case with all ships of the class.
  • On the topic of differing interior arrangement, we may be inclined to state that this indicates the class as quite versatile, perhaps contributing to its longevity - but actually we seem to see the same thing with most other Starfleet ship interiors that happen to not be the same design as our series' hero ship. We know that the real world reason is the reuse of whatever sets are available. (In other words, all Starfleet ships probably feature an easily reconfigurable interior arrangement.)
  • MSD cutaways seen on screen seem to suggest a few decks, as well as decks in the "pod." We must take these with a grain of salt, of course, since we know MSDs are not infallible or definitive. Of the Pegasus at least, it was said engineering was at the "center" of the ship, even if it was originally intended to be an all-new ship class. This may mean the center of the saucer section, or the center of the pod.
From all this, I think we can infer a few things.
  1. The class is most likely indeed a general purpose scout/surveyor/science ship. I would reinforce this by the notion of using one as an unlikely testbed for a phased cloaking system (Pegasus) making all kinds of sense.
  2. Most of the standard command and control systems are probably congregated in the saucer section, along most likely with mission-configurable stations that tend to be science stations, and crew accommodations.
  3. The "pod" is probably not hot swappable, but is probably easily configured for a variety of missions - and may indeed differ greatly between each ship of the class. I would suggest that while engineering and the warp core may indeed be down there as per MSD on screen, that perhaps for this class those operations are even more automated than on other vessels, requiring minimal direct crew interaction. The warp engines are probably up top to make swapping the pod easier, even if the pod contains the actual warp reaction system.
I once helped LCARS24 make an MSD of the class for his projects and we went through some of this same line of thinking. We ended up putting the warp core "down below" and rationalized that the people who worked in the pod tended to stay in the pod, and the people who ran and steered the ship probably tended to stay up top.

So, probably along the lines of what we must conclude for Excelsior and Miranda, in the Oberth Starfleet must have had a design so efficient that it sustained use for at least a century. However, I don't think we have evidence to infer more beyond that. In fact, I would think if anything older ship classes (pre-TOS) would have shorter lifespans. Further, I suspect that Excelsior, Miranda, and Oberth are exceptions to starship lifespan, rather than the rule; while certainly Starfleet engineers hoped for such longevity, apparently by design in the Galaxy project, I don't believe any other class has demonstrated such prolific long-lastedness as these three.

I am of two minds when it comes to inferring the nature of unseen classes from TOS. Certainly had we seen them at the time TOS was made they would not have been the Oberth. What they would have been, only Mr. Jefferies could say. However, I feel compelled to retroactively state that Mirandas and Oberths were indeed in service in that time frame. Would the Carolina have been an Oberth? No. Would the Valiant have been? I would argue this to be possible, but unsubstantiated.

I would feel similarly about the Beagle, but I feel this issue goes deeper. Just what is the nature of Starfleet's policy when it comes to their ship designs operated by civilians? Is it the case where outmoded models are sold off for civilian use, or from the outset are some designs shared by both? I don't see a good answer, but looking at the evidence so far it seems that the only Starfleet designs we have seen used in a civilian capacity (primarily on TNG) have had a lower registry number, which seems to fit with the construction block for other ships of their class seen on TNG and which may've been retired and "sold off" to civilian interests. The only comparable quasi-civilian ship would be VGR's Raven, but that's a whole other can of worms.
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Old August 13 2013, 06:45 PM   #33
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

I tend to be in the same mind regarding registries, in that I generally don't infer the Jeffries system or any significant chronology from the numbers. If the registries are primarily batch sets, then they might not follow a specific sequencing.

I personally see no problem with some designs lasting decades or even a century or more, assuming they're efficient enough and Starfleet has more advanced technology than we currently do. However, I tend to be more conservative when it comes to doing a TOS version of a TMP or TNG era design. In some cases I think that's been done well (Mastercom's Coventry/Surya designs being TOS progenitors of the Miranda family), but I also think it becomes a bit silly to assume every basic design originated in a specific era and was then only periodically modified afterward.
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Old August 13 2013, 07:39 PM   #34
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Eh, good point. I guess the only reason I drift towards thinking Oberth began as an older design is the registry... which I've already admitted is probably a fool's gambit. Still, somehow I want it to be at least vaguely chronological. Dammit.
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Old August 14 2013, 12:47 AM   #35
Robert Comsol
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Praetor wrote: View Post
Quite an old well, but it appears there's still water in it.
Thanks for taking the time and providing an in-depth comment. No need to curse, yet...

Praetor wrote: View Post
A few thoughts. First and foremost, I don't see Oberth as being a missing link between Constitution and Miranda, nor do I see it as being a precursor to Constitution. I see it as being an older, somewhat less versatile vessel of similar age to the other two classes.
It has become some sort of Trek practice to adopt these TOS pre-production for pre-TOS ships and we have two examples: The Enterprise XXV 330 goes way back to early TOS pre-production as does the Daedalus Class.

Here is Jefferies’ (popular) pre-production sketch of the Enterprise. The essential design is two warp engines and saucer joined as an element with the secondary connected to element holding the engines. What happened if we were to adopt the essential design for another and new pre-TOS ship? It would look like a vessel of the Oberth Class.

In terms of evolution the next step could be either to attach the warp engines to the secondary hull instead (Enterprise) or to relocate components of the secondary hull into the saucer and have the secondary hull reduced to a roll bar with sensor and/or torpedo pod (Reliant).
That’s what I saw (after looking at these pre-production sketches) and where my theory sprang from originally (indeed, putting something upside down opens new perspectives).

Praetor wrote: View Post
I think part of the problem with the Oberth lays with its registry, and the inherent nature of registries. It's my opinion that trying to use registry to guess age isn't going to get us anywhere.
If it has to fit GUT (Grand Unified Theory) and doesn’t take into account that the registry scheme may have changed or been modified somewhere between the late 23rd and the 24th Century it’s a problem, indeed.
But if I ignored retroactive continuity and instead focus on the Jefferies Registry Scheme (JRS) for the era of Kirk and pre-TOS it works well from the 1st Federation design series (Daedalus) up to the 20th (Excelsior).

Praetor wrote: View Post
Why did the makers of STIII pick NCC-638? I think someone else correctly stated that NCC-2000 was meant to suggest shiny, new, and big. I think the low registry of Grissom was meant only to suggest a less powerful ship, and we should probably leave it at that.
Possible, but not desirable when we can have an easy to understand explanation that doesn’t go into rationalization overdrive. Therefore, I can’t leave it at that as this would be like giving in to petrified dogma to me, no offense!

Praetor wrote: View Post
While I am a fan of Mr. Jefferies' registry schema, I do not think anyone in latter-day Trek made any effort to adhere to it whatsoever, and we cannot retroactively attempt to apply it with any measure of success.
How can (finally) applying something that was there from the beginning (JRS) and works for the Kirk era possibly register as a retroactive attempt, that’s a contradiction.

It’s the retroactive ignorance of the Jefferies Scheme which is the culprit that started the mess, and things went south when the Constellation Class Hathaway got the same “25” prefix as the Exelsior II Class Repulse although it had been previously established that the prefix of the Stargazer (Constellation Class) was “28”.
Obviously, the registry scheme had radically changed from that moment forward…

Praetor wrote: View Post
I don't know that it [Oberth Class] was as old as a 22nd century design, though, and would prefer if it weren't. (I've suspected for a while that sometime in the early 23rd century Starfleet registries were reset - perhaps as the result of a major fleet integration between the various Federation worlds. I don't base this on anything other than the fact that it would make life a bit easier.)
Sometime in the early 23rd Century? Can you please elaborate, does this have something to do with ENT and GUT?

Praetor wrote: View Post
I suspect that in the TOS nomenclature of Starship vs. not, that the Oberth would have probably been considered a Scout-class vessel. If memory serves, TMoST does mention such ships. If we are to take TMoST further into account, Mirandas may be the 'Destroyer Class,' where Kirk attained his first command.
TMoST only mentioned “Destroyer Class”, “Scout Class” first popped up in ST III. Unfortunately Reliant is a starship, according to Chekov’s log entry, hence Starship Class and not Destroyer Class. Personally I would have preferred it to belong to the Destroyer Class.

The apparent problem is that if these classes refer to size (my theory) then we only know that up to 395’ it’s Scout Class and longer than 765’ (Reliant) it’s definitely Starship Class. And in between there’s the Destroyer Class and even maybe a Cruiser Class.

Praetor wrote: View Post
  • TSFS and Mr. Probert scaled the ship at around 120 meters long; some depictions vary but this appears to be creative intent. Bob: That’s very important because only that reflects what the true dimensions are and what scale the vessel and surface features do have. The creator knows best, and first comes, first serves (IMHO)
  • The "secondary hull" is connected by two pylons rather than a single neck to the saucer and nacelles. This is rather unique in Starfleet design, as the closest similar feature would seem to be the mission pod on the Nebula class. Bob: Since the Nebula Class is the TNG successor of the Miranda Class which according to my theory is a successor of the Oberth Class this should not come as a surprise…
  • The ship's nacelles are very close to the saucer, which seems antithetical to the Jefferies design ethos of "get them the hell away from living people." Bob: Exactly!!! Considering they kept the nacelles at a healthy distance from the rest of the ship with the TOS and TMP Enterprise, the Excelsior and so forth the close proximity of the Oberth Class nacelles to the saucer looks definitely like a step back. Unless, of course, it’s an older design and they couldn’t know or do better!
  • The S.S. Vico, at least, contained many different science stations; however, as no two Oberth interiors matched closely, we may surmise this was not the case with all ships of the class. Bob: Especially because of the obvious difference in size I suggested the TNG Oberth Class (does TNG mention “Oberth Class”, can’t recall) may be a different class or Oberth II Class. If by the 24th Century only the Oberth II Class around (except ST VII), the “II” will eventually be dropped…
  • On the topic of differing interior arrangement, we may be inclined to state that this indicates the class as quite versatile, perhaps contributing to its longevity - but actually we seem to see the same thing with most other Starfleet ship interiors that happen to not be the same design as our series' hero ship. We know that the real world reason is the reuse of whatever sets are available. (In other words, all Starfleet ships probably feature an easily reconfigurable interior arrangement.)
  • MSD cutaways seen on screen seem to suggest a few decks, as well as decks in the "pod." We must take these with a grain of salt, of course, since we know MSDs are not infallible or definitive. Of the Pegasus at least, it was said engineering was at the "center" of the ship, even if it was originally intended to be an all-new ship class. This may mean the center of the saucer section, or the center of the pod. Bob: The location of engineering aboard the Pegasus is giving me headaches. But obviously it has to be larger than 395’ for all the mutiny action that took place aboard, and I’d prefer not to elaborate on this Oberth II Class ship for he moment.
The "pod" is probably not hot swappable, but is probably easily configured for a variety of missions - and may indeed differ greatly between each ship of the class. I would suggest that while engineering and the warp core may indeed be down there as per MSD on screen, that perhaps for this class those operations are even more automated than on other vessels, requiring minimal direct crew interaction. The warp engines are probably up top to make swapping the pod easier, even if the pod contains the actual warp reaction system.
You are now talking about the Oberth Class TNG version. No doubt that the vessels were upgraded. However, the depiction of decks inside the secondary hull or pod strikes me as an attempt to put a square peg into a round hole. Since I first saw the Grissom on the screen and noticed the tiny and bended pylons, it seemed rather certain to me that the window-less pod was an uninhabitable area, entirely devoted to fuel and mechanical devices.

(I could better imagine the pod to have been some kind of major payload and think of the Oberth Class as an analogy to a torpedo bomber or ancient naval fireship (much like the abuse of the rebel transports in the unrealized VFX scenes from Return of The Jedi…). Steer your payload straight at the enemy’s vessel and detach with the saucer module in the last minute. The Oberth Class could have been a formidable Romulan Warbird killer in the mid 22nd Century ).

Praetor wrote: View Post
I once helped LCARS24 make an MSD of the class for his projects and we went through some of this same line of thinking. We ended up putting the warp core "down below" and rationalized that the people who worked in the pod tended to stay in the pod, and the people who ran and steered the ship probably tended to stay up top.
Looks like the best rationalization for the Pegasus and other “TNG Oberths” to me, too.

Praetor wrote: View Post
I am of two minds when it comes to inferring the nature of unseen classes from TOS. Certainly had we seen them at the time TOS was made they would not have been the Oberth. What they would have been, only Mr. Jefferies could say. However, I feel compelled to retroactively state that Mirandas and Oberths were indeed in service in that time frame. Would the Carolina have been an Oberth? No. Would the Valiant have been? I would argue this to be possible, but unsubstantiated.
TPTB have provided the answer for Matt Jefferies (well, the Enterprise ringship is a design of his inspired from his early TOS production sketches) regarding the Daedalus Class which brings me full circle back to the beginning of the post.
I have no doubt that NCC-1831 on the starship status chart in “Court Martial” referred to a Miranda (18th design), do not think that the Carolina was an Oberth, either, but feel confident that the USS Valiant was a vessel of the Oberth Class.

I hope to live long enough to see a talented CGI artist work with the entire widescreen (!) matte painting of the capitol of Eminiar VII, remove the aqueduct in the foreground to have “X-ray-vision” for an unobstructed view of the Valiant’s saucer module having touched down in the central park, and the crew having first contact with the predecessors of Anan Seven.

Too bad Ships of the Line isn’t produced any more, that would have been a great pre-TOS motive, IMHO.

Bob
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Old August 14 2013, 03:38 AM   #36
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post

But if I ignored retroactive continuity and instead focus on the Jefferies Registry Scheme (JRS) for the era of Kirk and pre-TOS it works well from the 1st Federation design series (Daedalus) up to the 20th (Excelsior).
One could argue that it only works well with the consideration of certain sources and not others. One reason I'm more in favor of a batch system versus JRS is that his scheme doesn't seem overly balanced to me. The heavy cruiser series is 1700+, but it's the 17th cruiser that's been built in the course of, say, a century or two of the Federation being founded (perhaps more)? That seems like a lot of cruisers while only a handful of scouts and destroyers have been built in the same time frame. One can also go more literal and say it's the 17th starship class, but since I don't think that term makes a huge difference in the context of the whole franchise (and not as it might have been intended when TOS was written), it's sort of meaningless IMO in terms of a big space fleet.

Besides, if you wanted to include a source like the FJ Technical Manual, how would you account for his sequential system versus the class-ship style of the JRS? FJ's heavy cruisers start at 1700 and go to about 1842, and are clearly intended to be subclasses and variants. The destroyers and scouts are slightly more challenging, in that destroyers run 500-555 and scouts start at 585 and go to 625. Each group has its own set of subclasses even though both main designs are variants of each other. Would this mean that the first digit(s) should apply to all variants, or should they only apply to distinct categories of builds?

Using a batch system to me is the best way to avoid potential issues with registry sequencing. There's no contradiction this way between counting FJ's Federation class dreadnoughts (which have a higher number than the Excelsior) and counting the Excelsior as a separate ship type. One is a dreadnought and one is a cruiser, or a battleship if you want to include the original FASA concept.

How can (finally) applying something that was there from the beginning (JRS) and works for the Kirk era possibly register as a retroactive attempt, that’s a contradiction.

It’s the retroactive ignorance of the Jefferies Scheme which is the culprit that started the mess, and things went south when the Constellation Class Hathaway got the same “25” prefix as the Exelsior II Class Repulse although it had been previously established that the prefix of the Stargazer (Constellation Class) was “28”.
Obviously, the registry scheme had radically changed from that moment forward…
Because although I'd agree with you that the PTB succumbed to retroactive ignorance, so to speak, in not applying the JRS consistently, I also think it was a lot easier from a production standpoint to simply invent numbers as the need arose and try to maintain consistency if it didn't always work. For my part, I choose to ignore the Constitution registries that were given 1600 numbers because I don't think they fit, and I prefer the consistent 1700 scheme FJ used. The only exception I keep is the Defiant which had an odd registry, even though the FJ registry (1710) fits perfectly and is an easy alternative to 1701.

You are now talking about the Oberth Class TNG version. No doubt that the vessels were upgraded. However, the depiction of decks inside the secondary hull or pod strikes me as an attempt to put a square peg into a round hole. Since I first saw the Grissom on the screen and noticed the tiny and bended pylons, it seemed rather certain to me that the window-less pod was an uninhabitable area, entirely devoted to fuel and mechanical devices.
For what it's worth, I completely agree with you here and this was part of the last discussion we had some time ago. Many of us agree that the lower pod makes more sense as modular piece of equipment, and I can easily see the main upper hull as a cheap unit to build for a number of different variants (as in the case of Jackill's Oberth variants).

I have no doubt that NCC-1831 on the starship status chart in “Court Martial” referred to a Miranda (18th design), do not think that the Carolina was an Oberth, either, but feel confident that the USS Valiant was a vessel of the Oberth Class.
I think an 1831 number could easily fit into Mastercom's system for the Suryas and Coventries (though all of their listed numbers are 1850 plus, to keep consistency with the Miranda/Avenger type refits). I'd personally disagree with the Valiant being an Oberth myself, as I'm inclined to agree with Dukhat's comments earlier. I honestly think the name is just a coincidence. I also like the idea that while the Oberth was an older class by the time of TSFS (it would have to be for my idea of the FASA Gagarin/Sagan builds to be variants and refits), it was built late in the TOS period and was one of the designs to have the TMP era aesthetic. That's purely my own idea.
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Old August 14 2013, 05:46 AM   #37
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Too bad Ships of the Line isn’t produced any more, that would have been a great pre-TOS motive, IMHO.
It was cancelled, but it was pretty quickly un-cancelled, so there are more calendars to come!

I'm not going to go into a dissertation, but my own view on the Oberth is very much along the line of Praetor's views. I'm also of the opinion that the lower pod is a huge sensor suite, and the warp core and other engineering areas are in the upper portion behind the saucer. (I tend to squint when I see the Pegasus' MSD.) And I just don't see the saucer being at all separable - it looks way too integrated to me, especially at the port and starboard edges, where it blends into the "sled" portion.
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Old August 14 2013, 10:18 AM   #38
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Unicron wrote: View Post
One could argue that it [JRS] only works well with the consideration of certain sources and not others. One reason I'm more in favor of a batch system versus JRS is that his scheme doesn't seem overly balanced to me. The heavy cruiser series is 1700+, but it's the 17th cruiser that's been built in the course of, say, a century or two of the Federation being founded (perhaps more)? That seems like a lot of cruisers while only a handful of scouts and destroyers have been built in the same time frame.
I don't know how we can reliably conclude the actual amount of scouts and destroyers built from the number of Federation cruiser design series? TMoST suggests large numbers, IMHO. The starships go first, then the "others" follow.

I should also mention, that I try not to let preference influence my treknological work efforts. Onscreen information is Canon # 1 to me, actual production background information Canon # 2, both of those are the "essentials" and not "up for grabs" unless these essentials have been accurately evaluated and considered.

Unicron wrote: View Post
Besides, if you wanted to include a source like the FJ Technical Manual, how would you account for his sequential system versus the class-ship style of the JRS?.
I should have been more precise. Matt Jefferies created the Enterprise and participated in the actual production of TOS, Franz Joseph didn't. For me, this makes JRS authentic and genuine while the FJ system is conjectural (but I have to acknowledge its post-TOS and -TAS influence and felt it necessary to reflect this "school of thought").

Of course, to assume that the last two (of four) registry digits refer to a sequential building order of a vessel from this design series (a changed premise deviating from Jefferies original concept but apparently continued by Franz Joseph) had become obsolete or debatable by the starship status chart featured in "Court-Martial" as "1697" would otherwise indicate 97 starships of the 16th design.
As in the case of "..64" I believe it's a contact code issued based on availability (and taken from a "deceased" starship).

Unicron wrote: View Post
For my part, I choose to ignore the Constitution registries that were given 1600 numbers because I don't think they fit, and I prefer the consistent 1700 scheme FJ used. The only exception I keep is the Defiant which had an odd registry, even though the FJ registry (1710) fits perfectly and is an easy alternative to 1701.
I'd prefer the 1701+ "Enterprise Class" scheme Matt Jefferies established but since retroactive (fan) continuity insists that we are dealing with "Constitution Class" I'm totally ok with the "16" numbers because and according to TOS-R this has to be the Constitution Class (but please let's not derail this thread, we have discussed this abundantly in other threads and should continue it there, if necessary).

Unicron wrote: View Post
I'd personally disagree with the Valiant being an Oberth myself, as I'm inclined to agree with Dukhat's comments earlier. I honestly think the name is just a coincidence.
But that's quite some coincidence to chose this name out of a hundred or a thousand alternate names, isn't it?

Addendum:

Praetor brought up the hazardous nature of the (TOS) warp engines Jefferies deliberately designed away for the ship, apparently as a possibility to easily jettison these in case of danger.

Of course, like the Oberth Class, the warp nacelles of the Miranda Class equally seem to be to too close for comfort. But then, what's the "hazardous element" of the old TOS warp nacelles?

The warp field coils, the matter-antimatter reactors or the antimatter confinement pods?

I think it's the antimatter confinement (confinement failure = you are dead) and in case of Reliant it's probably stored in the roll-bar pod (and can instantly fuel photon torpedos). The antimatter storage volume of the pod equals that of the TMP Enterprise (it has to be stored somewhere aboard Reliant).

Why we didn't get a bigger blast in ST II when Reliant's pod was destroyed I don't know (at least the remaining torpedos should have created quite some firework ). Apparently both torpedos and antimatter fuel may have been depleted at this time (but Enterprise was unaware of it).

Bob
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Old August 14 2013, 10:25 AM   #39
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

B.J. wrote: View Post
And I just don't see the saucer being at all separable - it looks way too integrated to me, especially at the port and starboard edges, where it blends into the "sled" portion.
Could you please be more specific? According to this picture and the bow view from the movie all I can see is a saucer sitting "flat" on the "warp sled".

Neither does it look integrated with the Valiant study model (notice the more protruding sphere below the nacelle cap and the rectangular, bulky looking shape of the warp engines).

The allusions I get from looking at the study model invoke images / analogies like that.

Maybe, if someone "coated" the Grissom with a layer of chrome on top of the "Apple White" such allusions would be more obvious.

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Old August 14 2013, 04:29 PM   #40
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
It has become some sort of Trek practice to adopt these TOS pre-production for pre-TOS ships and we have two examples: The Enterprise XXV 330 goes way back to early TOS pre-production as does the Daedalus Class.

Here is Jefferies’ (popular) pre-production sketch of the Enterprise. The essential design is two warp engines and saucer joined as an element with the secondary connected to element holding the engines. What happened if we were to adopt the essential design for another and new pre-TOS ship? It would look like a vessel of the Oberth Class.

In terms of evolution the next step could be either to attach the warp engines to the secondary hull instead (Enterprise) or to relocate components of the secondary hull into the saucer and have the secondary hull reduced to a roll bar with sensor and/or torpedo pod (Reliant).

That’s what I saw (after looking at these pre-production sketches) and where my theory sprang from originally (indeed, putting something upside down opens new perspectives).
Okay, I do better understand your rationale now. I'm afraid I still don't wholly agree. Yes, I do definitely see how Jefferies' concept art could be a primitive version of the Oberth design - but if I'm understanding you correctly you're suggesting that some members of this design were converted into Oberths and some were converted into Mirandas? I quite honestly just don't like that. If we preclude that the Starship class was the top of the line in TOS (as everything, including background materials seems to suggest - biggest, best, etc) then surely Starfleet had medium and small vessels as well? Having there just be an "other" Starships design seems too... simple. Now, a scaled down version of Jefferies design being a proto-Oberth, I might be able to wrap my head around.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
If it has to fit GUT (Grand Unified Theory) and doesn’t take into account that the registry scheme may have changed or been modified somewhere between the late 23rd and the 24th Century it’s a problem, indeed.

But if I ignored retroactive continuity and instead focus on the Jefferies Registry Scheme (JRS) for the era of Kirk and pre-TOS it works well from the 1st Federation design series (Daedalus) up to the 20th (Excelsior).

Possible, but not desirable when we can have an easy to understand explanation that doesn’t go into rationalization overdrive. Therefore, I can’t leave it at that as this would be like giving in to petrified dogma to me, no offense!

How can (finally) applying something that was there from the beginning (JRS) and works for the Kirk era possibly register as a retroactive attempt, that’s a contradiction.

It’s the retroactive ignorance of the Jefferies Scheme which is the culprit that started the mess, and things went south when the Constellation Class Hathaway got the same “25” prefix as the Exelsior II Class Repulse although it had been previously established that the prefix of the Stargazer (Constellation Class) was “28”.

Obviously, the registry scheme had radically changed from that moment forward…
Hm. I could go with this. So, two things here. One, is my overt skepticism of the JRS. As much as I adore the man, I am skeptical as this being the true original intention, as well as its place in the overall scheme of the franchise. Now, ignoring anything 24th century is one thing, but if we do take TNG into account, then we are faced with some older ships with murky registries, as you say.

So perhaps, there was indeed a registry schema change at some point - and that change was to change from the JRS to a newer, simply sequential registry scheme, to fit with the fact that the production team similarly abandoned or ignored the JRS. So perhaps you're right - JRS until circa the 2280s, and then it all goes to hell.

Let's touch briefly on the JRS. Which ships are we presupposing fit to witch number? Going by what we have seen or what was spelled out on screen on TOS or the TOS films:

05 - Revere type (TMP chatter)
06 - Oberth (or whatever its earlier name may've been), includes Scout U.S.S. Columbia (TMP chatter)
17 - Constitution aka Starship
18 - Miranda
20 - Excelsior
21 - Entente type (TMP chatter)

Extrapolated from TNG, somewhat dubious:
19 - Constellation (?)
25 - Excelsior (?)
28 - Constellation (?)

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Sometime in the early 23rd Century? Can you please elaborate, does this have something to do with ENT and GUT?
Sorry, yes. I was concluding in my mind that if we take the registry scheme sequentially rather than using the JRS, as we might have to do with certain schools of thought, then we might find ourselves with ancient ships of low registry.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
TMoST only mentioned “Destroyer Class”, “Scout Class” first popped up in ST III. Unfortunately Reliant is a starship, according to Chekov’s log entry, hence Starship Class and not Destroyer Class. Personally I would have preferred it to belong to the Destroyer Class.

The apparent problem is that if these classes refer to size (my theory) then we only know that up to 395’ it’s Scout Class and longer than 765’ (Reliant) it’s definitely Starship Class. And in between there’s the Destroyer Class and even maybe a Cruiser Class.
Ah, my bad. I believe I was recalling the TNG TM's mention of different ship types - which doesn't really jive with the TOS way of thinking. TMoST and other sources indicate the Enterprise (or at least its embryonic Yorktown, memory fails at the moment) as being a "space cruiser." Perhaps Starship class = space cruiser? Or Starship class includes several different types, including cruisers? And Reliant is a starship, sure, but is she a Starship? But, that's yet another can of worms.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
You are now talking about the Oberth Class TNG version. No doubt that the vessels were upgraded. However, the depiction of decks inside the secondary hull or pod strikes me as an attempt to put a square peg into a round hole. Since I first saw the Grissom on the screen and noticed the tiny and bended pylons, it seemed rather certain to me that the window-less pod was an uninhabitable area, entirely devoted to fuel and mechanical devices.

(I could better imagine the pod to have been some kind of major payload and think of the Oberth Class as an analogy to a torpedo bomber or ancient naval fireship (much like the abuse of the rebel transports in the unrealized VFX scenes from Return of The Jedi…). Steer your payload straight at the enemy’s vessel and detach with the saucer module in the last minute. The Oberth Class could have been a formidable Romulan Warbird killer in the mid 22nd Century ).
Generally agreed about the pod, but it all depends how much credence we want to give to onscreen evidence, and how much authority we want to give to MSDs. TNG Oberths were indeed no doubt upgraded, and part of my point was that surely their versatility and upgradeability (yeah, that's a word...) was what ensured their longevity. Indeed, that's probably the point of the pod - put whatever you want down there. Shall we live dangerously and suggest that TOS era ships had their warp reactors in their nacelles, a warp core addition being a later "design graft" necessitated by the change in technology?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
TPTB have provided the answer for Matt Jefferies (well, the Enterprise ringship is a design of his inspired from his early TOS production sketches) regarding the Daedalus Class which brings me full circle back to the beginning of the post.

I have no doubt that NCC-1831 on the starship status chart in “Court Martial” referred to a Miranda (18th design), do not think that the Carolina was an Oberth, either, but feel confident that the USS Valiant was a vessel of the Oberth Class.
I guess I just don't get why you feel so confident about Valiant. I understand that you took the study model and concluded the modelmakers were trying to do a continuity throwback to TOS - but indeed if they were I would expect it was probably to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and I certainly do not think they intended that to be the design of S.S. Valiant. In other words, I think it was a name throwback only. My point was that, sure, it could be, but it could also be a Starship. Or a Miranda. Or an Antares type. Or a design we haven't seen before. Using the study model as evidence is just tenuous.

Let us not forget that, for all their successes, the ILM modelmakers didn't even do the windows right on the Excelsior based on what size she was supposed to be - or the Oberth for that matter.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I hope to live long enough to see a talented CGI artist work with the entire widescreen (!) matte painting of the capitol of Eminiar VII, remove the aqueduct in the foreground to have “X-ray-vision” for an unobstructed view of the Valiant’s saucer module having touched down in the central park, and the crew having first contact with the predecessors of Anan Seven.
Hm, would you then posit that in the pre-TOS 23rd century, vessel saucers made planetfall regularly, per the lines in TMoST? I could buy that, I think. It does nicely explain the penchant for saucer sections that Starfleet seems to have, and ties into "Forbidden Planet."

FWIW, I would also throw TOS-R into the mix. Do we wish to take anything done there into account? I lean towards no... simply because what was done there was based on backstage materials which I tend to find make too many assumptions.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I don't know how we can reliably conclude the actual amount of scouts and destroyers built from the number of Federation cruiser design series? TMoST suggests large numbers, IMHO. The starships go first, then the "others" follow.
I find that interesting. I always got the impression of a relatively small fleet. What in TMoST makes you think large?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I should also mention, that I try not to let preference influence my treknological work efforts. Onscreen information is Canon # 1 to me, actual production background information Canon # 2, both of those are the "essentials" and not "up for grabs" unless these essentials have been accurately evaluated and considered.
I would agree with that - but we must also address #1 with a grain of salt. Some on-screen information is wrong due to production constraints. Similarly, I have utmost respect for creative intent, but sometimes onscreen evidence invalidates it.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I should have been more precise. Matt Jefferies created the Enterprise and participated in the actual production of TOS, Franz Joseph didn't. For me, this makes JRS authentic and genuine while the FJ system is conjectural (but I have to acknowledge its post-TOS and -TAS influence and felt it necessary to reflect this "school of thought").

Of course, to assume that the last two (of four) registry digits refer to a sequential building order of a vessel from this design series (a changed premise deviating from Jefferies original concept but apparently continued by Franz Joseph) had become obsolete or debatable by the starship status chart featured in "Court-Martial" as "1697" would otherwise indicate 97 starships of the 16th design.

As in the case of "..64" I believe it's a contact code issued based on availability (and taken from a "deceased" starship).
I'm sorry but I have to point out that it is entirely possible that Jefferies hadn't thought of it yet. We know why he picked 1701 - they were visually distinguishable. But I don't believe we have ever concretely proven when he came up with 17th, 1st. We know that it was stated to be an afterthought, but we don't know when. It's entirely possible he thought it up after "Court Martial."

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Praetor brought up the hazardous nature of the (TOS) warp engines Jefferies deliberately designed away for the ship, apparently as a possibility to easily jettison these in case of danger.

Of course, like the Oberth Class, the warp nacelles of the Miranda Class equally seem to be to too close for comfort. But then, what's the "hazardous element" of the old TOS warp nacelles?

The warp field coils, the matter-antimatter reactors or the antimatter confinement pods?

I think it's the antimatter confinement (confinement failure = you are dead) and in case of Reliant it's probably stored in the roll-bar pod (and can instantly fuel photon torpedos). The antimatter storage volume of the pod equals that of the TMP Enterprise (it has to be stored somewhere aboard Reliant).

Why we didn't get a bigger blast in ST II when Reliant's pod was destroyed I don't know (at least the remaining torpedos should have created quite some firework ). Apparently both torpedos and antimatter fuel may have been depleted at this time (but Enterprise was unaware of it).
So, I may be thinking too retroactively here. I initially really don't like the idea of the Reliant pod containing the antimatter. That should mean that the antimatter has to go down into the ship, into the reactor, be processed, and go into the nacelles? It feels entirely too... complicated.

I think in TOS days there was something of an assumption that the engines contained the reactors as well as the propulsive, erm, elements, not unlike an aircraft. Which, following this logic would put the fuel in the pylons, maybe. In any case, as Jefferies admitted, he didn't know how the hell it worked, but just rationalized that it needed to go away from people. I've taken this to assume the warp effects were unhealthy - but perhaps ships like Oberth somehow protected their crew? If pragmatism (and multi-mission capability) dictated the nacelles needed to be close to the saucer so the pod was swappable, perhaps the covered, cowled appearance of the Oberth nacelles was how this was gotten around? Regarding the antimatter itself, I assume that it is taken for granted that flying faster than light in a ship contains inherent dangers, akin to flying in a modern aircraft in the real world. We should remember to take that into account - no ship is "boom" proof.
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Old August 14 2013, 04:44 PM   #41
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
B.J. wrote: View Post
And I just don't see the saucer being at all separable - it looks way too integrated to me, especially at the port and starboard edges, where it blends into the "sled" portion.
Could you please be more specific? According to this picture and the bow view from the movie all I can see is a saucer sitting "flat" on the "warp sled".
You can't see it from those views. This should help:


The fillet radius (the feature pointed to with the red arrow in the B/W pic) looks like it might just be part of the "sled" when viewed from above, as you can see in the lower right pic of the studio model. But when viewed from below, you can see that this feature blends into the saucer, and the "sled" portion just cuts straight across below it. It would mean that the lower surface of the saucer is not coplanar with the upper surface of the sled.

I wish there were some better pics of the studio model, but it looks like the upper surface of the "sled" portion is actually the same surface as the floor of the three bays in the saucer.
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Old August 14 2013, 04:56 PM   #42
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

That photo raises another interesting point - the flush intake (or whatever you want to call it) that we traditionally associate with emergency plasma purge procedures going back to the TMP Enterprise appears to run across the "deck" under the saucer. That's just... odd.

Perhaps we should consider: could the horizontal deck simply be a horizontal pylon, with no livable or workable space?
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Old August 14 2013, 05:00 PM   #43
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

It could be anything, from flush intake to sensors to deflector system. But I get your meaning though. There would most definitely be machinery of some sort behind there, but I would like to think there are also some passages for the crew to be able to work on it. Might be cramped, though.
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Old August 14 2013, 10:34 PM   #44
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post

I should also mention, that I try not to let preference influence my treknological work efforts. Onscreen information is Canon # 1 to me, actual production background information Canon # 2, both of those are the "essentials" and not "up for grabs" unless these essentials have been accurately evaluated and considered.
That's fair enough. I'm largely the same way, though I also agree with Praetor's point about canonical information sometimes being at odds. I tend to ignore the presence of crew members in the Vico's lower section in "Hero Worship" for that reason, or to to assume they wound up in that section because of the disaster but wouldn't normally have done so. That causes the least potential friction with the theory that the pod is just equipment.

I should have been more precise. Matt Jefferies created the Enterprise and participated in the actual production of TOS, Franz Joseph didn't. For me, this makes JRS authentic and genuine while the FJ system is conjectural (but I have to acknowledge its post-TOS and -TAS influence and felt it necessary to reflect this "school of thought").

Of course, to assume that the last two (of four) registry digits refer to a sequential building order of a vessel from this design series (a changed premise deviating from Jefferies original concept but apparently continued by Franz Joseph) had become obsolete or debatable by the starship status chart featured in "Court-Martial" as "1697" would otherwise indicate 97 starships of the 16th design.
Can you refresh my memory as to how Matt intended the JRS to function originally? I've tended to think of it as being the first and/or second digits being the type build and the rest being the specific ship number, but I also see where you're coming from with the "Court Martial" chart. I can't recall if TMoST mentions any elements of the JRS, and my memory's far from perfect. I'd like to approach it from the right angle.

I'd definitely agree with numbers being recycled or switched over during construction, even when this leads to a weird registry system (as with Jackill's take on the refitted Saratoga from DS9. It became the lead ship in a new frigate variant, but the canonical registry is weird in any form).

But that's quite some coincidence to chose this name out of a hundred or a thousand alternate names, isn't it?
* shrugs * Not from my perspective, no. While I don't think the notion of someone thinking of the S.S. Valiant is completely impossible, I still think it was just a random name chosen for the study model. It's a common enough ship name and it probably assumed that it wouldn't be used, at least once the name was confirmed to be Grissom.

Addendum:

Praetor brought up the hazardous nature of the (TOS) warp engines Jefferies deliberately designed away for the ship, apparently as a possibility to easily jettison these in case of danger.

Of course, like the Oberth Class, the warp nacelles of the Miranda Class equally seem to be to too close for comfort. But then, what's the "hazardous element" of the old TOS warp nacelles?

The warp field coils, the matter-antimatter reactors or the antimatter confinement pods?

I think it's the antimatter confinement (confinement failure = you are dead) and in case of Reliant it's probably stored in the roll-bar pod (and can instantly fuel photon torpedos). The antimatter storage volume of the pod equals that of the TMP Enterprise (it has to be stored somewhere aboard Reliant).

Why we didn't get a bigger blast in ST II when Reliant's pod was destroyed I don't know (at least the remaining torpedos should have created quite some firework ). Apparently both torpedos and antimatter fuel may have been depleted at this time (but Enterprise was unaware of it).
That's an interesting question, and I know one issue brought up with some of the FASA designs was having the nacelles very close together in a way that suggests it would be harder to jettison. (Example: Andor class). I'm more inclined to think the Miranda would have the antimatter storage/jettison system in the main hull myself, since that connects to the nacelles, but I do think perhaps there would be extra torpedoes in the launcher itself. Assuming they weren't depleted, we probably should have gotten a bigger boom.
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Old August 15 2013, 12:20 AM   #45
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Re: Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Just my two cents on one facet of this topic: Since the Valiant was destroyed, and the creators of the Valiant design models were working on a design for a ship very much still in service, isn't that more likely to suggest that they weren't trying to depict the original Valiant's design? If anything they might have imagined the ship was named after the earlier Valiant, or as mentioned were just using a fairly generic name for a script that wasn't fully developed yet. The use of the name doesn't really strongly suggest at all that the Valiant was an Oberth.

Still like the idea, though, I just feel it necessary to point out possible issues. I'm enjoying this idea mostly because I get tired of Starfleet designs from the TOS and TMP era being essentially kitbashes of the Enterprise components. I like the idea of there being another distinct design era that preceded the Constitution-class, and that this era didn't necessarily look more "primitive", just different because of the practical necessities of technology at the time.
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