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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 26 2013, 05:43 PM   #1
Captain Jed R.
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Crazily shaped assignment patches

Ok, so the purpose of the various symbols used on different uniforms during TOS was to denote the ship an officer was assigned to. Common-ish knowledge, decent enough concept. What that doesn't explain though is the absolutely batshit crazy design of some of them. I can sort of see the simplicity of the Exeter design, and everyone loves the iconic arrowhead (I should imagine), but what the hell was the Constellation design about? Or that off-centre arrow for Defiant? Or the vaguely-rear-end shape of the Antares? And what is it about a squiggly line that says "Constellation", assuming it wasn't just the Admiralty deciding "the hell with it, go crazy, design me a patch that looks like a rear end".
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Old October 26 2013, 05:58 PM   #2
BillJ
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

The Defiant had the arrowhead of the Enterprise in the episode The Tholian Web, What they did in In a Mirror, Darkly was a retcon.

It's unclear how the patches actually related to various ships. Some Starbase personnel actually wore the Enterprise arrowhead as well.
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Old October 26 2013, 06:09 PM   #3
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
And what is it about a squiggly line that says "Constellation", assuming it wasn't just the Admiralty deciding "the hell with it, go crazy, design me a patch that looks like a rear end".
Props-wise I'd guess the main mandate was just to get them done in time for the shoot and make them impossible to mistake for each other by the viewer.

Personally I actually loved the wacky assignment patches and missed them in later incarnations of Trek...
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Old October 26 2013, 07:06 PM   #4
Captain Jed R.
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

BigJake wrote: View Post
Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
And what is it about a squiggly line that says "Constellation", assuming it wasn't just the Admiralty deciding "the hell with it, go crazy, design me a patch that looks like a rear end".
Props-wise I'd guess the main mandate was just to get them done in time for the shoot and make them impossible to mistake for each other by the viewer.

Personally I actually loved the wacky assignment patches and missed them in later incarnations of Trek...
I like them well enough, even if the designs are crazily abstract and there's no way in hell to tell what ship they represent if you don't already know.

The "rear end" comment is actually referring to Antares' patch, which literally looks like a rear end. Best. Patch. Ever. At least from a kooky viewpoint.
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Old October 26 2013, 07:13 PM   #5
F. King Daniel
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

The recent novel Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures postulated that the different symbols originally represented the different species' fleets which merged to become UFP Starfleet, with the arrowhead belonging to the UESPA.
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Old October 26 2013, 07:25 PM   #6
BigKrampus
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
The "rear end" comment is actually referring to Antares' patch, which literally looks like a rear end. Best. Patch. Ever. At least from a kooky viewpoint.
Yeah, I never noticed it from quite that angle before...
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Old October 26 2013, 07:42 PM   #7
Captain Jed R.
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

BigJake wrote: View Post
Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
The "rear end" comment is actually referring to Antares' patch, which literally looks like a rear end. Best. Patch. Ever. At least from a kooky viewpoint.
Yeah, I never noticed it from quite that angle before...
It could also, if you squint, be a particularly impressive set of a certain element of female anatomy, but I think the rear end is more innocuous in that respect.
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Old October 26 2013, 09:22 PM   #8
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

Although that might be common-ish knowledge, here's some information which isn't so commonly-ish known:

http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/?p=2329

(Because of a glitch on our website, you might have to hit your Refresh button after clicking the link.)

Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
Ok, so the purpose of the various symbols used on different uniforms during TOS was to denote the ship an officer was assigned to. Common-ish knowledge, decent enough concept. What that doesn't explain though is the absolutely batshit crazy design of some of them. I can sort of see the simplicity of the Exeter design, and everyone loves the iconic arrowhead (I should imagine), but what the hell was the Constellation design about? Or that off-centre arrow for Defiant? Or the vaguely-rear-end shape of the Antares? And what is it about a squiggly line that says "Constellation", assuming it wasn't just the Admiralty deciding "the hell with it, go crazy, design me a patch that looks like a rear end".
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Old October 26 2013, 09:53 PM   #9
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

All of the patches, I believe, from the original series were hatched from the fertile mind of Bill Theiss.

The Constellation patch (to me, at least) seems to be an "art deco-ish" concept of a planet-like heavenly body (not one of the female guest stars that Kirk seduced) traversing the galaxy. The Exeter Patch seems to be the 'blazed paths' between five heavenly bodies...

By the way, the Enterprise patch seems to be a stretched, rotated and off-center version of the Federation pennants seen on the sides of the ship. The Defiant patches seen in "In A Mirror, Darkly" seem to be a different type of off-shoot of the pennant.
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Old October 26 2013, 10:04 PM   #10
Captain Jed R.
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Although that might be common-ish knowledge, here's some information which isn't so commonly-ish known:

http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/?p=2329

(Because of a glitch on our website, you might have to hit your Refresh button after clicking the link.)
Now that is a fascinating read.

I notice when I saw various Phase II episodes that Phase II does use separate emblems. I take it that's a decision to follow visual canon, not behind the scenes edicts?
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Old October 26 2013, 10:25 PM   #11
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

One thing also regarding the Starfleet Command, Constellation and Exeter patches: They're all made with different materials than the gold fabric and black stitching of the Enterprise patch.

The Constellation has the gold fabric, but it also has a lace webbing and silver stitching.

The Exeter has a flat brown fabric, with silver fabric disks.

The Starfleet Command patch is a plastic flower thingy that to this day apparently is sold in craft stores.

It's always disappointing to me to see other assignment patches that fans create that simply mimic the design concept of gold fabric/black stitching ala the Enterprise patch. And most of the designs seem to just be random shapes or blobs just thrown together without rhyme or reason.

Be more creative, fans, please! Think outside the box like Bill Theiss did! He had no money, so he got his ideas and designs using bargain basement sources... why not try his tactics and see what original ideas bubble up in your own fertile minds?
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Old October 26 2013, 11:01 PM   #12
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

Captain Jed R. wrote: View Post
Ok, so the purpose of the various symbols used on different uniforms during TOS was to denote the ship an officer was assigned to. Common-ish knowledge, decent enough concept. What that doesn't explain though is the absolutely batshit crazy design of some of them.
Well, the non-Enterprise ones were basically found objects of clothing, jewelry or whatever, snipped into somthing that looked interesting and fututistic or "spacey." But who can say they don't have some reason or meaning in-universe, and we just don't know what it is? Not every symbol has to be representational, either. The symbol for the US Navy's Medical Corps, for instance? An oak leaf with an acorn on it. Nothing that really says "medicine" about it, but it's the symbol and that's that.
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Old October 26 2013, 11:45 PM   #13
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
By the way, the Enterprise patch seems to be a stretched, rotated and off-center version of the Federation pennants seen on the sides of the ship. The Defiant patches seen in "In A Mirror, Darkly" seem to be a different type of off-shoot of the pennant.
The yellow marks on the red pennants on the sides of the ship were actually a boomerang like shape with rounded points. Hmm, boomerang on red...we hope you come back?
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Old October 27 2013, 08:58 PM   #14
Shawnster
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

You may also enjoy our other recent conversations on this topic:

Exeter Patch


Constellation Patch

Starfleet Command Insignia

Divisions, Insignia, Uniforms and Assignment Patches

Last edited by Shawnster; October 28 2013 at 02:36 AM.
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Old October 27 2013, 09:01 PM   #15
MauriceNavidad
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Re: Crazily shaped assignment patches

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Only one of those links works.

Always test your links!
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