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Old February 20 2011, 03:22 PM   #61
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

I was watching a DS9 space battle music video on youtube the other day, with clips of loads of episodes jumbled together. In some shots, the Excelsior class ships were about the same length as the Galaxy-class (which would fix the deck height, but is still too small for the bridge module), and in others the Excelsior saucers were barely wider than the saucers of the Mirandas.

Another complication with the Excelsiors is that there have been two noticably different physical models of the ship (the one first seen in "Flashback" has a thinner secondary hull), and a CG one (which seems to have the thinner engineering hull of the "flashback" model) which appeared in later DS9 episodes.
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Old February 20 2011, 07:44 PM   #62
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

And there's also the problem of the Galaxy's scaling relative to DS9. Both of them at their true scales, the Galaxy class wouldn't actually fit at the docking pylons and the station has to be expanded several times in order to make that shot work.
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Old February 20 2011, 08:35 PM   #63
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

There is some 'magic' going on anyway ... look at the nacelle and the docking pylon

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Old February 20 2011, 09:01 PM   #64
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Well, we know that VFX didn't like the intended size and used 5280 feet on average, but maybe Rick Sternbach remembers why he originally blueprinted the station at 3600 feet in diameter. Was it approved at that smaller diameter based on size comparisons with certain starships, did the number of window rows enter into it...? The Making of DS9 book has some rough size comparision sketches, but I don't know how the final number was picked specifically.
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Old February 21 2011, 04:08 AM   #65
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Boris wrote: View Post
Well, we know that VFX didn't like the intended size and used 5280 feet on average, but maybe Rick Sternbach remembers why he originally blueprinted the station at 3600 feet in diameter. Was it approved at that smaller diameter based on size comparisons with certain starships, did the number of window rows enter into it...? The Making of DS9 book has some rough size comparision sketches, but I don't know how the final number was picked specifically.
The ~3600 foot diameter was a starting point based on the proportions of the structures we were inventing in the core, mostly, like Ops, the Promenade, etc. I wouldn't characterize the station as having been approved at any specific real-world size; the design was approved, and it fit within different folks' mental picture of how big it would be. That is, there seemed to be a range of sizes depending on who you asked. I drew certain features in the blueprints, the model was under construction, and orders came down from on high to add a crapload of additional fiber-optic windows. Not with any technical rationale to back those orders up, just that it looked better to some eyes. I didn't think it made any sense, but it didn't totally kill the look of the thing either. Just like lots of other vehicles and props I/we designed for Trek, once the blueprints left my table, it was outa my hands. The producers, art directors, and VFX all fiddled with it, but in the end it looked 99% the way I detailed it, and I have Tony Meininger and his crew to thank for that, over and over. The final drop dead diameter for the station in my head, as written in the DS9TM, is the 1451.82m number, which was based on a synthesis of VFX composites with other vessels like Defiant and Ent-D (plus some pushing and pulling of how sets fit within the structures), but was not slavishly welded to them. In the end, I really don't care what the station appeared to measure out to because of how it looked on TV with other objects. I don't crucify VFX for what they did with their composite shots; they made effects shots and that was that; done. Why VFX internally labeled the diameter as 5280', I don't know; maybe it was just a nice easy number for them to remember that was close to what the outer rim might be. I don't care; it doesn't matter. Now I'm not being curmudgeonly, just sticking to my own artsy-techy ideas.

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Old February 21 2011, 06:04 AM   #66
Captain Robert April
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Well, one mile wide is an easy thing to wrap your mind around, so...
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Old February 21 2011, 06:40 AM   #67
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Well, one mile wide is an easy thing to wrap your mind around, so...
It certainly wasn't a Cardassian number, that's for sure, and it probably was for the benefit of the VFX crew trying to get their shots done. Nothing hugely wrong with that; most folks who worked on the show weren't into the logical consistency of a fictional universe; they were doing an industry job. Now if the Cardassians actually had made their station 5280' across, I would have thought I had fallen head first into HHGG's Infinite Improbability Drive.

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Old February 21 2011, 06:41 AM   #68
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Well, with the way the Enterprise's nacelle seems to bend impossibly to avoid the docking pylon, I'd describe that as quite probable.
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Old February 21 2011, 07:44 AM   #69
Vincent Law
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

The ship also doesn't move with the rotation of the shot, because it's a composite shot and a pretty obvious one. Personally I just never really cared. I'm sure if they had it to do over using computer models this wouldn't be an issue, but then again most computer models don't quite have the look of realism that can be accomplished using physical models.

As for the Defiant, I can't help but wonder if there just was never really anything settled on the size, so it got scaled depending on whatever the director of a particular episode had in mind. There is also the inconsistency of where the impulse engines are located in the MSD diagram compared to where they are on the model. I think the Oberth has a similar problem with scaling, and that the size that was finally settled on doesn't quite fit the scaling of the physical model.
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Old February 21 2011, 02:06 PM   #70
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Here's a comparison of the Enterpise-E MSD (which does fit nicely, my apologies - I hadn't realized how low the E-E's corridors were), based on early diagrams, and the final ship at the official size of 685m:


Here's the ship scaled to match the height of the MSD, in order to fit the 24 decks, bumping up the size to 794.5m:

...and that's ignoring the "deck 29" from Nemesis.

Here's the Excelsior scaled at 622m,n roughly matching the saucer rim deck heights with the very similar saucer rim on the NX-01:


And here's another possible size comparison using these figures:


That's the NX-01 and Enterprise-D kept at their original/official sizes, the TOS Enterprise scaled to Drexler's cutaway, the Excelsior scaled to the deck height of the NX-01 (but not the smaller bridge. A closeup of the tiny and thin bridge module can be seen in EAS' Excelsior size article) and the Enterprise-E scaled to match the 24-deck height of the MSD (ignoring "deck 29").

As with everything I've posted here, take it with a pinch of salt, please.
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Old February 21 2011, 02:10 PM   #71
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

I like it. It shoes a very nice progression of sizes with each generation of ships. (And I like that the NX-01's saucer is smaller than the TOS Enterprise's. Never felt right that they should be the same size.)
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Old February 21 2011, 02:22 PM   #72
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

The Enterprise E was gorgeous, wasn't it?
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Old February 21 2011, 02:24 PM   #73
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Indeed
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Old February 21 2011, 03:58 PM   #74
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

Because I enjoy making more work for people, how different is the E-E scale if you compare the MSD to the Nemesis silhouette instead of the First Contact version?
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Old February 21 2011, 04:11 PM   #75
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Re: Ship sizes: ALL LIES! (big pics)

^^ Or should MSDs be used at all since they're more of a symbolic representation of the internals and not necessarily accurate to the exterior of the ship?
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