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

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Old September 18 2014, 05:03 AM   #1
CuttingEdge100
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Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

It sounds like a silly questions because all the vessels have canonical lengths, but I have over the years heard various discrepancies in lengths.

I'll provide some examples
  • NCC-1701 (TOS): Has an official length of 288.6 meters or 947 feet
  • Early on the vessel was to be 540 feet, with a crew of 203; this was then doubled to 1,080 feet with a crew of 430
  • When it came to most aspects of the sets and things of that nature. 1,080 tended to fit better than 947 provided the position of the windows were similar to F.J.'s designs (higher up)
  • When it comes to the shuttle-bay estimates, larger sizes such as 1,350 or 1,450 feet have been floated around, though I cannot be certain
As a result I'm trying to do a somewhat scientific analysis based on the following analysis
  • Deck size relative to window-size provided the windows were positioned in the way F.J. did in his drawings -- lined up with the mid/upper portion of each deck.
  • Shuttle-bay dimensions and shuttle-size relative to the ship (including the below bay capacity for 4 shuttles)
My idea is to create a sort of fudge factor that can be produced to make reliable ship sizes.
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Old September 18 2014, 05:19 AM   #2
sojourner
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

Many men have been ruined in the pursuit of this quest. I wish you luck in the endeavor.
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Old September 18 2014, 06:10 AM   #3
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

We don't actually know if the 540-foot length was doubled.

One should be careful about making scale assumptions because the reality can be fairly subtle. DS9 was initially blueprinted with a stated scale of 1 inch ≈ 60 feet, later increased to precisely 70 feet, but originally as a four-foot miniature. In a memo to modelmaker Tony Meininger, however, Rick Sternbach finalized the scale at 1 inch = 45 feet, presumably because the miniature was six feet in diameter as built, and 70 x 4/6 does work out to just under 47. At this point, the size would've worked out to roughly 3200 feet.

(Of course, all of this was years before the compromise in the DS9 technical manual, where the station diameter increased even further to approach the VFX figure of 5280 feet.)
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Old September 18 2014, 08:10 AM   #4
CuttingEdge100
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

I was thinking the best strategy would be to do the following
  • Acquire a model of a shuttlecraft from TOS, TMP, TFF
  • Acquire a good external model of the Enterprise from TOS (Canon line-drawing)
  • Acquire a good internal model of the Enterprise from TOS

Then from there
  • Establish a scale for the shuttle, whereby a certain number of pixels equal an inch
  • Scale the Big-E to 947 feet, and 1,080 feet according to the same scale

From there, the idea would be to do the following
  • Use the internal drawing which shows deck-layouts to effectively determine how many feet are present for each deck: It should be about 10 feet a deck with a few inches between each floor
  • Whichever fits best for the deck-arrangement is the correct answer for the general scale of the ship itself excluding the shuttle-bay

For determining the size of the shuttle bay, you scale the shuttlebay up until the point where the four shuttles could fit properly in the specified locations factoring in their size. Whatever size works best is the best arrangement for the ship; at that point you just conclude the size of the ship.

The concept is fairly straight forward though time-consuming and a pain
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Old September 18 2014, 08:15 AM   #5
Timo
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

until the point where the four shuttles could fit properly in the specified locations
This is a good example of the snags on the route: there are no "specified locations" for the shuttles. Nor is there good evidence that four would be aboard; it's only conjecture from the fact that the Exeter had four, but in contradiction with the idea that the Galileo would be shuttle number seven.

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Old September 18 2014, 09:30 AM   #6
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

sojourner wrote: View Post
Many men have been ruined in the pursuit of this quest.
You called?

There is no way to reconcile Trek ship sizes. The Enterprise-D is screwed because Ten Forward was made double the size it should have been. The Ready Room has a physically impossible window which we even see from the outside a few times. I don't think any of the exterior windows match the generic crew quarters set windows and even if they did, fixing the size to accommodate ten forward breaks that.

The Excelsior is twice it's official size and more if you include the bridge dome and other additions which came along in STIV.

The new movie Enterprise's saucer is scaled for 725ish meters, and the engineering hull interiors 1200.

The Reliant has a row of windows along the centre of the saucer rim, with another row added very closely underneath. Either deck 6 has ankle-height windows and 7's are overhead, or it's a lot bigger than we think.

The Oberth class has a contradictory physical model and MSD in "Hero Worship", and even then wouldn't fit the long corridors seen in "The Naked Now". The window rows on the model indicate 300m at least.

DS9 had a definite scale until, during construction of the model, word came down to add more windows.

The Klingon Bird of Prey! Enough said.

Voyager's shuttlebay is never the same configuration twice, and in "Drive" doubled in size. The Delta Flyer not only spawned a back room, but a freaking Jefferies tube(!!) in "Collective"

The Neg'var! Either battlecruiser sized or comparable to the Narada.

Fudge factor of infinity.
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Old September 18 2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

And the fact the Defiant suddenly gained the ability to launch the Chaffee, which while still small for any shuttle, is still to large to fit inside the interior of the ship.
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Old September 18 2014, 01:04 PM   #8
Boris Skrbic
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

The Chaffee is not too small; again, one must do some research on the subject. A few years back, Doug Drexler opened his copy of the LightWave model and said 26 feet, consistent with his deck plans developed around the same time. Brandon MacDougall, who animated that scene at Foundation Imaging, gives 42 feet, which is probably a result of upscaling in relation to the 560-foot Defiant model, whereas the deck plans are clearly closer to 400. Larry Nemecek wrote down 25 feet following a 1998 conversation with Gary Hutzel, who was VFX supervisor for that episode.

As for DS9, I'm not sure where that window-argument comes from, but even if windows were added between the planned levels, obviously the model wasn't changed nearly enough to contradict the original blueprints. Since the station usually did remain small next to smaller ships, the problem seems to be in the scenes featuring the Enterprise and other larger ships, but one can increment the diameter only so much before the unchanged shape of the miniature stops making sense.
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Old September 18 2014, 02:16 PM   #9
Mytran
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

CuttingEdge100 wrote: View Post
I was thinking the best strategy would be to do the following...The concept is fairly straight forward though time-consuming and a pain
Nice! My approach to determining the TOS size is slightly similar and works on the assumption that most of the original ship ended up in the refit - I've never been a big fan of extra bits being welded on here and there just to make the saucer fractionally larger etc.

The length of the TMP-Enterprise is officially 1,000 feet long, but extensive CGI modelling by Blsswlf shows that the Cargo Deck cannot possibly fit in a ship of that size and the length is more like 1,164 feet (355 metres). Going with the notion that the TOS saucer would have survived mostly intact (except for interior decoration), I size-matched the bottom radius of both versions of the ship and determined that Kirk's original Enterprise was around 1,250 feet in length.

This is of course longer than the refit (flying in the face of "official" lengths) but I see no reason why more advanced=bigger; in fact the opposite is often true, making the TMP-E a sleeker, faster, leaner vessel.

YMMV


P.S.
Also, a larger TOS-E helps to fit in the 10' high sets, the offset Bridge and the 124' long shuttlebay miniature, although these last factors may or may not be relevant depending on how literally you want to interpret what's on screen.
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Old September 18 2014, 05:13 PM   #10
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

Boris Skrbic wrote: View Post
The Chaffee is not too small; again, one must do some research on the subject. A few years back, Doug Drexler opened his copy of the LightWave model and said 26 feet, consistent with his deck plans developed around the same time. Brandon MacDougall, who animated that scene at Foundation Imaging, gives 42 feet, which is probably a result of upscaling in relation to the 560-foot Defiant model, whereas the deck plans are clearly closer to 400. Larry Nemecek wrote down 25 feet following a 1998 conversation with Gary Hutzel, who was VFX supervisor for that episode.
Whether it fits or not, it's a shame that, when launching a shuttle, the underside of the Defiant changes from a large protruding panel to recessed double doors.

As for DS9, I'm not sure where that window-argument comes from, but even if windows were added between the planned levels, obviously the model wasn't changed nearly enough to contradict the original blueprints. Since the station usually did remain small next to smaller ships, the problem seems to be in the scenes featuring the Enterprise and other larger ships, but one can increment the diameter only so much before the unchanged shape of the miniature stops making sense.
That would be Rick Sternbach himself. Click!
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Old September 18 2014, 05:31 PM   #11
Mytran
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

An upgrade maybe? I suppose it's too much to hope for that we never saw the underside of the Defiant after this episode?
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Old September 18 2014, 06:27 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

The change is fairly minimal, and IMHO might be seen as something other than change in in-universe terms, too.

In most episodes, the area that will launch the tiny shuttle features a dome in the middle. In the above cap from "By Inferno's Light", that dome emits a tractor beam. Now, it's fairly logical for a tractor beam to emerge from what is supposed to be a shuttlebay... Suppose the engineers simply installed a telescoping tractor beam emitter (ever since ST:TMP and the Andy Probert / Shane Johnson treatment of the movie ship, all tractor beam emitters supposedly have been mounted on telescoping poles anyway, even if we never see this in action) that descends from the ceiling of the cylinder bay all the way to the doors and then pokes through them?

That is, where we in "The Sound of Her Voice" see the Chaffee, a working end of a tractor beam is normally seen, of more or less the same size. The doors close over its narrow pole, by virtue of having a small notch each - and this notch in turn can be smoothly closed when the tractor beam emitter is retracted (such as during shuttle operations).

the underside of the Defiant changes from a large protruding panel to recessed double doors.
Make no mistake, the recessed double doors are only as large as the recessed area in the middle of the protruding doughnut of the underside. That is, the Chaffee is about half the size of the runabout forward cabin, which is more or less right in terms of what little we saw of the interior.

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Old September 19 2014, 01:42 PM   #13
Forbin
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

This requires too much braining for me. I just take the "official" 947 foot figure for the TOS E as gospel, and handwave any problems. While I am a devout Trek-tech-head and dearly love all this, I think we do have to "let the art flow" sometimes.
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Old September 19 2014, 10:14 PM   #14
Mytran
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

Hey, IDIC man, all the way!

Luckily Trek is diverse enough so there's an obsession that's suited to everyone's tastes.
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Old September 20 2014, 04:17 AM   #15
Wingsley
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Re: Actual Size of Ships in Star Trek

Forgive me if this seems like an awkward take on the whole "size of TREK ships" forum, but has anyone ever made a detailed review of the internal volume of the saucer and secondary hulls of the TOS Enterprise and tried to see if all of the sets fit and the "official" size, plus canon-size crew quarters for all of the ship's standard personnel, plus "Journey to Babel" supercargo passengers, plus four shuttlecraft? Can it all fit at the 947-feet size?

(I fail to see what every deck has to be exactly ten feet in height, BTW; that's not how I understand modern naval vessels are built.)
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