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

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Old June 11 2013, 06:33 PM   #1
CharlieZardoz
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Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Greetings fellow Trek fans! I am in the planning stage of building the USS Horatio featured as a pile of space rubble in the episode "Conspiracy" using a lighted Yamaguchi kit and custom decals. I am wondering whether the ship should be built like the Enterprise C or as a variant like the Zhukov or Yamaguchi.
 
My opinion is that it may have looked like the Enterprise C (with the non-cowled bussards and blue deflector dish, etc). I'm thinking the registry numbers (10,000's) looked like the C while the later batch (with ncc's in the 20,000's) looked like the Zhukov/Yamaguchi. It appears to me that in the Star Trek universe ship variants are usually built that way from the shipyard for some sort of special purpose (like the Lakota/Enterprise B variant or the Phoenix/Nebula variants). The other argument is that they were all changed or upgraded from the original design some time during their service making the Horatio another variant like the Zhukov/Yamaguchi?

Naturally there is no right answer since the Sternbach model had not been built until season 3 (Yesterday's Enterprise) and the changes to the studio model were probably made to make it look better on screen. But I just thought it might be fun to conjecture what the ship might have looked like before I start the kit and would really appreciate feedback from other trek ship fans.
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Old June 11 2013, 07:29 PM   #2
137th Gebirg
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Well, since the Horatio had one of the lowest known registries in the class (NCC-10532), second only to the USS Ambassador herself (NCC-10521), and the other modified Ambassadors all had numbers in the 20000's, it would probably be an "unmodified" variant, most closely resembling the Enterprise-C, which is arguably a contemporary - vessels named "Enterprise" seem to emerge out of the first generation of starships in their class, one would assume out of tradition.

I know it's no fun from a hypothetical POV, but that would be my logical guess based on all the historical information at hand.
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Old June 11 2013, 08:17 PM   #3
Timo
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

I guess the wrench that could be thrown in is the use of the Enterprise-C footage to depict USS Excalibur in the episode "Redemption". Granted, it's a fuzzy little shot, but at least in theory we do see this starship, associated in dialogue with this specific name and thus in Okudagrams with a 26000-range registry, sport the telltale "first batch" ramscoops.

And if the remastering work currently underway bears fruit, we will also be able to see the blue impulse engine in its characteristic location (unless the work involves altering this shot)...

http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...tiontwo176.jpg

Does this mean that both batches were built in the "first batch" configuration initially, but the higher-registry batch was then modernized to the Zhukov style specs? The modification would involve pretty drastic things, such as completely severing and repositioning the primary hull and apparently the nacelles as well, but this might be necessary for some reason or another and worth the expenses.

The Excalibur shows that some 26000-range ships only get modified late in their lives if at all. But if we start believing in such modernization, how can we be sure that the Horatio never received the refit?

We get a further twist in the tale when we note that an Ambassador class vessel of the Zhukov specs is witnessed as being part of the blockade fleet here, in a rear shot that does not allow us to actually identify the name or the registry of the vessel. Is this the Excalibur? Hopefully not, as a change of configuration in mid-flight would be odd indeed! And we don't know for sure that the fleet did not have two Ambassadors.

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Old June 11 2013, 08:32 PM   #4
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Hi guys! Regarding the Excalibur I consider her to be a variant which the scene you posted (of the reused Yesterday's Enterprise footage) to be just saving money by the producers of the show for that one scene. My reasoning is that the studio model was altered at this time to be the Excalibur for that fleet scene and half the decals were still present when the model went to auction. Since the model was altered for the Zhukov in data's day (albeit with an incorrect name and NCC number), I assume that all Ambassador class ships which made onscreen appearances from that point onward were of the variant design. While I want to believe that Starfleet put them all in drydock and updated them at some point before TNG time, the idea for me that Starfleet repositioned the neck and nacelles as you described seems unrealistic which is why I lean to the theory of two batches built in two different configurations.
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Old June 11 2013, 08:41 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Well, cutting off the saucer and the nacelles is arguably the easiest possible cutting job, involving cuts at the narrowest part of the ship - this is why the model got incorrectly put together in real life!

And Starfleet seems to have done a somewhat similar repositioning with the E-E for the movie Nemesis, plus a much more extensive change in the secondary hull contours of that ship. And never mind the immense amount of work that went to altering Kirk's old ship...

I wouldn't declare the odd refit unrealistic as such, then, not by Star Trek standards.

And if we can argue that there were two different Ambassadors in "Redemption", we have done our bit in helping, if not explain then at least alleviate the mystery of why this supposedly successful class is rather underrepresented in comparison with even older designs...

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Old June 11 2013, 08:44 PM   #6
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Regarding support to the drydock theory I think it's a matter of the intent of the model making team. I'd like to assume that the reason the model was altered was to denote that after 20 years since the days of the C some sort of upgrade was needed to make the ships serviceable in the 2360's and it is quite a logical second argument to assume the Horatio was upgraded along with the rest. It's the kind of thing that I'd love to sit Okuda, Jein or Sternbach down and figure out who gave the order to make changes to the model and what were they thinking the purpose for this was at that time.
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Old June 11 2013, 08:57 PM   #7
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Was the model assembled incorrectly in real life? I mean I totally agree that a blue impulse engine makes no sense and they must have rushed the lighting system for the episode and fixed it later. I always prefer real life explanation whenever possible since there are usually practical reasons why these things happened.

I agree it would have been nice to have seen the Ambassador model in more episodes and I understand the thing broke in some sort of earthquake and they stopped using it during the switchover to CGI. Since the Exeter and Valdemar were both present in Cardassian space during the war (I'm making an assumption with the latter), there were at least a few involved with the Dominion war if not seen onscreen.
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Old June 11 2013, 09:09 PM   #8
Timo
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

The blue impulse engine might well have been a deliberate choice: a "cold" color to indicate that the thing is badly broken and unable to run "hot". There was also some flicker to the warp engine lighting...

No idea whether this was the rationale in real life or not, but it's a possibility. On the other hand, red as the color of impulse engines was far from iconic at the time: the TOS movies had generally been doing amber instead, and there were extremely few starship designs in TNG anyway to establish any sort of an impulse engine color scheme.

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Old June 11 2013, 09:13 PM   #9
137th Gebirg
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

IIRC, there were some early stills of the TMP refit w/ impulse engines running blue as well. I chalk this up to being like the amber/blue nav deflector debate (with the Enterprise-E, ironically, going back to an amber/yellow deflector after years of blue in all other ships).
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Old June 11 2013, 09:33 PM   #10
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Sure I will buy that explanation regarding the blue impulse engines. Seems I am now leaning more towards the idea of a systematic fleet upgrade vs. the two batch theory.
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Old June 11 2013, 09:41 PM   #11
Timo
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Then again, Starfleet policy towards upgrading or producing the Nebula class doesn't exactly strike me as systematic... We get a wide range of variants, this time without the helpful progression of registry numbers, and Starfleet doesn't demonstrate a predisposition towards any particular variant.

Add to this the Miranda class diversity and the one-off nature of the Lakota refit... Given all this, I personally favor "byzantine" over "systematic" in the Ambassador case as well.

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Old June 11 2013, 09:45 PM   #12
MacLeod
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Well I suppose one ship had to be the first variant, it is possible that the first few ships were all of slightly variants in design. To see which one worked best.
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Old June 11 2013, 09:58 PM   #13
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Indeed the Nebula design and Miranda designs are definitely not systematic and not relative to registry, however in those cases it seems pretty conclusive that those variants are the result of specialized mission purposes which would justify different senor pods and weapons etc. The only exception was the Honshu subclass which exists because whoever made the Nebula CGI for First Contact (supposedly) used a Galaxy template to make the render thus looking different. And it's logical that the Lakota refit (again for specialized purpose) had been more prevalent in Starfleet we just only saw one onscreen in DS9. On that note if the Ambassador class had made it onscreen in Generations it would have had even lower warp engines than seen in the series and thus another variant. Eep!

Again it's a question that points to the intent of the design team at TNG what the cowl on the bussards and other changes were supposed to represent. Either way I do appreciate the input. It's fun to ponder this stuff although I'm still not sure what the answer could be lol.
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Old June 11 2013, 10:01 PM   #14
CharlieZardoz
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

The fact that the Enterprise B was built as a variant is a strong selling point that as you say Macleod one of these ships was the first variant.
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Old June 11 2013, 11:59 PM   #15
137th Gebirg
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Re: Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

I liken the bussard cowls on the supposedly "later" Ambassador variants as evolutionary steps towards what would eventually become the Galaxy-style "star drive". The Ambassador platform was clearly around for a very long time and quite prolific. It's entirely within reason that it served as a multi-platform test-bed during its time in service.
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