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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old July 19 2014, 03:54 AM   #1
Emperor Norton
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Achernar subclass: What Is It?

The Achernar subclass/class is something found in the expanded universe of Star Trek. It evolved out of the attempt to explain a kagillion Constitution classes in existence outside "Only 12 like it"; I'm not sure about anything prior to the Technical Manual, but said publication explained it by have the Constitution class really be the prefit/Pike era ship, and the TOS refit being the Bonhomme Richards subclass; Franz Joseph invented the concept of subclasses. So therefore you could cheat and say there were 12 Constitution class ships, but multiple more that were of the new design subclass and were never refit.

The Achernar class presents a problem because there seems to be absolutely no reason for it to even have been created. I can't find anything extensive about it anywhere, so it's not anything special. It doesn't seem to have been any fan or writer's pet project or anything. And all it looks like is an incorrectly drawn Constitution class taken too far as a concept. It seems like a vestigial organ. Or maybe it never had any purpose.

So could anyone chime in on this? On the whole, what this was supposed to be and why it exists confuses me.
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Old July 19 2014, 04:24 AM   #2
Nightowl1701
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

The Achernar subclass was essentially 'born' two years prior to the Technical Manual, when Franz Joseph published the original Star Trek Blueprints in 1973 (seen here). When he was called out on the visual inaccuracies of his 'Enterprise' exterior in various ST conventions, he claimed not to have Matt Jefferies' plans to work from, and was eyeballing it from blowups of individual frames from episodes. (He also said he was more interested in fleshing out the ship's design than in getting the outside exactly right.)

So when the Technical Manual opportunity came around a couple of years later, Joseph came up with the Achernar subclass idea to fit his design into canon as a 'Year Four' configuration for the Enterprise (hence shutting the more rabid fanboys up). The Enterprise in TAS (airing in the couple of years prior) looked just different enough from its' live-action counterpart that Joseph could say his design was that version of the ship.

As for the kagillion numbers of that subclass, well, you can't really run a good galaxy-spanning Federation vs. Klingon/Romulan RPG battle on only twelve ships, can you?
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Old July 19 2014, 04:46 AM   #3
AirCommodore
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Just say it's another class of Heavy Cruiser. You don't need "sub classes". It's normal to have multiple classes of a single type. If I recall from that Star Trek Tech Manual, there aren't really that many, especially considering the colossal size and resources of the Federation. The US Navy in '45 had over 70 cruisers and about 100 Carriers.
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Old July 19 2014, 06:38 AM   #4
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

In the common line based in Franz Joseph's work, it is a later cruiser based on the Constitution-class designs. "Ships of the Starfleet" has several of the older ships updated to this configurations just prior to USS Enterprise going in for her major refit.

FASA took a different approach. The Achernar-class (as well as the Tikopai-class) is said to be a class of cruisers that operated during the Four Years War, and was as far as we know, not based on the Constitution-class. They were scrapped or converted to other classes in an effort to reduce the over abundance of combat ships following the war. FASA never had stats or images of these ships. One site suggested they were converted transport tugs similar to the Franz Joseph based Ptolemy-class fitted with integrated combat pods so they could build a large number of them (68 Achernar and 44 Tikopai).
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Old July 19 2014, 07:41 AM   #5
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Emperor Norton wrote: View Post
The Achernar subclass/class is something found in the expanded universe of Star Trek. It evolved out of the attempt to explain a kagillion Constitution classes in existence outside "Only 12 like it"; I'm not sure about anything prior to the Technical Manual, but said publication explained it by have the Constitution class really be the prefit/Pike era ship, and the TOS refit being the Bonhomme Richards subclass; Franz Joseph invented the concept of subclasses. So therefore you could cheat and say there were 12 Constitution class ships, but multiple more that were of the new design subclass and were never refit.

The Achernar class presents a problem because there seems to be absolutely no reason for it to even have been created. I can't find anything extensive about it anywhere, so it's not anything special. It doesn't seem to have been any fan or writer's pet project or anything. And all it looks like is an incorrectly drawn Constitution class taken too far as a concept. It seems like a vestigial organ. Or maybe it never had any purpose.

So could anyone chime in on this? On the whole, what this was supposed to be and why it exists confuses me.
Somehow, James Dixon decided that the Archernar-class was the USS Enterprise as depicted in Franz Joseph's USS Constitution Class Booklet of General Plans/Enterprise Blueprints, despite them very explicitly saying "Constitution-class". He wrote a deck-by-deck comparison in a text file called "Archernar vs. Bonhomme Richard class" (he'd decided that the Enterprise as seen throughout TAS was the former, and TOS the latter). Links HERE.
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Old July 19 2014, 07:45 AM   #6
Tiberius
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Gah, all the fanwanking...
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Old July 19 2014, 11:24 AM   #7
Maurice
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Isn't this technically fan art or something?
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Old July 19 2014, 12:30 PM   #8
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

I think the real question is: what does Matt Jefferies think?
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Old July 19 2014, 02:49 PM   #9
Nightowl1701
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Must not have bothered Jefferies that much. The thicker, curvier secondary hull of his Phase II Enterprise was modeled directly on Joseph's.
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Old July 20 2014, 02:45 PM   #10
Mytran
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Wasn't it the other way around? All of MJ's Enterprise sketches show the curveyer secondary hull, which presumably was FJ based his deck plans on. However, from a modellers POV straighter lines would definitely have been preferred.
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Old July 20 2014, 03:03 PM   #11
Emperor Norton
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Gah, all the fanwanking...
I personally don't like the idea of sub-classes and all that. It was clearly intended that there were 12 Constitution class ships; we can cheat and make it 13, but it was flat out stated and intended to be what it was. Fans and expanded universe sources constantly try to fudge that number and make it something greater. The fact is they probably should not have said "only 12 like it" or whatever it was in the episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday". The people involved with the show themselves even cheated that number by having a memo list of 14 ships, and constantly trying to shove more in (USS Essex and USS Eagle, for example). Despite the fact they shouldn't have said it, they did say it, and that's what is written in stone. It's a finite number, and isn't the sort of canon thing you can jiggle to make out to be something different (like the "United Earth" stuff).

That said, my interest personally is not anything in-universe, but simply as what it is in the real world and what the point was and all that.
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Old July 20 2014, 11:25 PM   #12
Ithekro
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Well there is also the unspoken "12 ships like it 'that are left'". It was "known" that at least two of the class had been destroyed already, even by the production staff when they reached that line. And then there was USS Defiant, which they hadn't counted on, since it was an even later episode.
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Old July 20 2014, 11:30 PM   #13
Emperor Norton
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Ithekro wrote: View Post
Well there is also the unspoken "12 ships like it 'that are left'". It was "known" that at least two of the class had been destroyed already, even by the production staff when they reached that line. And then there was USS Defiant, which they hadn't counted on, since it was an even later episode.
The Constellation was destroyed after that episode, and the Valiant, though they counted it as a Constitution class (well, "Starship class") was lost way in the past hence it wouldn't have been a Constitution class, so that didn't make sense. So really, per that line, all the ships are accounted for and have yet to make a United Earth shattering kaboom.
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Old July 21 2014, 12:29 AM   #14
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

USS Farragut was being counted as destroyed by that time.
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Old July 21 2014, 03:57 AM   #15
Emperor Norton
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Re: Achernar subclass: What Is It?

Ithekro wrote: View Post
USS Farragut was being counted as destroyed by that time.
I've seen the Farragut interpreted as destroyed in non-canon materials, but I do not believe it was stated as such in any production material.
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