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Old December 24 2010, 11:09 AM   #1
Boris Skrbic
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The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

Before "The Defector," there was only one true shape of the Galaxy-class -- the six-foot model. Starting with "The Defector," we were shown for the first time a greebly, less elegant version commonly known as the four-footer. Was the ship suddenly "refit"? Unlikely, for several reasons:

1) Stock footage of the six-footer was freely used in later seasons.

2) The six-footer would make a brief appearance during the separation sequence in "The Best of Both Worlds" (a mysterious "instant-refit"?).

3) Was the Enterprise "refit" to its original shape once more in "Generations"? Extremely unlikely.

4) What about "These Are the Voyages," where the ship couldn't have been suddenly "refit" to the six-footer shape with more subtle greeblies inspired by the four-footer?

The Galaxy-class therefore presumably has one physical shape, which can vary in outward appearance for mysterious reasons. I don't have any canonical proof of what that shape is or why the variations occur, so I'm interested if anyone can come up with canon-based arguments (as opposed to artistic views -- in that regard, personally, I'm a six-footer purist, but I'm wondering which would be more consistent with the actual canon).
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Old December 24 2010, 12:13 PM   #2
The Inquisitor
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

I have noted slight variations myself. Depending on various angles the ship does appear to be ever so slightly different in dimensions. I'm not too up on the exact differences between the two studio models but I do know images on covers, posters, books and other artwork seems to vary.

I recieved a gift a couple if years back, an enterprise scale model with it's own base etc. Its a very good likeness but I was surprised at how 'squashed' the saucer section appears to be. From above I always presumed the saucer would be near curcular but this doesn't appear to be the case.

Try looking at some of the federation/dominion battle scenes in DS9. There are multiple angles used on the 'Galaxy wing' that might help you out.
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Old December 24 2010, 03:53 PM   #3
Boris Skrbic
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

I don't see how the Galaxy wings can help us answer this question, since they were represented by ILM's CG model from "Generations" converted into LightWave -- basically, the six-footer shape. The Venture, on the other hand, had been represented by the four-footer.

This Drex Files post contains images showing the four-footer and the six-footer, which are the main problem. Gabriel Koerner's Enterprise-D was essentially the six-footer shape with subtler detailing based on the four-footer.
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Old December 24 2010, 05:00 PM   #4
SchwEnt
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

i've always liked the 6 footer better, and disliked the 4 footer mainly for the more pronounced (and incorrect) greeblies.

but wow... over at drex and checking them out side-by-side, there are MAJOR differences, shapes and contours that don't really match up at all.
i never noticed it that much. wow.

4 footer sucks.
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Old December 24 2010, 05:14 PM   #5
Dukhat
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

Boris:

1. Don't forget the two-footer too, which also was subtly different than the six-footer.

2. I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer to your question, since differences aside, the four-foot and the six-foot models are supposed to represent the same ship. As you speculate, I don't think it was ever the intention of TPTB that the four-footer was some kind of refit; rather, just a more-detailed version of the same ship. I personally liked the four-footer better, since at the time I liked ships with more detail.
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Old December 24 2010, 05:48 PM   #6
Boris Skrbic
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

Dukhat wrote: View Post
Boris:

1. Don't forget the two-footer too, which also was subtly different than the six-footer.
Yes, but the two-footer is practically invisible and probably similar to the six-footer, so it isn't anywhere near the big two models as a serious contender for the correct shape. If we only had the six-footer and the two-footer, it wouldn't be hard to make a decision.

Dukhat wrote: View Post
2. I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer to your question, since differences aside, the four-foot and the six-foot models are supposed to represent the same ship. As you speculate, I don't think it was ever the intention of TPTB that the four-footer was some kind of refit; rather, just a more-detailed version of the same ship. I personally liked the four-footer better, since at the time I liked ships with more detail.
The casual viewer probably wasn't supposed to notice the change; he would've thought that the four-footer was the correct, detailed version, while the six-footer would've been the blurry, simplified model from earlier seasons. That illusion really breaks down with "Generations," where people can be seen walking on the smooth six-footer-based surface. I don't even know what that looks like in HD quality, since I've yet to buy the Blu-ray.

My best guess is that the six-footer is the correct shape, since the more pleasing design is more likely to be a deliberate choice by Starfleet, while the four-footer would be a visual distortion or faked documentary footage. However, that's only a hypothesis, so I'm curious if anyone can come up with interesting evidence for or against.
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Old December 24 2010, 06:53 PM   #7
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

FWIW, the Excelsior also changes quite radically in Voyager's "Flashback". The new model made for that episode has a much slimmer secondary hull and glowing warp nacelles.
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Old December 24 2010, 07:18 PM   #8
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

^ Was that the same for the Lakota?

The Inquisitor, I had a similar problem with the E-E. After seeing First Contact, I swore the saucer was circular. I thought the AMT kit was completely screwed up.

Strange how different something can look at certain angles.
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Old December 24 2010, 08:16 PM   #9
Boris Skrbic
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

The Excelsior is easy to solve and therefore not really relevant to this discussion, because the shape in "Flashback" conflicts with that in The Undiscovered Country. It would be difficult to argue that Greg Jein's model should take precedence, especially since certain aspects of the TUC shape can also be seen in The Search for Spock. The four-footer vs. six-footer question isn't as easy.
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Old December 24 2010, 08:29 PM   #10
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

The six-footer is awesome-looking. The four-footer is fugly-looking.
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Old December 26 2010, 09:26 AM   #11
ngc7293
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

I definitely like the detail of the 4 but you are not going to find an in-universe answer for why they look different. Sure someone can make something up, but is that what you are really looking for, better BS than you can think of?
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Old December 26 2010, 09:53 AM   #12
starfox
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

Ar-Pharazon wrote: View Post
^ Was that the same for the Lakota?
The Lakota model was one and the same as the Enterprise-B model and the original Excelsior model (in fact, the secondary hull fairings were added specifically so they could be damaged w/o damaging the Excelsior's hull beneath it).
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Old December 26 2010, 07:55 PM   #13
Boris Skrbic
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

ngc7293 wrote: View Post
I definitely like the detail of the 4 but you are not going to find an in-universe answer for why they look different. Sure someone can make something up, but is that what you are really looking for, better BS than you can think of?
Even if we don't find a complete in-universe answer, we can at least say that a refit is highly unlikely, which forces us to choose a particular shape throughout. That's progress. An aesthetic argument is also valid, since the more elegant shape of the six-footer is less likely to be accidental. It's only BS when the discussion is filled with "works for me," "in my book," "sound good to me" or when a hypothesis has absolutely no relation to what can be observed onscreen, making it mere technobabble.
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Old December 26 2010, 08:26 PM   #14
FalTorPan
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

Boris wrote: View Post
ngc7293 wrote: View Post
I definitely like the detail of the 4 but you are not going to find an in-universe answer for why they look different. Sure someone can make something up, but is that what you are really looking for, better BS than you can think of?
Even if we don't find a complete in-universe answer, we can at least say that a refit is highly unlikely, which forces us to choose a particular shape throughout. That's progress. An aesthetic argument is also valid, since the more elegant shape of the six-footer is less likely to be accidental. It's only BS when the discussion is filled with "works for me," "in my book," "sound good to me" or when a hypothesis has absolutely no relation to what can be observed onscreen, making it mere technobabble.
Why are we forced to choose anything? Whether the illusion of the Enterprise is created using a six-foot-long miniature, a four-foot-long miniature, a two-foot-long miniature, CGI, or a crayon drawing on typing paper, the "real" Enterprise exists only in our imaginations.
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Old December 26 2010, 09:05 PM   #15
Boris Skrbic
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Re: The correct shape of the Galaxy-class

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Why are we forced to choose anything? Whether the illusion of the Enterprise is created using a six-foot-long miniature, a four-foot-long miniature, a two-foot-long miniature, CGI, or a crayon drawing on typing paper, the "real" Enterprise exists only in our imaginations.
But obviously that doesn't work in practice, otherwise people could draw ship blueprints without a shred of research and they would all be acceptable. A 30-foot Galileo with painstakingly reproduced interior details would be just as acceptable as a 20-foot Galileo which totally ignores the interior in favor of the exterior.

After all, why waste time on researching miniature proportions or fitting the interiors when one could merely use personal imagination? Who cares if Person X said that ship Y has Z decks in Episode N, if someone's personal imagination is enough to answer that question?

It is precisely by sticking to the source of said imagination, the onscreen evidence, that one is able to develop a common ground which would be acceptable to most fans.
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