A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Shaw, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    And now for something completely different.


    I've shared a number of my illustration and Photoshop projects, but I realized that I hadn't really shared any of my other (Trek related) works.

    One project I've been working on for a while now is a replica of the 33 inch Enterprise model used in the pilots and the series. The start of this was in a thread from nearly two years ago (which has been lost in time) in which I reverse engineered plans of this model (the 1.0 version of which can be found here). I'm sure that a lot of people thought that the plans themselves were the project, but those were actually just the plans of the real project.

    The real project was to build that model.

    I have been building Enterprise models since the early 1970s and no matter how good they turned out, they never matched my ideal for an Enterprise model, the model as seen on the table in Requiem for Methuselah. The reason for this is clear now, the shapes are significantly different than any of the kits put out (which was all aiming towards being more like the 11 foot model).

    My plans (when printed out at full size) gave me a good impression of the dimensions of the original. And also gave me reason to reconsider making a one-to-one replica. I live in a small apartment dominated by computers, I really don't have the room for a major project, and scratch building this model would qualify as such a project.

    So it seemed to me that I needed to make compromises. And the easiest would be to reduce the size to something where I would have access to more resources. The best option seemed to me to be to build it at two-thirds scale because there was already a ton of stuff design for the 22 inch Enterprise cutaway model (including nice decals).

    Having decided on a size, I printed out a new set of plans at two-thirds scale to the originals, and bought a couple 22 inch Enterprise kits. Why a couple? Always have spare parts when you aren't totally sure of what you are doing. :eek:

    Taking inventory of the parts, I then had to decide what would work and what would need replacing. The warp nacelles are pretty generic and could be used with modifications (extending the inner trench further back), the supports were okay (but not where they attached to the nacelles), and the secondary hull was okay (but was a bit short). The primary hull wouldn't work and the dorsal was also unworkable, both areas would need to be scratch built.

    So how does one scratch build the primary hull?

    I was rather limited because of space and resources, so to get started I built a mock-up out of foam core board so that I could get some sizing estimates with the rest of the model. I then started in on modifying the kit pieces... which turned out better than I had thought.

    Because I was stuck on the primary hull, and I had an almost full unused kit of the cutaway, I started in on putting those pieces together while I contemplated my next step. And because I didn't want this to be another Enterprise, I decided to name this model the Constellation. Here are some of the images of her under construction...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And as she stands currently...

    [​IMG]

    That is about as far as I've gone on that model, it hasn't changed much in about a year.

    Recently I got sick of waiting for an ideal solution to my primary hull problem and decided to try a technique I had used for smaller models in the past... paper mache pulp. I started filling in the stair step parts of the foam core board mock-up to see just how far I could get. This is what those pieces looked like when I started that process...

    [​IMG]

    After I got the basic shape I wanted I started using paper to help create a smooth surface...

    [​IMG]

    And this is what that looked like when I was nearly done with that aspect...


    Fortunately the bridge and B/C deck structure from Don's Light & Magic matched up with my plans pretty nicely. But at about this point I noticed a number of flaws in the primary hull... including a warping that meant that the edge wasn't flat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Because of this I've decided that this primary hull is most likely going to be a test article to try out additional ideas. And as such I created a new B/C deck structure from scratch.

    [​IMG]

    But actually I was able to fix the deformation by putting the whole primary hull in the microwave for 20 seconds and then applying pressure to flatten it out.

    The next major hurdle was attaching the warp nacelles. The original connection points were completely covered up as they were too high compared to the original model (and consequently were also too far apart). I had cut the tops of the supports to an angle that would help them meet the nacelles flush at the right spot, but creating the joining point was always going to be an issue.

    The solution was to have two pieces of wire (made from paper clips) coming out of the nacelles at the correct points to act as guides for the eventual connection. Of course for this to prove that it would work it would need to hold the nacelles on at about the right angles without being glued together (currently none of the major parts are glued together other than the dorsal to the primary hull... the model pretty much stands on it's own). This is a test fitting using a rubber band to hold the nacelles in place.

    [​IMG]

    It is hard to tell in that image, but the rubber band has the unfortunate effect of pulling the tops of the nacelles inwards a little (but that wasn't unexpected). Here is a shadow test to see how it is coming together...

    [​IMG]

    And a comparison with the original model I'm attempting to replicate.

    [​IMG]

    And some images of the model being hung...

    [​IMG]

    Again, other than that rubber band around the warp nacelles, the model is holding itself together based on how the pieces are fitting. In some of those images you can see the Constellation sitting below waiting to be finished.

    So that is where I'm at right now with this project. Though I'm also building a hand laser from The Cage which I might display with this model in the same case, so I might write a bit about it and show how it is coming along in this thread. :techman:
     
  2. USS Mariner

    USS Mariner Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Awwwwwwwwwesome.
     
  3. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    Amazing work as always Shaw. :)
     
  4. Birdog

    Birdog Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow. That's all I can say.
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Holy. Crap. Awesome! :D
     
  6. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    I wish I had a better camera for this because the fit of the pieces is turning out to be amazing (specially compared to the nightmare I thought I was stepping into :eek: ).

    I can disassemble and reassemble the parts quite easily now. I took a few minutes to work on the secondary hull, which required removing the primary hull, dorsal, nacelles and supports to have free access to that piece. When I finished up, moments later it was reassembled with the rubber band around the nacelles being the only support beyond how the pieces fit together.

    Still, I'm coming up on an important point... the permanent attachment of the primary hull and dorsal to the secondary hull. Right now if the warp nacelles aren't even with the plane of the primary hull, I just adjust it within the fit of the parts. But once these are glued together, there won't be any adjusting.

    So when I do this I'll be "eye-balling" the evenness of everything. But right now I feel pretty good about getting it right.

    The interesting thing about having a second (basically stock) model is that I can compare them to each other. Because of the nacelles the overall height of the Enterprise is about half an inch taller than the Constellation, it's primary hull edge is about a quarter inch higher and it is about half an inch longer over all.

    [​IMG]

    Even though aspects are turning out better than expected, I'm still debating what to do about the decals. I have a set of Enterprise decals that I got from JT Graphics, which look nice and match up with my plans (when printed at two-thirds scale) very nicely. But the thing is that the actual 33 inch model (in it's final configuration) had gold outlined numbers and letters.

    As I recall someone was selling such decals at one point, but I can't seem to find them now. And I'm sure that I could get some specially made, but I'm not sure that this is the build I want to spend that type of money on.


    At any rate, I mentioned earlier that I was also working on a hand laser that would most likely end up in the same display case, so here is my progress so far on that.

    This first image is my first steps and screenshots of the prop I'm attempting to replicate.

    [​IMG]

    I'm doing all this freehand rather than working from a set of plans (as it is more for enjoyment than anything else).

    This is after I had finished the basic form.

    [​IMG]

    And this is the start of detailing on the grip. When I finish both sides I'll do the base of the grip and finish up on the trigger.

    [​IMG]

    I'm still working out how I plan on doing the barrel at this point.
     
  7. Rattrap

    Rattrap Commander Red Shirt

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  8. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional. I say go with the standard decals.
     
  9. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for the information on that. I'll have to check that out. :techman:

    I had originally dismissed the outline too (when I saw images of the decals by themselves), but when I started comparing them to what I originally thought were raised letters and numbers I changed my mind. And the fact that one of the dots on U.S.S. ENTERPRISE was missing the outline made me believe that it was added on purpose.

    [​IMG]

    The question as to when it was added is an interesting one... it wasn't on the model when used for effects shots in the cage, it is hard to tell in the publicity photos (but I'm thinking not), but it might have been there by the end of the third season (when it made it's last on screen appearance.

    Still, I can live without it (and most likely will for at least this model).
     
  10. CaptainHawk1

    CaptainHawk1 Commodore

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    I don't believe so. I believe it's a case of "yellowing" which is common for all decals over time.

    BTW: if you have decals that have yellowed (say from that 15 year old Ertl kit you bought off of eBay), put them out in the sun for a couple of days and the yellowing should go away.
     
  11. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah I remember a big hullabaloo about this very point over on the Hobbytalk boards some years ago. The final consensus was that it was indeed decal yellowing (or silvering being picked up in a weird way by the lights/camera)

    Still though, I always liked the idea of gold trim. I'm incorporating it into my own sci-fi setting I'm writing for my buddies to play role playing games in. In my setting the gold trim is actually highly reflective to whatever they use for visual sensors so that registries can be seen even in no/low light situations. Sorta like the white lettering and striping on highway signs.

    --Alex
     
  12. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    For the purposes of this discussion, same difference.
     
  13. CaptainHawk1

    CaptainHawk1 Commodore

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    No offense, they aren't the same thing for the purpose of any discussion.

    Yellowing is caused by chemical process similar to oxidation. If you seal your decals you can limit (and even eliminate) yellowing.

    Silvering is what happens when decals are applied to a non-glossy surface and air bubbles get trapped in the uneven pits and peaks between the surface of the model and the carrier of the decal. Those tiny pockets of air and peaks cause the decal to appear to be silver when light is reflected off of them, hence the term "silvering."

    Unlike yellowing, silvering is never uniform. That's why I say that there is no way in hell that this is silvering. The fact is that the black has yellowed as well, but because black, you can't see it.

    So, to sum up silvering is an issue that results from a lack of preparation, yellowing is caused by a chemical reaction.

    Carry on.
     
  14. CaptainHawk1

    CaptainHawk1 Commodore

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    BTW, Shaw, beautiful work so far. I'm an OOB kit builder and other than modification or correction parts here and there I've never scratch-built anything like this so I awed by your skill. :bolian:
     
  15. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    "Same difference" as in it's a problem with the decals themselves and not something that was intentionally put there by the model makers.
     
  16. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks!

    it has been a while since I had attempted anything along these lines... specially as a model. In fact the last time I did something along these lines was back in 1991 when I made a model of the Excelsior from scratch. Back then there wasn't a kit, and all I had for reference was a few photos (less than I had used here), most of which were from a copy of Cinefex. From those images (using a Xerox copier and tracing paper) I took measurements and (like here) drew up plans for how I was going to build the model.

    I no longer have either copies of the plans or the model anymore. But fortunately I sold the original vellums of those plans to help pay for a quarter of school and someone has since put up a photo of a copy of them on the net.


    A couple years ago I took some time to practice a little with a simple shape using the same technique... the Phaser I. This was what I used as a general starting point.

    [​IMG]

    The bottom image is from my study back in 1994, behind me on the wall are some prop replicas I had created (TOS Phaser I & II, TNG Phaser and TNG Tricorder).

    This is how it looked following the initial build up (from foam core board and paper).

    [​IMG]

    This is additional detailing.

    [​IMG]

    First coat of paint.

    [​IMG]

    And a little more detailing.
    [​IMG]

    That is where I stopped on this as it was simply an exercise. I'm using the same techniques on both the Enterprise and the hand laser, only those are being built as more substantial pieces than the phaser was.

    The techniques can be used for most anything, I just happen to mainly use it for Star Trek stuff. :D
     
  17. CaptainHawk1

    CaptainHawk1 Commodore

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    Can't argue with that. Good point.

    Just wanted to clear the air on the difference. ;)

    But I do understand where you were going, now. :)
     
  18. CaptainHawk1

    CaptainHawk1 Commodore

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    Shaw, seriously, it's an honor to have you here. Keep showing off your work, it's great!
     
  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Say, Shaw, that's not bad at all, and seems very accurate given what resources you must have had available at the time. I'd have loved to have seen that model... :)
     
  20. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I didn't have much. As I recall these were just about all the references I had to work from at the time...

    [​IMG]

    And they were all printed images (from before I had computers that would let me dissect them for study) and measurements were made from Xerox copies or tracings (so as not to damage the originals). Of course I also didn't use computers for drawing them either, they were done using traditional pencil/paper and ink/vellum techniques.

    Strangely enough the final model looked a lot like the final study model of the Excelsior (but with better paint and hull graphics). Shortly after finishing my model the kit came out, and I built one of those into the USS Hood (and used fiber optics for lighting it).


    __________________​

    Maybe (while I'm hemming and hawing on which direction to go on this model) we could use this thread to discuss the history of the model I'm attempting to replicate. The original thread that was used two years ago while I was working on my plans is gone because the old site software deleted threads after a certain age.

    People still seem to wonder about this model and I was short on details in my plans as I was more concerned with the drawings (and the models geometry) than the history at the time. Since then I've been collecting together a lot more about the history (of both models), and can even point out which episodes featured the 33 inch model in all three seasons.

    So in the next few days I'll put together that information, along with some before and after diagrams of the model discussing the differences between how it looked in The Cage/WNMHGB and how it looked when altered to better match the series alterations made to the 11 foot model.

    To get started, here is a collection of images of the 33 inch model I put together a while back.


    And a review of the early production history...
    • Nov. 4, 1964 (Wednesday): Richard Datin agrees to build an approximate three foot long model based on an early set of plans which give a real world scale of 1:48 (if this had been the final drawings, this would have been the 540' version, but the proportions of this early drawing are actually significantly different from the final plans).
    • Nov. 7, 1964 (Saturday): The final construction plans are finished. These plans include the scale reference of FULL SIZE & 3" = 1'-0" TO LARGE MINIATURE. My reconstruction of those plans can be found here.
    • Nov. 8, 1964 (Sunday): Richard Datin receives the plans and starts building the full size 33 inch model out of kiln-dried sugar pine.
    • Nov. 15, 1964 (Sunday): A little more than a week later the 33 inch model is presented to Roddenberry for approval. I'd guess this is where the addition of exterior windows was requested (which were not part of the original design), and the model returns with Datin after this viewing of it.
    • Dec. 8, 1964 (Tuesday): Construction is started on the 11 foot model.
    • Dec. 14, 1964 (Monday): The 33 inch model is delivered to Roddenberry for final approval while The Cage was being filmed in Culver City (there are images of Hunter and Roddenberry examining the model on this date). This model is used for all effects shots in The Cage except the most important one (the zoom in on the bridge).
    • Dec. 24, 1964 (Thursday): Shooting of The Cage wraps, only one effects shot still outstanding (all other model shots use the 33 inch model).
    • Dec. 29, 1964 (Tuesday): The 11 foot model (built by Datin, Mel Keys and Vern Sion) was delivered to the Howard A. Anderson studio. This version is unpowered and the windows are painted on the surface of the model... and even then the model was designed to be shot from the right side only.
    • Jan. 23, 1965 (Saturday): After The Cage is already in the can and waiting for network approval of the new series, additional test shots of the 11 foot model are taken in it's original condition.
    • Jan. 30, 1965 (Saturday): Aspects of the ship's size (like it being 190,000 tons) were being distributed to the media in the descriptions of the new show.

    I'm still working on nailing down more info, but this is a good start.

    As for when the model was seen, I'm working on a shot list, but in generally it was seen in every episode of TOS (as it went swooshing by in the opening credits). It was used for all but the bridge zoom in shot in The Cage, it was used for the shot of the Enterprise leaving the barrier in WNMHGB. It was used for the shots of the Enterprise from below in Tomorrow is Yesterday (two different angles). Though it was generally retired by the second season (an AMT model of the Enterprise was constructed to take it's place at the same time as the Constellation was made), it did appear in By Any Other Name (exiting the barrier and zooming towards the Andromeda Galaxy) using shots of the model from WNMHGB and The Cage. In the third season it appeared in Is There In Truth No Beauty? (two speeding Enterprise shots before entering the barrier and one of the ship exiting the barrier), again using shots of the model from The Cage and WNMHGB. It's last appearance on screen (and the first using new footage since Tomorrow is Yesterday) was in Requiem for Methuselah when it played a reduced Enterprise sitting on a table top (and what I am aiming for my model to generally look like when finished).

    [​IMG]

    I think it is generally known that after the series ended it was given to Roddenberry (who displayed it on his desk throughout the 1970s), but was lost after it was loaned to someone in the early 1980s. The person (or persons) didn't return the model and Roddenberry claimed to have forgotten who it was that he loaned it to. It is still missing to this day.