Franz Joseph Blueprints Revisited

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Making faithful deck plans of the Enterprise can be a challenge because there are different ways to interpret the available information. Over the years I've seen a number of projects tackling this (many right in the Arts forum here) and each one of them made sense even while interpreting things differently. About the only common denominators were the location of the bridge and the hangar deck. Everything else was pretty much up for grabs. :lol:

    I gotta say the 3D versions are particularly fascinating. They really make the ship come alive.
     
  2. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    You should'a seen what we threw out here at work when the boss decided "okay, we're a computer graphics department now. Throw out all the old manual stuff." Tons of Alvin lettering templates in wooden cases; two huge boxes of Chartpak tape (I kept that!); rubylith; large sheets of tinted adhesive film; colored gels... it was painful.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Funny thing is I still sketch out my ideas by hand rather than try goofing around on the computer. I sketch perspective views to get a feel of the design. Then I sketch out the orthographic views in rough which I then scan into the computer and work off those. Somehow I feel sketching and drawing by hand gives me a more tangible feel for what I'm thinking of as a three dimensional object. I'm also fortunate that I can easily see in 3D in my imagination. I can "see" the things not in view no matter what the angle of view I'm drawing the object.
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    A lot of man hours and trial and error thus far since I also aim to present a believable turbo shaft system and - possibly the biggest obstacle - want the result to look accurate and good.

    As resources (I read it as references) I use the visual information from TOS (corridor angles) and the dialogue. Basically it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

    Where I agree with Warped9 is that it is quite a challenge, I'm not so sure about "different ways to interpret the available information."
    In "Mudd's Women" and "The Enemy Within" we saw Kirk's (provisional) quarters on (Engineering) Deck 12, so that's where they are.

    If one intends to be accurate, I believe it's inevitable to show all the locations from the series, first, and ideally in an arrangement that can be believable. Whatever is left / had not been shown in the series is "up for grabs".

    Bob
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Bob, I don't really have a problem with any of what you're saying there.

    However, my position is outlined in my post #31 above.

    Ascribing the flaws in FJ's work to a lack of passion is more than totally unsupported, it's barking up the wrong tree. If fans surpass FJ's work, there's basically only one reason and it has nothing to do with passion. The kind of passion you're evidently talking about would have demanded that publication of the book be delayed, perhaps to the point of being delayed indefinitely.
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    As one of those guys working on and off on a virtual TOS Enterprise I agree with that sentiment. There are many ways to interpret what we see on-screen because we all have our own internal filters and even though I don't always agree with other interpretations I do respect them for going out and building or drawing the Enterprise :)
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's lack of passion for Star Trek (and a higher degree of accuracy) is self-evident in the interviews FalTorPan has kindly archived and linked for us. I can't and won't try to find fault with this, because he clearly said that he wasn't a Star Trek fan but did prefer "Lost in Space". So whatever he did you take or leave it.

    However, the way I remember the 1970's and its WW II publications it had been the golden age of cutaways (cutaway lines in red) and blueprints and I consumed these with great enthusiasm.

    But even if you regard his Enterprise deck plans as a free interpretation with artistic license, especially the engineering hull is a very poor presentation that reveals little or no effort to incorporate a credible infrastructure, IMHO.

    The fact that the stem of the main sensor deflector practically ends nowhere but just above a swimming pool says a lot. I think he ran out of ideas what to put there and resorted to more crew quarters ("minimal quarters" for the stardrive crew according to The Making of Star Trek that otherwise served as his guide what to illustrate), another dance floor, another gymnasium, a rather large bowling alley and so on with plenty of redundant turbo shafts running through the hull.

    So I feel there's also been a tremendous amount of lack of passion in that department.
    Of course, the one good thing that came out of it is the inspiration to do better. But to do that, I don't think you really need years of research or CGI talents. ;)

    Bob
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    That's key I think in the significance of FJ's efforts. It encouraged a lot of fans to emulate him and even go one (or two) better.

    Ever since we have gotten ever better schematics of the Enterprise and other ships and props and interiors whether they be straightforward 2D line drawings or coloured illustrations or 3D models. The Technical Manual inspired endless speculation and efforts by fans to fill in the blanks regarding Starfleet infrastructure, fleet deployments and other classes of ships. None of it is canon, but a lot of it is creative, interesting, inspiring and a lot of fun. Masao's Starfleet Museum website is a good example and there are many others. For me Masao's work feels and looks more authentic and consistent with TOS' continuity than what was actually seen onscreen particularly in ENT. I've seen quite a few fan designs over the years that I felt blew away what was actually done onscreen. Yeah, some of it is crude, but it's still imaginative and ever better tools have allowed fans to get results just as good as the pros and sometimes better (probably because fans usually don't have a deadline :lol: ).
     
  9. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Part of what fascinates me about the TOS Enterprise is that it, unlike any other Star Trek spacecraft, continues to capture the imagination of so many fans. So many people want to know what it would be like to walk the decks of the "real" ship.

    The original series was vague and inconsistent about many details of the Enterprise. It amazes me how many different and yet similarly valid interior layouts can be made of the ship.

    I love Franz Joseph's Enterprise blueprints. In my mind they're not the indisputably definitive rendition of the Big "E." In my mind there can be no indisputably definitive rendition...and that's part of the fun!

    Part of what I like about the FJprise is that it has no "credible infrastructure." Consider the basic configuration of the ship -- an enormous disc and huge twin engine pods attached to a lower hull by thin struts. The technology just to keep such a structure intact must be magical by our standards. The FJprise's interior is similarly magical.

    The FJprise also has...bathrooms, and in more places than in the crew cabins. The visicoms, inspired by the holodeck-like description in The Making of Star Trek as well as by real-world submarines, are cool as well, as are the section isolation doors, expanded medical, science, security and engineering areas, the turbolft repair area, and the duplicated bridges and engine room areas in both hulls. The FJprise is indeed two ships in one.

    The FJprise was my first glimpse at what a "real" starship might look like -- Trek or otherwise. The FJprise isn't as "faithful" to the trivial minutiae of the TV show as it could have been, but it fueled my imagination more than any other set of Trek blueprints ever has. To my mind only the Whitefire Enterprise-D blueprints and the Rupprecht/Rosenzweig Avenger plans come close.
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Yes! You could look at the FJ plans as a kid and imagine walking around in the ship. It was like steroids for your imagination. Because it was so detailed, you could have an almost-interactive experience with the deck plans. Sci-fi fans had never had that before.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    And that is one of the significance s of FJ's work, that he brought a level detail and professionalism to material previously dismissed as unworthy of such.
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Interested parties should check out havoc92's thread over in Fan Art: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=112779.

    He intends to do "a top to bottom, deck by deck build of the Enterprise using the Franz Joseph prints primarily."

    He's still in only the first few decks of the saucer, but it looks intriguing so far.
     
  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for flagging that thread. It's stupendous! :)
     
  14. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    I was looking for something in my files and came across a 1976 issue of Star Trektennial News (written and edited by Susan Sackett) that has an interview of Matt Jefferies in it. I thought the below portion of the interview is coincidentally relevant to this thread. FYI.


    "WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FRANZ JOSEPH'S BLUEPRINTS OF THE ENTERPRISE?

    The set of Blueprints that I saw two years ago...he's a marvelous draftsman. He did a hell of a job of drafting, and that's what the heck it is. He took what we had and added to it based on what we had...he merely expanded...he invented like mad. As much as I hate to admit it, I got thoroughly peeved over the whole thing, because he did take the design work that somebody else had done and built on it. We're talking about another generation of fans, and they pick this thing up and all of a sudden it says STAR TREK and it's gospel. And it isn't, because what didn't actually come out of what we did is a pure fabrication that's happened since then. I got narrow-minded and thoroughly peeved over the fact that there was no mention of what he used as a base to build upon."
     
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for posting that. I'd sure like to read the whole interview. Is it online somewhere, or could you scan it for us?

    I should have figured that Matt Jeffries would feel ripped off by Franz Joseph building on Jeffries work, on both the interior set designs and the ship exterior.

    It's not just a matter of acknowledgement; Franz Joseph made a fortune on his two STAR TREK best sellers and obviously Jeffries got nothing.

    I read somewhere that the Roddenberry's also became indignant that FJ made so much money on the project-- after being given permission for free to go ahead with it. Gene had gotten half of Alexander Courage's royalties for the STAR TREK theme and half of Stephen Whitfield's royalties for THE MAKING OF STAR TREK, but the blueprints were a big missed opportunity for him and it stung.

    The shoe was on the other foot a little later, when Michael McMaster started selling his Enterprise Bridge and Klingon Battlecruiser blueprints. McMaster sent Joseph the Klingon plans expecting praise, but Joseph was extremely annoyed that McMaster had largely transplanted FJ's Enterprise floorplan designs into the shape of the Klingon ship. So FJ was like, that kid ripped me off! :lol:
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. This is quite suggestive.

    Odd that Gene got no money from the blueprints, though. His name is on them, after all, although not his signature. I assume that the abbreviation "APP'D: GENE RODDENBERRY" on sheet one means "approved by Gene Roddenberry". That approval is dated December 31, 1973, with the flattery "Chief of Design".

    So, since Gene actually signed the TMP blueprints, that time as "Chief of Staff", I wonder if that time he got his royalties.
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    It goes back to the fact that nothing like this had ever been done before. If I recall, Gene and Majel thought the blueprints were amazing (the quote was something like, "We didn't know this kind of thing was even possible.") but they didn't think there was any commercial value to it.

    They thought FJ was going to sell just a few copies at conventions and by mail order, the way Lincoln Enterprises had made only modest money. Since the deck plans had obviously taken a lot of work, probably for no reward, Roddenberry gave FJ publishing permission and "design approval" for free. And then FJ literally got rich on the blueprints and Technical Manual.
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. Obviously someone suspected it would make money, though, because the first I knew about it was when I saw it on the shelf in the bookstore. Naturally, I didn't walk out of the store without it!
     
  19. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I first saw it in a library as a kid, after it had been out a few years. And remember, these are the days before VCRs. Anything that transports you into the Trek universe, like this, or those awesome fotonovels, were a big deal, just as Starlog magazine was a big deal. You had to wait for reruns. You couldn't just dial in any episode on demand like today or come to a forum like this and get every nerd question answered. That really set the stage for ancillary material like this to be popular.
     
  20. Captain Rob

    Captain Rob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can't believe for one second that Paramount Pictures. Which has been historically notorious for both "creative accounting" and extreme penny pinching on their properties. Didn't wring every last possible cent out of anything that had "Star Trek' on it. They owned and still own the copyrights to everything "Star Trek". Paramount puts serial numbers on their one-sheets (posters) to track them if anyone tries to sell one. Back when I managed theatres, I knew of some that were sued by Paramount because a couple of posters ended up in a comic book store.