Oberth Class – the missing link between Enterprise and Reliant

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    My line of reasoning is that we shouldn't take stuff like what was printed on study models seriously. You apparently think the exact opposite; that ILM had some kind of ulterior motive with all this when it's pretty clear (to me, anyway) that they didn't. But as I said before, you're welcome to believe whatever you want.
     
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Considering that we are discussing and scrutinizing such trivial details still after the past 30 years, I wouldn't be too surprised if we were to continue this for the next 30 years. :lol:

    @ Dukhat

    I don't see the need for "belief" (has such a dogmatic connotation ;)). Unless we get first hand accounts from the actual people involved there is plenty of room for speculation with the possibility that things may be different from what many of us assume these to be. Can we agree on that?

    Bob
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    There's a not-so-fine line being crossed here, between "Can we pretend that item X is part of a great continuum of facts, in which case we can further pretend that Starfleet did Y with Z? We can? Great!" and "See item X here? It indicates the author intent to have Starfleet do Y with Z!"...

    Sure, the Oberth can be an old Vulcan design from 2178 or so. But there's no actual evidence for such an intent - there's just material we can pretend to be evidence for such an outcome.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Actual intent is currently unknown and a subject of individual interpretation and preference.

    If we go by the registry and assume FJ's System is applicable. i.e. the higher the number the stronger the ship, then it's "17" for the Enterprise and her sister ships, "18" for the Miranda Class and "20" for the Excelsior Class (conclusion: Reliant is stronger than Enterprise).

    if we go by the registry and assume Matt Jefferies' System is still applicable than the first two digits indicate a chronology in ship building / design series.
    "17" in TOS and the first film, "18" (one in the starship status chart and) in the second movie, "20" in the third movie for the latest starship design (Excelsior Class).

    Bob
     
  5. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    Pretty much. It's just a theory that happens to fit the facts. ;)
     
  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Well, no, because we do have firsthand accounts from people who worked at ILM such as Bill George and Nilo Rodis, who pretty much state the opposite of what you believe. They were asked to design a ship that was newer, larger and sleeker than the TMP Enterprise, with the intention that it would become Kirk's new command. Therefore they knew they weren't designing ships for a pre-TOS prequel film. It's as simple as that. I'm sorry that that doesn't jibe with your theory about the Oberth, but it is what it is.

    Now with that said, sure, the Oberth could still be an older design. But as Timo stated above me, that doesn't seem to be the designers' intent, low registry number notwithstanding.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    All we learn from these interviews is part of the production process (at which point in time?).

    But we can definitely see quite a paradigm shift from the early Excelsior prototypes with their clone trooper / Flash Gordon / Rocketeer style warp nacelles and the TOS Romulan Bird of Prey reminiscent superstructures to the final design that's definitely more late 23rd Century than those early study models, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  8. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I guess it all comes down to intent vs. fitting it into the overall universe. Intent must of course be taken with a grain of salt, but can provide useful clues overall for fitting things into place.

    The TSFS script says she's a mid-size Federation science ship. She was performing scientific research, so that seems like a no-brainer. Plus, mid-size to what? The Enterprise? The Excelsior? Or something bigger we never saw? I expect the intent was "smaller than the Enterprise."

    The registry number, I admit, is less than conclusive. The overall pattern in Trek seems to be sequential registries. If NCC-1701 is launched in 2245 (assuming Capt. April existed), and NCC-2593 (Hathaway) by 2285, then surely NCC-638 would have been launched at least sometime before 2245... more than 10 years anyway. The problem with having there be some great reset in the early 23rd century means that registry numbers seem to get scarily high scarily fast. Plus, conjecturally (unless it was stated in dialog and I"m forgetting) we have the NCC-173 in service at least by 2167 to be lost the same year. And, not to throw the Kelvin into the mix, but the Kelvin is NCC-514 and in service by 2233 pre-temporal mumbo jumbo.

    So you have at least:

    0176 - 2176
    0514 - 2233*
    1701 - 2245*
    2593 - 2285

    You have, more or less, the registries jumping by 2400 in about 100 years, again assuming sequentiality. That would place NCC-1300 around 2235, and, NCC-600 circa 2200 in my admittedly rough estimation.

    Problem with the Kelvin, of course, is that we don't actually know when she was launched. Nor do we know whether the Oberth had been refit or not by the time we see the Grissom.

    At any rate, a 70-year-old Grissom isn't too far out of line with the mothballed 80-year-old Hathaway, especially if the Oberth's design is newer and/or simpler and easier to maintain.
     
  9. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I already answered that question. Any design process or study model building would have been done after the production told ILM what they wanted.
     
  10. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Location:
    In Diefenbaker's Nightmares
    Um, how so? The last of FJ's scout's had a registry of 625, so using 638 doesn't contradict anything in the Tech Manual.

    I think it's much more likely that they pulled a copy of a book off a shelf than it is they happened to remember some inconsequential background chatter from a movie five years prior. YMMV.

    That's why FJ's system is nice for the TOS-era... it doesn't have to be sequential. The Ptolemies, which were Constitution contemporaries, were already in the 3800 range. Now, we didn't get any of those registries on screen, but we do know from the background chatter mentioned above that 2120 was active by TMP. Which I guess doesn't prove anything, since that slides really well into your chart above! :lol:

    But agreed, all the latter-day shows seem to imply registries are sequential. But even if you assume sequential, we do have a bit of an "out" for why SF seemed to go through so few in its first 100 years, but through so many in its second. If we take TAS into account, then it would appear that freighters and transports get registries with a letter in them. So Huron's registry at F1913 would be a separate registry from whatever ship got 1913. So there would be an unknown number of registries with a preceding letter up until at least TOS, and then at some point prior to TNG, SF decided to drop the letter, and freighters, transports, etc. (even runabouts!) all get "regular" NCC numbers. This could at least somewhat account for the number "explosion".
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    This may not be the case because it's all too obvious that except for the Grissom the Excelsior design studies were rejected by Nimoy/Bennett/Winter because they did not get the design studies they wanted (and that's not the kind of stuff ILM would write home about).

    Either ILM thought they were doing models for a prequel (blame Nimoy/Bennett/Winter) or Nimoy/Bennett/Winter didn't like the apparent retro style ILM was aiming for (blame ILM for their lack of vision what the next gen of a Federation starship should look like).
    As it is obvious from the Rodis storyboard of the revised four-nacelled Excelsior viewed from the spacedock lounge (not the Enterprise!) the warp nacelles were apparently what the ST III producers found most fault with.

    Bob
     
  12. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    It looks to me more like there was a progression of designs that went from one extreme to the other (i.e. four-nacelles to two nacelles, flatter designs to designs with a neck separating the saucer and secondary hull, etc.), and Nimoy chose his favorite, not that he didn't want the other ones. Any anyway, what's the point of making five different study models that all look the same? And why would ILM care about people not knowing which study models Nimoy didn't choose?

    Plus, here's something else you haven't considered: There were several study models made for what eventually became the Grissom. Unfortunately we only saw the one they chose. For all we know, the others looked completely different, and as with the Excelsior, Nimoy simply chose the one he personally liked the best.

    And remember the Merchantman? Study models were made for that as well, one of which can actually be seen sitting in Spacedock (the barge/dumpster-looking thing under a ramp). It doesn't look anything like the final Merchantman design.

    And yet those same nacelles were just fine for the final Grissom design, which despite what you believe seems to have every indication of being contemporary to the Excelsior.

    I see that no matter what I say or what evidence I give, you're still in denial about this whole "ILM thought they were making a prequel" thing that only you believe because it fits with your personal theory about the age of the Oberth, so there's really nothing more for me to say on this subject, so I think I'll let it drop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    I think I'm allowed to wonder why Rodis and Carson started with these retro style study models of Excelsior (which look quite archaic to me) which obviously needed significant upgrades and improvements before these could qualify as late 23rd Century designs.
    Unless we have a straight answer to "Why?" there can't be possibly anything wrong to speculate on the matter, IMO. :)

    This was not pre-production work for Star Wars (where they first had to figure out what style they wanted to have to begin with) but for the third Star Trek film, and design aesthetics had already been established by the refit Enterprise and the Reliant. YMDV, obviously.

    Bob
     
  14. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Regarding the nacelles - I'm thinking maybe they vetoed the look because it looked too "simple" for Excelsior, but liked them enough to slap them on the Grissom. Also, we know that the four-nacelle approach was most likely not picked for Excelsior because the Excelsior looked like a new Enterprise, as opposed to a totally different approach.
     
  15. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    I'm not sure the how and the when, but I recall that at some point the intent was to have the Excelsior be renamed the new Enterprise at the end of STIV*. If that idea originated in STIII then I wouldn't be surprised if Nimoy stipulated that the Excelsior look similar enough to the Enterprise to be recognisable.

    Given that the early concepts show a more radical design, I'm willing to bet the idea came later, or was simply not stated in the initial design brief.

    * Indeed, if you look at the footage as shot, that could well have been the intent right up until post production. The crew's dialogue and reactions are just as consistent with seeing the Excelsior with the Ent's name painted on it as what we ended up with. All they needed to change was the model show. I'd be curious to know if that was indeed the case.
     
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    As cool as that would have been, I don't think that was the intent for the final scene. Scotty just called the Excelsior a "bucket of bolts." If the ship had been renamed the Enterprise, it still would have been a "bucket of bolts" to Scotty and the audience, albeit a bucket of bolts with a different name. I think by that point in the production, the "Excelsior is Kirk's next command" thing was dropped.

    Of course, the Enterprise-A ended up as a bucket of bolts in STV. Ironyyyyyyy!:lol:
     
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    ^Who knows, maybe the idea of the new Enterprise being a half finished mess in STV was a holdover from that idea? I would certainly make more sense IMO. I mean the Excelsior is still a prototype, with all the inherent teething problems that implies while you have to assume SF had gotten pretty good at building Connies by that point, no? Plus as we saw, a ship in desperate need of attention is Scotty's idea of paradise! :lol:

    Also, didn't some of the bridge display graphics for the new bridge mention transwarp drive somewhere? My memory is a little fuzzy.

    As an added bonus I do remember that neither the STIV or later versions of the E-A's plaque specified that it was a Connie. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Indeed, and I'd say that a ship "put together by monkeys" (Scotty, ST V) could probably be handled by "a chimpanzee and two trainees" (Scotty, ST III). :D

    But seriously, what the fxxx where Nimoy and Bennett thinking?

    First, they listen to Enterprise-hater Ken Ralston who pitched the idea to have the Enterprise destroyed in ST III. And in the very next movie they suddenly realize how stupid they were listening to this guy and resurrect the Enterprise.

    Did they consider Excelsior to be Kirk's next assignment? Unless they wanted to look stupid (see above) I can imagine they seriously thought about this. But I vividly remember the fans expressing their dislike with the Excelsior (with Bjo Trimble as a very prominent spokesperson) so Nimoy and Bennett (reluctantly?) apparently decided to appease the fans to sell movie tickets and avoid bad PR.

    In retrospect and the audio commentaries for ST III all the other ships - of course :rolleyes: - were no match for the Enterprise according to Nimoy and Bennett. I still need to listen how they explained the Enterprise's comeback at the end of ST IV...

    Bob

    @ Reverend

    I've been told in another thread that the Enterprise-A's bridge display illustrations, indicating "transwarp", were a deliberate alteration of Shane Johnson, author of the movie Enterprise guidebook.
     
  19. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    IIRC, Shane Johnson explains in his book, that he got the "transwarp" information from Mike Okuda, along with the display graphics. He also says, that these graphics were indeed intended to read "transwarp" onscreen and that they changed it for the movie only after he (SJ) had already included them in Mr. Scott´s Guide to the Enterprise. I have to read up on that to be sure, though.

    Mario
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I've read that the Enterprise filming model was apparently a bit cumbersome, and ILM wasn't fond of it. Since they built the Excelsior to their liking, they considered it much easier to film... and indeed, she was somewhat less of a beast. Perhaps one of them floated the suggestion to use that model instead for practical reasons?