Question for Rick Sternbach about the Oberth class

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Dukhat, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hello, Mr. Sternbach,

    I realize that it's been twenty years since the TNG episode "The Naked Now" was broadcast, so I'll understand if your memory about it is a bit cloudy (if you even answer my post at all), but I'll still give it a shot.

    In the episode, there is a science vessel called the Tsiolkovsky. The dedication plaque for the ship was made by Mike Okuda; it stated the ship was "Oberth class," and the launch date was almost right before the Enterprise-D was launched. However, the Grissom model from ST:III was used to represent the ship, obviously as a cost cutting measure (I'm well aware of how the producers never liked to have new models built and preferred re-using old models & stock footage).

    My question is this: Was the "Oberth Class" actually supposed to be a new design, instead of being forever linked to the Grissom model? The evidence seems to say yes: The Tsiolkovsky's launch date, its high registry number, the interior hallways matching that of the Enterprise-D, the fact that the Grissom model wasn't even re-labeled from its use in the movie, and the fact that in several other instances ("The Pegasus" notable among them), there is precedence for using the old Grissom model when the ship in question was supposed to be something else.

    So was the Oberth class supposed to be new, and did you perhaps draw up some preliminary sketches of what it was supposed to look like (like you did for the Pegasus)?

    Thanks again for your time, Mr. Sternbach.
     
  2. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    I'm curious about this as well.

    Though I absolutely have no problem no problem with the ship as depicted, the hullform was based on the Grissom but it was a new build. Nothing wrong with new builds of old designs. If it works why change it. :)

    That said, the NOVA was a neat design as well. ;)
     
  3. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Going from memory, since this does seem to come up, there was supposed to be a 'scout' ship made for TNG, but it was nixed pretty early on in favor of model reuse.

    Rick's never posted any art for it, though, so it likely didn't get to that stage before someone said "No one will notice if we use the Grissom". :(
     
  4. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Probert recently mentioned that, in a few early episodes, where the vessel-of-the-week would only have apparently in one or two distant shots, he wanted to use paintings of new ships instead of re-using models -- but he was told (by Berman?) that "we don't use paintings for ships" on this show.

    But since the Tsiolkovsky appeared in so many shots, they would've had to use a model, and I'm getting that, since the Excelsior had already appeared in the previous episode, the producers had long planned on using the film-era models as a cost-saving measure.

    In all of TNG, we only saw two "all-new" Starfleet ship classes (not counting all those MIranda variants): the Constellation and Ambassador classes. So it seems the money for new Starfleet vessels was always tight (not to mention all the alien-of-the-week recycled/repainted vessels).

    As for the Tsiolkovsky's corridors looking like the E-D's, they actually look more like the refit E's corridors... or the E-A's corridors ;)
     
  5. bigguy

    bigguy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A side note, but where can we find Sternbachs drawing of the proposed Pegasus?
     
  6. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Pegasus MSD had a different silhouette than the Oberth class, presumably based on Sternbach's initial designs.
     
  7. Rick Sternbach

    Rick Sternbach Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's an oldie, for sure. I don't recall if a new model was supposed to be designed; I don't have any sketches for one. The re-use factor on TNG/DS9/Voy was pretty high, and sometimes we didn't get the word about what was finally required until after the principal ship scenes were shot, so there were bound to be mismatches along the way. Sometimes we got to make new stuff, sometimes we didn't.

    Rick
    www.spacemodelsystems.com
     
  8. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Mr. Sternbach,

    Thanks for the reply. I'm a great admirer of the work you and Michael Okuda have done for Star Trek. My girlfriend even has a copy of the old "Spaceflight Chronology" book!

    I asked the question because I'm trying to put together an essay (hopefully on the web) of the Starfleet ship models used (or re-used) in TNG/DS9/VOY, basically in an effort to show a "this is what we wanted vs. what we actually got" kind of thing. Maybe when (or if) TNG is ever remastered like TOS, we can finally get rid of those old movie models/stock footage and show some newer designs...
     
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Eh...not quite. You're forgetting about the three variants of the Nebula class, the Phoenix from "The Wounded", the standard Nebula seen everywhere else and the lesser-known Melbourne variant on Riker's desk in "Future Imperfect".

    Then, we have all those new ships seen at Wolf 359 from "Best of Both Worlds":
    And lest we forget the Sydney class from "Relics" and the Olympic class from the final episode.

    And yes, we do have all the plethora of Miranda variants:
    I had originally included the "Saratoga", but forgot that one wasn't introduced until the beginning of DS9.

    Plus the myriad of Starfleet space stations, shuttles and other small craft designs we've seen during TNG's 7-year run. I'd say they had quite a hefty collection saved up by the end.
     
  10. Masao

    Masao Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This Jim Martin sketch was identified in an issue of Star Trek magazine as an early design for a possible Voyager.
    [​IMG]
    If I remember correctly, there were rumors that a "Ambassador-style Oberth had been designed but not built for Pegasus. So, could this design be for a new Pegasus rather than for Voyager?
     
  11. Rick Sternbach

    Rick Sternbach Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, this was definitely a Jim Martin sketch for Voyager. Richard James, our production designer, had artists other than myself contribute designs for the exterior of the ship and this was one of them. As far as the Pegasus was concerned, yes, there were a few sketches of a ship done, but to make it easy on the VFX folks it was supposed to be a kitbash of sorts from either a Nebula or an Ambassador (I don't have the sketches handy, so I can't recall exactly). For whatever reason, probably time/money, the Oberth miniature or a copy served as the Pegasus. As far as the Tsiolkovsky was concerned (mentioned earlier), I still don't believe that there was to be another new ship model designed, but that's only from my perspective in the art department.

    Rick
    www.spacemodelsystems.com
     
  12. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have the concept sketch of Mr. Sternbach's Pegasus design on one of my computers. I'll try to find it & post it. Basically, it was an Ambassador saucer & engineering hull (without the neck), with Ambassador nacelles on pylons attached to the underside of the saucer.
     
  13. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Drat -- the Nebula class! I forgot a major one, didn't I? :brickwall:

    A lot of those are kit-bashes and use highlighters and such for parts -- they are not "all new" and are not suitable as anything other than trashed vessels.

    One from the past, one the future, and both from "Very Special Episodes" of TNG... But, yes, I suppose we arguably should count them too.
     
  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  15. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Interesting! Another Mirand-ized Ambassador variant. Very cool. Thanks for finding and posting that! :bolian:
     
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No problem. I just wish I had a larger pic of it, but that was the largest size eBay showed (it was originally sold on eBay; that's how I found the pic). If Rick has some other diagrams gathering dust in his house somewhere, perhaps he might be persuaded to show them...:)
     
  17. Rick Sternbach

    Rick Sternbach Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think that was pretty much it, a diagram that was to be shot as a hi-con photoneg and colored up with gels and such. Can't spot it on any of the Pegasus screencaps, so I'm pretty sure we didn't get to use it. It didn't happen often over 14 years, but when VFX changed something just before filming, we either had to scramble to come up with something new, or simply ditch something we had prepared. That's showbiz.

    Rick
    www.spacemodelsystems.com
     
  18. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Rick,

    The only display that even smacks of an MSD is the one in this screencap:

    http://www.box.net/files#0:f:0:1:f_132786023

    However, I seriously doubt that this is really an MSD. If it was, the saucer would be as flat as a pancake and each nacelle would be stacked on top of the other on the dorsal and ventral. Not to mention that having the nacelle pylons sticking out of the end of the ship is just...wrong. ;)
     
  19. Starship Freak

    Starship Freak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Dukhat, I cant see the pic without registering, can you upload it elsewhere?
     
  20. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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