Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fascinating. Now that visit sounds worthy of its own thread too. :D

    Well, maybe we can pretend Starbase 47 was actually bigger, and either the Enterprise was smaller than she appeared when sliding through the doors ahead of Excelsior, or that there was an unseen larger door. I do intend to more thoroughly study the TSFS scenes to glean what I can. But overall, I'm not super concerned with whether or not it fits in Spacedock, since Spacedock's exact size isn't locked down. Scaled against the Enterprises and other concrete sizes, I think i might do.

    It's been a while, but I think I shall drop Mr. Probert a line, especially given that comment. I knew of course of the dubious canonical status of Mr. Johnson's work, though there were of course elements I admired.

    Haha, it is rather convenient we don't see the Excelsior exit, isn't it?

    In other words, they realized they made her too big, and scaled her down? I suppose that's possible.

    I will try to work up such a comparison this evening unless someone beats me to it. I can tell you the bridge is not at all identical, with a simple silver 'cap' in TSFS, and the Excelsior's being narrower in TUC.

    You would think so, but they seem to line up too well. And, scaling from the saucer rim isn't too terribly far off from what I get in engineering - if anything, the saucer points to narrower decks and therefore more of 'em.

    Not a fan of the bunks either. I believe there was a deck level sign outside Tuvok's quarters, I want to say it said deck seven. I'll need to hunt screencaps to be sure.

    Thank you sir, that's most helpful!

    You lucky so-and-so. Moreso, we lucky so-and-sos. If you find occasion to ask him about it, I would be elated. :D

    Fascinating - I remember the study model bit but not the later part. Truly he is the Father of the Excelsior then. :rommie:

    Damn. Is it just me, or even allowing for perspective doesn't it seem like Excelsior is just going to be too wide?

    I'm pretty sure he did, indeed. Everything I've ever read about the original creation of the ship involves Mr. George.

    EDIT:

    I hunted down a few relevant script tidbits, from here.

    So there's a spot of authorial intent - Excelsior is bigger, along the lines of B-29 to Enterprise's B-17. This may be a more useful statement than we realize. Not only was the B-29 considerably larger, but it was considered fairly revolutionary for its time. Interestingly, the B-29 remained in service for a while after the war, but the B-17 was scrapped almost immediately after, as it was considered obsolete. Hrmmm...

    Might be worth doing a size difference percentage.

    I don't think this one is meant to represent size difference as much as set the scene, but it is amusing nonetheless:

    Another quote mentions that the Excelsior "looks faster than the Enterprise even standing still." Not very useful to our size discussion, but I'd say the modelmakers did achieve that look.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  2. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

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    Very interesting topic! The ST:III/IV era Excelsior always interested me. For the purposes of your project, I hope that you not let any perceived clearance issues with Space Dock doors affect your calculations.

    I have suspected that the shot of Enterprise clearing the space doors was framed in such a way to make the clearance look tighter than it really is in order to play up the drama of Scotty barely getting the doors in time. I don't take it that seriously as an objective measurement.

    A couple things in this shot can support larger space doors:

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tsfshd/tsfshd0631.jpg

    First, the space doors may not be completely open. In this shot, you can see that the edges of the doors still extrude from the frame. While it seems apparent that this is as far as the doors open, a possible in universe explanation is that Scotty only opened the doors JUST ENOUGH for the Enterprise to slip through, as a way to slow down Excelsior's pursuit. Excelsior would then have to wait a few more moments to have dock control fully open the doors to allow exit (or fly "sideways").

    Second, the shadow cast by the enterprise is below the door frame to the left. I would need to see the actual sequence again to be sure, but from the picture it looks like, contrary to the appearance, the Enterprise is now some distance from the doors, and appears larger because of the perspective. This could allow for the Excelsior to clear the doors.

    This is complicated by the fact that the enterprise model never actually passes through the doors -- all the elements had to be filmed separately and composited together. Given that this was made in 1984 on a tight budget, I am inclined to give filmmakers a "bye" on scaling when there are overlapping moving elements. For scaling purposes, the static shorts of the Excelsior and Enterprise carry more weight for me personally. YMMV of course.

    That being said, I am very interested to hear what Mr. Probert or Mr. George come back with.
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks very much. I believe I'm going to heed the advice of yourself and others and just not worry about Spacedock either way. :)

    Here is a fantastic collage someone put together - perhaps Bernd @ EAS, I honestly don't recall - that fabulously illustrates the differences between the pre-TUC Excelsior and the TUC modifications.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, if anything the TUC version seems to make the ship seem even bigger - there appear to be several rows of windows on both the bridge module and the revised aft section ahead of the shuttlebay, plus the bridge is too narrow to accommodate the bridge.

    This isn't exactly an item-by-item comparison of the features of the two ships, but this comparison I think also by Bernd puts them to rough scale via the 467 and 305 meters. Even here the edge of the saucers don't exactly match in thickness. The window pattern on the rim seems more spread out, and overall it seems like the Excelsior rim should be thicker to me.

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone have any opinions on the Damn Secondary Hull Chasm? As a kid I thought it was part of the transwarp machinery (imagining that the deflector took part in the transwarp funcionality.) As an adult, I want it to be a shuttlebay. Dammit.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So, you ignore ILM when they list a ship as too small for your liking, but you hear them exclusively when they say a ship is bigger than it should be. Interesting...
     
  5. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Man! This thread is making me want to watch TSFS again! That's a damn fine movie. In many ways, it's my favorite of the franchise.

    --Alex
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bill worked on concept models for sure, and even has a concept Bird of Prey model he did for the film.
     
  7. Lego Thrawn

    Lego Thrawn Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I wouldn't use the windows as a size standard, because it's been my thinking that the TMP-era windows, which were both round and also horizontally oriented, were more akin to true maritime porthole windows than the full-length vertical windows we saw in the TNG-era.
     
  8. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Maurice: great, but please show Bill George the ILM size chart and ask him specifically if he has any sketches or other documentation from that time. We don't need to see that here, but if you could review any hard sources, I'd appreciate it.
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    No, I trust my own findings. In the case of the 2009 Enterprise, the 725m ILM gives is the minimum required to fit the sets, shuttles, locations etc inside the ship as I proved. In the case of the 467m Excelsior (and 120m Grissom) those figures are too small to fit the surface details and interiors we've seen.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'd just like to point out that we don't exactly know whether it was there during the transwarp experiments yet. Since there are no stern views showing the hollow until ST6:TUC, we might speculate that the secondary hull was built "larger than it really need be" in order to accommodate machinery that was removed after the first few movies - either simply because the testing phase was over, or because the machinery had been revealed a failure.

    Series production of ships with this now-useless cavity might still commence; plenty of real-world examples of such exist, such as armored vehicles designed to take useless and indeed highly detrimental lead ballast merely because an early model was supposed to accommodate a wireless or an autoloader in the space!

    The photographic model features an interesting greeblie in there, but this is virtually never seen. NCC-2000 features a blue "forcefield" glow, but this is unique to that individual vessel. And then there are the differences introduced in the "Flashback" model and the CGI models. Plenty enough excuse to think that the class was constantly being tinkered with, and that engineers well saw the utility of a "useless" expansion space. ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Praetor

    Concerning the engineering hull chasm I'm obviously still a kid. ;)

    @ Workbee

    I think that single shot you linked should be "triangulated" with the pass-through shot and the inside-arrival shot. The latter one is interesting once you notice the obvious space between the starboard nacelle and the spacedoor frame.

    I wonder what or how many size proposals we might get for the spacedoors and whether the "size comparison chart" sized Excelsior would fit through.

    @ King Daniel

    Why do the surface details and interiors of the Grissom suggest a vessel larger than 120 meters?
    I still haven't made up my mind what those dome lights top and bottom could possibly be, other than reaction control thrusters of some kind.
    Assuming these were windows I'm afraid that would make the vessel's engineering pod look like the spacedock's smaller brother.
    And the only interior of Grissom we saw was the bridge - which looks to me as if they had moved the helm console closer to the wall consoles to suggest a much smaller bridge than Enterprise.

    Bob
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I guess my preconceptions about the "windows" on the model as well as the Tsiolkovsky interiors , which IIRC were redressed TNG corridors and crew quarters, seen in TNG: "The Naked Now"
     
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Okay, I see. I was approaching the Grissom from a strictly Kirk era point of view, you consider the (obvious) larger size suggested by many TNG episodes. Thanks.

    Bob
     
  14. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I am trying to keep an open mind about it all - and I have to say it makes more sense as an unused space than a shuttlebay at closer reexamination. And it is indeed rather convenient that we don't see it in TSFS - perhaps it was open but filled with some mystical transwarp tech? ;)

    I had previously rationalized that, as a shuttlebay, the reason the bay itself was suspended was two fold. Primarily, the ship's mass was on the verge of being too high, but warp geometry pushed for a curved lower hull - ergo it was left empty. This had the side benefit of enabling a staging area to be used within the ship but outside the bay for departing or arriving ships.

    However, closer re-examination of the pod within might suggest that it's not substantial enough to be a shuttlebay "gondola" - at best it's some kind of shuttlebay control room, and in that instance, there's no landing floor, just curved structure.

    I'm afraid it's going to not end up being a shuttlebay. :(

    Later tonight, I need to do some maths on the Excelsior to try to figure out what size she might be with my deck arrangement. I think 3.75 meters is fairly standard, ya? Sad thing is, I knew this shit once. :p
     
  15. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    It's not standard by any means. Rick Sternbach uses 12-13 feet, but Andrew Probert uses 10. Who knows what the Excelsior modelmakers may have used.

    I suggest tabling this thread until Maurice has talked to BG.
     
  16. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd be inclined to lean towards 12. Or 10 in the saucer, 12 in the secondary hull. :D

    But yeah, as you say, to a degree I'm inclined to let this one coast to see if Maurice gets to talk to Mr. George. Meanwhile I can re-read all the crap I wrote about her before and see if any of it still makes sense. :rommie:
     
  17. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    I always pitcured the secondary hull cavity as a "modular mission bay". An area that could take plug in modules depending on need.
     
  18. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

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    What is interesting is that even the Study Model by Bill George seems to have this chasm.
    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/b/be/Excelsior_Class_study_models_by_Bill_George.jpg

    The Blue Forcefield glow actually predated TUC (when alterations were made). Its appearance in TNG, particularly in Unnatural Selection reveals this blue glow:

    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/c/c7/Excelsior_port_of_Galaxy.jpg


    So it seems there is a definite story here. I am very curious what Bill George envisioned with this opening.

    Here is an early publicity shot shortly after completion of the model for TSFS:
    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha...celsior_studio_model_early_publicity_shot.jpg


    ETA: Looks like misremembered the episode of TNG. That Excelsior shot from TNG was actually from the episode The Child, not Unnatural Selection. However it seems to have been filmed by ILM as part of the initial library of footage made for Encounter at Farpoint, dating this sometime around 1987.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm leaning toward that direction increasingly. It may've not started out that way, but having it end up that way makes sense.

    Thanks, Workbee. I had forgotten entirely about the study model. Hopefully we can somehow find out from Mr. George about his intent.

    Not for nothin', but the saucer rim of the study model seems to have three decks.

    While we're talking about the secondary hull space, these images bear examination:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The first two are of the original filming model, I think during it's NX days, the third from its Lakota era (obviously) and the fourth from Jein's VGR version.

    So, I remembered wrong. There actually is something of a pod in there beyond the structure on the "ceiling"... just not exactly clearcut doors. You can even see it in the Jein model. The AMT model kit, I don't think is entirely accurate to the filming model, but it definitely has a similar pod. (I have an unassembled one I am tempted to take a photo of.)

    I also think it's interesting the Lakota's opening was squared off at the bottom, possibly implying a floor?

    Thoughts?

    By the way, I finally found the diagram of the interior of the refit Enterprise from which I derived the notion of different deck heights. I believe it is also Mr. Probert's work.

    [​IMG]

    I took a chunk of the secondary hull, at put it to the levels shown in the neck. They don't appear to me to be spaced quite the same.

    [​IMG]

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bill's approach is very different to Andy's. Bill's more a "does it look cool" guy than Andy, who's meticulous about functional detail.

    I run into Bill now and then, but he's frequently traveling so I'm not sure when I'll catch him. I saw him about 10 days ago, so I could run into him tomorrow or 2 months from now.