Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

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

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ Beautiful side-by-side-comparison! Just made me realize how much more practical I think the Excelsior stern hangar is for storing shuttlecraft (they were never that tall).

    And the circular structure ahead of it reminds me more than ever of the botanical section of the TMP Enterprise and most definitely of the Earth orbital complex in TMP. ;)

    Bob
     
  2. Egger

    Egger Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Good comparison, Praetor. One thing though:
    The alignment of the window rows on this Excelsior model's secondary hull are not quite right. Look at this:

    http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/6/6a/USS_Excelsior_in_Spacedock.jpg

    The number of window rows there is the same, but there is a space between the 2. from the top and the 3. that is as high as between the 3. and the 5. row. So there should be another deck between them, meaning the secondary hull has one more deck than on the model you used.

    There is also a higher space between the lowermost window row and the darker part of the hull.
     
  3. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    A few days late maybe, but if I could add my thoughts to the mix:
    The size of the TMP Enterprise is of course fairly well tied down by the existence of the docking ports, regular window placement, the interior of the shuttlebay and so forth. It can be expanded a little but Bllsdwlf's 1164' seems close to the limit.

    The TOS Enterprise on the other hand is under far less restrictions. The window levels are irregular, there are no ports or other scaled features on the hull and we see far less of the ship interacting with normal, human scaled objects (shuttlecrafts, workbees etc). The Flight Deck needs to fit in the aft section but we have no idea how long it is (the model was scaled to around 122' I think but we only ever saw it from one angle) or how if its height is the height of that part of the ship. The bridge turbolift is assumed to line up with the "nub" but this is never confirmed on the show. And a larger ship size would reduce the need to submerge the bridge into Deck 2. It might even allow the bridge ... to face forward! ;)

    I do think a larger TOS Enterprise works well. I also think we should consider the option that the TOS-E is actually LARGER than its TMP successor. The TMP-E would then be a sleeker, more modernised cruiser that has been stripped of its bulky outdated machinery; faster, lighter and stronger than before. Rather than welding extra bits on to expand the saucer's diameter and curve of the secondary hull, the change in shape is rather a result of parts of the hull having been removed. By reshaping what is already there, a lot more of the original Enterprise can remain intact as well (extensive redecorating not withstanding).

    The interior sets seem to bear out this smaller size - the radius of the curved corridor is tighter and makes more efficient use of space with various compartments lining the walls throughout.

    I appreciate that it flies in face of 25 years of doctrine, not to mention the designer's intent. However, does this theory seem viable?
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I know, I'm mean, because I will always have to use this screencap from "The Cage": http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x00hd/thecagehd0032.jpg

    Okay, it obviously doesn't have an accurate match of live footage and VFX model (something they could or should have fixed for TOS-R) but the general idea of size is conveyed, IMHO.

    The problematic item here (and on the stern of the bridge with the regular series VFX model) is the shape of the turbo lift housing on the back.

    Even if we were to assume a bigger ship and a bigger bridge dome there'd be no way that a standby turbo lift car in that housing could just move forward to replenish the bridge with a new turbo lift car. The "bottleneck" passage would be just too narrow. :(

    Bob
     
  5. Egger

    Egger Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hmm ... a TOS Constitution class upscaled to 327m and a TMP version with the official 305m. Or maybe we can scale them so that their saucers are of the same diameter. I think that could be feasible. I like your idea of cutting parts of the hull away and streamlining the ship. Although the TOS ship needs to be upscaled to around 327m to solve certain problems with it (see this thread: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=89810), and for the saucers to be of the same diameter the TMP version has to be upscaled a bit too.


    A few notes to Mytran's post:

    (Slightly) irregular window levels don't speak for a bigger ship either. Especially in the engineering hull, where a few higher than normal decks wouldn't be that illogical. Only really huge irregularities would speak for a much bigger ship and I don't see them on the Constitution class.
    Regarding the bridge, why should it not be partly submerged into deck 2? What speaks against it? The bridge of the Excelsior also has to be submerged. It's just not really a problem. And I think more than one person has already shown that with just a little bit of upscaling, the bridge might not need to be submerged at all (like Cary L. Brown in the thread I posted a link to above).
    Regarding the shuttlebay, we saw the shuttlebay door from the inside and outside, and we saw details inside the shuttlebay we could scale it to. The results wouldn't be absolute because we don't know the EXACT size of those details (I think there are different figures for the TOS shuttle for example), but it gives us a reasonable range.
     
  6. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Regarding The Cage zoom-in FX, I am wary of treating that too literally. It gives a general indication of the ship size but little more. I'm not even convinced it denotes a transparent ceiling, since WNMHGB shows the bridge ceiling from the inside and it is decidedly (and much more sensibly) solid.

    And while this next comment may fall into the category of being overly picky, I should also point out that the turbolift and nub do NOT line up, either in the original or updated FX.

    As for the turbolifts shuffling around behind the bridge - well it depends on how much you upscale the ship of course, but I don't see why the nub has to be the turbolift housing. Maybe it's an airlock, similar to the TMP docking port? One poster here (Captain Robert April) proposed that it could be a "subspace antenna" instead. Whatever the nub might be, the turboshaft itself would be fully within the bridge dome and need not protude outwards.

    As for a partially submerged bridge I don't have a problem with it as such, I merely mentioned it as an advantage of a larger ship. As Robert_Comsol observed in his own thread, having the saucer's Deck 2 be mostly taken up with the bridge infrastructure makes a tidy solution for Spock's line in The Enterprise Incident.

    The issue with the windows was just to illustrate how the deck heights had not been nailed down in the same way as the TMP-E. Differing heights offers some flexibility in interpretation, that is all.

    I don't think I was very clear about what I meant with the shuttlebay. It is true that we saw the outside of the doors. It is true that we saw the doors from the inside, but we don't know how much of the doors we actually saw. In other words, we could be looking at a setup like this:
    [​IMG]
    Apologies to Bllsdwlf for butchering his image - you can see the original here.

    My point is that (unlike TMP) we never see a clear view outside looking in, thus establishing the size between the shuttlebay minature and the exterior model. All we see are the plain, featureless doors opening. We could be looking at the whole doors, or just a section of them.

    (I realise that we do get that outside-in view on the TOS-R FX, but i'm ignoring them since they're not even consistent scene to scene)
     
  7. Lord Garth FOI

    Lord Garth FOI Commander Red Shirt

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    We also never actually get a real size for the portholes in either TOS or any of the TOS films to the best of my knowledge
    Regardless I love the upscaled enterprise sizes, I'd prefer to go even larger but I like them a lot
    Great work
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    The only viewports we actually see in TOS (from the inside) are the two small squares ones in Conscience, and the slightly larger rectangular one from Gideon (which also features an external shutter, meaning it could be hidden from the outside most of the time). That being the case, we've no actual evidence that the "windows" on the TOS-E are anything of the sort. So, what are they? - massive sensor arrays perhaps? It would help to justify why there's so many of them on the Engineering hull (hardly the place for stargazing, IMO).
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  9. Egger

    Egger Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Regarding the shuttlebay size:

    You have to keep the size of the doors in mind. From the outside, there are 4 left and 4 right segments, the outermost ones not as wide as the other. From the inside, we see 3 left and 3 right segments and their curvature suggests that they meet not so high above the semicircular rim with the two small observation rooms on them. So the doors couldn't be so much larger than the shuttlebay interior as your example suggests.

    An outside view:
    http://farm1.staticflickr.com/27/42598215_09fef45066_o.jpg
    An inside view (I think it is the original model):
    http://www.coldnorth.com/owen/game/startrek/excalibur/2267/ex-shuttlebay-1.jpg

    Regarding the "windows":

    Yeah, they could be something else than windows. But then the "windows" on all later ships also have to be something else. I think that goes a bit to far. But I like the idea that the smaller, round ones are sensor windows.
     
  10. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I see you were right about the inside view, it is crisper than my ailing memory led me to believe! That's a real shame, as I suspect the segment lines will limit the upper size of the TOS-E and I really like the idea of larger Enterprise!

    As for Cary L Brown's notion of the round windows being sensor ports, I like that a lot (and followed his thread keenly until he disappeared one day). What I dislike is the sheer number of windows on the dorsal (both port and starboard, for goodness sakes!) as well as on the Engineering Hull. The saucer looks positively spartan by comparison, supposedly where most of the accommodation actually is! To be honest, it makes me feel a lot better imagining at least some of the "windows" as cavities for various types of sensor machinery. Thus equipped, the dorsal is now ideally located as a planetary sensor array, since it always faces the surface of any world the ship orbits.

    How does this tie in to other designs of ships? Well, looking at the very regular groups of "windows" on the saucer rim of the TMP-E, I can't help but be reminded of the lateral sensor array of the Ent-D. A design lineage, perhaps?

    Actual viewports can be shuttered when not in use (as we saw in Gideon) so I'm not saying there are none on board, just that they aren't always where we think they are!
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    But how do we know that during events of "The Cage" the ceiling was not transparent? ;)
    WNMHGB takes place years after that so the non-transparent ceiling might be a later upgrade or modification.

    I'd just love to believe that but fact remains that a) the housing perfectly matches the shape of a turbo lift car, b) is at the proper location where to expect the bridge turbo lift car (i.e. the stern), c) they even went into the hazzle of carving out the cylindrical shape (I would have peferred a plain extension :rolleyes:) and d) it's devoid of any structures or colors that could suggest something else.

    Egger beat me to that. If we were just to continue the separation lines of the clamshell doors (watched from within) we'd end up rather quickly at the tower segment above with the horizontal stern window (aft phaser control room?).

    However, at an assumed length of 1,080' the two lateral rectangular windows would still be rather low to have a practical use for the observation corridor, assuming a bigger ship could remedy the situation.

    Just as these - http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tmp2/tmphd0246.jpg - are revealed to be windows in the close-up shots, so is the illuminated porthole near the docking ring of the TMP Enterprise.

    I see more advantages in having that many windows than disadvantages. Especially the dark areas of the connecting dorsal will provide views like this:

    [​IMG]

    Of course, in Kirk's temporary cabin on Engineering Deck 12 you'd like to have shutters - until you want to drive the captain crazy by having a planet's starlight reflection bother him all night long. :lol:

    Bob
     
  12. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Say, great observation there sir on the aft section - although it does make me wonder where the arboretum would go when they replaced that feature in her post-NX days? And yet, according to the stock footage reused for TNG, some vessels retained it. ;)

    And I do tend to agree the fantail hangar is a more "svelt" version of the TOS landing bay. It's interesting to note how shuttlebays two and three on the D appear even smaller, isn't it? Definitely fits an evolutionary pattern IMO

    Eureka sir, eureka. There are indeed some flaws with the Richter model, and thank you for pointing them out to me. (Still a perty model though, isn't it?)

    With some revisiting, I arrive with this:
    [​IMG]

    Fourteen decks in the engineering hull, with a half-deck below the uppermost deck (which I would assume to be related to support for the intermix chamber or something along those lines.) This, by the way is a use of Gus's hyper-accurate drawing from EAS. His windows aren't exactly perfect, but the rows are spot on. (And he added saucer edge gangways and secondary hull airlocks that weren't really on the model.)

    I was able to confirm this alignment used the detailed model study of the Enterprise-B/Lakota model I linked to upthread:

    [​IMG]

    And this one is slightly less reliable, but still tends to confirm the accuracy of this alignment:

    [​IMG]

    So there it is. The secondary hull decks are well-defined by the window rows, and the saucer decks also derived from the few available windows. It so happens that it works out that the secondary hull decks can be 12 feet, and the saucer decks 9.5 feet, while maintaining the separate (and necessary) alignments for each deck set necessitated by the windows.

    I haven't done the exact math yet as I want to work out the precise deck spacing on my own drawing before doing so, but I suspect we're going to see a ship quite close to the 622 meter figure. Making all decks 9.5 feet would make the ship smaller, but also possibly cause some issues in the saucer alignment. I will also examine this.

    Not to pick a nit, but perhaps the engineering ports are always open because they're not in anyone's quarters, they're in work spaces? I would think people would care more about whether or not they were opened or closed in their quarters. (Then again, we never see a ton of them open on the saucer, do we?)

    It is of course also entirely possible that there simply aren't that many windows on the ship, and most of them are reserved for work and public spaces, rather than making those crew persons who can't have a room with a view feel left out.

    Or, maybe the opacity could be changed by the flick of a switch? We nearly have such technology now.

    Agreed... it fits too well to not be accurate, one need only rotate the bridge, sink it a bit into the superstructure and scale things accordingly to make it work.

    When I say it like that, it almost sounds convoluted to make it work, doesn't it? :rommie:

    Exactly. :rommie:
     
  13. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    I have to say that I'm loving this thread so much. I will put in my two cents though. With regards to sizing, I think there is some ambiguity on scaling, but that's just modelling as far as I'm concerned. But things like window placements, and for things that appear to be windows, especially from TOS to the movies and TNG, I'm pretty sure no one made designed these models thinking "let's make things LOOK like windows BUT they aren't... heh heh heh... We'll confuse the heck out of everyone!"

    I know my example is a little facetious, but I think my point is made. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. It's nice to try to pigeon hole our own preconceived and contemporary notions into things like is it a window on the dorsal or a scanner, but I think we're over analyzing in that case. Sometimes a window is just a window. I really don't think there was any hidden meaning behind the dorsal windows, or big 3 bow windows (we'd all like them to be scanners of some sort), or top of the bridge.

    Gotta go to work now. Miserable day for a commute.
     
  14. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not trying to de-rail the thread with this, but since Praetor has joined in I'll carry on for just a little longer :)

    The "bridge zoom" presents an awe inspiring start to the series - swooping in across the massive saucer, and into the bridge atop it! The effect works reasonably well given the FX constraints of the time, and gives a nice (approximate) sense of scale. However:

    (1) As I mentioned in my earlier post, the turbolift alcove does not line up with the "nub" at the back, perhaps suggesting a "bridge faces forward" setup. However, the bridge does not face directly forward either, nor is the floor completely level to be in line with the decks. The zooms do not match at one point, making the crew suddenly expand in size. All or any of these could be chaulked up to the aforementioned FX limitations, so take your pick about what is "real".

    (2) The bridge ceiling appears to be just a huge window! Structural integrity and security are just 2 of any number of reasons why this is a silly idea. Plus, we'll see in the next episode the same ceiling from inside, and it is comfortably solid. Even if it is only a part time transparency, it's still a large area of the structure which would have to be made from a thinner (and weaker) material. What's so important up there that people need to stare directly upwards at it? ;)

    So, along with the peculiarities introduced by the FX, I attribute the transparent ceiling to be just a conceit of the camera to get from outside the ship to inside. The principle function of the transition is to show both the scale of the ship and the location of the bridge. In both regards; it works fine.

    * * * * * *

    So, where does that leave us with the size of the ship, and design of the Bridge?

    Regarding the nub, Robert_Comsol is right that there are no details that mark it out as an airlock or any other mechanical device - in fact, it is the one area of the bridge dome that has NO MARKINGS AT ALL, even in the blinged-out Cage version. Lack of details mean that Captain Robert April's subspace antenna would fit in just fine . Or maybe its an additional shield generator for the bridge. Or a turbolift-lifeboat emergency ejection system? Or an extendible docking tube? Or a resupply conduit?

    I dunno.

    I'm really in two minds over this - the appeal of a larger Enterprise is incompatible with a centred bridge having the nub as its turbolift. I suppose there could be a short horizontal track at the top of the shaft, maybe even space for a spare turbolift. And yet "clear this tube" says Kirk to Uhura in Naked Time when he is forced to wait for a lift, apparently because the turboshaft is blocked through heavy usage. If a spare turbolift is usually present it certainly wasn't then! It was an unsual time on the ship though, and neither Bele nor Lokai seemed to suffer the same problem of waiting for a cab. The Naked Time situation also indiciates that the bridge is at the top of the main shaft, with no redundant shafts around - classic Starfleet design!

    Indeed. The typical FJ arrangement has the bridge rotated 35.5 degrees to line up with the nub, something that (if we were to bring up design lineage again) was never repeated on any later starship. In addition, there are several episodes which suggest the viewscreen faces forwards (specifics in my notebook at home, sorry!) If this is true the nub cannot be the turbolift entry point. But, at the same time there's a turbolift shaped lump RIGHT THERE. Ah, well. I'm sure the truth is out there...

    * * * * * * *

    ADDENDUM: While many focus on the Bridge as the means to scale the Enterprise, there is actually a great deal of "wobble" room due to the uncertainties I've briefly listed - and I'm sure there are others.

    I believe that the focus instead should be on the shuttlebay. It is the ONLY part of the ship where we see both an interior and exterior of the same thing and (as I was reminded upthread) where the door segments severely limit the scale increases that can be achieved. We know the size of the 22' shuttle prop and we know that the shuttlebay miniature is of a scale to match.

    Unless - the 22' shuttle is in fact a (shuttle interior set corrected) 30' shuttle!
    Well hello, 1485' Enterprise... :devil:
     
  15. Egger

    Egger Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yeah, the shuttle, always there to ruin a theory. ^^

    Still, I think the ship looks too big at over 1400 ft. But I like the idea of the TOS version being bigger than the TMP version, that the Refit is a more streamlined version of the ship.
    Could someone maybe superimpose the two ships at the following scales?
    - TOS version 327m / TMP version 305m
    - TOS version at a scale where the saucer has the same diameter as the TMP version at 305m
     
  16. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Now this sounds interesting! I'll give it a shot...

    [​IMG]


    The TOS profiles are derived from the Sinclar drawings.

    The refit profiles are based on the drawings found here, which are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the proportions don't seem wildly off either.

    Now, all of this was done by eyeball except the percentages, which were determined by scaling the images in PS.

    Again, my process here is BY NO MEANS super accurate, but for estimation/ball park purposes, it might help out. Feel free to do the math to see how many meters long either version would be.

    Enjoy!

    --Alex

    P.S.

    Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to do this same experiment but assuming the same height of the saucer between the upper and lower sensor domes... assuming the internal structure would be about the same, then the decks should have the same number and spacing, yes? So, I give you....

    [​IMG]

    This almost seems too good.... but I can totally believe that these two profiles could have been the same ship...

    --AM
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  17. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Albertese, you beat me to it! However, since I went in a slightly different direction with my sketches, I'll post them anyway. They are rough estimates at best, but should suffice for now.

    I have used Casimiro's & Strategic Design's drawings for the side view. I am also going with Bllsdwlf's research which shows that the TMP-E must have been at least 1,164' in order to fit the giant cargo bay as seen in the movie. As for the TOS-E...well, we shall see:

    Matching the upper diameter of the saucer gives us an overall TOS-E ship length of 1198'. You can see the TMP-E "hiding" inside the original shell here:

    [​IMG]


    Bits of the Engineering hull are sticking out here and there, but that is mostly because they differ in shape so much; while the TOS Engineering Hull is a tapered cyclinder, the TMP's is similar to an ovoid barrel. Weird, but I'm sure the Starfleet Engineers had good reasons for what they were doing ;)
    As for the saucer, it is mostly a good fit, and the thickness of the rims are almost identical (with the TMP-E slightly thinner). However, the angle of the rim edge is much steeper in TOS, and it would require welding extra girders onto the edge of the saucer to achieve - something I was trying to get away from with my "big Enterprise" approach.

    So, what happens if we instead match the lower edge of the saucer diameters? Well, for one thing we get a TOS-E of approximately 1,235' in length (difficult to be precise because of the curves):

    [​IMG]

    As well as solving the issue with the saucer rim angle, the slight protrusion from the lower Primary Hull is also now gone - the refit hull nestles entirely within the original.

    The refit Engineering Hull also fits a little better into the original, but as I mentioned earlier the shapes are so different that a lot of rebuilding must have happened, regardless of the size.

    In both examples I am assuming that the dorsal was completely replaced, as well as the bridge & command "teardrop" section. I have orientated the Primary Hulls to the common centre of the saucers, and the Engineering Hulls to the shuttlebay (vertical) and the start of the deflector housing (fore/aft).

    But Egger's original post asked about an official length 1000' refit model, didn't it? Well, if using the examples above we were to match the upper saucer diameter then the TOS-E would be 1,029' long. If we match the lower diameter it comes out as 1,061' which coincidentally is not too far from Cary L Brown's figure!

    I haven't done much on the deck placement with these examples, but a quick pass on the larger TOS-E shows enough space for ten 10' decks, plus the Bridge. The refit would have at least one deck less if it followed the same deck structure (which it should).

    (Edit)-
    ADDENDUM

    One of the reasons I was so strongly advocating a (very) large Enterprise was because of Cary L Brown's work on applying real-world engineering techniques. It makes a lot of sense to have some bulkhead support for the nacelle pylons and, by extension, for the dorsal too. After Egger's post I went back and read Cary's thread again - it's fantastic stuff, but I'd forgotten just how intrusive the dorsal supports are. Even allowing for that, in the end Cary had to just accept what he called a "TV magic" solution for the place where the dorsal attaches to the saucer. However I have to wonder - is there any reason why this semi-magic solution can't be used again, say... on the other end of the dorsal? Or on the nacelle pylons? Kirk did ask to jettison them during The Apple so there must be something similar in place.

    Anyway; thoughts on a 1235' Enterprise? :techman:
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  18. Egger

    Egger Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Thanks, Albertese and Mytran!

    This is exactly what I hoped for. After Praetor said in an earlier post that the 305m of the Refit are pinned down so well, I hoped for a way to have this and the upscaled TOS ship (around 1067') too.
    Also, the 1164' and 1235' versions are an interesting alternative. Aside from solving the cargo bay issue on the Refit, we could also have a bigger TOS ship to increase the size difference between her and the NX class. Also she is not so big that the windows look too oversized (maybe a bit, but still I think acceptable). And last but not least, the two Constitution classes don't look too small compared to an Excelsior class of around 600m.
    Regarding the deck heights of the Constitutions, if the ship has a heavy and sturdy skeleton to which the pressure compartments are fitted, maybe that also justifies higher decks. The Excelsior with her new SIF enhanced truss and beam design could then have lower decks, because much of the structure between decks wouldn't be needed anymore.
     
  19. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Mytran, I like you style. I'm borrowing it for this next one, wherein I hope i am demonstrating my thoughts about how the ship would scale, provided that the saucer decks number and spacing would remain unchanged through the refit... while I haven't done the actual math, to my eye this version ends up much closer to the "official" difference is size.

    [​IMG]




    --Alex
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm glad to see you kids can entertain yourselves while I'm away. :rommie:

    All kidding aside, I have been enjoying the minor derail, which IMO isn't really a derail at all. This thread has learned and evolved, and is probably building a time machine right now. Albertese and Mytran, thanks for visually reinforcing that it is indeed possible that the TOS and TMP Enterprises are the same ship.

    Meanwhile, I had decided to go back to basics. I'd realized that I had reworked my original cross section so much that I couldn't rely on its proportions anymore. The more I studied both Tobias Richter's render and the model study drawings I linked to upthread, and compared them to my drawing, as well as the few good photos of the model in profile that there are, the more convinced I became that I my overall outline was out of whack. Further, the more convinced I was that this deck arrangement is completely correct, at least as far as the model is concerned:

    [​IMG]

    So, I redrew my Excelsior and recreated the deck arrangement based on this, expecting the secondary hull decks to be 12 ft and the saucer decks to be 9.5 feet, both in keeping with the refit Enterprise and to line up well with the saucer window edges:

    [​IMG]

    After some time, I realized that I also need to consider the possibility that the Excelsior decks were all one height, and were actually 9.5 ft as I found them to be on the Enterprise-D:

    [​IMG]

    For my money, the second option made the saucer deck alignments a little weird. To line up with the "upper rim" on the saucer edge (the single row above the outer rim) I couldn't actually make the main rim two decks thick... I had to shift the decks upward so the outer rim isn't consistently two decks thick as it is on the refit Enterprise.

    Anyway, after this, I did a bit of math:

    Version One:
    12 ft secondary hull decks:

    12ft/29px = .413793 ft/px
    5080px * .413793 = 2102.1 ft = 640.72 meters

    To confirm that the differences in my deck spacings were close, I tried to back into the same size from the saucer decks:

    9.5 ft primary hull decks:

    9.5ft/23px = .4130 ft/px
    5080px * .4130 = 2098.04 ft = 639.4 meters

    So this gives us an Excelsior just about two meters shorter than the Enterprise-D!

    Version Two:
    9.5 ft secondary hull decks:

    9.5ft/29px = .3275862 ft/px
    5080px * .3275862 = 1664.13 ft = 507.2 meters

    Surprisingly, this doesn't actually give us the official 467 meter length, although it's kind of within a margin of error. Most interestingly, it's only a meter from the DS9 Technical Manual's "wrong" 511 meter figure.

    If we assume all the decks are "actually" 9 feet...

    9ft/29px = .310 ft/px
    5080 px * .310 = 1576.6 ft = 480.5 meters

    So, if we make all the decks the same height, and get close to 9 feet, we actually get pretty close to the official 467 meter size.

    This led me to realize: I think I know where this whole scaling issue comes from! I think that the modelmakers copied the secondary hull and saucer rim window spacings from the refit Enterprise, not realizing that Mr. Probert intended the refit Enterprise to have different sized decks between the saucer and secondary hull. They added a few rows, of course, to the side of the secondary hull to denote Excelsior's bigger size, but pretty closely maintained consistent scaling between the saucer rim clusters and secondary hull rows.

    In turn, Mr. Nilo Rodis (who seems to be the first to put forth the 467 meter figure) probably assumed all decks were the same height, maybe not noticing how the window alignments on the saucer don't quite work out. He probably made the main saucer rim two decks thick as on the Enterprise, made them all 9 foot decks, and then came to the 467 meter figure which later became official. However, perhaps even unintentionally, by copying the window alignments from the Enterprise, this train of thought ends up being just wrong.

    In makes too much sense to not be true right? :)

    Taking a look at the two differently sized Excelsiors and some friends (another huge image):
    [​IMG]

    Even the big Excelsior still feels smaller than the Galaxy and Ambassador to me. The saucer is smaller and the Excelsior is almost about two-thirds engines, compared to the bigger saucer and shorter nacelles on the Galaxy and Ambassador. (And lest we forget, about half of the Excelsior's secondary hull is hollow.) Further, neither the small nor larger refit Enterprise feel out of whack next to either Excelsior, so I don't think my ability to complete either the large or small Excelsior is contingent on figuring out which Enterprise scale is a necessary evil anymore. :D

    Most interestingly, take a good look at the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-A against Excelsior in comparison to these famous scenes:

    [​IMG]

    Please note that I haven't altered the above scaling; this is the larger 640 meter Excelsior alongside the 642 meter D and 305 meter A from the prior image, with the 9.5 ft decks of the three scaled to match. (The 12 ft deck heights of the refit and Excelsior also match.)

    Eerie, right? Definitely within fudge factor range.

    So at long last, I think I have finally, truly found what size Excelsior "should" be according to the original model. The remaining dilemma is whether to go with this size or the official, smaller one. The secondary hull deck alignment is definitely now correct based on the window rows and remains unchanged between the two versions, but if I decide to use the smaller scale, I end up with an Excelsior that has kind of weird saucer deck arrangement.

    Whatcha think?