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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    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I'm leaning toward this, at the moment.

    Interesting notions there. This could help explain why the "southern" bay was so different indeed. Not just a support bay for herself, but for other small ships too. I kinda like it.

    Interesting. I didn't know Mr. Probert regarded it that way. I always tried to mitigate the notion that it "failed" by saying that the result was a conventional system that was still light-years better (no pun intended) than conventional warp drive. I'm in the minority, but I've always interpreted transwarp to be along the lines of a jump drive. Styles' lines in TSFS might seem to agree with this. Then again, the line "All speeds available through transwarp drive..." is a tantalizing one.

    (And, I concluded transwarp to be a failure by the fact that they didn't call it transwarp on TNG, and later by the fact that other races had something called transwarp.)

    So in other words, you're contending that the module is the transwarp drive system, which was in fact successful and later revised for other ships into something less... modular? But for the Excelsior class, they had to remain with this odd semi-vestigial modular weirdness?

    Agreed.

    Why can't there be other drydocks? (This is something I've always assumed to be the case.) In Generations, we see an apparently larger one inside of which the Enterprise-B was built. Perhaps it's the same one in which the Excelsior was built?

    I don't think we can rule that out... but somehow Spacedock has always seemed unlikely as a starship construction facility to me, given what we saw inside. Still, I don't think it can be ruled out. And, I've never considered the possibility that Rand was on Excelsior, especially given we see her in San Francisco in the next film. I always assumed she was assigned to Earth. Then again, in TSFS she appears to be a Commander, so she might have a twin sister. :rommie:

    Thank you for providing that sir. I might have to take some very rapid screen caps and alter the levels similarly to see if any more light can be shed. It appears to me as if there is more of a reinforcement around the pod in this version - which should come as no surprise since I believe this model was made from the Jein version, which did have a slightly different structure inside there. I'll dig up pics later.

    Fascinating explanation... thanks for that, too.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Bob, you are definitely onto something as regards cargo/supplies stowage and transfer (although the actual designers of these photographic models probably didn't spare any thought to such things). With the increased reach of a successful transwarp drive, there would have to be a logistics revolution in Starfleet - and the Excelsior, no matter how experimental, was certainly built with success in mind, featuring all the familiar elements of a deep space exploration and combat starship as defined in TOS and redefined in TMP. Plus more...

    The "more" could certainly be logistics-related. Or then it could be a side effect of the ship shunting all of its truly experimental and untrustworthy bits into the lower keel area, and keeping a path clear for dumping them to space at the earliest sign of trouble!

    But taken literally, transwarp is "beyond warp", "the next thing after warp". Once adopted to use, it ceases to be transwarp, and the sights are set for the next "the next".

    Which is why all sorts of completely unrelated FTL drives can be "transwarp" at the same time, or at various points of history.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I believe the transwarp drive was only a large module aboard NX-2000. If the 23rd Century transwarp failed, the module was discarded, if transwarp worked, they came up with smaller components and integrated those into the Excelsior Class. Either way, the chasm became available for other applications.

    Frankly, it's the weird astonishment of the bridge crew at the start of ST III that made me wonder. Have they not seen the ship in drydock before, don't they know she has an experimental transwarp drive?

    Why even bring her from the drydock inside the spacedock? Kirk's Enterprise departed twice from drydock, Harriman's Enterprise-B departed from drydock, only Excelsior didn't.

    Of course, Earth Spacedock is shielded from curious eyes and that quarter section with the Excelsior may have been a restricted area, hence the bridge crew's surprise.

    Maybe it was a deliberate decision to have the Enterprise anchor there and thus withdraw her from public attention and scatter the crew USS Liberty (the real ship) style.

    If you seriously come to think of it, Kirk's career was heading for a dive. Somebody had to answer for what happened in ST II and considering all the lives lost under Kirk's watch because of his negligence, not to mention his naive and personal vouching for Dr. Marcus' Genesis Project, I can't help but feel that Captain Styles' threat was as empty as you could possibly imagine. :lol: Shall I continue...?

    She was a bridge officer aboard Excelsior in ST VI and I think she had been on that ship from day one with that lounge in ST III having been reserved exclusively for Excelsior personnel.

    Bob
     
  4. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

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    Alex:

    That makes sense now about why the blue was toned down. Would that be a huge oversight on ILM's part, seeing as they were heavily involved in the design? After all their experience with the Star Wars trilogy, and the troubles they had with bluescreening the enterprise in TWOK with its reflective paint, I would think Steve Gawley and Bill George would have been PAINFULLY aware of the problems with bluespill and would have taken careful steps to avoid it. Painting blue highlights on the model just seems like they were asking for trouble. Then again, for all I know maybe they did take it into account, knew how to compensate for it. But why not just paint it grey?

    Anyways, back on topic.... I like the idea of it being the gap being a sort of miniature spacedock. One thing that the movies introduced that we never got to see in TOS due to budget and effect limitations were all the smaller ships: the workbees, the tugs, travel pods, warp sleds, etc. It makes sense that facilities are needed to maintain these vessels. Perhaps this area housed some of the TSFS/TVH style tugs we see around spacedock (which the only thing we may have seen towing was that Kirk & Crew's travelpod in TVH).

    As far as the space originally being dedicated to Transwarp, in my personal continuity Transwarp was successful and became the "standard" warp in TNG -- explaining why all ships classes from Excelsior through the "D" have the "layered" nacelle style with the grey / blue glowing "with mint frosting" layer sandwiched between upper and lower housings. Which is just my opinion -- the Transwarp as a partial or complete failure are equally valid interpretations.

    But if Excelsiors were the next generation of ships after Constitutions, I think it is safe to assume that many will be sent out on exploration / frontier peacekeeping missions, TOS style. So having robust resources would be important and be factored into the design.

    It always struck me odd how in the movies, they depicted most of the lower hull being occupied by engineering and the shuttle bay. In TOS Engineering and Shuttle Bays were each confined to singular rooms (and yes, one can argue there were multiple engineering rooms reflecting the different configurations of the set, but we don't conclusively which ones or if any of them were in the secondary hull). I liked to imagine that the lower hull was filled with "science stuff" -- sensors, equipment, labs, etc. The revelation in TMP that such a large volume of that part of the ship was dedicated to the engines struck a dissonant chord for me. Any explanation that moves away from gargantuan drive system thingy, in favor of exploration specific purposes is more appealing to me. Star Trek, for me at least, was never about "breaking speed records" -- especially Warp Speed was basically as fast or as slow as the plot needed it to be from episode to episode. I want the ship filled with labratories, teams of scientists, botanists, astronomers, cartographers and the like analyzing stuff... WITH SCIENCE!! To me, the Excelsior was to (and by TUC did) herald a shift away from the Bennett/Meyer/Nimoy militaristic Starfleet back toward the peaceful scientific Starfleet of TOS. Design emphasizes this -- torpedo launchers are again recessed instead of sticking right out there on the refit-E. As much as I enjoyed the refit-E's aesthetic, that was something I had issue with.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'd argue that Spacedock Earth is exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation - the equivalent of a commercial airport, only in orbit. Perhaps it's even a civilian installation for the most part, with Starfleet just holding a pier or two (at least during the militant 2280s). That the Excelsior is there is a sign that all work on her has been brought to completion and she's ready to embark on test flights.

    As for "surprise", I don't see much of that in the eyes of the heroes. Awe, perhaps - but the Excelsior isn't a surprise, merely the shiny new thing, now presented to their eyes for the first time.

    OTOH, a "refit" usually is an ugly thing, built of compromise atop compromise...

    We could similarly dismiss the comparable Constellation ugliness as old technology taken to ridiculous extremes before new tech steps in. But the Miranda and the Sydney are ugly the very same way, with protruding this-and-that, and they supposedly aren't refits or extreme experiments.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    ^^^ :lol: when you said "old technology taken to ridiculous extremes", my mind immediately went to some of the ships in the DS9 frankenfleet.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Assuming those were contemporary, rather than just plain old. After all, the highest registries witnessed were in the mid-60000 range, while the lowest Galaxy registries are in the 70000s and supposedly indicate the onset of the 2360s.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks, that was the argument I missed: Since when are test flights conducted from commercial airports?

    • refit Enterprise - dockyard is departure point for maiden voyage and test flight
    • Enterprise-B - dockyard is departure point for maiden voyage and test flight
    Excelsior however sits in Earth Spacedock to prepare for her maiden voyage and test flight. Odd!


    @ Workbee

    I'd say that "Day of the Dove" answers some of your questions. According to the alien entity's exit point in TOS one engine room was at the center of the engineering hull near the bow.

    It's also interesting to note that neither Kirk or Spock found it odd, that 400 crew members went to the lower decks and got trapped below this engine room. Looks like there should be plenty of labs and workplaces down below which I hope to be able to illustrate in one of the next stages of my TOS Enterprise deck plan project. :)

    Bob

    Addendum: I should state that the Excelsior's designer name I mentioned in my little conjectural speech ("Thorndike") is not entirely conjectural.

    I thought his name was mentioned by Uhura in ST III when she sees the Excelsior.
    As it turns out the name is an invention of the movie's German dubbing (instead of "will you look at that" the German Uhura said "Thorndike's idea").

    Ain't that cool, now we also know the name of the Excelsior's designer! ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I like that a lot. It's "Spacedock" rather than "Starbase 1", it has a cantina full of civvies and pirates, and it's got some truly abysmal policemen. Having it as the main space hub for Earth makes a bit more sense of the scale of the thing - they'd have to set aside a good deal of space for cargo and things like passport control and quarantine.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Are you implying that Kirk and the others went to his apartment in San Francisco and had abandoned the good doctor on the spacedock?!? :eek:

    They think he's home, but McCoy apparently visits a bar in San Francisco, is picked up by a Fed and policemen, is put in a holding cell, freed by Kirk and beamed up to the Enterprise by Uhura at the Old City Station, "the worst duty station in town".

    Bob
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Brilliantly put, by you and Bob. I will keep this at heart when I start revising my TM.

    I have a feeling I'm going to have to re-make up my my mind about this. I still like my current have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too solution.

    Okay. Do you have a particular vision for how the transwarp drive would be a modular unit? Seems to kind of defy the notion of a warp core as we know it... or even the intermix chamber of TMP.

    See, I don't read it as astonishment. I read it as mock awe on the part of Scotty and Uhura, and genuine interest on Sulu's part.

    For the Enterprise-B, we saw a commissioning ceremony taking place in drydock. We are apt to assume the same thing took place for the Excelsior in her own drydock. The Enterprise-B was returning somewhere to get her torpedoes installed on Tuesday - perhaps it was Spacedock to which she would return for a final fitting out?

    I'm sure there's some measure of security afforded by Spacedock, but surely also the Sol System is relatively secure from prying eyes already? Or at least, any security compromises are considered acceptable.

    In my TM writeup, I sort of concluded that Admiral Morrow had it out a bit for the Enterprise (because he was making his legacy in the Excelsior) and that Kirk and Styles were rivals from the Academy.

    Then why'd she get bumped from Commander in TSFS to Chief Petty Officer in TVH in the service of Starfleet HQ, then back to Lieutenant Commander in TUC when on Excelsior?

    Very interesting points I hadn't fully considered before. I do agree with you about the science labs. If the navigational deflector is also the main sensor array, then it also makes sense that there would be adjoining science labs. I propsed the protusions on the Enterprise-B added to the secondary hull mostly added more science lab facilities, along similar lines of thinking. :)

    I'd agree that it was more of an embarkation/debarkation point - but I would think of it less like an airport and more like a pier. That civilians are there is probably somewhat incidental. I'm sure there is adequate security aboard to prevent stealing of a ship. Oh, wait...

    While I agree on the Constellation and the DS9 kitbashes being old(er) technology taken to extremes, I would disagree that the Miranda and Sydney are similarly ugly. I think they're simply second-rate as opposed to the Constitution class. As for the registry numbers of the Frankenfleet, perhaps some of them were given new numbers when they were recommissioned?

    Great point!

    Odd little tidbit. I shall have to work that into my TM. I trust you won't let me forget it? ;)

    You know, I always assumed that took place on Earth. You may be right, though.

    Also, I'm fairly certain that was Starfleet security holding McCoy, rather than civilian. Redshirts by any other name have just as bad aim. ;)
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Only because she was in an exceptional hurry. The box docks could well be for repair work only, and starships would extremely seldom visit those, whereas routine crew rotation and the like would often involve Spacedock-like facilities (except in deep space where it would involve K-7 lookalikes).
    A ceremonial launch and a pleasure cruise only. After that, the ship would probably return to the box dock for months of further fitting (or at least until next Tuesday), and then receive full crew and reach the stage at which NX-2000 was when Kirk got home from Genesis.

    No indication that she wouldn't have been on her maiden voyage months or years ago already. Only that she hasn't been testing transwarp under the command of Styles yet, at least not at such levels as to threaten the standing speed records.

    Hmm. Why "below"? It's not in the dialogue anywhere. The prisoners are "below" only from the viewpoints of the bridge and the armory...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, it's only junior Lieutenant in ST6:TUC. The Lieutenant Commander bit comes from Tuvok's feverish dream in "Flashback", and is probably about as much based in reality as the rest of that dream.

    But yes, the reddish-haired Commander in ST3 represents a massive discontinuity in Rand's career, and thus probably is best interpreted as GLW playing another character for a change. The actual Janice Rand going mustang after ST4 and reaching Lt (jg) by the time of ST6 is plausible career development...

    The gaol personnel certainly wore Starfleet insignia, as did their leather-armored reinforcements. It's just the plainclothesman who arrests McCoy in the first place that we might interpret as a civilian cop of some sort - he says he represents "Federation Security", which may be an organization separate from Starfleet.

    That would be our only time witnessing law enforcement performed by civilians, though. (It's more like "secret police" business, actually. But if CIA arrested McCoy, would they agree to deliver him to a USAF gaol?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Huh. Guess I've had that wrong for the last twenty years. :lol:
     
  15. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Secret police is right. How does he know who McCoy is anyway? Has he run his ID through a database off camera?

    One for those who think the Federation is really a Stalinist police state.
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Damnit, I'm a deck plan designer, not a transwarp engineer!

    Might have something to do with tapping into the main navigational deflector or the creation of exotic energy. We'd first have to figure out the defining characteristic of "tranwarp". Can't TNG's "Descent" provide some clues?

    Possible, but Styles was an egotistic prick and everybody would have been his rival ;) Frankly, I think that guy was a loose cannon, totally unqualified for any high-profile diplomatic mission and Starfleet was in desperate need to give this guy an assignment where he couldn't do harm. Testing the Excelsior for performance would qualify as such, IMO.

    Do or do not. Just bear in mind that there is a high probability that German fans like Bernd Schneider, Tobias Richter and others would instinctively notice the absence of the name of the ship's designer "Thorndike".
    I do not know from where "Berliner Synchron Wenzel Lüdecke" got the idea to use this name in the dubbing to identify the Excelsior Class designer. But there is some odd coincidence that we do have an Excelsior Class Berlin (NCC-14232). In a manner of speaking there is a connection Thorndike-Berlin-Excelsior Class.

    The movie suggests your assumption is right, looks like you missed my comment while writing yours. ;)

    Bob
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    There's room for speculation there, I guess. McCoy was said to be "home, resting comfortably, pumped full of tranquilizers" a few scenes earlier. So unless he lived in that giant space city, he must have gotten away from it for a while at least - but returning there is by no means out of the question. The bar might be aboard Spacedock Earth, or down at San Francisco, or perhaps in Berlin, or on the Moon, or at the bottom of the Caribbean. Travel around and out of the globe in the 23rd century is fairly trivial, at least if you are a Starfleet officer...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess when I was a kid I just assumed he'd go looking for a guy with a spaceship on the big space station we'd just seen. I've just stuck with that ever since!
     
  19. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh, it isn't ugly by any means. In fact, I think that it LOOKS great. I think the word is brazen. Having the torp bays out like that just screamed, excuse the expression, "look at THESE guns" or if you prefer, "we come in peace: shoot to kill." It's as if they took the general smooth aesthetic of the TOS enterprise, but got it backward.

    In TOS, all the phaser emitters and torpedo ports were recessed and possibly covered, while navigational sensor / deflector dish protruded. In the movies, the sensors and deflectors were recessed, and the weapons were what protruded.

    I am sure there are reasons for this both in universe and production wise, but ironically these changes happened under Roddenberry's watch, before Bennett and Meyer were ever involved.

    Sorry to get so far off topic.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, I understand. But leaving newly installed, supposedly improved weapons protrude could also be the sign of a half-baked job...

    Timo Saloniemi