Uniform Insignia

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Shamrock Holmes, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One of the things that I liked about the TOS uniforms - and to an extent the Movies "Monster Maroons" was that the chest insignia gave you an idea a) Which ship the person belonged to and b) gave you more information about what they could do than the TNG-era uniforms (ie a Star means Command, an ellipse in a circle means Sciences, a red cross means Medical (or maybe just Nursing?) a Spiral means Operations)

    However, the Spiral is the flawed one, as it seems to embrace Engineering, Security, Communications, Support Services and others (Tactical/Armory appears to be part of Command during the period, another symbol might be good here too). Assuming the Spiral actually represents Engineering - likely as Scotty was the primary character who wore it, what symbol could you have for Comms, Tactical, Security or Services?

    To kick things off, I'd say an antenna dish (like in the http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/File:Epsilon_IX_station_assignment_patch.png) might be a good one for Communications.

    Shamrock Holmes
     
  2. Orcus

    Orcus Captain Captain

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    Funnily enough I never took the Engineering symbol to be a spiral. I always thought of it as a stylised nut (as in "nut and bolt" - look at the 'outside' hexagonal shape of the emblem). Taken this way it could signify the "nuts and bolts" of the organisation: for example, the other services that held the organisation together. This being the case, Engineering, Security and all the other "Operations" divisions have probably the most logical symbol for their respective branches...

    (And of course, in the case of JAG, they wore the Starfleet Command "Lotus-like" star emblem but retained the red uniform of "Operations")
     
  3. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    I actually prefer the way the use of the Symbol developed later in the franchise where they had one Symbol for the entire Star Fleet. For me it gave the entire franchise a better sense of uniformity (no pun intended) and solidarity.
     
  4. Mr. Mugato

    Mr. Mugato Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I have also seen it described as a stylized Nautilus - symbolizing the enclosed, self contained environment of a Starship.
     
  5. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've also heard the Engineering symbol described as a kind of bent lightning bolt,
    where man is bending the forces of nature to his own design.
    (i.e. manipulating subspace and antimatter to power warp drive or something like that, evidently they canna change the laws of physics)
     
  6. Cicero

    Cicero Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I always thought it looked like a lower-case "e." Were it not for "Where No Man Has Gone Before," I'd suggest it might have been "e" for "engineering" - this, too, I long assumed.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    While I liked the idea that each ship had its own emblem, I thought that having both different uniform colors and different symbols for each branch of service was kind of redundant myself.

    Sure, you had Nurse Chapel with a red cross on her insignia, but that was it. There was no way of knowing if a red shirt was from engineering, security, communications, or services. Ditto if a blue shirt was from sciences, medical, or any kind of technical support field...
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the Trek short story The Enchanted Pool by Marcia Ericson, the character Phyllida describes her Engineering/Operations insignia thus: "I tamed a lightning bolt and wore it above my heart like a jewel." (Quoting from memory.)

    (She talks like that, not because she's gone bonkers, but because she's deliberately speaking in riddles. She's trying to tell Spock who she is without giving herself away to the Klingons, who have the planet under surveillance. Or something like that.)
     
  9. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer the one-style insignia which began in the movies, which was then simplified from TNG on (not even a star like in the TOS movies). The delta shield design is simple and makes it clear they're all with Starfleet, and the individual colors are much simpler for folks to follow. It's elegant in its simplicity. It was even more complicated in TOS, with folks wearing different insignia depending on which ship or ground assignment they were on (with the exception of Court Martial, where folks from other ships had the Enterprise insignia.)
     
  10. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Once TMP era started, we got more than three division colors (green for medical etc.) plus extra insignia for many departments (ordance, environmental, science, medical, etc.)

    I believe the fan-produced manual "Line Officer Requirements" went even further by detailing the meaning behind the bars and pips worn on the sleeves of TWOK era uniforms.

    So with the combination of division color and department insignia and sleeve markings, you got it all.

    By their reckoning, a uniform could identity Starfleet... rank... division... department... specialty... position.

    Which, I guess, is what a uniform should do anyway.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I though the color separations in WNMHGB were interesting where a very few upper most officers only (and their yeomen) wore gold and the rest of the "deck" officers wore sand colored shirts. They also had somewhat puffy collars. With the maroon jackets and their turtle neck shirts they weren't so much doing something new as returning to a older collar design.

    The arrow head insignia was for "the fleet" part of Starleet, if you were in the (civilian?) merchant marines (Charlie X) it was diffrent. Fleet captains (Tracy, Wesley), Commodores (Decker) and Admirals were special, and JAG had their own too. Tracy's and Wesley's crew had arrow heads. The arrow head in TOS wasn't just for Enterprise.

    WNMHGB had at least one man in green coveralls.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  12. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, it wasn't just "Court Martial;" it was other times, too.

    Here are all the people who wore an arrowhead-shaped ("Enterprise") patch who weren't actually from the Enterprise:

    The Space Officer from "The Cage:"

    [​IMG]

    The Yeoman/Ward Secretary on Starbase II in "The Menagerie, Part 1:"

    [​IMG]

    Timothy and Mike in "Court Martial:"

    [​IMG]

    Corrigan and Teller in "Court Martial:"

    [​IMG]

    Dead Engineering guy on the Sick Bay exam table on the Defiant in "The Tholian Web:"

    [​IMG]

    (Everyone else on the Defiant died in various positions that obscure their patches, but this one you can make out--especially on BluRay.)
     
  13. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the pics. I do remember the officer in The Menagerie, Part II, now that you pointed him out, as well as the officers from Court Martial, but the others, I don't recall. The Tholian Web guy and the yeoman in The Menagerie, Part I, those are clearly costuming errors. That's why they probably should've stuck with one type of insignia, even for the Starbase folks -- would've been cheaper, too, I'd imagine! And it was probaby a bit cheaper for the TOS movies, and the 24th century ST shows, I'll bet.
     
  14. Basil

    Basil Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always preferred the TOS system, which was eminently less complicated than the movie ones. With TNG I never took the time to understand 'cause the show mostly bored me.
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I know about all that for the TMP and TWOK uniforms, but I talking about that not being the case with the TOS TV show uniforms. I think some fans came up with different emblems for individual departments like security and shipboard services back in the day, though.
     
  16. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    1. Mr. Schnitzer -- if my life is ever on the line and saving it calls for someone with an eye for detail and precision -- holy cow, you are the guy I will call. Nicely done, all over this board.

    2. The engineering design is a spiral derived from a Fibonnaci sequence -- hence the ever-longer lines on one "side" and the curve derived from them. A math/engineer person is bound to chime in here at any moment and explain it in better detail than I can, just wait for it. (I know I read this somewhere -- couldn't have made it up, with my relative un-mathy bkgrnd.)

    3. Do you suppose the WNMHGB "greenish gold" was a Theiss-green-but-photographed-"gold" and was easier to distinguish from the other officers' khaki/sand tunics in real life?

    4. Why make the CAPTAIN rank one with a broken line of braid? Two full stripes in WNMHGB, right? Four in Earth navies. Why design that rank with a broken stripe? Does it draw attention to Shatner as "star of the show" more than just straight lines would? Anybody know any production reason for it?
     
  17. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As far as the broken lines go, IIRC GR wanted it to look 'less military' or something along those lines.

    Had some thoughts about different insignia I thought I'd share (unless stated insignia is black on gold delta (officers) or black on silver delta (enlisted):

    Command Division (Gold):
    - Command Section (CO, XO, Watch Officers if applicable) - five point star
    - Flight Section (helmsmen, shuttle pilots, flight deck crew) - eight-point compass
    - Tactical Section (Weapons Officers, Armory Crew) - pi (gun carriage) or missile.

    Operations & Services (Red):
    - Engineering Section (Power Systems, Damage Control, Construction) - Spiral
    - Transporters Section - TBD
    - Administration (Yeoman, Logistics, JAG) - crossed quills
    - Security - right-angle/scalene triangle (recalling the UEMACOs) or crossed rifles (recalling USMC) - may also wear a variant uniform.

    Sciences (Blue)
    - Medical Section - Cadeus
    - Nursing and Technical Section - red cross
    - Space Sciences (Astrophysics, Stellar Cartography/Navigation et al) - elipse inside a circle.
    - Bio Sciences - test tube


    Obviously, I used some of the main character ones, but several supporting/guest character insignias are different than in canon.

    It's only for fun, though I may use the variant if I ever write a Star Trek fanfic. Would appreciate any thoughts on crediblity/appropriateness anyone might have.

    Shamrock Holmes
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  18. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Hey plynch, I agree with Shamrock Holmes. It seems that Roddenberry and company evolved the uniforms and insignia from the two pilots and the rest of TOS, and wanted it to be only vaguely militaristic, not hardcore. The Enterprise depicted is a starship in a futuristic space navy, but I think the TREK crew wanted the show to lean toward exploration and frontier outreach, like a galactic NASA.

    I have mixed feelings about uniforms in STAR TREK. No series or movie ever got it completely right for me, as if my not-so-humble opinion really matters. :)

    Each series has a certain logic to it, and TOS and ENT seem to be the best. The movie uniforms often looked like bellhops. And TNG/DS9/VOY often came off less as jumpsuits and more like sexed-up pajamas.

    As far as the badges go, TOS and ENT seemed to get that right. I tend to expect the difference in TOS badge shapes would associate the wearers with a specific flotilla or other organizational unit than with individual ships. Maybe the delta shield/arrowhead insignia symbolized the First Fleet of the Federation, whereas Commodore Decker's pretzel-style badge may have been a special task force operating in the L-3xx systems. I like how TOS showed a variety of badge designs.

    The turtlenecked unisex outfits seen in the pilots were simpler and less sexist, but the TOS-era uniforms were more eye-catching (not always for the best reasons) so I'm torn there.

    The sleeve braids in TOS were a neat, naval touch. But the more logical pips used in the TNG-era were nicely understated. If I were remaking an all-new TREK today, I might combine elements of the pilots, TOS and TNG. For all of its sexism though, TOS designs have the most class.
     
  19. Orcus

    Orcus Captain Captain

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    YES :techman: I've always liked the sleeve braid; I've never been much of a fan of the pips. I dunno, I guess the sleeves on the other unis look unfinished to me - the sleeve rank braid finishes them off nicely.

    And anyone who prefers the TOS unis has superbly good taste in my book. (even more so if they hate the TOS movies red-jackets and jackboots...)
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Good question; by the time that braid appeared, the show had already settled on a complex pattern that was only "less militaristic" in the sense that it omitted one braid from each USN or RN cuff set... It wasn't vague or futuristic or anything. And yet there is this anomaly on Kirk's sleeve.

    Perhaps his broken braid is there to emphasize how junior he is? That is, not a stuffy old four-braid skipper, but some sort of a skipper-in-training?

    Since nobody in the episode explicitly said that Kirk's two full stripes meant Captain rank, I'll still insist that Kirk was a Commander in that episode. :devil:

    Interesting idea! However, the Fibonacci sequence goes 1,1,2,3,5,8,13... (that is, each number [except the first 1] is the sum of the two previous numbers), while the spiral looks more like 1,3,3,3,3,4...

    Timo Saloniemi