Was the U.S.S. Horatio an Ambassador Variant?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by CharlieZardoz, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Greetings fellow Trek fans! I am in the planning stage of building the USS Horatio featured as a pile of space rubble in the episode "Conspiracy" using a lighted Yamaguchi kit and custom decals. I am wondering whether the ship should be built like the Enterprise C or as a variant like the Zhukov or Yamaguchi.
     
    My opinion is that it may have looked like the Enterprise C (with the non-cowled bussards and blue deflector dish, etc). I'm thinking the registry numbers (10,000's) looked like the C while the later batch (with ncc's in the 20,000's) looked like the Zhukov/Yamaguchi. It appears to me that in the Star Trek universe ship variants are usually built that way from the shipyard for some sort of special purpose (like the Lakota/Enterprise B variant or the Phoenix/Nebula variants). The other argument is that they were all changed or upgraded from the original design some time during their service making the Horatio another variant like the Zhukov/Yamaguchi?

    Naturally there is no right answer since the Sternbach model had not been built until season 3 (Yesterday's Enterprise) and the changes to the studio model were probably made to make it look better on screen. But I just thought it might be fun to conjecture what the ship might have looked like before I start the kit and would really appreciate feedback from other trek ship fans. :)
     
  2. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, since the Horatio had one of the lowest known registries in the class (NCC-10532), second only to the USS Ambassador herself (NCC-10521), and the other modified Ambassadors all had numbers in the 20000's, it would probably be an "unmodified" variant, most closely resembling the Enterprise-C, which is arguably a contemporary - vessels named "Enterprise" seem to emerge out of the first generation of starships in their class, one would assume out of tradition.

    I know it's no fun from a hypothetical POV, but that would be my logical guess based on all the historical information at hand. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I guess the wrench that could be thrown in is the use of the Enterprise-C footage to depict USS Excalibur in the episode "Redemption". Granted, it's a fuzzy little shot, but at least in theory we do see this starship, associated in dialogue with this specific name and thus in Okudagrams with a 26000-range registry, sport the telltale "first batch" ramscoops.

    And if the remastering work currently underway bears fruit, we will also be able to see the blue impulse engine in its characteristic location (unless the work involves altering this shot)...

    http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/s5/5x01/redemptiontwo176.jpg

    Does this mean that both batches were built in the "first batch" configuration initially, but the higher-registry batch was then modernized to the Zhukov style specs? The modification would involve pretty drastic things, such as completely severing and repositioning the primary hull and apparently the nacelles as well, but this might be necessary for some reason or another and worth the expenses.

    The Excalibur shows that some 26000-range ships only get modified late in their lives if at all. But if we start believing in such modernization, how can we be sure that the Horatio never received the refit?

    We get a further twist in the tale when we note that an Ambassador class vessel of the Zhukov specs is witnessed as being part of the blockade fleet here, in a rear shot that does not allow us to actually identify the name or the registry of the vessel. Is this the Excalibur? Hopefully not, as a change of configuration in mid-flight would be odd indeed! And we don't know for sure that the fleet did not have two Ambassadors.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hi guys! Regarding the Excalibur I consider her to be a variant which the scene you posted (of the reused Yesterday's Enterprise footage) to be just saving money by the producers of the show for that one scene. My reasoning is that the studio model was altered at this time to be the Excalibur for that fleet scene and half the decals were still present when the model went to auction. Since the model was altered for the Zhukov in data's day (albeit with an incorrect name and NCC number), I assume that all Ambassador class ships which made onscreen appearances from that point onward were of the variant design. While I want to believe that Starfleet put them all in drydock and updated them at some point before TNG time, the idea for me that Starfleet repositioned the neck and nacelles as you described seems unrealistic which is why I lean to the theory of two batches built in two different configurations. :)
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, cutting off the saucer and the nacelles is arguably the easiest possible cutting job, involving cuts at the narrowest part of the ship - this is why the model got incorrectly put together in real life!

    And Starfleet seems to have done a somewhat similar repositioning with the E-E for the movie Nemesis, plus a much more extensive change in the secondary hull contours of that ship. And never mind the immense amount of work that went to altering Kirk's old ship...

    I wouldn't declare the odd refit unrealistic as such, then, not by Star Trek standards. :)

    And if we can argue that there were two different Ambassadors in "Redemption", we have done our bit in helping, if not explain then at least alleviate the mystery of why this supposedly successful class is rather underrepresented in comparison with even older designs...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Regarding support to the drydock theory I think it's a matter of the intent of the model making team. I'd like to assume that the reason the model was altered was to denote that after 20 years since the days of the C some sort of upgrade was needed to make the ships serviceable in the 2360's and it is quite a logical second argument to assume the Horatio was upgraded along with the rest. It's the kind of thing that I'd love to sit Okuda, Jein or Sternbach down and figure out who gave the order to make changes to the model and what were they thinking the purpose for this was at that time. :)
     
  7. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Was the model assembled incorrectly in real life? I mean I totally agree that a blue impulse engine makes no sense and they must have rushed the lighting system for the episode and fixed it later. I always prefer real life explanation whenever possible since there are usually practical reasons why these things happened.

    I agree it would have been nice to have seen the Ambassador model in more episodes and I understand the thing broke in some sort of earthquake and they stopped using it during the switchover to CGI. Since the Exeter and Valdemar were both present in Cardassian space during the war (I'm making an assumption with the latter), there were at least a few involved with the Dominion war if not seen onscreen. :)
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The blue impulse engine might well have been a deliberate choice: a "cold" color to indicate that the thing is badly broken and unable to run "hot". There was also some flicker to the warp engine lighting...

    No idea whether this was the rationale in real life or not, but it's a possibility. On the other hand, red as the color of impulse engines was far from iconic at the time: the TOS movies had generally been doing amber instead, and there were extremely few starship designs in TNG anyway to establish any sort of an impulse engine color scheme.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    IIRC, there were some early stills of the TMP refit w/ impulse engines running blue as well. I chalk this up to being like the amber/blue nav deflector debate (with the Enterprise-E, ironically, going back to an amber/yellow deflector after years of blue in all other ships).
     
  10. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Sure I will buy that explanation regarding the blue impulse engines. Seems I am now leaning more towards the idea of a systematic fleet upgrade vs. the two batch theory. :)
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, Starfleet policy towards upgrading or producing the Nebula class doesn't exactly strike me as systematic... We get a wide range of variants, this time without the helpful progression of registry numbers, and Starfleet doesn't demonstrate a predisposition towards any particular variant.

    Add to this the Miranda class diversity and the one-off nature of the Lakota refit... Given all this, I personally favor "byzantine" over "systematic" in the Ambassador case as well. ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well I suppose one ship had to be the first variant, it is possible that the first few ships were all of slightly variants in design. To see which one worked best.
     
  13. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Indeed the Nebula design and Miranda designs are definitely not systematic and not relative to registry, however in those cases it seems pretty conclusive that those variants are the result of specialized mission purposes which would justify different senor pods and weapons etc. The only exception was the Honshu subclass which exists because whoever made the Nebula CGI for First Contact (supposedly) used a Galaxy template to make the render thus looking different. And it's logical that the Lakota refit (again for specialized purpose) had been more prevalent in Starfleet we just only saw one onscreen in DS9. On that note if the Ambassador class had made it onscreen in Generations it would have had even lower warp engines than seen in the series and thus another variant. Eep!

    Again it's a question that points to the intent of the design team at TNG what the cowl on the bussards and other changes were supposed to represent. Either way I do appreciate the input. It's fun to ponder this stuff although I'm still not sure what the answer could be lol. :)
     
  14. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The fact that the Enterprise B was built as a variant is a strong selling point that as you say Macleod one of these ships was the first variant.
     
  15. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I liken the bussard cowls on the supposedly "later" Ambassador variants as evolutionary steps towards what would eventually become the Galaxy-style "star drive". The Ambassador platform was clearly around for a very long time and quite prolific. It's entirely within reason that it served as a multi-platform test-bed during its time in service.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Unfortunately in canon, there is no straight answer, but I'd guess that the vast majority of people would conclude that the Enterprise-C variant came first, mainly because of the bussard collector caps. However, I've noticed that the Yamaguchi's sensor dome underneath the saucer is more reminiscent of the Excelsior's dome rather than the more simplistic Ent-C dome, so YMMV. Plus, the only Ambassador bridge interior we saw was the Ent-C's, and it was reminiscent of the TMP-era ships.

    One of the things that irked me about the Ambassador class is that we know so little about it. We don't know when the prototype was constructed, we don't know how long the class was in production, we don't know why most of the known ships of the class had registry numbers of 1XXXX and 2XXXX while the older Excelsior and Miranda classes had registries of 3XXXX and 4XXXX, and we don't know why we never saw the class again when we saw those huge fleet shots in DS9.
     
  17. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    I'm happy with the notion that the two variants may even have been produced simultaneously. Today, we have several variants of cars, airliners, and even naval warships being produced at the same time. Normally this is because of slightly different mission requirements: for nor example, a Boeing 737-600 series is shorter than an -800 and carries less passengers, but makes more economic sense for flights of a certain duration on routes that see so many paying people.

    It's entirely possible that the variant carries out a slightly different mission than the original, or is equipped to do so. We similarly know that the Excelsior and her variants were produced concurrently, with some batches sporting the extra bulges while later vessels lack them. Who knows what these changes are - more cargo space for some, an extra shuttle bay?

    Maybe it's like today's Airbus A380, which comes in two versions depending on which engine the airline chooses. This could also be an example of that - Ambassadors meant for deep space exploration missions would have slightly different engines optimized for long duration warp, plus an extra shuttle or cargo bay for the additional stuff they'd be taking with them. Fifty years after construction, those ships would still maintain those variations regardless of what mission they were actually assigned to...

    Mark
     
  18. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    And I never figured Ambassadors to be created in huge numbers to begin with. I like to think, based on the background, that these ships were the Galaxy-class of their time: the biggest and the best Starfleet could muster, for the big long exploration missions that made us proud. There wouldn't be more than a dozen like her in the fleet, like the Constitution or Galaxy (initially anyway) of their days.

    As such, inasmuch as the Enterprise-D rarely ever ran into one of her sister ships, the Ambassadors would be rare enough that we would almost never see them - indeed, how often did the E-D rendevous with one on-screen? Horatio, Zhukov, Excalibur? So not seeing them amongst the dozens of other ships wouldn't be that big a deal, since they were not so common to begin with. Similarly, I like to think that some of the Ambassador class is still doing the mission they were built for, and are simply WAY out there and not able to be recalled in time to participate in the Dominion War.

    Remember the two deep-space explorers that were originally supposed to rendezvous with Voyager in "six or seven years", putting them at least twenty years away from the Federation? Ambassadors. Yeah. :)

    Mark
     
  19. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While I suppose that's an ok in-universe explanation, it doesn't really fit with what we saw on screen.

    Ent-C: Operating near the Klingon border in 2344.
    Zhukov: Rendezvousing with the Ent-D to transfer a Vulcan ambassador.
    Excalibur: Assigned to the tachyon detection grid.
    Yamaguchi: Participated in the Wolf 359 battle.

    None of these missions I would classify as "deep-space," nor would I infer that the class was made for deep-space exploration based solely on this.

    And while your point was that all the "other" Ambassadors with these four exceptions were all away on deep-space missions, simply because we never saw much of them, then how do we explain the absence of the numerous other classes we only saw a few times or not at all?

    Andromeda
    Antares
    Apollo
    Bradbury
    Centaur type
    Challenger
    Cheyenne
    Chimera
    Constellation
    Curry type
    Deneva
    Freedom
    Hokule'a
    Istanbul
    Korolev
    Mediterranean
    Merced
    New Orleans
    Niagara
    Norway
    Olympic
    Renaissance
    Rigel
    Sequoia
    Springfield
    Surak
    Wambundu
    Yeager
    Yorkshire
    Zodiac


    Where were all they during the DS9 fleet battles against the Dominion? Deep space as well?:p
     
  20. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    For myself, there was the variant USS Antares, with its registry of NCC-9844. I tend to think of this as the class ship of the Antares-class starship. Several of these ships were seen near Starbase 375.

    The Centaur-type, Curry-type, Norway-class, and Yeager-type were identified in the battle to retake DS9 by the DS9: Tech Manual. An Okudagram identified the Olympic-class taking part in the Dominion War. Dialogue places the Rigel-class in that war.

    According to causality reports, and using information from the Encyclopedia, the Apollo-class, the Constellation-class, the Hokule'a-class, the Istanbul-class, and the Surak-class were involved in that war.