Excelsior Technical Manual (Third Time's The Charm?)

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hello @yotsuya! Nice to see you! Always good to have a fellow Excelsior fanboy around. :)

    You've put together a wonderful website documenting the changes of the model. I'm relieved to hear that our drawings are very similar, as that accuracy is something that has worried me. I look forward to taking a look at what you have - it's entirely possible I've made my nacelles slightly too long. I'll take a look at my source materials. Meanwhile, I hope you'll stick around and participate in the discussion. You clearly know the topic well.
     
  2. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I used the top and bottom views from the Star Trek III card set and the side view from the ST:TNG The Continuing Mission book. Plus some other sources, but the relative sizes I arrived at all came from those. I had to correct for perspective. The side photo has a nacelle that is very oversized due to perspective. I corrected it to the length in the top and bottom photos. But first I had to correct them. I went through the process twice to be sure and came up with mostly the same results each time. When I did it the second time I found that I had missed a correction for the distance between the impulse engines and the nacelles. When I fixed that a problem I wasn't able to work out at the base of the neck fixed itself and the length to width resulted in matching the 233 cm length (of the Lakota) that the current owners have listed on their website. I have some accurate measurements of the saucer (everyone has it too small).

    [​IMG]
    I had to build the front and back and they are very very flawed. I used all the source photos and knowing what I could still used as reference from the Lakota was essential. I ended up with this (though I think I may have tweaked a few things since I saved this composite view).
    [​IMG]

    The cross sections are the same and assume the 467 meter length is accurate. I think I prefer the fit of the ports to the decks by increasing the size to about 550 meters. And I used the deck positions and spacing of the TMP Enterprise to calculate them.
     
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  3. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh yea, I found one tweak I made. the dome on the top of the nacelles is from the old MPC kit of Darth Vader's Tie Fighter. it is 1 1/4 inches across. I originally drew it as 1 1/2 and this drawing still shows it as 1 1/2.
     
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  4. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    @yotsuya, thank you for sharing these! They are beautiful and inspiring. Plus, it's a bit reassuring to know someone else has stared at the Excelsior at least as much as I have. :rommie:

    I can already see a few nuances I've missed in mine. With your permission, I'd like to compare yours to mine and potentially make a few adjustments to mine based on your findings. I can already spot a couple of things I think you have gotten more right than I have. Luckily you came along to compare notes before I had gotten to deep into the deck plans.

    I am curious about your thoughts on the secondary hull. I see you have some short decks above the hanger bay structure. Ironically, I tried a similar approach at one point based on looking at the full-scale Lakota damage model from "Generations", thinking that starting with the deflector alcove the decks would be small again. What is your thinking there?
     
  5. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My thoughts about the interior... well, with the amount I've looked at the exterior and having detailed the lower hanger fully (starting with the formula 1 race car model chassis that is the base) I made some guesses on the arrangement of the interior. The top deck of the saucer I have left undecided. I picked the second deck for main engineering. The photon torpedos are on the same deck, front and back. Below that is another high deck. Below that the decks are tight. At 467 meters they are less than 8 feet. At 550 is (I don't have my spreadsheet right now) they are 9 feet. So what I did for the 467 cross section was make to very high decks, the upper one for cargo and the lower one for the hanger, and I put in what I call warehouse levels. So instead of a full deck, it is more of a platform and the head room is lower. So rather than the 8 foot ceiling height with 1 foot deck thickness that I did for the saucer (as the TMP design calls for), I make the ceiling height shorter and the deck thickness inches instead of a full foot.

    The cargo area then becomes a good place for a botanical garden at the stern. it aligns with those three large circular ports. I did a lot of study on the deflector dish. I ended up relying on the old FASA model, the original AMT kit, and photos that showed it from the right angle as well as one photo that shows it from the inside. The dish is larger than the opening and the top slopes down. They fixed that in the Generations version, but that disk is very small, though it almost seems to be the original dish part cut down. the bottom of the lower hanger, while it looks like it goes to the outer hull, does not. If it did it would not leave room for the ports on either side or the phasers on the bottom. For the Generations version, they had to cut that part out of the original secondary hull, making it smaller, so it fits differently in the new secondary hull. Slightly higher and further aft. But the apparent bottom of the hanger opening aligns with the new flat bottom of the rear opening. Also, in ST:VI, there are two shuttles docked. It is based on the model that became the Jenolan and is longer and thinner than some of the drawings of the executive shuttle version that you can find online. It does match both the Eaglemoss models of the Jenolan and the executive shuttle.

    I have not figured out what should be in the decks in the neck. Probably mostly engineering systems or maybe some interior rec spaces.

    In the saucer, the 467 length does not line up well. Some of the ports end up being high up rather than at eye level. In the 550ish length they all line up well. Of note, the ports on the Generations version are mostly different. On the saucer they are a different arrangement but mostly in same placement for decks. The secondary hull ports I haven't gotten to yet so I can't tell how those decks will line up, but I expect them to be different for the most part.

    As for the exterior, feed back is welcome. I have based every detail on photos of only the original studio model. Jein's model is flawed. He was working from the same sources I have been (though I think he had the original quality of the photos rather than the relatively low quality I have). I was able to find out the exact width of the saucer and length of the nacelle of his model (he shared some extra castings with someone). All the dimensions of the top of the saucer (diameter of the saucer, bridge deck, front of the impulse deck, width of the top of the impulse engines, bottom of the impulse engines, length of the full impulse deck) are all exact. The details of the slopes I can point to photos that confirm every decision I made. When they cast the new parts for Generations (top of the saucer and bottom of the secondary hull) they appear to have used the original masters as most of the details match up exactly. They also only painted what they needed to. The bottom of the saucer, the top of the secondary hull, the pylons, and nacelles, were never repainted. The blue was (except for the line on the top plate of the secondary hull which remains blue), but nothing else, except for touch up as needed. But that makes the Lakota photos as accurate as any pre Generations photos for most of the details. The impulse cyrstal plate was completely redone for Generations, so that area has three versions in my drawings. The bridge was transferred over intact and the front of the rear hanger was untouched (though they may have painted some of the details differently). The rear weapons pod was removed and reinstalled for Generations and it was put back differently. Originally it stuck down lower than the step just behind it. For Generations it is equal.

    Working on three versions of the ship in the same drawing files has been interesting. Every time I revisit an area to work on the changes I notice things that need to be adjusted. Other things become more solid when two different versions align perfectly. I have not aimed to make an exact rendering of the model. It has many features which are not symetrical and I have preferred to keep things symetrical. Though I have made separate port and starboard drawings because the grids and ports are so different.

    I look forward to any and all input.

    I also sent you a PM regarding some other items.
     
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  6. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    @yotsuya, I like your smaller version way more than mine; those engineering decks always bothered me. Before I decided to upscale to 622 meters, I had made all the decks throughout the ship 9 foot "saucer" decks which was admittedly a fudge. This is the old version of the drawing, but shows kind of what I"m talking about:
    [​IMG]

    In hindsight, I put that little half-deck in the wrong place; it should have been at the top of the secondary hull. There are quite a few other things wrong with this old version, anyway. Your idea of moving engineering down a level and having the topmost engineering hull deck be a header is a good idea, especially with the camber on the top. The idea of the botanical garden at the stern makes sense, too.

    I have had problems with the deflector dish as well; there is one particular reference image that was particularly useful for me, you may have already seen it:
    [​IMG]

    I agree about the shrinking of the deflector in "Generations;" from what I know, the entire lower secondary hull and upper saucer were both removed at this time. I am sure you have seen the photos of them being removed while the ship was in its Melbourne livery, which seems to confirm this theory.

    I thought the two "executive" shuttles were added for a TNG appearance rather than TUC, because from what I could tell in the screencaps from the end of TUC, they aren't there. They make a handy scale reference and gives those grabbers something to do. But, you're right, they were there:
    [​IMG]

    You can them out very clearly:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I think you make a good point about the exterior hull not really being the bottom of the lower hanger; in particular this image seems to show there is some thickness that is easy to miss. The curved interior "ribs" curve up too abruptly towards the keel for that to be the exterior hull.
    [​IMG]

    Additionally in this one you can see ALL the ribs, looking up, meaning that the interior wall seems to almost follow the opening for the hanger bay and therefore is NOT the outer hull, as you said:
    [​IMG]

    This actually makes tons of sense, since the hanger "box" is part of the mounting point accessible from the outside, necessitating no gap between the "box" and the skin:
    [​IMG]

    I completely agree about your saucer and neck thoughts, and about the differences in the saucer between Excelsior and Enterprise-B. I agree too about Jein's model. Your analysis of Jein's model and the changes for the Enterprise-B seem spot-on.

    With the B, I've always wondered if flattening out the opening to the hangar bay was meant to suggest a flat floor?
    [​IMG]

    I've always been a little surprised how much more slim the secondary hull on Mr. Jein's model looks, though:
    [​IMG]

    She just looks too skinny, to me. Additionally, I don't think his secondary hull windows match the original:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The original had six rows of secondary hull windows below the pennant, whereas his has four.

    Anyway, folks, a pause in proceedings and I figure out where the flaws are in my exterior drawings. :rommie:
     
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  7. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've always had the impression that the original model had a much 'fatter' secondary hull - deeper and wider - than the Jein version on which the CGI model was based.
     
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  8. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Without a doubt. Compare:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Look particularly closely at the starboard side of the two. The ILM model doesn't start to taper until just above the blue belly stripes, whereas the Jein model starts tapering closer to the torpedo launchers and banners. This slimness is also present in the AMT model kit and is why it looked so wrong, and why many exterior schematics released over the years have looked so wrong.

    You can also see the upper curve of the deflector alcove is different, presumably because of the different shape of the secondary hull. The intake vents on the horizontal part of the nacelle struts are also missing for good measure.

    I have wondered in the past if Mr. Jein built the new model to the official size, and this is part of some of the difference in details. It would also explain the four window rows I pointed out above.
     
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  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well that seals it, very striking. It's kind of like the difference between an ocean liner and a speedboat - the ILM model feels so much larger and sturdier.

    I think you're right that the Flashback model was designed to the 'official' size.
     
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  10. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Interesting. I'd honestly never paid much attention to the TUC rear shuttles before.
     
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  11. Firebird

    Firebird Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Whoa, I had no idea there was a second Excelsior model made. I'll have to go read up on that on Memory Alpha if they've got anything on it.
     
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  12. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Admiral Premium Member

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    It was at the Christie's auction. IIRC, the top-back deck surface area separated from the secondary hull body under the weight of the warp engines and the primary hull. I gather it wasn't built quite as sturdily as the original.
     
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  13. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, this clearly shows how different Jein's model is (he made many copies of it). But these also clearly show how the deflector recess is shaped. The ST6 image is clearly from below the plane of the top of the secondary hull and is closer to the plane of top of the blue areas. That places it within the height of the dish. Yet the top of the dish is cut off (the glowing section is complete, but you can see the border would have to be cut off or extend higher than the front of the opening). So the full dish is higher than the opening is tall.

    [​IMG]

    This image was key for me. You can see the back side of the dish and you can see the slight slope of it, plus how even the edge is with the top being no different from the sides. This is one of the many odd constructions about this model. One that the FASA miniature and the original AMT kit got right (that the round 2 AMT kit "fixed" so that it is now wrong).
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  14. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The telltale difference is that the nacelles glow blue - the ILM model never had this feature.

    Basically they broke the model in Generations and couldn't turn it back to the normal Excelsior, which is why the Lakota is the only other Enterprise-B style ship.

    Greg Jein made the new model for Flashback, which was later used a couple of times in DS9, most prominently as the Malinche in 'For the Uniform'. It was also the basis for the Foundation Imaging CGI model which was used extensively in DS9.
     
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  15. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  16. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This should more clearly illustrate what I've observed about the deflector dish.

    [​IMG]

    The glowing dish itself aligns almost perfectly with the top of the opening, but I also included the rim (offset to the side slightly due to the angle) which is much talker than the glowing section. Plus the window lines to confirm that this is below the top of the opening and not above it. Compare this to my cross section and the details should match. The angle of this photo being slightly lower than the opening, the glowing disc does not quite clear and the very top of it it is slightly cut off, both in my cross section and in my forward view.

    This entire model seems like Steve Gawley and his team decided that they would deliberately not do the expected, from the odd angles of the impulse deck, to the deflector grid on the saucer, to the navigational deflector and the asymmetrical ports and grid on the secondary hull. This ship has defied my assumptions more times than I can count and I gave up assuming anything. I had to let the model tell me how to draw it. The Ent B had one more curve to throw because they redid all the ports on the saucer and the edge ports are not only a different pattern, but are no longer centered with the upper grid lines. They are offset to line up one of the ports to the grid making the entire pattern offset from the grid.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, that's a good one. I don't think I had the alcove raising quite that much before. Good find.

    While Mr. Jein's work was always great, it always bummed me out that the Excelsior model was so thoroughly converted for "Generations" to not be converted back. Per the TNG Movies sketchbook, much of the thought behind John Eaves' design was that they wouldn't damage the core model in the Nexus sequence. Ironic...

    Like you said earlier, the Jein Excelsior is more a speed boat. It looks and feels to me like the AMT kit, which I don't really mean as a compliment. It doesn't have the weight of the original E.

    I had seen the part, but not the rest of the kit. That's fantastic.

    That is a good illustration of what you meant. And I agree with you - they did everything they could to make it the classic Constitution shape, but then took left turns everywhere. Slanted impulse engines, random flattened and curved surfaces, right angles on the nacelle pylons. I'm just realizing this may be where part of my love for the ole girl comes from... the unexpected. :rommie:
     
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  18. Rekkert

    Rekkert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree about the Jein model, it looks a lot 'faster' and hence smaller, while the original one looks more like an old naval ship, with its 'fatter' secondary hull. It looks slower, but also bigger, more imposing (and beautiful IMO).

    It is unfortunate that most modern models (DST, AMT, CGI appearences) go for the Jein look.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
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  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed entirely. I think this image very well illustrates just how comparatively svelt the Jein model is.

    [​IMG]

    And for good measure...

    [​IMG]

    Still working through comparing my schematics to @yotsuya's. Preliminary, but pretty sure I'm going to have to roll back a bit and make some adjustments. :rommie:
     
  20. yotsuya

    yotsuya Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This was one check I was able to do on my proportions. I'm sure this isn't an exact science, but everything lined up.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I'm guessing there are ways these could be off, but they line up very well. I though I had it once, but when I found a mistake, they lined up even better once I'd fixed it.
     
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