Re-evaluating (prime universe) starship sizes.

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Longinus, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All those tedious debates about the size of Abrams' Enterprise (which I do not wish replay in this thread) made me think about sizes of the ships we take for granted. Sure, size of the many prime universe ships have been "known" for a long time, and used rather consistently in several publications. But if we hadn't been told that the Connie refit was 305 metres in length, would we have come to this conclusion by the screen evidence alone?

    http://ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/excelsior-size.htm

    This article on EAS discusses several aspects of Exelsior class, that do not match with the commonly accepted length of about 470 metres. One of the cues for larger size is the windows on the saucer rim. Window placement just doesn't make sense at the given size. However, Bernd dismisses this based on the fact that same problem exists in both versions of the Constitution-class. But what if one would go to the another direction, and deduce that this means that the Constitution-class size figure is wrong as well? Window placement would make more sense in 350-400 metre Connie after all, maybe we could even fit in that huge hall from TMP in the ship then as well.

    http://ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/jefferies.htm

    This article discusses about the difficulties of fitting Jefferies tubes in various ships. Again, this problem only exists because the insistence on the given ship sizes.

    So, as an intellectual exercise, if we would ignore commonly accepted size figures, and tried to gauge sizes of these well known ships by screen evidence alone, would we come to different conclusions? My gut feeling is that many ships would make more sense were they a bit larger. Am I alone in this? Or is the screen evidence just too inconsistent to make fair judgements?
     
  2. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I think Cary L. Brown has been working on a thread about this particular topic (focusing on the TOS Enteprise, assuming a length of over 1,060 ft.) for some time. I imagine he'll be along any time now...
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As a random tangent, if one scales the Kelvin and the similar-looking Saladin for the same saucer diameter, one also gets roughly the same engine length and bridge diameter and so forth - and if the Kelvin has a single-deck saucer, then the Saladin has the one-and-a-half that corresponds to the classic 298 m Constitution interpretation. The half-deck would be the downward-extended rim that creates the famed concavity on the saucer... Probably out of an "original" flat Kelvin saucer. The window rows on the two ship types are fairly good matches for such an interpretation, too.

    All I'm saying is, the 1.5 deck saucer rim could make sense after all. The window rows on the TOS saucer don't support two decks too well, either - four decks would be more probable. But 1.5 is a fun arrangement that may stem from a single-deck original structure refitted for extra gear, or simply adopted to allow for the concavity which may have been desirable for aerodynamics or somesuch.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For windows to make sense at Connie, one would need to assume two full decks, plus some extra space at both bottom and top. This would make some sense, as this extra space could house shield systems (which might required to be located near the surface of the hull) and some other stuff such as Jefferies tubes. Similar arrangement would be plausible for Exelsior as well.
     
  5. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Some fans have expressed a belief that the ship would scale better at 1,080 feet which was twice the size of the original 540 foot model and allegedly conformed to some markings on the hull. Granted I don't know if it's valid as they originally had a dome covering the sensor/nav-deflector dish and I think that played a role in the hull markings.

    Cary L. Brown's design centers around a 1,067 foot ship

    Brian Shaw was doing a lot of blueprint work based on the 3-foot model and the 11 foot model and planned to make blueprints assuming both 947 and 1,080 foot models.

    I personally prefer the 1,080 foot design as it helps make some things fit better than the 947 foot design does.

    This would make the TOS-Enterprise around 14 percent bigger than the official 947 foot figure. The Refit Enterprise would therefore be a little under 347.5 meters

    Looking at the Excelsior, I personally think the Ex-Astris Scientia article covers it all quite well, based on the MSD the ship would have to be at least 680 meters, and based on the gash in the hull covering three decks, it would probably exceed 700.

    Since the Enterprise would be 14% bigger so would the Excelsior. This would make the Excelsior at least 775 meters to over 798 meters in length. Big ship huh?

    I assume everything else would be scaled up by 14% as well so that would make the D-7 which was originally 228.3 meters at a little over 260 meters.
     
  6. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So will the saucer windows make sense at 347 metre refit Connie? I was estimating that at least 20% size increase would be needed, but that was just eyeballing. As for Exelsior, I would ignore MSD, it is not really properly visible on the screen. However, hull details are better cues, and at least windows would work better at about 600 metre length.
     
  7. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I also believe the Excelsior would work a lot better at around 600 meters or so. Most obviously there's the problem of the "balcony" thing just above the outer rim of the saucer, which seems to correspond to a full deck. If anything, this gives us a reason why the Constitutions weren't still in service in the 24th century where the Excelsiors were: probably, it's because smaller ships have somewhat shorter lifespans and are more easily replaced by new designs. Not that this explains the dime-a-dozen Mirandas, except possibly their cheapness and expandability.
     
  9. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Expanding the size of the Enterprise works especially well on the refit; on the traditionally accepted view of two decks on the saucer rim, the windows are practically floor level on the upper deck and ridiculously high on the lower. A larger scale with 3 or 4 decks on the saucer rim would not suffer nearly as much. Likewise the gigantic rec room set fits much better into this sort of scale, as the large square windows seem to span nearly an entire deck's worth of height.

    Unfortunately TMP's extensive visuals pretty much dictate the exact size of the ship in several scenes, the most clear being:
    The travel pod. We see people inside the travel pod and it's docking port, along with the corresponding size of the Enterprise's one. Since docking ports are of a standard size and located throughout the ship, we can use them to extract a size.
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Despite the problem with the docking ports, the fact is the ports were designed as part of a "universal airlock" system by Probert that later productions totally ignored. Even the shuttles that were designed to use the feature were dropped after TMP, and the travel pod footage is merely recycled for Wrath of Khan.

    Therefore we could actually get away with either fudging the size of the travel pods (and therefore, the airlocks they are designed to mate with) to come up with a larger airlock size, or we could simply ignore the travel pod sequences altogether and assume those large hatches are some type of space probe launch bays or something of that nature, scaling up the size accordingly.

    That would give you some wiggle room for the refit, but then you have the problem of the deck count not completely matching the window count. Not that this is necessarily a "problem" since there's no technical reason why every deck on the ship should have at least one window (in point of fact, not all of them do, so it's easy to get around).
     
  11. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well the window at the front of the pod is curved - maybe it acts like a magnifier, making the people inside seem larger (and so the pod smaller) than it actually is. Eh, I've used flimsier arguments before and got away with it! ;)

    The first half-dozen episodes of TOS also seem to suggest a larger starship, such as:
    A lot of the cabins and related action take place on "Deck 12". On an "official" ship size d.12 is (at best) in the secondary hull, more likely in the dorsal. If the ship were in the region of 2000' long, that would place Deck 12 at the widest point of the saucer; much tidier.
    Also, Scotty's line in "Mudd's Women" about the ship being a "million" tons would not be so out of place (or have to be retconned into meaning something else)
     
  12. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am not talking about doubling the size here (that would be just ridiculous ;)), and trying to fit four full decks at the saucer rim, would require just that.

    I've been following Cary's thread, and it was indeed one of the things that convinced me that somewhat larger size works better. Did he fiddle with the saucer window height though? That can easily be done wit the original, but not as much with the refit, as the stripes at the saucer rim clearly dictate the window placement.

    As for the travel pod scene, I am talking about a size alteration of 10-25% here, less than the difference between TOS shuttle interiors and exteriors, nothing obviously noticeable in such a scene.
     
  13. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think Cary's done some minor adjustment to bring the windows into line with his decks, but from the looks of things nothing too major.

    I personally think a 1080' TOS Enterprise fits far better than a 947' one, especially viewing the height and size of the interior sets. But there's nothing to say that the refit has to increase in size 14% as well. Indeed, TMP set heights are noticeably lower than on TOS - might this suggest that the refit is actually slightly smaller, perhaps in line with a sleeker, more compact design?

    Just some thoughts :)
     
  14. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, to make windows fit, refit has to be larger than 305 metres. Of course, the refit don't necessarily have to be exactly 5.5% longer than the original, as on generally accepted figures suggest. I am sometimes pondered what size ratio between the refit and the original would allow to retain as much of the original's structure as possible.
     
  15. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    But you are still inclined to believe that the refit must be larger than the original?

    After reviewing Cary's suppositions, I have to admit I'm a bit confused as to what the size relationship between the refit and the original maybe, based on what he's saying.
     
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As far as I know, nothing on screen ever said that the refit was larger than the original, it's just one of those "facts" that has established itself over the years. Cary's main suggestion for determining the TOS E's size was to try different lengths until he found one that best fitted - and there's no reason not to do the same here.

    As far as retaining as much of the original structure as possible, the two ships are such different shapes that nothing much of the original is likely to have remained - there's a couple of good articles on this out there, but I don't have them to hand. Anyone know the ones I mean?
     
  17. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pretty much only parts that even somewhat match are the middle of the saucer and the very front of the secondary hull. And for that to happen the original has to be a bit shorter than the refit.
     
  18. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Only if the secondary hull doesn't shift position, which is pretty much has to due to the shape of the refit dorsal. A good article that deals with this issue is here:
     
  19. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure why people feel the need to guess at sizes or modify sizes, when specific measurements were given.

    For example (and the example I'm most familiar with), by the time of Jefferies final plans for the Enterprise (on November 7th, 1964), he had already decided on the ships over all dimensions. People have been trying to shoe-horn in 11 decks into the primary hull ever since TMoST was released, but Jefferies never envisioned 11 decks... he envisioned 8 decks.

    Even with that, I've seen some people guess how to fit those decks into the primary hull. But why guess at all? He gave very specific numbers for the deck floor heights.
    Deck 1 (bridge) is at 34 ft
    Deck 2 is at 24 ft
    Deck 3 is at 12 ft
    Deck 4 is at 2 ft
    Top saucer plane is at 0 ft
    Deck 5 is at -10 ft
    Deck 6 is at -20 ft
    Deck 7 is at -30 ft
    Deck 8 is at -40 ft​
    And if we apply that to the 11 foot model as originally built (scaled with the model's diameter set to 417 ft) we get this...


    I see a lot of people making tons of compromises when looking at this stuff because they either can't or won't see how Jefferies laid out all of this originally. Which is sad considering the workmanship of some of these projects (which is quite outstanding). But more often than not they are attempting to put out their own vision of the Enterprise (rather than trying to reconstruct Jefferies' vision... which I, personally, think is a better goal).

    All of this has fit quite nicely for me working as strictly to Jefferies' specifications as I can, but I'm not the only one. aridas has done a ton of work starting with the same information and reached pretty much the same conclusions.

    All this stuff fits like a glove... but if you aren't going to put the gloves on correctly, I can see the need for going with gloves that are several sizes larger.




    As for the refit, people seem to forget (or ignore) the fact that it was a modification of Jefferies' Phase II design. Jefferies was specific about sizes, and Probert followed Jefferies' original work very closely...

    [​IMG]

    And when you work from Jefferies original scale, what you get for the TMP Enterprise is something close to 987 ft for the over all length.


    The history of this is that someone out side the art department decided to round the length up to 1000 ft. But here again, staying with Jefferies the primary hull has only 8 decks (at the same heights as given above)... and even Probert kept the decks at about the same positions in sketches he did for TMP.
     
  20. Longinus

    Longinus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am quite familiar with the measurements given. But there is a problem with applying those numbers to the model, and that pic illustrates this quite clearly: windows at the saucer rim do not align properly. The same issue is repeated in the refit. Considering the amount of dedication given to the original plans, I find it quite odd that the problem exists in the first place.