TAS Huron is 225 m long: Designer Bob Kline

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Masao, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Masao

    Masao Commodore Commodore

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    Back in 1974 I attempted to draw a blueprint of TAS’s USS/SS Huron after seeing it on screen in its single episode. In the early 1990s I bought some Trek trading cards that showed clear screen shots of the ship and finally drew a decent blueprint of it. However, because Huron never appeared next to Enterprise, as did the Robot Cargo Ship, its length has never been clear. Estimates range from 70 m (if the size of the windows are used, to 200 m (if its windows each represent a deck), and to 260 m (if its nacelles are the size of Enterprise’s). On the basis of its minor structures (bridge, blocks, sensors), I estimated it to have a length of 100 to 120 m, but that was just a guess. Trek BBS member/professional artist Rob Caswell told me he believes Huron is about 115 m long, and Warp9 has recently guessed a length of 138 m (https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/tas-freighter.262261/), which is also pretty good.

    Luckily Trek BBS member GeekFilter has a podcast (http://trek.fm/saturday-morning-trek) in which he interviewed TAS designer Bob Kline. Because his two interviews with Mr. Kline do not mention the very important (!) information regarding the length of Huron, I had a Trek BBS conversation with GeekFilter to ask him to ask Mr. Kline about Huron.

    GeekFilter said that Mr. Kline told him that no official blueprint of Huron was made, and its size was not stated in the screenplay or the storyboards. Because the ship was designed more than 40 years ago, Mr. Kline doesn’t remember what size was intended. However, when shown a diagram I drew of Enterprise with Hurons of various size, Mr. Kline chose the biggest version of the ship, with a length of 225 m, because a ship of that size would “carry more stuff” than a smaller ship.

    So, 225 meters is how long its designer now things Huron was, “believe it or not!”
     
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  2. Andru

    Andru Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well that's interesting, and probably the closest thing to an official answer we will ever get, unless the design is miraculously reused in ST: Discovery.

    But the real question that Mr. Kline should have been asked is... it is him who came up with the weird registries on ships like the Bonaventure, the robot grain ships, and what in the world was he thinking? :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  3. Lord Other

    Lord Other Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    At the time I don't think they really had any consistent idea of how/or what the registry system would be used for. Considering that the Constellation was the only canon "on-screen" reference for the system, other than Enterprise, it was all guesswork of the writers and production staff of that time (save for the story of how Jefferies originally came up with the hull number for the Enterprise). At least they didn't do something like the serial numbers on electronic equipment and what not..
    "KIRK: Can You identifiy that vessel Mr. Spock?"
    "SPOCK: Reading now, it's a freighter, Commerce class, 0556-771089321J-45559-1217545990616.. (takes a breath) ..313NFT" ;)
     
  4. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly the same length as the NX class, interesting.
     
  5. Candy Consumer

    Candy Consumer Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That (the boldfaced part) is not true.

    Although no names or ship types were given in correspondence, the wall chart in "Court Martial" listed ten registry numbers of "star ships," including that of the Enterprise, and it was canon by then.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x20hd/courtmartialhd009.jpg

    The same episode described the "United Starship Republic" as "number 1371," and it's not a stretch to read that as NCC-1371.
     
  6. Lord Other

    Lord Other Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    I stand corrected,:) the Republic being the exception- there is no _stated_ system for how the registry worked during that time period. The wall chart numbers, as is argued in Jein's article, "The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship" seem to match up with starships from TOS, but it is not implicity _stated_ to be the case by dialogue in the episode, but we can assume it to be so. As for the "NCC" prefix, it is commonly known to be short-form for "Naval Construction Contract"- but for vessels predating the Constitution class, or outside of Starfleet, no relevant system _at that time_ was given, or known.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  7. Andru

    Andru Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah I realize that by then the registry system was in its infancy, what I'm curious about is who got to choose what the ships would be numbered, and why they thought that the Bonaventure should have a suffix-NCC registry. Was it meant to designate a pre-Federation ship? Was it only a mistake? There's not much in the episode to help establish the age of the Bonaventure. Also, were the two robot ships given the same registry number because the animation cells could be reused, or was it supposed to mean something else?

    Actually the pretty much did it, the Vulcan shuttle in TMP had a registry like VS 5047 61192259584-5... :D
     
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  8. Lord Other

    Lord Other Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    That one is a head-scratcher I will agree. I think they did not want to "short" the number too low for flexibility in age (what period it was from) and yet wanted something from its registry to be "Enterprise-esque" so-to-speak. Since TMP was not out at that time, pre-Federation registration numbers like XCV-330 were unknown, and even then, I think would have perhaps made it all the more confusing. As for the TAS freighters- the Huron has a F prefix following the NCC designation, whereas the Sherman class has an G. :)

    Those silly Vulcans and their overly long registration numbers. LOL. Generally I know registration numbers are "more useful" if they are able to be quickly verbalized for the following reason, if from a different TV show, emphasis mine.. lol.

    THE DOCTOR: ...One more thing. Your name.
    ROMANA: What about my name?
    THE DOCTOR: It's too long. By the time I've called out, "Look out..." What's your name?
    ROMANA: [slowly] Romanadvoratrelundar.
    THE DOCTOR: By the time I've called that out, you could be dead. I'll call you "Romana".
    ROMANA: I don't like "Romana".
    THE DOCTOR: It's either "Romana" or "Fred".
    ROMANA: All right, call me "Fred".
    THE DOCTOR: Good. Come on, Romana.

    :hugegrin:
     
  9. Masao

    Masao Commodore Commodore

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    I think having "F" and "G" as part of registry numbers is very useful. If only numerals appear after "NCC-" they rise quickly if there are many classes with many ships. I suppose you could change "NCC" to something else, but I like "NCC" more than ridiculously high, uninformative numerals.
     
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  10. Ithekro

    Ithekro Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What is your name?

    Romanadvoratrelundar, spelled F, R, E, D in your language.
     
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  11. GeekFilter

    GeekFilter Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I DID ask him that! The Bonaventure (which is kind of a pet project that you will see soon) registry seems to be some kind of error made by a line artist between whenever the registry number was chosen and when it was committed to film. The number isn't in the storyboard and it's also not in the script that is available--in fact the Bonaventure itself isn't even there, it's a first draft. Still tying to locate a final draft. The novelizations is a no-dice either.

    I think a logical retcon, that both Bob and Doug Drexler agreed with, is that it was the dawn of the Federation, it's post NX and there is still Earth-Romulan War cleanup, the Federation literally has just been born--administrative tasks and nomenclature can be messy in a new, pan-galactic, organization. If you notice the NX refit is SS Enterprise, and early designs by Dough for the NX had some details of the Bonaventure.

    But, I did clear up the SS/USS issue with the Huron. Though early on SS was used for all ships (eg. the NX refit, the Bonaventure, Valiant, Conestoga etc) by the time we got to Kirk's era SS was reserved for freighters and merchant vessels. In the script, storyboard and novelization the ship is S.S. Huron (a freighter) and Bob, at the time thinking he was fixing an error, changed it to USS. So while on-screen (which is supposed to be the only canon we obey) it says USS, it should have been SS.

    So...yeah--data dump!
     
  12. Andru

    Andru Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I remember from your interview Mr. Kline revealing that the design of the Bonaventure was initially developed as a derelict ship for the episode "Beyond the Farthest Star". Could the registry have been something from his initial sketches that was perpetuated until the final drawing? I remember seeing at least one background ship in the "Time Trap" ship graveyard with a NCC-something registry that might have been a leftover from earlier sketches since the ships there (except for the Bonaventure) are meant to represent alien vessels.

    I guess that make sense, perhaps a temporary registry while the Federation figures out the extent of their fleet.

    Well given that most if not all SS ships have non-NCC registries, the combination of USS and a NCC registry on the Huron actually makes sense! Perhaps the Huron is a Starfleet freighter used to supply Starfleet bases and such.

    I'm not sure why Doug thought the refit NX-01 should be a SS though? True that early ships had the SS prefix, but those were mostly pre-Federation or non-Starfleet ships. As for the Bonaventure, I don't know if it's SS in the script, but onscreen there's no evidence either way.

    The design of the Bonaventure does seem to suggest an intermediate step between the NX-01 and the Constitution-class. I'm not sure what the "first ship to have warp drive installed" description could mean in that context though, given that warp engines go back almost a century by that time.
     
  13. Masao

    Masao Commodore Commodore

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    GeekFilter: There is not such thing as a "data dump." For Techie Trekkies, all information (except boring "personal" information, like feelings and relationships) is extremely important! That's how we get through our tiny, miserable lives. Be proud of providing this data! We thank you.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The former is crewed, the latter is a drone. "Freight"* vs. "Guided"? Giving whole separate number ranges to those would seem like a good idea, now that NCC has been deprived of all information value (It's like giving each car a registry plate reading CAR-<number>). Indeed, fandom has been running with it ever since, and didn't some TAS artwork promote an S prefix already (the saucerlike scout that never made an appearance unless we count a glimpse of a corner in "Mudd's Passion")?

    This would explain why the crew wears Starfleet uniforms. :vulcan:

    Is it true? Many a ship in Trek was called "starship", and SS is supposedly the shorthand for that, be it in dialogue or pennant paint. But we didn't actually see SS in pennant paint, like, ever.

    A USS may be an SS, and an SS may be a USS; the categories aren't logically in conflict or queer S/D relationship, and do have an intersection in de Venn diagrams...

    In fact, the ship we do see on the foreground should be the one that cannot be the Bonaventure. After all, it's not on screen yet when Scotty identifies the Bonaventure!

    Quite possibly one of the background ships, or a ship that left the viewscreen before the camera turned towards it, is the real Bonaventure - and indeed was the very first with warp drive fitted, back in the wild days of Cochrane, and with the looks to match.

    Timo Saloniemi

    * A definite misnomer for military applications: the military doesn't charge freight when it hauls stuff, and labels all the haulers "transport" anyway, regardless of whether it's goods, troops, fuel or horses being moved. But intuitively fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  15. Andru

    Andru Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I always thought the G stood for Grain! :D
    There were fan-made schematics of the Bonaventure with NCC-S2100 at some point, no idea where that registry came from.

    Maybe it's this one then... But a close-up of the same ship reveals it has a more alien look and no registry at all.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Amusingly, it's no doubt one of those considered but not chosen by Mark Wilson for his "Ships of the Delta Triange" series of blueprints as a Federation design (mainly by virtue of having those familiar nacelles). He turned a very similar design from the episode into the Hopi class large survey vessel.

    Another one, with a single nacelle and multiple cylinders, became the automated fuel transport Skagerrak, with a G prefix registry for the drone nature...

    What's intriguing about the Sargasso Sea of wrecks is that the ships within Spock's scanning range are mere "centuries" old (even though the anomaly has been eating ships "since ancient times"). A significant percentage of them could then well be of UFP or Earth make, especially if the Delta Triangle is in the UFP sphere of influence (despite the three-week commlag) in Kirk's days and therefore warrants a visit by him.

    The two versions are seen against dissimilar backgrounds. Perhaps aliens/civilians bought a Federation/Starfleet design or vice versa, and examples of both appear here?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  17. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    My pet theory for the Bonaventure was that it was funded (at least in part) by an eccentric billionaire who was taken aboard the Enterprise. He was able to see the workings interior and exterior of the ship, but he managed to escape before they did their "beam yourself into yourself mind wiping trick." So when the opportunity came up the build a warp ship, this guy drew up some basic designs based on what he could remember of the Enterprise, and said, "Build it like that."

    I've got the whole thing figured out in my head. It even has a "transporter room"; which really just has pods you climb into and they land you on the surface, then launch you back up to the ship. Projectile guns that look like Kirk era phasers. Radios that look like communicators, etc.
     
  18. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I like to think Bonaventure was a predecessor to Enterprise NX-01, that Starfleet tried to build a big cruiser right off the bat (with a top speed of warp 1.9, extrapolating from "First Flight"), lost it on its third flight and went back to the drawing board and designed the Franklin and then Enterprise NX-01. Years later, Starfleet revisited the basic Bonaventure design to create the Constitution-class.

    I'd love to see someone reimagine the Bonaventure with USS Franklin-style hull details.
     
  19. PCz911

    PCz911 Captain Captain

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    The warp engines sure look federation-esque

    That design sure looks like similar to this one.....

    http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/schematics/tas-delta-triangle1.jpg
     
  20. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A roll bar that pre-dates Reliant...hadn't thought of that before.
     
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