Memory Alpha

Constitution class model

Revision as of 11:03, February 1, 2013 by Sennim (Talk | contribs)

40,398pages on
this wiki
Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Constitution class model

The eleven-foot model

During the production of the Star Trek films and television shows, most notably TOS and the first six films, numerous studio models representing the Template:ShipClass have been created (in particular, for the USS Enterprise), more than for any other class of starship. Starting out with traditional physical studio models, advances in technology has resulted in that digital versions were added to the array of models used in the Star Trek franchise.

Designing the original Enterprise

Constitution class design finding a direction

Designing a new starship, finding a direction

Constitution class chosen design elements finetuning

Homing in on the final design utilizing the chosen design elements

As art director on the original series, Matt Jefferies was given the assignment to design the Enterprise itself, initially with input from Pato Guzman. His only guideline was Gene Roddenberry's firm list of what he did not want to see: any rockets, jets, or fire-streams. The starship was not to look like a classic, and thus dated, science-fiction rocket ship, but neither could it resemble anything that would too quickly date the design. Somewhere between the cartoons of the past and the reality of the present, Matt Jefferies was tasked with presenting a futuristic design of his own, "We also drew on a lot of research material on Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Again we said, 'This we will not do.' There have been a lot lot of things that took place in those comic strips that have proven out today, but pictorially we felt they were hokey. They used a lot of air-foil fins and rocket tube-like shapes that had no feeling of practicality or necessity. Roddenberry insisted everything be believable. We had to base it all on fairly solid scientific concepts, project it into the future, and try to visualize what the fourth, fifth or tenth generation of present-day equipment would be like. So working within those limits, Pato and I sat down and began to sketch out ideas. When we had about two walls covered with these sketches, we called Roddenberry in and he looked them over. Damn it but he can be irritating. He liked only a piece of this one or a small part of that one, but none of our ideas had what he really was looking for. So we did twenty-some more designs, using the few elements he had said he liked." (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 79-80) The theory that space could be warped – a hypothetical means of faster-than-light travel – had first been proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905. Years later, Star Trek itself established that Zefram Cochrane had first demonstrated warp drive in 2063. In the 1960s, however, warp drive – a delicately balanced, intricate web of chemistry, physics, mathematics and mystery – initially perplexed Matt Jefferies. He explained:

"I was concerned about the design of ship that Gene told me would have 'warp' drive. I thought, 'What the hell is warp drive?' But I gathered that this ship had to have powerful engines – extremely powerful. To me, that meant that they had to be designed away from the body. Boy, I tried a lot of ideas. I wanted to stay away from the flying saucer shape. The ball or sphere, as you'll see in some of the sketches, was my idea but I ended up with the saucer, after all. Gene would come in to look over what I was doing and say, 'I don't like this,' or, 'This looks good.' If Gene liked it, he'd ask the Boss (Herb Solow) and if the Boss liked it, then I'd work on that idea for a while [....] So I worked on it for a while, and a couple of weeks later, Herb and Gene came in. They liked a bit of this and a bit of that, and I worked on those bits. And then I came up with something I really like, so I preloaded it – used lots of color and put it in a prominent place that made it kind of stand out. And that worked! It looked better than the other sketches and Gene said, 'That one looks good!' They – and Bobby Justman, too, when he came aboard later – were a dream to work with." (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 62)
The design process itself, however, proved to be arduous and time-consuming. Starting from Roddenberry's ambiguous guidelines, Jefferies started out by experimenting with shapes, as he recalls; "There was a lot of floundering going on because I didn't know where the hell we were going and I had to start coming up with an envelope to work inside of. I did hundreds of sketches. Gene liked a piece of this and a piece of something else, so I tried to see what I could do with the pieces." Dozens more sketches followed, experimenting with the configuration of the selected components. "My thinking was, because of the ship's speed, there had to be terrifically powerful engines. They might be dangerous to be around, so maybe we'd better put them out of the way somewhere, which would also make them what, in aviation circles, we call the QCU – quick change units – where you could easily take one off and put another on. Then for the hull, I didn't really want a saucer because of the term 'flying saucer', and the best pressure vessel of course is a ball, so I started playing with that. But the bulk got in the way and the ball just didn't work. I flattened it out and I guess we wound up with a saucer!" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 25)

Jefferies Enterprise sketch

The sketch Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow approved

In August 1964, the producers approved a final configuration, based on a color illustration and a small balsa wood miniature Jefferies had made, to give Roddenberry and the NBC execs a three-dimensional feel for the ship. (It is possible that this model was even used in the original title sequence of the first pilot, TOS: "The Cage". [1]) "When Gene and the NBC people came in – I think there were about eight of them – they did navigate to the color piece, and I said, 'Well, if you like that, how about the model,' and held it up," recalled Jefferies. "Gene took it by the string and immediately it flopped over, because the birch dowels were heavier! I had an awful time trying to unsell that. And, of course, when our first show hit the air and TV Guide came out, they ran a picture of the ship on the cover, upside down." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 26) The "unselling" Jefferies referred to stemmed from the fact that Roddenberry actually liked the upside down orientation. "I held it up and Gene took it by the string and it immediately flopped upside down. He liked that better. I didn't. That was one of our biggest arguments which I won."[2] Jefferies spent the next few months designing the color scheme and refining the chosen design. Theorizing that space was too hazardous for important machinery being on the outside of the hull, Jefferies decided that the hull had to be smooth (which had the added benefit of reflecting light in subsequent shoots). He had to fight off several production team members, who wanted to keep adding detail to the surface. In the end, Jefferies spent full time – the better part of four months – designing the ship.

Early USS Enterprise design concepts by Matt Jefferies

Jefferies' ball-shaped design

Early USS Enterprise ring-ship design concepts by Matt Jefferies

Jefferies' ring ship design

Notably, two of Jefferies' earlier designs captured the imaginations of later Star Trek production team members, like Rick Sternbach, Andrew Probert, Michael Okuda, and Gregory Jein. Through their fascination and persistence, these designs eventually found their way into canon; a "ring ship" design (dismissed by Roddenberry as being too frail-looking) became the USS Enterprise XCV 330, as well as an inspiration for Doug Drexler's design of the Vulcan Template:ShipClass, and the ball-shaped primary hull design, which Jefferies himself dismissed, was the foremost influence on the designs of the Template:ShipClass [3] and Template:ShipClass.

A large part of Jefferies' original design sketches was sold off on 12 December 2001 in the The Star Trek Auction, in order to raise funds for the "Motion Picture and Television Fund".

Three-foot model

USS Enterprise three foot model ventral view

The three-foot studio model, dorsal view

USS Enterprise three foot model

The three-foot studio model

USS Enterprise three foot model three-quarter ventral view

The three-foot studio model, ¾ dorsal view

After final approval of his design, Jefferies went on to produce a detailed set of construction blueprints – with orthographic views of the ship – and sent it to the Howard Anderson Company, which was to build the pre-production model. (Blueprints published in Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, pp. 70-71, were erroneously identified as those. They are, in fact, post-April 1966 construction blueprints drawn up as visual production aids and used for AMT's production shop for making molds for a later edition of their first Enterprise model kit, being printed on the side of the box for the modeler's reference sake.) Richard C. Datin, Jr. (who owned a set of the original blueprints) was eventually subcontracted to build what ultimately became known as the "three-foot" model of the Enterprise, though its actual size was exactly thirty-three inches. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51)

Datin later recalled, "All lettering and the logo artwork on the secondary hull were decals. The rest, I believe, were painted on, such as the hatch indications [....] I began work on the small Enterprise on Wednesday, November 4, 1964, and completed it by November 15 for a total of 110 hours of my time. Since I did not have a large enough wood lathe to turn out the major components (the primary and secondary hulls and nacelles), I subbed this to an old-time woodworker whose name, unfortunately, escapes me. My portion of the work was assembly, painting, and decorating. The three-footer was comprised of pattern pine – a sugar pine – primarily because it was kiln dried, free of knots, and consisted of a very fine grain. It finishes well and takes paint just as good. I was able to purchase a Plexiglas dome, a ready-made item for modelers, for the bridge. The deflector dish and secondary hull front cover were fabricated from rolled brass strips and silver-soldered together, then sprayed with a gold color lacquer." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51) The paint schemes were selected by Jefferies. [4] After review by Roddenberry, Datin did some minor revisions and delivered the model on 14 December 1964, at a total estimated cost of US$600. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51)


USS Enterprise three foot model held by Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy holding the three-foot model prior to its modifications

USS Enterprise three foot model held by William Shatner

Shatner holding the three-foot model after its modifications

Although never slated for filming purposes, but rather to serve as a study model for the yet-to-be-built larger model and for public relations purposes, including well-publicized publicity shots of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy holding the model, it eventually was used as such (The shots of Nimoy with the model were apparently taken before April 1966 as they featured the model prior to its modifications, whereas the shots of Shatner featured the model after its modifications).

A time-line drawn up by model aficionado David Shaw elaborated [5]:

  • 4 November 1964 (Wednesday): Richard Datin agrees to build an approximate three foot long model based on an early set of plans which give a real world scale of 1:192 (if this had been the final drawings, this would have been the 540' version, but the proportions of this early drawing are actually different from the final plans... including the length of the model) and for the final large scale model (the plans on the page would have most likely been 1:48).
  • 7 November 1964 (Saturday): The final construction plans are finished. These plans include the scale reference of "FULL SIZE & 3" = 1'-0" TO LARGE MINIATURE".
  • 8 November 1964 (Sunday): Richard Datin receives the plans and starts building the full size 33-inch model out of kiln-dried sugar pine.
  • 15 November 1964 (Sunday): A little more than a week later the 33-inch model is presented to Roddenberry for approval. This may have been when the addition of exterior windows was requested (which were not part of the original design), and the model returns with Datin after the viewing.
  • 8 December 1964 (Tuesday) (or Sunday 29 November 1964, according to model builder Mel Keys [6]): Construction is started on the 11-foot model.
  • 14 December 1964 (Monday): The 33-inch model is delivered to Roddenberry for final approval while "The Cage" is being filmed in Culver City (there are images of Hunter and Roddenberry examining the model on this date). This model is used for all effects shots in "The Cage" except the most important one (the zoom in on the bridge).
  • 24 December 1964 (Thursday): Shooting of "The Cage" wraps, only one effects shot still outstanding (all other model shots use the 33-inch model).
  • 29 December 1964 (Tuesday): The 11-foot model (built by Datin, Mel Keys, and Vern Sion) was delivered to the Howard A. Anderson studio. This version is not powered and the windows are painted on the surface of the model. Even then the model was designed to be shot from the right side only.
  • 23 January 1965 (Saturday): After "The Cage" is already in the can and waiting for network approval of the new series, additional test shots of the 11-foot model are taken in its original condition.
  • 30 January 1965 (Saturday): Aspects of the ship's size like it being 190,000 tons were being distributed to the media describing the new show. (The Making of Star Trek, p.171; the promotional brochure – reprinted in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story as a separate section – upgraded the tonnage to 390,000 tons.)
Enterprise 3 foot model final appearance

Final appearance of the three-foot model in "Requiem for Methuselah"

USS Enterprise three foot delivered to Gene Roddenberry by Richard C. Datin Jr.

Datin (l) delivers the model to Roddenberry, 14 December 1964

Recognizing her use for forced-perspective shots, Anderson shot stock footage for use in the title sequence and future episodes. Besides "The Cage", the model appeared most notably in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "By Any Other Name", and finally in "Requiem for Methuselah", ironically here as a desktop table model. In this last appearance, it could be discerned that the model had been damaged sometime earlier. Stills show that the hangar doors were missing, as well as some of the "intercoolers" on the rear top of the nacelles. In the episodes after the two pilots, the three-footer can be recognized by the fact that she, unlike her big sister, is not lit internally.

In August 1965 and April 1966, a series of revisions were made to the eleven-footer, of which the latter were mirrored onto the three-footer, except for the internal lighting and the animated nacelle domes, which were deemed too expensive. The model was stored away, after its final appearance in "Requiem for Methuselah".

USS Enterprise three foot model in Gene Roddenberry's office

Last known (official) photo of the three-foot model in Roddenberry's office (taken by Susan Sackett)

After cancellation of TOS, the three-footer was given by the studio to Roddenberry, when he returned to the studio in May 1975 in preparation for a second Star Trek production, and subsequently resided in his office for some years. Reportedly, he loaned the model to somebody during the late 1970s but later forgot to whom he had lent it, as was related to William S. McCullars' now-defunct IDIC website by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry on 10 July 1997. She stated, "That particular ship was a real model and it was Gene's – he loaned it to someone and Gene forgot to get it back and it was never returned. It's a shame because it's a piece of stolen property and since it has historical value – it is quite priceless." [X]wbm According to David Shaw the model went missing when it was on loan to one of the Effect Houses as reference for the upcoming project. [7] In 2010, personal assistant to Roddenberry for seventeen years, Susan Sackett, shed some more light on the issue, "Last I heard, it was on someone's coffee table. It was ripped off during the late 1970s when the first movie was being made. It was last seen at a special effects house... btw, I took that photo!". [8] The Effects House Shaw and Sackett refer to might have been Brick Price Movie Miniatures as two photos showing the Phase II model under construction exhibit a reference model in the background. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 60)

The model – for all intents and purposes, the very first studio model in the Star Trek franchise – has been missing ever since. [9]

Eleven-foot model

After the first review of the three-footer, Roddenberry green-lighted the construction of the large model, which would be exactly four times the size of the small model. Again, Richard Datin was entrusted with the job. This time, he was forced - due to time restraints and the limited size of his own workshop - to subcontract the bulk of the construction. The company he choose was Burbank-based Production Models Shop, owned and operated by Volmer Jensen. Most of the work fell on his employees, Mel Keys and Vern Sion, closely supervised by Datin.

On constructing the "eleven-footer", Datin remembered:

"The saucer section was constructed in two separate halves, top and bottom sections, of "Royalite" plastic sheet vacuum-formed over plaster molds, each representing the top half and bottom half of the saucer. The formed sheets in turn were supported, or held together, by a series of plywood ribs or struts radiating from the center. I have no idea how many ribs there were but a sufficient number to support the nearly one-eighth-inch thick sheet of Royalite. The plastic surface was thin enough to be slightly pressed inward with a finger. (...) At the point where the (solid wood) dorsal connected to the underside of the saucer, additional framework was added to strengthen the connection to the saucer. The dorsal was fastened to the saucer by one or two, most likely two, lag screws whose heads were set in below the top exterior surface of the the saucer. A small, low profile section made of wood hid the screws. The teardrop-shaped bridge section was made from a solid piece of wood with in its center hollowed out for installation of the hemispherical-shaped Plexiglas (bridge) dome (the same for the underside dome)...

"The two engine nacelles consisted of a tapered frame constructed of plywood ribs fastened to the respective shaped solid wood ends," recalls Datin further. "The nacelle surfaces that faces each other were flat elongated areas of wood that were set in from the outer skin surface. Other details were added, such as what looked and was described as wood shaped "handles", which Gene took an instant dislike at my terminology. But to me no better description fits! The rib frame was the covered with a heavy gauge pre-rolled sheet metal. A formed corrugated Plexiglas sheet covered the sides of the "S"-curved aft ends, while the forward domes were comprised of a semi-hard-wood-like ash and lathe-turned into hemispherical-shaped half domes. (...) The two support pylons were made of a solid one-piece hardwood, of either oak or walnut for strength." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 53)

USS Enterprise eleven foot model

Datin (l) taking delivery of the eleven-foot studio model

The wooden secondary hull was subcontracted out, as well as several component pieces such as metal bits on the nacelles. The spikes on the forward nacelle domes were made by Datin himself. The same paint scheme as for the three-footer was applied, but no decals were used on this version; all the details on the hull - lettering, logos, and all - were painted on. Virtually identical to her smaller sister, the eleven-footer lacked one detail. The surface on the backside of the aft nacelle caps was smooth, where the three-footer, as per specification, sported a detailed rectangular feature. Coming in at a length of 11 feet, 2.08 inch and a weight of 225 pound, the model was delivered to Anderson on 29 December 1964. Too late for extensive use for "The Cage", the model was stored away for months while the studio pondered the fate of Star Trek.

Once the decision was made to have a second pilot produced, Roddenberry - with the people at Anderson's - decided to enliven the large model, in order to enhance their chances. Up until then, he had not wanted any of the models to be internally lit and they were delivered as such – shortly after, he changed his mind about that. Again, Richard Datin was called in to do the proposed revisions. Datin logged in another 88 hours of his work from 27 August through 8 September 1965, doing the following:

  • Bridge: several painted-on windows removed, light panels added in front and on sides.
  • Saucer top: nav lights added, black bands painted near port and starboard edge, painted black and white areas added near bow edge, four light panels added. The port and aft light panel was just painted-on and is not an actual light panel.
  • Saucer rim: center-most bow port changed to nav light, some windows added.
  • Saucer bottom: nav light and two portholes added near edge on each side, at 10 and 2 o'clock positions.
  • Impulse engines: black rectangular vents painted over with hull color, eight small round black vents painted on.
  • Secondary hull: strobe light added on aft flank, rearmost round porthole moved from left side of two rectangular ones to right side.
  • Nacelles: black "grille" pattern painted on rear nacelle end caps.
  • Registry markings were previously painted-on, now changed to decals.

The moment that Star Trek was to become a regular series, in early 1966, Roddenberry wanted to enliven the model even more, and this time also retrofitted the "three-footer". Yet again, Datin was called in to do the revisions:

  • Bridge: bottom half chopped off, light panels removed, a red "beacon" added on each side. Some portholes added on B and C decks. The original bridge module was a deviation from the three-footer as it was far more bulbous than on the three-footer which was originally closer to its eventual appearance.
  • Saucer top: black bands and most other painted-on markings removed, rib added on "linear accelerator", which was painted a darker gray.
  • Saucer rim: Some portholes added, bow nav light replaced by light panel.
  • Saucer bottom: nav lights moved to 9 and 3 o'clock position, some portholes added, "nipple with phaser turret" added below sensor dome. [10] [11]
  • Impulse engines: painted darker gray, round vents removed, original rectangular vents again painted black, texture wraps added on both ends of impulse deck.
  • Dorsal: some windows/portholes moved/added, dorsal painted same as rest of hull instead of the earlier blueish reflective color, with a blueish stripe remaining on the leading edge.
  • Secondary hull: red "beacon" and green portholes added on top, some windows/portholes added, deflector dish diameter reduced (and the dish repainted a lighter copper-gold color than before), "observation booth" added under cowling above hangar bay doors, a grille added on the center line just aft of the deflector dish housing and in front of the Starfleet pennant.
  • Nacelle pylons: four dark gray. brick-pattern inserts placed in slots.
  • Constitution-Class USS Enterprise studio model inner workings of the nacelle caps

    The innards of the animated nacelle

    Nacelles: solid wood "power nodules" with spikes replaced with frosted Plexiglas domes with inner surface painted transparent orange, plus motorized vanes and blinking Christmas lights added behind the dome, being ten bulbs of different coloring, blue, yellow, red and green. [12] Colored mirror shards were also added for reflective purposes. The whole assembly was powered by a van motor. [13] The original wooden domes were removed and were still in the possession of Richard Datin as of 2001.
  • Ribs and aluminum grille added in "trenches" along inboard flanks of nacelles and trench painted darker gray, patterned slabs added inside "intercooler loops" at rear, small slabs added in front of intercooler loops, black painted grille removed from end caps and light gray. spheres added.
  • Typeface used for registry markings changed (resulting in that the number "l" changed to "1"), weathering added .

Datin worked an additional 419 hours on the second set of revisions from 8 April 1966 to 17 May 1966. Total costs for the "eleven-footer" (inclusive the retrofit revisions on the "three-footer" in excess over US$6,000. The heavy internal wiring for the lighting pushed the weight of the model up to 275 pounds.

USS Enterprise 11-feet model decal sheet by Richard Datin

One of Datin's decal sheets

The port side of the model was not as detailed as the rest, especially on the secondary hull and the dorsal. The reason for this was that this side didn't need to be as, since here was the point located where the mounting rod was connected, this side would never be filmed. By far the vast majority of the shots seen of the "'eleven-footer" is the ship moving from left to right. On the very rare occasion that a port-side view was required (as in "Mirror, Mirror"), a visual trick was applied. Datin fabricated mirrored decals of the registry number on the nacelles and these were applied on the starboard nacelles. In post-production, the image was flipped so that the number could be read as normal. As a precaution, Datin produced several copies of the decal sheet as spares, in order to replace decals on the model when they got damaged through use.

The second set of revisions are the ones also retrofitted onto the three-footer, save for the lighting options which were deemed too expensive. In this vein, the eleven-foot Enterprise model was used for the rest of the series, save for minor revisions done at Anderson's during the run of the series:

  • Upper sensor dome changed to a taller one, registry numbers on saucer bottom switched around so the starboard one was readable from a front view.
  • Jeffries came up with a "deflector grid" which was drawn in pencil on the primary hull. It was drawn only to satisfy Roddenberry and was done very lightly so it wouldn't be visible on film.


USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model testshot at Howard Anderson Company in original unlit configuration

Test shot of the model in its original configuration

USS Enterprise, The Cage profile view

First appearance of the yet internally unlit eleven-foot model in "The Cage"

USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model filmed at Howard Anderson Company after first set of revisions

The model filmed at Anderson's after the first set of revisions

Upon the delivery of the eleven-foot model to the Howard Anderson Company by Datin, the model was retained there for the filming of footage for use in the first pilot, though only one sequence would actually be utilized there. Before the model was stored away to await the verdict of the studio, some additional test footage, not intended for filming use (as the model was not filmed in front of a blue screen), was shot on 23 January 1965 to establish camera angles. The model was constructed in such a way that it could be suspended from the ceiling and it was filmed as such. An x-ray picture taken later at the Smithsonian revealed that some of the the hooks onto which suspension wires could be attached, were still embedded within the model. It was the only time the model was filmed this way, as it was afterwards only filmed while mounted on a stand, the stand having to serve as guidance of the power cables for the by then added internal lighting rig. After the first set of revisions in August and September 1965, the model, now endowed with internal lighting, again reverted to Anderson's for filming of the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The footage thereof was to be re-utilized as stock footage throughout the remainder of the series, as was the one shot taken for the first pilot. Conditions at Anderson's were not optimal as his studio was not large enough to easily accommodate a model of the size of the eleven-footer. The cramped conditions meant that the studio lights had to be placed fairly close to the model, and behind-the-scenes photos showed that handlers of the model suffered under the heat of the lights. Filming the model under these conditions provided its own set of problems, as Howard Anderson, Jr. noted, "We had to constantly stop shooting after a short while because the lights would heat up the ship. We'd turn the lights on and get our exposure levels and balance our arc lights to illuminate the main body of the ship and then we'd turn the ship's lights off until they cooled down. Then we'd turn them on and shoot some shots all in one pass. It wasn't until later that someone developed fiber optics and 'cold-lights' and other useful miniature lighting tools that are common today". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 67)

Linwood G. Dunn shoots the 11-foot studio model

Dunn filming the eleven-foot studio model

File:Constitution class USS Enterprise studio model assembled by Film Effects of Hollywood staffers Harry Kersey and Ronnie Peterson prior to shooting.jpg
DY-100 and USS Enterprise studio models filmed at Film Effects of Hollywood

The model filmed alongside the SS Botany Bay model

When the series went into regular production, it became obvious very early on in the first season that the special effects demands of a weekly production as complex as Star Trek (the most complex television production at the time) tasked the Howard Anderson Company beyond its capabilities. Three other SFX companies were brought in to ease the workload, The Westheimer Company, Van der Veer Photo Effects, and Film Effects of Hollywood. The latter company, headed by Linwood G. Dunn, were sent the three- and eleven-foot models for additional filming of stock footage. "We received the three-foot and the fourteen-foot [sic] models from Howard Anderson early in the first season. We had to make some repairs and modifications to the fourteen-foot model [note: Dunn is referring to the May/April revisions of the eleven-foot model] before we could begin shooting our effects.", Dunn recalled. (American Cinematographer, January 1992, p. 39) Virtually all footage in the series, showing the Enterprise after the second set of revisions, including the interaction with the SS Botany Bay in "Space Seed", were shot at Dunn's company. An added advantage was that his studio was more spacious and better suited to handle the eleven-foot model.

There is no evidence suggesting that any new footage was shot of the model for the third season, due to the budget cuts the series had to contend with. [14]

Post-production use

USS Enterprise studio model on its first public appearance

The eleven-foot model with Thompson on its first tour

After the series had been canceled, the eleven-footer was more or less forgotten by the studio and stored away in a far-away corner of the studio. The very fact that she was stored somewhere was a minor miracle because normal studio policy had it that, in those days, major set pieces of canceled shows or wrapped productions were to be demolished to make room for new productions. In April 1972, the model, minus its deflector dish was displayed at Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California as part of a larger space flight exhibition–arguably the very first time a Star Trek studio model was on tour. Through a series of coincidental contacts, that also involved former Star Trek producer Herb Solow, an opportunity was created to have the model included in the exhibition as well. While struggling to get the electronics back on-line, former Desilu production staffer, Craig Thompson (who has worked as office manager for post production on The Original Series from 1966 through 1969, but was by then employed at the college), noted that the starboard nacelle interior dome rotated clockwise, while the port side rotated counter-clockwise. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 120, p. 77) Asked if the studio showed any apprehension on loaning out the model or pride in it, Thompson re-iterated, "Not at all, other than they didn't want G[ene]R[oddenberry] to get a hold of it, for whatever reasons. [remark: according to Thompson's contacts at the studio, Roddenberry tried to get possession of the model for years after the series wrapped] Proud of it... I doubt it! I have to say that when I took it back, Props would have paid me to keep it. I kick myself every time I tell this story... because I probably could have had it for fifty bucks, if not for free. But, my garage was too small to store it... and even I didn't have the foresight to recognize what an icon it would be in the future. So, it slipped from my hands."

Nevertheless, Thompson managed to retain a memento of the display as a consolation boon, "Several weeks after we took it back, one of my students came into my office and said they were cleaning up the workroom and found a bunch of Star Trek Enterprise decals (in sheets of hundreds) and wondered what to do with them. I said I'd call Paramount and find out. When I called, they laughed and said they'd never use them again. So, they said just to throw them away, or whatever. The sheets are about 2 1/2 feet across, rolled out, with about 200 large and small decals that were used to repair the large model, if the name (‘USS Enterprise,’ for example) got scratched at Howard Anderson's SFX studio, while filming. So, I just about tossed them, (but) I decided to keep them as a remembrance of having worked with the show...along with Mission: Impossible, The Lucy Show, Mannix, etc." [X]wbm What Thompson had acquired were four of the decal sheets, that included detail decals such as "Nitrogen Purge Reducer Value", "Tail Pipe Socket Adjustment" and "Inspection Door Vent Systems Connections", Richard Datin originally made as replacement spares. In 2012, Thompson offered up his decal sheets in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 49 as Lot 907, with an estimate of $4,000-$6,000, where they went unsold however.

File:USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model re-assembled at The Smithionian for inspection.jpg

One year later, in response to an inquiry from former Apollo astronaut Michael Collins, then Paramount Executive Dick Lawrence responded, "I am pleased to advise you that Paramount Television will donate the fourteen-foot [sic] model of Star Trek's Enterprise to the Smithsonian Institution. It is my understanding that F.C. Durant III, assistant director of Astronautics of the Smithsonian Institution, in a letter dated December 17, 1973 to Mr. Frank Wright of our publicity department, has agreed to pay the cost of crating and shipping." (which was estimated at US$350-$500, at the time) (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, issue 10, 1977). The Smithsonian Institution received the model (with its filming stand) on 1 March 1974, in three separate boxes by Emery Air Freight and had it reassembled five days later for inspection. [15] [16] Apart from the already missing deflector dish, the animated warp nacelle caps were also missing, by this time.

F.C. Durant requested the following restorations, ultimately done by Rogay, Inc.:

  • Fabricate two hemisphere of Plexiglas (or other appropriate plastic) to replace missing pieces at forward end of propulsion units. Exterior surface of hemisphere to be "frosted" (sandblasted?). Interior surface to be painted with amber lacquer. Shade of paint to be approved by ASTRO. Affix hemispheres to propulsion units with small screws.
  • At forward end of secondary hull, lay-out, fabricate and install missing "dish and spike" on "main sensor". "Dish" is turned from Plexiglas or other suitable material according to sketch supplied, Both dish and spike are painted bronze approximating existing paint on main sensor, Install using epoxy cement and original fitting.
  • Replace missing Plexiglas rectangular and cylindrical "windows" in model. Attach other loose components including dome ("bridge") on top of primary hull.
  • Retouch with black paint lettering on top of main hull, all black painted windows and other features, Fill two cracks on right dome on main hull with putty and retouch with matching paint, Retouch chafed damage and other minor injuries to reasonable point
  • Push wiring inside or fold and affix on left side of model with three-inch silver colored, pressure-sensitive cloth tape.
File:USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model at The Smithionian after its first restoration,port view.jpg
File:USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model at The Smithionian after its first restoration, ventral view.jpg

This constituted the very first revision of the eleven-foot model – finished about three months later – and, while the restoration was generally well received at the time, Durant couldn't refrain from commenting to Rogay about the nacelle caps. "The paint used by Rogay was turkey red, the exterior is not frosted as requested...". (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, No.10, 1977) The Enterprise was put on display for the first time at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), the most-visited museum in the world, during the summer of 1974 in the Gallery 107 "Life in the Universe" exhibition. At the end of the summer of 1979, this exhibit closed and the miniature was moved to Gallery 113, "Rocketry and Spaceflight." [17]

Between 8 August and 11 September 1984, a second restoration was performed on the model in preparation for "The Art of Robert McCall Exhibition". More extensive renovation occurred, this time including removal of the silver-cloth tape on the left, unadorned side of the ship (where the internal wiring was hidden). In its place, the renovators added molded air-tubing, which covered the holes on the ship previously masked by the cloth tape. Internal lighting was improved and many of the lights that had not previously been working were made to work again. All internal wiring within reach (when the miniature was disassembled) was replaced. Additionally, spinning lights inside the engine nacelle hemisphere tips were added (although they remained painted the wrong color of red). The model was given a thorough cleaning, paint was retouched in several places, and several of the external decals were replaced at this time. With the refit completed, the Enterprise was unveiled at "The Art of Robert McCall Exhibition", in September 1984, at the NASM's Gallery 211, "Flight and the Arts." After the McCall exhibition ended in September 1985, the USS Enterprise miniature returned to her former home in Gallery 113. (William S. McCullar's now defunct "IDIC Page" websitewbm)

A third, very comprehensive restoration was undertaken between 10 December 1991 and 24 January 1992, in preparation for the Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit. Ed Miarecki, of Science Fiction Modelmaking Associates (SFMA), was contracted by the museum to do the renovation. As he recalls on "The IDIC Page," "Basically, it was 'Being in the right place at the right time'. I had a chance meeting with Ken Isbell from NASM. He presented a slide show at a Star Trek convention in Baltimore. We had a nice dinner conversation and talked about the 'E'. He mentioned the state of disrepair the model was in and how the museum was considering refurbishment for the 25th anniversary exhibit. I made the comment, 'I wouldn't mind helping out with that.' He responded, 'Really'? We then spent the rest of the evening discussing details while watching a costume contest. When I got home, I submitted a proposal to NASM, and the rest, as they say, is history. (...) I was able, through the courtesy of several collectors, to acquire very clear B&W and color photos of the 'E' for my research. Also, one friend of mine had episodes on laser disc that we were able to 'freeze frame.' The model itself provided the most information about how it 'looked', however." Two of the most noticeable improvements were the replacements of the deflector dish by a more detailed one and the the "turkey red" nacelle domes with animated ones, approximating their appearance in the original series. The model was disassembled and each component was given a thorough refurbishment. [18] It was also decided to let the less-detailed port side of the model remain that way.

The most striking refurbishment was the new paint scheme applied. With the exception of the dorsal side of the saucer section (the museum requested this part to remain untouched, since its paint scheme was relatively in good shape), the model was stripped and repainted. The new paint scheme is noteworthy for its emphasized grid-lining (especially on the ventral side of the saucer) and weathering. "I have taken pictures of the 'E' after restoration under full studio lighting, (which does wash out most of the shading), and it looks exactly right. I hope you understand that the model will never look the way it did 30+ years ago because it was repainted in 1974 without first documenting its original condition. This 'interpretation' was our best educated 'guess'. If someone has better resources and expertise, they may have a chance to restore the model for the 50th anniversary," Miarecki elaborated further. Miarecki apparently was misinformed about the paint job at the time; no repaint was undertaken at the time, only retouching. Miarecki was required by the Smithonian to meticulously record his work in a log and have it videotaped. His team consisted of Steve Horch, Mike Spaw, David Hirsch, Tom Hudson, Ken Isbell, David Heilman, and Roger Sides. (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, Issue 14, September 1996, p.28)

Miarecki's statement notwithstanding, the new paint scheme stirred up some controversy. As the original builder, Richard Datin, put it, "The original model was smooth and didn't show any lines or marks, except for the lettering and numbers (...) The Smithsonian had scribed lines to indicate panels, changing the character of the whole model." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, issue 11/12, p. 68) The paint scheme is the main point of criticism and is hotly debated on blogs like "TrekBBS", "Resin Illumanati", "HobbyTalk", "Trek Prop Zone", and the museum blog itself. [19] The continuing criticism has somewhat alienated Miarecki from the fan base, as his reaction to a particularly strong comment on the "Trek Prop Zone" blog on 25 April 2007, showed. "(...) When I first started to read this topic, I had thought I was going to read something interesting. I really didn't expect my work to be described as "BUTCHERY". It has been now over 15 years since I performed the restoration, (without the aid of all the knowledge that has been acquired in those 15 years), and I have to endure in all that time since , nothing but jabs and barbs of criticism from over-opinionated fans who now have access to that knowledge. I have yet to read one compliment... any compliment, on any forum, about any aspect of my restoration. Now after all this time, I refuse to let such a "drive-by" insult such as yours go unanswered (...)"

Constitution-Class USS Enterprise studio model secondary hull X-ray examination

X-ray photograph of the eleven-foot model's secondary hull

The renovated, powered-up model featured prominently in the 1992-1993 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit and was, a year later, on loan to the Hayden Planetarium, New York City, for its 1993-1994 exhibition. Upon its return to the Smithsonian, the model was not displayed for the next six years. In January 2000, the museum opened its new refurbished three-story gift shop. Part of the refurbishment was the permanent placement of the (un-powered) model with its mounting stand, in a glass display case on the lower level of the shop, in March 2000. Before the model was displayed a decision was made to examine the model in detail. Up until then the museum had always displayed the model in a suspended state, much like it was displayed for filming of the first pilot. The museum staff responsible for the model decided that a closer examination of its structure was required, and contracted Maryland QC Laboratories (MQC Labs, Inc.) at Aberdeen, MD, to perform an X-Ray analysis of the starship, with special emphasis on possible stress at the attachment points, where the cables from which the starship was suspended were attached to the ship itself. After consideration, the museum staff decided not to hang the starship any more, as it had been up until then. Instead, a special case was built for it, and it now rests upon two stanchions specially built to hold it. [20] The original filming stand of the model was also added to the display.

Enterprise at the National Air and Space Museum

The model on display in the gift shop

File:Richard C. Datin in front of the eleven foot model at the Smithonian.jpg

After the publication of William McCullars' two-part article Enterprise '64 in Star Trek Communicator, issues 132 and 133, 2001, the museum contacted the author to have him send a print with accompanying text of the picture showing Richard Datin taking delivery of the model, which was then added as a plaque to the display. This act gave Datin and the builders of the model the recognition, Datin himself had vainly tried to get for years. [21] The model, reportedly insured at US$1,000,000, [X]wbm is currently still residing there. [22]

Other physical models

While the master filming models were used to provide the majority of shots, there were instances were the master models would not do.

Three- and four-inch models

As Howard A. Anderson, Jr. of the Howard Anderson Company remembered, "In "The Corbomite Maneuver" we used a tiny four-inch model made by Matt Jefferies of the Enterprise to use in front of the huge alien ship to make it look even bigger. We also had an occasion to shoot Datin's three-foot Enterprise model from time to time and we used all three models in the main title sequence. We shot a lot of library footage using that little four-inch model but I can't remember any specific episode titles where it was used. We mostly used the 12-foot model." (Cinefantastique, issue 27, No.11/12, p. 67) It is, however, likely that Anderson (who, after all, made the comment almost three decades after the footage was shot) was mistaken about its filming usages after the title sequence. Analysis of screen captures show that the model used in "The Corbomite Maneuver" sported a lighted, lower sensor dome and running lights, identifying it as the 11-foot model, the only model outfitted with an internal lighting system. [23] There is no indication that the four-inch model (which might have been, or not, the balsa, wooden approval model that Jefferies built for the producers) was ever used again, after usage for the original unaired title sequence.

The 3 inch metal model of the Enterprise

The three-inch metal model of the USS Enterprise

Enterprise pulled in by the planet killer

...pulled in by the planet killer


The in lucite encased three-inch metal model

In the pre-production stage of season two, Jefferies designed a prop that he referred to as the "Enterprise working prop." It was to become the metallic three-inch Enterprise voodoo charm used in the upcoming episode "Catspaw". The design sheet, which was signed off on by Steve Sardanis, on 18 April 1967, specifically called for two pieces, one of which was to be encased in lucite. [X]wbm Both pieces were used in the episode. The lucite-encased model was donated by Matt Jefferies, hand-delivered by Dorothy Fontana to the Smithsonian Institution on 7 November 1973, together with the original D7 studio model. (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, issue 10, January 1977) It was displayed only once, during the 1992-1993 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit. The other model (painted, this time) was later used as the Enterprise in the forced-perspective scene of "The Doomsday Machine", in which the ship is pulled in by the planet killer. That model's current whereabouts are unknown.

AMT filming models

USS Constellation

AMT's USS Constellation in dire straits

USS Constellation approaches planet killer

...and en route to its doom

"At a point, Matt Jefferies called me about building a second three-foot model but they wanted it sooner than I could build it, so that second model never got built," Datin remembers. (Cinefantastique, Vol.27, issue 11/12, p. 67) What Jefferies had in mind was the upcoming episode "The Doomsday Machine", the very first time the Enterprise had to share screen time with a sister ship, the USS Constellation. The script required shots where both ships would be seen drawn in by the planet killer. To do this Jefferies and Anderson needed a second model in an appropriate scale in order to keep proportions believable on screen. Although Datin could not deliver, Jefferies had an alternative by this time. Instead of having had an expensive custom made model built, two of the then recently released AMT Star Trek model kits (kit number S921) were used. Fortunately as chance would have it they were supplied with a crude internal lighting option. One was distressed, its decals rearranged to read "NCC 1017", to appear as the battle damaged Constellation. The first issue of the kit sported the model with a smooth surface on the aft of the nacelle (thereby approximating the appearance of the Enterprise in the pilots) and as such the Constellation differed from her sister ship on screen, which by then sported spheres on the aft of the nacelles. [24] The Constellation model was most likely discarded after use (although footage of this model was to be reused to represent the USS Excalibur in "The Ultimate Computer").

3 Foot and AMT model in viewmasterreel

The 3 foot model (below) and the AMT model in the View-Master version of "The Omega Glory"

USS Enterprise AMT model and K7 action in "The Trouble with Tribbles"

The second model kit was used to represent the Enterprise in "The Trouble with Tribbles" as a background element seen from Lurry's office window, and orbiting the far side of Deep Space Station K-7. In the auction description, mentioned hereafter, a former member of the production crew remarked that the modified interior lighting system proved to be problematic in that the operation of the animated nacelle domes was very noisy and had to be painstakingly edited out in post-production. The model was a short time later photographed on site by GAF Corporation, alongside the three-foot model for their View-Master version of "The Omega Glory", representing the USS Exeter. It was in the possession of Matt Jefferies' brother John until 2001, when it was sold as Lot 234, with an estimate of US$30,000-$50,000 [25], to Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen in the Profiles in History Star Trek Auction, on 12 December 2001 at a price of US$42,500 [26], and is currently residing at his Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. [27]

Display models

Ronald D. Moore's model kit

Kirk's model

An AMT model, built by Ronald D. Moore when he was 12 years of age, was seen as set dressing in Kirk's quarters in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as was revealed in Michael Okuda's text commentary of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Special Edition) DVD.

Wesleys desktop model

Crusher's desktop model

In TNG: "The First Duty" a desk-top model of a original Constitution-class ship could be seen in Wesley Crusher's dorm room. This was an unmodified ten-inch pewter model released by Franklin Mint in 1988, model 810, of the Enterprise. Later owned by Michael Okuda, it, missing its deflector dish, turned up as Lot#72 at the Propworx' "Star Trek Prop and Costume Auction" of 8 August 2010, estimated at US$200-$400, where it sold for US$720 (including premium).

Enterprise golden display model

One of the golden models

Another AMT model kit (number 8790) also wound up on screen in Star Trek: First Contact as one of the golden models in the display case in the observation lounge. "This was before eBay, so I went and scoured the hobby shops all the way from Los Angeles to PHX Arizona to find any and all kits of the Enterprises. What was available then was the Enterprise-A, a TOS Enterprise that was too small so I opted to get the cutaway version that was substantially bigger, and the Ent. D.(...) Herman asked for 3 of each ship because we were now going to have the smashing of the case scene.", John Eaves, the builder, remembered on his blog. [28] Molds were taken of the model and solid resin casts copies were made (since there were multiple takes of the scene). After smoothing out the surfaces, the models were gold plated at ArtCraft Plating. The models were subsequently smashed when the scene was filmed. For Star Trek: Insurrection there were again three models needed, this time because there were three display cases and Eaves more or less repeated the procedure, solidifying the models by filling them up with resin. Though, due to a late script change, they were not seen in that movie, they did turn up as display models in the observation lounge in Star Trek Nemesis. [29]

Eaves and the studio initially retained most of the models but most of them were sold at various auctions. One was sold as part of a complete set of six in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 44 on 15 May 2011 as Lot 1550 for $11,000 (for the whole set), one, originally owned by the Okudas, was sold as Lot #22, estimated at US$400-$600, in the aforementioned Propworx auction of 8 August 2010 for US$8,400 (including buyer's premium), one sold in April 2007 in It's A Wrap! sale and auction for US$1,411 [30] to American collector Jason Stevens, [31], one sold as part of a complete set of six in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction on 12 December 2001 as Lot 288, estimated at US$10,000-$12,000, again for the whole set, and another one has reportedly been sold in an on-line Sotheby's auction in October 2000. [32]

"Trials and Tribble-ations" model

The Jein model at Image G

The Jein model ready for shooting at Image G

Constitution class Trial and Tribulations studio model details

Detail shots of the Jein model

For Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode, Gregory Jein (who is a lifelong fan of the original series), in ten days, faithfully recreated a 5.5-foot physical model of the USS Enterprise. [33] Jein was delivering the new USS Excelsior model for Voyager's "Flashback" episode when he caught a glimpse of Gary Hutzel's test footage. He recalls being informed, "Yeah, we'll probably do a model of the Enterprise but we don't know when, and we probably won't till the last minute (...) being a crazy kind of guy, I decided to start work on it anyway!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 386) and, "It was a sort of a lark, it takes awhile to get the paperwork and budgeting done, and if I had waited for them we never would have time to do it. So, I really started it myself." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 110, p. 63) Years later, in 2011, Jein would recall:

"I think the show I get the biggest chuckle out of, and going back to the shadow days, is working on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". 'Cause I've always been a Star Trek fan, would it not being kinda cool to build the old Enterprise, yadeeyada, and we just delivered a model to Image G and Gary Hutzel was the visual effects supervisor on that and he said, Hey, you know what, we've something coming up that you guys want to check out. W're gonna going to back and visit Captain Kirk and the original crew, and bring him into the show and do the "The Trouble with Tribbles". So I said, That sounds pretty cool, but he says, Yeah, but nobody has given the go-ahead, because its too expensive, and we have only 2½weeks to do all this stuff. And I said, Well, are you are sure they are going to do this stuff?. And he said, Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're going do it!. So I came back to the office and talked it over with some of the guys, and said, You know, we're not doing anything right know, so why don't we start this damned thing, and if it does not get shot, we have at least have a nice model!. And so we started actually a week and a half before we got a green light on it. And so we did that, got the green light, built the space station, and the Enterprise" (Sense of Scale, disc 2)

Jein ultimately based his model on the carefully-taken measurements taken of the original eleven-foot model by Gary Kerr when it was disassembled at Miarecki's shop for its 1991 restoration. Back then, Kerr took pictures and measurements for his own personal edification. When his friend Jein mentioned to him five years later that he needed blueprints for the recreation, Kerr was able to to tell him that he could provide them. "I got all my measurements together, and every night after work I'd sit down at the drafting board. Greg needed the basic shapes of the saucer, the engines, and the hull. I'd draw some plans, go to Kinko's to make copies and send them all off to him, and the I'd go back to the drawing board.", Kerr remembered. (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, p. 36) Additional and missing measurements Kerr obtained from Miarecki, who had maintained a log on his restoration, though he could provide them only at the last moment since he was working on the studio model of the Enterprise-E at that moment. On the construction of the model Jein noted:

"There were four different components to build. The saucers were all turned by Gunnar Ferdinandsen, a plasterer and foammaker. They were spun out of plaster on a template, just like throwing a pot, and then we vacuformed those patterns and detailed them out, and then we made silicone molds of them. The main engineering hull, the pylons, and the the engine nacelles were all made out of wood. They were turned on a lathe, and then we detailed those out and made silicone molds of them."
From these molds the final plastic parts with which to assemble the model were cast. With Larry Albright, Jein continued on the lighting,
"We put banks of neon behind the windows for the interior of the saucer and the main engineering hull and of course we have strobe running lights on the saucer, like on the original. The only parts we didn't do were the spinning lights on the caps of the nacelles. Gary Hutzel designed those." (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, pp. 37-39)
Hutzel had to take into account that unlike the original series where the model was shot in real time, that models were now photographed in motion control. He had to create a computer program to control the light effects to match the different frame rates. Building the nacelles presented another problem. By season two of the original series the aft of the nacelles sported spheres, but in the "The Trouble with Tribbles"-episode stock footage was used from the pilots were the aft sported louvers. Which version to use? Hutzel recalled, "I asked Michael Okuda what he thought the fans would say. He said that no matter what the stock shots were, the fans would know it's not supposed to be louvers. So I called Greg back to tell him to go ahead and do the spheres. And Greg said, "That's okay, I already made them both. I wasn't going to wait for you to make your make up your mind!"."(The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, pp. 40-41) Painting the model in the correct color, "Federation Gray" as Jein called it, proved easier than could be expected. Back in 1991, Miarecki had a piece of the original paint computer analyzed by a specialized paint store which came up with an exact match for the shade of gray that turned out to be a 1964 General Motors car color - GM gray 4539L. (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, Issue 14, p. 28, and which somewhat contradicts Miarecki's own earlier statement to the IDIC page) The only snag was that the formula was lacquer-based, which was prohibited in California, so an environmentally-friendly formula had to be developed first. Jein opted to include some of the modifications both Jefferies (the grids on the upper saucer section) and Miarecki (grids on the bottom saucer section among others) had done on the eleven-footer. This was done in a far more subtle way than the 1991 restoration as not to distract from the perception people had of the Enterprise in her original appearances. Unlike her progenitor, this model was outfitted with several more mounting rod points, so that the model could be shot from several different angles. When delivered, the model weighed in at forty pounds.

A limited production run of twelve pieces was made from the same molds used for this model and were sold at Viacom Entertainment Store in Chicago for US$10,000 each in 1997, accompanied with a certificate signed by Jein and Jefferies. [X]wbm One of them, autographed by Nichelle Nichols and George Takei, and part of the collection of (an European organization that is dedicated to preserve science fiction production assets for public display purposes, such as in museums), was on loan to Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle until 2011 [34] [35]. The replicas came without internal lighting with the nacelle domes painted red, as opposed to the actual filming model, whose domes were transparent.

The current whereabouts of this filming model, on occasion referred to as the "Jein" model, are unknown as the model has not been sighted since. The model that started to appear as a tour exhibit, beginning with the Star Trek The Exhibition tour of 2009 at the Hollywood & Highland Center, California [36] [37], is a three-foot replica, most likely one of Master Replicas' 2004 limited run of replicas originating from the CBS Licensing Department archive.

CGI models

USS Defiant NCC-1764 CGI model

Eden FX's CGI model

For the Enterprise episodes "In a Mirror, Darkly" and "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", a CGI model was built of the USS Defiant. The model was built by Koji Kuramura and mapped and animated by Robert Bonchune at Eden FX. Remapped to represent the USS Enterprise, it also appeared in the final scene of "These Are the Voyages...". [38] [39] While the model was under construction, Bonchune commented on the HobbyTalk blog on 18 March 2005, "There is some subtle "aztec" paneling and some slightly heavier weathering [rem: which did not entirely met with supervisor Doug Drexler's approval, "I did have some issues with it. Texture mostly. The lads at Eden added Aztec'ing, which I prefer not to see on the original Enterprise." [40].] We also do have subtle deflector grids on the ship. Some of these additions were requested by the producers. We also have an enormous time crunch, so if it ain't perfect, trust me, we know... The CG ship was wholly and ENTIRELY built from scratch by Koji Kuramura, Nacelle effect by me with reference help from Thom Sasser as well as just looking (over and over and over and over... ad nauseum) at clips from the Orig show. Any ship dimensional reference material we needed was provided by Doug Drexler as well as Koji's own research. I know Doug is good friends with Gary Kerr, so I am sure that made it's way to us through him. As for the Petri [Blomqvist] help, Koji used his shape for the back end of the nacelle cap as a reference piece. We needed it built differently."[41] The script called for aft firing weaponry, something that up until then was not shown for the original Constitution. Bonchune remarked, "(...)the intention was that the rear torpedoes were from the little round port right between the impulses engines. We tried to make it logical with what existed so we didn't have to make a new hole on the ship. Everyone agreed, except that apparently if you frame by frame it, they actually come from the hangar bay phaser mounts. Someone in the chain either decided against it or didn't know. Even one of the writers was surprised it hadn't been done as discussed." [42]

USS Enterprise upgraded CGI model by CBS Digital

The upgraded CGI model

USS Enterprise initial CGI model by CBS Digital

Original appearance of CBS' CGI model

A second CGI model was built for the remastered TOS. Although several parties made pitches to do the model, like Digital Stream, Daren Dochterman, [43] and Eden FX (that model being built by Pierre Drolet [44] [45] [46]), CBS Studios decided to go in-house with their own company, CBS Digital, where the model was built under supervision of Niel Wray and David Rossi, based on the same meticulously taken measurements by Gary Kerr of the original model for the Jein model, in this case earning Kerr an official credit as "Technical Consultant". Of particular concern to producer Michael Okuda was that the model was not too realistic looking as to keep in line with the overall look of the series. The model had to be remapped after a couple of episodes, because it was looking too detailed. Rossi also explained that the high level of detail caused additional problems in that the model took too much computer time to render the shots, ironically making the model more "blurry" looking in the episodes as aired. By cutting down the detail level and rendering time, "We will have time time to test lighting, coloring, and yes…those nacelle caps, it is going to totally change the process, we are very excited about it." [47] Work started on the model after the second remastered episode and the upgraded model was introduced in the ninth episode of the project, "The Trouble with Tribbles". [48] A particular advantage of the CGI model was the increased number of angles the ship could be shown in. "In the original series you only see it in 17 poses, we are going to give you 50 or 60,", Rossi elaborated. [49]

The versatility of CGI also meant that the model could be modified easily enough to showcase variations of the class, such as differing configurations, other vessels of the class or application of damage.

Modifications of the CBS CGI-model
USS Enterprise, The Cage (remastered) profile view USS Constellation remastered Constitutions formation, remastered a previous configuration a damaged class vessel other class members

The models built by Dochterman, Kuramura and Drolet found their way in the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars and their book derivative. [50] [51] The Kuramura, and Drolet builds were supervised by Doug Drexler, who, confirming Bonchune's above-mentioned statement, also used the research of Kerr as reference. [52] Apart from these versions, Drexler, under his nom de guerre "Max Rem" together with Petri Blomqvist, also constructed a CGI model of the Constitution-class for use in the Star Trek: New Voyages fan films. [53] They too have made appearances in the above mentioned licensed publications.

Designing an Enterprise that never was

Phase II Enterprise, fore

Ralph McQuarrie's Enterprise concept art...

Phase II Enterprise, aft

...ultimately rejected in favor of Jefferies' design

Ralph McQuarrie, best known to the public for his stunning production designs for the Star Wars films, was hired by Ken Adam to help develop the designs for the new Star Trek: Planet of the Titans movie, ultimately abandoned to make way for Star Trek: Phase II, the new television series. Although the design used the same elements as the original design, saucer shaped primary hull, warp engine assemblies and a engineering secondary hull, the secondary hull was flattened and wedge shaped, providing a radically different look, one not unlike the Star Destroyers McQuarrie designed for those films.

Interestingly, McQuarrie envisioned his designs as capable of performing a saucer separation. He has remarked in this respect, "I had devised a concept for the end of the film... Some alien form has designed a way to use the power of a black hole's gravity to form a spherical shroud around the black hole. If you have a dense enough material, gravity cannot penetrate it. There are two openings in the shroud that they would use to pull ships in. The saucer of the Enterprise (which was detachable) ends up in the shroud. They meet the aliens and had a dramatic finale. These two images are of the Enterprise saucer in the shroud.(...)The disc of the enterprise would separate from the rest of the ship to land on the surface of planets." [54] The sketches, McQuarrie referred to, of the independently operating saucer section, were published in The Art of Ralph McQuarrie (pages 124-129).

Constitition class refit prelimanary design concepts

Jefferies' 1977 contributions

Their Enterprise design, however, was abandoned, and Roddenberry asked Matt Jefferies to update the famous starship to reflect the refit that would be part of the Phase II-series' back story. During June 1977, Jefferies' re-designed the engine nacelles from tubes to thin, flat-sided modules, and tapered their supports. He also added the distinctive photon torpedo launch ports on the saucer connector.

Constitition class original alternative design concepts

Jefferies' original back-up design variation

"Basically," Jefferies said, "what I did to it was change the power units, and make a slight change in the struts that supported them. I gave the main hull a taper, then I went flat-sided and thin with the power units, rather than keeping the cylindrical shape. Trying to work out the logic of the refit, I knew a lot of the equipment inside would change, but I didn't see that there would be any need to change the exterior of the saucer. Certainly, though, the engines would be a primary thing to change. Part of the theory of the ship's design in the first place was that we didn't know what these powerful things were or how devastating it would be if anything went awry, so that's why we kept them away from the crew. And that meant they could be easily changed if you had to replace one." (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 27) Elaborating he later clarified, "As far as I was concerned, about the only thing we could update was the engines, So I changed the design of the pods and the struts. I still wanted an absolutely plain exterior. Anything that man makes is going to break down; why put him outside in the worst possible environment when you can ut him on the inside?" Jefferies started work from drawings he'd actually prepared for the original series that showed the Enterprise with flattened nacelles, to be presented to Roddenberry if he did not like the first version. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 84)

TMP magazine teaser

Early ads for The Motion Picture portrayed the upgraded Enterprise initially designed for Phase II by Jefferies

USS Enterprise, Phase II concept

Minor's concept art for the Phase II Enterprise

Unlike the first redesign of the Enterprise, Jefferies' new version, further detailed by Mike Minor and Joe Jennings, was designed along the classical lines of the original albeit modernized. Jennings was brought in on recommendation of Jefferies, after the latter expressed an unwillingness to leave his then job at Little House on the Prairie, in order to continue the re-design work (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 26). But when Paramount Pictures abandoned its plans to create a fourth television network and subsequently transformed the second Star Trek series into the first movie, that Enterprise, already in the process of being built, was discarded as movie director Robert Wise brought in a new art director – Richard Taylor – who assigned Andrew Probert to do a second redesign of the ship, essentially keeping with Jefferies' new lines, while adding the extensive detail that was necessary for a motion picture miniature. Probert recalled, "When I started the design phase of the Enterprise, my Art Director, Richard Taylor, showed me these pictures of the ship as it had been designed by Joe Jennings and Matt Jefferies for the Star Trek Television movie now known as: 'Phase II'. He also produced plans of the ship and I was told that this would be our starting point. Since this four [sic.] foot miniature was made for a 20 inch television screen, it would have worked just fine but our miniature had to hold up on a 40 foot movie screen, so we started our eight foot version from scratch." [55]

Planet of the Titans models

USS Enterprise study model

USS Enterprise study model

USS Enterprise study model in Space dock Earth Spacedock

Based on Ralph McQuarrie's design of a new Enterprise for the proposed Star Trek: Planet of the Titans movie project, at least two study models were build, before the project was canceled. Stored away for the better part of a decade the models would make a surprising reappearance. Although stated as having made an appearance in the debris field of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", (The Art of Star Trek, p. 56) they have not been identified as being there. [56]

B-24-CLN study model

B-24-CLN study model

Surplus Depot Z-15 Surplus Depot Z15 (bottom)

One of the models, however, was present as B-24-CLN at the Surplus Depot Z15 in TNG: "Unification I". Part of the other model could be seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock docked in Earth Spacedock when the Enterprise enters. The models therefore became canon albeit without class designations or names. The B-24-CLN study model, constructed out of wood and plastic, detailed with hand-applied tape and ink and measuring fifteen inches in length by eight inches wide, eventually turned up on 8 August 2010 as Lot #12 in the Propworx' "Star Trek Prop and Costume Auction", estimated at US$1,000-$2,000, where it sold for US$3,500.

Phase II model

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise master of the studio model worked on by Brick Price

Price working on the molds of the bridge and saucer section of the model

Don Loos

Loos working on the engineering hull of the Phase II Enterprise model

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise molds of the studio model

Molds of the dorsal and nacelle of the model

After Matt Jefferies' redesign was approved for the Star Trek: Phase II television project in 1977, detailed construction blueprints were drawn up for construction of the physical studio model [57] (which were not the ones published in Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, color section). To ease the workload, Magicam, Inc., headed by Jim Dow and the company tasked with the build of the studio models, hired Brick Price Movie Miniatures to build the hero model. Price brought in modeler Don Loos to do the bulk of the construction work. A contemporary visitor, Trek author James Van Hise, commented at the time, "Don Loos was building the new Enterprise. I saw parts of the model, just the saucer was about three feet across, and the fiberglass it was molded from was so strong that it would have supported a person's weight." (Enterprise Incidents; special edition on the technical side, 1984, p. 36). Work on the six-foot model, constructed out of fiberglass with joint connections made of undersized aluminum sheet plates and therefore, despite its size, quite heavy, was in progress when the project was upgraded to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture movie project. (American Cinematographer, January 1980, p. 153) "I did the new working drawings with my board on the bed in a hotel in Tucson, because we were on location with Little House. I came back and had them printed. Don Loos had the engine pods finished, and was working on the struts, but around that time I had to quit.", Jefferies remembered. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 84) As both Wise and Taylor decided that the model was too small and not detailed enough to meet big screen requirements, a new model had to be built from scratch. Taylor clarified, "Before our involvement, the production had been working up a model of the E. It was about 4ft. [sic.] long. It was made with molds and fiberglass. The model I saw had no lights built into it. Its design I thought was an improvement on the television version. Regardless of its design the level of detail and the scale of a model to be filmed with the latest motion control technique could not be accomplished with that model. We would have to build a new version from scratch. Of course this isn’t what the folks working on the show wanted to hear." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 103) Price was pulled off the project in January 1978 (though his company would remain to build props for the movie) and the task of building a new model reverted back to Magicam. [X]wbm

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio model ventral view

Ventral view of the model

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio model

The unfinished Phase II Enterprise model

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio model bridge detail

Bridge detail of the model

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio in test set-up with abandoned spacedock model

The unfinished model in test set-up with abandoned Phase II spacedock model

Upon the upgrade of the project to a feature movie, it was decided to discard the models made for Phase II, which included both the spacedock model and the Enterprise model, as was confirmed by Dow (American Cinematographer, January 1980, p. 153) and the painter of the follow-up movie Enterprise model, Paul Olsen, who related, "It also meant the scrapping of four month’s work building models, which Magicam had just completed, so the crew held a wake for the models and trashed them. Lobster was served by Bob Morris (who later opened the famous Gladstone’s Restaurant in Malibu) on the huge 8-foot by 12-foot elevator table with the TV drydock and the original Enterprise hanging over it as a chandelier. Party over, next day start over! Only this time with proper movie models." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 46)

Yet, a Brick Price Enterprise model turned up years later in the Planet Hollywood restaurant in New York City in the early 1990s. The saucer section and torpedo launchers were heavily adjusted to reflect the appearance the refit Enterprise has in the movies. The nacelles, secondary hull and the upper dorsal retained its original Phase II design, resulting in an unfamiliar looking hybrid between the Phase II and the movie's Enterprise. [58] Star Trek aficionado William S. McCullars has showcased pictures of the model, provided by Price himself, on his now defunct website "The Idic Page". At the same time several others were sighted at other Planet Hollywood restaurants which indicated that the franchise contracted Price to make several copies. "The model was built from parts pulled from the phase II molds. A lot of models were duplicated so that they cold be displayed at more than one Planet Hollywood.", John Eaves later confirmed. [59] American collector Adam Schneider [60] provided confirmation of existence of copies (which he had measured at approximating 6-foot in length) as he acquired one and had it converted to approximate the The Motion Picture appearance as a companion piece to the actual drydock studio model he owned. [61] [62] Additional confirmation was provided in the documentary series Hollywood Treasure (season 1, episode 15, "Trek to the Future", broadcast 8 June 2011), in which Price himself presented the molds and partial casts of the model. It could be discerned that some of the molds were at least partially modified and that the castings were not those of the original model, establishing that Price only retained the molds in 1978 and not the original model, despite his assertions to both McCullars and Hollywood Treasures to the contrary.

Ship's operations graphics bridge computer console read-out in the Mark IV bridge simulator

Phase II Constitution-class design on computer read-out in The Wrath of Khan

Constitution class Phase II orthographic schematics

Phase II Constitution-class orthographic schematics

While the Phase II model was discarded, the design of it, surprisingly, showed up canonically as ship's operations graphics read-outs on bridge computer consoles in both The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan (among others clearly discernible in the Mark IV bridge simulator). The green back-lit transparencies were based upon a set of orthographic schematics, probably done at Price's model shop for familiarization purposes. It is not clear why they were used, as the back-lit transparencies based on Richard Taylor's schematics (which were predominantly blue) of the revised follow-up motion picture studio model also appeared alongside them in the features, but it is likely they had already been produced for the Phase II project.

Daren Dochterman built a Phase II CGI model that was to be used in the fan series production, Star Trek: New Voyages. [63] His model premiered in the 2012 vignette "Going Boldly".

Designing a refit Enterprise

USS Enterprise refit bridge and impulse engines design evolution by Andrew Probert

Probert's design evolution of the bridge and impulse engines

USS Enterprise refit torpedo lanchers design evolution by Andrew Probert

Probert's design evolution of the torpedo launchers

Originally Art Director Richard Taylor wanted to totally redesign the Enterprise from scratch, once the movie project, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, became definitive in December 1977, but Roddenberry vetoed that notion and insisted to keep the basic design as established for the Phase II project and instead to concentrate on redesigning the details. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 85) Taylor has stated, "I have always thought that the Enterprise is one of the worst designs ever conceived for a spacecraft. The center of gravity of any object in space has everything to do with its shape. The Enterprise by its configuration is one of the most unbalanced objects in the history of space and science fiction. So I asked Roddenberry if I could change the shape of the E. I wanted to create an entirely new design. He emphatically stated that the configuration of the TV model was iconic and that it had to remain the same. But I could modernize it? I studied the original Enterprise models from the television series and then started sketching to create a new version that had some elegance and style. My basic concept was to Art Deco the ships design. Give it a horizontal flow and keep it more like a Frank Lloyd Wright space ship. I wanted to emphasize lines, scale, and detail. The Saucer’s proportions were changed, the Ion engine was added at the rear and other details like landing gear, thrusters and lights so that the saucer could jettison from the rest of the ship and become it’s own flying saucer." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 103) Brought in by Taylor, parts of the new Enterprise were re-designed by Andrew Probert, based upon Minor's and Jennings's concepts for Phase II. Aside from Taylor and Probert, other artists who also worked on the refit design were Douglas Trumbull and Harold Michelson, staying with the proportions inherited from Jefferies' upgraded Enterprise for Star Trek: Phase II, after the prodding received from Roddenberry. Probert on his assignment:

"When I first got onto Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I was told by my art director, Richard Taylor, that he wanted me to design all the humanoid spacecraft. That way there would be a perceived visual continuity between all the hardware. And then another team would design V'Ger. My designs actually started with the Space Office Complex, but when it came time to design the Enterprise, he requested that I delegate the job of designing the warp engines to him, because he had these ideas that he wanted to put forth about bringing an art deco look to the new Enterprise. He also instigated the look of various sets of parallel lines around the ship to enforce that theme. So while he was doing the engines, I wanted to actually go larger on the size of the ship, not realizing at the time that the Enterprise was originally in drydock for a refitting. Richard felt we should stay with the proportions that we had inherited from Matt Jefferies and Joe Jennings, when they'd designed it for Star Trek: Phase II. So with that as our starting basis. I lengthened the ship to a thousand feet, just a few feet longer than it was, and enlarged the saucer, eventually adding an updated superstructure to the top and bottom of it. I came up with new photon torpedo tubes and redesigned the whole navigational deflector dish area, updated the impulse engine, and added phaser banks around the ship, visible for the first time, along with a reaction control thruster system to the ship – those were there for the first time too, designing them in a way that the ship could operate as two independent entities, being the primary and secondary hulls, or as a combined Starship unit." [64]
Apart from re-designing the warp nacelles, Taylor added the the parallel lines along the saucer's edge and came up with the large transparent botanical windows in the lower half of the engineering hull, "My approach was to give it a stylization that was almost art deco. Things became more elongated and more elegant than the TV series version. I tried to give it a very art deco feel; for example, I added the parallel lines along the edge of the saucer. I spent weeks drawing and redrwaing the nacelles. The front end of them is almost a 1940 Ford grill.(...)We used small transparent images of the sets inside the windows so that when the camera got close to the model it appeared that you could see something in the windows. By the way, in some of the windows you can see photos of Mickey Mouse, Andy Probert, and others as a kind of in-joke." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, pp. 85, 87) In regard to the nacelles, Taylor has added, "The Nacelles were the most difficult part of the design of the Enterprise. I spent more time on their design than any other part of the Enterprise. I felt they needed to be linear and streamlined. I wanted them to look more powerful and complex, like something Nikola Tesla might have designed. Being the engines of the ship they needed an anti-matter effect around them when in warp drive. I wanted them to look like they might be heat exchangers. Finally, I gave them a deco feel and made them much more rectilinear than the cylindrical designs of the television model." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, pp. 103-104)


Detail of D260789


Design patent image

A design patent, No. D260789, was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office to Paramount Pictures for the USS Enterprise on 15 September 1981 (there called a "toy spaceship"), which noted Andrew Probert as the "sole inventor" of the design. The patent extended to both the original configuration as well as the refit-configuration. The patent application was tendered by the studio on 19 March 1979 and, when issued, was valid for fourteen years.

Eight-foot refit model

Constitution Class refit USS Enterprise aluminom frame studied by Magicam's Chris Crump

The aluminum frame-work examined by Crumb

Constitution class USS Enterprise studio model under construction and detailed by Richard Thompson

Thompson detailing the partially constructed model

Roddenberry vetoing Taylor's radical design proposal, enabled Magicam's Jim Dow and his crew to start construction on the model in the spring of 1978. After drawing up a set of preliminary engineering drawings with the help of Chris Ross, Dow and co. started with constructing a forty pound weighing aluminum framework, designed by Dow himself, for internal strength for the model and as a armature for mounting the finished model for filming. The armature was constructed by Chris Crumb, who laid out and assembled the basic 6061 T6 aluminum aircraft grade subframe, and Lee Ettlemann who fabricated the pieces in Magicam's machineshop. (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 48) Since no story-boards were yet available at the time Dow had the foresight to design the frame with five mounting points for 360 degrees shooting options around its center of gravity (though the top mounting point would be eliminated later in the process). (American Cinematographer, February 1980, pp. 152-155 & 178-180) Plastic vacuum-formed molds (the four foot diameter dish being vacuum formed butyrate over a spun plaster mold) were subsequently applied to the frame to skin the model. Redesigned elements from Taylor and Probert were built and applied as they came in during the construction of the model, making the redesign a process on the fly. By this time Crumb, had been appointed lead modeler on the build and headed a team that was beefed out with Ross, Chris Elliot, Kris Gregg, Ron Gress, Richard Thompson, Mark Stetson along with Paul Olsen.

Constitution class USS Enterprise studio model test lighted

Test lighted model, before receiving its final paint job and redesigned lower sensor dome

Suggested as early in TOS: "The Apple" as being able to perform a saucer separation, the model was constructed in such a way that a separation could be filmed if the need arose, though the feature has never been utilized. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 9) Probert himself remarked in this regard, "The Enterprise was always designed to separate from the Engineering section. I knew about this when I did Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And if you look at the bottom of Kirk's Enterprise [remark: original configuration], you'll notice two triangular items, which are two of the landing feet for the saucer. Regardless of whether it was Matt Jefferies' original intention or not, it's sort of the way that "Trekdom" or "Star Trek lore" has labeled those features. So taking my cue from that for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I placed four landing legs in the bottom of the Enterprise and crated a very specific separation line on the dorsal." (Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints, booklet, p. 8) The continuous adding of redesigned elements to the model meant that detailed accurate blueprints of the model could only be drawn up by David A. Kimble after the model was finished, though detailed orthographic exterior views were created by Taylor for familiarization purposes, as well as serving as basis for the ships operations graphics seen on the bridge in the feature.

Part of Magicam's modelshop team

Part of Magicam's team with the finished model

Constitution class refit USS Enterprise studio model outfitted with electric wiring by Magicam's Kris Greg

Gregg applying electrical wiring to the model

For internal lighting, Dow decided to use neon. Lighting studio models with neon, was a relatively new technique at the time, and Dow decided to hire a specialist, Larry Albright, to apply it. Dow stated,

"Larry Albright and Paul Turner designed the lighting systems for the ship; Larry, the high voltage neon and Paul, the incandescent. Neon was chosen because of the impracticality of the use of fiber optics, due to the armaturing system (five-way) and its ability to throw a great deal of light without the attendant heat, as with incandescents. It was used wherever there was a light source in an inaccessible area and for longevity. The tiny point sources of incandescents were used where needed.(...)

"Lighting systems which were made of four-milimeter neon tubing and developed by Larry Albright (56 of them, requiring 3000 volts to illuminate each) originally were to be the major illumination source of the starship. The idea was for the combined models to provide their own illumination, the thought being that lighting would be supplied totally from within the model. Hundreds of incandescents would be used in the structure, these being tiny sources called axial lamps, ten times smaller than a grain of wheat bulb. I am certain that the illumination sources discovered by our electrical people, Albright and Turner, were definitely a breakthrough for our industry. Five and six-volt computer lamps with long life ratings, good quality control for the shape of the glass envelope, and pin-based for replacement, were also built in throughout the structure." (American Cinematographer, February 1980, pp. 178, 186)

Dow further remembered, "Almost all the cabin portholes are neon - neon because the model had to be sealed, and neon has the longest life and generates the least amount of heat. It was next to impossible to provide maintenance ports in the Enterprise because it's such a smooth-skinned object. We didn't have the luxury of all that nerny detail that the Star Wars models had, to hide the lines of panel openings. But now they've added so much skin detail - which I'm sorry to see aesthetically - that we could have done it. Our job would have been much easier: we could have opened it up for access to the lights and wiring." (Starlog, issue 27, October 1979, p. 29) The inaccessibility of the internal wiring bedeviled VFX crews in later movies. Dow and his team finished up on the model in September/October 1978 and delivered it to the producers, coming in at seventy pounds. At Trumbull's insistence however, further detailing and revision of the lighting, meant that work on the model continued in the months that followed.

Constitution class studio model under construction

Model showing "Aztec-pattern" under oblique lighting

Paul Olsen working on the refit-Enterprise studio model

Olsen working on the model

While construction on the model was in progress, Taylor and Dow started to consider what color the Enterprise should have. Taylor reiterated, "As we worked up the Enterprise it became apparent to me that we needed a special paint technique to give the surface of the ship scale. Literally the different spectral qualities of paint and the thickness of one coat of paint could make the surface detail of the Enterprise believable. I had done some tests with different paints as a painter and knew of the Crescent Metal Powder paints and their pearlescent pigments. Jim Dow and I looked into them as he had used them as well on his 1935 Ford, did a little test and decided some combination of those pigments would work. Designing the pattern and doing the actual painting, now that was going to be one hell of a job for someone to tackle..." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 106) At first, Zuzana Swansea was appointed to try to apply the designed surfacing detail for the saucer section, most notably what was to become the "Aztec pattern" (the interlocking hull plate pattern on the saucer section, a hallmark for later classes of Federation star ships) as was envisioned by Taylor. However she, nor Dow or Taylor, lacked the painting skills to apply these details themselves. In order to accomplish this, Dow contracted free-lance airbrush artist Paul Olsen early on to apply the paint job, who has commented, "I was restricted to the dish, as the rest of the model was not finely detailed enough to take paint; the dish was divided into grooved panels which limited me to designing each one, and a Czech girl named Zuzana Swansea had made a tentative start on one of the panels, breaking it up into an Aztec-inspired design which was Richard Taylor’s idea and which I really liked. Zuzana had handed the keys back to Jim because she didn’t possess the airbrush skills to pull off all the varied surface detail." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 48).

USS Enterprise showing off its pearlescent hull

Test shot of the USS Enterprise showing off its pearlescent hull

USS Enterprise shows off its pearlescent hull

...and doing the same under different lighting conditions

Working on the model, starting with the dish, for the better part of eight months, the most striking part of his work was the application of a high-gloss pearlescent lacquer coating which gave the Enterprise a chameleon-like appearance in the movie, changing its color appearance depending on the kind and direction of lighting. The "Aztec pattern", for example, was only visible if the light hit the model at an oblique angle ("I used four pearl colors that were transparent: a blue, a gold, a red, and a green... they all flip-flopped to their complements when the viewing angle changed. Beautiful. By varying the amount of color, and the mixture of several colors on top of each other, I obtained myriad colors and depth of color.", Olsen later remembered. [65]) Though considered magnificent, the paint job caused some trouble for Douglas Trumball in shooting the model. As Olsen remembers on his website, "Dear old Doug drew me aside with one of his big grins and said, "Paul, it's terrific, but we may have problems shooting it because I think we'll get light kicks off the edges of the model." The model was so bright and so colorful that light flare against the black background she would be shot against would make it impossible to isolate the edges of the model from the background so a star field or planet fall or other effect could be photographically dropped (matted) in cleanly. They would have to shoot the model with low light, which would cool the reflections and all the model detail as well. There are still some shots where the opalescence can be seen, but the real thing looked so much better than can be seen in the movie." [X]wbm Olsen was assisted by Magicam's Ron Gress, who worked on the secondary hull.

Though Olsen has credited Taylor and Swansea for the "Aztec-pattern" design, Andrew Probert too has claimed credit for its creation, "Richard asked me to come up with an overall scheme of surface paneling to give the ship another level of detailing. I agreed that it would give the Enterprise more credibility as a manufactured spacecraft, even though panel lines wouldn't be visible at the scale distance needed to encompass the entire ship in a shot. Richard thought a subtle differencing of the paint scheme would accentuate those panels and that worked really well. For the saucer, I came up with "Aztec Pattern" panels providing a series of interlocking edges in order to reinforce the ship's surface tensile strength." [66]

As related elsewhere, the production of The Motion Picture was a troublesome one, fraud with delays and setbacks. The Enterprise model itself also caused some, one of them near completion when, "The Enterprise was just about finished, when one night, after we had all gone home, some clown impressing his girlfriend showed her the model, turned on all the circuits out of sequence and blew the circuits in the dish. This required major surgery and repainting and added two months to the shooting schedule which was now getting hairy.", Olsen remembered. (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 55) The second setback occurred just after shooting had started when over the 4th of July weekend, the the air conditioning system went awry and dripped water onto the bridge of the Enterprise, warping it, causing the top half pop off the dish and take some surface paint with it. Gress and Stetson had to pull an all-nighter to patch it up. Stetson recalled,

"Ron was actually being modest. It was two all nighters in a row for me. It was hot summer in the middle of model photography, and the model had been left in a hot set-up on stage over a rare weekend of not shooting. I am only speculating, but it could have been a holiday weekend - maybe July 4th. The faulty building A/C unit dripped all weekend from the ceiling of the stage right onto the bridge section, which had, believe it or not, been constructed from pattern wood. It warped, curled and cracked loose at the joint with the saucer. A shot had been planned pulling out from a close-up of the bridge, full-screen, so a quick repair was not an option. We pulled the model into our little maintenance shop and I detached the bridge part and started fresh on a new one. I turned a new acrylic pattern on a machinist's lathe for the main bridge dome. I used the precision of the lathe to scribe in all the horizontal detail lines, and then sculpted the rectilinear aft section from polyester body filler, over a styrene and acrylic box structure. Then I made an RTV silicone rubber mold of the pattern and laid up a part using white tooling epoxy and fine fiberglass mat. I didn’t use polyester resin because we were concerned about the dimensional stability of the part being so new and 'green'.

"Meanwhile, Ron masked off the top of the saucer and flattened and filled all the damage at the joint where the bridge had cracked loose. There was a lot of paint build-up on the model by that point, so Ron had to figure out how and where to merge the new work into the original paint layers. Kris Gregg prepared tiny replacement lights for re-installation. Ron did a light prime coat before we re-attached the new bridge to the saucer. We were very concerned about the coarse texture of paint grain because of the severe scrutiny which the upcoming shot would afford the viewer, where any amount of ‘tooth’ to the paint surface would blow the scale. Ron, therefore, mixed his paints really thin and painted with the lightest touch. We had to re-fill the joint between the bridge and the saucer before Ron sprayed the final prime and finish coats. There was a fair amount of 600-grit and 1200-grit sanding involved.

"I personally worked 36 hours straight, then took a four-hour nap at the Marina Marriott across the street in a room that the production kept for just such emergencies, and then worked another 36 hour shift. Ron and Kris Gregg and others on the crew tag-teamed with me to get the ship ready for filming once more as soon as we possibly could. I still have the replacement bridge pattern and mold around the house somewhere." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise pp. 55-56)

The model, including the revisions Trumbull requested, pushing the weight up to 85 pounds, took in total 14 months to complete. Measuring 100×46.5×21 inches, she reportedly was constructed at a cost of US$150,000. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 207)


USS Enterprise srudio model filmed at Douglas Trumball's Future Gereal Corporation

The model within spacedock model set up for filming at FGC

USS Enterprise studio model set up for filming at Future General Corporation

The model mounted at FGC for filming

Trumbull's company, Future General Corporation (FGC), did not use the traditional technique of bluescreen miniature photography. Bluescreen photography had been a widely used technique (already for The Original Series) where a studio model was placed in front of a background screen of a particular color (blue, but green and an intense kind of orange had also been used), using a type of film that did not register that particular color. Anything of that shade of color did not show up on the film, leaving clear areas into which other film elements could be inserted later in post-production. Unfortunately, any reflection of the screen onto the model would also vanish, resulting in holes in the footage of the model, an effect known as "blue-spill", made worse the more reflective the model is. Any holes in the footage in objects that were supposed to be solid had to be painstakingly matted in frame by frame in post-production. By using a technique called "frontlight-backlight", Trumbull managed to work around the problem. "(...) We shot all the the Enterprise footage because the Enterprise had a white, shiny surface and would have caused tremendous matting problems at Apogee. Spill light from the blue screen would have reflected off the ship and created holes in the mattes. Even with our high-con operation we had quite a problem pulling decent mattes off that model: with blue screen it would have been nearly impossible." (Cinefex, issue 1, 1980, pp. 12-14) Trumbull also had the internal lighting rewired to satisfy his vision of a concept of self-illumination as opposed to a model completely awash in light as it was originally constructed. For highlighting several spots on the model, FGC employed a visual trick as was explained by Olsen, "One nifty trick the lighting guys employed which impressed me was in order to dramatically light the Enterprise, they placed big styrofoam blocks about the model with lots of dental-type mirrors of various diameters on swivels. The were stuck in the foam, a spotlight was shone on them, and the lighting whizzes then pointed each mirror to the part of the ship they wanted to light. Some mirrors had colored gels on them, others Vaseline to blur the edges of the light, and the whole effect was perfect. Such a simple trick, but ever so effective." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, pp. 56-57)

USS Enterprise refit studio model laboriously handled by ILM's visual effects team

ILM's visual effects team struggling with the model during uncrating

Dow and his team made the model a rugged one, suspecting the model would be used in in subsequent outings. His foresight was fortuitous since it became apparent that The Motion Picture would have follow-ups. The model, being constructed out of molded plastics instead of the heavier fiberglass traditionally used until that time, was considered light at the time. By 1981 however that view was not shared by the VFX team of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), which was handed over the model for pre-production of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Although admired, the model was soon loathed by the team for its cumbersome handling and heavy weight. Director of photography Kenneth Ralston had been on record for his open dislike of the model at the time, "I hate that model. I think it's made out of lead. I don't know what's inside to make it so heavy; it took eight guys to mount it for a shot and a forklift to move it around. (...) I'll probably get attacked about his, but I'm just not crazy about the original design of the Enterprise. It's a shape that does not lend itself easily to looking good in the frame. It's hard to come up with angles that read like anything. There are only two good angles on it." (Cinefantastique, issue 44, Vol. 12, issue 5/6, pp. 54-55) and, "I hate that ship. I've said it a hundred times, but it's true. I think it's ugly – the most silly looking thing. The model is murder to work with, so I'm glad it's gone," he recalled while preparing the Enterprise for destruction in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. (American Cinematographer, August/September 1984, p. 61) The cumbersomeness was part of the reasons why the class of the USS Reliant was redesigned from a Constitution-class (as it was originally envisioned in an early draft of the script) to the Template:ShipClass (the other reason being that the producers were afraid that audiences would not be able to tell the two ships apart during the battle sequences). (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 83)

Further problems arose with the internal wiring for lighting when some of the lighting shorted out. Unable to procure help from the original electricians from Trumbull's company FGC (FGC also tendered a bid to do the VFX for the movie, but was passed over in favor of ILM), Martin Brenneis, responsible at ILM for all the electronics and supervising model maker Steve Gawley had to figure out for themselves how to fix the problem. As Brenneis recalled, "The lighting in it was obviously done by a model maker who knew nothing about electricity. I and a couple of the model makers had to do some rewiring to least make it safe! It was too much work to completely rewire it, but we patched the bits that really were hazardous so that we could use it. Another complication was that all the lights were sealed inside the ship, so if even one was damaged the entire model would have to be taken apart." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 20) Brenneis' comment was vividly illustrated by an instant when some of the lights were knocked out due to a shorted wire, bringing filming to a halt. Gawley had to go into the model, arm-pit deep, to feel out the loose wire on touch. An added disadvantage of the complicated and cumbersome wiring was that Ralston had to painstakingly, and thus time-consuming, rewire an elaborate network of switches on the Enterprise to a big control console every time the model was mounted for filming. (Cinefantastique, issue 44, Vol 12 #5/6, p. 55)

Trumbull's concept of self-illumination caused Ralston yet another set of headaches in filming the exterior lighting of the model. That concept meant that in the previous movie certain surface features were pointed up, such as the registry number, the name and the Starfleet logos. Trumbull had achieved this among others by using an elaborate set-up with adjustable tiny mirrors that reflected the studio light onto the model, acting as miniature spotlights. ILM used a rig with with actual tiny spotlights with adjustable lenses, so light spots could be reduced to pinpoints. Ralston found it excruciatingly hard to incorporate this feature during filming however, as whenever the model rolled all these tiny spots of light had to roll with it. Since it was infeasible to have the lighting rig to roll, Ralston had to use tricks shots, like having the cameras roll while the model was stationary, to achieve the effect, "It affected the flexibility of what we could do with models. Fortunately they're not doing maneuvers like X-wing fighters anyway. They sort of lumber along, and it's what's going on all around them that creates the excitement in scenes like the grand-slam finale: the battle inside a nebula." (Cinefantastique, issue 44, Vol 12 #5/6, p. 57)

USS Enterprise toned down studio model on set for blue-screen filming at ILM

The toned down model on set for blue-screen filming at ILM

Using the blue-screen miniature photography technique, Ralston soon encountered the same problems Trumbull had with the intricate paint job while shooting. Because of budget restraints not being able to change filming techniques a decision was made to give the model its first repaint. Highlighting details with matte paint on the hull and using dulling spray, the team got rid of the pearlescent gloss of the model. Justifying the decision Ralston said, "The ship won't look any different on the screen. The iridescense effect still works, but having a little relief on the surface made things easier for us. We didn't have to horse around with the lighting to get rid of the gloss." (Cinefantastique, issue 44, Vol 12 #5/6, p. 55) However since in the movie stock footage of The Motion Picture was also used, the Enterprise appeared in The Wrath of Khan in both liveries.

As to underscore Ralston's objections to the model, its size also caused some additional problems. Ralston continued to explain how for several fly-by shots the camera had to be turned sideways and lifted up to keep the blue screen behind the model. When using a wide angle lens for close-ups, the ship sometimes ran off the edge of the screen and the stage or ceiling joints showed up on the footage shot.

The master model was virtually used back to back for its next appearance, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and needed no further modifications aside from additional application of battle damage, both in the form of paint and rubber patches, molded and painted to simulate battle damage. Aluminum slivers were also applied to simulate peeled back hull plating.

USS Enterprise studio model wiring worked upon by ILM's Eric Christensen

ILM's Eric Christensen working on the wiring of the model

After the third movie, the continuation of the movie series was henceforth by no means an automatic certainty, let alone the reappearance of the Enterprise model, so the model was not cleaned up and put away in storage. By the time Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home went into production and it became obvious that Kirk's new command would be a new Template:ShipClass ship, ILM's model shop had to do a major refurbishment of the model, to make it appear as a new ship. By now the the damage add-ons had adhered to the paint and removing them caused damage to the paint, so a first true re-paint was necessary (though the original paint layer was not removed). The decals were also replaced to signify the new call sign "NCC-1701-A". Concerns existed about the internal lighting system, but it held up. It was in this finish that the model was originally slated to represent the USS Stargazer in the TNG: "The Battle" episode, before a last minute decision was made to introduce a new shipclass.

Another unexpected refurbishment was necessary in early 1989, when the model was uncrated at the New York-based effects house Associates and Ferren. Fully expecting to be able to shoot the model at once for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Bran Ferren was dismayed when he observed that, "One entire side of the Enterprise model was sprayed matte gray, destroying the meticulous original paint job. We had to go in and fix it before we could shoot it, which took two painters and an assistant about six weeks to do." David V. Mei was the lead modeler responsible for the refurbishment which also included replacing the decals that were crumbling. (Reportedly, the vandalism was done by a film crew member of Universal Studios when the model was on loan for a video presentation for their Star Trek Adventure attraction, in order to work around the blue-spill problem.) This time around, the internal lighting did not work properly. "Also, the Enterprise turned out to be an electrical challenge that only continued to work because there were sufficient short circuits within it to keep it arcing into operation - so we had to rewire it", Ferren continued. (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 83) Senior Modelmaker Mei on his contribution, "The Enterprise was built by Magicam for the first feature. Over the years, parts of it had been given battle damage and it needed to be brought back up to standards. One side was essentially undamaged and we had to match that. The Enterprise had always had an iridescent finish that made it difficult to shoot bluescreen. Everybody who photographed it had to solve that problem individually. The artist who originally painted it was Ron Gress [sic]. He used a lot of auto body lacquers and it took him months to paint that thing. It shows. There was so much work on it. I spoke with him on the phone, trying to get some tips. We wanted to remain true to his work." (Cinefex, issue 42, p. 52) The refurbishment was a serious set-back on an already very tight budget.

Two years later, the model was hauled out of storage once again for preparation for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and sent over to ILM's model shop. Lengthy financial negotiations delayed start-up of production, but ILM made use of the time offered them to give the models sent to them a thorough overhaul. Although pleasantly surprised about the overall shape the model was in after more than a decade, the first thing art director Bill George and his team of modelers tackled head-on was the ever re-occurring headache, internal wiring. Not that they had a choice though as ILM modeler John Goodson explained:

"A lot of times you'll inherit a model that doesn't come with a power supply, so somebody has to go through all the wiring and figure out what the voltages are and how everything works. Every model has a bunch of wires that come out out of it off-camera and which basically make the model work – running all the neon running lights and cooling fans. When we got the Enterprise back for VI, for some reason all the power cables had been hacked off! So we had this model that was more than a decade old and everything was sealed inside without the access panels ILM usually builds into its own models. So Jon Foreman, our electronics guy, had to sit down with the end of the umbilicals, with stubs of like fifty wires that go to things in the ship, and figure out what every one of those lights was and rewire the whole thing."(Industrial Light & Magic: Into the Digital Realm pp. 57-58)
This time the model was opened up and the wiring was repaired and modernized. "The original powerbus was situated in such a way that about a dozen small wires had to be snaked individually through the different access ports. Jon Foreman went in and rewired the Enterprise with two specific goals in mind: one, make it easier to to mount by having a single harness to route through and connect up: two, since we wanted to cut down the number of passes required for each shot, the exposures for the various lights on the ship had to be much closer in intensity. Prior to this, the running lights, window lights and sensor dome had been shot with separate passes. But by reworking the wiring, these could now be recorded in a single pass, thus reducing stage time.", George recollected. (Cinefex, issue 49, p. 42) Also the model began to show its age, now being covered with hairline cracks, damaging the paint layer and also Olsen's original pearlescent paint scheme starting to reassert itself yet again. The cracks were filled with putty and sanded down, a new paint layer was applied by Kim Smith together with layers of dulling spray.

This proved to be the last time the model was to be used as a shooting model for a Star Trek production.

Shortly after wrapping up the production for The Undiscovered Country, the model went on tour, firstly to the 1992-1993 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit and a year later to the Hayden Planetarium, New York City, for its 1993-1994 exhibition in both instances shortly reunited with its progenitor. [67] In 2001, the model was sent over to Foundation Imaging as a reference guide for modelers Robert Bonchune and Lee Stringer for their CGI model they were building for 2001's Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition). On 1 November 2001, the model was on its last public display, before being auctioned off in 2006, in the lobby of the Paramount Theater for the Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) Event, where the revamped movie was premiered.

This model, known as Lot #1000, part of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction and estimated at US$15,000-$25,000, was eventually sold on 7 October 2006 with a winning bid of US$240,000 (US$248,800 including buyer's premium), which incidentally meant that the studio recouped roughly half the (inflation adjusted) cost it incurred when the model was built back in 1978. [68] The model was featured in the documentary Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier, as the Okuda's uncrated the model. The model was acquired by Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen for his Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, where it currently resides (although due to space restraints it is not on permanent display).

Partial physical refit models

On several occasions, even the large eight-feet model was not deemed detailed enough for envisioned close-up shots and enlarged partial models had to be constructed to obtain the desired visual effects. As Richard Taylor had put it, "Different scale models were made for different shots. Some shots of the Enterprise were larger scale models sections of the model that needed even more detail. The side of the E where the shuttle docked was one such model." (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 105)

The Motion Picture secondary hull section models

Constitution class revised port secondary hull section model

The hull section model as constructed for The Motion Picture on set with the travel pod studio model

Constitution class port secondary hull section model

The secondary hull section model as constructed for Phase II

The model Taylor was referring to, was an enlarged section of the port forward secondary hull, just below the Starfleet pennant that featured an airlock. The model was deemed necessary as it was there that the travel pod, carrying Admiral Kirk and Montgomery Scott, after their inspection tour was to dock with the ship. As this scene was already envisioned in a later, revised version of the pilot episode "In Thy Image" for the Star Trek: Phase II project, it was one of the earlier models built at Magicam, and initially bore markings and detailing that was in line with the Enterprise model built for that project. Once the project was upgraded to The Motion Picture, that model was discarded and replaced with a larger one that corresponded with the studio model built for that production, which included a re-sculpted airlock and changed signage.

The Wrath of Khan section model

USS Enterprise section model after application of battle damage handled by ILM modelers Jeff Mann and Steve Gawley

The section model on set with applied battle damage handled by ILM modelers Jeff Mann (l) and Steve Gawley

USS Enterprise section model under construction being worked upon bu ILM's Larry Tan

ILM modeler Larry Tan working on the section model

USS Enterprise taking punishment by the USS Reliant

...and how it looked on screen

Although Trumbull liked the model of the Enterprise he initially considered the model too small for his purposes, or as he stated it, "the Enterprise in particular, was one-fourth a big as it should have been. Even in Silent Running, which was a low budget movie, our space craft was twenty-six feet long; In 2001, the Discovery spacecraft was fifty-four feet long. But in Star Trek, the Enterprise is barely seven feet long; and it was just an enormous struggle to get not only a sufficient degree of detail, but also camera angles and depth of field and lighting that worked." (Cinefex, issue 1, 1980, p. 15) Ralston came to agree with Trumbull, when it came to shooting the scene where the Enterprise is hit by Reliant's phaser volley in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In order to get the detailed close-ups (and in order not to have the master model damaged), Gawley and his team build an enlarged section of the forward upper secondary hull with the dorsal. The model, measuring 48×24×27 inches, was constructed out of wood and skinned in wax so that simulated damage could be easily sculpted and animated onto the surface, helped by the fact that the studio lighting softened up the wax. The damage on the model could also be easily reversed if the need arose, as it eventually would in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the three other movies the section model would be used in.

The section model, known as Lot #992, being part of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction, estimated at US$1,000-$1,500, was eventually sold on 7 October 2006 with a winning bid of US$9,500 (US$11,400 including buyer's premium) to American collector Adam Schneider. [69]

The Search for Spock bridge and saucer section models

USS Enterprise-refit onstage destruction of the enlarged bridge model

On-stage destruction of the enlarged bridge model

USS Enterprise-refit enlarged saucer section studio model dissolved by ILM's modelshop team

Gawley's team dissolving the enlarged saucer section studio model

For The Search for Spock, the intricate self-destruct sequence required additional enlarged sections of the Enterprise model, a close-up model of the bridge and two close-up models of the upper saucer section. As Ralston recalled:

"(...)my involvement began at the top of the bridge when you see it blowing up. It was a miniature that we shot with the Bruce Hill camera. Sean Casey had done a lot of the work on all those models, mold-making and things, because we had to do a lot of tests before we ever got to really shooting it. The pyro work was headed up by Ted Moehnke, who did a great job on the show. I think we got some nice pyrotechnics and different pyrotechnics, too. So it was a full miniature blown up. Then we had to pull a matte of that put some stars in because it was just shot against black. Then we cut back to the Bird of Prey ship moving away from the Enterprise and dropping down. The top is blowing up. What we did–Don Dow shot that one–we just painted out the top with black. If it's against the stars, you won't be able to see it... We painted it real black. We weren't about to destroy that $150,000 model that Doug Trumball [sic] built. I was tempted though-tempted many times to take a mallet to it.

"Anyway, we had a projector and we were projecting the explosion going off on top of the ship. What you are seeing isn't the ship moving. The camera system is doing all those moves with the ship and all the different light passes. Then we come back and shut off all the lights. We project the the explosions on the ship and repeat the same moves with explosions going off. It looks like it's all locked into the same element. We also put light effects on top of the ship.

"Next we cut to the famous number (NCC 1701) being eaten away and the explosions going off. Bill George devised a very light styrofoam that he laid over this incredible grid work-something he came up with in 20 minutes or so. It looked great. We dripped acetone or MEK or something really vile stuff on the surface, but you can't see the stuff dripping on it. I wasn't sure it would work. The camera is shooting over a frame a second, that is why it is hard to see the drip. We had to get all the light off it, too, or you would see a light coming down. The grid work was shot separately from the surface. It was all put together later so we could do light effects. And some of the explosions were just Ken Smith, the optical photography supervisor, burning out certain frames.

"Then the ship comes right up to camera and the whole dish blows off. Again, the ship was shot using all the same techniques-projection on the surface, etc. But the final explosion, when the whole thing goes, is a large dish shape which Sean made out of plaster. I sprinkled talcum powder over it to get more fine material coming off it. It had several explosives inside that Ted had come up with. And we shot it as high speed as we could, It still wasn't as slow as I wanted it. The explosion was supered over the ship. There is also a stock explosion from The Empire Strikes Back in there too. It comes out from underneath the dish to make the explosion seem a little more cohesive and not so much of an effect." (American Cinematographer, August/September 1984, p. 61)

The Undiscovered Country saucer section model

USS Enterprise-A eight foot saucer model worked upon by ILM's Eben Stromquist and Larry Tan

ILM's modelers Eben Stromquist (l) and Larry Tan working on the special saucer model of the Enterprise-A

For the scene in The Undiscovered Country, where the primary hull of the Enterprise is pierced by a torpedo, an enlarged eight-foot saucer was built. "When Scott and I were in the very early design phases, trying to come up with ideas to make the battle a little bit different, he asked me, "What have you always wanted to see happen to the Enterprise?" and I my answer was, "I've always wanted to see a photon torpedo go right through the ship. There's one place on the primary hull where it's really thin." We designed that shot and they accepted it. We wanted to make sure that it didn't look as much like a explosion as a shotgun blast, because the photon torpedo's actually pushing through the ship. We built a huge eight-feet diameter dish with replaceable breakaway section made very of very fragile plaster, then hung the model upside-down. On the side away from the camera were fingers of metal that were dressed as the damaged ship. When a pin was pulled, a spring pushed them right through the plaster skin, which cracked since it's supposed to be ceramic tile.", Bill George further recalled. (American Cinematographer, January 1992, p. 61)

Other physical models

While the master filming model was used to provide the majority of shots, there were instances were the master model would not do.

Smaller scaled filming models

Uss Enterprise 1foot model under construction at Apogee

Magicam's one-foot model under construction

USS Enterprise flyover V'Ger

...and in action in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

"There is also a second model of the Enterprise which is twenty inches long [eighteen according to Olsen], used for long shots," Sackett/Roddenberry claim in their book The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (p. 207). It is the model John Dykstra referred to as the "one-foot" model, "But for some of the more distant shots we built and photographed a smaller version of the Enterprise, about a foot long." (Cinefex, issue 2, 1980, p. 67) Built specifically for forced perspective shots, construction on this model was started a few months into the build of its larger sister at Magicam where it was sighted by Paul Olsen when he was hired for the painting of the larger model. (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 45) The model has been used for the approach and passage of the Enterprise over V'Ger, to emphasize the size of V'Ger, itself an eighty-six feet long studio model. To date only referenced to by Roddenberry, Dykstra and Olsen, it is the least known of all the Constitution-class studio models, and nothing else about the model can be said with any certainty.

USS Enterprise-A refit, profile view action in Star Trek VI

USS Enterprise small AMT studio model on set for blue-screen filming at ILM by Assistant Cameraman Peter Daulton

The AMT model set up for filming at ILM for Star Trek III

USS Enterprise ILM AMT studio model

...and at auction

What is certain however, is that the model was never used again, since ILM, unaware of its existence, built a new smaller Enterprise model for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, using a by then available AMT/Ertl-model kit, number S970. "In fact we used one of the AMT kits to build this little model of the Enterprise, which has about a twelve inch diameter dome. We actually put lights in it and used it in instances where we had to be far away from the ship. With the big model, you can't get too far away and make it look far away – it always looks big. So we used that one for anything where we wanted the ship real small," Don Dow (brother of Magicam's Jim Dow) remembers. (Cinefex, issue 18, 1984, p. 63) Intricately detailed and lit by ILM, measuring 22 inches in length, the model saw use from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan through Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, with the exception of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

This model, being part of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction as Lot 999 , estimated at US$15,000-$20,000, was sold on October 7, 2006 with a winning bid of US$40,000 ($48,000 including buyer's premium). In a run up to the auction, the model was on tour at the Creation Convention in Las Vegas from 17 August to 20 August 2006. [70]

Additional AMT modelkits of the refit-Constitution class were utilized by Adam Buckner and Dan Curry to "kitbash" the Template:ShipType and the USS Jupp [71] in order to beef out the opening scene of a retreating flotilla of Starfleet vessels in DS9: "A Time to Stand". The latter one however, was not present in the scene, though it was prepared for shooting as Buckner later confirmed, "Those photos show the ship while still under construction and the top of the dish had not yet been secured while we were waiting for the neon to be fitted. It was a pain in the patoot, and after that most of that round of kit bashing was done with UV paint and UV tape for windows and nacelles." [72] Only the USS Curry (with Constitution-class warp nacelles) made it onto the screen, though the USS Jupp went on to be featured in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.

Display models

Constitution class variant model

Model of Constitution with modified nacelle configuration

A second AMT-model kit, most likely number 6675 or 6693, was in modified form used in TNG. For the episode "The Battle", the producers originally intended the USS Stargazer to be of the Constitution-refit class, in order to be able to use the existing filming model. In the build-up to the episode the "NCC-7100" desktop model in Picard's office was replaced with the AMT model kit to accommodate the transition. Painted in an overall silver color, the model had its warp engines mounted at a perpendicular angle facing outward as opposed to the original angle. Another modification were the oblong cuts in the saucer rim, most likely to suggest shuttle bays as they would later appear on the Template:ShipClass. When the decision was made very late in the production to have as yet the new class model built, principal photography was already finished and the model would be visible for a couple of episodes in Picard's ready room, since the "NCC-7100" resided in Greg Jein's model shop as reference for the larger model and would not be returned until later in the season. The model was seen in Picard's ready room in "The Battle", "Hide and Q", "Too Short a Season", and "The Big Goodbye", and was also seen in Riker's quarters in "Haven" and "Lonely Among Us" and in Clare Raymond's guest quarters in "The Neutral Zone". The model shortly returned in season three as a desktop model in a holographic recreation of Drafting Room 5 at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards and in Marla Aster's quarters aboard the USS Enterprise-D.

Refit-Enterprise golden display model

One of the golden models

A third and fourth AMT model kit (most likely No.8617) were used by John Eaves as model and mold for the golden display models in the display cases in the observation lounges of the USS Enterprise-E in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek Nemesis as one of the golden models. Preparing them for gold plating proved cumbersome. "Getting them all built was a huge challenge because the kits are just awful to work with, and most of the seams were huge and the choice of part lines put large, deep lines through what should be a clean surface. The Enterprise-A was the worst because it has this kinda wood texture on every inch of the ship, so I wound up filling every line and sanding it smooth to make the finished gold plating look like an Oscar", Eaves remembers on his blog. [73]

Eaves and the studio initially retained most of the models but most of them were later sold at various auctions. One was sold as part of a complete set of six in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction #44 on 15 May 2011 as Lot 1550 for $11,000 (for the whole set), two were sold in the July 2007 and June 2008 It's A Wrap! sale and auctions as Lot#4411 and Lot #7885 for US$865.00 and US$765.55 respectively, the former to American collector Jason Stevens, [74], one sold as part of a complete set of six in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction on 12 December 2001 as Lot 288, estimated at US$10,000-$12,000 for the whole set, and another one has reportedly been sold in an on-line Sotheby's auction in October 2000. [75]

Constitution class model, Paradise lost

An refit-Constitution class model in Admiral Leyton's office

A silver refit-Constitution model was seen in Admiral Leyton's office at Starfleet Headquarters on the Presidio in DS9: "Paradise Lost". This probably was a painted AMT modelkit No. 8617.

Starfleet headquarters studio model with mounted Micro Machines models

Starfleet Headquarters model with two Constitution class vessels on the left

Other commercial products were used as two of the four models mounted in front of the sail shaped top half façade of the Starfleet Headquarters at the Presidio site, appearing in DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost". The top half of the façade was itself a studio model and the starship models were Galoob Micro Machines (most likely taken from the pewter painted "Star Trek Television Series I Box Set" and "Star Trek the Movies Collectors Edition" sets). (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 112) Two Constitution-class vessels were mounted on the left, a refit configuration the farthest out.

Battle-damaged refit model

For the intricate destruction sequence (the moment the Enterprise plummets to its doom to the Genesis planet), at the time still done by physical models, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, an additional model was needed apart from the already available models and the enlarged physical model-sections. "Neither of these models however, was used for the Enterprise's final destruction sequence. For the shots involving miniature pyrotechnics, Ted Moehnke and his crew worked primarily with partial models that were quickly destroyed-though supervising model maker Steve Gawley and his crew actually constructed a complete model, fully one-third smaller than the original, for full shots of the partially destroyed ship.", Don Dow further remembered. (Cinefex, issue 18, 1984, p. 63) [76]

Its use as a destroyed starship would not be limited to this movie. The saucer section disassembled (making use of the way the model was constructed to perform a saucer separation, a feature copied from its large sister) from the engineering section, both refurbished, found their way into the debris field in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" [77] (a picture of Gary Hutzel, lurking over the secondary hull at the time was published in Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, issue 4/5, p. 64). In a second re-use, modifications were performed on parts of the model, as the saucer section and the battle-damaged Miranda-class nacelle were to be used to represent debris flying off the exploding USS Odyssey in DS9: "The Jem'Hadar". Modifications on the detached saucer-section were performed by Dennis Hoerter and Glenn Neufeld. (Cinefantastique,Vol. 25/26, issue 1, p. 109) A third and final re-use occurred in the episode DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice", where the saucer section appeared, again together with the Miranda-class nacelle, representing the crashed USS Olympia. [78] The repainting of the blackened exposed interior was probably done for this episode in order to increase the contrast for the shot.

This model, at the time re-assembled and known as Lot #993, part of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction, estimated at US$6,000-$8,000, was eventually sold on 7 October 2006 with a winning bid of US$40,000 (US$48,000 including buyer's premium). The model, in its disassembled state, was featured in the documentary Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier, as the Okudas uncrated the model.

USS Enterprise impulse engine part

The impulse drive/deflector crystal assembly part

When the model was disassembled for "Best of Both Worlds", the part representing the impulse drive/deflector crystal assembly was removed in order to gain access to the bolts that connected the saucer section to the secondary hull. The piece was either misplaced or lost, since it was not re-attached to the model when it went on sale in the 2006 Christie's auction. However, the piece, measuring 9 × 5 inches, resurfaced in 2010, as it was offered as lot #1268, estimated at US$400-$600 and sold for US$950 in the June 12 Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 40, misrepresented as "this prop could possibly be the only surviving piece of that special effects model". [79]

The USS Enterprise wreck model
USS Enterprise wreckage USS Enterprise wreck model prepared by Gary Hutzel Wolf 359 wreckage 3 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
...prepared by Hutzel for "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", primary hull
Wolf 359 wreckage 4 USS Enterprise wreck model prepared by Hoerter and Neufeld USS Odyssey wreckage "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", engineering hull
...prepared as USS Odyssey by Hoerter and Neufeld (r) USS Odyssey in "The Jem'Hadar"
USS Olympia debris USS Enterprise debris model USS Enterprise wreck model at auction USS Olympia in "The Sound of Her Voice"
...uncrated before auction in Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier auction

CGI refit model

A CGI model of a Constitution-refit vessel, in fact the very first CGI ship ever for Star Trek, was built in early 1987, but has not been seen by the general public. During the early stages of pre-production of the new Star Trek: The Next Generation series, it became apparent to producers Robert Justman, Edward K. Milkis, and then recently-appointed associate producer Peter Lauritson that the new show would be the most VFX-laden show of its day, much like its predecessor was. At a point they considered doing the special effects and especially the ship shots in CGI as a time saving alternative and went as far as to have an effects company compile several test shots. Since the new ship for the show was yet to be designed, a Constitution-refit vessel served as a stand-in. Justman recalled, "Eddie Milkis and I investigated the possibility of generating everything on the computer. We had great reservations about it, because it still didn't have the reality. The surface treatment wasn't totally believable; we could have gotten by, it would have been acceptable, but it wasn't satisfactory." (Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints, accompanying booklet, p. 14; Cinefex, issue 37, p. 10) Milkis further elaborated,"It was incredibly good, and it took some real thinking on our part, but ultimately we decided that if something ever happened to that company and they couldn't deliver, then we'd have nothing. We were very concerned about that and ultimately they did go out of business." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 11)

USS Enterprise CGI models

The CGI models of the refit USS Enterprise from Dochterman (top) and Foundation Imaging (bottom)

Constitution Class CGI model by Foundation Imaging

Foundation Imaging's completed CGI model

For the Director's Edition DVD of the original film, new VFX shots were needed among other new shots of the Enterprise herself. Daren Dochterman, already in charge of most of the VFX built and mapped a model in his spare time. [80] "I did my best to come up with a workable ship. I used my model in some rough composites as we were storyboarding it and it looked OK. But specifically for end shots it had to be much more detailed. So I handed that model over to the guys at Foundation Imaging." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 55) At Foundation, the work of mapping the CG model was handled by Robert Bonchune and Lee Stringer. Having access to the original studio model Bonchune remarked, "there were just these subtle variations everywhere that gave it so much depth and reality. ILM had matted the surfaces down for bluescreen photography. but they left a few parts of the 1979 paint job near the back. There were layers and layers of subtle airbrushing and a little pearlescent here and a little less there. I was told by some of the guys who originally did the paintwork that they took white and 15 or 17 different colors like pink and blue and magenta, all these different shades, and just put a few drops in each of the paints." In the end, Stringer worked on the saucer section, while Bonchune worked on the rest, both working on it in their own time. [81] Stringer further specified, "To help create this, Foundation Imaging was charged with creating and completing many visual effects shots and scenes. A version highly detailed computer model of the USS Enterprise was required. Starting with two CGI models provided by VFX Supervisor Daren Dochterman and Jose Perez, I was responsible with creating the Primary Hull (Saucer), the Bridge and Warp Nacelles (Engines). Helped by having unlimited access to the original filming miniature, the finished model replicates the look and details of the filmed version to blends the new elements and shots seamlessly into the film." [82]

Foundation's model went on to make several appearances in and onto licensed Star Trek publications, most notably in the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars and their book derivative.

Constitution-class shuttlebay models

While Jefferies was ironing out the details of his Enterprise design, it became clear that there was to be a "flight deck" or "hangar deck" (Jefferies used both denominations on his design sketches) aft of the engineering hull of the design at very much the place where he had it originally intended. That being said, there was no way, considering the budget restraints, that a full-scale flight deck set was ever to be constructed. Yet when the episode "The Galileo Seven" came along a resolution had to be found, in the process establishing a feature later carried over to the majority of other Starfleet starship classes.

Original configuration Constitution-class shuttlebay model

Constitution class hangar deck definitive concept

Jefferies definitive shuttlebay concept

Constitution class shuttlebay maquette

The maquette at Film Effects, showing the cables that operated the revolving platform

Jefferies has said this about his design in an off-hand remark, "We had the the large curved clamshell doors at the back, and it didn't look too much different from a lot of today's modern hangars on the inside. The shuttlebay itself was only in miniature. The view of the shuttlebay in "Journey to Babel" was created by shooting through a set of sliding doors toward sections of interior wall placed eight or 10 feet further back. All of our interior walls were of the same finish, which would have included the shuttlebay." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 12, p. 24) Jefferies took care that he designed the shuttlebay in-scale with the Class-F shuttle model with which the maquette was to interact. After tenders went out, it was Richard Datin, who got the 1966 commission to build the maquette. He recalled:

"The original estimate was $2,100. In the end I invoiced them for $1,800, then I charged them an additional $163 for decals and another $175 for labor, making a total of $2,138. The scale of the model was one inch to the foot, while the drawing was drawn to a scale of 1/8 inch to the foot. According to my figures (the model) was 10'-2" long, 6'-4" wide by 3'-2" high at the inboard end and 5'-0" wide and 2'-5" high at the outboard end, where the clamshell doors were located. The model was based on drawing No.6149-14, perhaps drawn by Matt, or better yet, someone under his supervision.

"The original construction plans called for the entire length of the starboard section from ribbed beam in this half to the floor to be removable for filming purposes. Consequently, the interior port side wall was to be well detailed. However, for whatever reason, the starboard wall was not made to be removable and filming of the miniature could only be done looking back to the clamshell bay doors.
"Observation corridors windows to be frosted and lit separately as well, as the control blimps and Observation Booth Turrets. The section of the roof between the starboard and port ribbed beams will be translucent and certain small control lights o be added to the interior. Clamshell doors to be hand-operated and will be of metal for stability ("I honestly don't recall ever installing the covers nor the operating elevator"). The price includes the dolly to either pull the shuttle ship onto or off the elevator as well as the areaways cut into the side walls ("I don't believe I provided this"). Delivery would be approximately 3 weeks from date of start.

"The interior of he flight deck model was painted in shades of green and possibly light gray. From the looks of two hangar deck photos I took, it was a very light green for the side walls down to the deck, with a slightly darker shade of green for the observation corridors and control booths. The inset areaways look to be the same color as the corridors. The deck may have been light gray or green, it's hard to tell as it reflects the color of the sidewalls. The model was built primarily of pine for the structural frame, masonite for the deck and overhead shell surface, plywood archwork, and Plexiglas for the translucent overhead and observation booth windows.

"I had installed some lighting and some small colored bulbs used as a signal of some sort, I think, in the observation booths. But the major illumination was provided by Film Effects-the usual spots and flood lights. I was not on hand for any of the filming. Those brightly lit corridor windows are illuminated by studio flood lights. In other words, the backside of the corridor was open to the exterior so that the windows could be fully illuminated."

Datin spent 460 hours constructing the shuttlebay maquette, starting on 14 September, and finishing on 25 October 1966. He also spent some time doing some repairs on 31 October on the in-scale shuttlecraft, constructed by AMT, that went with it. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 133, p. 49) Upon completion the maquette was sent to Dunn's Film Effects, where the only footage was shot, utilized throughout the remainder of the series. Linwood Dunn commented on shooting the maquette, "A larger scale model of the Enterprise flight deck was, built, from which its small "shuttle craft" took off and returned, the rear clam-shell doors sliding open and closed. This crafts movement forward and back, and to and fro from the revolving platform on the deck, was maneuvered by wires, which also controlled the craft as it soared into "space" suspended from a special rigging mounted high outside and above the flight deck." (American Cinematographer, January 1992, p. 39) The maquette, considering its size, was more than likely discarded after usage, as it has never been sighted since.

Constitution class remasterd hangar deck by Max Gabl

Gabl's CGI shuttlebay

When Star Trek: The Original Series-remastered came along in 2006, the original footage with the maquette was replaced with new digitally enhanced imagery. At CBS Digital a CGI matte painting was constructed by Max Gabl of the hangar deck, premiering on 3 February 2007 in the remastered version of "Journey to Babel". The CGI effect was manipulable in 3D, so it could interact with footage of the CGI model of the Class-F shuttle. Michael Okuda wanted to use the effect to beef out another scene in the episode, "In "Journey to Babel", we really wanted to put the full hangar deck behind the shuttlecraft in the doorway shots when Sarek and his party are disembarking. Niel and his crew did such a great job on the landing that we wanted to see more of that digital set. The problem was that it was a very long shot that would have involved an enormous amount of rotoscope work and motion tracking.", to which Dave Rossi added, "Niel [Wray] came to our rescue. He suggested a simplified version of the shot in which they put in the bottom of the observation gallery in just part of the sequence. Now, when the camera pushes in, we can see at least that part of the back wall of the hangar deck. It's a nice tie-in." [X]wbm

Refit configuration Constitution-class shuttlebay model

Constitution class USS Enterprise cut-away diagram

Jefferies' original intended hangar deck placement design

TMP Enterprise cut

Probert's "elevation sketch" showing the interlocking interior design

While Jefferies had a more modest view in mind where the scale and location of the hangar bay were concerned in the original configuration, when it came to redesign the Enterprise for The Motion Picture, designer Andrew Probert had a far more ambitious configuration in mind. Probert, after taking over the interior design work from Mike Minor, who had done some preliminary design work, asked himself where the workbees went, once having entered that space, "This 'new idea' was based on my discussions with Trumbull as we examined the logic of those earlier concepts. My first question was, "How do those pods get in & out of that space?" Eventually, I produced this elevation sketch to propose a solution,...and Trumbul [sic] liked it." [83]

Constitution class cargo bay set

Cargo bay life-sets before compositing...

Constitution class refit landingbay

...and combined with matte painting into this final shot

The thinking was that the hangar deck was interlocked with staggered adjacent cargo bays and as such were envisioned. Eventually, though liked by Trumbull, the whole set-up was realized by combining matte painting and a (small) partially full-scale set for the actors to interact with, as executing the whole effect as a full standing set would have been cost-prohibitive.

The Motion Picture maquette

While a full scale set was not executed, a small scale partial maquette was, as was evidenced on this blog entry:

Constitution class refit shuttlebay maquette

The Motion Picture hangar deck maquette. Notice the sliver of blue-screen, indicating the maquette did not quite match up with the angle of the shots

"So, coincidentally, I had breakfast this morning with Mark Stetson and he confirmed that the Enterprise filming miniature had:
- A rear mount. (I confirmed this separately in a miniatures manual the Magicam prepared for the handover to ASTRA and EEG.)
- Replaceable hangar bay doors. One set "closed", another set "open".
- A physical model for the interior. It was forced perspective and not very deep. Was basically a floor, the starboard wall with some ribs, and a couple of work bees. They went with a miniature because as opposed to a painting because they knew the camera would be moving and there needed to be something there to have some parallax (depth).
He knows this because he was (coincidentally) the guy that built it."
Daren Dochterman added, partly in error where the workbees were concerned, "The Miniature did have a partially built shuttle bay... but was augmented with a tiny matte painting of a couple of workbees that was mounted inside the miniature itself... as you can see in one shot as they pass by. I believe this is what Mr. Probert means when he said it was a combination of matte and miniature. (of course, when we are inside, it is entirely matte painting.)" [84] The footage was re-utilized in The Wrath of Khan.

The Final Frontier maquettes

Enterprise-A shuttlebay

The full-scale shuttle bay set with the mock-ups

In Star Trek: The Final Frontier, the flight deck had an important role to play. Such was its perceived importance that for the first and last time, a full scale set of the Constitution-class hangar deck was constructed, complete with two full-scale mock-ups of the Galileo-type shuttlecraft, and tailored on Jefferies' original vision, as the elaborate vision of Probert was not called upon. "This is a new set for Star Trek, and it fulfills a very important function in the life of the Starship Enterprise in that this is where the shuttlecraft depart from and return to. The set took up all of Stage 8, which is perhaps the biggest stage on the Paramount lot. we had a couple of full sized shuttlecraft in the landing bay, including the one we flew on location in the desert.", cinematographer Andrew Laszlo reiterated. (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 64)

Filmed by "Associates and Ferren", it was initially hoped that all the flight-deck sequences could be done using the full-scale hangar deck set and the Galileo-type shuttlecraft mock-ups. As Effects Supervisor Mike Woods recalled, "All of a sudden, we were presented with this 8,000 pound shuttlecraft – when it's empty – then they stuffed ten or twelve people in it and expected us to make it fly! It was too heavy to use wires, but we were able to hook it up to an airwinch to pull it through the shuttlebay about fifty feet. It was on castors so we could slide it in and out, but the darn thing was very difficult to manipulate. For shots where we just see its nose, we had people pushing it from behind. It was all shot forward motion, as the craft skidded and crashed, knocking the pylons off on either side. We had a cargo net hung at one end to keep the shuttlecraft from crashing intro the set." Bran Ferren, the CEO, eventually had to accept the inevitable, "No matter how much we didn't want to intercut between models and live action, we ended up having to do it here." Elaborating why he was not a big proponent of having to use the live set/maquette combination, Ferren continued, "There's so much you can do wrong when intercutting between a giant set and a miniature. For example, Andy Laszlo designed a nice effect of several hundred running lights in the set which made things quite difficult from a model and miniature point of view. Try matching those on a miniature set you're shooting at F-22 at 100-200 frames per second! We had to duplicate the on-set incandescent bulbs in miniature which decayed off instead of blinking off, which meant we needed a terrifying amount of light output from our miniature bulbs. We ended up using hundreds of little 12 volt MR16 reflector lights with a pulsar we designed so we could hit them with about 130 volts of power for a millisecond, superheating them to several times their normal brightness, and limiting the peak energy with a controlling computer so we didn't detonate the lamps! It's little things like that which you don't think much about that you know will be a killer." (American Cinematographer, July 1989, pp. 78-79)

Constitution class refit landingbay camera test model

The shuttlebay camera test model being put through its paces

Once the decision was made, Ferren's company built camera test models of both the shuttlebay and the accompanying shuttlecraft (affectionally dubbed the Guido II) while construction of the actual models was underway. Apart from determining camera angles, velocity and camera speed for the pyrotechnic effects, the tests were also undertaken to establish if the shuttlecraft miniature would survive the crash, as related by Motion Control Expert Peter Wallach, "One of the main reasons some wanted me to shoot the crash motion control was they were concerned we'd break the model doing it our was." (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 80) The test models and the test performed are featured on the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD, "Pre-Visualization Models" special, disc 2.

Construction of the landingbay maquette fell to Gregory Jein, Inc., specifically assigned by Ferren & Co. Jein actually constructed two maquettes of the landingbay. One maquette was constructed in a scale to interact with the 1:12 scale (2½ foot) Galileo shuttle model for the exterior in-flight sequences. The second one was scaled to the more important 5 foot models in regard to the interior crash sequence. Jein recalled, "The actual hangar interiors we made were only background pieces, so the camera will not dwell on them for too long – it's just something you see the shuttle crash against. The most demanding part of the job was the space problem in my little shop! The 1/12 scale set was so big, we had to take the door apart to get it out of there! The 1/6 scale shuttlebay was over 20 feet wide, but we built it in sections like stage flats that bolted together, so it fit through the door easily once it was dismantled. Both sets were constructed of plywood, like big dollhouses." (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 80)

Once constructed, the maquettes were shipped eastwards and handed over to Wallach's effects team, who had to figure out how to execute the crash scene. Wallach recalled:

Constitution class hangar deck large model in use

The maquettes being filmed, the smaller one in the lower left

Constitution class hangar deck large model in post-production

...and as the large one appeared in post-production

"Though we did some 75 shots using motion control, it was my belief you can't do a crash convincingly using motion control, so we built a giant slingshot made from two 22'rails and a sled with rollerskate wheels on it. One has to be flexible with motion control and realize that there's a time to use it and a time not to. One should never lose sight of the fact that a simple rubber band can be a lifesaver. In this case the "rubber band" was a couple of two ton garage door springs cocked back by a three and a half ton winch. We pulled this slingshot back varying distances. Prior to launching this $10,000 shuttle at a $100,000 shuttlebay, we built the "Guido II" – a plywood mockup of the shuttlecraft – which we fired a number of times to determine the best velocity and camera speed for the pyro as well as the scale.

"One of the main reasons some wanted me to shoot the crash motion control was they were concerned we'd break the model doing it our way.. My attitude was just to put a little more fiberglass in it and catch it so it wouldn't break. We were having so much fun doing it, we wound up doing six takes in all, and in six takes there was no damage to the model. It was just a paint job away from being ready for the next take. We only needed about 45 minutes between takes.

"Two highspeed cameras encased in plexiglass booths within the shuttlebay itself recorded the action from the front and side, as the shuttlecraft plunged at breakneck speed. The shuttle sled was cocked back six and a half feet, then released, launching the model at about 300 miles per hour–on fire. Inside the shuttle was a control box which triggered a series of explosions on the ship at half-second intervals. We shot the shuttle head on at 72 frames per second, which is low-end high speed. Usually, high speed miniature photography means something like 300 frames per second, but if we had to shot this much beyond 72 frames, it would've made the sparks look a little phony.

"The side shot went by rather quickly, so we cranked that up to 90 frames per second. We also got creative for one shot, where we cut a hole in the set and mounted a front silvered mirror at a 45 degree angle, which enabled us to shoot the shuttlecraft coming directly into camera almost as if it was shot right between your eyes. After it whizzed by the cameras, the shuttle wedged itself into an ice cream cone shaped funnel of foam rubber which we designed to stop it, and my pyro crew stood by with fire extinguishers to put it out. It was a very exiting shot. By launching it for real, we added a much greater sense of realism to the effect than it would've had if we used motion control. It also enabled us to meet a very difficult production schedule in that the shot was composited all as one." (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 80)

Like their illustrious predecessor, neither model, due to their sizes, are currently known to have survived, though they appeared not to have been destroyed immediately after the production wrapped, as at least one of them has been sighted in storage at the Paramount lot in the late summer of 1989. [85]


Related topics

External links

This is a featured article. At the time it was featured (July 2010) it was considered one of the best examples of the Memory Alpha community's work. This article was featured more than five years ago though, and its status should be reviewed. The links below can be used to check how the article has changed in that time.
Featured revision (1146929)Diff to currentBlurb

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki