(written from a Production point of view)
Richard "Dick" C. Datin, Jr. (10 October 1929 – 24 January 2011; age 81), a 1950 Architectural and Structural Technology graduate of New York Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences of Brooklyn NY, was a professional model maker who built scale models for various Hollywood studios and TV commercials beginning in 1955. It was Datin who was called in by the Howard Anderson Company to construct the three-foot Enterprise model designed by Matt Jefferies in 1964.
Further contributions Datin was called upon to make to the Original Series were:
- Eleven-foot model of the Enterprise , subcontracted to Production Models Shop owned by Volmer Jensen due to space and time restraints in 1964/1965, supervision and detail construction
- Subsequent modifications on both models in 1965 and 1966
- Enterprise's shuttlebay in 1966
- Deep Space Station K-7 model in 1967.
The Space Station K-7 was Datin's last contribution to the Star Trek franchise, but his signature contributions went unacknowledged for the next few decades.
Almost forgotten as being the first model maker for Star Trek, Datin had an uphill struggle to regain recognition as such, the Smithonian for example, flat-out refusing to believe his claim on the occasion of the 1992 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit.
Yet, a 1996 article by Dan Fiebiger in Cinefantastique Magazine, and more specifically, the assistance of Star Trek studio model aficionado William S. McCullars, has made his work known. In particular, the in-depth interviews with him by McCullars, published as a two-part article in Star Trek: Communicator (2001), has provided some insightful information into the art of model-making of the 1960s, due to Datin's meticulous record-keeping. He has also been acknowledged by his former boss, Howard Anderson, Jr., in the TV series Movie Magic, Season 1, Episode 11: "Models and Miniatures: A Model of Perfection", of which Datin was exceedingly proud, and in which he himself made a brief appearance. Pursuant the 2001 interview, McCullars sent a print with accompanying text of the photograph of Datin taking delivery of the 11-foot model, to the Smithonian's National Air and Space Museum, at their behest, thereby reversing their 1992 position, where it was added as a plaque to the permanent display of the original studio model. This act finally gave Datin, as well as the other builders of the eleven-foot Enterprise model, the acknowledgment for their contributions, something Datin himself had vainly tried to get for years.
In 1979, Datin changed careers and became the founding curator of the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. During this time and after his retirement in 1989 he has also written several history books about his hometown of Reno, Nevada.
Richard Datin passed away Jan 24, 2011 in Reno, Nevada.
- "Special Visual Effects", Dan Fiebiger, Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, 1996, pp. 64-75
- "Enterprise '64, The real Builders of the Storied Starship", William S. McCullars, Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, 2001, pp. 48-55
- "Enterprise '64, Part 2, Building a better Starship", William S. McCullars, Star Trek: Communicator issue 133, 2001, pp. 44-51
- "Richard Datin", Dayton Ward, Star Trek Magazine issue 162, 2011, pp. 10-12