I redid the grid lines on the saucer. I did them the same way I did my 24th century cruiser’s lines, but these went faster because I had less of them to do. I was able to do one section, then clone and rotate that and join them until I had a quarter of the saucer, the just mirror that along the X and Y axis. I also started on the bridge and planetary sensor array. Those were a bit of a pill to do because Jefferies’ drawings of the ship don’t match between views. I got it to a point where it’s between matching up closely enough with various views and the photos of the miniature being built by Brick Price. I would assume they were working with a more refined set of blueprints to make the 4 foot miniature.
My rationale for fitting this design into Starfleet is simple: They were already working on upgrading the Constitution class before the Enterprise came in for its refit. They had already done a redesign and had built and possibly even refitted some ships into this design by then. Then, when Scott and his team set about redesigning and refitting the Enterprise, they refined the design. This ship could still have been in service, though, as a variant of the Constitution class. Really, this is art imitating life as it fits with how the ship was done for the show and movie. Matt Jefferies came in to do the redesign of the Enterprise for Phase II. His design was then used and further refined by Richard Taylor and Andrew Probert for the version we saw in TMP. Since we didn’t see all of the ships in Starfleet, it’s possible there were ones like the Phase II ship creeping around in the 2270s. But, I will maintain that it was probably a more rare refit, perhaps five to ten vessels were done in this configuration. There is precedent for more rare versions of ships. The rarely seen Enterprise-B version of the Excelsior, for example. Even after Generations hit theaters, we still only saw one other ship in this configuration. The rest of the Excelsior class ships we saw were the original design. So, it’s possible only a small number of Excelsior class ships were done in that design. It may have simply been a sub class specific to a select few ships used for special purposes. That same kind of refit logic can be applied to the Phase II refit Constitution. Perhaps it just wasn’t as desirable of a refit as the TMP ship.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on this.