Phase II Enterprise

OK, this is the thing I’ve been working on, for those who didn’t get it already. I’ve always been intrigued by Star Trek: Phase II, the second attempt at a Star Trek TV series by Paramount that was doomed before it really got into production. Of course, the pilot episode became Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and many of the sets were used on the movies and even TNG, and some of the characters and stories were revisited on that show as well, but one wonders what would have become of Star Trek had that series gone through, as opposed to becoming a movie. We’ll never know because it didn’t happen, and everything worked out OK. We had the movies with the original cast, followed by TNG, DS9, Voyager, more movies and Enterprise. All told, a lot of good Trek, some of which likely wouldn’t have happened if Phase II had happened instead of TMP. Of course, the current state of Star Trek is sad, but at least we have hours upon hours of great shows and movies.

One thing I’ve always liked from Phase II was the model work being done at Brick Price Movie Miniatures, particularly the Enterprise model being constructed by Don Loos. Unfortunately, the model wasn’t high enough quality for the motion picture work as it was being built for television, so it couldn’t be used. Still, I love looking at Matt Jefferies’ sleek redesign for the ship, and at the 75% completed model that was being built. They were also working on a space dock that was significantly different than the one designed by Andrew Probert for the movie.

Anyway, I’ve built this ship before, but it’s been many years. As before, I’m using Jefferies’ updated drawings, cleaned up and made available by David Shaw. The drawings aren’t complete, but they give a complete enough view of what he had in mind for the Enterprise’s refit. There are also a few existing pics from the build in the Phase II book, which I of course have a copy of. In fact, I’m re-reading it while working on this. But, what I don’t have as far as references is where artistic license comes in. My goal is to do something between TOS and TMP, like maybe an intermediate design. Anyway, this is what I have so far:

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Saturday Morning Star Trek

Ah, the seventies. Who could forget it? Well, to be honest, I could because I was born in 1979. 😉

These days, most people know of the existence of a TV series in the ’70s that was a revival of Star Trek. However, this wonderful series was nearly lost to time, until it was put on VHS back in the late 1990s. Then, in 2006, after CBS acquired Paramount, they wanted to do a DVD release, so to gauge fan interest they did a fan poll to decide if the series should be considered part of Star Trek canon. Fan interest was there, and the series got a release on DVD, and that was fantastic. Fast forward to 2017, and you can get the box set for $12.99 in the U.S. on Amazon:

I love this series. For those who don’t know, here’s a brief history. In 1969, NBC messed up big time and canceled Star Trek, due to its old faulty rating system, which made it look like the show was a failure. When they re-ran the numbers in the early ’70s using better demographics, they quickly realized that the show in fact was winning their target demographic, males age 18-45. So, they immediately syndicated Star Trek. Hungry for more, they decided to do another Star Trek series, this time an animated series done by Filmation. What followed was essentially Star Trek season 4, a series of 22 half hour episodes aired on Saturday mornings. Was this the best move? Well, the series won an Emmy in 1975 for Best Children’s Series, so you be the judge. This was the first Star Trek Emmy win.

To me, it’s just a great series with some good writing. There was a writers’ strike going on, but only for live action shows. This meant a lot of writers were left with nothing better to do. So, many of the same people who wrote for TOS came back. All of the actors came back except Walter Koenig, though he did write an episode. Aside from their iconic roles, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols and James Doohan provided a number of the voices for other characters, George Takei also voiced a few aliens. They replaced Chekov with a three armed and three legged navigator named Arex, who would have been impossible to create in the 1960s on TV. In fact, the series had many more aliens that looked nonhuman due to the much less limited animation format. Anyway, add it all up and you have a really good series, though it did suffer from a few technical issues, most notably coloring issues. (most animated show suffer from coloring issues)

Anyway, I was on Amazon the other day because I needed to order a couple things, and that box set was right there on my main page under my recommendations. I saw it, saw the price and had it in my cart before I even had time to think about it. So, now it’s all mine. The box is pretty cool, much nicer than a lot of Star Trek box sets. The white case is plastic, and the discs are inside in a thing that pulls out. I guess, with four discs, they figured they could go a bit more elaborate with the box. All said, it’s a steal at $12.99. 😀

Beyond

A few months back, I went and saw Star Trek Beyond in the theater and really enjoyed it.  In my opinion, it’s the best movie in the Nu Trek series.  Since then, I’ve been patiently waiting for the Blu-Ray release.  I’d had the Amazon gift set of the film pre-ordered because I wanted the model of the Franklin it came with, even though I don’t need a 4K or a 3D copy of the film.  Well, I cancelled that the other day and decided to just buy the movie at work.  I’m sure glad I did, because I like the Walmart gift set much better:

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Standard Blu-Ray, (works great for me) a DVD I’ll give to my Dad, a digital copy I’ll never use and three little ship models.  All for around half the price of the Amazon gift set.  The models are OK, they’re about Micro Machines size and quality.  Though, from one of the reviews I read on Amazon, their model isn’t any better.  (I guess someone paid for some ultra fast shipping, which can be done)  Anyway, I’m glad I got this set, it has the discs I want, three models and I got it a lot quicker.  Here’s a couple quick snaps of the models:

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Sorry for the kind of blurry pics, best I can do.  I did do a little enhancement in GIMP to make them a bit better.  Also, ignore the stuff behind them, my desk is my catch-all.  😉

What’s this now?

$50?  Shut up and take my money!

 

I was at Walmart last night perusing the movies after my shift and I found this wonderful item for only $50.  I had to buy it.  Plus, I used my employee discount and got $5 off, so it was actually less than $50 with tax.  I’m stoked, because I didn’t have this series on Blu-Ray.

Apparently, they’re the same discs previously released by CBS, which some people whined about on Amazon.  However, for those of us who don’t/didn’t already have those, it’s wonderful.  It’s not very expensive either.  For 20 Blu-Rays, that’s only $2.50 per disc.  I personally like this style of case better than the old DVD ones they did with the big cardboard and plastic things that folded out.  So, it’s a win-win for me.

Unfortunately, while I was on the way home from work, (on the bus) I read that talented actor Anton Yelchin, who played Checkov in the newer movies, passed away in a freak accident at his home.  That’s truly sad, as he was a good actor and I thought he did a great job of playing the role of Chekov, and I also liked him in other things I saw him in.  He was only 27 years old.  So, while there was some joy in my day, there was also a moment of sadness when I read this tragic news.  (please, respect the man and no comments on not liking the newer ST films)

Vulcan Shuttle, Pt. 05

For people who like to see this sort of thing, here’s a test fit for the upper panel lines. All in all, it’s not bad. I need to tweak a couple things. Ordinarily, I’d do more maps to correct a couple things, but I’m trying to keep the number of materials and maps down so that Tobias has less to convert. Of course, if Lightwave had decent UV unwrapping tools, this would be easier.

Also, the bottom is a mess, which is why I didn’t render it. 😉

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Vulcan Shuttle, Pt. 03

Working hard or hardly working? Either way, I’ve got the ring all detailed now. I just have a few more thingamabobs (technical term) to add to the main body and a really simple interior for the windows and then I’ll be ready to texture. 😀

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I was back and forth with the idea of modeled paneling or textured paneling. I’ve opted for textured for 3 reasons. 1. Tobias gets it more quickly. 2. It will have the same look as the model on the show, which had textured paneling. 3. In order to model the paneling, I’m going to follow my geometry, which doesn’t match the panel lines in the nose and rear sections due to the subdivision. So, it won’t look the same if I model it. However, I can always go back and do modeled paneling later, if I so desire.

Vulcan Shuttle, Pt. 02

I got a little more work done on the shuttle. Mostly, a lot of edge rounding and some paneling and boxes on the ring. I also put in the inset lines the top front section has, part of which appear to be the hatches. And, the piping stuff around the cockpit window.

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This isn’t exactly a 1:1 representation of the model from the show because my geometry is likely different, but it’s close enough. Besides, I never copy anything exactly.

Vulcan Shuttle Pt. 01

This is a favor for a friend. A few days ago, Tobias Richter posted a thread on Scifi-Meshes asking if anybody had done this shuttle from Enterprise:

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I didn’t know of a mesh of that particular shuttle, but I was looking at the 5 view orthos and thinking it wouldn’t be hard to build one, so I volunteered. Tobias would do it himself, but he has a lot on his plate right now.

So, I started on this on Sunday and I’ve been picking at it. Terrific references for this shuttle, thanks to Doug Drexler posting the 5 view orthos and perspective shot on his blog, and thanks to Bernd Schneider for re-posting Doug’s stuff on his site, since Doug’s blog no longer exists. (yes, I know it’s in a web archive, but EAS is in my bookmarks) This is very helpful, because this shuttle has about 4 seconds total screen time in 4 seasons. It appears very briefly in two episodes.

Tobias said for his purpose that it didn’t have to be this exact shuttle, but I want to keep it as close to the original as possible. I really love John Eaves’ design work, and this is one of the many awesome designs that he did for Enterprise. Besides, it’s hard to say how quickly Vulcan designs would have evolved after the dissolution of the Vulcan High Command in 2154 and Vulcans (presumably) putting the bulk of their creative efforts into stuff that benefits the Federation, which apparently uses ships for 100+ years anyway. 😉

Even with a 5 view and perspective, there is still some guesswork in some areas, such as the inside of and anything blocked by the ring. But, it’s going smoothly so far. This is where she stands right now:

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I’ve got the big pieces in place, it’s all about details right now. The front top bit was the first piece that I did, but I was overthinking it at first. At first, I was trying to do the cockpit window as part of the mesh before subdivision, but it was coming out like garbage. Fortunately, I regrouped and decided to do it after the subdivision by making a piece that shape and then stenciling it into the mesh. Then I set in the window and cleaned up my ngons (to make the conversion to .fbx for Tobias easier.) Since then, it’s been going well.

I would just like to point out that I think this new dumbed down “improved” posting system WordPress is using sucks. I used the old system as long as I could, but it looks like I’ve got no choice now. Thanks a lot, you asshats.