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. 😀

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)

Support Ship, Pt. 02

One thing I love about posting this stuff online is the feedback you can get from friends and acquaintances.  A friend over at Scifi-Meshes suggested that I move the Impulse engines from the back of the saucer to the back of the nacelle pylons.  I like this idea as it not only frees up that internal space for me to put a docking port there, but it also makes use of the ample space I have inside and in the back of the pylons.  This was a good time to make this change, as I hadn’t locked in that Sub-D on the main section and started adding details.

So, I removed the impulse engine structure from the back of the saucer and rebuilt the faces.  All in all, about 5 minutes of work.  Then I set about adding a new cut out to the back of the pylons.  I made it wide and tall to accommodate larger engines, though the engines probably won’t fill up the entire cut out.  I’ll probably add in some sensor greebles between the impulse engines and the larger center cut out.  Note:  The large sensor cut out isn’t indicative of the size of the shuttlebay.  I’m going to do a smaller bay opening than the size of the cut out, like what Voyager has.  I’ll probably put an airlock on at least one side of the bay, like Voyager has.  The bay itself isn’t going to be large, probably big enough for one shuttlepod.

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TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 06

Well, I haven’t worked on this for a few days because I’ve been busy playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which got a massive update on Steam, including the ability to play on Linux. So, I’ve been happy. Even though I own the old CD version for Windows, I could never get that working in WINE. If I remember correctly, I could never get past “insert disc 2.” It wouldn’t register the disc and let me continue installation. But, that’s all moot now, because all I had to do was buy it on Steam and download it. 😀

Anyway, back to the ship. I forced myself to add the remainder of the windows. It’s tedious, but I got them all on there. Note: there are less “rows” of Windows than on the Enterprise because mine actually line up with a deck plan, they’re not just put on there wherever I felt like. I couldn’t really find a lot of good places to put many windows on the bottom, so I just did one row.

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TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 05

It’s just one of those days. I have nothing really new to show, but I actually did a lot of work on this thing today.

One thing I absolutely despise and will not tolerate to the point of going to great lengths to get rid of them are smoothing errors. They’re ugly. I had a few around my aft section window cuts last night, but not too bad. Minor things, but I knew they were there. So, I bisected in some geometry to fix it. The geometry itself is ugly, but who cares? It’s not like the wireframe matters, it’s what the thing looks like rendered that matters. So, this morning I was doing some renders with different lighting hitting that part to make sure there were no more lingering errors. While I was happy to see none there, there was a major issue around the back of the model, where the back of the trenches and the shuttlebay openings are.

I turns out the booleans tool in Blender has a major issue. Well, all booleans tools do, but this is a particular quirk of Blender, it also happens on the Knife Project tool. It turns out, when you cut into a plane, the booleans (or knife project) doesn’t create flat, even geometry. It cuts the new geometry a fraction off of the level of the existing geometry, leading to smoothing errors when rendering. When you’re dealing with a face that’s lined up with one of the 3 axes used in the 3D space, that’s not an issue. You simply go around and manually realign the points to be level. That worked great for the top of the back of the saucer. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with angled planes, like the ones found on the back edge of the saucer, things get trickier.

I fought with the existing geometry for a good couple hours or more. I tried the Edge Split modifier and all kinds of things, nothing got rid of the errors. So, I finally realized that the offensive geometry had to go and that I needed to start over. Fortunately, I’m anal about saving stuff to new files when I do things like cuts, so I just had to open a second Blender window, open the uncut file and copy and past the sections I needed over to replace the messed up geometry. That’s where it got even more fun.

I tried re-cutting the geometry using the Knife Project tool, that’s where I found out it does the same thing booleans does. So, I wound up through a series of bisects, insets, extrusions, and whatnot, getting the elements I wanted back in there, without using either the booleans or knife project. It was a giant pain in the butt, but worth it in the end because there are no freaking smoothing errors. It’s all clean and it looks beautiful rendered.

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So, after a long day of frustration, this is all I have for tonight. While they may look like last night’s renders, there are differences you don’t see. And, now that I’m done with that and I’m mentally drained, it’s time for some XBOX 360. I’m going to go take out a day’s worth of frustration on some thugs in Gotham City. 😉

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 04

Work, work, work.

OK, lots of things here and there. I added some cuts to the back of the saucer for the shuttlebays. I also added trenches to the top for the greebles that will more or less replicate (at lower detail of course) the nurnies that ILM put on the movie version. I also added a cut for the deflector-like details on movie version, but I don’t know yet what I’m doing there. I also put in the three groves that are in the underside of the Enterprise’s saucer. And, I added windows. A whole bunch of windows. I’d have done more, but I also spent a lot of time cleaning up the mess that the booleans made. And, I fiddled with the bussard collectors some more.

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TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 01

So, this is what I’ve been working towards. I wanted to do the nacelle first because I wanted that to match the original Enterprise’s nacelle. The rest, of course, has to all be custom built from either fan plans of similar configurations and from my head. Of course, people have done these over the years, with different options for hull shape, pod/no pod, where the deflector goes, etc. I did one several years ago in Truespace and then nearly two years ago in Lightwave, I rebuilt the same ship for Star Trek: Equinox. Though, that was a smaller ship and one that I never personally called “Miranda class.” This one is more appropriately sized. Like the Miranda class in Star Trek II and onward, the saucer has the same diameter as the Enterprise’s saucer, though this one is (of course) based on the TOS Enterprise, as opposed to the movie one. So, the saucer has a diameter of 127.1 meters. However, I did “beef up” the edge a bit, to more realistically fit 2 decks there. I also made the teardrop taller, for the same purpose, and the bridge is probably taller to, as I don’t believe the series version bridge structure was large enough to house the bridge. So, this is where it stands right now:

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The saucer was time consuming (it took up much of yesterday) but not particularly difficult to do. I did it pretty much the same way I did in Lightwave, which involved a lot of box modeling, a custom curve or two, and a buttload of edge rounding. The ship is going to have a roll bar, just as the movie one does. I plan to put the navigational deflector and possibly the torpedo launchers in the pod. I’m also going to do the big phasers on the roll bar, just as they are in the movie version.

TOS Purists Be Warned…

If you’re a TOS Purist, one of those people who thinks the Starship Enterprise should look exactly like it did 50 years ago, avert your eyes now. In fact, you should probably just stop reading this and leave. If the thought of the original Enterprise with cut in grid lines makes your colon clench, leave now. I’m not joking, GO!

And, with that, you have been warned. By continuing to read this and looking at the images below, you are certifying that modifying the Enterprise doesn’t bother you and that I am not responsible for you seeing something you don’t want to see and having bad feelings as a result. 😛

Anywho, I just had to do it:

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Overall, it’s pretty much the same ship it’s always been, just with a few logical additions. Grid lines, RCS thrusters, docking ports and torpedo launchers. There will be modeled phasers also and I plan to do better looking running lights. I did have to move a few windows, especially on the saucer edge. Those were moved to avoid the thrusters. It doesn’t make any sense to have a window between the upper and lower thrusters. For one thing, there’s a thruster there, so it’s not like anybody is getting that close to the window due to the internal mechanics. Plus, the internal mechanics are likely automated and people only enter the area to do maintenance, so who would even be looking out of said windows, if they could? So, they got moved. I also rotated those lit rectangles on the upper saucer a bit to line up with the thrusters, purely for aesthetic reasons.

And still more…

I added the “baseball bat” to the impulse engines yesterday. I think this version is closer to what was on the original ship, but it’s not perfect. Though, it’s a very odd shape to make, so I’m glad it’s as close as it is. Today, I added the windows to the saucer section. I know, “purists” will say that the saucer rim and B/C deck on the 11-foot model don’t have symmetrical windows. While that’s true, I feel that they should. The port side saucer rim and B/C deck look so plain to me with only two windows a piece (yes, I know there were more towards the back of the rim, but the port fore is seen more often.) Had they detailed the port side of the ship, I think they would have given it the same number of windows as the starboard side. They did that on the 33-inch model. And, since it was never really seen on screen, one could argue that the port side would have had the same number of windows. So, mine does. However, I left the other windows asymmetrical. Those windows were clearly seen in a lot of episodes and are intentionally asymmetrical.

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Constitutional

More work on the Constitution revamp. I spun the new saucer base, but I was able to save the teardrop. I did the same thing I did on the engineering hull to get rid of the windows. Since the port side has only three windows, I did that on that side and then mirrored it. Aside from the basic saucer, everything else you see hasn’t been changed. I need to redo the detail that goes along the back top of the saucer to the impulse engine, which is why it isn’t there.

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