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. 😀

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.

SupportShip_Build005 SupportShip_Build006 SupportShip_Build007 SupportShip_Build008

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.





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.





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.





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:





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.

Blendering, Pt. 05

The bussards are about where I want them now. Or at least, I’m done fiddling with them for now. I redid the lights and played around with the dome settings. The dome itself has no glow, all of the light comes from the inner bulbs, just as it should be.


Here’s a look at it without the dome in place and with the emission shader turned way down so that the lights don’t blow everything out.


Yes,there are only two colors of lights here. Also, my dome is tinted orange. It doesn’t look like the bussards on the Enterprise from the original TV show and it’s not supposed to, because I’m not building the original Enterprise. I’m building something else. And, since this is done, (or at least as done as it will be for now) I can get on with the rest of the ship.

Blendering, Pt. 04

Well, the nacelle is mostly done. I’m still fiddling with the bussard collectors. For one thing, I need to redo the light bulbs. Plus, I’m still hunting for the correct combination of shaders to get the dome to light how I want it to with transparency/translucency and all.

Also, I have some kind of odd “bright” pixels happening in the second and fourth images. I’ll have to look into Cycles settings and figure out what’s going on there.





Also, I have a question for Blender users. When you take several objects and make them one (like the various parts of the nacelle) how do you connect them? Do you Join them? I’ve seen “joined” meshes when I import my Lightwave meshes and they don’t handle multiple UV maps very well, so I’d think joining them would mess up the UV mapping. Or, do you Group them? Or is there a third option I don’t know about? Truespace had a cool glue tool, but not many other packages seem to have that. In Lightwave, I just collapsed everything down to one layer, but that’s not how Blender works.