Thursday, November 21, 2013

Issue #1, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, and Issue #2, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 (refit)

 Problem solved!

Issues 1 and 2 have arrived, along with the first of my subscriber extras (more on that later).  So, without further ado...

Issue #1, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

Much like issues 3 and 4, the magazine kicks off with a ship profile, written from an in-universe perspective, which goes into the design and history of the ship.  This offers several interesting tidbits; for instance, the Enterprise D's 42 decks covered 3.5 million square meters, and offered 110 square meters of living space per person.  There were three different sickbays (presumably the series only showed one to reduce production costs) and over a hundred research labs for various disciplines.

Next is a feature called "Classic Scene," which also appears in issue 2, but not in 3 or 4.  In this case, the classic scene is the saucer separation maneuver.  According to Memory Alpha, this was intended to be a regular feature on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but was scaled back due to the cost of filming additional scenes of the two sections.  A sidebar mentions that the original Enterprise was also supposed to have this ability.

"Designing the Ship" and "Filming the Ship" continue to be the meat of the magazine, in my estimation.  "Designing..." relates an amusing anecdote about writer/producer David Gerrold essentially shanghaiing a preliminary sketch from concept artist Andrew Probert, taking it to a producers' meeting, and returning to tell a flabbergasted Probert that this sketch would be the new Enterprise.  Also of interest are several early design sketches showing different versions of the saucer and battle sections.

"Filming..." has a juicy tidbit regarding the difficulty in establishing the "correct" color of the Enterprise D.  As designed, she was meant to have a blue-green color, hearkening back to the VFX techniques of the original series.  This meant that newer bluescreen techniques wouldn't work, however, so the lighting was adjusted to make the ship grey.  Hence the difficulty: the model, and the ship shown on the screen, are two different colors.

As you can see in the above photos, Eaglemoss' Enterprise D model is the pearl grey from the screen.  As with the Bird-of-Prey and NX-01 models, the detailing is really impressive.  Some (phaser banks, escape pod hatches) are cast into the model, while others (windows, registry numbers) are painted on, but they're all outstanding.  There are even tiny, tiny navigation lights in the form of a pinprick of green paint on the starboard (right-hand side, facing forward) underside of the saucer section, and a matching red pinprick on the port side.  It's hard to imagine a model being more definitive than this without increasing the scale to an impractical size.

Issue #2, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 (refit)

The ship profile in issue 2 deals mainly with the refit of the ship from the form seen in Star Trek: The Original Series to that seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  A sidebar mentions that the refit Enterprise's main deflector only glowed blue when at warp, changing to a "golden" color at impulse.  I recall no such feature, and a quick Google image search shows the ship with a blue-glowing deflector in every shot.  Possibly this was a part of the script that never made it to screen.

The "Classic Scene" feature in this issue deals with the drydock scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  It's only two pages, and most of those are taken up with photographs, but it does mention that, while the scene only occupied two pages in the script, it took forty-five days(!) to film, and was the longest continuous FX shot in film history to that point.

"Designing the Ship" talks a little bit about original Enterprise designer Matt Jefferies' (after whom Jefferies tubes are named) initial work on an updated design for the proposed-but-never-shot TV series Star Trek: Phase II, before going on to Motion Picture art director Richard Taylor's hiring of concept artist Andrew Probert (that name sounds curiously familiar...).  The article talks a bit about Taylor's Art Deco influence, seen most clearly in the warp nacelles; Taylor describes the forward ends of the nacelles as "almost a 1940 Ford grille."  "Designing..." closes with a few paragraphs about some of the inside jokes incorporated into the model, including photos of Mickey Mouse, Probert, and others visible in some of the windows.

"Filming the Ship" has some good info about the model constructed of the new design.  At eight feet long and weighing 39kg (86 pounds), it was actually about a third the mass of the 125kg (275.5 pounds) model built for the original series.  The paint, a glossy lacquer, caused problems with light flare, limiting the kinds of shots that could be used.

 While the model in this issue obviously has far fewer greebles than the other three I've received, I really can't say that it's any less detailed.  It is, after all, screen-faithful, and the screen model was built before the advent of extensive greebling on scale models.  One detail in particular that I'm glad to see is the slight concavity of the saucer's underside.

This is the first model I've received whose construction is less than perfect: the saucer is not quite mounted straight on the neck.  It's only apparent if you're specifically looking for it, and I only noticed it when I mounted the model to the stand and saw that it didn't sit square in the middle of the brackets.  It's a minor and forgivable blemish.

Another detail I want to mention is the "windows" in the nacelles.  They're made of a translucent blue plastic that glows quite nicely when held up to the light.  The Enterprise D and NX-01 models also have this feature, but the windows are smaller and the effect doesn't photograph well.


Finally, this package also included my first subscriber gift, a binder in which to keep the magazines; and a "Series Guide," an advertising pamphlet selling the collection.  I am particularly looking forward to the Klingon K't'inga-class battlecruiser, the U.S.S. Excelsior, and the U.S.S. Reliant (I have a soft spot for the Miranda class).

I continue to be favorably impressed with Eaglemoss' work.  Next post: Issue #5, Romulan Warbird, and Issue #6, U.S.S. Voyager.

No comments:

Post a Comment