Paul Maples, Gary Hutzel’s favored motion control man, prepares to fly the USS Enterprise old school, at Image G in Studio City. Mike and I were lucky enough to be there for what was probably the last time this icon would be physically photographed.
It was the end of a long week at work for me, and I am ready to wash those pixels outta’ my hair. I don’t know about you, but I need to look at some physical models for a little bit. When I feel that way, it’s the original Enterprise for me. It just cannot be beat. It’s a masterpiece. How is it possible that a 45 year old speculative spaceship design still stirs the imagination? I’m talking the alpha ship, from the original series. No restyling, or updating needed. Don’t misunderstand me. I am 100% for stretching the Star Trek mythos in as many ways as it can go. That sort of defines what science fiction is all about… stretchability, flexability, and let’s see what this baby can do. I simply love this design in it’s original state, and IN PERSON. So hey, I’m gonna’ surf thru those days back at G and the 1701… no bloody A, B, C, or D… and get misty for a minit, so why don’t you come along? I know you feel just like I do…
Enterprise mounting point.
This angle has such an amazing intersection of lines and perspectives going on, that it fires off a signal in my brain to release endorphins. Of course, this is Greg Jein’s Five and a half foot, ten day miracle. Put together with all the standard stuff like plastic, metal, and lights, but what real makes it is the amount of love that went into it’s fabrication. Building this was not a job to Greg and his crew. It was done with reverance and a certain amount of awe. Here you see one of the numerous mounts built into the model. The original eleven footer had only one mounting point on the bottom, which limited the number of angles you could grab. It was also extremely heavy, and built like a piece of furniture. The model Greg built for Gary was designed for ease of use.
Deflector\long range sensor dish. Von Braun would be pleased.
The parabolic antennae at the front of the secondary hull was inspired by a photograph of Werner Von Braun which appeared on the cover of life magazine in the late 50′s (Below). Check the dish on the right side of the ship… even the color. It was state of the art, and everyone in America now knew that you needed one of these to fly through space. When people saw the Enterprise for the first time in the mid 60′s, it was apparent that the creators not only had imagination, but that they were paying attention.
This is the the moon rocket Von Braun designed for the milestone Disney series “Man in Space”. See the bottle suit plugged into the bottom of the craft? Hot stuff!
Art deco influenced this design.
One of the very distinctive touches on the original Enterprise are the subtle art deco influences like this little bit of gingerbread in front of the pennant. You will see this element reaapear at the tail of the pistol phaser. The pennant itself is also extremely art deco. Based on it’s energy and angles, it’s apparent to me that the guy who designed this, probably also designed the show’s title font. Anyone who grew up when Matt did would have to be influenced by art deco’s futuristic lines. The image below shows some prime deco from New York City.
Ship’s fantail… sort of says it all.
One of the most dynamic parts of any ship is the fantail. The fantail on the Enterprise screams ship of the line, and the engine pylons are the masts on a tall ship. (Below) Fantail of the HMS Surprise. Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps?
Roddenberry’s correlation of the Enterprise to a ship of the line was not lost on Matt Jefferies. Like all good art directors, he kept his eyes and his ears open.
(below) A view from the rigging.
And remember… always, always, always… resist thickening up the masts… er… I mean nacelle pylons.
Matt Jefferies was the flight engineer and top turret gunner on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress during WWII. The influence of the B-17 on his design of the 1701 is big, I’m only going to touch on it today, but in a future entry I will go berserk. I bring it up now because we have this great shot (above) of the nacelle intercooler. In fact B-17′s did have intercoolers, but the 1701 intercooler is more likely an outgrowth of the exhaust shroud on the Boeing’s engine. (Below R) Behind the engine cowling you can see the cylindrical exhaust shroud. The shroud collected and distributed heat to the airplane’ heating system. Where cowling and shroud meet, you will see another very familiar arrangement. The cowl flaps. Hmmmm… what starship has those behind the bussard cowling? Just remove the propeller and add a dome.
Below left – A flight of B-17′s return from a mission. These missions flew at 40,000 ft, 50 below zero, and were unpressurized, so stop yer whinin’!
In a future entry I plan to go into this fascinating connection, it’s influence on an iconic design solution, and the common background that Gene Roddenberry, and Matt Jefferies both shared.