Other Variations

Posted in Other Variations on November 8, 2010 by gregk1

While work proceeds on my Production Enterprise, I thought it might be nice to, for the sake of thoroughness, provide details on other Enterprise and Constitution-class variants which can be built, although aftermarket or custom decals will be needed for the additional names and registries. Fortunately, companies such as JT Graphics and PNT Models offer such decals.

The following list provides extensive details on these variants. Some may call it pointless rivet-counting, but I think it’s worthwhile to catalog all of this in one place, both for ease of reference, and to provide information for modelers wanting to build variants like the CG Enterprise from the remastered episodes or the Defiant from “In a Mirror, Darkly…”.

The original Starship Enterprise has inspired countless artistic interpretations, and I’ve enjoyed examining some of them–the ones that have been professionally done for canonical STAR TREK productions. There have been many, many more created by fans in a multitude of formats–CG models, plastic models, blueprints, comic book art, etc., etc. No one interpretation is “right” or “wrong”. Although some portions of the following list may seem like “mistakes” are being pointed out, this is not the case. I merely am cataloging the different interpretations of the ship that have been created over the years. Some of these differences are artistic, others are “mistakes” due to lack of reference. But they are all valid, and all have their own unique little quirks which have inspired both homage and debate.

Enjoy! And feel free to provide any suggestions or corrections.


Obviously, the Polar Lights/Round 2 1/1000 Enterprise  kit comes with decals for the Constellation (NCC-1017), Exeter (NCC-1672), and Defiant (NCC-1764), the only other Constitution-class ships featured in the original series (minus the ships from “The Ultimate Computer” , presumably due to space reasons).  The Constellation (“The Doomsday Machine”), of course, was a build-up of the commercial AMT Enterprise model kit (with the registry number slightly rearranged to read 1017 instead of 1701, resulting in a number that gives headaches to fans of sequential registries for the Constitution-class ships), and features that version’s unique shapes and proportions, as well as battle-scarring. 

The Exeter (“The Omega Glory”)and Defiant (“The Tholian Web”) were reuses of Production Enterprise stock footage, carefully chosen so that the ships’ names and registries were not visible.

Then, of course, there are the other ships not seen in the original series, as named in the STAR TREK Writers’ Guide. “Tomorrow is Yesterday” establishes that there were 12 ships of the class at that time. Some ships names are mentioned throughout the series, but the ships themselves aren’t seen. Franz Joseph’s STAR FLEET TECHNICAL MANUAL (1975) lists many Constitution-class ships and gives them sequential registry numbers, but the current canon numbers (as seen in licensed books like the STAR TREK ENCYCLOPEDIA and the Remastered TOS episodes) come from a list devised by master modelmaker Greg Jein in a fanzine article:


Here are the other currently canonical Constitution class ships and their registry numbers:

NCC-1371 Republic

NCC-1631 Intrepid

NCC-1664 Excalibur

NCC-1672 Exeter

NCC-1700 Constitution

NCC-1647 Farragut

NCC-1709 Lexington

NCC-1717 Yorktown

NCC-1703 Hood

NCC-1657 Potemkin  

And, here are the Franz Joseph numbers:

NCC-1017 Constellation

NCC-1371 Republic

NCC-1708 Intrepid

NCC-1705 Excalibur

NCC-1706 Exeter

NCC-1700 Constitution

NCC-1701 Enterprise

NCC-1702 Farragut

NCC-1703 Lexington

NCC-1704 Yorktown

NCC-1707 Hood

NCC-1709 Valiant

NCC-1711 Potemkin

NCC-1717 Defiant


The Polar Lights/Round 2  kit also comes with optional decals which allow one to depict the Imperial Starship Enterprise from the episode, “Mirror, Mirror”. These include clever variations of “our” Enterprise‘s markings (such as the lower secondary hull graphics) which incorporate the Empire’s symbol, but it should be noted that the I.S.S. Enterprise as seen in the episode itself was simply reused footage of both the second pilot and production versions of the 11-foot model. The kit’s instructions depict the Mirror-Universe version as being in the second pilot configuration with the Imperial markings.

The 2009 Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys replica of this variant follows the same design–a second pilot style with Mirror Universe markings:




After the original STAR TREK series was cancelled in 1969, the 11-foot Enterprise model sat in storage. It was hauled out in 1972 for a brief tour at Golden West College, in Huntington Beach, California. At that point, the deflector/sensor dish on the secondary hull was already lost, but the engine nacelle domes–and the lighting effect–were intact. The model’s existing electronics were successfully employed during this rare public appearance.

Soon after, Paramount (which now owned the TREK property) decided to donate the 11-footer to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, in Washington, D.C. , and it arrived there in 1974. A good deal of restoration work needed to be done, however.

* The now-missing engine nacelle domes were replaced with Plexiglas domes painted red. The original lighting effect was replaced with simple pulsating on-off lights in the domes.

* A new (and highly inaccurate) sensor/deflector dish and spike were fabricated and installed. The new dish was much more bowl-shaped than the original, and lacked the concentric ring detailing. Both the dish and the antenna were painted a copper color.

* Various missing Plexiglas windows were replaced.

* Most of the rectangular shields on the lower front end of each nacelle were missing at this time, but were not replaced.  Only the starboardmost shield remained on each engine.

* The tiny emitter/antenna protruding from the lower saucer’s sensor dome “nipple” was lost, and has never been replaced.

* The hull lettering and other markings were touched-up with paint to repair them.

* One of the three portholes on the lower saucer, just forward of the dorsal, was apparently removed (the starboardmost one).

* The wires and cables protruding out of the model’s port side was taped down.

* A hook was installed in the rear of the dorsal so the model could be suspended from a wire.

* The entire hull–except for the upper saucer (since it’s Smithsonian policy to leave at least one surface of an exhibit item untouched during restorations)–was cleaned and touched-up–or possibly entirely repainted. It appears that virtually all of the weathering and gridlines on the lower saucer, nacelles, and secondary hull were eliminated during this process.


A second restoration in 1984 introduced the following changes:

* The tape on the portside was removed, and the power cables hidden and sealed inside the model.

* More touch-up paintwork was done.

* It appears that the clear dome on top of the bridge was replaced with a taller version.

* A spinning light effect was added to the nacelle domes, although the look still did not resemble the originals.



Finally, in 1991, for TREK’s 25th anniversary, a complete disassembly and restoration was performed by Ed Miarecki. This most recent restoration has proven controversial, but Miarecki did an excellent job of restoring a number of details to something much more closely resembling their original condition.

* The 1974 deflector dish was replaced with a more accurate (copper-rust-colored) version, although the antenna was now entirely gold instead of silver.

* The ring on the forward end of the secondary hull (which intersects the three boxy “deflector forks”) was repainted a bronze-copper color, like the deflector dish and the rings behind it. As far as can be determined, this ring was always hull-colored on the 11-footer, but, due to an optical illusion, people have consistently believed it to be a copper color.

* The leading edge of the connecting dorsal was given a greenish tint, as opposed to the blue-gray color that appears to have been on there, originally.

* The missing engine nacelle shields were replaced with newly-fabricated ones.

* The (apparently) missing starboard porthole on the lower saucer,  just forward of the dorsal, was added back on, making three portholes instead of the two that were previously on the model during her Smithsonian stay.

* In the original pilot episode, the 11-footer was suspended from a wire which entered the model in-between the impulse engine vents. For the series production version, this hole became a black “window”, or, possibly, remained an actual hole. Apparently, for the 1991 restoration, the “window” was turned back into a hole, and two more (one next to each impulse vent) were added (or uncovered), since these holes don’t appear to be visible in any vintage photos or footage.

* The red nacelle domes were removed, and replaced with transparent orange versions which more closely approximated the originals. The rotating fan blades and multi-colored lights of the originals were also replicated.

* The metal screens on the inboard nacelles were replaced by new versions that have a slightly different hole size/pattern.

* A tiny bit of signage located in the forward window cluster on the lower saucer–“Inspection Door Vent Systems Connection” was changed to “Do Not Read This Sign!”.

* A similar bit of signage, just below the starboard nacelle pylon on the secondary hull–“Tail Pipe Socket Adjustment Access” was removed and not replaced.

* By far, the most controversial aspect of the restoration is the paint scheme. The entire model (with the exception of the upper saucer) was again repainted, with emphasis on gridlines and heavy weathering. Many feel this look is too extreme. The gridlines on the lower saucer are accurate (albeit extreme), but additional vertical gridlines lines were added to the secondary hull (which never had any gridlines, originally) and nacelles (which highlight the individual wooden sections which the nacelles were constructed from).

As before, the upper saucer remained the only touchstone with the model’s original base color, weathering, and gridlines, and remains a useful reference. The model remains docked at the NASM, housed in a large display case down by the gift shop.








For the 30th anniversary tribute to the original STAR TREK series, the producers of DEEP SPACE NINE cleverly revisted the events of the original “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode. A brand-new model of the original Enterprise was constructed for the episode, at one-half scale of the original 11-footer (so, it ended up being 5 1/2 feet long). The model was constructed in one week’s time by Greg Jein, based on plans made by Gary Kerr, who had the opportunity to take detailed measurements of the 11-foot model during its disassembly and restoration in 1991.

Jein also made 12 additional copies of the model (from the same molds) for sale in Viacom Entertainment Stores, priced at $10,000 each.

Doug Drexler provides lots of great photos of the model–and very interesting anecdotes–in his blog:



And some more detail photos:

And photos of one of the copies offered to the public:




The resulting model–perhaps the last physical representation of the Enterprise which will ever be filmed for an official STAR TREK production–was an excellent recreation of the original, especially considering the rushed timetable in which it was constructed. It was built with internal illumination, and, unlike the original, was completely detailed on both sides, and had multiple mounting points.  It does have a few other differences and/or errors when compared to the original 11-foot production version, however (the result of fewer reference materials being available in 1996), which are catalogued here, for those who might want to depict a “Trials and Tribble-ations” Enterprise.

 trialstribbleations076 trialstribbleations122 trialstribbleations127 trialstribbleations564

P53_1_Ent P53_2_Ent  P53_3_Ent P53_4_Ent P53_5_Ent P53_6_Ent P53_7_Ent P53_8_Ent


* The window patterns on the portside saucer rim and portside B/C decks are slightly idealized, and match the starboard side. The port and starboard dorsal and secondary hull window patterns are also symmetrical. 

* There are two windows on the lower saucer, just forward of the dorsal, as opposed to three.

* The antenna mounted in the center of the sensor/deflector dish is the same bronze-copper color as the dish itself, although the base and tip of the antenna are silver. It appears that the original 11-footer had an entirely silver spike.

* The two concentric rings on the sensor dish are both raised. On the original model, the inner ring was raised, while the outer ring was engraved.

* The ring on the forward end of the secondary hull (which intersects the three boxy “deflector forks”) is colored bronze-copper, like the deflector dish and the rings behind it. As far as can be determined, this ring was always hull-colored on the 11-footer, but, due to an optical illusion, people have consistently believed it to be a copper color.

* There’s a small, round light panel on forward section of the upper saucer–this is how the 11-foot model currently looks, but not how it looked in the 1960s. The model as it appeared in the series appears to have had a port that was only very dimly lit, with weathering partially obscuring the interior light.

* The gridlines on the saucer are scribed instead of drawn on.

* The impulse engine vents are hull-colored instead of black.

* The lower saucer’s sensor dome is more oval-shaped/”pointier”, and is also missing the tiny emitter/antenna sticking out of the front of the “nipple” (the existence of which only became widely known a few years ago).

* The small blinker lights on either side of the rear secondary hull are depicted as ordinary portholes.

* A raised collar surrounds the hangar beacon at the rear of the secondary hull.

* The curvature of the lower saucer is closer to the old AMT model kit than the 11-foot original, since it has a distinct “lip” around the outer edge which slopes down into the “dish” section.

* Three round portholes have been added to the window pattern on the lower saucer’s portside, matching the similar windows on the starboard side, and making the lower saucer more symmetrical/ldealized.

* The reactor loops and intercoolers on the engine nacelles are colored the medium gray highlight color seen on the inboard nacelle channels and the impulse engines, instead of being hull-colored, as on the original.

* The “fan blades” in the engine nacelle domes converge in the center of each dome, unlike the originals, which stopped just short of the center.

* The inner nacelle trenches lack the recently-discovered, two-tone color scheme (with the center of the trench being dark gray, and the slanted sides being the hull color).

* On the Viacom reproductions, at least, the “Inspection Door Vent Systems Connection” signage on the saucer has been replaced with “Step cockpit. Left side on.”, and the “Tail Pipe Socket Adjustment Access” signage beneath the engine pylons have been replaced with, “UL Fuel Tank-86 US Gal.” It is unclear whether or not these in-joke appeared on the actual “Trials” miniature. In fact, it appears that the “Tail Pipe” signage of the original’s secondary hull was mistaken for a (non-illuminated) window.






In 2005, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE featured a special two-part episode which followed up on the events of “The Tholian Web”, an episode of the original series. It was revealed that the lost Starship Defiant, a sister ship of the Enterprise, had drifted into the parallel, “Mirror” universe (also introduced in the original series), where it was commandeered by the evil counterparts of the usual ENTERPRISE cast.

In addition to meticulously recreating the sets, unforms, and props of the original Enterprise the Constitution-class Defiant would also be replicated. In the nine years since “Trials and Tribble-ations”, computer-generated vessels had all but replaced practical visual effects models, both on TV and in the movies.

Thus, Eden FX supplied a digital model of the Defiant, built by Koji Kuramura, with tweaks by Rob Bonchune, and input/references provided by Doug Drexler, Petri Blomqvist, and Thomas Sasser.

The CG model was also modified to  appear as the Enterprise during the montage at the end of the ENTERPRISE series finale, “These Are The Voyages…”, in several SHIPS OF THE LINE calendar and book images, and for the orthographic renderings of NCC-1701 in the 2010 HAYNES  MANUAL covering all of the different ships to bear the name.


The Eden FX model is very accurate in terms of shapes and details. All of the original lighting effects are replicated, even the patterns of illuminated and darkened windows.

Here are orthographic renderings of the actual model:

Top-s Bot-s 

Front-s REAR-A


And some beauty shots…






And here are some episode stills, as well as annotated versions of the orthos, which call out some of the more prominent changes from the list seen below:

inamirrordarkly_747 inamirrordarkly2_704 inamirrordarkly2_802 inamirrordarkly2_868     








There are a number of subtle differences when compared to the original physical model of the Enterprise:

* The gridlines on the CG model are engraved, as opposed to the pencil lines on the 11-footer. Additionally, the CG model features the gridlines on the nacelles and secondary hull from the 1991 restoration of the original model.

* The saucer (both upper and lower) has 29 radial gridlines, as opposed to the original model’s 28–as a result, the grids are spaced a bit differently (for example, there are no radial gridlines intersecting the blinker lights at 3:00 and 9:00 on this version). There is no gridline in-between the red stripes connecting the linear accelerator and the B/C deck teardrop structure.

* Also, much like the STAR TREK- THE MOTION PICTURE Refit version, the radial gridlines on both upper and lower saucer only begin at the outer edge of the first concentric gridline. The inner gridrings surrounding the B/C deck and lower sensor dome contain no radial lines.

* For the first time, a canonical version of a Constitution-class ship features “aztec”-pattern hull plating. This effect–which makes the hull look like it’s composed of thousands of individual metal plates–was introduced on the refitted Enterprise built for 1979’s STAR TREK- THE MOTION PICTURE, and has appeared on virtually every STAR TREK vessel since. The Enterprise in the original TV series was completely smooth-skinned, which implied either a painted hull, or advanced shipbuilding technology which made the hull look seamless. 

The aztec pattern on the saucer is very similar to the ST-TMP version, and there’s a unique, six-sided, “honeycomb” pattern on the engine nacelles. There also appears to be a primary-secondary hull separation line on the connecting dorsal, in the same location as the ST-TMP model.

* Pairs of tiny phaser emitter bumps are strategically placed on the model–just above the lower saucer’s sensor dome mounting ring, and next to the secondary hull’s hangar deck beacon dome.

* The weathering pattern is, of course, different from the original Enterprise, with distinctive rust-colored streaks on the upper saucer.

* One of the rectangular markings in the starboard-side cluster of windows on the lower saucer is yellow instead of gray.

* The impulse engine vents glow blue, whereas the original model had static, black vents.

* The red/green formation lights on top of each nacelle are absent.

* The inner nacelle trenches lack the recently-discovered, two-tone color scheme (with the center of the trench being dark gray, and the slanted sides being the hull color).

* The rectangular markings on the underside of each nacelle (just behind the dark gray “T” shapes) are only three-sided, with the foward-most edge missing, and the two long sides of the rectangles connecting directly with the dark gray “T”s.

* The second rectangular window in the second row on either side of the dorsal is illuminated, whereas on the original 11-footer, it was painted/unlit.

* Two round portholes have been added to the window pattern on the lower saucer’s portside, matching the similar windows on the starboard side.

* The two rectangular markings on the lower saucer’s starboard window cluster are both yellow, instead of one being dark gray and the other yellow.

* The two sets of windows on the forward saucer edge are positioned slightly aft compared to the original model, and the aft sets of windows on either side are positioned slightly forward.

* The two sets of three round windows on either side of the lower saucer’s outer rim are much smaller than those on the original model (about the same size as they are in the Polar Lights 1/1000 scale model kit’s decals).

* There are two portholes just forward of the dorsal on the lower saucer, instead of three.

* There are only two portholes instead of three on the rear lower saucer, in front of the front edge of the dorsal.

* The middle window in the set of three on the bow saucer edge is larger than the other two. On the original 11-footer, they were all the same size.

* The triangular markings on the lower saucer have pointy tips–the original model had flat tips (and the “triangles” were thus actually four-sided).

* The lower saucer’s sensor dome  is missing the tiny emitter/antenna sticking out of the front of the “nipple” (the existence of which only became widely known a few years ago).

*  The ring on the forward end of the secondary hull (which intersects the three boxy “deflector forks”) is colored bronze-copper, like the deflector dish and the rings behind it. As far as can be determined, this ring was always hull-colored on the 11-footer, but, due to an optical illusion, people have consistently believed it to be a copper color.

* The deflector/sensor dish’s antenna is the same rust-copper color as the dish itself, unlike the original model, which appears to have had a silver spike.

* The textured screens on each of the four nacelle intercoolers are colored dark gray/black, whereas the original 11-footer had hull-colored screens.

* The nacelle intercoolers and reactor loops lack the recently-discovered, two-tone color scheme (hull-color/light gray).

* The rings on the rear of the nacelles (bridging the rear endcaps with the main nacelle bodies) are colored the darker accent gray of the endcaps, instead of the hull color.

* The additional mounting holes on either side of the impulse engine vents (from the 1991 restoration, apparently) appear as raised detail.

* The not-quite-illuminated bow light/port on the front of the upper saucer (which is prominently featured on the “Trials” model) is missing.


In 2006, for STAR TREK’s 40th anniversary, it was decided to remaster the original series, and replace all of the original visual effects with digital versions. To that end, another CG Enterprise was built by CBS Digital, under the supervision of Niel Wray and Visual Effects Producer Dave Rossi, based on Gary Kerr’s 1991 measurements.

The initial version of the model, as used in the first eight remastered episodes (“Balance of Terror,” “Miri,” “The Devil in the Dark,” “The Naked Time,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “I, Mudd,” “Arena” and “Catspaw”), is very faithful to the original 11-footer. It matches the original in almost every respect, with the following exceptions:

* ALL windows are illuminated, and hints of the ship’s interior can be seen in the windows.

* The saucer gridlines are engraved. The nacelles have gridlines (as in the 1991 restoration of the 11-footer), but the secondary hull does not. The saucer hull panels are such that each has a different specularity, and it almost looks like the panels are slightly different heights, giving a sort of zig-zag, stair-step pattern to some of the panel patterns.

* There are some subtle hints of a non-aztec panel pattern on the hull, but this is very understated, and the hull essentially looks as it did in the original series.

* Some extra raised panels (rectangles and “dots”) have been added to the lower saucer, around the window cluster that faces forward.

* The weathering pattern is a bit different from the original (and the “rust ring” on the upper saucer is missing).

* As on the “Tribble-ations” and Eden FX models, the windows on the portside saucer rim and B/C decks are symmetrical and idealized.

* The middle window in the set of three on the bow saucer edge is larger than the other two. On the original 11-footer, they were all the same size.

* There are only two windows on each engine nacelle pylon (in some shots, at least–other shots in some of the early episodes feature the correct three windows).

* Three portholes are missing from each window cluster on either side of the rear saucer edge.

* Sometimes, the blinkers on the rear secondary hull are indeed blinkers, while in other shots, they’re ordinary portholes.

* The illuminated dome above the bridge features “support struts”, like the lower saucer’s dome does.

* In some shots, the impulse engine vents glow red, while  in others, they’re the usual black.

Publicity images:

NewEnt2 NewEnt

Episode stills:








However, as the TREK Remastered project went forward, the model was tweaked, for two key reasons:

1. The lighting effects in the engine nacelle caps was deemed to be inadequate.

2. The overall model was deemed “too good”–that is, it was so detailed, that shots took forever to render, and it was also felt that the model needed to look less “perfect” so it fit into the 1960s aesthetic of the original series a bit better.

So, beginning with the Remastered “The Trouble With Tribbles”, a revised version of the model was introduced (featured in great detail in the Interactive Enterprise Inspection feature, which appears on the Remastered STAR TREK season 1 Blu-Ray set). This version features a number of differences:













* A prominent non-aztec panel pattern is featured on the hull, and the hull appears to be a slighter darker, metallic-gray color.

* The sensor/deflector dish is a very pale rust-gold color, and appears to have some heavy weathering. 

* The typeface of the registry numbers appears slightly different from the Remastered 1.0 model, and the original 11-footer.

* The lighting effect in the engine nacelle domes is notably improved.

* The small red beacon on rear of the upper secondary hull blinks in unison with the saucer’s blinkers. Also, the two portholes on either side of this light are missing.

* Sometimes, the lights on either side of the rear secondary hull are blinkers, and other times, they’re mere portholes. The Remastered version of “Court Martial” specifically pegs one of these blinkers as the Ion Pod that Ben Finney supposedly was jettisoned in (rather than it being a mere running light).

* There’s a extra rectangular window on the lower saucer, in the cluster that faces forward. This window (creating a row of 7 where there were previously only six on  the Version 1.10 and 11-footer) is actually placed over one of the rectangular, dark gray technical hatches, bisecting it.

* Three portholes and one rectangular window are missing from each window cluster on either side of the rear saucer edge.

* Seven rectangular windows are missing from each side of the connecting dorsal.

* The nacelle intercooler screens are colored a dark gray/black, instead of the hull color.

* The tiny red lights on either side of the bridge dome appear to be a yellow-ish color.

* The inner nacelle trenches lack therecently-discovered, two-tone color scheme (with the center of the trench being dark gray, and the slanted sides being the hull color).

* The nacelle intercoolers and reactor loops lack the recently-discovered, two-tone color scheme (hull-color/light gray).

* The not-quite-illuminated bow light/port on the front of the upper saucer (which is prominently featured on the “Trials” model) is missing.

The model was used to depict the Enterprise in all subsequent Remastered episodes. It was also reused (with name and registry changes) for the Constellation (with severe damage, “The Doomsday Machine”), Exeter (“The Omega Glory”), Lexington (with a fourth window added to the cluster of three on the bow saucer edge), Hood, Potemkin, Excalibur (“The Ultimate Computer”), and Defiant (“The Tholian Web).







For “The Cage”/”The Menagerie” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the model was modified somewhat to reflect the first and second pilot versions. The CG version, however, does not replicate every detail of the pilot iterations–except for the following pilot-specific details, it is identical to the standard, production-era CG Enterprise 2.0. For example, the color scheme, window patterns, and blinker lights of the production version were retained for the CG pilot models.

“The Cage”/”The Menagerie”:

* Larger pilot bridge dome (with markings).

* Larger pilot sensor/deflector dish.

* Pilot front nacelle domes (solid red, no weathering, with spikes). The three clamps holding the dome in place (from the production version) are retained.

* First pilot nacelle endcaps with original three-footer’s rectangular plate detail.

* First pilot markings added to upper saucer.

* Technical markings removed from lower saucer’s forward and starboard window clusters.

* Two extra rectangular windows added to rear of each side of B/C deck.

* Portholes removed from the two forward window clusters on port/starboard saucer rim.





“Where No Man Has Gone Before”:

* Larger pilot bridge dome (with non-illuminated window).

* Larger pilot sensor/deflector dish.

* Pilot front nacelle domes (solid red, no weathering, with spikes). The three clamps holding the dome in place (from the production version) are retained.

* Second pilot rear nacelle endcap vents added (indented holes rather than surface markings), although endcaps retain production color scheme.

* Second pilot markings added to upper saucer.

* A variation of the second pilot impulse engine grill pattern was added, resulting in the two production-era vents having one round vent in-between them, and two more on either side.




The second pilot variant of the 2.0 model was also used to depict the I.S.S. Enterprise in the Remastered “Mirror, Mirror”, with the following differences:

* The ship’s name reads, “I.S.S ENTERPRISE” on the upper saucer.

* The hull has more of a gunmetal color than “our” Remastered Enterprise.





Last, but not least, is the three-foot model of the Enterprise originally constructed in 1964–ignored 99% of the time as a reference for modelbuilders! As originally built in its first pilot configuration, the model was virtually identical to the 11-footer, except for some shape/proportional details, and the rectangular plates on the rear nacelle endcaps. When the series began production, the changes made to the 11-footer were also copied on the three-footer. There are still some differences in color, shape, and detail, however–most notably, the flattened shape of the lower saucer’s conical center section, the hull-colored rear nacelle endcaps, and the reddish-gold vents on the nacelle pylons.



To date, the one and only person I know of who has attempted to replicate the three-foot model is David Shaw, who has done a phenomenal job turning an AMT/ERTL (kit # 8790, issued in 1996) Cutaway Enterprise into a highly accurate, 2/3 scale version of the production-used three-footer, as seen in episodes like “Tomorrow is Yesterday” and Requiem for Methuselah”.



Production Model Construction

Posted in Production on October 22, 2010 by gregk1

A series production-era Enterprise model is the easiest of the three versions to build using the stock Polar Lights/Round 2 model kit. For ease of reference, all construction tips (even those which are lifted whole from the first and second pilot sections of this blog) are presented here.

(click on photos to enlarge)


The holes for the upper saucer’s navigation lights are too close to to saucer edge–they need to be moved in very slightly. This can be done by drilling or filing the holes inward, then filling in the outer edges with putty so that the holes aren’t too big. However, kit parts 32 each need to be cut in half, so you have four separate lights to work with, instead of two sets of two. This will allow the upper saucer’s lights to fit in the repositioned holes.

Also, due to a quirk in the mold, the B/C deck structure on the upper saucer has a slightly raised “lip” on the upper front edge, which can prevent the bridge dome from sitting flush. This needs to be sanded down to achieve both the proper fit and the proper look.

As for the lower saucer:


* The copyright information needs to be sanded off.

* The molded-in running light on the bow edge is representative of the second pilot version,  and should be removed.

* The scribed triangle-markings need to be filled in and sanded smooth (these markings were not etched on the original model), but leave the raised rib at the base of each triangle intact.

* The molded-in running lights at 4:00 and 7:00 represent the second pilot version, and need to be removed.

* The impulse engine housing’s crosshatched texture is correct for the production version, but the scribed lines are not, and should be filled. 

* On the clear lower saucer sensor dome (part # 31), gently scribe shallow lines across the surface, from 12:00 to 6:00, 9:00 to 3:00, 10:30 to 4:30, and 7:30 to 1:30.



* The scribed lines on the sides of the connecting dorsal should be filled in and sanded smooth.


* On each of the clear front endcaps, the three rectanglular shields are slightly misshapen. Check reference photos, subtly reshape them, and the change the angle of the front edge of each shield.

* It should also be noted that there’s a slight alignment problem with the nacelle endcaps. The outer edges of the rectangular shields should line up perfectly with the edges of the gray-colored “T” panel on the underside of each nacelle.

However, as is indicated by the green line in the photo below, the T-shaped panels are slightly larger than the width of the endcap shields.

In terms of accuracy, the scribed T-panels should be filled and sanded smooth, anyway. However, to address this problem, one can either remove the alignment tabs on the endcap pieces so as to slightly adjust the positioning of the caps on the nacelles, or one can mask and paint the T-panels with a slightly thinner width than the scribed originals, so that they don’t “bleed” beyond the edges of the shields.

* On all four nacelle pieces, fill in the scribed “T” panels on the forward ends.




* You may wish to discard the stock display stand. I prefered to drill a hole in the bottom of the secondary hull and inserted a small brass tube which would serve as a sleeve for a smaller brass tube that would fit into a simple wooden plaque/base.

* Since this is intended as a snap-fit kit, you may want to lightly sand some of the pegs and connectors for a looser, more controllable fit if you’re gluing/filling the parts.

* The best way to attach the nacelles onto the pylons is to do some minor sanding of the pylon tabs (for a looser fit), then snap-fit/glue only the INBOARD nacelle halves onto the pylons. The nacelles can be held in place by wrapping a rubber band around the nacelle halves to keep them aligned while the glue dries. Once this assembly is solidly glued, then attach the outer nacelle halves.

Production Overview

Posted in Production on October 22, 2010 by gregk1
The Enterprise as it appeared in the weekly series

The Enterprise as it appeared in the weekly series


After the second STAR TREK pilot was accepted by NBC, the weekly TV series went into production. Once again, the opportunity was seized, and revisions were made to the show’s cast, sets, costumes, and props.

And, once again, the Enterprise herself received a facelift. From the start, Gene Roddenberry had been pushing for more detail on the model–belivabilty was crucial to the fledgling series’ success. This final round of changes were intended to increase the model’s sense of scale and add more visual interest.

At the time of the first pilot, the Enterprise had been designed as a vessel which was theoretically around 500′ long, with a crew of 203. However, it seems that this was changed fairly late in the game (during the big model’s construction) to a 947′ long ship–doubling the vessel’s size.

By the time of the series proper, it was decided to beef up the crew compliment to 430, which would better fill out a larger ship. The revisions made to the 11-foot model were specifically designed to make the ship appear larger–to that end, the bridge dome was reduced in height, the main sensor/deflector dish reduced in diameter, and more windows added (which gave the illusion of more interior decks). Various tiny technical markings were also strategically placed, supplimenting the existing technical markings and structrual frame marker numbers.

A grid pattern composed of radial lines and concentric circles was lightly drawn on the upper and lower saucer section–apparently over the objections of Matt Jefferies, who wanted as clean and simple an exterior as possible for the ship. The saucer was also heavily re-weathered, and additional weathering was added to the rest of the model.

Most notable of all was the addition of the warp engine nacelle lighting effect. The original wooden engine domes were removed, and replaced with translucent orange-ish domes which revealed an elaborate setup within. Multicolored Christmas tree lights were installed inside each dome, and a motor rotated a set of “fan blades”. The pulsating lights and spinning fan blades gave the effect of the engines generating the massive amounts of power needed to achieve warp speed.

The changes made to the 11-footer were also copied on the smaller, static, 3-foot model, which appeared in a few episodes (such as “Tomorrow is Yesterday”). The majority of effects shots involving the 11-foot model were filmed early in the first season, although a few episode-specific shots (such as the Enterprise pulling up alongside the S.S. Botany Bay in “Space Seed”) were filmed as needed later on. Still, due to a tight budget, and the constant reuse of stock footage, the three seasons of STAR TREK utilized shots of all three versions of the model, although is is generally assumed that the theoretical starship “really” looked like the production version by the time of the weekly series.

This final incarnation of the 11-foot model remained essentially unchanged for the series’ run, with the following exceptions:

* Early publicity shots of the completed production-version model (some of which can be seen in Stephen E. Whitfield’s THE MAKING OF STAR TREK book) feature the lower saucer’s registry numbers in their first- and second-pilot orientation (i.e., the starboard side’s number is upside-down when looking at the ship head-on). However, this variant was never filmed–at least, not in shots used in the series itself. The numbers’ orientation were reversed when filming for the series began, so the starboard side’s number would be more easily readable from the most oft-used angles of the ship moving toward camera.

In these publicity shots, it also appears that the engine nacelles are missing the “fan blades” which rotate underneath the clear domes.

* A few shots of the production model feature a not-quite-correct flopped-decal orientation for the underside saucer registry numbers–a la the second pilot’s flopped decal shots. In these shots, however, the numbers don’t read correctly no matter which way the film was flopped! More often than not, these shots were used in episodes without being flopped at all. And, on a few occasions (“Shore Leave, “The Ultimate C0mputer”, etc.), existing non-reverse-decal footage of the model was flopped, even though this made the numbers read backwards!

* In the majority of the effects shots filmed early in the first season, the lower saucer has red (port) and green (starboard) blinker lights at 3:00 and 9:00. In a few shots, the lights reverse their positions (red-starboard, green-port)–presumably, the light bulbs were swapped in anticipation of the afforementioned reverse-decal shots.

However, in some first season shots, and virtually all second season shots (no new footage of the model was filmed for the much-maligned third season), the lower saucer’s lights are both white. And, in “The Immunity Syndrome”, there’s one shot where both lights seem to flash all three colors in sequence–both white, both red, both green!

After the series’ cancellation, the Starship Enterprise models sat in storage for years, before…well…we’ll get to that!

Loose Ends, Part Deux

Posted in First Pilot, Second Pilot on October 20, 2010 by gregk1

A few more tidbits:

* After much deliberation–and rechecking my resources–I decided to add the nacelles’ faux formation lights to both of my pilot models. I’ve not found any hard evidence that these lights were on the 11-foot model during either pilot, but two factors convinced me of a very reasonable likelihood that they were there:

A) I found photographic evidence that the lights were on the 3-foot model in its original, first-pilot configuration. Since that smaller model  has been something of a Rosetta Stone in terms of figuring out and/or confirming details of the first pilot version of the 11-footer (the blue dorsal, the saucer’s formation lights, etc.), it only makes sense. Both models were derived from the same construction plans, and, aside from some shapes and proportions, are virtually identical–at least in the first pilot.

B)  It makes sense that the non-functioning red/green lights were there for the first pilot, and were then supplemented by the working blinkers in the second pilot. Matt Jefferies was an aviator and an engineer–his design for the Enterprise contains a number of familiar U.S. Air Force elements, the red/green formation lights among them. It would be odd to have left these lights off the 11-footer (but not the 3-footer) until the series’ production revisions to the model began.

REVISION–The faux lights were indeed there during the pilots.

* After checking and rechecking my references, and discussing the matter with other fans, I remain convinced that the dorsal and bolt cover were indeed a blue-ish color in both pilot episodes.

REVISION–This is correct.

* I recently came upon some photos which indicated that the antenna spike on the main sensor/deflector dish might have actually been  a silver and gold/brass/rust mix. In some photos, it looks as though the base of the antenna (and perhaps the round ring near the tip) were silver, while the rest was gold (or perhaps the same color as the dish itself).

Many model builds have sported a gold antenna, or a dish-colored (copper-rust) antenna. A few have had the mixed color scheme described above.

After rechecking photos and screencaps, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

I think the entire antenna is silver/chrome. But, due to either optical illusion, or the shiny antenna reflecting light from the copper-colored dish, part or all of the antenna can look gold/copper at times.

Photos I’ve seen of the Master Replicas studio-scale  replica also seem to exhibit this effect–in some photos, the antenna looks entirely silver (which, so far as I know, it really is), while in others, it looks gold-copper-ish, at least in part.

REVISION–The full antenna assembly definitely appears to have been an aluminum/silver color, not gold or brass.

Loose Ends

Posted in First Pilot, Second Pilot on October 16, 2010 by gregk1

Nothing’s pefect in this world, and it’s rare for everyone–or even anyone, ofttimes–to agree on something.

The original Starship Enterprise models have been a topic of heated debate for decades, the 11-footer in particular. Many fans have been consumed with a desire to perfectly replicate it down to the last detail, if they can’t have the real thing. This sort of passion has brought out both the very best and the very worst in fandom.

The best, because many great people (too many to name here) have worked dilligently over the decades to study this artifact, and unravel its mysteries so as to spread knowledge to all who seek it. At their best, fans of this model have shared, discussed, and fabricated their own models in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere which has encouraged fun and growth–which is what hobbies like this are all about.

The worst, because some have needlessly gotten into bitter arguments and feuds (both online and perhaps even in person) over ridiculously minor details. Others hoard information carefully, so as to dole it out to hungry fans for their own self-aggrandization–these egocentric individuals want to be hailed as the self-procalimed “experts” they think they are. Its sad–but not surprising–that passion for this fictional subject would occasionally lead to more negative and destructive emotions.

I am not infallible. The purpose of this blog is to share–to provide a resource for those who seek information on this subject. But I would not be so bold as to claim that this is the end-all, be-all on the subject. There are surely still things to learn about the original Enterprise.

However, I do think that my research–and my models, if I can be so bold–are just about as up-to-date and accurate as possible, given the publically available resources.

That said, I’m perfectly willing to admit that I could easily be wrong about some things, and openly invite discussion and outside research from you, the fans.

There are still a number of details I’M not even sure about. Here are a few of those details.


First, the simple bit–

There appears in some reference materials to be a round, unlit window (indicated in the photo below) on the second pilot version, which was not there in the first pilot or the series. This may also be a mere smudge, or an optical illusion. The quality of available reference materials is not the best, and this makes it hard to tell. I saw this smudge/window in enough different reference images to commit to depicting it as a window on my model. But I’m still unsure. Pretty much all the other window patterns I’m very sure about.

REVISION–This was indeed a window.

Now, the not-so-simple one–

I’m quite sure that the connecting dorsal (and the “linear accelerator” on top of the saucer, which served as a cover for the dorsal’s mounting bolts) were a blue-ish color in the first pilot. Sort of a pastel blue color, perhaps with a glossy sheen. The color clearly appears on both models, 3- and 11-foot, in the first pilot.

The second pilot is a different matter.

Although I can still perceive a distinctly blue-ish tonal difference between the dorsal and the rest of the hull, it seems less obvious than the first pilot’s bright blue-ish color. Was it dulled down to remove the glossy effect? Misted with the hull color (or completely repainted)? Was it touched at all, save to cut in the holes for the illuminated windows?

This matter–and my choice to paint my models with a blue-ish dorsal and bolt cover–has proven highly controversial among modelers. Some have supported my decision and agree with my research. Others have vehemently argued against it, saying that the tonal difference is the result of shadows or uneven lighting schemes or bluescreen “spill” (which wouldn’t apply to the first pilot, since the model was shot against a BLACK background).

Multiple shots in multiple episodes/photos, with both the big and small models, all show a distinctly blue-ish tone on both the dorsal and the bolt cover “linear accelerator” on the upper saucer.  References for these versions are spotty, however, and many of these reference images are color-corrected and restored films clips–and the color-correction could easily have eliminated a blue dorsal if the person doing the correcting didn’t know it was there.

Still, this blue-ish color can be seen in still photos, film clips, onscreen, and even in broad daylight, as in the now-famous “delivery” photo.

As my primary resource, I’ve used the original STAR TREK episodes themselves, in several formats. Although film stocks, compositing quality, remastering/color-correction, and other factors vary, I still maintain that the tonal difference of the dorsal (which more often than not looks blue or blue-gray) is consistently there across a wide range of shots and angles, both on DVD and Blu-Ray, from the first model shot in the first pilot to the very last shot of the last episode of the series. It’s not always visible, but it’s visible enough to have convinced me.

And, interestingly, the unaired version of “Where No Man Has Gone Before” seen in the third season’s Blu-Ray release reveals a distinct difference in the tone of the dorsal from the rest of the model. In fact, the 35mm print used for that version’s BD incarnation shows a number of interesting color differences–the uniform shirts look greener, for instance (which makes them closer to their real-life avocado green hue). The weathering is also more apparent in the unaired BD version of the episode than the aired version, due to the different transfer’s color timing, apparently.

So, I stand by my assertion that the second pilot dorsal was, at the very least, painted a different color from the rest of the hull. It appears to be a blue-gray-green-ish color. This is more prominent in composites that are more washed-out and/or don’t skew toward blue tones.

(some of the following links will have to be cut-‘n-pasted into your browser)

The delivery:


11-footer, first pilot:



3-footer, first pilot:


11-footer, second pilot:






There’s also the distinctly blue-ish (gray-ish? green-ish?) leading edge on the production Enterprise, which makes sense if the dorsal was already blue, and they decided to repaint all but that edge, as an aesthetic choice.

The tone of that stripe on the production dorsal looks suspiciously similar to the tone of the overall dorsal in the pilots.


And an interesting discussion about all this can be seen here:


So, to sum up, I’m not 100% about all this, but I am sure enough to assert that the dorsal and bolt cover were indeed a blue-ish color in both pilots.

That said, I’m always open to discussion and suggestion, and if better information and/or references come to light, I’ll be happy to amend the relevant portions of this blog to reflect the updated information.

But feel free to paint your models however you want! I get the feeling that many people who argue against the blue dorsal do so because they simply don’t WANT it to be blue. Fine! Paint it however you like! This is supposed to be a FUN hobby!

REVISION–I seem to have been mostly correct. Metallic blue for the first pilot dorsal, a more muted (and flat) pale blue-gray for the second, and green-gray for the stripe on the production dorsal.


The production version of the Enterprise features features a faux navigation light on the top of each engine nacelle–green on the starboard engine, red on the port. There were clearly similar faux lights on the saucer during both pilots.

There may also have been a clear/white faux light on the bottommost “deflector fork” on the ventral secondary hull during the series’ production, but its existence is still unclear.

The question is…were these nacelle/ventral lights ALSO there in the pilots? Or were they added for the production version?

My research doesn’t indicate that they were there during the pilots, but you never do know. Reference materials–especially for the angles needed to see if those lights were there–are few and far between. It’s also hard to tell if these non-functional lights were on the 33-inch model in its original, first-pilot configuration–but that model has the faux saucer lights, like its big sister.

REVISION–The faux lights were there in the pilots, and the one on the bottom secondary hull was actually a rounded bolt head that was painted the main hull color.

Changes From Pilot 1 to Pilot 2

Posted in Second Pilot on October 15, 2010 by gregk1

Here is a detailed photostudy of the specific changes made to the 11-foot Enterprise model for the second pilot.  My own models are used in the photos because:

A) I’d rather not use others’ reference photos without permission.

B) It’s easier to take photos of my own models using blueprint-type angles so as to provide a more direct comparison.

All of the annotations in the photos below reflect the REAL 11-foot model. I’ve also “x”ed out some of the windows that were not on the model for the second pilot, but appear on mine for idealization/aesthetic reasons.

The photos are organized so that the first pilot model is diplayed from one angle, then the second pilot model (with notes on the changes) is shown right beneath it from the same angle. Enjoy!

(click to enlarge)






Second Pilot Enterprise–Finished!

Posted in Second Pilot on October 7, 2010 by gregk1

Here’s my completed second pilot Enterprise model. This build was much easier and quicker than the first pilot model, which, as noted, was a major learning curve.

Enjoy the photos, and feel free to use them as reference for your own builds!