Star Trek (TOS) Studio Scale Models

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by Shaw, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    I've spent a ton of time researching the various studio models used in the original Star Trek series and found that reverse engineering plans of them (as physical artifacts, not idealize fictional spacecraft) pretty straight forward... even without any special access to the models themselves. I doubt that I possess some unique ability that no one else has (I specialized in geometry/topology in school, but little of that is needed for these purposes), yet studio scale replicas of TOS subjects are almost nonexistent.

    The only TOS studio scale replicas I know of are of the original Klingon battle cruiser. There is the Atomic City kit made from molds cast from the original model (though elements are now misshapen generations later) and the Custom Replicas models which are outstanding in nearly every measurable way.

    And that is it. One subject... just one.

    I've seen attempts at studio scale shuttlecraft... but they always seem to favor the large scale mockup for features over the original studio model. And then both Unobtainium and Master Replicas attempted to pass off 1/350 scale models of an idealized Enterprise based on the 11 foot model as "Studio Scale" replicas even though the models were neither the same size or design of the original studio model.

    Amazingly the fans seem fine with this. I don't think anyone has been truly fooled into thinking they got a studio scale replica of the Enterprise from either Unobtainium or Master Replicas (even if they were advertised that way), and Round 2 made no attempt to pass off their 1/350 as studio scale.

    So this has me wondering... is there no interest in studio scale models in Star Trek? I know the 11 foot model is way too big to replicate (and the only attempt I know of seems to be on hold), but other models aren't unreasonable in size. Why is this not as big a deal as it is with other Science Fiction franchises like Star Wars?

    As some of you guys know, I'm working on building the first ever studio scale replica of the original Enterprise. The thing is, it has had a pretty passive reception (considering this hasn't ever been done before). I've had a few people ask if I'd make parts available, but considering that the model isn't the same size as the Round 2 kit (my model is 33.75 inches long, the Round 2 kit is about 32.4 inches as I recall) the parts aren't really designed to just attach to another model.

    I realized after two smaller study models that I really needed to scratch build everything to truly capture the feel of the original studio model, and using elements intended for other models undercut that main goal. Even at this early stage (I'm a long ways from finishing), I've come much closer to resurrecting the original model than any of my previous attempts...

    [​IMG]
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    But the questions still remain... Why is this the first? Why hasn't there been any interest/demand for this in the past? Why the passive interest in it now?

    And this isn't just the Enterprise, the same goes for the Galileo too. People don't seem interested in a model of the actual studio model, what they seem to want is a scaled down version of the large scale mockup. To me, this is like wanting a scale model of the large scale mockups of the snowspeeders from EMS rather than a model that looked like the studio models. From what I can tell, no one has ever wanted to do this (mainly because the large scale mockups were less interesting looking than the studio models).

    So here is the thing, I was about to write off Trek fans as just not being interested in this type of stuff. What changed my mind is the amount of time and effort I've seen fans invest in various Trek props, which go beyond idealized versions and take the time to consider them as unique artifacts. Does this mean the interest exist with props, but not models?

    Just curious if anyone else has had any thoughts on this (including those outside of Trek modeling).
     
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  2. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Speaking for myself, because the smaller TOS E is ugly in comparison with the 11 footer. I was quite fine with the MR being "studio scale" to the smaller one but matching the big one in detail. I for one would not be interested in an accurate reproduction of the smaller studio model.
     
  3. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I actually like the 3-footer quite a lot, especially the flatness of the saucer. I always wanted an SS model of that one since, as you pointed out, it would be identical to the original.

    Plus it's a screenused prop! :)

    requiemformethuselahhd1159.jpg
     
  4. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    And there is at least one other replica studio scale TOS miniature... I've got this SDStudios SS Tholian ship that he made some years back.

    tholian.jpg
     
  5. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    But it isn't.

    Beyond the fact that that isn't the definition of studio scale replicas, if you wanted to match the size of the smaller Enterprise you'd have a one-quarter studio scale replica of the 11 foot model... not a 1/350 scale model (which is smaller).

    But yeah, it isn't just you... what I see is that places like Master Replicas look at Star Trek fans and say we'll give them this, calling it something it isn't, and they'll be fine with that.

    Is this normal?

    Here is my question... is the Master Replicas' Studio Scale Millennium Falcon a replica of the 5 foot studio model built at about 95% the size of the 32 inch studio model? More over, would Star Wars fans be okay with that product as being studio scale rather than an accurate replica?

    Obviously Master Replicas figured out that what qualifies as studio scale is different for Star Wars fans compared to Star Trek fans, I just find it a bit sad that Star Trek fans are willing to settle for less.

    There are now thousands of 1/350 TOS Enterprise models out there, all attempting to look like the prettier 11 foot model... but that doesn't change the fact that they aren't accurate studio scale replicas of the TOS Enterprise. More over, I promise that when I finish my model, none of those other models are going to spontaneously disappear from existence.

    In this case I'm just pointing out that the emperor has no clothes... I'm not judging if that is or is not a better look for him (some people look better without clothes), just that we should stop and ask why we've been sold something that isn't there.

    And sure, I've seen the prettier argument applied to the Galileo too, but why are these types of things always looked at as a zero-sum game? Are you saying that you can't have prettier models based on the 11 foot Enterprise or large scale mockup of the Galileo if accurate studio scale replicas of the studio models exist?


    Cool!

    I know that Doug Drexler has been attempting a studio scale replica of the Romulan Bird of Prey. It'd be nice if there were at least one studio scale replica of each of the major subjects from TOS (specially for models that don't exist anymore).
     
  6. sapper36

    sapper36 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm right there with you - That was my first question to Steve D when the MR Enterprise came out - I was a bit disappointed it wouldn't match the 33" model, but still got one.

    I'd still really like to have an accurate representation of that particular model one day - Yours is looking spectacular!

    My ultimate dream is that the 33" surfaces one day & finds it's way into some silicone! Hey the Laser Rifle came back from the dead so you never know...
     
  7. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    Personally, I think the 11 foot miniature looks better, sleeker and I prefer it to the smaller one. The flattened saucer on the smaller miniature to me looks dated; like a 1950's flying saucer. Just because MR calls their Enterprise "studio scale" doesn't mean much to me; I consider it a scaled model of the 11 footer (particularly because it was lighted and of course the smaller miniature was not). I did build a studio scale Galileo some years back but regarding the differences between the miniature and the full scale mock-up; I just used the features that I liked and thought looked best to me. I also built SS versions of the Tholian ship and also the Aurora (from Way to Eden) and have a CC Klingon battle cruiser in a box. Would love to know how DD determined what the size of the SS BOP is. To my knowledge it has never been determined.


    That being said, I love the work that you are doing Shaw and I always look forward to your post. I admire your dedication to the project and your attention to detail. I have learned a lot from you!
     
  8. asalaw

    asalaw Sr Member

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    I get it, I totally do. In my case (personally, YMMV), in both cases I prefer the geometry of the larger versions. I think the R2 E got that spot on, and it's a nice big size. So sure, I guess for my building/collecting purposes, SS is less important than feature accuracy.

    OTOH, I have the Trice/Prud'homme Eagle blueprints, and I'm acquiring parts for a dead-nuts 44" replica. I'm also going to get the R2 22" when it comes out and upgrade it with brass and aluminum parts. Since there's a lot of overlap in kit parts, I've decided to do a SS X-wing as well. And my dream project is a 5' Falcon.

    When it comes to props, though, I want the best possible replicas of the props. So your point is really interesting, and I hadn't given it any thought. Mind you, I've been following your builds with great interest, and relishing every tidbit of new learning.

    Why the disparity? No idea. I guess the heart wants what it wants.
     
  9. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Somehow along the line I missed that fact, and yeah, in that case I'd have preferred it to be 33". But geez, it's a whole inch shorter, bring out the pitchforks. ;)

    I get where you're going, I guess it's just a case-by-case thing. If the 32" MF was as inferior to the 4-footer as the 33" Enterprise is to its bigger brother, then, yeah, that might have been acceptable.

    I think that's overthinking it.
     
  10. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  11. Commander Max

    Commander Max Sr Member

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    I have my suspicions the 33.75 model still exists. That's not based on any backroom rumor. But on what else has popped up, we all thought the shuttle was scrap. Only to have it turn up. I wouldn't buy any of the stories that are out there. That's all they are, that said. There was a lot of issues with GR and NBC. The Big E was one, so it ended up in the Smithsonian. I think more to keep it out of GR hands. Then he says he lent the 33.73" model out, he can't remember to who. For all we know one of GR issue has it in waiting for a retirement plan. That's only conjecture.

    I can say the MR E, PL350 kit, Custom Replicas, and Steve Neil's all have the same source material. Only CR and Neil kits can say they are studio scale. The others are miniature replicas of the 11 footer.
    Yes, I agree ST fans have been treated poorly. In too many ways to count. I could go on all day about that. But that's not the subject.

    I've done designs for a lot of these models. The Botany Bay, BOP, Aurora, D-7(in design limbo). But I'll never lay any claim's to accuracy, since that is in essence impossible to derive from any photographs or video. The studio guys that recreated the props have access to the same info we do. In some cases they have more(sometimes actual props), others they are no better than any of ours. Only difference is they are getting paid to do this stuff. Or in my case I got to loose a lot of money doing this stuff.

    Good to see your still at it Shaw.
     
  12. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, how do you qualify inferior? Other than some geometry differences, the only other major difference between the 33 inch Enterprise and the 11 foot model is lighting. Originally neither had it, but later on it was added to the 11 foot model. Both models originally included the same details, but given the cameras of that era, you needed a large model for it to look large on screen (the hero model for TOS was 11 feet long in the 60's, the hero model for Phase II was going to be half that length in the 70's).

    Additionally, construction and details on the 33 inch Enterprise are as good as on either of the Klingon Battle Cruiser studio models, and I noticed that Custom Replicas didn't need to alter their Klingon replicas to enhance them beyond what the studio models had.

    Help me out here... are you arguing that there shouldn't exist a studio scale replica of the original Enterprise? Or are you defending your ability to call the MR Enterprise a studio scale replica?

    As for the size difference between studio scale and 1/350, it is more than an inch. But this is what it looks like side by side...

    [​IMG]

    Again, I have no problem with people wanting what they want... I'm just wondering why the need to call it something it isn't? Is the MR Enterprise less of a model if you remove the Studio Scale aspect of it? By the definition of what is or is not a studio scale model for this forum, the MR Enterprise isn't studio scale.


    Actually, you can get a pretty good estimate based on the model sitting on that shop stool. If I was going to reverse engineer plans I'd start there and cross check my results using the other behind the scenes photos.






    Personally, I document things as they were. I'm resurrecting the 33 inch model as it was. If you thought the original model was crap, you'll think my model is crap... but I'm not going to be deviating to make it look different, I'm only interested in accuracy. When I finish my one-sixth studio scale model of the 11 foot Enterprise people are most likely going to turn their noses up at it because one side will be unfinished with wires coming out... I'm going for accuracy, not an idealized version.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (which is why the consideration of what looks better doesn't play a role for me)... historical accuracy isn't about such petty considerations. Fortunately the 33 inch Enterprise is quite beautiful on top of being historically significant.

    And this goes for all of the models use to portray the Enterprise in the original series (and when I talk about these models, I do exclude the DS9 Enterprise as it wasn't part of the original series), including the original 1966 AMT Enterprise model kit. While you could get away with most of the long box kits as qualifying as studio scale, the early 70's retooled versions wouldn't be.

    How seriously do I take this type of documentation? To day I'm pretty sure I'm the only person to ever reverse engineer plans of the 1966 AMT Enterprise. This was the last update I made publicly available...


    And yes, I also have plans of the small three inch models (both, as the two were actually different from each other) because one of them was used on screen as the Enterprise in effects.

    If people don't care enough to document these things as real world historical artifacts, that is how we lose that history. This research is reconstructive industrial archeology, which is why I try to stay away from (fan favored) idealized versions of the fictional starship Enterprise. I'm not suggesting that everyone take this stuff this seriously, but hopefully you guys will be thankful that one of us has.
     
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  13. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It's just my opinion, nothing more, which is what I thought you were asking for.

    No, if folks want it and they make it, bless 'em. I just wouldn't be one of the customers.
     
  14. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it was and I greatly appreciate your input. Honestly, your views on the subject are most likely reflective of a majority of fans which is why I was curious about your perspective.
     
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  15. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think it's fantastic that you're documenting these various versions of our favorite Starship! Each one has its own personality and subtle details.

    Keep up the good work!

    K
     
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  16. MustangGTR1

    MustangGTR1 Well-Known Member

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    To me, when you start making them smaller then the studio used, everyone forgets " Forced Perceptive". Colors should be lighter, the lights should not be so bright you can read by, and such. I will take a prop over the other. I do have a MR E and 44" Eagle and tank and Hawk all in the same scale. Still like the props better, they look more real.
     
  17. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think the part of the obsession with Studio Scale when it comes to Star Wars over TOS Trek is the abundant reference and the game of "found parts" and donor kits. Making a studio scale TOS Trek ship is a matter of gentle sloping planes and modernistic geometric shapes.

    Piles of Greeblies to figure out = modeler porn.
     
  18. Ruddigger

    Ruddigger Sr Member

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    I dunno, I'd buy any model that had a stamp on the box that said "Shaw Approved Accuracy". LOL, I just dig your meticulousness.
     
  19. MustangGTR1

    MustangGTR1 Well-Known Member

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    That is another reason I do not spend a ton of time with ships, Accuracy. Most model company's don't understand what that is. They make up there own detail and say it is correct
     
  20. camerafx24

    camerafx24 Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am building a studio scale 11 ft enterprise right now. IMG_1703.JPG
    We are working the forms now and plan on the mold process to start within the week.
     
  21. wizardofthenorth

    wizardofthenorth Active Member

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    I would also think...there are not too many models (of the primary ships anyways), that would lend themselves to nicely scaled models. Star Wars (BSG, Buck Rogers, STNG, etc) have so many interesting subjects that allow for a nicely sized 2'-3' display model. Star Trek TOS has a few (the 3'ft small enterprise, the klingon cruiser, and the BoP), but not much else that I can think of that would be highly desirable.
     
  22. rbeach84

    rbeach84 Sr Member

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    Shaw, very nicely done drawings. If I might, however, make two suggestions (which I suspect are already planned):
    1) include x-section of the upper & lower saucer 'domes' to show the recesses
    2) label it specifically as representing the AMT original 1966 kit issue

    Comparison of these to the actual filming model specs will show perfectly how the kit differed from its 'inspiration'.
    RE: your original query, I believe the posts have provided a fair amount of insight into the mindset of the Trekkie modeler as compared to the Star Wars phenom. However, I suspect it has more to do with the size (11 feet is a significant challenge even more so than the '5-footer' Millennium Falcon) of the original filming model than anything else. To that end, it seems that most are satisfied with an accurate depiction of the 'Enterprise spaceship' aka the 11-footer in a more practical display size. The fact that this is readily available in 1:350 scale which is compatible with other 'Enterprise' ship models also presents an alternative collection vector.

    So, building a "studio scale" (an unfortunate term if there ever was one...) model of the "real" TOS Enterprise is probably beyond almost all hobbyist builders simply because of the size. Not to say there wouldn't be fanfare over anyone attempting to do so rather to the contrary!

    Regards, Robert
     
  23. SenseiFetter

    SenseiFetter Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Shaw,
    I for one appreciate your tenacity and accuracy in historically documenting the TOS 3-footer. I like collecting things that are accurate to the original, regardless of whether they are looked at as less-detailed/less-fancy/too plain. I would be proud to own a model you meticulously researched and made available, as long as it is correct to the original.
    Craig
     
  24. Pedro

    Pedro Well-Known Member

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    First, I for one think your work on this and the Phase II ships are brilliant, both from a technical execution and research perspective. As to the lack of interest in studio scale stuff, I think it's a couple of things. One, the 11' model is prettier than the 3', so that's what everyone (myself included) wants. But I think the factor that a lot of people may not have thought of is the mind of a Trekkie as compared to a Star Wars geek. Trekkies are on average very interested in behaving as if these things are real, whether or not the Heisenberg compensators would really work blah blah blah. So this makes them more interested in idealized models, which may include features that would exist on the real thing but not the studio model. Plus Star Wars folks have all those kit bash parts to identify and find, which is a bit of a hobby itself. Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
     
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  25. asalaw

    asalaw Sr Member

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    I've just been loving these threads, and your amazing blueprints. No way to know if I'll ever get to build everything on my bucket list, but watching you do it has been fantastic.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the scope of the appeal of this particular niche you're capturing. People love and hate all sorts of things for reasons that almost never make very much sense to anyone else. But what you're doing is important in and of itself, and very much worth doing. I think your statement about disappearing history is spot on. The fact that you're passionate about it is icing on the cake.

    Trust me, some things do come back from the past -- you're hardly alone. :)

    2015-07-08 20.52.25.jpg
     

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