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Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)
Constitution class model

The eleven-foot model

For additional meanings of "Constitution class model", please see Constitution class model.
"When we were handling the fan mail for Star Trek, we only kept count of the actors the fans wrote to. If we had been able to count the letters that were about Enterprise itself, the starship, would have had the highest fan mail count of all!"
– Bjo Trimble, Writer and Fan par excellence, on the cultural impact of the model design in popular awareness (17 November 2015, The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, backcover)

During the production of the Star Trek television shows, most notably Star Trek: The Original Series, numerous studio models were created representing the Constitution-class, in particular the USS Enterprise, more than for any other class of starship. Starting out with traditional physical studio models, advances in technology have resulted in digital versions that were added to the array of models used in the Star Trek franchise.

Bjo Trimble's assessment of the model is not wrong, as it has internationally become considered a cultural icon, becoming not only the quintessential Star Trek starship, but arguably that of the entire science fiction genre as well, its status as such formalized when the main filming model was added to the collection of the renowned and venerable National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in 1974 for (semi-)permanent display. To date, it is the only purely fictional item to be bestowed the honor.

Designing the original Enterprise[]

Constitution class design finding a direction Jefferies Enterprise sketch
Designing a new starship, finding a direction…
Constitution class chosen design elements finetuning
…and homing in on the final design utilizing the chosen design elements
The 1964 color sketch Roddenberry and Solow approved

In the script of TOS: "The Cage", the Enterprise was described as "obviously not a primitive 'rocket ship' but rather a true space vessel, suggesting unique arrangements and exciting capabilities."

As art director on the original series, Matt Jefferies was given the assignment to design the Enterprise itself, initially with input from Pato Guzman. His only guideline was Gene Roddenberry's firm list of what he did not want to see: any rockets, jets, or fire-streams. The starship was not to look like a classic, and thus dated, science-fiction rocket ship, but neither could it resemble anything that would too quickly date the design. Somewhere between the cartoons of the past and the reality of the present, Matt Jefferies was tasked with presenting a futuristic design of his own, "We also drew on a lot of research material on Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Again we said, 'This we will not do.' There have been a lot lot of things that took place in those comic strips that have proven out today, but pictorially we felt they were hokey. They used a lot of air-foil fins and rocket tube-like shapes that had no feeling of practicality or necessity. Roddenberry insisted everything be believable. We had to base it all on fairly solid scientific concepts, project it into the future, and try to visualize what the fourth, fifth or tenth generation of present-day equipment would be like. So working within those limits, Pato and I sat down and began to sketch out ideas. When we had about two walls covered with these sketches, we called Roddenberry in and he looked them over. Damn it but he can be irritating. He liked only a piece of this one or a small part of that one, but none of our ideas had what he really was looking for. So we did twenty-some more designs, using the few elements he had said he liked." (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 79-80) The theory that space could be warped – a hypothetical means of faster-than-light travel – had first been proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905. Years later, Star Trek itself established that Zefram Cochrane had first demonstrated warp drive in 2063. In the 1960s, however, warp drive – a delicately balanced, intricate web of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and mystery – initially perplexed Matt Jefferies. He explained:

"I was concerned about the design of ship that Gene told me would have 'warp' drive. I thought, 'What the hell is warp drive?' But I gathered that this ship had to have powerful engines – extremely powerful. To me, that meant that they had to be designed away from the body. Boy, I tried a lot of ideas. I wanted to stay away from the flying saucer shape. The ball or sphere, as you'll see in some of the sketches, was my idea but I ended up with the saucer, after all. Gene would come in to look over what I was doing and say, 'I don't like this,' or, 'This looks good.' If Gene liked it, he'd ask the Boss (Herb Solow) and if the Boss liked it, then I'd work on that idea for a while […] So I worked on it for a while, and a couple of weeks later, Herb and Gene came in. They liked a bit of this and a bit of that, and I worked on those bits. And then I came up with something I really like, so I preloaded it – used lots of color and put it in a prominent place that made it kind of stand out. And that worked! It looked better than the other sketches and Gene said, 'That one looks good!' They – and Bobby Justman, too, when he came aboard later [note: and also including Roddenberry's Science Adviser, Harvey P. Lynn] – were a dream to work with." (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 62; The Making of Star Trek, p. 80) )

The design process itself, however, proved to be arduous and time-consuming. Starting from Roddenberry's ambiguous guidelines, Jefferies started out by experimenting with shapes, as he recalls; "There was a lot of floundering going on because I didn't know where the hell we were going and I had to start coming up with an envelope to work inside of. I did hundreds of sketches. Gene liked a piece of this and a piece of something else, so I tried to see what I could do with the pieces." Dozens more sketches followed, experimenting with the configuration of the selected components. "My thinking was, because of the ship's speed, there had to be terrifically powerful engines. They might be dangerous to be around, so maybe we'd better put them out of the way somewhere, which would also make them what, in aviation circles, we call the QCU – quick change units – where you could easily take one off and put another on. Then for the hull, I didn't really want a saucer because of the term 'flying saucer', and the best pressure vessel of course is a ball, so I started playing with that. But the bulk got in the way and the ball just didn't work. I flattened it out and I guess we wound up with a saucer!" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 25)

USS Enterprise NCC-1701 finalized plan

Jefferies's 1967 refined plan views of the Constitution-class USS Enterprise for AMT

In August 1964, the producers approved a final configuration, based on a color illustration and a small balsa wood miniature Jefferies had made, to give Roddenberry and the NBC execs a three-dimensional feel for the ship. (It is possible that this model was even used in the original title sequence of the first pilot, "The Cage". [12](X) "When Gene and the NBC people came in – I think there were about eight of them – they did navigate to the color piece, and I said, 'Well, if you like that, how about the model,' and held it up," recalled Jefferies. "Gene took it by the string and immediately it flopped over, because the birch dowels were heavier! I had an awful time trying to unsell that. And, of course, when our first show hit the air and TV Guide came out, they ran a picture of the ship on the cover, upside down." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 26) The "unselling" Jefferies referred to stemmed from the fact that Roddenberry actually liked the upside down orientation. "I held it up and Gene took it by the string and it immediately flopped upside down. He liked that better. I didn't. That was one of our biggest arguments which I won." [13](X) Jefferies spent the next few months designing the color scheme and refining the chosen design. Theorizing that space was too hazardous for important machinery being on the outside of the hull, Jefferies decided that the hull had to be smooth (which had the added benefit of reflecting light in subsequent shoots). He had to fight off several production team members, who wanted to keep adding detail to the surface. In the end, Jefferies spent full time the better part of two months designing the ship, or as he himself had put it years layer, "about six weeks of frustration," during which he "spent a pretty good batch of Lucille Ball's money." [14](X)

USS Enterprise early design concepts by Matt Jefferies USS Enterprise early ring-ship design concepts by Matt Jefferies
Jefferies' ball-shaped design…
…and his ring ship design

Notably, two of Jefferies' earlier designs captured the imaginations of later Star Trek production team members, like Rick Sternbach, Andrew Probert, Michael Okuda, and Gregory Jein. Through their fascination and persistence, these designs eventually found their way into canon. A "ring ship" design, dismissed by Roddenberry as being too frail-looking, became the USS Enterprise XCV 330, as well as an inspiration for Doug Drexler's design of the Vulcan Suurok-class. The ball-shaped primary hull design, which Jefferies himself dismissed as being "too bulky", though he seriously considered the design as he deemed the sphere the best possible pressure vessel for use in a vacuum, (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 28) was the foremost influence on the designs of the Daedalus-class, introduced into the franchise at a later point in time as a display model [15](X), and Bill George's Olympic-class, likewise introduced later.

A large part of Jefferies' original design sketches was sold off on 12 December 2001 in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction, in order to raise funds for the "Motion Picture and Television Fund". The color painting, instrumental for the approval of the design, was so liked by Roddenberry that he managed to beg Jefferies into gifting it to him. (Star Trek Memories, 1995, p. 48) Later, in the early 1980s Roddenberry sold reproductions of this and other early Enterprise color concept-art (some of them endowed with forged "Eugene W. Roddenberry" signatures in order to claim credit as Enterprise designer, [16] obtained in a similar manner, through his company Lincoln Enterprises at Star Trek conventions, profiting handsomely from them, with Jefferies entirely left out in the cold, never seeing a single penny from the sales revenues. [17]

Three-foot model[]

USS Enterprise three foot delivered to Gene Roddenberry by Richard C. Datin Jr. Jeffrey Hunter and Gene Roddenberry with the 3-foot Enterprise model
Datin (l) delivers the three-foot model to Roddenberry, 14 December 1964, who later that day discusses the model with Jeffrey Hunter (l) on the set of "The Cage"…
USS Enterprise model

The Enterprise three-foot model used in Requiem for Methuselah (episode).

After final approval of his design, Jefferies went on to produce a detailed set of construction blueprints – with orthographic views of the ship – and sent it to the Howard Anderson Company, which was to build the pre-production model. Blueprints published in Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, pp. 70-71, were erroneously identified as those. These were, in fact, post-April 1966 construction blueprints drawn up as visual production aids and used for AMT's production shop for making molds for a later edition of their first Enterprise model kit, being printed on the side of the box for the modeler's reference sake. Richard C. Datin, Jr. (who owned a set of the original blueprints) was eventually subcontracted to build what thereafter became forever known as the "three-foot" Enterprise model, though its actual size was exactly thirty-three inches (84 centimeters). (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51)

Datin later recalled, "All lettering and the logo artwork on the secondary hull were decals. The rest, I believe, were painted on, such as the hatch indications […] I began work on the small Enterprise on Wednesday, November 4, 1964, and completed it by November 15 for a total of 110 hours of my time. Since I did not have a large enough wood lathe to turn out the major components (the primary and secondary hulls and nacelles), I subbed this to an old-time woodworker whose name, unfortunately, escapes me. My portion of the work was assembly, painting, and decorating. The three-footer was comprised of pattern pine – a sugar pine – primarily because it was kiln dried, free of knots, and consisted of a very fine grain. It finishes well and takes paint just as good. I was able to purchase a Plexiglas dome, a ready-made item for modelers, for the bridge. The deflector dish and secondary hull front cover were fabricated from rolled brass strips and silver-soldered together, then sprayed with a gold color lacquer." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51) The paint schemes were selected by Jefferies. [18](X) After review by Roddenberry, Datin did some minor revisions and delivered the model on 14 December 1964, at a total estimated cost of US$600. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51)


Latter-day use of the "Three-foot model"
USS Enterprise three foot model USS Enterprise three foot model ventral view
…as subsequently featured in full promotional profile, dorsal…
USS Enterprise three foot model three-quarter ventral view
…and concurrently ¾ dorsal view beauty shots
USS Enterprise three foot model held by Leonard Nimoy USS Enterprise three foot model held by William Shatner
Nimoy (l) holding the three-foot model prior to its modifications, as does Shatner afterwards

Although never slated for filming purposes, but rather to serve as a study model for the yet-to-be-built larger model and for public relations purposes, including well-publicized publicity shots of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy holding the model, it eventually was used as such (The shots of Nimoy with the model were apparently taken before April 1966 as they featured the model prior to its modifications, whereas the shots of Shatner featured the model after its modifications).

A time-line drawn up by model aficionado David Shaw elaborated [19]:

  • 4 November 1964 (Wednesday): Richard Datin agrees to build an approximate three foot long model based on an early set of plans which give a real world scale of 1:192 (if this had been the final drawings, this would have been the 540' version, but the proportions of this early drawing are actually different from the final plans… including the length of the model) and for the final large scale model (the plans on the page would have most likely been 1:48).
  • 7 November 1964 (Saturday): The final construction plans are finished. These plans include the scale reference of "FULL SIZE & 3" = 1'-0" TO LARGE MINIATURE".
  • 8 November 1964 (Sunday): Richard Datin receives the plans and starts building the full size 33-inch model out of kiln-dried sugar pine.
  • 15 November 1964 (Sunday): A little more than a week later the 33-inch model is presented to Roddenberry for approval. This may have been when the addition of exterior windows was requested (which were not part of the original design), and the model returns with Datin after the viewing.
  • 8 December 1964 (Tuesday) (or Sunday 29 November 1964, according to model builder Mel Keys [20]): Construction is started on the 11-foot model.
  • 14 December 1964 (Monday): The 33-inch model is delivered to Roddenberry for final approval while "The Cage" is being filmed in Culver City (there are images of Hunter and Roddenberry examining the model on this date). This model is used for all effects shots in "The Cage" except the most important one (the zoom in on the bridge).
  • 24 December 1964 (Thursday): Shooting of "The Cage" wraps, only one effects shot still outstanding (all other model shots use the 33-inch model).
  • 29 December 1964 (Tuesday): The 11-foot model (built by Datin, Mel Keys, and Vern Sion) was delivered to the Howard A. Anderson studio. This version is not powered and the windows are painted on the surface of the model. Even then the model was designed to be shot from the right side only.
  • 23 January 1965 (Saturday): After "The Cage" is already in the can and waiting for network approval of the new series, additional test shots of the 11-foot model are taken in its original condition.
  • 30 January 1965 (Saturday): Aspects of the ship's size like it being 190,000 tons were being distributed to the media describing the new show. (The Making of Star Trek, p.171; the NBC promotional 1966-1967 television season brochure – reprinted in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story as a separate section – upgraded the tonnage to 390,000 tons.)
Enterprise 3 foot model final appearance

Final official live-action appearance of the three-foot model in "Requiem for Methuselah"

Recognizing her use for forced-perspective shots, Anderson shot stock footage for use in the title sequence and future episodes. Besides "The Cage", the model appeared most notably in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "By Any Other Name", and finally in "Requiem for Methuselah", ironically here as a desktop table model. In between, the model was called upon to go on side-assignment for the View-Master version of "The Omega Glory" (see below). In its last live-action onscreen appearance, it could be discerned that the model had been damaged sometime earlier. Stills show that the hangar deck doors were missing, as well as some of the "intercoolers" on the rear top of the nacelles. In the episodes after the two pilots, the three-footer can be recognized by the fact that she, unlike her big sister, is not lit internally.

In August 1965 and April 1966, a series of revisions were made to the eleven-footer, of which the latter were mirrored onto the three-footer, except for the internal lighting and the animated nacelle domes, which were deemed too expensive. The model was stored away, after its final appearance in "Requiem for Methuselah". In December 1966, builder Datin was called in to perform one last service on the model, when he was asked to provide a stand for the model, which he constructed out of a microphone desk stand and for which he incorporated an attachment chrome plug on the underside of the model, which can actually been seen on the publicity still sent out to fans, featured above. It became the last time Datin had actually handled and seen his build in person. (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, p. 46)

Post-Original Series use and loss[]

USS Enterprise three foot model in Gene Roddenberry's office
The very last known by Sackett taken official photograph of the three-foot model prior to its disappearance.
Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio model Star Trek Phase II Enterprise studio model ventral view
The unfinished Phase II Enterprise model under construction. Notice the background reference model, the last pictorial sightings of the three-foot model for years.

After cancellation of TOS, the three-footer was given by the studio to Roddenberry, when he returned to the studio in May 1975 in preparation for a second Star Trek production, and subsequently resided in his office for some years.

Roddenberry then loaned out the model to somebody during the late 1970s but later forgot to whom, as was related to William S. McCullars' now-defunct "IDIC Page" website by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry on 10 July 1997. She stated, "That particular ship was a real model and it was Gene's – he loaned it to someone and Gene forgot to get it back and it was never returned. It's a shame because it's a piece of stolen property and since it has historical value – it is quite priceless." According to David Shaw the model went missing when it was on loan to one of the effect houses as reference for one of the upcoming Star Trek revitalization projects – which at that point in time could only concern either Star Trek: Phase II or Star Trek: The Motion Picture. [21] In 2010, personal assistant to Roddenberry for seventeen years, Susan Sackett, shed some more light on the issue, confirming Shaw's claim, "Last I heard, it was on someone's coffee table. It was ripped off during the late 1970s when the first movie was being made. It was last seen at a special effects house… btw, I took that photo!". [22] The photo Sackett referred to was the one of the model in Roddenberry's office, published in Starlog magazine, issue 2, 1976. It was the last known official photo of the model.

A contemporary official internal studio communique, dated 5 November 1979, has later turned up in which Roddenberry asked studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg for his help in retrieving the model. In the letter, Roddenberry expressed his conjecture that the model had been loaned out to Robert Abel & Associates around April/May 1978 as Roddenberry believed. He was told so by Jon Povill who was the one who had picked up the model for the loan at Roddenberry's in the first place, but who concurrently admitted that he was no longer able to recall the precise particulars surrounding his involvement, which, most crucially, also included to whom exactly he had delivered the model to. [23] Roddenberry's plea to Katzenberg therefore was to no avail, as history has shown.

The effects house Shaw and Sackett refer to, might have been Brick Price Movie Miniatures (the only other possible effects house at that specific point in time – September 1977 through January 1978 – had been Magicam, and they were at that time not involved with the build of an Enterprise model, having it subcontracted to Brick Price) as well, as two photos showing the Phase II model under construction exhibit a reference model in the background. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 60; also see Production history of The Motion Picture)[1]

Regardless of what had actually transpired, the model itself – for all intents and purposes, the very first filming model in the Star Trek franchise – remained missing for nearly half a century, [24] much to Datin's dismay who, echoing Barrett's sentiments, had opined, "It is one of the great mysteries of Trekdom. It was just too valuable, for its size to just disappear." (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, p. 46)


This state of affairs persisted until 31 October 2023, when the three-foot model unexpectedly resurfaced in an eBay listing(X) , having resided unnoticed in a storage locker/unit for quite some time – and therefore having deteriorated accordingly. The listing was brought to the attention of Roddenberry's son, Rod, after original Constitution-class model expert Gary Kerr had verified its authenticity, and Roddenberry Jr. asked for the listing to be pulled and the model returned to his father's estate. [25][2]

The vendor complied with pulling the model from the eBay site and turned it over to auctioneer Heritage Auctions (whom he had commissioned to handle the eBay sale) for authentication and verification of the claims leveled. After several months doing so, and with the help of several Star Trek alumni (virtually the same team who had consulted with the 2016 restoration of the main eleven-foot model – see below [26][27]), the model was eventually returned on 18 April 2024 to the Roddenberry estate. Deemed in serious need of a thorough restoration akin to the one the main model had undergone in 2016, Rod Roddenberry declared his intent to have the model made available for public display ultimately, but he did not know yet in what form or format. [28][29][30]

Eleven-foot model[]

After the first review of the three-footer, Roddenberry green-lighted the construction of the large model, which would be exactly four times the size of the small model. Again, Richard Datin was entrusted with the job. This time, he was forced – due to time restraints and the limited size of his own workshop – to subcontract the bulk of the construction. The company(X) he chose was Burbank-based Production Models Shop, owned and operated by Volmer Jensen. Most of the work fell on his employees, Mel Keys and Vern Sion, closely supervised by Datin. An unofficial "employee" at Production Models Shop had been Datin's own then ten-year old daughter N. Datin McDonald (who is now the custodian of her father's archive, including the original construction plans of both the three-, and eleven-foot models, after the latter had passed away in 2011), who helped out by sweeping floors and sanding the wooden construction parts during the build of the model. (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, p. 52)

On constructing the "eleven-footer", Datin remembered:

"The saucer section was constructed in two separate halves, top and bottom sections, of "Royalite" plastic sheet vacuum-formed over plaster molds, each representing the top half and bottom half of the saucer. The formed sheets in turn were supported, or held together, by a series of plywood ribs or struts radiating from the center. I have no idea how many ribs there were but a sufficient number to support the nearly one-eighth-inch thick sheet of Royalite. The plastic surface was thin enough to be slightly pressed inward with a finger. (…) At the point where the (solid wood) dorsal connected to the underside of the saucer, additional framework was added to strengthen the connection to the saucer. The dorsal was fastened to the saucer by one or two, most likely two, lag screws whose heads were set in below the top exterior surface of the the saucer. A small, low profile section made of wood hid the screws. The teardrop-shaped bridge section was made from a solid piece of wood with in its center hollowed out for installation of the hemispherical-shaped Plexiglas (bridge) dome (the same for the underside dome)… "The two engine nacelles consisted of a tapered frame constructed of plywood ribs fastened to the respective shaped solid wood ends," recalled Datin further. "The nacelle surfaces that faces each other were flat elongated areas of wood that were set in from the outer skin surface. Other details were added, such as what looked and was described as wood shaped "handles", which Gene took an instant dislike at my terminology. But to me no better description fits! The rib frame was the covered with a heavy gauge pre-rolled sheet metal. A formed corrugated Plexiglas sheet covered the sides of the "S"-curved aft ends, while the forward domes were comprised of a semi-hard-wood-like ash and lathe-turned into hemispherical-shaped half domes. (…) The two support pylons were made of a solid one-piece hardwood, of either oak or walnut for strength." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 53)

USS Enterprise eleven foot model USS Enterprise eleven foot model with its actual builders
Datin (l) taking delivery of the eleven-foot studio model, but not before the actual…
…builders (L-R) Sion, Keys and Jensen had posed themselves with their creation…
USS Enterprise eleven foot model upon delivery, dorsal bow view USS Enterprise eleven foot model upon delivery, starboard view
…or the real star of the new show had done herself for that matter.

The wooden secondary hull was subcontracted out, as well as several component pieces such as metal bits on the nacelles. The spikes on the forward nacelle domes were made by Datin himself. The same paint scheme as for the three-footer was applied, but no decals were used on this version; all the details on the hull – lettering, logos, and all – were painted on. Virtually identical to her smaller sister, the eleven-footer lacked one detail. The surface on the backside of the aft nacelle caps was smooth, where the three-footer, as per specification, sported a detailed rectangular feature. Coming in at an initial cost of US$3,000 and a length of 11 feet, 2.08 inch, weighing 221-225 pounds, the model was delivered to Anderson on 29 December 1964. (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, p. 63) Too late for extensive use for "The Cage", the model was stored away for months while the studio pondered the fate of Star Trek.

Once the decision was made to have a second pilot produced, Roddenberry – with the people at Anderson's – decided to enliven the large model, in order to enhance their chances. Up until then, he had not wanted any of the models to be internally lit and they were delivered as such – shortly after, he changed his mind about that. Again, Richard Datin was called in to do the proposed revisions. Datin logged in another 88 hours of his work from 27 August through 8 September 1965, before the model could be filmed at Anderson's for the second pilot, doing the following:

  • Bridge: several painted-on windows removed, light panels added in front and on sides.
  • Saucer top: nav lights added, black bands painted near port and starboard edge, painted black and white areas added near bow edge, four light panels added. The port and aft light panel was just painted-on and is not an actual light panel.
  • Saucer rim: center-most bow port changed to nav light, some windows added.
  • Saucer bottom: nav light and two portholes added near edge on each side, at 10 and 2 o'clock positions.
  • Impulse engines: black rectangular vents painted over with hull color, eight small round black vents painted on.
  • Secondary hull: strobe light added on aft flank, rearmost round porthole moved from left side of two rectangular ones to right side.
  • Nacelles: black "grille" pattern painted on rear nacelle end caps.
  • Registry markings were previously painted-on, now changed to decals.

Once Star Trek had become a regular television series in early 1966, Roddenberry, before shipping off the model to visual effects company Film Effects of Hollywood – contracted to alleviate the production pressure on Anderson – wanted to enliven the model even more, and this time also retrofitted the "three-footer". Yet again, Datin was called in to do the revisions:

  • Bridge: bottom half chopped off, light panels removed, a red "beacon" added on each side. Some portholes added on B and C decks. The original bridge module was a deviation from the three-footer as it was far more bulbous than on the three-footer which was originally closer to its eventual appearance.
  • Saucer top: black bands and most other painted-on markings removed, rib added on "linear accelerator", which was painted a darker gray.
  • Saucer rim: Some portholes added, bow nav light replaced by light panel.
  • Saucer bottom: nav lights moved to 9 and 3 o'clock position, some portholes added, "nipple" on phaser bank added below sensor array. [31] [32](X)
  • Impulse engines: painted darker gray, round vents removed, original rectangular vents again painted black, texture wraps added on both ends of impulse deck.
  • Dorsal: some windows/portholes moved/added, dorsal painted same as rest of hull instead of the earlier blueish reflective color, with a blueish stripe remaining on the leading edge.
  • Secondary hull: red "beacon" and green portholes added on top, some windows/portholes added, deflector dish diameter reduced (and the dish repainted a lighter copper-gold color than before), "observation booth" added under cowling above hangar bay doors, a grille added on the center line just aft of the deflector dish housing and in front of the Starfleet pennant. An Anderson memo to the studio from 6 April 1966 gave an estimate of $60 to reduce the size of the diameter of the deflector dish.
  • Nacelle pylons: four dark gray. brick-pattern inserts placed in slots.
  • USS Enterprise studio model inner nacelle components

    The innards of the animated nacelle

    Nacelles: Half balls added to the rear of the nacelles; Solid wood "power nodules" with spikes replaced with frosted Plexiglas domes with inner surface painted transparent orange, plus motorized vanes and blinking Christmas lights added behind the dome, being ten bulbs of different coloring, blue, yellow, red and green. [33](X) Colored mirror shards were also added for reflective purposes. The whole assembly was powered by a van motor. [34] The above mentioned memo gave further estimates of $60 for the additions of the half-ball spheres on the aft of the nacelles (called "pods' in the memo) and a total of $480 for the replacement of the front nodules, which were later christened Bussard collectors. The memo specified,

    13. Lightsource on inside area of both Pods $300,00.
    14. New left side pod – quote to follow later
    Items 13 & 14 – in the event that opening up the sheet metal pods for this work, the metal goes out of shape to render further work on existing pods useless – new pods will have to be made. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 45)

    The original wooden domes were removed and were still in the possession of Richard Datin as of 2001.
  • Ribs and aluminum grille added in "trenches" along inboard flanks of nacelles and trench painted darker gray, patterned slabs added inside "intercooler loops" at rear, small slabs added in front of intercooler loops, black painted grille removed from end caps and light gray. spheres added.
  • Typeface used for registry markings changed (resulting in that the number "l" changed to "1"), weathering added .

Datin worked an additional 419 hours on the second set of revisions from 8 April 1966 to 17 May 1966. Total costs for the "eleven-footer" (including the retrofit revisions on the "three-footer") were over US$6,000. The heavy internal wiring for the lighting pushed the weight of the model up to 275 pounds.

USS Enterprise eleven foot model port side USS Enterprise 11-feet model decal sheet by Richard Datin
The model showing its rarely seen port side while it was in production use, with on the right one of of Datin's decal sheets (notice the mirrored decals)

Contrary to the three-foot model, the port side of what Datin himself referred to as the "4X model" (as the model was exactly four times the size of its smaller sibling) was not as detailed as the rest, especially on the secondary hull and the dorsal. As this was the location point where the electric wiring was connected, this side would never be filmed. By far the vast majority of the shots seen of the "'eleven-footer" is the ship moving from left to right. On the very rare occasion that a port-side view was required (which occurs in only three episodes, "Dagger of the Mind", "Shore Leave", and "Mirror, Mirror"), a visual trick was applied. Datin fabricated mirrored decals of the registry number on the nacelles and these were applied on the starboard nacelles. In post-production, the image was flipped so that the number could be read as normal. (To Boldly Go: Rare Photos from the TOS Soundstage - Season Two, p. 92) As a precaution, Datin produced several copies of the decal sheet as spares, in order to replace decals on the model when they got damaged through use.

The second set of revisions are the ones also retrofitted onto the three-footer, save for the lighting options which were deemed too expensive. In this vein, the eleven-foot Enterprise model was used for the rest of the series, save for minor revisions done at Anderson's during the run of the series:

  • Upper sensor dome changed to a taller one, registry numbers on saucer bottom switched around so the starboard one was readable from a front view.
  • Jefferies came up with a "deflector grid" which was drawn in pencil on the primary hull. It was drawn only to satisfy Roddenberry and was done very lightly so it wouldn't be visible on film.


First uses of the "Eleven-foot model"
USS Enterprise profile view, 2254
First appearance of the yet internally unlit eleven-foot model in "The Cage"
USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model prepared for the January 1965 testfootage at Howard Anderson Company USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model testshot at Howard Anderson Company in original unlit configuration
The model suspended from the ceiling at Anderson's for its January 1965 testfootage, prior to the first set of revisions
USS Enterprise studio model assembled by Harry Kersey and Ronnie Peterson USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model filmed at Howard Anderson Company after first set of revisions
Anderson staffers Kersey and Peterson reassembling the model after the first set of revisions in order to film its effects footage for "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

Upon the delivery of the eleven-foot model to the Howard Anderson Company by Datin, the model was retained there for the filming of footage for use in the first pilot, though only the one outstanding scene would actually be filmed there, the extreme "zoom-in on the bridge" sequence, featured at the beginning of the pilot. Before the model was stored away to await the verdict of the studio, some additional test footage, not intended for filming use (as the model was not filmed in front of a blue screen), was shot on 23 January 1965 to establish camera angles. The model was constructed in such a way that it could be suspended from the ceiling and it was filmed as such. An x-ray picture taken later at the Smithsonian revealed that some of the the hooks onto which suspension wires could be attached, were still embedded within the model. It was the only time the model was filmed this way, as it was afterwards only filmed while mounted on a stand, the stand having to serve as guidance of the power cables for the by then added internal lighting rig.

After the first set of revisions in August and September 1965, the model, now endowed with internal lighting, again reverted to Anderson's for filming of the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The footage thereof was to be re-utilized as stock footage throughout the remainder of the series, as was the one shot taken for the first pilot. On handling the model Howard A. Anderson, Jr. has noted, "Dick Datin built the original Enterprise model out of wood and fiberglass. Although it weighed less than 100 pounds, it was pretty sturdy." At Anderson's, the model was mounted on a metal bracket, taking care that the port side, undetailed for lights and cables access, remained unseen. Motor-driven motion control shooting rigs were an expensive novelty at the time and Anderson was not equipped with one, so the static model had to be shot in stop-motion, as explained by Anderson, "But nearly all of the work that we did, all of the photography work that we did on the Enterprise was stop-motion work. The Enterprise was stationary and the camera moved in," [35](X) having added on another occasion, "Depending on how fast the shot was supposed to be in real time, we'd move the camera a few inches, refocus, shoot a frame, and the repeat. The faster the shot, the more the camera would move between frames. We would start shooting every night at 6 pm. Before we started, Gene Roddenberry would drop by to tell us how long the shots needed to be that night." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 148, pp. 46-47)

At Anderson's, Bob Ryder was appointed the lead effects photographer for all the Enterprise effects footage, whereas co-builder Richard Datin was frequently called in to oversee the correct handling of the model during filming. (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, pp. 51 & 82)

Conditions at Anderson's were not optimal as his studio was not large enough to easily accommodate a model of the size of the eleven-footer. The cramped conditions meant that the studio lights had to be placed fairly close to the model, and behind-the-scenes photos showed that handlers of the model suffered under the heat of the lights. It were not only the studio conditions causing inconvenience, but the model itself as well that provided its own set of problems, as Anderson elaborated, "We had to constantly stop shooting after a short while because the lights would heat up the ship. We'd turn the lights on and get our exposure levels and balance our arc lights to illuminate the main body of the ship and then we'd turn the ship's lights off until they cooled down. Then we'd turn them on and shoot some shots all in one pass. It wasn't until later that someone developed fiber optics and 'cold-lights' and other useful miniature lighting tools that are common today". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 67)

Linwood G. Dunn shoots the 11-foot studio model Linwood G. Dunn and crew shoot the 11-foot studio model for Space Seed
Dunn filming the eleven-foot studio model at his company…
…doing the same (r) with his crew for "Space Seed"…
DY-100 and USS Enterprise studio models filmed at Film Effects of Hollywood
…which resulted in the DY-100-class and Enterprise studio models on-stage at Film Effects of Hollywood for their effects shots of the acclaimed episode

When the series went into regular production, it became obvious very early on in the first season that the visual effects (VFX) demands, in the 1960s still called special effects or opticals, of a weekly production as complex as Star Trek was (the most complex television production at the time), tasked the Howard Anderson Company beyond its capabilities. Four additional VFX companies were brought in by Post-production Supervisor Edward K. Milkis and Producer Robert Justman to ease the workload, the Westheimer Company, Vanderveer Photo Effects, Cinema Research, and Film Effects of Hollywood. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, p. 262) The latter company, headed by Linwood G. Dunn, were sent the three- and eleven-foot models for additional filming of stock footage. "We received the three-foot and the fourteen-foot [sic] models from Howard Anderson early in the first season. We had to make some repairs and modifications to the fourteen-foot model [note: Dunn is referring to Datin's May/April revisions of the eleven-foot model] before we could begin shooting our effects.", Dunn recalled. (American Cinematographer, January 1992, p. 39) Specifically with the intention to work with the models, since Anderson was still backlogged with the visuals for "The Corbomite Maneuver", Film Effects was the second additional company brought in the last quarter of 1966, starting work on the eighth episode of the series, "Balance of Terror", and, incidentally, also shooting the only footage of Wah Chang's Romulan Bird-of-Prey studio model. Film Effects was the only company, besides Anderson, to ever handle the studio models during the production of the Original Series. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, 1st ed., p. 215) Virtually all footage in the series, showing the Enterprise after the second set of revisions, including the interaction with the SS Botany Bay in "Space Seed", were shot at Dunn's company. An added advantage was that his studio was more spacious and better suited to handle the eleven-foot model.

USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model in storage at Desilu between seasons

The model in storage at Desilu between seasons

Desilu Studios' Edward Milkis, who was the main responsible production staffer for the VFX footage, served as the main liaison between the studio and Film Effects and recalled in 1993 working with both models from his point of view,

"I was working from about five-thirty in the morning until midnight, or even sometimes later. That's because throughout the first season, we were desperately short on traveling shots of the Enterprise. Y'know, we needed generic shots of the ship flying across the screen, or toward camera, and we also had to shoot a lot of script-specific stuff as well. And as you know, we really worked with two different miniatures. One that was about three feet long, and we'd use that whenever we needed a pod to blow out or to launch a shuttlecraft or whatever. Basically, whenever we needed to customize or damage the model, we'd use the small guy [note: in the process explaining the somewhat beat-up state the model was in, in its last "Requiem for Methuselah" appearance]. We'd never do that kind of stuff to the big one; we needed to preserve her.

"Actually, the big model had lights running all around the saucer area and was loaded with detail. It was really intricate. It was also eleven feet long, and impossible to shoot. It was just too big. Anyway, after a full day of running from lab to lab and spending some time in the editing room, I'd had to go over to a place called Film Effects, where we had a guy named Linwood Dunn shooting our miniatures. They had a big stage there, and the first thing we did was to paint the whole thing blue. That's because we knew we'd be doing "blue-screen" effects, which basically allowed us to shoot the ship, the remove this blue-paint background and add in an outer-space panorama.

"Anyway, we generally hung the ship about four feet of the floor, and they ran dolly tracks for the camera across right underneath it. Then we'd shoot, and if the ship was supposed to look like it was flying toward camera, we'd just dolly in toward the front, then pan away at the last possible second. When we got back to the lab, took out the blue added a background and processed that shot, it'd look like the ship was "flying" right into camera. We'd do the same kind of thing whenever the ship was supposed to fly across the screen. If we shot film and dollied left, the ship appeared t move to the right, and vice versa. This wasn't really a new process, it was just hard to do, because you could either do it perfectly or not at all. If the color of the ship wasn't precisely right or if your lighting was slightly off, the shot wouldn't work. You'd end up not being able to remove the original blue background. You were either perfect or dead. One screwup, and the whole night's work would be wasted." (Star Trek Memories, pp. 240-241)

There is no evidence suggesting that any new footage was shot of both models for the third season, due to the budget cuts the series had to contend with, imposed by Paramount Pictures, as of 27 July 1967 the new owners of Desilu and thus Star Trek. [36]

USS Enterprise eleven-foot studio model unused Howard Anderson Company effects footage

Shot, but ultimately unused, Anderson Enterprise effects footage, "courtesy" Roddenberry

However, effects footage of the model had been shot at either effects house that was not yet utilized. And when season three went into pre-production, Post-production Editor Don Rode was of a mind to use this previously unused footage for the new season, thereby intending to circumvent the budget restrictions. Yet, when he went down to the vaults where the studio habitually kept this footage, he, to his dismay, found it cleaned out and was informed by a security guard that the future Roddenberry-couple had only a few days earlier backed up a van and cleared out the fault of all its contents. The security guard was told by Roddenberry that the studio intended to discard the footage as garbage. Rode dutifully reported back to his superior Herb Solow. Knowing and liking Roddenberry for what he was on a personal level and usually turning a blind eye to his notorious antics, a now irate Solow reported the, what he perceived to be, theft to his new Paramount superiors, for this action actually interfered with the series' production proper. However, much to Solow's surprise, and even while it was "a sensitive matter for the Paramount executives", no actions were taken to prevent Roddenberry from taking and selling additional film stock during the final season of production as "everyone pretended not to know what had happened. So it continued to happen." It turned out that Roddenberry had the footage cut up and sold as framed stills, through his merchandise mailing company "Star Trek Enterprises" a short time thereafter (for further particulars on this issue, see main article). Rode had to make do with stock-footage of the Enterprise, causing no new visuals of the vessel to be featured in the last season. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, pp. 400-401)

In 2016 the Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault Blu-ray Disc set was released and in one of its special feature documentaries, "Strange New Worlds: Visualizing the Fantastic" on disc 2 of the release, it was revealed that some of the effects footage Rode was looking for was still in existence, including footage from which the above featured still originates.

Post-production use[]

After the series had been canceled, the eleven-footer was more or less forgotten by the studio and stored away in a far-away corner of the studio. The very fact that it was stored somewhere was a minor miracle because normal studio policy had it that, in those days, major set pieces of canceled shows or wrapped productions were to be demolished to make room for new productions. In April 1972, the model, minus its deflector dish was displayed at Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California as part of a larger space flight exhibition – arguably the very first time a Star Trek studio model was on tour. Through a series of coincidental contacts, that also involved former Star Trek producer Herb Solow, an opportunity was created to have the model included in the exhibition as well. While struggling to get the electronics back on-line, former Desilu production staffer, Craig Thompson (who has worked as office manager for post production on The Original Series from 1966 through 1969, but was by then employed at the college), noted that the starboard nacelle interior dome rotated clockwise, while the port side rotated counter-clockwise. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 120, p. 77) Asked if the studio showed any apprehension on loaning out the model or pride in it, Thompson re-iterated, "Not at all, other than they didn't want G[ene]R[oddenberry] to get a hold of it, for whatever reasons. [remark: according to Thompson's contacts at the studio, Roddenberry tried to get possession of the model for years after the series wrapped] Proud of it… I doubt it! I have to say that when I took it back, Props would have paid me to keep it. I kick myself every time I tell this story…because I probably could have had it for fifty bucks, if not for free. But, my garage was too small to store it…and even I didn't have the foresight to recognize what an icon it would be in the future. So, it slipped from my hands."

Nevertheless, Thompson managed to retain a memento of the display as a consolation boon, "Several weeks after we took it back, one of my students came into my office and said they were cleaning up the workroom and found a bunch of Star Trek Enterprise decals (in sheets of hundreds) and wondered what to do with them. I said I'd call Paramount and find out. When I called, they laughed and said they'd never use them again. So, they said just to throw them away, or whatever. The sheets are about 2 ½ feet across, rolled out, with about 200 large and small decals that were used to repair the large model, if the name ('USS Enterprise,' for example) got scratched at Howard Anderson's SFX studio, while filming. So, I just about tossed them, (but) I decided to keep them as a remembrance of having worked with the show… along with Mission: Impossible, The Lucy Show, Mannix, etc." [37](X) What Thompson had acquired were four of the decal sheets, including detail decals such as "Nitrogen Purge Reducer Value", "Tail Pipe Socket Adjustment", and "Inspection Door Vent Systems Connections", that Richard Datin originally made as replacement spares. In 2012, Thompson offered up his decal sheets in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 49 as Lot 907, with an estimate of US$4,000-$6,000, where they went unsold however.

Becoming a museum exhibit[]

USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model re-assembled at the Smithsonian for inspection USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model at the Smithsonian after its first restoration, port view
The reassembled model at the Smithsonian
USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model at the Smithsonian after its first restoration, ventral view
The reassembled model at the Smithsonian
The model after its first restoration, port view

One year later, in response to an inquiry from former Apollo astronaut Michael Collins, then Paramount Executive Dick Lawrence responded, "I am pleased to advise you that Paramount Television will donate the fourteen-foot [sic] model of Star Trek's Enterprise to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It is my understanding that F.C. Durant III, assistant director of Astronautics of the Smithsonian Institution, in a letter dated December 17, 1973 to Mr. Frank Wright of our publicity department, has agreed to pay the cost of crating and shipping" (which was estimated at US$350-$500 at the time) (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, issue 10, 1977). The Smithsonian Institution received the model (with its filming stand) on 1 March 1974, in three separate boxes by Emery Air Freight and had it reassembled five days later for inspection. [38](X) [39](X) Apart from the already missing deflector dish, the animated warp nacelle caps were also missing, by this time. Prior to its shipment the disassembled starboard nacelle was filmed in Paramount's art department with Matt Jefferies when he was working on George Pal's proposed television followup of his 1953 SciFi classic War of the Worlds he had produced for Paramount. (George Pal's War Of The Worlds: A Video Scrapbook DVD)

F.C. Durant requested the following restorations, ultimately done by Rogay, Inc.:

  • Fabricate two hemisphere of Plexiglas (or other appropriate plastic) to replace missing pieces at forward end of propulsion units. Exterior surface of hemisphere to be "frosted" (sandblasted?). Interior surface to be painted with amber lacquer. Shade of paint to be approved by ASTRO. Affix hemispheres to propulsion units with small screws.
  • At forward end of secondary hull, lay-out, fabricate and install missing "dish and spike" on "main sensor". "Dish" is turned from Plexiglas or other suitable material according to sketch supplied, Both dish and spike are painted bronze approximating existing paint on main sensor, Install using epoxy cement and original fitting.
  • Replace missing Plexiglas rectangular and cylindrical "windows" in model. Attach other loose components including dome ("bridge") on top of primary hull.
  • Retouch with black paint lettering on top of main hull, all black painted windows and other features, Fill two cracks on right dome on main hull with putty and retouch with matching paint, Retouch chafed damage and other minor injuries to reasonable point
  • Push wiring inside or fold and affix on left side of model with three-inch silver colored, pressure-sensitive cloth tape.

This constituted the very first revision of the eleven-foot model – finished about three months later – and, while the restoration was generally well received at the time, Durant couldn't refrain from commenting to Rogay about the nacelle caps. "The paint used by Rogay was turkey red, the exterior is not frosted as requested…". (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, No.10, 1977) The Enterprise was put on display for the first time at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), the most-visited museum in the world, during the summer of 1974 in the Gallery 107 "Life in the Universe" exhibition. At the end of the summer of 1979, this exhibit closed and the miniature was moved to Gallery 113, "Rocketry and Spaceflight." [40](X)

Ironically, when the studio embarked three years later on the production of Star Trek: Phase II, they toyed with the notion of re-utilizing the original model and tried to borrow back the model. The museum – rather wisely in hindsight given the damage done to the D7 class model they also had acquired and which was loaned out – refused to give the model back, especially since it was still part of the permanent "Life in the Universe" exhibition at the time. (Enterprise Incidents, issue 13, p. 19; [41](X))

Second restoration[]

Between 8 August and 11 September 1984, a second restoration was performed on the model in preparation for "The Art of Robert McCall Exhibition". More extensive renovation occurred, this time including removal of the silver-cloth tape on the left, unadorned side of the ship (where the internal wiring was hidden). In its place, the renovators added molded air-tubing, which covered the holes on the ship previously masked by the cloth tape. Internal lighting was improved and many of the lights that had not previously been working were made to work again. All internal wiring within reach (when the miniature was disassembled) was replaced. Additionally, spinning lights inside the engine nacelle hemisphere tips were added (although they remained painted the wrong color of red). The model was given a thorough cleaning, paint was retouched in several places, and several of the external decals were replaced at this time. With the refit completed, the Enterprise was unveiled at "The Art of Robert McCall Exhibition", in September 1984, at the NASM's Gallery 211, "Flight and the Arts." After the McCall exhibition ended in September 1985, the USS Enterprise miniature returned to her former home in Gallery 113. [42](X)

Third restoration[]

A third, very comprehensive restoration was undertaken between 10 December 1991 and 24 January 1992, in preparation for the Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit. Ed Miarecki, of Science Fiction Modelmaking Associates (SFMA), was contracted by the museum to do the renovation. As he recalls on "The IDIC Page," "Basically, it was 'Being in the right place at the right time'. I had a chance meeting with Ken Isbell from NASM. He presented a slide show at a Star Trek convention in Baltimore. We had a nice dinner conversation and talked about the 'E'. He mentioned the state of disrepair the model was in and how the museum was considering refurbishment for the 25th anniversary exhibit. I made the comment, 'I wouldn't mind helping out with that.' He responded, 'Really'? We then spent the rest of the evening discussing details while watching a costume contest. When I got home, I submitted a proposal to NASM, and the rest, as they say, is history. (…) I was able, through the courtesy of several collectors, to acquire very clear B&W and color photos of the 'E' for my research. Also, one friend of mine had episodes on laser disc that we were able to 'freeze frame.' The model itself provided the most information about how it 'looked', however." Two of the most noticeable improvements were the replacements of the deflector dish by a more detailed one and the the "turkey red" nacelle domes with animated ones, approximating their appearance in the original series. The model was disassembled and each component was given a thorough refurbishment. [43] It was also decided to let the less-detailed port side of the model remain that way.

USS Enterprise 11-foot studio model at SFMA, saucer dorsal side

Saucer dorsal side of the model at SFMA, that was to remain untouched

The most striking refurbishment was the new paint scheme applied. With the exception of the dorsal side of the saucer section (the museum requested this part to remain untouched, since its paint scheme was relatively in good shape), the model was stripped and repainted. The new paint scheme is noteworthy for its emphasized grid-lining (especially on the ventral side of the saucer) and weathering. "I have taken pictures of the 'E' after restoration under full studio lighting, (which does wash out most of the shading), and it looks exactly right. I hope you understand that the model will never look the way it did 30+ years ago because it was repainted in 1974 without first documenting its original condition. This 'interpretation' was our best educated 'guess'. If someone has better resources and expertise, they may have a chance to restore the model for the 50th anniversary," Miarecki elaborated further, prophetically as his closing comment turned out to be (see below). Miarecki apparently was misinformed about the paint job at the time; no repaint was undertaken at the time, only retouching. Miarecki was required by the Smithsonian to meticulously record his work in a log and have it videotaped. His team consisted of Steve Horch, Mike Spaw, David Hirsch, Tom Hudson, Ken Isbell, David Heilman, and Roger Sides. (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, Issue 14, September 1996, p.28) Also present for the first three days, were the aforementioned Gary Kerr and a friend, who helped out with the disassembly of the model. Kerr was there on invitation of Miarecki, whom he knew through a mutual acquaintance, David Merriman, Jr., and made use of the opportunity to take numerous pictures and detailed measurements of the model for his own personal edification. The data he collected would serve him and the franchise well in the years that were to come. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 34-37)

Miarecki's statement notwithstanding, the new paint scheme did stir up quite a controversy. As the original builder, Richard Datin, had put it, "The original model was smooth and didn't show any lines or marks, except for the lettering and numbers (…) The Smithsonian had scribed lines to indicate panels, changing the character of the whole model." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, issue 11/12, p. 68) The paint scheme was the main point of criticism and was for years hotly debated on blogs like "TrekBBS", "Resin Illumanati", "HobbyTalk", "Trek Prop Zone", and the museum blog itself. [44](X) The unrelenting criticism has alienated Miarecki from the fan base, as his reaction to a particularly strong comment on the "Trek Prop Zone" blog on 25 April 2007, showed. "(…) When I first started to read this topic, I had thought I was going to read something interesting. I really didn't expect my work to be described as "BUTCHERY". It has been now over 15 years since I performed the restoration, (without the aid of all the knowledge that has been acquired in those 15 years), and I have to endure in all that time since, nothing but jabs and barbs of criticism from over-opinionated fans who now have access to that knowledge. I have yet to read one compliment… any compliment, on any forum, about any aspect of my restoration. Now after all this time, I refuse to let such a "drive-by" insult such as yours go unanswered(…)"

USS Enterprise studio model hull X-ray Richard C. Datin in front of the eleven foot model at the Smithsonian
X-ray photograph of the eleven-foot model's secondary hull
Datin with the model and plaque at the NASM, ca. 2005
Enterprise at the National Air and Space Museum
The model in the gift shop

The renovated, powered-up model featured prominently in the 1992-1993 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit and was, a year later, on loan to the Hayden Planetarium, New York City, for its 1993-1994 exhibition extension. Upon its return to the Smithsonian, the model was not displayed for the next six years. During this time, the model was stored in the museum's Suitland, Maryland Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility, where it was visited for a second time for three days by Gary Kerr, who took additional measurements for a reference book project. A project by Michael Okuda, it was he who arranged for Kerr to have access. The book project eventually fell through however. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 42-43) In January 2000, the museum opened its newly refurbished three-story gift shop. Part of the refurbishment was the permanent placement of the (un-powered) model with its mounting stand, in a glass display case on the lower level of the shop, in March 2000. Before the model was displayed a decision was made to examine the model in detail. Up until then the museum had always displayed the model in a suspended state, much like it was displayed for filming of the first pilot. The museum staff responsible for the model decided that a closer examination of its structure was required, and contracted Maryland QC Laboratories (MQC Labs, Inc.) at Aberdeen, MD, to perform an X-Ray analysis of the starship, with special emphasis on possible stress at the attachment points, where the cables from which the starship was suspended were attached to the ship itself. After consideration, the museum staff decided not to hang the starship any more, as it had been up until then. Instead, a special case was built for it, and it was rested upon two stanchions especially built to hold it. [45](X) The original filming stand of the model was also added to the display.

After the publication of William McCullars' two-part article Enterprise '64 in Star Trek Communicator, issues 132 and 133, 2001, the museum contacted the author to have him send a print with accompanying text of the picture showing Richard Datin taking delivery of the model, which was then added as a plaque to the display. This act gave Datin and the builders of the model the recognition Datin himself had vainly tried to get for years; the museum had flat-out refused to believe his claims when he made them during the 1992-1993 exhibit, despite him presenting the original documentation as proof. [46] The model was reportedly insured at US$1,000,000. [47](X)

For Datin however, his frustration with the museum was not yet at an end. Satisfied that credits were finally given where credits were due, he decided to donate his Enterprise holdings to the museum, including the only existing original construction plans for both models and the wooden nacelle domes, but soon found himself running afoul of museum bureaucracy and redtape. While purportedly interested, the museum demanded a long list of administrative chores to be performed by him in person before they could take possession of his holdings, mostly of a detailed descriptive nature as well as providing detailed proof of ownership and detailed provenance descriptions. Datin, a museum curator himself at the time, was aghast but offered to help museum staff out with the chores and for which he even traveled to Washington DC with his holdings at his own expense, not wanting to loose sight of his precious belongings instead of sending them by mail as demanded by the museum. Once arrived and waiting for a couple of days, he was not even contacted or met by a museum representative. Datin gave up and decided not to pursue the matter any longer, deeming the matter a waste of time. (The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, Chapter 22, containing excerpts of the fruitless correspondence with the museum)

Fourth restoration[]

In September 2014, the model was removed from the gift shop and taken to the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. [48] When asked about the contentious paint scheme and possible preservation work, museum curator Dr. Margaret Weitekamp remarked,

"Well, we'll certainly be going back into the museum's own records on the model, and then also take a look at the best information we can find in order to figure out what needs to be done – and what we are able to do. We'll be doing a lot of research on the paint; I know fans have been concerned about it. The museum's approach is one of conservation, so we're treating the model as a historic object – we don't have carte blanche to just do anything we want with it, just like every other piece in our collection. The idea that you would want to add a modern glass canopy or something to the Spirit of St. Louis is a neat idea, but that's now how we treat these things. What I want to do, really, is take a look at what we need to do to make sure the model is stable and safe, and then to use the latest science that we have through our conservation lab to figure out what we can learn about the model in terms of its structural integrity and its appearance. We'll be doing a lot of research on its appearance as part of this project, and definitely looking at the paint as I know it's something the fans have been very concerned about. As a fan myself, I'm obviously interested in seeing this object come back to its best possible condition – understanding that it's still going to look like a fifty-year-old model. I'm not interested in making it all shiny! I would say, mainly, that we haven't made any final decisions about any of the structural or aesthetic issues at this point; we're just now getting into the lab and beginning to get a look at the model. Our chief conservator is putting together a new report over the next few weeks, so hopefully we can sit down this fall and really figure out what the issues are that we have to deal – and what choices need to be made about how to move forward."

Additionally, she commented on her predecessors' decision to have the model placed in the basement gift shop and the reactions it received over time, "I think that this attempt to save it for public access has just gotten misconstrued over time as a sign of disrespect for this cultural icon. Back in the 1990s, this was an object that didn't really have a home. It had been part of various displays, and then it was part of a traveling Star Trek exhibit – at some point, when it came back, there wasn't a permanent display place available. At eleven feet long, it can't easily be tucked into a corner! Some of my predecessors were able to find a space in the gift shop – and get that custom case built in the basement level – as a way to ensure that it stayed on public display and out of an Indiana Jones-style storage facility. It would have been well preserved, of course, but it would have been out of the public view." [49]

While Weitekamp took care to remain non-committal in her preliminary public statements about the previous Miarecki restoration and the criticism it had spawned, her next action abundantly evidenced that she was very much mindful of the controversy surrounding that restoration; not taking any chances whatsoever this time around, Weitekamp assembled an advisory committee of visual effects (VFX) artists, model makers, designers, model experts, fans and conservation experts to inform the decisions on the model's restoration. Members of the committee with a strong Star Trek pedigree included Doug Drexler (creator of the "NX-01" and the "J", Original Series expert, having also professionally reported on the model after its first restoration, and builder/supervisor of several digital original model versions – see below), John Goodson (ILM VFX staffer who up until that point in time had worked with all Enterprises, including the alternate reality one, but excepting the television original, the "NX-01", "C", and the "J"), Gary Kerr (by now the most knowledgeable still-living expert on the model itself and therefore a given), Michael & Denise Okuda (the franchise "Treksperts"), Andrew Probert ([co-]designer of the "refit (A)", "C", and "D"), Adam Schneider (owner of a plethora of actually production-used studio models, including the "C" and "E", and who had actually – and somewhat ironically – contracted Miarecki for the restoration of several of his own holdings), Rick Sternbach (co-designer of the "C") and John Van Citters, the latter as franchise liaison. [50] This team, flown in at the expense of the museum, gathered for the first time at the Udvar-Hazy Center on 13 May 2015 to start the series of restoration project discussions. [51] One of the issues they subsequently discussed was that since the model was altered during the production of the series, the conservation team would have to decide to what point the model should be restored. [52] By September 2015, the conservators had decided to restore the model to its appearance in August 1967, after the model filming for "The Trouble with Tribbles". [53]

Knowing full well, the emotions the model engendered with fans, the museum chose the TrekCore website as partner to keep the public informed of the progress of the restoration, alongside the museum's own blog. TrekCore editors were given access to the restoration site and allowed to interview people involved as well as post restoration progress videos on the site. [54] The museum also called upon the public at large to provide privately owned materials regarding the model to help out with the restoration, of which pictorial records were especially coveted. It netted the museum several previously unseen behind-the-scenes pictures of the model. [55] [56]

By January 2016, Bill George (ILM colleague of Goodson, having likewise worked with several Enterprise models) and former ILM model-making colleague Kim Smith had joined the advisory committee to assist with the restoration of the model's original paintwork. The model was carefully disassembled, and its body and paint were analyzed with spectroscopy to determine the original materials used. In order to restore the appearance of the spinning Bussard collectors while avoiding the heat and maintenance problems caused by the original incandescent Christmas-tree lights, new nacelle domes were built with rotating LED lights inside. A steel support brace was built and placed inside the secondary hull to stabilize it and prevent the nacelles from drooping. [57] [58]

The analysis determined that the top side of the saucer retained its original paint, as with the previous restoration ordained to remain untouched, whereas the rest of the model had been repainted during previous restorations. Those areas were stripped and repainted with a base paint chosen to match the original base paint, and then carefully detailed to be as close as possible to the original appearance of the model. After restoration was completed in June 2016, which went off according to schedule and without any problems to speak of, the model was on 1 July 2016 put back on permanent public display in the Air and Space Museum's Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, in time for Star Trek's 50th anniversary as planned and which, incidentally, also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the museum's building. The majority of the Star Trek advisory committee was present at the unveiling as guests of honor. [59]

Most notably however, it appeared that the Datin family (original builder Richard had passed away by this time) harbored no ill will towards the museum, as one of the original wooden nacelle domes Datin had in his possession is now included in the current display, still carrying the original paint as applied in 1964 by Matt Jefferies according to a new accompanying plaque. It was gifted by heir and daughter N. Datin McDonald, dutifully acknowledged on a new plaque, whereas she had sold the other one on eBay. [60] On the other hand though, the plaque featuring her father and the other builders of the model, was no longer included in the new display.

Other physical models[]

While the two master filming models were used to provide the majority of shots, there were instances were the master models would not do.

Three- and four-inch models[]

As Howard A. Anderson, Jr. of the Howard Anderson Company remembered, "In "The Corbomite Maneuver" we used a tiny four-inch model made by Matt Jefferies of the Enterprise to use in front of the huge alien ship to make it look even bigger. We also had an occasion to shoot Datin's three-foot Enterprise model from time to time and we used all three models in the main title sequence. We shot a lot of library footage using that little four-inch model but I can't remember any specific episode titles where it was used. We mostly used the 12-foot model." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, issue 11/12, p. 67) On a later occasion Anderson had added, "The only other model that we had in those first two years of pilots was a little one that Matt Jefferies made that was about four or five inches long that was just a very simple, straight-forward model. We used that first before we ever finished the big model to do some shots – run-bys, to get speed and those test shots, were two years later used in the main title. When we shot the little model, we were able to do that in a clean run on a lathe bed that we had built." [61](X)

It is, however, likely that Anderson (who, after all, made the comment almost three decades after the footage was shot) was mistaken about its filming usages after the title sequence. Analysis of screen captures show that the model used in the original version of "The Corbomite Maneuver" sported a lighted, lower sensor dome and running lights, identifying it as the eleven-foot model, the only model outfitted with an internal lighting system. [62] There is no indication that the four-inch model (which might have been the balsa wood approval model that Jefferies built for the producers) was ever used again, after usage for the original unaired title sequence.

USS Enterprise metal model Enterprise pulled in by the planet killer
The three-inch metal model of the USS Enterprise
…pulled in by the planet killer
USS Enterprise metal model trapped in crystal
The in lucite encased three-inch metal model

In the pre-production stage of season two, Jefferies designed a prop that he referred to as the "Enterprise working prop." It was to become the metallic three-inch Enterprise voodoo charm used in the upcoming episode "Catspaw". The design sheet, which was signed off on by Steve Sardanis, on 18 April 1967, specifically called for two pieces, one of which was to be encased in lucite. [63](X) Both pieces were used in the episode.

The lucite-encased model was donated by Matt Jefferies, hand-delivered by Dorothy Fontana to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on 7 November 1973, together with the original D7-class studio model. (Star Trek Giant Poster Book, issue 10, January 1977) It was displayed only once, during the 1992-1993 Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit. The other model (painted, this time) was later used as the Enterprise in the forced-perspective scene of "The Doomsday Machine", in which the ship is pulled in by the planet killer. That model's current whereabouts are unknown.

AMT filming models[]

USS Constellation USS Constellation approaches planet killer
AMT's USS Constellation in dire straits…
…and en route to its doom
Constitution class 3-foot and AMT model in viewmaster reel
The three foot (below), and AMT models in the View Master version of "The Omega Glory"
Profilesinhistory USS Enterprise AMT model and K7
John Jefferies' AMT model
…in action in "The Trouble with Tribbles"

"At a point, Matt Jefferies called me about building a second three-foot model but they wanted it sooner than I could build it, so that second model never got built," Datin remembered. Approached by Jefferies in the spring of 1966, Datin was unable to comply on short notice as he was at that time building models for the sitcom Petticoat Junction. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, issue 11/12, p. 67; The Enterprise NCC 1701 and The Model Maker, p. 94) What Jefferies had in mind was the upcoming episode "The Doomsday Machine", the very first time the Enterprise had to share screen time with a sister ship, the USS Constellation. The script required shots where both ships would be seen drawn in by the planet killer. To do this Jefferies and Anderson needed a second model in an appropriate scale in order to keep proportions believable on screen. Although Datin could not deliver, Jefferies had an alternative by this time. Instead of having had an expensive custom made model built, two of the then recently released AMT Star Trek model kits (kit number S921) were used.

Fortunately as chance would have it they were supplied with a crude internal lighting option. One was distressed, its decals rearranged to read "NCC-1017", to appear as the battle-damaged Constellation. The first issue of the kit sported the model with a smooth surface on the aft of the nacelle (thereby approximating the appearance of the Enterprise in the pilots) and as such the Constellation differed from her sister ship on screen, which by then sported spheres on the aft of the nacelles. [64] The Constellation model was most likely discarded after use (although footage of this model was to be reused to represent the USS Excalibur in "The Ultimate Computer").

The second model kit was used to represent the Enterprise in "The Trouble with Tribbles" as a background element seen from Lurry's office window, and orbiting the far side of Deep Space Station K-7. In the auction description, mentioned hereafter, a former member of the production crew remarked that the modified interior lighting system proved to be problematic in that the operation of the animated nacelle domes was very noisy and had to be painstakingly edited out in post-production. The model was a short time later photographed on site by GAF Corporation employee Don Jim, alongside the three-foot model for their aforementioned View-Master version of "The Omega Glory", representing the USS Exeter. (Trek, issue 5, p. 6)

The model was retained by Matt Jefferies' brother John, who kept it in his possession of until 2001, when he sold it off as Lot 234, having had an estimate of US$30,000-$50,000 [65], to Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction, on 12 December 2001 at a price of US$42,500. [66] The model is currently residing at his Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. [67]

Display models[]

Constitution class model, Kirk's quarters

Kirk's model

Outside their use as filming models, AMT model kits of the original Constitution-class also made appearances as set dressing in the Star Trek films, typically as display models, and most notably as the golden models in the display case(s) in the observation lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-E in the movies Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek Nemesis.

However, a standard AMT model, built by later Star Trek writer and producer Ronald D. Moore, an avid Original Series fan, when he was 12 years of age, already turned up as a display model in James T. Kirk's quarters in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as was revealed in Michael Okuda's text commentary of the Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Special Edition) DVD, and who has added that he was terrified that the model would become damaged in use, as it was a by Moore painstakingly customized model.

For their representation as one of the golden models in the display case in the Enterprise-E observation lounge in First Contact, another, larger scaled, AMT model kit (number 8790) was used by their builder, John Eaves, who remembered on his blog, "This was before eBay, so I went and scoured the hobby shops all the way from Los Angeles to PHX Arizona to find any and all kits of the Enterprises. What was available then was the Enterprise-A, a TOS Enterprise that was too small so I opted to get the cutaway version that was substantially bigger, and the Ent. D.(…)Herman asked for 3 of each ship because we were now going to have the smashing of the case scene.". Molds were taken of the model and solid resin casts copies were made, as there were multiple takes of the scene. After smoothing out the surfaces, the models were gold plated at ArtCraft Plating. The models were subsequently smashed when the scene was filmed. For Star Trek: Insurrection there were again three models needed, this time because there were three display cases and Eaves more or less repeated the procedure, solidifying the models by filling them up with resin. Though, due to a late script change, they were not seen in that movie, they eventually did turn up as display models in the observation lounge in Nemesis. [68]

Enterprise golden display model
One of the golden models at auction
Drafting Room 5 display models Constitution class model, Wesley's quarters
Original Constitution-class model on the right in Mars Station…
…and Crusher's desktop model

Eaves and the studio initially retained most of the models but almost all of them were sold later at various auctions. One was sold as part of a complete set of six in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 44 on 15 May 2011 as Lot 1550 for $11,000 (for the whole set), one, originally owned by the Okudas, was sold as Lot 22(X) , estimated at US$400-$600, at the Propworx' The official STAR TREK prop and costume auction of 8 August 2010 for US$8,400 (including buyer's premium), one sold in April 2007 in It's A Wrap! sale and auction for US$1,411 [69] to American collector Jason Stevens, [70](X) , one sold as part of a complete set of six in the earlier mentioned The Star Trek Auction of 12 December 2001 as Lot 288, estimated at US$10,000-$12,000, again for the whole set, and another one has reportedly been sold in an on-line Sotheby's auction in October 2000. [71](X)

Apart from the movies, commercial models of the original configuration Constitution-class made no appearances as display models in any of the spin-off television series set in the 24th century, save for two occasions in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first time such a model made an appearance was in the first season episode "Booby Trap", were a model could be seen on display in Drafting Room 5 of the Mars Station. Being a smaller scaled model, measuring approximately eight inches, it did originate from the smaller, 1:1600 scaled, 1984 or 1989 issue of the three-piece AMT model kit, No. 6677.

The second time concerned the fifth season episode, "The First Duty", where a desk-top model of an original configuration Constitution-class vessel could be seen in Wesley Crusher's dorm room. This was an otherwise unmodified ten-inch pewter model released by Franklin Mint in 1988, model 810, of the Enterprise, usually residing in Okuda's Art Department (VOY Season 7 DVD, special feature; "Inside Voyager's Scenic Art Department"), and the only time a non-AMT product was used to represent the class physically. Later owned by Michael Okuda, it, missing its deflector dish, turned up as Lot 72(X) in the aforementioned Propworx auction of 8 August 2010, estimated at US$200-$400, where it sold for US$720 (including premium).

USS Biddeford, Constitution class

The USS Biddleford model

Interestingly, after an absence of nine years, another model of a original configuration Constitution-class vessel was slated to make an alternate reality appearance in a Star Trek live-action production. A display model was seen hung from the office ceiling of Admiral Alexander Marcus in an establishing shot for the 2013 movie Star Trek Into Darkness as the USS Biddeford with the unusual (in the prime universe at least) registry number "NCC-0718". The filmed sequence however, was dropped as a deleted scene from the feature as released. (Star Trek: The Compendium Bluray-special feature, "Deleted scenes") It can not be ascertained with any certainty whether the model was especially constructed as a specialty prop, if a modified commercially available model was used, or even if use was made of a computer-generated model, though the latter was the more likely one.

"Trials and Tribble-ations" model[]

The Jein model at Image G

The Jein model ready for shooting at Image G

For the upcoming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fifth season homage episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode, Gregory Jein (who is a lifelong fan of the original series), faithfully recreated in ten days a 5.5-foot physical model of the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701. [72](X) Jein was delivering the new USS Excelsior model for Star Trek: Voyager's "Flashback" episode when he caught a glimpse of Gary Hutzel's test footage. He recalls being informed, "Yeah, we'll probably do a model of the Enterprise but we don't know when, and we probably won't till the last minute (…) being a crazy kind of guy, I decided to start work on it anyway!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 386) and, "It was a sort of a lark, it takes awhile to get the paperwork and budgeting done, and if I had waited for them we never would have time to do it. So, I really started it myself." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 110, p. 63) Years later, in 2011, Jein recalled:

"I think the show I get the biggest chuckle out of, and going back to the shadow days, is working on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". 'Cause I've always been a Star Trek fan, would it not being kinda cool to build the old Enterprise, yadeeyada, and we just delivered a model to Image G and Gary Hutzel was the visual effects supervisor on that and he said, Hey, you know what, we've something coming up that you guys want to check out. We're gonna going to back and visit Captain Kirk and the original crew, and bring him into the show and do the "The Trouble with Tribbles". So I said, That sounds pretty cool, but he says, Yeah, but nobody has given the go-ahead, because its too expensive, and we have only 2½weeks to do all this stuff. And I said, Well, are you are sure they are going to do this stuff?. And he said, Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're going do it!. So I came back to the office and talked it over with some of the guys, and said, You know, we're not doing anything right know, so why don't we start this damned thing, and if it does not get shot, we have at least have a nice model! And so we started actually a week and a half before we got a green light on it. And so we did that, got the green light, built the space station, and the Enterprise" (Sense of Scale, disc 2)

However, Jein needed detailed construction blueprints of the original model for him to embark on the project. It was here that Gary Kerr's carefully-taken measurements of the original eleven-foot model, when it was disassembled at Miarecki's shop for its 1991 restoration, came into play for the first time in the Star Trek franchise. Jein contacted his friend Kerr, with whom he was likewise acquainted through David Merriman, Jr., to inquire about the wanted information. Kerr, much surprised by the unexpected request, replied to the best of his knowledge that he did not know of the existence of any, but volunteered to make these himself for his friend, confident he had enough measurement data to do so [remark: only five years later, it would turn out that original builder Richard Datin still was in the possession of a complete set of original construction blueprints (Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, p. 51)]. It was Kerr who suggested the half-size scale, as it would make blueprinting and construction more expedient. Kerr soon realized however, that he somewhat overstretched himself, as he found out that he was still missing some data. Reaching out to Miarecki again, who had maintained a log on his restoration, he was able to get some of the additional and missing measurements he needed, even obtaining resin castings and vacuformed parts Miarecki molded from the original model, but only at the eleventh hour, as Miarecki was knee-deep involved in the construction of the Enterprise-E studio model for Star Trek: First Contact at the time. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 38, 40) Working throughout the summer in his spare time, he had to do the blueprints by hand, as Kerr did not own CAD software. "I got all my measurements together, and every night after work I'd sit down at the drafting board. Greg needed the basic shapes of the saucer, the engines, and the hull. I'd draw some plans, go to Kinko's to make copies and send them all off to him, and the I'd go back to the drawing board.", Kerr remembered. (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, p. 36) On the construction of the model Jein noted:

"There were four different components to build. The saucers were all turned by Gunnar Ferdinandsen, a plasterer and foammaker. They were spun out of plaster on a template, just like throwing a pot, and then we vacuformed those patterns and detailed them out, and then we made silicone molds of them. The main engineering hull, the pylons, and the the engine nacelles were all made out of wood. They were turned on a lathe, and then we detailed those out and made silicone molds of them."

From these molds the final plastic parts with which to assemble the model were cast. With Larry Albright, Jein continued on the lighting, "We put banks of neon behind the windows for the interior of the saucer and the main engineering hull and of course we have strobe running lights on the saucer, like on the original. The only parts we didn't do were the spinning lights on the caps of the nacelles. Gary Hutzel designed those." (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, pp. 37-39)

USS Enterprise Trials and Tribble-ations studio model

Detail shots of the Jein model

Hutzel had to take into account that unlike the original series where the model was shot in real time, that models were now photographed in motion control. He had to create a computer program to control the light effects to match the different frame rates. Building the nacelles presented another problem. By season two of the original series the aft of the nacelles sported spheres, but in the "The Trouble with Tribbles"-episode stock footage was used from the pilots were the aft sported louvers. Which version to use? Hutzel recalled, "I asked Michael Okuda what he thought the fans would say. He said that no matter what the stock shots were, the fans would know it's not supposed to be louvers. So I called Greg back to tell him to go ahead and do the spheres. And Greg said, "That's okay, I already made them both. I wasn't going to wait for you to make your make up your mind!"."(The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, pp. 40-41) Painting the model in the correct color, "Federation Gray" as Jein called it, proved easier than could be expected. Back in 1991, Miarecki had a piece of the original paint computer analyzed by a specialized paint store which came up with an exact match for the shade of gray that turned out to be a 1964 General Motors car color – GM gray 4539L. (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, Issue 14, p. 28, and which somewhat contradicts Miarecki's own earlier statement to the IDIC page) The only snag was that the formula was lacquer-based, which was prohibited in California, so an environmentally-friendly formula had to be developed first. Jein opted to include some of the modifications both Jefferies (the grids on the upper saucer section) and Miarecki (grids on the bottom saucer section among others) had done on the eleven-footer. This was done in a far more subtle way than the 1991 restoration as not to distract from the perception people had of the Enterprise in her original appearances. Unlike her progenitor, this model was outfitted with several more mounting rod points, so that the model could be shot from several different angles. When delivered, the model weighed in at forty pounds.

Kerr has never been credited for his contributions, but in recognition for the service he had provided for Jein, Michael Okuda personally invited him to visit the Paramount Pictures lot to witness a day in the production of the episode. There he made the acquaintance with future collaborator Doug Drexler, as well as with Herman Zimmerman and Gary Hutzel, visiting the Art Department and Image G, where he witnessed the use of the final product of his contributions. Still short of some detail measurements, Kerr later conceded, "There was a lot of guesswork in the "Trials and Tribble-ations", and in retrospect, they weren't perfect; however, they still turned out to be reasonably accurate, and I thought the model looked great onscreen when the episode aired on November 4, 1996." (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 40-41)

The current whereabouts of this filming model, on occasion referred to as the "Jein model", are unknown as the model has not been sighted by the public since. The model that started to appear as a tour exhibit, beginning with the Star Trek The Exhibition tour of 2009 at the Hollywood & Highland Center, California, [73] [74] is a three-foot replica, most likely one of Master Replicas' 2004 limited run of replicas originating from the CBS Consumer Products archive. Yet, despite its non-appearance in the exhibition tour circuit, a photograph turned up in February 2017, in which special feature producer Robert Meyer Burnett posed with the model, implying the model was still in existence and still in the possession of CBS Consumer Products. [75]

Commercial copies[]

A limited production run of twelve pieces was made from the same molds used for this model and were sold at Viacom Entertainment Store in Chicago for US$10,000 each in 1997, accompanied with a certificate signed by Jein and Jefferies. [76](X) One of them, autographed by Nichelle Nichols and George Takei, and part of the collection of (an European organization that is dedicated to preserve science fiction production assets for public display purposes, such as in museums), was on loan to Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle until 2011. [77] [78] The replicas came without internal lighting with the nacelle domes painted red, as opposed to the actual filming model, whose domes were transparent.

CGI models[]

Produced in the 1960s, the Constitution-class model in its original configuration was not further featured again as a studio model in the later live-action incarnations of the Star Trek franchise, aside from its Deep Space Nine appearance, until the producers made the decision to have it reappear in a guest-starring role in 2005 in the spin-off series Star Trek: Enterprise. The famed starship design was brought into the 21st century by having a digital version constructed in the guise of a CGI model for the occasion of its reintroduction in the live-action franchise.

Eden FX's CGI model[]

USS Defiant NCC-1764 CGI model

Eden FX's CGI model

For the Enterprise episodes "In a Mirror, Darkly" and "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", a CGI model was built of the USS Defiant. The model was built by Koji Kuramura and mapped and animated by Robert Bonchune at Eden FX. Remapped to represent the USS Enterprise, it also appeared in the final scene of "These Are the Voyages...". [79] [80] While the model was under construction, Bonchune commented on the HobbyTalk blog on 18 March 2005, "There is some subtle "aztec" paneling and some slightly heavier weathering [note: which did not entirely meet with supervisor Doug Drexler's approval, "I did have some issues with it. Texture mostly. The lads at Eden added Aztec'ing, which I prefer not to see on the original Enterprise." [81](X)] We also do have subtle deflector grids on the ship. Some of these additions were requested by the producers. We also have an enormous time crunch, so if it ain't perfect, trust me, we know… The CG ship was wholly and ENTIRELY built from scratch by Koji Kuramura, Nacelle effect by me with reference help from Thom Sasser as well as just looking (over and over and over and over… ad nauseum) at clips from the Orig show. Any ship dimensional reference material we needed was provided by Doug Drexler as well as Koji's own research. I know Doug is good friends with Gary Kerr, so I am sure that made it's way to us through him. As for the Petri [Blomqvist] help, Koji used his shape for the back end of the nacelle cap as a reference piece. We needed it built differently." [82] Kuramura and Bonchune took their cue from a note in the final script draft for "In a Mirror, Darkly", which read, "We'll suggest the Defiant is a slightly newer vessel than Kirk's ship; the exterior shows slightly more detail… intricate hull plating patterns can be visible in reflected light, etc."

Ironically, it was not Eden's model for the Defiant that was used for the 2007 remastered version of the Original Series source episode "The Tholian Web", but rather Blomqvist's below-mentioned CBS Digital version.

The script called for aft firing weaponry, something that up until then was not shown for the original Constitution-class. Bonchune remarked, "(…)the intention was that the rear torpedoes were from the little round port right between the impulses engines. We tried to make it logical with what existed so we didn't have to make a new hole on the ship. Everyone agreed, except that apparently if you frame by frame it, they actually come from the hangar bay phaser mounts. Someone in the chain either decided against it or didn't know. Even one of the writers was surprised it hadn't been done as discussed." [83] One of these writers, Enterprise teleplay writer Michael Sussman, has noted that the aft phasers and torpedoes that the Defiant possessed indicated a variation from its Constitution-class sister ship, the USS Enterprise, as that ship apparently lacks or at least does not make on-screen usage of those weapons. (ENT Season 4 DVD-special feature, "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" audio commentary) It should be noted, however, that in the Original Series episodes "Arena", "Friday's Child", and "The Doomsday Machine", verbal references to the Enterprise's aft phasers could be heard in a stock voice loop. Additionally, reference to starboard banks was made in "Balance of Terror", as well as the port weapons mentioned in "Mirror, Mirror".

CBS Digital's CGI model[]

CGI mesh overlay on reference picture of eleven-foot Enterprise model USS Enterprise, 2266 (remastered) USS Enterprise upgraded CGI model by CBS Digital
Blomqvist's tight fitting CGI-mesh overlay on photo of the eleven-foot model, featured in…
…the original appearance of CBS' CGI model, and as…
…the upgraded CGI model, modified as…
USS Enterprise profile view, 2254-R USS Constellation remastered Constitutions formation, remastered
…a previous configuration…
…a damaged class vessel…
…and as other class members

One year later, a second CGI model was utilized for the 2006 remastered Original Series. Although several parties made pitches to do the model, like Digital Stream, Daren Dochterman [84], and Eden FX – whose model was a by Pierre Drolet refined upgrade of Doug Drexler's below-mentioned (fan)build [85][86](X) – , CBS Consumer Products decided to go in-house with their own company, CBS Digital, where the model was to be built under supervision of Niel Wray and David Rossi. Yet, CBS Digital started to run into troubles with the production of the remastered series, due to strict release schedules, and they were forced to rely on a third party Enterprise CGI model after all. The project's Visual Effects Producer, Mike Okuda, subsequently decided to seek advise and sent a candidate to Gary Kerr for evaluation. Okuda was already personally acquainted with Kerr's abilities, since the latter's service to Greg Jein for the "Trials and Tribble-ations"-model and the cooperation on Okuda's canceled book project. Kerr discovered that the model he was sent, was lacking in accuracy and relayed his findings to Visual Effects Supervisor Niel Wray. Wray concurred, and was desperate to come up with a replacement. It was then that Kerr suggested Petri Blomqvist's CGI model, a model he knew had been refined for over a decade by that time, and of which he knew that both regular production, as well as the two pilot episode variants were available. [87](X) It was Blomqvist's model, CBS ultimately bought and used in the remastered series, or as Kerr has put it, "To put it simply, the CBS lawyers huddled, agreements were signed, and CBS Digital was free to use Petri's model." Since Blomqvist's model was based on Kerr's blueprints (the two having been sharing their work for over a decade by that time), they originating from the meticulously taken measurements of the original model for the Jein model and Okuda's book project, it has earned them both their official "Technical Consultant" credit. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 48-49) Okuda was pleased, and has expressed that, as far as he was concerned, Blomqvist's model could be used "without concern". [88] Incidentally, Blomqvist's Enterprise model had already seen official franchise publications, in Star Trek: Communicator issue 132and Star Trek: Communicator issue 133 of 2001.

Okuda's glee was a little bit premature however, as the digital animators, like Eric Ehemann and Chris Barsamian, who were working with the model at CBS Digital, [89] still had their work cut out for them. Blomqvist's model was constructed in the LightWave 3D software, whereas they used the Autodesk Maya CGI software at the time, and had to translate the digital model from one format into the other, which inevitably led to some information loss. Okuda kept in close contact with Kerr, in order for the latter to be able to annotate corrections on the CBS version. Of particular concern to Okuda was that the model was not too realistic looking as to keep in line with the overall look of the series. The model had to be remapped after a couple of episodes, because it was looking too detailed. Rossi also explained that the high level of detail, in terms of resolution, caused additional problems in that the model took too much computer time to render the shots, ironically making the model more "blurry" looking in the episodes as aired. By cutting down on detail level and therefore rendering time, "We will have time time to test lighting, coloring, and yes…those nacelle caps, it is going to totally change the process, we are very excited about it." [90] Kerr has explained in more detail, "CBS Digital continued to improve the Enterprise model as work on the series progressed. Even though the resolution of CBSD's original Enterprise model was much less than Petri's LightWave model, the resolution was still too high. This forced CBSD to use simpler digital lighting and materials in the first few episodes to cut down on render times, resulting in less sophisticated look to the CGI footage. CBSD reworked their model into an even lower resolution version, which ironically allowed the animators to produce higher quality work than the hi-res version did. In an unusual but very welcome move, the corporate bosses even allowed CBSD to go back and refine some of the earlier CG shots." (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 49) The observed, somewhat surprising, phenomenon is known as achieving a |better spatial resolution. The re-work started on the model after the second remastered episode and the upgraded model was introduced in the ninth episode of the project, "The Trouble with Tribbles". For the later released home media formats, the modified model was retconned into those episodes were the high-resolution version of the model was used initially. [91]

A particular advantage of the CGI model was the increased number of angles the ship could be shown in. "In the original series you only see it in 17 poses, we are going to give you 50 or 60," Rossi elaborated. [92] The versatility of CGI also meant that the model could be modified easily enough to showcase variations of the class, such as differing configurations, other vessels of the class or application of damage.

Derivative franchise uses of the CGI models[]

2010 Star Trek Ships of the Line calendar September spread

Drexler's CGI model as featured in the 2010 Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar

The models built by Dochterman, Kuramura and Drolet all found their way in the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars and their book derivatives. [93] [94] The Kuramura, and Drolet builds were supervised by Doug Drexler, who, confirming Bonchune's above-mentioned statement, also used the research of Kerr as reference. [95](X) Apart from these versions, Drexler, under his nom de guerre "Max Rem" together with Petri Blomqvist, also constructed his own, separate CGI model of the Constitution-class for use in James Cawley's Star Trek: New Voyages fan films. [96](X) That model too has made appearances in the above mentioned licensed publications, alongside a single appearance of Blomqvist's original model in the 2006 outing of the calendar series. Aside from becoming one of the solicitation models for the remastered Original Series, Drexler's CGI model was continuously refined further in order to soldier on as cover illustrations for various Pocket Books novels of the 2000s [97](X) (most conspicuously the Star Trek: Vanguard-series), and became eventually featured as the hero model in the more recent fan produced series Star Trek Continues as well. The Kuramura/Bonchune build made prominent additional appearances in the reference books, Star Trek: Starship Spotter and USS Enterprise Owners' Workshop Manual.

Star Trek Official Starships Collection Issue 50 Star Trek Official Starships Collection issue MU-1
The modified Kuramura/Bonchune CGI Defiant model making its appearances…
Star Trek Official Starships Collection Special Issue USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (TOS) Star Trek Official Starships Collection USS Enterprise The Cage cover
…on the magazine covers of the Official Starships Collection as various Enterprise incarnations.

A major publication in which a CGI model of the original Constitution-class was featured, became Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection from Eaglemoss Collections, where it was featured in its respective magazine issues and other print derivatives in addition to it serving as the computer template from which the die-cast models were constructed. However, in yet another ironic turn of events, its project manager, Ben Robinson, decided to use neither the Dochterman/Drolet/Drexler versions, nor the Blomqvist/CBS Digital version (even though, the by now, former Star Trek Producer Dave Rossi had made the entire starship database of the remastered Original Series available to the publication [98]), but rather go with the Defiant version as build by Kuramura and Bonchune, most likely as a courtesy to the latter, as Bonchune is a major co-editing contributor to the partwork publication (though it is also conceivable that the consideration was that his was already constructed in LightWave 3D, the software package of choice for the publication, whereas the CBS version was now an Autodesk Maya construct, having – again ironically – started out life as a LightWave construct).

Yet, Robinson was acutely aware that the quintessential Star Trek starship would be under close scrutiny, "Every ship we work on gets a lot of attention, but when it came to the original Enterprise, I knew that we had to go the extra mile. We used Rob Bonchune’s CG model as the basis for the digital sculpt, but when the factory’s version came in, I knew it was too important for me to check over alone. I asked around, and everyone from Mike Okuda to Doug Drexler and Rick Sternbach pointed me to one man: Gary Kerr, who they told me was the expert on the original ship. Gary was kind enough to go over our version and mark up all the corrections. I’m sharing a selection of them with you here because I wanted to show you how great Gary has been and because I wanted everyone to know that we take our responsibilities very seriously. [99] I can only imagine what Matt [Jefferies] would make of it. I got to know him fairly well back around the turn of the century and I’m sure he would have smiled at the idea that people would be so passionate about his design." [100] Robinson afterwards went the extra mile by reiterating his appreciation on his twitter account, "Enormous thanks to Gary Kerr, who offered so much help on this and such brilliant advice. No one knows more!" [101] Extensively modified, Drexler's original concerns about the model were in the process addressed.

Constitution-class shuttlebay models[]

Constitution class hangar deck definitive concept Constitution class shuttlebay maquette as delivered to Desilu
…the maquette thereof as delivered to Desilu…
Constitution class shuttlebay maquette interior starboard side detail
Jefferies definitive shuttlebay concept…
…showing its interior starboard side in detail…
Constitution class shuttlebay maquette
…and in use at Film Effects, showing the cables that operated the revolving platform

While Jefferies was ironing out the details of his Enterprise design, it became clear that there was to be a "flight deck" or "hangar deck" (Jefferies used both denominations on his design sketches) aft of the engineering hull of the design at very much the place where he had it originally intended. That being said, there was no way, considering the budget restraints, that a full-scale flight deck set was ever to be constructed. Yet when the episode "The Galileo Seven" came along a resolution had to be found, in the process establishing a feature later carried over to the majority of other Starfleet starship classes.

Jefferies has said this about his design in an off-hand remark, "We had the the large curved clamshell doors at the back, and it didn't look too much different from a lot of today's modern hangars on the inside. The shuttlebay itself was only in miniature. The view of the shuttlebay in "Journey to Babel" was created by shooting through a set of sliding doors toward sections of interior wall placed eight or 10 feet further back. All of our interior walls were of the same finish, which would have included the shuttlebay." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 12, p. 24) Jefferies took care that he designed the shuttlebay in-scale with the Class-F shuttle model with which the maquette was to interact. After tenders went out, it was Richard Datin, who got the 1966 commission to build the maquette. He recalled,

"The original estimate was $2,100. In the end I invoiced them for $1,800, then I charged them an additional $163 for decals and another $175 for labor, making a total of $2,138. The scale of the model was one inch to the foot, while the drawing was drawn to a scale of 1/8 inch to the foot. According to my figures (the model) was 10'-2" long, 6'-4" wide by 3'-2" high at the inboard end and 5'-0" wide and 2'-5" high at the outboard end, where the clamshell doors were located. The model was based on drawing No.6149-14, perhaps drawn by Matt, or better yet, someone under his supervision.

"The original construction plans called for the entire length of the starboard section from ribbed beam in this half to the floor to be removable for filming purposes. Consequently, the interior port side wall was to be well detailed. However, for whatever reason, the starboard wall was not made to be removable and filming of the miniature could only be done looking back to the clamshell bay doors. Observation corridors windows to be frosted and lit separately as well, as the control blimps and Observation Booth Turrets. The section of the roof between the starboard and port ribbed beams will be translucent and certain small control lights o be added to the interior. Clamshell doors to be hand-operated and will be of metal for stability ("I honestly don't recall ever installing the covers nor the operating elevator"). The price includes the dolly to either pull the shuttle ship onto or off the elevator as well as the areaways cut into the side walls ("I don't believe I provided this"). Delivery would be approximately 3 weeks from date of start.

"The interior of he flight deck model was painted in shades of green and possibly light gray. From the looks of two hangar deck photos I took, it was a very light green for the side walls down to the deck, with a slightly darker shade of green for the observation corridors and control booths. The inset areaways look to be the same color as the corridors. The deck may have been light gray or green, it's hard to tell as it reflects the color of the sidewalls. The model was built primarily of pine for the structural frame, masonite for the deck and overhead shell surface, plywood archwork, and Plexiglas for the translucent overhead and observation booth windows.

"I had installed some lighting and some small colored bulbs used as a signal of some sort, I think, in the observation booths. But the major illumination was provided by Film Effects-the usual spots and flood lights. I was not on hand for any of the filming. Those brightly lit corridor windows are illuminated by studio flood lights. In other words, the backside of the corridor was open to the exterior so that the windows could be fully illuminated."

Datin spent 460 hours constructing the shuttlebay maquette, starting on 14 September, and finishing on 25 October 1966. He also spent some time doing some repairs on 31 October on the in-scale shuttlecraft, constructed by Speed & Custom Shop, that went with it. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 133, p. 49) Upon completion the maquette was sent to Dunn's Film Effects, where the only footage was shot, utilized throughout the remainder of the series. Linwood Dunn commented on shooting the maquette, "A larger scale model of the Enterprise flight deck was, built, from which its small "shuttle craft" took off and returned, the rear clam-shell doors sliding open and closed. This crafts movement forward and back, and to and fro from the revolving platform on the deck, was maneuvered by wires, which also controlled the craft as it soared into "space" suspended from a special rigging mounted high outside and above the flight deck." (American Cinematographer, January 1992, p. 39) The maquette, considering its size, was more than likely discarded after usage, as it has never been sighted since.

There actually had been a duplicate maquette, though foreshortened for certain, more close-up scenes of the shuttle arriving and departing, likewise most likely discarded. [102]

CGI Constitution-class shuttlebay model[]

Constitution class hangar deck, remastered

Gabl's CGI shuttlebay

When Star Trek: The Original Series-remastered came along in 2006, the original footage with the maquette was replaced with new digitally enhanced imagery. At CBS Digital a CGI matte painting was constructed by Max Gabl of the hangar deck, premiering on 3 February 2007 in the remastered version of "Journey to Babel". Gabl's digital painting actually started out as one of Petri Blomqvist's CGI models, CBS Digital had bought for use in the remastered project, but was modified considerably by Gabl. Blomqvist's original model had already been featured previously, in Star Trek: Communicator issue 133 of June/July 2001.

Gabl's version was manipulable in 3D (betraying its origins as a full-fledged CGI model), so it could interact with footage of the CGI model of the Class-F shuttle. Michael Okuda wanted to use the effect to beef out another scene in the episode, "In "Journey to Babel", we really wanted to put the full hangar deck behind the shuttlecraft in the doorway shots when Sarek and his party are disembarking. Niel and his crew did such a great job on the landing that we wanted to see more of that digital set. The problem was that it was a very long shot that would have involved an enormous amount of rotoscope work and motion tracking.", to which Dave Rossi added, "Niel [Wray] came to our rescue. He suggested a simplified version of the shot in which they put in the bottom of the observation gallery in just part of the sequence. Now, when the camera pushes in, we can see at least that part of the back wall of the hangar deck. It's a nice tie-in." [103](X)



  1. It was Rick Sternbach, the novice production illustrator on Phase II's immediate successor The Motion Picture, who appeared to have recorded a last contemporary sighting of the model, "In early 1978, I held that [Ralph] McQuarrie asteroid painting in my very own hands, as it had been stored in the art department over Stages 8/9 during the aborted first attempts to make a Trek movie. There were rolls of prints of Ken Adam's stuff, and a couple of other McQuarrie renderings. The models of the triangular greebled Enterprise were there. The TOS set model was there [thereby ostensibly confirming that the model only went missing after Brick Price was released from Phase II]. I could have walked off with the asteroid painting; it was such a little gem. So one weekend, I promised myself I would study all that material more closely come Monday morning. And it had all been spirited away," Sternbach recalled, adding however that not all remained lost, "Well, some of it surfaced again some years later, and I seem to recall that Ralph got his little paintings back." [1](X) However, Sternbach later said that his use of the term "TOS set model" was a reference to a maquette of the filming set and not the 3-foot miniature. [2]
  2. The eBay vendor who offered up the three-foot model at a US$1,000 starting bid, was obviously unaware of the model's feted history, and had nothing to do with whatever had happened to the model after Roddenberry had loaned it out. A dealer in unclaimed assets, he found it in an abandoned storage locker he had acquired, [3] and one that had originally been rented under a false assumed identity of a long-dead (since 1958) Paramount film producer. [4] Pursuant the eBay listing, the Star Trek model community on the TheRPF blog went out of their way to substantiate Kerr's authentication by meticulously matching the eBay photos of the model the vendor had posted with known historical model imagery on the detail level, even going as far as matching the wood-grain of the model stand with that as seen in the Sackett photograph. [5] It was the TheRPF reporting that was quickly picked up by other, not necessarily Star Trek-related, news sites. [6][7][8][9][10][11]

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