Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Questionable Trek vol. 23

Sometimes you just gotta geek out when you start talking Star Trek! And there's nothing more geeky than comparing starships!


Question: What is the coolest ship other than the Enterprise?

Scott's Answer: To the franchise's credit, there have been so many cool-looking ships over the years but, for me, I think the Borg cube represents sheer elegance in its simplicity. I know I've said it before but, all too often, designers look at the "evil" villain and decide that their ship must look "evil," too, even though this makes absolutely no sense. The eeriness of the Borg cube comes from its geometric perfection.

Andrew's Answer: Arg! Did we really ask this? Apparently, we did. I suppose I can't just pick another version of the Enterprise? No, that would be cheating. So I'm going with the Klingon battle cruiser from Star Trek: The Motion(less) Picture! Sleek, impressive and sporty, this improved version from the original series will go from standing still to Warp 7.9 quicker than gagh will give you worms!

64 comments:

K said...

Klingon Bird of Prey

LINK

shawn said...

I'm partial to the Akira Class cruiser that was seen in First Contact and in several Star Trek video games.

Next up would be the Klingon Vorcha class cruiser, seen in the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine series.

Michael K said...

Romulian warship from Nemesis; big and sleek. USS Defiant: After making the Enterprise the "Love Boat" in TNG about time the Federation had a ship dedicated to its most important missions: seek out and destroy thr enemy.

darski said...

I always found the Romulan Warbird impressive (aka menacing)but my fave ship is still Voyager. I like the clean lines and its intended purposes. it always seemed more adaptable than other ships.

I expect that I will change my mind a couple of times over the day as others mention their own faves.

Patriot said...

I know this is Star Trek day.....but dudes, the spaceship from "The Navigator" years back was the ne plus ultra of alien technology.

DUQ said...

I'm with darski, I really love Voyager. That one's just sleek.

ScottDS said...

K -

The Bird of Prey is always a great choice. They sure got a lot of mileage out of that model over the years!

ScottDS said...

shawn -

I asked a friend of mine for his opinion and he said the Akira-class ship as well, but you only see it for a brief moment.

ScottDS said...

Michael K -

I, too, liked the Romulan warbird in Nemesis and it's a shame we couldn't see more of it.

When I mention the design philosphy ("evil" character = "evil" ship), I'm referring to Shinzon's ship in the same film, complete with its slow-moving Bond-style superweapon. Ugh! :-)

ScottDS said...

darski -

I liked Voyager though they didn't really explore it to its full potential. I remember they made a big deal about those neural gelpacks and other things but they were only important in a handful of episodes, if that.

And since the ship was lost and, presumably, had limited resources, fans love to ask questions like, "Well, where did they get all those shuttles?" :-)

ScottDS said...

Patriot -

Are you referring to Flight of the Navigator? If so, then I agree with you! And for some reason, whenever the subject comes up, no one mentions how cool that ship was.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I thought about the Vorcha. That's a pretty cool ship!

AndrewPrice said...

K, Definitely a classic!

ScottDS said...

DUQ -

Yeah, Voyager was sleek. If they used more CGI back then, it would've been nice to see that sleekness damaged now and then. I imagine they could do that with computer graphics but, with models, they were stuck using the same stock shots all the time. Every episode, the ship was as good as new.

AndrewPrice said...

Michael, I love that Warbird too. I don't like the one Picard Jr./Shinzon is flying though, it looks like a blob to me.

AndrewPrice said...

Michael, We also used to call the Enterprise the Love Boat in TNG days. It has the look and feel of a cruise ship.

AndrewPrice said...

Darski, Of all the Federation ships other than the original Enterprise, I think Voyager is the coolest. It's just an impressive looking ship somehow!

Commander Max said...

Andrew you picked the K'Tinga. A friend of mine is making a studio scale recreation of the miniature. It's no small job, he identified just about all of the parts on the model. They take parts from a variety of model kits, and place them on the miniature. The parts used are normally not identified, so one has to go through endless kit scans to find the parts.

In the star trek world, I'm very partial to the D-7. Then the E(1701-E) and the D. Of course the Refit, which funny enough would have looked much different if Andy Probert had his way. He and the art director for TMP were in a shouting match over it. Don't get him(or me) started on the Reliant(the ship in Trek, that doesn't work).

Commander Max said...

Scott, the Voyager was done in CG. By Foundation Imaging, about the time ST Intersection was done. Was the end using miniatures in Trek.

Which I think is a real shame, but it did stop the look of "Ships on the Water" (to quote Doug Drexler).

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Dare I ask what's wrong with the Reliant, i.e. why it doesn't work?

ScottDS said...

Max -

You're correct - they were using CGI by the end but I wish they had taken better advantage of the technology. It would've been cool to see actual damage on the ship from episode to episode. (Enterprise did this.) But, even at the end, they were still using some of the same stock shots (maybe not as often).

tryanmax said...

Well, now I feel timid about saying I've always been partial to the Miranda-class, of which the Reliant was one.

I swear with every fiber of my being that there was a Miranda configuration ship shown in at least one episode of TOS, but for the life of me I cannot find a still.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I have nothing against the Reliant, but I'm interested to hear the criticism. :)

I'm pretty sure there was never a Reliant in the original series. They only ever showed a handful of ships and none of them looked anything like the modern ships.

Now it's possible they added one when they re"mastered" the series. But not in the original original series.

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

I don't believe it was. I'm pretty sure every other Federation starship we saw in the original series was simply a re-use of the Enterprise model.

Now that you mention it, though, the Miranda-class ship was originally designed like this but the blueprint was given to producer Harve Bennett upside-down and approved that way.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, From memory, the only other ships you see in the original series are:

1. The Enterprise as other Federation ships.
2. The Tholians (looks like a dart)
3. Khan's ship The Botany Bay
4. This huge globe-thing made up of many smaller globes
5. A satellite
6. The Klingon cruisers
7. The Romulan Bird of Prey
8. A cargo ship which looks like Khan's ship
9. Some ships that were just lights

I can't think of anything else at the moment.

tryanmax said...

I could be wrong about that. Majority of the Federation ships in TOS looked just like the Enterprise. But I swear there was once a ship that was basically the TOS Enterprise minus the secondary hull (just saucer and nacelles).

tryanmax said...

I don't know. I've poured over so much concept art that I could be imposing one memory over another.

AndrewPrice said...

Not in the original series.

//Super Geek mode on

You only ever see six other Federation ships (Defiant, Exeter, Constellation, Excalibur, Hood, Potempkin, Intrepid) and they're all the Enterprise model -- though the Constellation is beat to crap and is only the small model which looks like a model.

//Super Geek mode off

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I don't know off the top of my head but that sounds about right.

There were a ton of other ship designs seen in one of the old tech manuals, but I don't believe this is part of the canon. For instance, other than on a small computer display in one of the films, we never saw this ship on screen.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, My geekdom stops at the television. In other words, I don't delve into the books. And there were very few ships shown in the original series. There were more mentioned, but few shown.

PDBronco said...

The Star Fleet Technical Manual had drawings for a number of additional TOS-style ships: Scout/Destroyer (saucer only with one nacelle), Dreadnaught (Heavy Cruiser with a third nacelle on the saucer), and Tug (ScottDS' link) - but they never appeared on screen. The SFTM also included ship names and registries, some of which were used in background com traffic in ST:TMP.

tryanmax said...

Scot, PDB, that might be it. I'm sure at least one of my friends when I was a kid had a copy of the Technical Manual. Mystery solved.

ScottDS said...

I just wanted to give a shout-out to the talented artists and craftsmen who've designed some of these things. I consider these folks geniuses and not everyone gets to make their mark on pop culture.

From Matt Jeffries, Joe Jennings, Nilo Rodis, Bill George, and Andrew Probert to Herman Zimmerman, Richard James, Rick Sternbach, Mike Okuda, Jim Martin, Alex Jaeger, and John Eaves, and many more...

...I've followed the work of these guys for as long as I can remember.

All too often, whenever the subject of Hollywood comes up, some folks forget that there are actual living, breathing people who toil away behind the scenes, and most of them don't get to create things that are talked about decades after the fact! :-)

(Yeah, that was a bit of a ramble but the sentiment is sincere.)

Commander Max said...

Andrew I made one point on my site.
The Reliant lacks a deflector, thus has no way to protect itself from oncoming particles.
The speed of light is over 600 million MPH, now imagine having particles hitting your hull at such speeds. No matter what the hull is made of it will be worn down by the continuous pelting of particles. I don't think the ship could reach even a fraction of the speed light before the ship is incinerated. In order for a starship to travel in space it requires a deflector.
Andrew Probert sent me an email stating one other major issue with the defiant. That is the warp nacelle cannot work either. Power is delivered to the mid point on the nacelle, the position the pylon in mounted on it's nacelle(forward)it can't work either. I figured this is what happens when guys who are used to kitbashing models, design the model.

I still have my tech manual(first printing), keep in mind it is not cannon. But the Trek people are well aware of it. It is a fan based work, nor is it very accurate. All of the ships have a deflector but a single warp nacelle can only fly in a straight line. Thus not able to navigate around large objects. The funniest ship in the manual is the Dreadnaught. Who in their right mind would place a shuttlebay right above the deflector array. Deflector=repulse(keep things away from the ship, thus it's on all the time in space). I still like it's concept, three nacelles means very high maneuverability, which is why it was used in the last episode of STNG.

rlaWTX said...

OMG - I think I just opened one of T-Rav's doors and found the ST Geekdom!!!!

yeah, the bad guys that could cloak - that was cool!!!

rlaWTX said...

[did you know that the Commentarama link is gone from the links list?]
[Oh no, how do I get back now!?!? j/k]

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Yep, we went pretty far into Geek-O-World here. :)

Cloaking technology is cool. I'd love to have it in my car.

tryanmax said...

Max, I'm gonna ask you to geek-out a little more, because I have some questions.

1. It's been observed that there is a dish-like structure located at the rear on the dorsal side of the hull. That is, directly on the hull, not on the weapons roll-bar. Some have speculated that this is the deflector dish whereas others reject it as it is not forward facing. Is directionality important?

2. An alternative suggestion is that the structure at the center of the rollbar houses both the photon torpedo launcher and the main deflector. I personally think this one is a stretch, but I thought I would float it.

3. A third option presented is that the two forward-facing structures on either side of the control dome where the primary and secondary hulls meet may represent an alternative deflector system of some sort. Is this entertainable?


OR, discounting those possibilities:

4. According to The Physics of Star Trek, spacetime is warped locally so that the ship never travels locally faster than the speed of light. That means the hull only encounters sub-luminous particle impact, though it could still meet very high velocity particles. But is it possible that the Miranda class travels at a significantly slower local speed than the Constitution Class?

5. The vast majority of spaceborne particles are hydrogen, which are drawn in by the Bussard collectors. Given the scant forward surface area of the Miranda Class, might some lesser deflector system to suffice in conjunction with the collectors?

6. A final explanation is that the hull material used in Miranda Class vessels is infused with genetic material from Chuck Norris. That would almost certainly do the trick. Thoughts?

AndrewPrice said...

Wow, you just put my Geek-out powers to shame! LOL!

Though I do enjoy the Chuck Norris reference!

tryanmax said...

Andrew, save your praise. We haven't heard from Max yet.

Commander Max said...

The Reliant is a pure form of kit bashing, no real thought was given to what does what. Except for what would further the plot of the movie.

Since ILM used the parts of the refit. We have to assume the functions are the same. The Refit was designed with more forethought than the Reliant. A deflector dish has to extend a field out quite a distance from the ship to deflect any oncoming particle. The concept would negate the ship traveling in an alternate space, it was my understanding the warp field reduced the mass of the ship(at least according to the STNG manual). In essence the ship would be out of normal space. But that would not would not negate the particle problem. A warp field is just that things would still pass through it. If the ship did travel in a different space/time, it would leave normal space thus no stars would be visible, or at least not behave the way they have been depicted.

The only reason the Reliant looks the way it does?
The people who made the movie thought we were to dumb to tell two refits apart. So they gave us something even dumber. I still can't help but wonder if TWOK was made so poorly, as to kill the franchise. I think this was tried several times.

Commander Max said...

I'm afraid I don't get Chuck Norris jokes.
I haven't seen him do anything different than any other action hero of the day.

Sorry I don't get it.

tryanmax said...

Oh well, I still like it. :-) I figure Star Trek is more about telling the story first and fixing the science later, anyway.

tryanmax said...

Chuck Norris jokes are all about being absurd. They used to be Mr. T jokes, back in the day. Absurdism isn't for everyone.

Joel Farnham said...

OH NO!!

Is this going to start yet another "Chuck Norris is so strong that ..." threads?

tryanmax, You are to blame.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Here's my little secret. Very rarely do I ever comment on the actual science involved with this stuff. Trek is what got me interested in filmmaking in the first place. The physics never excited me as much as the real-world production - the people who made all this stuff and how they did certain things and why.

My closest friend from film school also happens to be a Trek fan and maybe we're biased because we approach it from that perspective. When we watch an episode, we're more likely to comment on the plot versus the actual "in-universe" goings-on in the episode itself.

Of course, I'll still nitpick the science when it's warranted.

AndrewPrice said...

Max and tryanmax, I think you've overwhelmed my Geek-ability.

// slow clap

AndrewPrice said...

Joel et al., I enjoy the absurdity of the Chuck Norris jokes, though I don't quite know why they chose him. At least he's a good sport about it -- even did a commercial about it once.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott,

I almost never worry about the science behind Trek because I've always seen it as fantasy science fiction rather than hard science fiction. I guess a lot of it is real, but it doesn't rally affect my enjoyment of the show.

And yeah, there are times I laugh at the science, but not too often. I particularly like Geordi and Crusher just holding onto a ladder as everything around them got sucked into space. Uh... how strong are their arms?

Patriot said...

Scott.....you are correct. It was "The Flight of the Navigator" spacecraft I was referring to. Teardrop shaped.....trick chromed......yet fluid.

As far as Star Trek crafts go, the most recent film with th huge Romulan mining craft that Eric Bana captained was pretty frickin weird......

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, It's sleek and simple. There is much to be said for that. I liked the silver spaceship Natalie Portman owned in Phantom Menace, though it sounds like it wasn't build very well.

Soonertroll said...

I've always prefered the Star Wars and Battlestar Galacticia star ship concepts to Star Treks. Most sci fi tv and movie franchises use the space is an ocean trope and I like space navies modeled on 20th century battleships & aircraft carriers more than 19th century frigates and ships of the line.

If you like to compare starship designs check out www.merzo.net

AndrewPrice said...

Soonertroll, I love the Galactica. That is just an awesome design. The Enterprise is sleek and kind of like a racer, but the Galactica is a warship.

darski said...

Just curious about how y'all feel about the B5 ship technology. I always found them ugly but some geeks said they were more scientifically sound

rlaWTX said...

Andrew's been out-geeked! what a day in Commentaramadom!!

Chuck Norris makes a Chuck Norris joke in EXP2... [But they nearly all have some joke about themselves. The "I'll be back" interchange between Ahnuld and Willis is hilarious!!!!]

AndrewPrice said...

darski, B5 depends on which race, but some of them were really, really cool. I liked the Earth Force destroyers and the Shadows a lot.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I look forward to hearing the joke! Norris has an excellent sense of humor -- and he's conservative, which is a big plus. :)

Yeah, I was definitely out-geeked. No contest!

tryanmax said...

Going back on-topic (ironic for Commentarama), I also enjoy seeing any Vulcan ships because we don't get to very often.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, we're not very good at staying on topic are we? LOL!

K said...

Soonertroll: Then you should check out the recent Yamato movie.

LINK

AndrewPrice said...

K, I want to see that, but I've been without a movie service for a bit now. :(

Commander Max said...

Andrew, to use the old saying. "You haven't seen anything yet". Keep an eye on my blog.

It's fun to think through this stuff, I consider it mental exercise. If the Trek universe was a reality it would be very different than depicted.
It would be far more fantastic than any Trekkie could argue about. Or Hollywood could make up.


Reality is where I hang out. That's why I focus more on how to build the actual props. It's far more fascinating(to me) to see how they did the old stuff, most of it was really very simple. It had to be, they had budgets and schedules to keep. But it's just as entertaining to see how much the Trekkies can make it complex.

I still can't believe a physics teacher let me write a paper on warp drive(that was a long time ago, I got a B).

Andrew, look into Netflix. You wont be disappointed.

K said...

Andrew:

At Amazon for 19.95 with English subtitles.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks K!


Max, I had Netflix and liked it a lot, I just don't have any plan at the moment.

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