Lounging Around the Set

I finally unpacked the original movie “blueprint” production drawings I won at auction back at the end of April and began photographing them. These were construction plans produced for both Star Trek: The Motion Picture (ST:TMP) and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (ST:TWK) from which the live-action sets where constructed from. In addition there were two drawings produced by Robert Abel & Associates, for Magicam to work from in order to build the original U.S.S. Enterprise filming model.


Unpacking the blueprint drawings won in the Prop Store auction.

Finally unpacking the blueprint
drawings won in the Prop Store
auction held in late April.

There was a slight glitch however when I finally unpackaged the box in that one of the blueprints I had bid on and won was not included. Instead one of the ones I did not bid on was sent instead with the other six drawings, which were correct.

The errant one that was sent to me was the first sheet of the engineering deck/warp core set from ST:TMP. What I was supposed to get instead should have been the 2nd floor photon torpedo room interior set from ST:TWK, where famously Mr. Spock’s burial coffin photon tube was loaded during his funeral at the end of that film.

Large parts of that set were actually built out of pieces of the Klingon cruiser bridge set seen in the opening scene of ST:TMP. You can spot this mainly because of the large shock-absorber struts in both sets, as well as a redressing of the Klingon tactical screen port being redressed as the actual photo launch tube at the end of the loading rails.

I had won the 1st floor tropes set plans as well, which arrived with the others without a problem. Needless to say I have sent an email to the manager of The Prop Store which held the auction to see about getting the proper piece sent to me. We shall see what comes of that.

Orignal blueprint plan of the Officer's Lounge of the Enterprise, for ST:TMP.

Orignal blueprint interior plan for the
set and model of the Officer’s Lounge
of the Enterprise, for ST:TMP.
(Third Wave Design)

That said, I took an initial set of photos which are of fair quality, though I may go back again to do more controlled for archival purposes. My longer term goal is to eventually have these available through this website for other Trek geeks, modelers and film fans to access as a Star Trek historical archive.

The first one, which I did some very minor clean-up in Photoshop to (mainly straightening out the image and doing some minor color adjustments to color balance it to its actual colors), was the plan view of Officer’s Lounge set/model on the Enterprise for ST:TMP.

The original drawing was done by Leslie Ekker on May 7, 1979 under the art direction of Harold Michelson.

From what I can gather this was used to build a model of the lounge interior for a couple of FX shots. Mainly the two shots showing the view out of the lounge windows of Spock’s warp shuttle rendezvousing with, then departing from the Enterprise in deep space after the new warp engines go into imbalance.

View out of the Officer's Lounge as the warp shuttle arrives.

Scene from ST:TMP of the arrival of Spock’s shuttle in the Officer’s Lounge windows.

There were two shots that made it into the film which are somewhat darkly lit looking out the after viewport windows seeing the shuttle move overhead to dock at the bridge deck docking port.

Then basically the same shot only in reverse. In fact it may have actually been the exact same footage run in reverse.

This model was also to match to a live-action set where Kirk, Spock and McCoy have a conversation after Spock fixes the warp engine problem, and they discuss why Spock left Vulcan to re-join the Enterprise crew.

Orignial version of the Officer's Lounge scene.

Scene from ST:TMP filmed on the original
live-action Officer’s Lounge set.

I believe the two drawings (both the plan and elevation ones) were used primarily for the building of this model. This was deduced mainly by going on two factors:

One is that the listed scale of the drawing and the figures in seem to indicated this was drawn at a 1 foot to 1/4 inch scale.

Two, we know that the full-size set of the rear portion of the lounge was never built.

From numerous accounts, budget and time issues forced the filmmakers to not make the originally designed back view-port area into a live-action set which would have matched the one in the aforementioned arrival and departure shots.

Digitally altered version of the Officer's Lounge scene.

The same scene with a digitally recreated version of the aft window area, as originally designed added into the shot.
(Third Wave Design)

Instead they only made the raised seating areas and finished off aft area with a much cheaper and quicker to build back wall. In my view this was and remains a throughly uninspired compromise of the original set designs.

The original version as designed, built in miniature and filmed for the arrival arrival shot, was a much cooler design in my opinion. I feel it was a shame it was also not properly fixed even in the digitally re-worked Director’s Edition DVD version of the film which was released in 2001. In the Director’s Edition they digitally added a new moving star field with starboard warp engines visible.

Design of the Enterprise B/C deck with officer's lounge view ports.

Design of the Bridge and B/C Deck superstructure of the Enterprise. The Officer’s Lounge windows are shown in bright red.
(Image: Courtesy Probert Designs)

However this attempt to “fix” the window view only compounded the problems when factored into the original ship design.

Because the new view out of the window appears to make it in the same location as the Rec. deck and now longer in the originally designed location in the B/C deck as shown in the original pre-production design sketch by Andrew Probert.

Anyway, I intend to make fully accurate digital illustration versions of this (as well as the elevation drawings I also picked up at auction) and port them into my 3D design software.

This will allow me to make accurate detailing pieces for the lounge which, though incredibly small at 1:350 scale, can be seen through the rear viewing ports in the B/C deck portion of upper superstructure of the saucer.

Anyway, I will most likely be working on this for the next week or two while I run down a lead on getting some long sought-after photos of the original workbee miniature, which will help me solve some of the mysteries of the details of the aft equipment area as well as the undercarriage.

Fingers crossed.

10 thoughts on “Lounging Around the Set

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  4. I’m not even going to try to remember how I got to this page but EHMAHGAH I’m so glad I found it. The window config always made me insane, and then the nacelle image they placed there for the director’s cut made it worse. I really wish they’d do a re-do of the director’s edition and fix the windowing. Also now I have to go look at all your other blueprints yay 🙂


    • Glad you made it too.

      I concur that Foundation dropped the ball (or Paramount was too cheap) in not properly correcting this scene.

      In my pipe-dreaming heart, I hope to eventually make an accurate 3D model of this set as well as other elements (like the Enterprise herself) and do my own HD fan-edit of TMP. Much like some superfans have done with Star Wars in order to get an accurate restoration of the original 1977 theatrical edit of that film, in high definition.

      At any rate, I still need to get on the stick and post the rest of the high-definition images of the production blueprints I got at auction, as well as digital recreation/updates of them in electronic form for other fans of TMP and super geek/makers to have access to.

      That was an impetus (among many) on why I wanted to purchase them. To be able to make them available for other film and Trek geeks to have access to them, and not have them disappear to never be seen again because they are in private hands.


  5. Actually,……. Hal Michaelson brought in a set of RecRoom windows for the Officers’ Lounge. Doug Trumbull saw my initial Concept sketch of what that lounge should have looked like – and asked Paramount to re-shoot those scenes with the intended windows replacing Hal’s. The Studio cheeped-out and would not shoot that single rear angle, so Doug had a miniature built (complete with a tiny copy of a Starlog Magazine) to provide the final screened view of Spock’s shuttle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love it.

      I would love to know which issue of Starlog you guys used. I have ID’ed a couple of the paintings used in that miniature. Low on the wall below the window, the one on the left (as looking out the windows) is called “Apollo 8 Coming Home” by Robert McCall (who of course did some concepting work on TMP as well as being a legendary space art painter). The one is in the collection of the National Air & Space Museum in D.C.

      The other one, on the right, is also by McCall, and is titled “Discovering Ou Universe” and I believe in the private collection of a bank down in Texas if I recall correctly. I would have to dig through my files to dig up the name of the owner/bank. Edit: My mind is going. It is the Robert McCall’s 1971 oil on canvas painting titled “First Men on the Moon” in the collection of Broadway National Bank, San Antonio, Texas.

      There are three other miniature images that dress the lounge in that shot (along the front face of the table below the window).

      I believe a couple are matte-painting scenes for some TOS episodes. The evening/dusk matte painting of Starbase 11 being the one on the right.


    • No big deal, just Andy Probert leaving a comment on the same blog entry I commented on. I’m not freaking out at all 🙂 (freaking out because this is SO COOL). So many brains on this site with amazing knowledge about the refit and Trek in general. I could sit at a table and talk all day and night (and day and night and day and night) about Trek, the refit, the list goes on. Thanks to you both for sharing your knowledge and insight


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