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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.