These Drawings Will Grab You

The other day, several people I have conversed with about the workbee, alerted me to some production drawings of an unused workbee grabber sled design. There was a grabber sled that was built and used for the workbee in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, however this design was an alternative one that did not appear in the film.

Workbee with grabber/work sled attachment as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Image courtesy: Douglas Trumbull)

Whether this design was ever actually built, or it simply died in the design phase is unknown. Though it is worth noting that no photos of any miniature of this particular variant of grabber sled has come to light.

The first two drawings are plan and side elevation drawings for the grabber sled miniature:

Workbee grappler-arm/work sled top plan view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.
Workbee grappler-arm/work sled top plan view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.
Workbee grappler-arm/work sled side elevation view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.
Workbee grappler-arm/work sled side elevation view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.

The third one is a perspective sketch of the same design:

Workbee grappler-arm/work sled perceptive sketch, by Leslie Ekker.

All three of these drawings were done at some point in 1979 by Leslie Ekker presumably some time after February of that year, since it does not have the Robert Abel & Associates, nor Astra Image Corporation markings on them. Abel was infamously fired from the production in early February of 1979. These design drawings match some sketch of the same sled design that Andrew Probert produced as well:

Workbee grappler-arm/work sled perceptive sketches, by Andrew Probert.
Workbee grappler-arm/work sled perceptive sketches, by Andrew Probert.

In the Ekker side elevation drawing there is a notation which says “From this point foreward (sic), must be detachable, for pusher plates.”…

Detail notation on the Workbee grappler-arm/work sled side elevation view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.
Detail notation on the Workbee grappler-arm/work sled side elevation view production drawing, by Leslie Ekker.

This may be referencing a component that is present in a different workbee grabber/work sled design which also seems to have made at least to the production blueprint stage. Below are the aforementioned pusher/welding tool sled package design. The first are some perspective sketches by Probert:

Workbee grappler-arm/welder work sled perceptive sketches, by Andrew Probert.
Workbee grappler-arm/welder work sled perceptive sketches, by Andrew Probert.

The second is a set of top-plan, and side-elevation drawings of the pusher/welding tool attachments:

Workbee pusher/welder work sled attachments production drawing by Leslie Ekker.
Workbee pusher/welder work sled attachments production drawing by Leslie Ekker.

Like the previous design, it is unknown how far down the road into production these designs went, or even if these “pusher plates” are indeed the ones reference in the previous design drawings, but I have not yet seen other “pusher plate” concept drawings made during the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

I will be modeling the work sled that was actually built and used in the film:

Sheet 13 of the official Star Trek: The Motion Picture blueprints, by David Kimble.
Sheet 13 of the official Star Trek: The Motion Picture blueprints, by David Kimble.

…as well as the cargo train attachment and cargo pods:

  • Filming miniature of the “workbee” and cargo train used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (image courtesy: Douglas Trumbull)
  • Workbee Cargo Train Model. A miniature cargo module train and carrier sled frame, designed to be attached to the Work Bee model. 84in. long, featured in the spacedock sequence of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Image courtesy: Christie's)
  • Workbee filming model.

In the same post on Facebook, there was also another workbee production sketch of the workbee miniature and its cargo train and cargo pod attachments:

Workbee cargo train miniature perceptive sketch, by Leslie Ekker.

I hope to eventually circle back and model both of these work sled variants, as well as the cargo pod/train attachments from the film.

3 thoughts on “These Drawings Will Grab You

    • Thank you for the praise and kind words. I often think that I am posting into a void, so hearing positive feedback from others who like what I do and post means a lot to me.

      Like

      • Well, it’s much earned. You’ve given me a great deal of material to admire and aspire to. In fact, whenever I hit a creative low, which seems to be more often than ever, this is one of my go to places for inspiration. I’m truly thankful for your willingness to share your work.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s