Last week I received another batch of production drawings for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP) that I won at auction. These were various “blueprint” illustrations and design sketches made by Apogee, one of the special effects companies that worked on the film. Among other things they were responsible for building and filming the miniature of V’ger. This was from the same seller I had come across on eBay earlier this month, and luckily my bid won again.
In total there were eleven (11) pieces in the new lot. Unlike the previous tranche which I posted about, these ones are all original drawings on either white paper or grid tracing paper. Five of them were stamped with the Apogee Inc. title block, and the remainder were unsigned drawings or sketches.
Entering the Maw
The first one with a signed title block is a 17″ x 22″ (43.2 cm x 55.875 cm) construction drawing of the V’ger “eye” on grid tracing paper, which was drawn by “J. Shrout” and it was dated 7/20/79. This like the previous drawing from the first tranche of drawings I got at auction with the name “J. Shrout” attached to it leads us to deduce it was drawn by John Shourt who was a production illustrator at Apogee. It was drawn at a stated scale of 2 inches = 1 foot (1:6 scale) to the filming miniature as built.
This appears to be a drawing of the sections between the rounded “wheel” sections at the front of V’ger and together form the basic structure referred to as the “maw” in other drawings and production materials. This is the opening through which the Enterprise is eventually brought inside of V’ger. Below is a concept illustration by Syd Mead’s of the “maw” which shows the section this construction drawing covers, along with a shot for the film itself of that part of V’ger.
The second one with a signed title block is a 19″ x 24″ (48.25 cm x 61 cm) construction drawing of the V’ger “eye” on white paper, which was drawn by a “M. Kline” and it was dated 7/4/79. There were two “M. Kline’s” who worked at Apogee at the time of the TMP production, one is Mark Kline (who is not my brother-in-law Mark Kline) the other is Martin Kline.
I will be posting this on the Apogee Facebook group I am a member of. Hopefully I can try and suss out from the members there if they know which one would have made this drawing. I tend to think it was drawn by that latter of the two since IMDB has his title for the TMP credits as “production illustrator: Apogee, Inc. (as Martin Kline)”.
The drawing was made with a stated scale of 1 inch = 1 foot (1:12 scale) to the filming miniature as built.
This also appears to be another part of the “maw” at the front of V’ger and shows the frame structure used to mount the “wheel” sections which then form an aperture that leads into the inner parts of V’ger. This model frame is itself a wheeled assembly which apparently would facilitate moving the section of the miniature into place and connecting it to the other sections of the model. In the images below there is one at Apogee with pieces of the maw portion of the model. They are the unpainted “wheels” (the orange pieces) on the table, with Grant McCune holding up a standard camera iris style aperture part (which was not used in the film). These “wheels” or discs would rotate in a slightly off-axis pivot point to create the opening which sucks the Enterprise inside via a tractor beam in the film.
Towers of Power
The third drawing with a signed title block is another 17″ x 22″ (43.2 cm x 55.875 cm) construction illustration of an unused V’ger “power cone” on grid tracing paper, which was drawn by “John Shrout” and is dated 9/11/79. This one does not have a stated scale, but given the dimensions shown in the drawing and from the physical size of the grid paper, it appears to be drawn at the scale of 2 inches = 1 foot (1:6 scale) to the filming miniature as built
As mentioned, this seems to be an abandoned design for part of the power vanes, as there is not “cone” shapes on the exterior of the V’ger miniature, and the word “Obsolete” have been written on the drawing itself. This design seems to have been supplanted by the power “dome” design, which is shown in next drawing.
The fourth one with a signed title block is roughly 17″ x 22″ (43.2 cm x 55.875 cm) construction drawing of the V’ger “power vane dome(s)” on two pieces of grid tracing paper taped together and was also drawn by “John Shrout”. It is dated 9/12/79. This one also doesn’t have a stated scale, but like the previous one (given dimensions and the grid paper size) seems to indicated this was drawn at the scale of 2 inches = 1 foot (1:6 scale) to the filming miniature as built.
This design seems to have been what supplanted the previous “power cone” design concept. And there are “domes” in the overall design at the base of each side of the “power tower” vanes in the V’ger mid-section drawings. It is not clear from the film, or any of the behind-the-scenes photos I have come across that actually shows these “power domes” built into the model. There is the opening for them in the miniature when it was under construction, but I am not sure if it ever ended up housing the dome(s) themselves. In the film, it cuts-away from the long fly-over shots, to show Sulu with his “startled” face on at the point where the Enterprise would be flying directly between the “power towers” which might afford images looking down into the opening where these were intended to sit, to see if it did end up making it into the final miniature build.
This critical section, which is missing its close-up during the fly-over sequence in the film, is shown in the fifth and final drawing with a signed title block, which is approximately 14.875″ x 24.75″ (37.75 cm x 62.85 cm) construction drawing of the V’ger “power towers” on white paper. It and was drawn by “J. Johnson” which leads us to conclude it was drawn by Jack Johnson who was a production illustrator who worked at Apogee at the time of the TMP production. It is dated 7/25/79 and does have a stated scale of 1 inch = 1 foot (1:12 scale) to the filming miniature as built.
Mr. Johnson would go on to work as an illustrator on films after TMP such as Ridley Scott’s Legend, Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and many others.
The remaining six (6) drawings do not have the Apogee title block stamped on them, but are clearly original drawings produced around the same time period as the previous tranche of drawings. They are three drawings of the “whiplash bolt launcher” towers and are 17″ x 21.875″ (41.2 cm x 55.55 cm) and 17″ x 22″, both on grid tracing paper, and 14″ x 17″ (35.55 cm x 43.2 cm) on white paper. The 14″ x 17″ drawing states that it is drawn “at full size” though unfortunately there is no stated scale, and was not done on the gridded tracing paper. I have included a reference ruler in all these shots though, so if some modeler or crafting/maker is interested, they can use that for size reference.
Another interesting note in both the 14″ x 17″ and the 17″ x 21.875″ drawings are they have notation in how these were meant to be fabricated. With each strata of the tower being made of styrene laminate, sandwiched between layers of “foam” which I believe to mean expanded polystyrene foam which would then be contoured via sandblasting. This is how some natural mesa and cave formations in the American southwest, like the iconic Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons on Navajo land east of Lechee, Arizona, are formed. Reading that notation, it becomes fairly obvious (and clever) as to how they were fabricated.
A fourth drawing without title block is of a plan view (i.e. a top down view) of these same “whiplash bolt launcher” tower(s).
Sketching the Probe
The remaining two are sketches of the overall configuration of V’ger which are done on plain white paper. They are both iterations of the same design sketch, with one having shading drawn in with a light grey color marker indicating which parts are solid/painted and which parts of the miniature would be back-lit, or lit from below.
I am not sure who drew these unsigned sketches, but the first one (sans shading) did appear on page 7 in the now defunct Eaglemoss Collection’s Hero Collector Special Edition V’ger book which came with their V’ger collectable miniature.
Now that I have these drawings up on the blog, I hope to get back to working on the 3D modeling of the Enterprise Recereation Deck 3D model and derived blueprint drawings, then onto adapting that model into a forced perspective one that will fit within the Enterprise hull, and thereby facilitate 3D printing it to make custom detailing parts for the 1:350 scale Enterprise-refit model, also known as my eternal project.
7 thoughts on “V’ger Seeks the Information”
My very dear Mr.
lestatdelc, thank you very much for sharing this information, as I mentioned in the previous note “it is a treasure” especially for me that I am far from all information and because of the language I do not find out what is new, it is a pity that V’ger’s book It is no longer for sale. . . Thank you very much and a hug from Montevideo, jAVIER
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Thanks Javier. I am happy to hear that these posts are well received by some.
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Excellent update and congrats on the drawings. There’s so much about this film that is still a mystery to me. Thank you for taking the time to flesh these out and to share them with the wider world. IMO, it’s a shame that we didn’t get to see the V’ger ship/body in its entirety during the film. I suppose it would’ve diminished the ominous threat it imposed and amazing scale of each ship (V’ger next to Enterprise).
I’m amazed that so much work was put into these models and then we barely saw any of it. Personally, the scale of V’ger next to Enterprise is what made the visuals so impressive. First we see a tiny little travel pod flying over the massive Enterprise, later we see a tiny Enterprise flying over a gigantic V’ger, great stuff. It truly sold the scale of this world. IMO, ST: TMP is a widely under appreciated film, I truly wish we could gotten 8 television seasons of TMP crew and this Enterprise and version of Trek, pajama uniforms and all.
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Thanks. While it does come out of my pocket to try and get a hold of these materials, I do so with every intention with sharing all that I can with the Trekker and film fan community. The thought that so much material is gone from public access, and not being able to be viewed or used by those who would appreciate and have use of it is a real “crime” in my view.
Part of me wishes I could convey to people who own and/or are selling these types of items to share them with the public, and/or wish me luck when I seek to purchase them, because Ido share them with he community of fellow nerds.
I just hope it is indeed of value to others that I do this.
Again , I thousand thanks for posting those drawings. I completely agree that with you that it’s a great shame that so much similar material is gone from public access and unable to be viewed by an audience who understand and would appreciate it. Very thankful that these few great drawings have surfaced and of course , we can hopeful there are further discoveries still to be made. I saw recently that a blueprint for the Vger ( nasa) probe sold recently on eBay – raging that I missed it but adversely happy that some fan bought it.
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M. Kline is Martin or Marty Kline. He was my mentor on my second film. The first film in the illustrators union. I have some other visuals from the film if you’re interested and a few stories of course.
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Thank you for confirming. I was pretty sure it was Martin given his title at Apogee, but wanted to be sure. Anyway, I have one drawn by him, and one drawn by you as well (the drawing of the “power tower” portion of the V’ger miniature).
Obviously it isn’t likely about having specific recall of doing that specific drawing some 43 years later, but if you do have any background, recollections or even (dare I hope) photos from the TMP production ou might share, that would be fantastic.
If nothing else, like I said to John Shourt last month when I posted about about the first tranche of Apogee TMP production drawings I purchased, thank you for the work you did, and everyone else at Apogee has done, bringing iconic and memorable images to the screen over the years.