Originally Posted by MGagen
Thanks so much for the new info. Input from folks like you who've had hands on access is priceless!
Any chance you could give us a similar run down on the various stages your plans for the TOS-E went through?
Several people have expressed an interest in the history of my TOS Enterprise plans, so here's the story:
It was a dark and stormy night.... Wait - wrong story. To continue.....
I became acquainted with Ed Miarecki through a mutual friend, and we conversed occasionally via phone and email. When I learned that NASM was going to ship the 11-foot TOS Enterprise model to Ed's shop for a restoration, I decided it was time for a road trip. The folks at NASM dragged their heels in shipping the model, although the restoration deadline remained the same. Eventually, in December 1991, the model arrived at Ed's shop, so I set off to Massachusetts with a friend from work, Richard Shafer.
After arriving at Ed's house, he took us to his shop - and there sat the Enterprise, supported on a lead pipe stand . In addition, the Klingon cruiser and Tholian/Aurora models were there, too. After lots of oo's and ah's, we spent 3 days at Ed's shop - taking photos and making measurements, tracings & rubbings. Ed said not to knock ourselves out because one of his friends would measure the model later, and he'd share the info with me. At the time, I didn't know Ed all that well and I didn't want to abuse his hospitality, so I restrained my urge to geek out and measure every inch of the ship; however, in retrospect, I could kick myself that I didn't spend all 3 days & nights measuring all 3 models.
Ed's restoration team hadn't arrived yet, so he decided to save time by disassembling the Enterprise before they got there. Richard & I held the saucer while Ed unscrewed the bolts that held it to the connecting dorsal, then we performed a saucer separation maneuver. Too cool! After the nacelles were removed, I was able to wrap heavy mylar around the aft 2/3 of the secondary hull and trace the location of all features and markings. After 3 days, I figured that Ed had had enough of us, so Richard & I said our good-byes and headed home.
In the spring of 1996, I got a call from another friend, famed model maker Greg Jein. Out of the blue, Greg asked who had a good set of Enterprise plans, and I naively replied, "Nobody - but I could draw some." Greg said that the folks at Deep Space Nine were considering a time travel episode that would involve the original Enterprise. Since the original studio model was not available for filming, Greg was thinking about building a replica, so I suggested a half-scale model. A 5.5 ft model was somewhat larger than normal, but that scale would make construction easier.
I dragged out my references from 1991 and sat down at the drafting table to start on some plans. Then I realized that I didn't have near enough data to draw a set of accurate blueprints. I got on the phone with Ed Miarecki, and a short time later, I was on a plane to Massachusetts. Ed was kind enough to share his data with me, then I flew back home and resumed drawing. I still didn't have as much data as I needed, so I had to use my reference photos, plus those supplied by William McCulllars, to fill in the gaps.
I sat at the drafting table all summer, then I finally shipped the plans to Greg. That fall, I flew out to LA with another friend from work, Phil Lundgren. We visited Greg Jein's shop, where he was trying to finish the model of the Klingon cruiser. At Paramount, we were searching for the Star Trek offices and were almost run down by Kate Mulgrew, who was in a big hurry to get somewhere fast. We met Mike & Denise Okuda, Herman Zimmerman and Doug Drexler, then Mike gave us a personal tour of the Star Trek sets (which appear much larger onscreen). We also visited Image G, where we met Gary Hutzel and got to watch Greg's Enterprise model being filmed. As it turned out, the T&T plans turned out to be fairly accurate, and the model looked great onscreen.
In early 1999, I got a call from Mike Okuda at Paramount. Mike explained that he was writing a book on all the starships named Enterprise, and asked if I'd be interested in blueprinting all the Enterprises (including the Pilot versions of the original ship, but not the Next Gen ship, for which they already had plans). I said, "Sure," and also recommended that Petri Blomqvist, a 3D artist and Star Trek fan in Finland, could produce some 3D renderings of the TOS ship.
After I assembled my references, I once again realized that I didn't have as much data as I'd like for the TOS ship. Mike started making some inquiries at NASM to see if I could get access to the 11-foot model, which was then in storage at the Garber Facility in Suitland, MD. We got permission to spend 3 days documenting the model, and by mid-April, I was on the road to DC with two assistants, Richard Shafer and Phil Lundgren.
At the Garber Facility, we were greeted by Frank H. Winter, curator of the Rocketry & Space History Division of the Smithsonian. After the Enterprise was uncrated, we spent the next 3 days furiously measuring the model in the shadow of the B-29 Enola Gay. In order to fill the gaps in my data, I prioritized the job to ensure that we could obtain the most critical missing measurements. We could have used another day or two at Garber, but I got most of the measurements I needed.
Back home, I sat down at the computer, instead of the drafting table, and got a crash course in drawing with AutoCAD. Recreating the Pilot versions required additional reference photos and other info, which William McCullars supplied in abundance. The market for Star Trek books was drying up, and Mike's book was canceled shortly after I finished the blueprints. Later on, though, Pocket Books recycled some of the plans as centerfolds of their Star Trek calendars.
Starting in 2001, the plans underwent further refinements when I provided references to Jim Key at Custom Replicas. Jim used the plans to build a fully-lighted, half-scale model of the Enterprise, which he documented in an article in Modelerís Resource magazine.
In the spring of 2002, I was asked to provide blueprints of the Enterprise to help create a 1/1000 model of the ship (all 3 versions) for Polar Lights. This required a thorough reexamination and revision of my plans. Fortunately, by this time, I'd been given limited access to scans of hi-res photos of the 11-footer taken in the 60s. They revealed details on the 11-footer that had been altered or eliminated from the model before it was originally put on display. William McCullars continued supplying reference photos from his bottomless hard drive, and I received assistance from others, including Richard Datin, who had built the original 3-footer and had supervised construction of the 11-footer.
Following the Polar Lights revisions to my plans, I continued my collaboration with Petri Blomqvist. Previously, I had supplied Petri with the hard data I had gathered, and he used this data to refine his Lightwave 3D models of the various versions of the Enterprise. In turn, Petri used his Lightwave wireframes of the Enterprise to help me refine my plans and detect drafting errors. How, you may ask? After duplicating the camera angle and focal length of any reference photo in Lightwave, Petri could superimpose his wireframe model over the ship in the ref photo. Any discrepancies between the two would require an examination to resolve the problem. Sounds easy, but it requires a lot of hard work and patience.
Petri's wireframes were also useful in other ways, such as deriving accurate ortho views of objects from oblique views - e.g., the black arcs on the upper saucer of the 2nd Pilot version of the ship. They can also help arrive at a symmetrical "best fit" for irregular features, like the out-of-round engraved grid lines on the underside of the saucer. In addition, the wireframes helped me establish the correct spatial orientation of the saucer, connecting dorsal, nacelles, and secondary hull, relative to one another. This would have been impossible to do without building a jig around the 11-footer, which was something I never had the chance to do.
Today, Petri and I have worked together so much that his 3D Lightwave plans and my 2D AutoCAD plans are essentially identical. Our plans have been used various projects, and most recently, the plans were used by Master Replicas to create their 1/350 model of the Enterprise.