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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It has always been a special interest of mine to try and ascertain, as nearly as possible at this late date, what Matt Jefferies' own concept of the Enterprise was. What had he intended the ship to be, before all of the inevitable compromises of the daily trench war of television production took their toll? Folks often glibly dismiss the idea that any vehicle in an SF show or movie could be well thought out or have a consistent design philosophy behind it. Well, after decades of studying his work, I am more firmly convinced than ever that Jefferies is an exception to this "rule." He took an uncommonly disciplined, real world approach to designing this other-worldly craft. Roddenberry's insistence that the ship must be believable was not lost on him.

Over the years I've heard many complaints lodged against designs seen on the show. The hangar deck doesn't fit; there's not enough headroom in the primary hull, the shuttlecraft is bigger on the inside than on the outside, etc. Yet in each of these instances (and more) I've found that once you peel away the production mandates and compromises to reveal what Jefferies actually designed, these objections evaporate into thin air.

Because of my interest in MJ's design methods and intentions, I'm always on the lookout for hitherto unpublished or neglected information. When I find something new that causes another piece of the puzzle to fall into place I like to share what I've learned with the dozen or so people on earth who care about such trifles.

Due to a recent opportunity to study the Enterprise construction blueprints I can now offer some new primary source data on the original Enterprise design. Specifically, a look at Jefferies' original specifications for the bridge dome on the First Pilot Enterprise! I should say that there is a small amount of interpretation involved with this drawing. I had to rely on a knowlege of drafting to project out a couple of details that, while not explicitly noted on the BP, must be added when reconciling the two views.

The drawing in the following link summarizes what I've learned. I have included three separate scales; one showing the small "approval model" specs, one showing how those specs would have been scaled up for the large model, and finally, what this means for the full size ship.

Once I had completed the drawing, I decided to size the McMaster bridge blueprints to the same scale and see how they stacked up against it. What I found set me back on my heels!

Now keep in mind that we're looking at what Jefferies planned for the ship, not exactly what was built -- although I must say that I've come away from my overall survey of the plans with an even deeper respect for the talents of Richard Datin and his crew than I had before. Along those same lines, I offer the McMaster drawing as a comparison because it is a pretty good match for the official studio drawings of the set (aside from the minor 1/2 degree added to all but one of the wedges to regularize the shape). There has been some debate recently that McMaster may not represent the true shape of the alcove as built. But we are not concerned here with that, but with how well Jefferies' intended designs for the interior and exterior compare with each other.

I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about that...

Click here for the blueprint.

M.
 

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Fascinating!

So, as originally built (scaled to represent the 947' length) the bridge fits perfectly! :thumbsup:
 

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Interesting that the top of the lift tube was actually recessed into the dome at its forward edge. The shape of the upper dome with the recessed "lip" is fascinating, too.

MGagen: can you share the story about your opportunity to study the prints? And please any other new information you obtained from said study!

Do you suppose the 3-footer dome was originally built like this and that the changed appearance we've seen on it was one of the early Roddenberry-requested changes?
 

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Starseeker:

Your comparison looks good but I'd check the plan of the dome, it does not appear to be symmetrical. The aft half appears to be stretched (lengthened). The forward half looks more like the correct profile.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
uss_columbia said:
Interesting that the top of the lift tube was actually recessed into the dome at its forward edge. The shape of the upper dome with the recessed "lip" is fascinating, too.
The recessed lift tube was one of the things I had to infer based on how the two views project out. The top view shows an uncompromised circle, but since part of the front edge of the tube is within the dome area at this point, it likely means he intended to have the material above the tube removed. Otherwise, the outline of the top of the tube would have had a flattened front edge in top view. The recessed lip around the dome is depicted almost like a cross section view on the drawing. That is, the front and back corners taper up and the flat surface the sensor dome sits on is a little lower between these peaks. It is subtle, but it is there. I took this to be a concave detail an have rendered it as such.

Do you suppose the 3-footer dome was originally built like this and that the changed appearance we've seen on it was one of the early Roddenberry-requested changes?
I can't say. I know the sensor dome on the pilot version of the "11 footer" was not like what is shown here. It was a section of a larger diameter sphere that more nearly blended in with the curve of the bridge dome itself. The original drawing looks more (in style at least) like the later "smaller but bulgier" dome they put on the production version.

I'll have more to say about some other interesting details of the construction drawing at a later date. Stay tuned...

M.
 

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Here's a quick best-fit comparison of this dome vs. the pilot dome on the 11-footer. The most significant differences are the slightly flatter (less "bulgy") contours in the higher part of the dome (near the little rectangle at the upper front, for example), the larger upper dome, and the lift tube placed further from centerline and being a bit smaller diameter.

(larger version here, original image here)

Another comparison:



I think the as-built dome was a little closer to a sperical section (cut a little above the center and flattened at the top around the "sensor dome") than was the as-blueprinted dome. The model's dome is pretty close to the blueprint, though. (Except for the "sensor dome" portion, which differs substantially from the blueprint, as MGagen has pointed out.)

Something interesting I noticed from the second photo: though it's from WNMHGB, it's actually the very same footage from The Cage as the first comparison photo, with the pink effect added. (I noticed because the yaw was the same in both photos and the little details on the dome are the same. (Other pictures of the second pilot dome have a large lighted rectangle at the front of the dome; some such pictures can be seen at cloudster.)
 

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Sorry, but I refuse to accept the concept that a man as well versed in aeronautical engineering and other techincal aspects of ships and ship building as Matt Jefferies would ever, in his wildest dreams, design a bridge that faced thirty-six degrees to port.
 

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old theory

Just to throw an idea out there, it has been my rationalization that the 36 degree to port facing bridge had to do with the fact that the Enterprise almost always orbited planets counterclockwise putting the planet on the portside of the ship so the angle of the bridge helped to keep the planet horizon at the proper spot. Not bad for an 11 year old making a theory to help explain something. worked for me for 32 years.

And if that dont work for ya, you can always swap the comm station and the turbolift then every thing lines up facing forward. Simple!

Richard
 

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Captain April said:
Sorry, but I refuse to accept the concept that a man as well versed in aeronautical engineering and other techincal aspects of ships and ship building as Matt Jefferies would ever, in his wildest dreams, design a bridge that faced thirty-six degrees to port.
... and that would be regardless of what Gene Roddenberry might have told him to do for dramatic effect, right...?
 

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Captain April said:
Sorry, but I refuse to accept the concept that a man as well versed in aeronautical engineering and other techincal aspects of ships and ship building as Matt Jefferies would ever, in his wildest dreams, design a bridge that faced thirty-six degrees to port.
I would say your opinion on said matter has been WELL documented.

We don't really need to go there again do we? You don't want Griff to bring the hammer down.

Moving right along...

Cool info MG.
 

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Griffworks said:
... and that would be regardless of what Gene Roddenberry might have told him to do for dramatic effect, right...?
Whoever's call it was to put the turbolift where it was, I seriously doubt they thought it out with regard to the model.
 

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Damn..!

Another reason to kick myself for not saying "Hi" when I saw you in the Dealers Room at WF the other week...

Nice bit of investigative work.
 

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And I never even had a clue that Mgagen was in attendance, not knowing what he looks like....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm there every year, with JHeilman and a couple of other friends from our neck of the woods.

Too bad. I'd have liked to meet some of you guys. I was even wearing an extra HobbyTalk nametag with MGagen on it, too.

Of course, I'm so focussed on all of the cool stuff and exhibits that I never notice anyone else's name tags either...
 

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Captain April said:
Whoever's call it was to put the turbolift where it was, I seriously doubt they thought it out with regard to the model.
Well who's call was it, or did anything really change at all? Is there any "proof" anywhere that someone overrode either MJ's original bridge set design or Enterprise model plans he thought out? As designer of both MJ would be ultimately aware of how they fit with each other. So therefore I have two important questions:

1. The offset elevator bridge floorplan was designed by MJ "that way" right? (Y/N)

2. The model bridge elevator nub in the centerline of the ship model was designed by MJ "that way" too right? (Y/N)

I just would like clarification on these two points about without theories if it makes sense to us or not. The only answers that matter above are a YES or NO.

However we tend to rationalize how something should be designed or not a certain way, isn't relevent because it would only be a personal biased opinion. The "why" and "why not" are always in conflict making the truth escape us. I think if we could just answer with a yes or a no the two questions above, it would help make the truth obvious!
 

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Answers: yes and yes. At least, they were his direct responsibilities, and there's no evidence to suggest that he delegated any of this.
What we can't be so sure of is the nature and strength of the outside influences.

Anyway, I must agree with JHeilman (who beat me to saying the same thing): we're all well aware that CRA and others refuse to accept an offset bridge and will continue to do so. I really don't think there's any point beating this dead horse. (And I'm a little surprised anyone took CRA's bait.)
 

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I don't think I've been following this at all but...

...wasn't the bridge laid out that way for the camera angle? You can get both Helmsman, Navigator and Captain in one shot, not to mention the comm and engineering consoles...

Or am I missing something?
 
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