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ATPM 7.01
January 2001

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Reader Comments (18)

anonymous · May 25, 2003 - 21:21 EST #1
I can't believe this is the first comment. What an awesome picture! Remember when the series aired and what was going on in our country at that time? Star Trek offered a wonderful vision for our future.
John Beck · January 10, 2005 - 08:43 EST #2
Beautiful filming miniature. Horrific paint job...this is from the Star Trek universe, not the Star Wars universe...the model was orignially very clean looking, for history's sake, they should have left it alone.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 10, 2005 - 09:49 EST #3
John - you may be right that it's a shame they detailed/pained the model to look "prettier." Obviously, those old television models looked pretty crappy when viewed up close. They were never designed to be viewed up close. So when the Smithsonian built a glass presentation case down on the floor and moved the model from it's ceiling-hanging location to the case, they must've thought it looked too ugly. One one hand, presenting the model as it originally was may have been a good thing. On the other hand, your mind has certain expectations when you come to the Smithsonian to see things, and the disappointment of a dull-looking model may just not have been the best idea. I don't know, there's pros and cons on both sides. But if you look around, similar "restoration" and improvement has been done on virtually all of the artifacts in the Air and Space Museum.

If anyone's interested, here are some photos taken in the museum prior to its repaint job and relocation.
Tom Tristen · February 20, 2005 - 22:52 EST #4
Everytime the Smithsonian does a restoration on the Enterprise model, they claim this will be an accurate restoration. Frankly, this is pathetic, the colors are not only incorrect, the paint job is amateurish. Why don't they just hire a modelmaker from Hollywood for an authentic restoration. Again, pitiful!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 20, 2005 - 23:18 EST #5
Tom - you're probably right, though I'll stick with what I said above. To be fair, I think my digital camera overemphasized the greenish look to the paint job. It wasn't that green, and my rear view of the model supports this.

Besides, improvements for viewers' expectations are done more often than you think. I originally thought they should've left the Enterprise D bridge alone for the Generations movie, but then I realized the original bridge was never built for film resolution, but for television. As I've watched the movie again from time to time, my thoughts turned more to, "so that's what it was supposed to look like."
Michelle Rodriguez · May 18, 2005 - 18:46 EST #6
Hey, I love Star Wars and Star Trek. Sisco, Archer, and Picard are all wimps. Did you see the final episode of Star Trek? I didn't think that Tucker should have died. Archer should have instead. What ever. I get exitec about topics that I like.
James W Baker · December 10, 2005 - 23:11 EST #7
I too hate the "remuddling" of my favorite starship. He was also told not to touch the top of the saucer because it had remained untouched thru the other restorations. But if you look up some pictures of the top now, you'll see he did some of his stupid air brushing there too. Also, he claims what he did IS the original. A lie. The previously untouched top would have been proof of it's original apearance. One more thing. Could he have possibly duplicated the model and substituted his copy? There is a guy who restored Robbie the robot from Forbidden Planet. When he had it he made casts of the original and made himself an EXACT copy. Kind of makes you wonder, don't it?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 10, 2005 - 23:43 EST #8
James - I suppose anything is possible, but I prefer to think that the Air and Space Museum researches authenticity pretty heavily before showcasing something.
jayson mirchin · April 4, 2006 - 09:01 EST #9
life just isnt the same without trek -post trek world :(
Jedi Master · December 20, 2006 - 17:44 EST #10
Quite frankly, the paint job is a rather accurate representation of what the ship was always supposed to look like. Quit your whining and enjoy it.
anonymous · March 26, 2007 - 05:22 EST #11
Realism pwns, and if a new old-style Trek series came out, that is exactly how I'd expect the ships to look.


*Thumbs up*
Bruce · May 16, 2007 - 12:46 EST #12
Star Trek. The one that gave George Lucas his Star Wars. Nice fix on the center, but it could have included a shot of the topside of the Enterprise.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 16, 2007 - 13:35 EST #13
Bruce - I wanted to shoot the top side. Unfortunately, the display is such that shooting the top is extremely difficult without attracting a lot of attention to yourself.
Louis Armour · December 20, 2007 - 17:35 EST #14
Just found this site and read the comments- most interesting. This summer (2007) I attended the World Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. There in the dealers room, sitting a booth was one of the men who restored the Enterprise for the Smithsonian. (I do not remember his name-sorry.) I had noticed a photo of the Enterprise restoration underway and asked him about it. He produced many more in-progress shots and his answers to my many questions were fascinating. He was really tired of hearing from people with no idea of what they were talking of telling him the restoration job had been a disaster. First off he told me that the original repairs were a total botch when the Smithsonian first attempted to restore the Enterprise. Inaccurate replacement of front sensor dish, wrong replacement of the nacelle caps, etc. The cables had been covered on the unseen side with duct tape! For the restoration of which he was a part of, everything possible was done to do an accurate job making her appear as she did in the last episode. The special effects company doing the repairs had built a number of the models for the later tv series- as such they were obsessive about doing a good job. They were given only 6 weeks and not enough money to do it properly- the Smithsonian really doesn't consider this item a prime display. His boss actually went into the red, paying for much of the repairs himself in an attempt to do it right. As paint was sanded down all layers of primer (and there were several colors) were identified and recorded. Original colors were identified and used in the restoration. The heavy weathering WAS originally there and had faded or been painted over in previous restoration. Studio lights faded out most of the weathering making it invisible on tv. In the Making of Star Trek paperback you can see much of this weathering on the original studio model. (Anyone who has looked at a few actual props can tell you that the paint is alot heavier-looking in real life than on the screen) About the only thing not restored exactly were the insides of the nacelle fronts. They now have leds instead of Christmas bulbs- but they look exactly the same in operation. He said despite many of the fans comments to the otherwise- nothing extra was added. He also commented that the Smithsonian seemed puzzled as to the length they had gone to to restore the Enterprise- "They don't see it at all as the fans do," he told me. As a model fanatic myself I was polite, but direct in asking for answers to many of the comments I've read about the lousy job they did. I'm now convinced it was in very capable hands and a very good job was indeed done.
Duane VanderPol · May 13, 2008 - 23:17 EST #15
Just wanted to add to Louis comments as I've now seen several web forums where people seem to think the E on display at the Smithsonian is incorrectly restored. Now that is PARTIALLY true as there was a restoration done in 1974 that was NOT done properly. The efforts made at that time were (frankly) overly crude, poorly researched, and improperly documented. No proper, detailed photos were taken of the model before that work began which is especially shocking for ANYTHING like "restoration" work to be performed for a museum. But, there have been, as I understand, two additional restorations performed since that reversed much of the "damage" done in the first. The second restoration was in 1991 and was a major effort and much more competently done, but I believe a third was done in 1994 (?). I've seen photos of "joke" additions of small lettered signs made during the '91 restoration that were removed later. The color of the ship overall, complete with notable green tinge and the heavy weathering WERE original features that were simply washed out by the lighting (and I've no doubt some detail was also not picked up by the film and cameras of the time). What was NOT an original feature apparantly were the gridlines on the saucer section as the original modelmaker has stated that he did not put any there. I'm not clear when they were added (apparantly were originally added in pencil by persons unknown) but it was after the series was over. Only one side of the model is fully detailed - the right side. This is the ONLY side that was ever filmed. The opposite side had significant openings for access to the interior and for the wiring to pass through. In the later restorations these were closed and at first the wiring secured to the non-filming side with tape (not duct tape, but something "museum-quality" that looked like duct tape) just to keep it out of easy view. As currently seen the wiring is now out of sight entirely and the holes plugged, but the non-filming side is still not fully detailed in keeping with its actual state at the end of the series. Finally, it had been hung by heavy wire cables apparantly attached to the model with eyebolts. Those have now been removed and it is displayed much as it was originally filmed - on a stand. I'm currently working with some CAD drawings of the E and have been scouring the web for detailed, ACCURATE information and photos. It takes a bit of reading and researching to find out this stuff, but its current condition IS accurate, and as proper as can reasonably be expected, all other things considered.
DJackson · August 15, 2008 - 17:16 EST #16
I think people who do not understand the process of building studio models and filming them are the type of people that tend to make remarks like "That is so ugly why couldn't they get it right, it doesn't look like that in the TV shows" - these are the "armchair quarterbacks" that don't understand that the filming of said model washed out most if not nearly all the details that are in the model. I'm building the Polar Lights Enterprise Refit: STTMP, and I've noticed that the colors that I need to lay down on the model - you don't really seem them all too well in the movie - the Strong Back on the engineering hull has quite a bit of green on it (surprise) - They had to repaint the E-refit several times due to the fact that the beautiful pearlescent colors played havoc with the camera. The Enterprise Refit (orginal studio model paint) was perhaps the finest craftsmanship ever put into a Star Trek ship. I've seen the Smithsonian's display of the Enterprise hanging up on the ceiling - I believe it to be accurate - the Museum prides themselves in historical accuracy.
Louis Armour · August 18, 2008 - 10:01 EST #17
One more thing- as to the Smithsonian taking pride in accuracy. I'll say that's up to the object being restored. The restorer I spoke to in Las Vegas assured me that the Smithsonian really considers "Trekers" as geeks who are a fanatical minority and was not too concerned with accuracy concerning the restoration.
At the wrap party when the Enterprise was revealed, some of the Smithsonian officials were none to subtle in their comments that they didn't understand the fuss at all over this ridiculous tv show and it's following.
Collector Bob Burns has written that after repeatedly asking him to loan the sole surviving King Kong armature for a traveling exhibit, the Smithsonian put a forgery on display as the real item! Bob managed to make them give a half-hearted retraction only after he came forward with witnesses on his behalf as to owning the only original in existence.
As to the green color- look at the original issue of the AMT Enterprise model- it's the same pale green! AMT used the filming minature to pick the plastic color for the kit. Studio lights faded the colors out for the camera. A model builder must decide for themselves if they want a true representation of the filming miniature or the way it appeared to them on the screen.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · June 7, 2011 - 22:03 EST #18
Wow, can't believe I never bothered sharing a link here. Back in 2008, Dave Brasgalla of Iconfactory requested permission to use this photo for an art project. Here's the result: - it's pretty amazing. There's also a version with just the background, suitable for a second monitor:

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