In 1992, the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum opened
a special exhibit showcasing 25 years of Star Trek. As part of that
exhibit, the 11-foot filming model of the Enterprise was restored
by Ed Miarecki of
Modeling Associates. Ed re-worked and re-painted the model to get it
to look as it did in the 1960s when the show's effects shots were filmed.
Since I was also conducting a restoration of sorts on my own Enterprise,
I decided to update and improve the model by researching the newly restored
original. In late 1992, I returned to Washington DC and a lot more photos
Photo from Air & Space Magazine
Visible in these photos are the controversial "Deflector Grid" lines on
the saucer and lower hull. These grid lines became a major source of discussion
among Trekkies after the 1992 restoration.
On one side are those who claim that the
had any such markings and that the surface of the big model was mostly
featureless. Others claim that these lines actually were on the model and
were never seen because they were washed out by the heavy stage lighting.
Many in the middle say that the gridwork was there, that it was just overdone
on the restoration or that AMT's kit was correct all along and that the
big model indeed had grid lines but only on the top of the saucer.
The question remains whether these lines were there while the big
model was being filmed or if they had been added by a later handler of
after the show ended production.
Finally, in 2011, long after I completed the Ertl kit I found a very cool
website called Movie Sets & Vehicles which, unfortunately
either moved or no longer exists. The site included pictures of
the big model taken during the show's production. Some of the images were
from the black and white publicity stills mentioned in the second chapter
of this tutorial. These images appeared in the books THE MAKING Of STAR
TREK and FAMOUS SPACESHIPS OF FACT AND FANTASY and prints were occasionally
sold and traded at Star Trek conventions in the 1970s and '80s. One of
them was taken from the front and below the model. A cropped version of
the image appears on the right. Now we know. Let's move on.
The depiction of the grid lines on the big model led to some lively discussions
on internet forums and some unfair bashing of Ed Miarecki's restoration
As for any real evidence, it was tough to come by in 1992. Until the internet
became what it is today, resources were not as readily available. Because
of television image quality of the day, even good prints of Star Trek
viewed on what we now refer to as "Standard Definition TV" fail to show
any obvious lines on the surface of the Enterprise.
Mr. Miarecki documented his work with many photos, one of which shows a
finely drawn gridwork over the entire top surface of the saucer. For preservation
purposes, this part of the model had never been painted or altered by the
Smithsonian since they had acquired the model. There's also an image showing
a small portion of the saucer's bottom where some paint appears to have
worn away revealing a finely drawn gridwork, similar to the markings on
the saucer's top but on an area less than a foot across and nowhere else.
These and other photos taken during 1992 restoration can be seen on this
page on the "Modelers Miniatures and Magic" website.
In September 2014, the 11 foot filming model was removed from the Museum
Gift Shop for yet another restoration to be completed in time for Star
Trek's 50th anniversary and the model's 2016 inclusion in the museum's
Milestones of Flight Hall. The restoration complete, the
is now displayed alongside other such historical artifacts as Charles Lindbergh's
of St. Louis, the X-15 rocket plane and the Apollo 11 Command
Articles and photos can be found on the museum's
Blog and at CultTVMan.com.
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