I have many cherished memories from my childhood - some of them mundane, some of them a bit more offbeat.
I remember going fishing with my father, and riding horses with my mother. I remember the feeling of warmth and safety at my babysitter's house - it was, literally, my home away from home. There we picked fresh fruit from the carefully kept trees in her quiet and shady back yard, and constructed sprawling worlds from my seemingly endless supply of Legos. I remember staying up late to watch funky movies on TV every Friday night, and sneaking around the house after I'd already been banished to bed for the evening. There were, after all, toys that needed to be retrieved, and snacks that were calling my name.
I also remember sitting across from Gene Roddenberry in a chaotic backstage environment after my father had introduced him at a University of Texas function…and meeting Leonard Nimoy in his dressing room after his appearance in a local play. He smiled warmly, and graciously extended the Vulcan salute. He was a man of transcendent…peace…in that moment. A peace I still recall vividly, and to this day wish I could find the same peace for myself. I remember my floppy little mop of a dog named Kirk, and telling a classmate in kindergarten that his toy speedboat looked kinda like a phaser from STAR TREK. We later became best friends.
And I remember Enterprise.
Some of my earliest memories involve NCC-1701 - I loved STAR TREK even before I could understand what it was about. Its colors, sounds, vitality, and sense of purpose reached out of the screen every weekday afternoon at 4pm CST, hypnotizing me. Forging me.
But that ship…signified so very much to me. Strength. Courage. Resolve. Friendship. I would sit for hours on the floor of my grandma's house, pouring over official blueprints of the ship which embodied so much adventure, unity, and sense of wonder. I spent endless stretches of class time sketching the her in the margins of notebooks, when I really should've been listening to my instructors. I was an Enterprise addict, and I was never once ashamed.
In the STAR WARS-era 70s, when word came that STAR TREK would be returning to screens, my first thought wasn't whether Kirk, Spock, and McCoy would be around (I assumed they would be and hoped they would be) - the first question that popped to mind was: what will Enterprise look like now!?
My first glimpse of the Enterprise "refit" came from Starlog…via this Michael Minor painting…
I was stunned. I knew changes would have to be made to the ship so that it would look snazzier on movie screens and whatnot. But I was thinking in terms of adding a little more detail to original model's surface, or something along those lines (I was a kid - I didn't understand as much as I do now). But Matt Jefferies, Richard Taylor, Andrew Probert & Co.…somehow…had taken an already amazing design and made it even cooler? The Enterprise I knew and loved so dearly from television was now a touch more FLASH GORDON, a bit more racecar, was much shinier and lighty-upier, and somehow I loved it even more than I loved the television version! At first the notion seemed inconceivable, but the truths were undeniable. It was now one truly badass ship.
Then came this image…I don't recall where I first came across it, but it firmly cemented my belief that the "movie" Enterprise could become the coolest spaceship I'd ever seen…
…a notion later reinforced by this funky, wonderfully slow-burn tease, which gave me my first look at the new NCC-1701 on the big screen.
And when December 7 1979 finally rolled around, and STAR TREK :THE MOTION PICTURE opened in 70mm at the Americana theater in Austin? Enterprise had never looked so majestic, and hasn't since as far as I'm concerned. Effects gods John Dykstra and Douglas Trumbull presented Enterprise in a manner unparalleled in later films - suggesting a scale, power, and boldness that subsequent presentations of the vessel never quite equaled. But even lesser photography doesn't change the innate magnificence of the "refit" design.
The Enterprise "refit" configuration appeared in every TREK film featuring The Original Series cast. If I remember correctly, each movie brought a touch of tweaking to the models (slight variations in surface detail, a few subtle design manipulations) - but the essence of the "refit" design remained fundamentally intact. Whether or not one is a fan of the TREK films, it's difficult to argue that this ship configuration on the whole - particularly its "refit" iteration - ranks high amongst the greatest Science Fiction space vessels of all time. Yes, ships like FORBIDDEN PLANET's United Planet Curiser C-57D, the Discovery from 2001, the original Battlestar Galactica, and the Millennium Falcon from STAR WARS are hard acts to beat and are equally deserving of accolade. But at the end of the day, I assert that Enterprise has "The X-Factor"…for want of a better term, and is readily identifiable even to folks who have never seen STAR TREK. Which makes it transcendent, I suppose.
And so, it was with profound and heartfelt Geekitude, and no small amount of territorial passion, that I learned of QMX's Enterprise Refit Artisan Replica. In the past, QMX has brought us some amazing Serenity stuff (including this big damn replica replica), a bevy of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA merchandise (like this awesome Viper), and this shamelessly tacky (but rather wonderful) DOCTOR WHO artwork from the Sixth Season/Series' opening episode. It's no surprise they'd take on something as challenging as Enterprise, nor is it surprising that they'd meet that challenge so very, very well.
I've yet to see their Enterprise for myself, but I've seen a number of close-up images of this replica and…from what I can tell…'tis easily the best replica presentation I've ever seen of the finest ship in the galaxy.
The specs below are cribbed from their QMX's website:
Design features include:
•Decorated VIP lounge complete with crew members.
•Botanical garden with foliage and people.
•Illuminated cargo/landing bay, including shuttles and work bees.
•An individually numbered, brass dedication plaque on a mirrored base.
Semi-transparent pearlescent paint is applied by hand in overlapping layers using multiple masks to create an Aztec pattern on the hull.
Custom-built electronics in the QMx Enterprise Refit control a complex lighting system that sports a total of 130 LEDs, including:
•Blue LEDs for warp-engine illumination.
•Warm white LEDs for interiors.
•Blinking formation lights.
•Anti-collision lights that flash in a pulse-strobe pattern.
•An active deflector dish that ramps up to an amber glow and brightens to blue when warp engines are engaged.
•Firing photon torpedoes that flash red and white.
All lighting systems are operated by a four-function remote control and are powered by a 12-volt AC/DC transformer.
two standard variants on the Enterprise Refit:
The Enterprise NCC-1701-A variant, which features a different paint master and details, plus some minor body modifications to match the filming miniature used in Star Trek IV through VI. There is no additional change for the Enterprise NCC-1701-A variant.
The Wrath of Khan Battle Damage variant, which adds both a lighting package and modifications to the model to simulate the damage inflicted on the Enterprise during her battle with the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Wrath of Khan Battle Damage variant costs an additional $250.
CLICK TO EMBIGGEN!
As mentioned above, the Enterprise Refit Artisan Replica comes in three variations. Here's a look at their straight-up refit replica. It even has little crew people in it!
This is the battle-damaged variation from STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. Some of the battle damage actually lights up with a fire effect (i.e. a new phaser gouge). Check the links below to see this in action. There is an extra charge for this option.
Finally, there's the NCC-1701-A, which was introduced at the end of STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME and sailed into the sunset at the end of STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY.
QMX's site offers two videos of the Enterpirse Artisan Replica in action. THIS illustrates the differences in variants (including the WRATH OF KHAN phaser hit effect I mentioned above), and THIS piece gives you a sense of the replica inside of an orbital drydock replica...which I kinda want also...I don't think it's actually available, though...but I wish they hadn't shown it to me, damn it.
You can learn more about the Enterprise Artisan Replica HERE, where you can also look into QM's eLayaway plan (installment payments which vary depending on the length of layaway).
A while back we brought you a look at QMX's forthcoming Artisan Replica based on the Enterprise design from J.J. Abrams' 2009 STAR TREK film. That's still in the pipeline and, evidently, may become available quite soon at a similar price point . You can learn more about the JJprise replica HERE, or see images of a prototype HERE.
While it's no 1701 refit, I like the JJprise quite a bit. But that discussion is for another day...
and some of those phaser replicas that cost something like $500 each
id get the vicious Wrath of Khan phaser (we only see that one vapourize people) and the Trek III TOS style update...and an Original series phaser of course...oh and a Blade Runner gun too...damn my home wouldve be filled with stuff like that if i ever got a massive amount of disposable $
Having seen pics of this replica a long time ago, I was really hoping for discussion of a received product.
Instead we get a discussion of the inspiration for the product, and a show of representation of the product.
Why is there not a plug for "Mr. Scotts guide to the Enterprise"? That was a book from Scotts POV, discussing the refit process itself. It was a cool book, that I believe was/is considered canon. It was after the refit that the ship was designated it's own Enterprise class, rather than part of the original Constitution class, as it was in the series.
Which is fine, but if that's the case I must have missed the disclaimer.
Not trying to rain on QMX's parade, but if the goal is to acquire a beautiful build-up of the PL kit it can be done for far less money (and with considerably slicker results, IMO).
id want it made so i press a button and the bridge blows first then the saucer melts then the whole thing blows and falls into Genesis..as a tiny little Kirk, Scot, Sulu, Chekov and Bones figures look up from a highly detailed mountain peak
And my jaw dropped.
I could not believe the size of it, and the incredible detail, especially the open docking bay with the shuttle craft.
Cheers to any geek who can afford it, and actually has somewhere decent to display it.
This is the first time I've seen something that you could literally take down to motion control and shoot with it and have those shots hold up in the movie on 35mm. Ho-ly shit... and I was thinking the same thing about the Star Destroyer. How about The Death Star? Or the Falcon? Still, this was always one of, if not THE best designed ship... you look at it and go, "Yeah, in a world where this shit is possible, that's probably what it would need to look like."
Just a lovely TREK fan- through and through.
Thanks for the article, man. And thanks for reminding me that I am not Jon Lovitz's character from BENCHWARMERS. (sigh) Not that one should ever blow $5K on a collectible (there are people suffering that could sure use that money more) but I would love to spend a few nights with this lady. Maybe one day we'll build one 1:1 scale that can do some real exploring...
10 years old, standing in a convenience store, gawking at my favorite spaceship of all time somehow made even better. Years later, I found that issue again at a used bookstore and snapped it up.
What an amazing time that was, no internet to spoil things so much, only an image here and there to whet our appetites. David Gerrold and Bjo Trimble's monthly updates were amazing.
Thanks again for the trip down memory lane, Merrick.
...and the only spaceship type that would really parallel the timeless voyaging imagination personified by the tall ships of the line.
A classic design from the series updated to perfection in The Motion Picture. I recall seeing this at the cinema and later, on a laser disc presentation, where the incredible score, the cinematography and the sheer scale of the scene blew me away.
Now, if only I can rustle up the odd $5,000! What a lovely 'toy' for Christmas!
Don't forget the monocle :) I love talkbacks like this, where a certain generation reflects on what we loved and were inspired by growing up...not to mention our appreciation for amazing design and attention to detail.
I wouldn't trade growing up in the 70s for anything, we experienced some seriously amazing stuff. I'll never forget the campaign to name the Space Shuttle prototype "Enterprise," which legitimized our geek cred :D
The Enterprise from ST:TMP was a thing of beauty. No surprise coming from the TV show to the big screen. It is iconic like the Discovery from 2001.
I remember I had this cheap, crappy plastic model that came with lights when ST:TMP came out. The lights shone through the plastic and the nacelles always bent under their own weight. But it was a pretty cool model nonetheless and it looked cool in the dark with the lights on.
Magisterial. Star Trek The Motion Picture is like Lawrence of Arabia compared to JJ Abrams shitwreck. Give me stunningly shot and scored cerebral sci-fi over a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing any day of the week.
the spotlights highlighting areas of the ship like the registry. If only it didn't cost more than anything I've ever fucking seen. Even the gargantuan nautilus is only $1500 or so. China needs to crank out a cheap assembly line for these ASAP
First--A tip of the hat and a jaunty nod to you.
Secondly, I too love these talkbacks. When I was about 7 years old I remember absolutely falling in love with the Enterprise. I remember building my own 1701 from a couple of paper plates and some paper towel tubes and having the grandest adventures in my house and back yard. A couple years later my folks, recognizing my love for Star Trek and wishing for me to have an "upgrade" of the paper towel/paper plate ship, bought me my first AMT model and helped me to assemble it. I remember trying to emulate the shots from the series with my little camera and some fishing line. And that was the start of another associated passion: styrene modeling. I built everything that AMT produced that was Trek oriented. And I PLAYED with the models. I still have most of them, too. I continue to this day to build the models that have been re-issued and (don't tell anyone) still let my imagination run free as I build them or take them down from their display. I also have that Polar Lights 1/350 on the shelf and am putting together my plan for assembly, even as it mocks me for my foolish pride in thinking I can do it justice.
Again, thanks for letting me walk with you all on this trip down the path of childhood memories. I wouldn't trade my childhood from the 70's for anything, save the chance to do it again.