Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ajax Shuttles

The Ajax may not have the cavernous hanger deck of the Enterprise, but part of the design is two shuttle 'garages' incorporated in to the primary hull. Which raises the need for a shuttle model to go with the Ajax.
The original shuttle for TOS was sponsored by the model company AMT so that they could get the rights to sell a model kit based on it. Shame the model is a totally inaccurate representation of the original and the bane of most Star Trek scale modelers - it ignores the curving upper details of the hull as well as the multi-level inset of the back end.

Back to the interwebs for more reference material. Phil Broad had drawn up a set of plans back in '04 which were originally over on, but sadly that site no longer exists - internet archive site waybackmachine to the rescue, at least for the majority of his drawings. Warped9, who posts on TrekBBS has also drawn up a very nice set of plans which formed the major basis for my version.

The basics are there, still some detail to add and a bit of tweaking with the shape but still an improvement on the AMT box...

Ajax Update...

Work on the Ajax continues. Have just about nailed down the modelling, finally wrapped my head around UV creation and made some headway on the textures.

The texturing has been 'interesting' from a reference standpoint. The aim has been to emulate the look of the 11 foot Enterprise miniature from the original series. Reference material is available but most of it is of the refurbished model as it hangs in the Smithsonian today - the refurbishment having altered the model from it 60's condition, or else photos of the disassembled model just prior to refurbishment which suffer a little in the lighting and film department. Luckily, the colour of the Enterprise has proved a major research subject for scale model enthusiasts trying to paint their Enterprise miniatures - they have managed to narrow down the original colour and provide colour samples of modern equivalents on which to base the textures.

The grid pattern on the saucer is a matter for debate. The original model as delivered to Desilu was grid-less, but the pattern appears to have been added to aid in optical compositing of effects. The optical process washed out the grid so it was not visible on screen. Since the goal is to recreate the look of the 60's effects, the grid has not been included at this point.
A lot of CG Enterprises - including the Defiant seen in 'Enterprise' - have also added the azteking pattern - the specular paneling - seen on the Motion Picture refit which was not a feature of the classic TOS look. There will be some specularity to reflect the original paint, but no azteking on this version.

More updates to come as work progresses...