Star Trek The Motion Picture featured the Enterprise, newly refit, in a "drydock". Here's the classic "beauty shot". The movie spent about 7 minutes showing off the new Enterprise and touring around various aspects of the Drydock. The sequence was used agan in Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan.
Why a "dry" dock in orbit? Just an expression taken from todays drydock facilities, where ships are built. The phrase is visible on the front left in a close up shot.
The Drydock model itself was designed to wrap around the 8 foot long Enterprise model, so as a result it was 11 feet long, about five feet tall, and six feet wide. After shooting the model was put in storage.
For Star Trek: Generations, more than 10 years after TMP, it was time to launch the Enterprise-B. The drydock was available and reused. However, while "in the show" the Enterprise B was longer than the original, in real life, the B was shorter and not as tall as the original. Plus, they had to make it look different! SO, the drydock was modified in several places to better fit the new ship...
- the middle rung of lights was removed
- the rear 18 inches were cut off (note there are only six light sets instead of seven)
- the light boxes were changed
- the "office complex" on the right was added. This is where they "watched" the bottle-hit in the movie.
- the top piece connecting the drydock to the ship was added
Here's a screen shot of the revised model for Generations
Here's the model as received, "in real life". It is the size of a car and is here sitting in my garage bay. The left picture will give you a sense of scale, the right is a detailed view of the "office".
And as you can see the model came with the latest in subspace radio communications equipment ... although the EPS power conduits need work.
Yes, that's a transistor radio and yes, it works. Kind of.
This is easily my most complicated model. It took more than a year to determine what to do with this beast... the considerations:
- its just huge. The Drydock weighs about 400 pounds and is designed to hang. How could it be supported?
- the electrical and lighting systems were at least in need of repair or more likely dead and needing replacement. How to relight?
- the intial Enterprise in Drydock TMP flyby is probably one of the most famous scenes in all of the movies. Could we restore to that version?
- the version used in Generations was on screen for a short time, but was the version i had. Should we restore to that?
- the model had been shortened and cut down for Generations... could we get the original pieces back?
Regardless of the choice, the model would require a large effort to repair and restore. Both versions were screen used, yet only one could be made.
After a lot of reflection, we decided to restore the model to what was seen in The Motion Picture. Probably the kicker was being able to obtain the original pieces that had been removed from the "It's a Wrap" auctions so the model could be rebuilt as close to originally filmed as possible. This was a great boon.
Here's a "in the middle of fixup" picture....
And the final version, now rebuilt... just needs some finishing touches (and some better photographs). AND an 8 foot Enterprise!
Drydocks are for space ships... It was sad thinking it would remain empty. Eventually managed to get my hands on a TMP Enterprise ... OK, its a six foot TMP Enterprise, but that's another story.