Friday, October 1, 2010

The Great Experiment - The USS Excelsior NX2000

"She's suppose to have Transwarp Drive" Sulu commented. "Aye, and if me Grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon" Mr. Scott retorted. Remember that scene? Its from Star Trek III : The Search for Spock, when the USS Enterprise docked at Spaceport. We got to see the USS Excelsior for the first time off the Enterprise starboard, a humongous Starfleet Vessel that's suppose to be the epitome of new technologies and the future of the United Federation of Planets.

Her overall size and armaments remained a mystery as not much was shown about that ship, besides her being sabotaged by Mr. Scott. We do know from feedbacks that her length is somewhere around 400 plus metres (corrected - how da heck did I miss this?).

It is interesting to note that several designs were given to Leonard Nimoy (who was the Director and actor for Spock) before the final design were approved. Here are some of the submitted designs for the USS Excelsior for STIII

By the advent of Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country, Captain Sulu is the master of this vessel, and we got to see her more internally and externally. We also got to see the Excelsior in action, including a special 30th Anniversary episode where the entire original crew for the NCC 2000 returned for TV.

NX2000 Bridge under Capt Styles

NCC 2000 under Capt Sulu

USS Excelsior in the 30th Anniversary Star Trek Voyager Episode against Kang's Klingon Battle Cruiser

Excelsior Class seen in Star Trek Deep Space 9
We will focus today's post toward the NX2000. Remember, when we first saw her, she was a mystery. Beautiful to some, intimidating to others. And if you're Mr.Scott, she's still a wagon. The design for this ship was somewhat radical as she was suppose to be huge, sleek with a "pregnant guppy's belly". Her nacelles incorporated a new design for the Transwarp Drive, assumed a failed project later on as no mention was ever made after STIII.

ERTL/AMT came out with the Styrene kit for the NCC2000 (and later the NCC1701B, a refurbished excelsior class) but it was not up to scale with the 1:537 scale USS Enterprise. Hence what we got was a smaller version of this mighty ship.

There were some discrepancy with part's accuracy and fitting issues, and the decals then were too simple. Aftermarket parts and decals were required to make this kit reasonably acceptable. There's not much images made available of the original studio model for reference and those that were taken were done before the digital age.

I'll try to provide as many studio model reference shots here as possible, but I would advise everyone to search the net thoroughly. You may just get lucky. There were 2 models kits made, one is a miniature version of a bout 2 foot in lenght, and the other was a 6-7 foot scale model. I'm not sure which one got refurbished to become the 1701B, but images for the Excelsior are rare. You can see the 1701B version under my highlights for the USS Lakota

Coming up next .. Fantastic Builds by Professional Scale Modellers of the ERTL/AMT 1:1000 scale USS Excelsior. But first ..... my dinner is getting cold and my wife's calling. Be back ... promise!

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