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3DUSS Albacore, A ship based on the Ambassador Class

SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
edited October 2023 in Work in Progress #1
Latest WIP image:
liUFVqA.jpg
lZGspMV.jpg

Starting a new ship project this week. A few weeks ago I came across this video of an Ambassador Class model, and the design has been on my mind ever since:


In the past I've been ambivalent about the Ambassador Class design. It looked good from some angles, and others it just looked downright awkward. This particular model suffered some damage to one of the nacelle pylons, and as part of the repair, they lowered the height of the nacelles. This might just be me, but I find it remarkable how that small change massively improved the look of the ship. Before, the nacelles were jammed up against the saucer with no forward line-of-sight, and the pylons were long and ungainly. After the repair, I think it's a solid, well balanced ship that's elegant, but unfussy.

I want to attempt to further refine the design and put my own spin on it, so I created a very low res blocking model of the Ambassador, and started playing with the shapes to see where I'd end up. First and foremost, I wanted to shrink the deflector size, because it prevents an elegant taper to the secondary hull. Along with a few other tweaks, I seem to have arrived at a half-way point between the Ambassador and the Excelsior classes. The new ship is in a rough very low-res form, but the proportions are about dialled in now.

MIV49F3.jpg
lf2GcLa.jpg
Ks9vYPA.jpg

I want to create some well thought out diagrams next, and really plan the modelling process out. Hopefully by the end, I will have a ship that I can get really close up to, without the mesh detail+textures letting it down - something my old Reliant model couldn't really achieve.
Post edited by SCE2Aux on
Rekkertashleytingerevil_genius_180StarCruiserLizzy777wibblePaul MoechnerpubliusrscifiericBolianAdmiral
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Posts

  • Vortex5972Vortex5972327 Posts: 1,205Member
    Nice start. I've always liked the lower nacelle version. Just looks a lot better. I believe it was due to appear in Generations at one point as one of the rescue ships at the end.
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    Vortex5972 wrote: »
    Nice start. I've always liked the lower nacelle version. Just looks a lot better. I believe it was due to appear in Generations at one point as one of the rescue ships at the end.

    That's interesting, I haven't heard about that before. I'm guessing that since the model looks like it's been built for standard definition screens, perhaps they thought that it wouldn't stand up to movie resolutions. Where did you hear that they were thinking of using it?
  • Vortex5972Vortex5972327 Posts: 1,205Member
    Here: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ambassador_class_model#Studio_model

    "After what turned out to be its final production use, the model was briefly considered to make an additional appearance in Star Trek Generations. When the model was residing at Okuda's art department for evaluation to that end, art department staffer Doug Drexler took photographs of the model at that particular point in time which showed damage to the port nacelle strut, conceivably incurred after its final production use, and its shortened repaired one. [9](X) Its use in the film never coming to pass, the studio model still bore the markings of both the Excalibur and Yamaguchi at the time of its definitive retirement."

    I'm not sure, but I believe preparation for Generations is when the nacelles were lowered due to model damage. For whatever reason, they ended up not using it.
    SCE2Aux
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804403 Posts: 11,090Member
    That looks really good so far. I've always been a fan of the Ambassador class, but I also would have loved it if they'd been able to produce Andrew Probert's original design. But, time constraints meant that Rick Sternbach had to simplify the design considerably. It will be interesting to see where you take the design.

    One reason the ship may not have been used in Generations might have been due to the generally lower quality of the model and the more simplistic paint jobs. The three models they wound up using were definitely made better, as the Reliant and Grissom models were made for movies and the Nebula class was made using molds from the 4-foot Enterprise. It was also painted similarly to the Enterprise.
    publiusrscifieric
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    Hi. Any idea on what this thing on the bottom of the saucer is supposed to be? It looks like there are similar structures on the Constitution and Excelsior classes. I've not really done any images in the late 23rd/early 24th century era, so my knowledge isn't quite as comprehensive.

    pD7goco.jpg

    Thanks!
    scifieric
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804403 Posts: 11,090Member
    Various sources call that bit on the bottom of any ship a sensor array. More specifically, a planetary sensor array. Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise, which covers the refit, calls it a navigational dome. Likely, it can be both, just as the navigational deflector is sometimes called that and other times called a sensor array.

    Also, that bit was added after its appearance as the Enterprise-C. Before it was used as other ships, (excluding stock footage) the model went through a bit of a refit and various bits of detail were changed or added, such as that bit.
    publiusrscifiericJES
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    hmm, yeah I could imagine a bunch of sensors in those apertures. Thankyou!
    scifieric
  • count23count23363 Posts: 783Member
    It's a planetary sensor dome. All the 23rd century ships had those. It was't until the E-d that this changed.

    Also, FYI there _are_ two models of the ambassador studio model, regardless of what you might see on some sites incorrectly attributing there being one model to a quote by Doug Drexler (including memory-alpha). So keep that in mind. The E-c model was only used in yesterday's enterprise, the remaining Ambassador model was used for the Yamaguchi, Zhukov and Excalibur. So keep that in mind when filtering out reference material for your work :)
    publiusrscifieric
    Formerly Nadesico.

    Current Projects:
    Ambassador Class
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804403 Posts: 11,090Member
    count23 wrote: »
    Also, FYI there _are_ two models of the ambassador studio model, regardless of what you might see on some sites incorrectly attributing there being one model to a quote by Doug Drexler (including memory-alpha). So keep that in mind. The E-c model was only used in yesterday's enterprise, the remaining Ambassador model was used for the Yamaguchi, Zhukov and Excalibur. So keep that in mind when filtering out reference material for your work :)

    That actually makes a lot more sense, because the secondary hull is a slightly different shape on the Yamaguchi, Zhukov and Excalibur. That never really fit with the one model that was modified explanation. There are also various other differences, such as the saucer being farther forward. Plus, the Ent-C model was pretty badly battle damaged for its episode. It would probably make more sense to make a second model, rather than "fixing" the Ent-C model, given that Greg Jein's model shop would still have had the molds.
    publiusrscifieric
  • publiusrpubliusr551 Posts: 1,749Member
    edited December 2022 #11
    The shuttlebay changes are the biggest giveaway.
    Various sources call that bit on the bottom of any ship a sensor array. More specifically, a planetary sensor array. Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise, which covers the refit, calls it a navigational dome.

    There may have been another reason.

    If you never saw the movies and had no idea the Refit and Excelsior existed…and you were asked to imagine a ship half-way between TOS and TNG…the Enterprise-C is what you get….a plain TOS-like lower sensor dome without the Refit’s blocky protrusions, but lowered nacelles like Picard’s ship.

    Probert’s Ambassador was TOO good…looking more like a contemporary of the -D in my eyes.

    Of course, the -C was an easier build.

    This vessel here looks like a Yamaguchi follow on. I’d call it Horatio.

    The Council class was closest to the wall art:
    https://www.treknology.org/new/council-jef1.jpg


    That deserves a model. Scroll down:
    https://www.treknology.org/history3.htm

    What Probert’s wanted:
    https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Narendra_class

    A good future project?
    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Galaxy_class_model?file=Galaxy_class_USS_Enterprise-D_study_model.jpg
    Post edited by publiusr on
    evil_genius_180scifieric
  • new_purplenew_purple112 Posts: 62Member
    I'm actually really not a fan of the lowered nacelles on the Yamaguchi model, but I very much like the design you've started on here. Both the nacelle redesign and the work on the deflector dish look very good. Maybe it's the longer nacelles giving the ship a sort of Excelsior-ish look...the lower pylons really do work here.

    I did an updated version of the Ambassador-class myself, but I left the nacelles fairly original and went with putting an angle on the pylons instead of the 90-degree corner. Sort of wishing I'd been more adventurous with the nacelles now... =)

  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    new_purple wrote: »
    I'm actually really not a fan of the lowered nacelles on the Yamaguchi model, but I very much like the design you've started on here. Both the nacelle redesign and the work on the deflector dish look very good. Maybe it's the longer nacelles giving the ship a sort of Excelsior-ish look...the lower pylons really do work here.

    I did an updated version of the Ambassador-class myself, but I left the nacelles fairly original and went with putting an angle on the pylons instead of the 90-degree corner. Sort of wishing I'd been more adventurous with the nacelles now... =)

    I'd be interested to see what your take on an Ambassador update looks like. It's an interesting era to look at because it's not as heavily depicted in episodes as the late 24th century. It gives some leeway as to how you go about designing for the period.

    As for how this design is shaping up: Well... It's definitely starting to take more and more Excelsior elements as I further work into the design. Here's what I'm planning for the nacelles. The bussard collectors are also getting influenced by what's on the Enterprise-B. I think it's going to evolve into a mish-mash of Lost Era elements.

    frkG2Po.jpg
    Lizzy777StarCruiserashleytingerpubliusrJES
  • new_purplenew_purple112 Posts: 62Member
    That's a really interesting nacelle design.

    The thread for my finished Ambassador-class is here:

    https://forums.scifi-meshes.com/discussion/10001068/ambassador-class-variant

    There's a WIP thread buried somewhere on the site, with all the slow, gradual progress as well as some close-ups of things like the shuttlebay and navigational deflector.
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    new_purple wrote: »
    That's a really interesting nacelle design.

    The thread for my finished Ambassador-class is here:

    https://forums.scifi-meshes.com/discussion/10001068/ambassador-class-variant

    There's a WIP thread buried somewhere on the site, with all the slow, gradual progress as well as some close-ups of things like the shuttlebay and navigational deflector.

    Those straightened pylons work really well with the rest of the Ambassador Class shape. I think you've made a great update to the ship there.

    I've had a bit more time over Christmas to work on my own plans. It's even more of a combo of Excelsior and Ambassador now:

    EyNqEwG.jpg
    evil_genius_180StarCruiserLizzy777StarshipseanrRekkertpubliusrBrandenbergJESBolianAdmiral
  • new_purplenew_purple112 Posts: 62Member
    SCE2Aux wrote: »

    Those straightened pylons work really well with the rest of the Ambassador Class shape. I think you've made a great update to the ship there.

    Thanks!

    Definitely loving all the Excelsior-ish bits in there. Makes the Ambassador feel like more of an evolution. Are you sticking with the saucer impulse assembly, or are you going to have an engine on the neck as well?
  • publiusrpubliusr551 Posts: 1,749Member
    You made the secondary hull sleeker too.
    Perfect
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    new_purple wrote: »

    Definitely loving all the Excelsior-ish bits in there. Makes the Ambassador feel like more of an evolution. Are you sticking with the saucer impulse assembly, or are you going to have an engine on the neck as well?

    It will have an impulse engine in the neck, because I'd like to make the model with saucer separation capability.

    I haven't had much time lately to make progress with this project of late, but I've made a little more of the diagram:

    p0M9aIg.jpg

    ashleytingerevil_genius_180StarCruiserLizzy777lewisnivenRekkertBrandenbergMustang13Camaro68Hunter Gpubliusrand 2 others.
  • lewisnivenlewisniven2504 UKPosts: 464Member
    This is a really nice design, I like it.
  • BrandenbergBrandenberg1871 CaliforniaPosts: 2,019Member
    lewisniven wrote: »
    This is a really nice design, I like it.
    Agreed

  • BrandenbergBrandenberg1871 CaliforniaPosts: 2,019Member
    One thing that has always been a little odd about the Ambassador class can be seen in the video. The seams are raised instead of sunken. I'm trying to think if I've seen anyone do a CGI ship that way.
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    It's a rather curious detail, isn't it? I don't really mind it though, and might do the same on my model too, although if I decide to go that route, the raised lines will likely be subtler and less numerous.
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804403 Posts: 11,090Member
    edited February 2023 #23
    One thing that has always been a little odd about the Ambassador class can be seen in the video. The seams are raised instead of sunken. I'm trying to think if I've seen anyone do a CGI ship that way.

    That's also obvious in the episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" in HD. It's an odd choice to have them raised like that and to have so many panel separations. Also, only the saucer is that way, the engineering hull actually has really fat grid lines and not that many of them. My guess on the saucer is that Greg Jein was trying to give the design more detail without doing complex Aztec painting, as that's likely a process that would have taken time he didn't have. The ship was originally only intended to be seen from a distance, but the script was one that was a pain to get together, and it took at least up till shooting to get it together. So, the needs of the model probably changed with each script revision.

    As for anyone doing that in CGI, I've never seen it either. It would be interesting but also an anomaly as all other Starfleet ships have the lines sunken in, not raised.
    Post edited by evil_genius_180 on
  • BrandenbergBrandenberg1871 CaliforniaPosts: 2,019Member
    edited February 2023 #24
    As for anyone doing that in CGI, I've never seen it either. It would be interesting but also an anomaly as all other Starfleet ships have the lines sunken in, not raised.

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one. If you do yours this way SCE2Aux it will be interesting to follow.

    Post edited by Brandenberg on
  • publiusrpubliusr551 Posts: 1,749Member
    I’d love to see a chart with all the different Ambassador types..this, Balmungs 1&2… Alaska, Probert’s Narendra…and Robb’s Council class
    https://www.treknology.org/new/council-jef1.jpg
    https://www.treknology.org/new/council-jef2.jpg
    StarCruiser
  • new_purplenew_purple112 Posts: 62Member
    One thing that has always been a little odd about the Ambassador class can be seen in the video. The seams are raised instead of sunken. I'm trying to think if I've seen anyone do a CGI ship that way.

    When I did my Ambassador-class variation, it was a very conscious decision early on to toss out ALL the existing grid lines and go with something that better fit what we see on other ships. Saucer and neck were fairly easy...the lines on the engineering hull were a nightmare. I wanted them to follow the shape of the hull, but that looked awful once all the window were added...so I had to change them to horizontal so the windows fit.
  • count23count23363 Posts: 783Member
    edited February 2023 #27
    new_purple wrote: »
    One thing that has always been a little odd about the Ambassador class can be seen in the video. The seams are raised instead of sunken. I'm trying to think if I've seen anyone do a CGI ship that way.

    When I did my Ambassador-class variation, it was a very conscious decision early on to toss out ALL the existing grid lines and go with something that better fit what we see on other ships. Saucer and neck were fairly easy...the lines on the engineering hull were a nightmare. I wanted them to follow the shape of the hull, but that looked awful once all the window were added...so I had to change them to horizontal so the windows fit.

    fun fact, on the original blueprints and even the yama refit, Sternbach clearly noted the lines were meant not ment to be actual cutouts, the original shield lines on the ambassador were practically identical to the excelsior.
    One thing that has always been a little odd about the Ambassador class can be seen in the video. The seams are raised instead of sunken. I'm trying to think if I've seen anyone do a CGI ship that way.

    That's also obvious in the episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" in HD. It's an odd choice to have them raised like that and to have so many panel separations. Also, only the saucer is that way, the engineering hull actually has really fat grid lines and not that many of them. My guess on the saucer is that Greg Jein was trying to give the design more detail without doing complex Aztec painting, as that's likely a process that would have taken time he didn't have. The ship was originally only intended to be seen from a distance, but the script was one that was a pain to get together, and it took at least up till shooting to get it together. So, the needs of the model probably changed with each script revision.

    As for anyone doing that in CGI, I've never seen it either. It would be interesting but also an anomaly as all other Starfleet ships have the lines sunken in, not raised.

    If you look a smidge closer on the C, the shield lines are actually in the centre of the blue strips, they aren't outlining the blue. Just the paint detail gives that impression. The c model itself just has the single lines like the D.
    Post edited by count23 on
    Formerly Nadesico.

    Current Projects:
    Ambassador Class
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804403 Posts: 11,090Member
    count23 wrote: »
    If you look a smidge closer on the C, the shield lines are actually in the centre of the blue strips, they aren't outlining the blue. Just the paint detail gives that impression. The c model itself just has the single lines like the D.

    Ah, I see. Yeah, the paint job on the ship is definitely very interesting. Greg Jein seemed to like multi layer paints to give an impression of depth. His model of the Enterprise-D had a layered paint to make the panels stick out more, as opposed to the very flat paint on the ILM model.
  • SCE2AuxSCE2Aux1038 Posts: 202Member
    I've tried and failed a couple of times to model the nacelles the way that they are drawn in the diagrams, but they just don't look right in 3D. I've simplified back to the Excelsior nacelle shape, with some added bits and pieces to set it apart a bit. There's still a lot to model on this nacelle, but I'm finally feeling like I am making some progress with the model now.
    Ah4FWh0.jpg

    I've altered the nacelle struts on the blocking model to look a bit more forward-swept.
    RzqLinI.jpg
    evil_genius_180Hunter GashleytingerStarCruiserRekkertcaveat_imperatorJEStrekkiLizzy777wibble
  • Hunter GHunter G1907 Posts: 543Member
    This has been developing very nicely! I like the nacelles and the general shape so far
  • JESJES395 Posts: 196Member
    I've always liked the Ambassador class, even though Sternbach's design is a little... plump and unrefined in appearance.

    I would suggest adding a 2,3, or 4 to the registry number when you label her. Unless she was commissioned around the same time as the Excelsior, and we are merely looking at her refitted form.

    The Ambassador class is another of those designs I want to do, and given how many variants there are, I'd probably like to do more than one.
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