The original 11-foot-long filming model of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series has been part of the Smithsonian collection since 1974. In 2019 it was removed from display while the National Air and Space Museum was being renovated, returning to display last month. While it was being stored Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame had a chance to visit and examine the model in detail. Savage also visited with another model going up for auction that was originally sold as the USS Enterprise-C, but it turns out there is more to that story.
The original Enterprise is no myth
This week Adam Savage’s Tested Channel on YouTube posted a 36-minute video where he gets a closer look at the original Enterprise model inside the Conservation Lab at the Smithsonian. The tour was guided by Margaret Weitekamp, Ph.D, the department chair of space history for the Smithsonian. Savage’s tour includes some real close looks at the details on the model as well as a look inside the model, including some X-Rays.
This Enterprise was a myth
A couple of weeks ago Savage was in London for a Propstore Auction of entertainment memorabilia that included another Star Trek filming model, this time the USS Yamaguchi Ambassador class from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first Ambassador-class ship was the USS Enterprise-C for the classic TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” The model going up for auction earlier this month was originally identified as the Enterprise-C model when it was sold at auction by CBS in 2006 for $48,000. However, as covered in the following video, it was later revealed the original Enterprise-C model showed too much battle damage from “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and so a different model was used in later episodes as the USS Yamaguchi and USS Excalibur, even though the shipping crate from CBS still has “Enterprise C” on it.
The official auction listing offers more detail:
A USS Yamaguchi and Excalibur light-up model miniature from sci-fi TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. This miniature of the Ambassador-class starship was built to serve as two Federation ships, including the U.S.S. Excalibur in the Season 5 episode “Redemption II” and the U.S.S Yamaguchi which appeared in the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The saucer top is currently marked as “U.S.S. Yamaguchi NCC-26510”, and the rear of the model is still marked “Excalibur”.
The model is the same design as the Enterprise-C and was made from the same moulds as the Enterprise-C model but was ultimately not used as an Enterprise.
The model sold for £68,750 ($81,733) by Propstore earlier this month.
Find more Star Trek history at TrekMovie.