Rod Roddenberry In Talks To Recover What May Be The Lost Original Enterprise Model From ‘Star Trek’ [UPDATED]

One of the longest-running Star Trek mysteries may be on the verge of being solved. In 1977, the first shooting model of the U.S.S. Enterprise from The Original Series went missing, and for the last 46 years, no one has known where it is, or whether it had been destroyed. But just a couple of weeks ago it appeared to resurface in an eBay listing, which was soon suspended after fans started buzzing about the potential historical importance of this model. TrekMovie can confirm that Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and the President of Roddenberry Enterprises, is actively trying to authenticate and acquire the model that sat on his father’s desk at Paramount for years.

In a statement to TrekMovie, Roddenberry says: “Along with much of the Star Trek community, I was excited and pleased to learn that the original 3-foot filming model of the Starship Enterprise appears to have been discovered after being missing for decades (pending full authentication). I can confirm that I am now, through an intermediary, in contact with the individual who possesses the model.”

The first USS Enterprise disappears

The model in question is a 3-foot (actually 33 inches) pre-production model of U.S.S. Enterprise, built mostly out of wood by Richard C. Datin, Jr. in 1964. Working from drawings by designer Matt Jefferies, Datin constructed and painted the model as a sub-contractor of the Howard Anderson Company, which was hired to do the special effects for Star Trek’s first pilot, “The Cage.” The model was used in behind-the-scenes photographs with Gene Roddenberry and series lead Jeffrey Hunter, and because it was available for shooting long before the more detailed, illuminated 11-foot model was ready, it was used as a shooting model for most of the ship exterior shots in “The Cage,” and for the famous fly-by shots in the show’s opening credits sequence.

Jeffrey Hunter (Captain Pike) with the 3-foot model and Gene Roddenberry during filming of “The Cage”

The 11-foot model (which is on display at the Smithsonian) was used in “The Cage” for the show-opening zoom-in to the bridge and for most exterior shots in the second pilot and beyond, but the 33” model was revised to match the series version in April of 1966, and appears in a number of Star Trek episodes, most notably as a miniaturized Enterprise in the episode, “Requiem for Methuselah.”

The 3-foot model in “Requiem for Methuselah”

When the series finished filming, the smaller 33″ model was given to Gene Roddenberry as a gift from the studio, and it appears in photographs sitting on Roddenberry’s desk, and was taken by Roddenberry to Star Trek conventions and exhibited alongside other screen-used props. Roddenberry loaned the model out to an effects house during the making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and after that, it went missing. Roddenberry wrote letters to Paramount Pictures exec Jeffrey Katzenberg asking for his help in retrieving the model, but to no avail.

Letter from Gene Roddenberry about his lost model (via

The model reappears… on eBay? [UPDATED]

The model appeared to reemerge on October 31st in an eBay listing: “Rare Custom Star Trek USS Enterprise Spaceship by Richard Datin.” The starting bid request was $1,000. Star Trek collectors and fans started buzzing about the item online, identifying it as possibly Roddenberry’s long-lost original shooting model, although clearly underpriced for such a historic item. Just last month the original 2-foot model of the Star Trek Galileo shuttle (from the Greg Jein Collection) sold for $225,000 at auction. An original X-Wing model from Star Wars sold for $3.15 million. So it’s no surprise that just 12 hours after that initial eBay listing went live it was ended by the seller without a sale.

eBay listing for lost model (via the

Many fans continued to pore over the photos from the eBay listing to attempt to verify the authenticity of the model. Rumors circulated that Enterprise expert Gary Kerr had authenticated the model, and that he had purchased the model himself in a storage unit purchased at auction from the estate of filmmaker Burton Holmes, who died in 1958.

UPDATE: Gary Kerr, in a statement to TrekMovie, shot down these rumors. “The truth is more mundane. Shortly after the news of the model’s reappearance broke, people started asking my opinion of it. After looking at the 16 photos posted online, I said that the model looked like the real thing, but that’s a far cry from ‘authenticating’ it, which would entail a full forensic examination of the model. Since then, I’ve made comparisons between hi-res, fairly obscure photos of the model in the 1960s and the eBay photos. Tiny details in the model match perfectly, and in my opinion, the eBay model is the real McCoy. I reemphasize that this is simply my informed opinion.”

UPDATE 2: In a comment on this article, Noel Datin McDonald, the daughter of Richard C. Datin, Jr., the builder of the original model, offered her opinion on the model’s authenticity: “The business card on the bottom of the stand that it was put on for display on Gene’s desk is [my father’s] original business card at the time we lived in North Hollywood. My father also wrote about the fact that it was a microphone stand that he used, which is shown in the current photos.” She also offered to confer with authenticators, saying “I may even have a piece left over from its construction.”

The model sat on Gene Roddenberry’s desk for years

Rod Roddenberry wants to secure the model for history (if it’s real)

The eBay listing also got the attention of Gene Roddenberry’s son. TrekMovie received a statement from Rod Roddenberry, confirming that he is in contact, through an intermediary, with the person who has the model. If authenticated, Roddenberry plans to digitally scan and archive the model for future study as part of the Roddenberry Archive project. He doesn’t feel the model should be in a private collection and hopes it will one day be kept in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which currently maintains and houses the 11-foot shooting model of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Here is Roddenberry’s statement in full:

“Along with much of the Star Trek community, I was excited and pleased to learn that the original 3-foot filming model of the Starship Enterprise appears to have been discovered after being missing for decades (pending full authentication). I can confirm that I am now, through an intermediary, in contact with the individual who possesses the model.

This prototype played a key role in the visualizing design of the famous television starship during Star Trek’s early development in 1964. Once the show went into production, the model was actually filmed in numerous visual effects shots seen throughout the life of the original Star Trek series, along with a larger, 12-foot model that is currently displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. I am convinced that this prototype model holds immense significance for Star Trek and its 58-year history. From its creation in the mid-60s until about 1977, the model was in the possession of my father, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Unfortunately, it went missing after being loaned out during the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Beyond its physical value, the greater significance is this prototype Enterprise model really represents the underpinning ideas my father imbued into the series. That we are clever, resilient and can learn from our mistakes. We can and will move beyond archaic belief systems. And once we truly embrace the infinite diversity all around us, both in form and idea, we will then take those next step into a prosperous and unlimited future.

Guided by this principle, one of my primary goals over the past decade has been to locate, recover, and digitally archive significant Star Trek materials and artifacts through the Roddenberry Archive project. The intention would be to scan it in the finest detail for the Roddenberry Archives and after rigorous scrutiny make it available to the public. Furthermore, I firmly believe that a piece of such importance should not be confined to any private collection. This iconic artifact should be enshrined along side the 12-foot shooting model at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, where it can serve to help tell the story of television history, the history of space exploration and ultimately, a beacon of hope for the future.”

Rod Roddenberry

Questions remain

Of note in this statement is that Roddenberry has not yet definitively authenticated the model. Beyond the authentication of the model, Star Trek historians will one day want to know how the model went missing, where it has been for the last 46 years, how the current possessor of the model came to have it, why they listed it on eBay, whether or not they knew what it was, why it was removed from eBay, and many more details.

Still, this is potentially one of the most exciting finds in the history of the franchise. The 33” model is the only thing that appears, in the same condition, in every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, through the opening credits fly-by sequence. Costumes, actors, sets, and props were changed, but that fly-by footage remained the same for all 79 episodes of the series. It was held by Gene Roddenberry, Jeffrey Hunter, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy. It is an amazing artifact whose value, as Rod Roddenberry said, goes far beyond the physical object itself.

Gene Roddenberry on set with the 3-foot model

Fans await further confirmed information, and TrekMovie will update this story as facts are substantiated along the way.

See the 3-foot Enterprise in action

This video from Trek World complies shots from Star Trek where the 3-foot model was used.


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Of all the ridiculous things to have checked off my 2023 Bingo card, this is the most unexpected, and the most appreciated. Here’s hoping it’s the real thing.

Wow! Where was it used in TMP?

It wasn’t. It was loaned to the effects house for TMP, which is when it went missing.

Right, I figured. I meant that I was wondering what use they could have made of it. The TOS ship was in the rec room display, but that’s really minor. The refit design was based on the Phase II design, but maybe they needed the model as a reference?

Reading Memory Alpha’s entry on the model, it seems it was lent out to use as a model for the Phase II design which eventually became the TMP design.

Hmm. Unless I’m missing something the timing for that doesn’t add up, as the Phase II miniature had been completed for Magicam (and Phase II subsequently canceled) well before TMP was greenlit. They did wind up building a more elaborate model for the film (which was in turn modified by Doug Trumbull when he came onboard), so maybe the 3-footer was lent out as an aid to constructing that.

I see your point, but the photos in the article seem to show the three-foot model in the background while the Phase II model is being built. And I think they modified the Phase II model for TMP, and if so, they wouldn’t have needed the three-footer for reference.

It also seems from the article that no one could remember exactly when the model was lent- it had to be after 1976, because there’s a photo of it on Roddenberry’s desk from then, but at best people admittedly guessed when and to whom it had been given.

Okay, but in that case, it’s unlikely that Robert Abel had anything to do with the model’s disappearance.

……………pre-production model of U.S.S. Enterprise, built mostly out of wood by Richard C. Datin, Jr. in 1964.
Damn, that’s the year I was born. I’m old.

Photos from the auction show the model (assuming it’s the real deal) has suffered some considerable water damage since being photographed on Roddenberry’s desk. Perhaps modern techniques similar to those that restored the 11-footer can be used to bring it back.

It would certainly be interesting to know the circumstances of how this item was lost in the first place, as it’s been a community mystery for decades now. I remember when the vfx crew gifted Gene with a beautiful photograph of the Enterprise-A as seen at the end of THE VOYAGE HOME as a way of recompensing him for the loss of this model.

I just always really really thought the Abel fx folks deliberately trashed the thing when they got fired off TMP. The idea somebody took it home or to their storage suggest less malice and more avarice. Maybe they played frisbee with it the day the staff found the kool-aid in their lockers (a nasty and very consciously deliberate reference to Guyana by Paramount.)

What an awful story, on both sides! Abel had no one to blame but himself for over-promising and totally under-delivering. As to Paramount. . . holy crap, was that in bad taste. Nine hundred people in a cult were dead, and I and many others were thoroughly traumatized, seeing those pictures of corpses cradling their dead children. I couldn’t get that out of my mind for weeks.

I wasn’t aware Paramount did anything to the staff of RA&A. Source?

The original piece of investigative journalism on on the Abel/TMP fracas, appearing in New West magazine, from March 26,1979.

You mean ‘Abel Neglects Trek FX’?

It’s got to that and/or the Dec 79 PLAYBOY article, which I remember is also good, though more focusing a bit more on the work than the controversy.

That would be wonderful. A breath of fresh air after Eaves “Eaves’d” it for the new shows. Pointless over-designed details and cutouts everywhere, hooray! *roll eyes*

Better than the Kelvin monstrosity, or even many fan tweaks that I’ve seen.

Ugghh the Kelvinprise was so bad

Eaves only did what he was told to do.

Eaves trademark style of over-designing, over-detailing and pointless cutouts are all over the new 1701. Eaves did what Eaves does.

He was told by his bosses to make it fit Discovery’s design ethos. Why they wanted it that way (aside from it being ‘the current year’), I don’t know. He was given his marching order, and carried them out.

I hear you completely – you can’t compete with the perfection of the original (refit excluded)

For the record, when friends asked me about the model, I said, “It looks real to me.” But simply looking at 16 photos online does NOT constitute an authentication. You need a hands-on examination to be sure.

As for the rumor that I had found the model in a storage unit that I’d purchased, if anybody believes that – wow, do I have a bridge to sell you!  :)

Thank you, Gary. That’s helpful.

TrekMovie needs to pay attention here and “unconfirm” their rumormongering.

Gary from what I can tell from the photos it appears to be the real deal. I submitted another comment on this site as to being the daughter of the builder.

Was gonna say, you and Mr. Kerr are the only people left on this earth who could confirm its authenticity.

We’re in agreement. Since the news first broke, I’ve made comparisons between hi-res, fairly obscure photos of the model in the 1960s and in the eBay photos. Tiny details in the model match perfectly, and in my humble opinion, the eBay model is the real McCoy. The model really needs some TLC to keep it from deteriorating any further.

Mr. Kerr,

Just curious, since you are the expert. As a matter of curation, would you think it appropriate to restore this the model back to its “pristine” state, as was done with the 11-footer?

So long as it is a TOS-era bridge …

That guy was using it for a roomba!

This is the original 3 ft. model built by my father, Richard C. Datin. It was constructed from the original Matt Jefferies blue line plans that our family donated to the Smithsonian, even though there was some discussion by my father that they should not receive them. There are photos of him presenting it to Gene on page 30 of the book I wrote about “The Enterprise NCC 1701 and the Model Maker”. The photo was taken by Richard Arnold in 1964. The business card on the bottom of the stand that it was put on for display on Gene’s desk is his original business card at the time we lived in North Hollywood.
My father also wrote about the fact that it was a microphone stand that he used, which is shown in the current photos.
So, the powers that be might want to confer with the family of the builder, Richard C. Datin, for definite authentication!
I may even have a piece left over from it’s construction.
Noel Datin McDonald

Thank you for your work documenting the story of this important artifact!

Thanks for coming out and authenticating it. You need to get in touch with Rod Roddenberry if you haven’t already. Much appreciate the work your father did.

Do you mean Richard Arnold took the picture in 1974?

No I believe that was 1964! You can see my father’s arm as he presents the model to Gene at that time. In my book you can see my father’s profile.
Richard Arnold took that photo.

Richard Arnold was ten years old at the time, and didn’t meet Roddenberry until the 70’s via the conventions, so I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually take the picture. No doubt he had it in his collection, but take it? Don’t think so.

“Lost” sounds like the wrong word; it seems that the little ship was @#$% STOLEN.

FASCINATING!! Great to read these words from Rod. I don’t know anything about him beyond the obvious even though his name has been popping up more & more on Trek & other Gene Roddenberry inspired shows over the last 10 – 20 years. He seems the real deal but he allows himself to be associated with “Nu-Trek” which hardly has any of his father’s ideals in it (if at all)???

The words below struck me, especially the last line I am sure that could be an alternative to the Vulcan salute of “live long and prosper”, I can imagine a Vulcan holding up their hand and saying “A prosperous and unlimited future”!!

That we are clever, resilient and can learn from our mistakes. We can and will move beyond archaic belief systems. And once we truly embrace the infinite diversity all around us, both in form and idea, we will then take those next step into a prosperous and unlimited future.

I really love what Rod and the Roddenberry Archives are doing to truly preserve Star Trek’s all too important history for posterity. They do incredible work, and I am hopeful that through their efforts every single scrap of Trek knowledge will forever be recorded.

Do you think it’s possible that he just doesn’t agree with your assessment that those values aren’t present in the current series?

Look – I appreciate Gene and the Roddenberry family and Star Trek, but to be honest – a good portion of his father’s ideals was simply to produce a television show, make money, and have a bit on the side.

Rod at least seems to be accomplishing those first two and if the third is happening, he’s at least not casting his girlfriend in the shows.

The “Great Bird of the Galaxy” stuff was retconning done by Gene himself.

Well, you’re about half-right. If you read the earliest documents relating to Trek’s production it’s fairly apparent that Roddenberry’s primary intent with the series, based on his lifelong love of pulp SF, was to produce a quality space opera for adults (while yes, making money). The stuff about optimism and human potential came later, and in all honesty was probably as much a result of the tone common to TV programming of the day (which pretty much portrayed uncomplicated heroes by today’s standards) as any conscious decision on Roddenberry’s part.

On the other hand, “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” was a term of affection bestowed on Roddenberry by fans in the ‘70s based on Sulu’s benediction in “The Man Trap.” I was around then, and have no reason to think it was anything but sincere.

right – but in the 70’s he was doing all of the conventions and speaking tour events and that was where the broader narrative of the humanism of Trek was really kicked off (it was of course progressive and intentionally so when on the air no doubt)

Yes, we’re entirely agreed on that. (FWIW, I attended several of those lectures myself.)

He is maybe not a Trek fan, I am and have been all my life and I know EVERYTHING about Star Trek, which is why I can safely say “Nu-Trek” is not Star Trek.
Looks like Star Trek, Sounds like Star Trek, even has legacy characters in it, but it is NOT Star Trek.


Dude, with all due respect I’ve been a fan since ‘72, and while I certainly have my own issues with the Kurtzmann stuff I don’t consider it to be any less “real” or “authentic” Trek than anything else in a decades-spanning franchise, produced by a wide array of individuals of diverse backgrounds and talents. Sorry, but you don’t get to gatekeep based on the duration of your fandom or even your knowledge of the subject matter. Please, just stop.

+1 – I’m not a huge fan of the newest stuff either but yes – gatekeeping isn’t a Trek way of thinking either….

Yes, in your opinion. Maybe you’re unaware of the fact that a lot of people, some surely older than you, have been Star Trek fans all their lives and know everything about Star Trek, in some cases more than you, and they may very well disagree and think that Nu-Trek is indeed Star Trek. What makes your personal opinion a reflection of absolute fact? Your opinion is no more than an opinion, and as Dirty Harry has said, everybody has one and they’re all as valid as yours. Go back to your seat now.

Because “Nu-Trek” is dumb and can also be vulgar. NOT STAR TREK

Final warning for gatekeeping. Also trolling/thread hijacking.

…and that he had purchased the model himself in a storage unit purchased at auction from the estate of filmmaker Burton Holmes, who died in 1958.

The would-be eBay seller purchased an abandoned storage unit that had been owned/rented by someone using that name. Since Mr. Holmes died in 1958, as you say, it was most likely an alias. This is per posts in the RPF thread about the auction.

I’d be tempted to blame Bob Abel himself, but he passed in 2001.

I’m going to have to check with my friend at facttrek, who has had some long interviews with Abel’s art director Richard Taylor (no relation to the LOTR Richard Taylor.) I keep thinking Taylor had it on his desk at ASTRA, but I’m also pretty sure that Maurice asked him about the 3-fter and Taylor indicated he had no idea what happened to it. Y’know, if anybody here has Andy Probert’s contact info, it might be worth asking if he remembers, since he was working hand in space glove with Taylor on the ship designs during the ASTRA phase. As a longtime fan (I think he helped Lincoln Enterprises with artwork long before he turned pro), Probert would certainly have wanted to take a look at it if it was out in the open.

Various bits disappeared during and after TMP production. A space helmet got thrown in the trash, the captain’s chair vanished, a heavy duty rail used for model photography was allowed to leave the building with the guy who eventually used it as the starting point for his Image-G company that shot most of the Trek miniatures during the Berman era. Various folks took home paintings done for the vger cloud and I guess anybody could have taken a hunk of the vger interior, since it supposedly got chainsawed.

I know that some equipment was appropriated after RA&A was fired, yes; the TMP on Memory Alpha mentions it, with the addendum that they weren’t intended to be used anymore anyway.

This feels like it was intended to be a middle finger to Paramount and maybe Gene specifically (and to be fair the number of people who had grievances with Gene is a long list). It’s a wonder it got saved at all, though.

I hope it’s real and goes to a museum. That original Jeffries class Enterprise design is still the best one. As I review a TOS, original footage, episode each week along with the Enterprise Incidents podcast, I am amazed at the innovation and heart that went into making that series a phenomenon.

I think I’m gonna make a YT series reviewing each ep of TOS and comparing the old (better) footage to the videogame CGI stuff that we are forced to watch on streaming :/

Someone did YT videos comparing the old/new fx after the remastereds were released, but those didn’t actually review the shows themselves.

I love that the 11 FT model is in the Smithsonian (I saw it on a field trip to Washington when I was a kid) and this model absolutely deserves to be as well (with the Permission of the Roddenberry Family of course). I would probably take a trip to Washington on my next trip to NYC just to see it.

I’m so excited about this! It’s been incredible seeing the Trek and model making community come alive on the internet around this find. To see on FB luminaries like Doug Drexler engaging with the fans in real time about the analysis and realization that this is in fact the Real McCoy here.

I disagree with Rod, however – I don’t think this priceless artifact should end up in the Smithsonian. I don’t think it should go up for private auction either. I think it should be housed in a museum dedicated to film and media in Los Angeles – why concentrate all the Enterprises in one building on the east coast, when you could have the original in the very place that made Star Trek in the first place? Give west coast fans a chance to see a filming model, and honor that Star Trek was born, from a production point of view, in California.

Agreed. The Smithsonian got the 11-footer — why should they have all the fun?

IMHO, it’s an honor for the Smithsonian to have the Enterprise but it is a reciprocal honor for Trek to be there for them. Being along side real live vessels that made real liver aviation and space history is amazing. That’s how I felt when I saw it there as a kid.

I was out there in 2009, and saw the old girl when she was hanging in the gift shop and before her restoration. It was a little bittersweet, seeing the model in that condition, with that awful paint job and the nacelles sagging like the several botched attempts I’d made of building the AMT kit when I was a kid. Now she looks, if anything, better than when Howard Anderson filmed her back in the days when things were groovy. It’s amazing what love and 60K of taxpayer funds can do.

The photo shown in the article here next to Gene is the larger model that is now in the Smithsonian, not the 3 ft model that is discussed in this article

OK, I stand corrected — yes, that is not 11 feet.

Memo to self — do not post after drinking multiple beers.

Which photo are you talking about? No.

An 11 ft model wouldn’t even fit in my office at work lol :)

So the smaller model was 33 or 36 inches. And the larger was 11 feet or 12 feet.

“ When the series finished filming, the smaller 33″ model was given to Gene Roddenberry as a gift from the studio”
Pretty sure that should read… Gene loaded up the truck he used to take as much as he could after the series was canceled.
Paramount had no idea what he was taking, didn’t care what he was taking and if they had the slightest idea about Star Treks worth, wouldn’t have ‘gifted’ anything to GR.
Good thing GR grabbed as much as he could- like all those film trims- or they would have been lost to history.

Paramount just auctions everything off anyway to the highest bidder anyway

Love stories like this. Hope it is authentic and finds a home where more people can see it in person.

I just hope we can get the full story of what happened to this model after it was loaned to the effect house. It seems to be the real deal. The fact that the seller had a starting bid of only $1000 shows that they had no idea what they could have got for it. But they did know that Datin constructed it, so they had to know a decent amount of Star Trek history. So weird.

Datin’s card was on the bottom of the stand

Now the missing Romulan Bird-of Prey model needs to turn up. :)

They have cloaking technology :-p

I’d read that it had been destroyed before Trek’s third season, which is why they had to go with the story of the Romulans adopting the Klingon design.

I’m happy they brought it back for PIC

Hmm, I thought that was because they were trying to get more mileage out of having built a klingon ship? Guess it could be both.

The ironic thing is that because the model first appeared in “The Enterprise Incident,” the first time viewers saw a Klingon ship it was not being manned by Klingons!

The thing I remember reading in TREK magazine articles included in the first BEST OF TREK book that the Klingon model did not, initially anyway, sell all that well.

Then again, one of these articles (by a guy named something ilke Richard Van Treuer) also identifies Don Loos as the principal modelmaker on the E for the series, something that Magicam repeated in print in STARLOG 27, while mentioning Loos was the guy who was building the new TV version of the ship (the abandoned one that wound up being finished decades later for Planet Hollywood) on a freelance basis while working out of Brick Price’s shop. Paramount subsidiary Magicam DID have the principal contract for modelbuilding on the abortive TV revival, but the contract for the new E had been awarded before they signed on or because they had other stuff they had to do and couldn’t take it, not sure on that detail.

Wasn’t till the 90s that Datin’s name started appearing as the main guy, I think with the 30th anniversary Trek issue of Cinefantastique. (I’m guessing Loos was a member of the Production Model Shop that built the model, but he does not appear in the famous ‘ship out on the street’ picture.) I’m wondering if Loos is mentioned in the Datin book on the E … (anybody?)

I remember seeing pictures of the unfinished Phase II model somewhere, which pretty closely followed the drawings by Matt Jeffries and the concept artwork by Mike Minor. One issue I had was with the double turbolift for the bridge being reflected in the model’s exterior, which to my eye always looked like Mickey Mouse ears.🐹

There’s a question towards the top of this thread regarding the timing of whether the 3-footer was “borrowed” in connection with building the Phase II or the TMP miniature, which perhaps you can clear up.

I’d guess it happened late in 77 or early 78, when p2 was technically still underway though Eisner had already decided it was going to feature status. Abel consulted late 77 and I think was officially aboard shortly thereafter — there is a memo or two before that time when they were hunting vendors for p2 and freelance vfx guy Jim Veilleaux — later cosupe of TWOK at ILM — was suggested for building and/or shooting an asteroid, so I’m guessing they were still thinking a piecemeal approach to VFX like TOS, with various vendors that included Magicam and I guess Brick Price’s shop (the latter was on PROJECT UFO, while Magi would be going on to GREATEST AMERICAN HERO and COSMOS as their TMP work finally wrapped.)

Paul Rabwin, the p2 postpro guy who was also in that role for at least the initial part of TMP, might remember about this too. He hasn’t done too many trek interviews, but was another guy like producer Robert Goodwin who, while frozen out of trek during its transition to TMP, really got to show his stuff on THE X-FILES 15 years later. He was included in the FILMFAX p2-to-TMP article I helped Ross Plesset with, but I don’t think there is too much from him in there (that was the article where Ross managed to land the actual memo Jon Povill sent to Paramount to talk them out of their moronic ‘convince vger to spare earth and instead go look for our Christian God‘ ending.)

Povill insisted the memo be included in its entirety in the article, that it could not be excerpted, but FILMFAX decided they couldn’t spare the space so I don’t think it has been seen anywhere. I’ve had it for awhile (well, I might have lost a page, I think it is 4 pages), but alas, have no authority to reproduce it.

It seems to me it makes more sense that the three-footer would have been “borrowed” as a guide in constructing the P2 miniature, as its proportions were much closer to the TOS than the TMP version. But I’m still not clear on what, if anything, Bob Abel would have to do with the P2 model.

Damn, I’d like to see that memo *almost* as much as I’d to read (or at least have described secondhand) JDFB’s earlier treatment of what became “The Menagerie.” (Including Bob Justman’s infamous seven page single-space epic missive on Ellison’s original draft of COTEOF, TOS always had the best memos!) TMP’s ending is a little problematic, but it was apparently pure gold compared to what Paramount wanted.

Guess I’d forgotten that Magicam had provided effects for COSMOS, though I do recall that Rick Sternbach, who had provided artwork for the books in Larry Niven’s “Known Space” series during the Eighties, was also involved. The COSMOS fx are pretty crude by today’s standards, but the series otherwise holds up splendidly.

Yes if it was used as a guide it would have been at prices shop, not Abel. Sternbach did a ringworm cover too I think. (Am still working on and nudging about that other thing.)

Might of been destroyed by it’s creator Wah Ming Chang when problems with the prop masters union arose. They proved he wasn’t a member so he couldn’t work on Star Trek. The union agreed to drop the complaint against the studio if they returned the model and didn’t pay him. He was mad and destroyed the model. Chang was responsible for the Romulan bird of prey, the Talosians head design, tricorder, communicator, salt vampire, Balok, Gorn, and Tribbles.

I’d vaguely remembered reading something like that, but didn’t feel confident enough to post it. Thanks for the clarification. Chang was a genius who deserved better than to be blackballed by a racist union, and (frankly) to be taken advantage of by Trek’s producers.

Yeah I didn’t know about it until I bought the Eaglemoss Romulan bird of prey model and read it in the included magazine.

Full RPF thread here was an interesting read from the initial posting of the listing to the series of online forensics to determine apparent authenticity

When I first heard about this a couple of weeks back, I was beyond excited that this could be the real thing. I sure hope it is.

With that said, I was also most heartened by RR’s contention that the model should go to a museum and not to a private collector. So many of the original props (TOS, TNG, etc.) end up just being auctioned off to a few folks with money to burn and are never seen again by anyone else which I find very sad.

Hope that the former is what happens in the end!

Well, that’s the world we live in, sadly, where items of far more cultural and historical significance than this model wind up in the hands of private collectors.

Yep, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it ;) . And I hold out hope that at sometime in future this might change (probably not in my lifetime though).

It’s big of Rod to say it should go to a museum, but I think it should go to him. This was his father’s property, which was loaned and never returned. If Rod wants to keep it on his own desk, I think he should be able to.

I would imagine it would be a permanent loan rather than a gift, so he and ultimately his family would still own it.

One reason the listing may be down is that if it is the real one it may be part of Gene’s estate and Rod or whoever it would have been left to already owns it!! So it wouldn’t be the seller’s to sell necessarily.

Mr. Roddenberry’s latest statement is that once authenticated, it should be on display at the Smithsonian with the bigger model. I can respect that.

Wouldn’t the Enterprise model be considered stolen property and thus it should already be Rod Roddenberry’s property?

Probably. But my guess is that if the current owner had nothing to do with the theft, Roddenberry will offer them a tidy sum to get it back. He can certainly afford it, and it’s good publicity.

Absent any evidence it was stolen, that it was lost is just as plausible an explanation.

Okay, but it is still Roddenberry’s property in that scenario. Whoever ends up with the model seems like they should still be beholden to return it to the original lender’s family.

Trash it. It’s junk.

 I’m sorry, Mister Scott, but there will be no refit…we feel her day is over.”

Are you saying that the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage? lol

Just pound on the basement door a little harder and Mommy will bring down a plate of cookies. Maybe.

Settle down, Beavis!

Soon as you stop picking your nose, Butthead. It’s gross, and you’re scaring the children who are actually, you know, still of an age to be childish.

i hope we find out who stole it back then and how it got to where it was . it prob sat in an attic for years… they died and some relative hearing the story sold it not realizing what the true value really was… shouldnt rod be able to get it back as it was his dad’s property?