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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 9:39am | IP Logged | 1  

STAR TREK has established Star Fleet as having a far greater propensity for altering the designs of its regulation attire than just about any military service in the history of, well, history!

Much of this, of course, is due to the fading away of the "Old Guard" -- that generation who had actually served in the military, and who had some sense of what it was like to be part of such organizations. That kind of thinking has been almost totally eclipsed by the "Wouldn't It Be Cool…" approach to designing the Future, both in the clothing/uniforms and the technology. (That's how we go from Sulu driving the boat with a few buttons on a shiny black panel to later "more advanced" ships needing all kinds of bells and whistles to do the same job.)

As I find myself drifting deeper into TREK "lore", thru my IDW work, I find myself wondering about which elements should really be considered canonical. And that's where the question of the uniforms comes up.

In the first pilot, the crew (male and female) wore charcoal gray slacks with a hint of "sparkle" woven in, and tunics with knitted, crew-style collars. For the second pilot, these uniforms were recycled, so Kirk and Spock dressed as had Pike and Spock.

When the show went to full series, however, the uniforms were modified. The slack became black, and the collars likewise. This was a smart move, as black is almost always a stronger element, visually, than any other color. However, a few episodes in, we got to meet one of Jim Kirk's classmates from the Academy, and altho their time there would have predated the second pilot, this character, Finnegan, wore black slack and a tunic with a black collar. (His "cadet" uniform tunic also had a sparkle effect, to distinguish it from the uniforms worn by Kirk and his crew.)

In an upcoming TREK miniseries, I will be wandering briefly thru Kirk's time at the Academy (my stories being set in -- sigh -- TREK Prime, remember), followed by some exploits after graduation. This raises the question of how the uniforms should be portrayed. Should pre-TOS uniforms be as seen on the first and second pilots, with the cadet uniforms somehow looking like TOS uniforms? Should Finnegan's uniform be considered an aberration? Or should the uniforms worn in the second pilot be ignored?

I wonder -- is the best approach the one I have taken with the Klingons, to simple "mix and match" the different styles and make no comment about it in the stories?

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Sam Karns
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 10:43am | IP Logged | 2  

 A blend is good because it shows a gradual evolution of the uniforms we know.  As for the sparkle uniforms, I thought you would have asked the colorist to produce that for CREW.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 3  

I did. Some of my color notes did not get transmitted. Now I send them directly to the corist.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 4  

In the first pilot, the crew (male and female) wore charcoal gray slacks with a hint of "sparkle" woven in, and tunics with knitted, crew-style collars. For the second pilot, these uniforms were recycled, so Kirk and Spock dressed as had Pike and Spock.

+++++++

I recently noticed that the black slacks did in fact replace the gray ones in the second pilot, but still lacked the more pronounced "sparkle" of the series pants. The Enterprise insignia on the tunics were also redone--they were bigger, and had an embroidered black border. The series versions were bigger still, and were made of a gold leathertte material which sparkled.

So, even between the pilots there was tinkering going on!

There was also the transitional uniform design used only in early promotional photos after the series was greenlit--these had round (instead of pointy) black collars, and used the second pilot rank braids/insignia:



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 04 March 2010 at 12:43pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 11:54am | IP Logged | 5  

In an upcoming TREK miniseries, I will be wandering briefly thru Kirk's time at the Academy (my stories being set in -- sigh -- TREK Prime, remember), followed by some exploits after graduation.

+++++++++++++

Awesome!

+++++++++++++

This raises the question of how the uniforms should be portrayed. Should pre-TOS uniforms be as seen on the first and second pilots, with the cadet uniforms somehow looking like TOS uniforms? Should Finnegan's uniform be considered an aberration? Or should the uniforms worn in the second pilot be ignored?

++++++++

I don't think there's a big problem, here. Cadets could easily have worn a style closer to the series uniforms than the uniforms worn by officers at that time. Aesthetics change--certainly so in Starfleet! At the very least, the design difference would help differentiate cadets from officers--maybe by the time of TOS, this was reversed--officers wore the black collars, and cadets wore the turtlenecks of the pilots!

Perhaps the cadet uniform proved pleasing enough that it was decided to upgrade the standard duty uniforms to match?

Anyhoo, the mix-and-match method seems fine. I don't recall anynone complaining about the bumpy-headed Klingons in SCHISM.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 04 March 2010 at 12:44pm
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 6  

I know when I went into the US Army back in 1984 the old style green uniforms were giving way to the new style BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform) that were introduced a couple of years before I got in.  There was a year of overlap before the greens weren't allowed to be worn anymore.  Perhaps this would be the way to think about the various uniforms.
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Luke Styer
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Posted: 04 March 2010 at 3:36pm | IP Logged | 7  

I'd probably use the Finnegan uniform for any cadets since I think that's the only one we ever saw during that timeframe.

For pre-TOS adventures I'd put non-cadets in the "Cage' uniforms for anything pre-TOS but not Academy based.  I can't speak to the strict accuracy of this approach, but I think it would serve as a solid visual shorthand for the reader as to the timeframe of the adventure.
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Wayde Murray
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Posted: 05 March 2010 at 7:53am | IP Logged | 8  

Can any aspect of what we saw in Shore Leave be chalked up to Kirk's memory? Finnegan was "real" to Kirk, but the actual Finnegan, in Kirk's Academy days, would have been a bit bigger-than-life in Kirk's eyes due to the nature of their relationship. Faux-Finnegan says "You can't beat me", which might be the "flavor" the mind-reading machines get from Kirk: Finnegan was stronger, was faster, was smarter, dressed better, etc., and so his replica was constructed along those lines. Hence the shiny tunic, representing a cleaner look than Kirk (or anyone else) would have been able to attain in reality.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 March 2010 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 9  

It should be noted, however, that Finnegan's uniform did show up on some extras in later episodes, and therefore must be a "real" uniform.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 05 March 2010 at 12:56pm
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Cory Vandernet
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Posted: 05 March 2010 at 3:35pm | IP Logged | 10  

How about Starfleet Academy would always have the latest in Starfleet fashions being so close to Starfleet Headquarters. However those Starships on their 5 year missions out in the field may have to wait 1 tour of duty or longer before they are resupplied with new uniforms. The starships on the fringes of the universe would the last supplied.

 

 

 

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Wayde Murray
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Posted: 05 March 2010 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 11  

Greg, I can't recall the uniform being reused. Can you point me in the direction of an episode? And was the character(s) wearing the shiny tunic a cadet?

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 March 2010 at 9:54pm | IP Logged | 12  

Some quick research indicates that the tunic was worn by some extras in "Wolf in The Fold" and "The Trouble With Tribbles", for starters.

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