Let’s talk about the I.S.S. Enterprise.
|Posted: 16 September 2018 at 11:27pm | IP Logged | 7
I’ve decided that my next build (which I began some time ago, but put on hiatus in favor of other projects) will be the Imperial Starship Enterprise as seen in “Mirror, Mirror”.
Now, the thing about the Mirror ship is that there have been a lot of interpretations and variations of it, over the years. In the episode itself, the ship was of course depicted with the usual stock footage of the Enterprise: The second pilot version of the 11-foot model was used for the famous flip-flopping, universe-transition sequence, and then shots of the production version in planetary orbit appeared during the rest of the episode.
Both the dialogue and the reworked interior sets give us an idea of how different the Mirror ship is, compared to “ours”: It’s mostly the same, but there are minor variations and differences throughout. Such as all of those Imperial insignias on various doors and walls.
In theory, the exterior of the Mirror ship should be virtually identical to “our” ship, save for the hull reading “I.S.S. Enterprise” instead of “U.S.S.”. However, from a hobbist’s perspective—to say nothing of a merchandising and marketing perspective—, that would be...well...boring.
When Polar Lights’ 1/1000 kit first came out in 2003, it presented a new and specific “Mirror, Mirror” version of the ship in the kit’s instructions, as designed by the late Thomas Sasser, who developed the kit. He based the design upon the second pilot version of the 11-foot model (which, as noted, was seen in the famous flip-flop shot), but also added Empire insignias to the forward upper saucer, the top of each engine nacelle, the hangar deck doors, and the underside of the secondary hull (in other words, mostly in areas of the ship which were unseen in the shots of the ship used for the episode, and thus open to some artistic license). In the case of the latter, he cleverly incorporated the insignia into the existing circular, yellow hatch on the bottom of the secondary hull. For whatever reason, the various other insignias shared the same red-and-yellow color scheme of the secondary hull’s marking.
This interesting interpretation also served as the basis for the Art Asylum/Diamond Select electronic toy version of the Mirror ship, and has become the default version for fan art and licensed products.
The 2006 CGI Remastered version of “Mirror, Mirror”, brought another interpretation to the table. This new model was a variant of the Remastered second pilot Enterprise (which itself was basically just the production version with the most notable bits altered), “I.S.S.” on the saucer, and a darker, almost steel/gunmetal hull coloration. And no Imperial markings whatsoever.
Meanwhile, some bum named Byrne created his own take on the ship for NEW VISIONS. This version is the production-style, CGI Enterprise from the Remastered episodes, but labeled “I.S.S.” Enterprise, with two large, blue Imperial insignias on the port and starboards sides of the upper saucer.
More recently, Eaglemoss released their miniature replica of the Mirror ship, with a custom CG model presented in the accompanying magazine. This model is a tweaked version of the Constitution class Defiant from the “In a Mirror, Darkly...” episodes of ENTERPRISE. It’s essentially the production-era Enterprise, but with the pilot-era antennae on the (illuminated) front nacelle domes, and the second pilot vents on the rear nacelle endcaps. The Imperial insignias from the Polar Lights version remain on the upper saucer and nacelles, but are colored black instead of red/yellow. Meanwhile, the insignia on the bottom of the secondary hull is absent (at least on the actual physical model produced by Eaglemoss).
Anyhoo, my point is that there have been a good number of interpretations of this ship, with the second pilot version of the 11-foot model often serving as an influence. I can understand why: It provides some contrast with “our” ship (the production-style ship), whilst simultaneously paying homage to that classic flip-flop shot, which featured the second pilot model.
However, from an in-universe perspective, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Mirror ship should be pretty much identical to “ours”. That being said, it definitely makes sense that the exterior would at least have have some Imperial insignias, since they were used all over the interior sets as a way of calling attention to the parallel universe aspect of the episode.
For my build, I’ve considered a few ways to make the design subtly different from “our” Enterprise without going overboard. Like, say, a darker undercoat under the base color, so as to literally make the ship look a bit darker than normal. Or maybe some TMP-style phaser ball-turrets, so as to suggest heavier armaments than on “our” ship. Maybe heavier weathering to indicate more combat experience, too.
However, I intend to stick pretty close to “our” ship, since this build will be a test run for the specific color scheme and weathering I plan to implement on my 1/1000 production-era build, based on all of the new info from the Smithsonian restoration of the 11-foot model. At the very least, though, I’ll be adding the red/yellow Imperial insignia on the secondary hull, and the black insignias of the Eaglemoss model on the upper saucer and nacelles (which I’ve created custom decals for).
That all being said, I do welcome any thoughts and/or suggestions. This build’s construction is essentially complete, and next up is the primer stage of painting. Still plenty of time to decide on the specifics of final detailing.