Matt Jefferies’ original USS Enterprise may be the most iconic sci-fi vehicle design ever, or is at least in very rare company. It’s a wonderful, weird look that makes no aerodynamic sense (and why would it? It’s in space, after all) and its twin nacelles, squat duck body, and saucer head have set the tone for Star Trek designs forevermore. But how well does the original series’ Enterprise hold up in more modern Star Trek films? That’s what noted Trek fan Nick Acosta (who previously gave the world widescreen versions of Star Trek from both its 1966 and Next Generation incarnations) investigates thanks to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s release of new high-resolution images of the original shooting model posted in advance of the institution’s current restoration project. Acosta explains:
I was amazed how large and detailed it was, even in its unrestored state. I grew up with this model and it always seemed like its own heroic character in the show. So I took actual photos of the model as it is today and re-composited the photos into the Star Trek feature film shots. I think the model still holds up beautifully, especially when it is properly lit and the ship’s lights are illuminated.
The result is decidedly retro, but it’s hard to deny the old girl’s still got it.
Acosta’s also posted some making-of gifs, which you can see more of on his tumblr page.