A Scale Haunting

ranger_refit_096dI’m beginning to reevaluate some scale issues as the doll house people are beginning to haunt the decks and door frames…

I took my simple 2D scale figurines and decided to begin judging things a little more accurately now that I had the fundamentals in place.  I even thought it might be neat to slice and dice the rather plain silhouette I’ve been using for years, and make it a little more Starfleet friendly.  While pleased I’m finally able to visualize the overall scale in all of this, I’ve since discovered there are a few conflicts with some of the more humanoid proportioned details on this ship.  Since I have the inane weakness of never beginning a model by measuring things out (unless I need precise dimensions), I had to get two entirely different ship models in sync in terms of their scale.

I began the overall size gauge by simply comparing an image, rendered by Kevin Riley, of his WIP Ranger class next to his own Loknar class refit (and a Klingon cruiser to boot).

SizeChartKevin Riley’s size chart for his original Ranger class scout WIP.

Itself a size comparison, the image doesn’t appear to be a perfect ortho (or maybe just has some mild stretchy distortions), but I was able to line up many features of his downloadable Phobos model to that image set as a background and then size my Strider model next to it against the same backdrop.  Coming as close as I could to those pixels and perspectives, the overall size of the saucer and aft sections of my scout ship line up pretty darn well, although my nacelles are notably (by choice) shorter than the stand-ins Riley used in his size chart.  Nevertheless, once the large structures had settled into their final measurements, I used the docking ports and main gangway of his Phobos as a direct size template for the ones I’d previously modeled and imported into this scout model.  In order to determine my final stance on people, I would have to use the door within the docking ring, or more importantly the actual circular frame itself as it appears in set constructs, as a guide to decide how tall a person should be in comparison.  For that task I had to decide once and for all just how large those round doors are (the entire inset being a good bit larger given the need to contain an entire docking collar).  I’ve long leaned towards 7 feet as many standard doors now tend to be, but I couldn’t shake the feeling (after years of repeatedly watching Leonard Nimory skimming under that cosmic lintel in The Motion Picture) that they simply weren’t quite that tall.  I chose to compromise with 6.5 feet, slightly more confining than any regular doorway, but still large enough for a good tall fella to slip through with as few head bumps as possible.  I created an oblong rectangular polygon broken into 7 equal units, proclaimed each unit as an individual foot in length, then broke the 7th unit into 12 more individually equal units and dumped the top 6 of them. I then sized the entire measurable to the door frame at 6 feet, 6 inches. God forbid I just size the model to meet those actual dimensions, but sometimes it’s all about meeting in the middle. 😉  After that, sizing my paper doll polygon was a breeze.  My 2D Starfleet figurine represents a man 6′, 1″ (my pinnacle height when I was a youngin’).

ranger_refit_096cLots of room without that shuttle!

ranger_refit_097f1A few minor details for those cramped facilities.

ranger_refit_100aSome improvements on the cargo items that will come in handy elsewhere.

I was able to re-size my shuttle by a small fraction and put some landing bay like trifles here and there.  Unfortunately, when I moved on and put my flat figurine next to the main gangway I noticed a major problem.  Even though I used Kevin Riley’s details exactly as they appear on the Phobos to size both types of entryways, my 2D Starfleet officer dwarfs the gangway and would have to bend over to enter as if he were coming aboard Balok’s Fesarius for the first time.

ranger_refit_098To quote Mr. Scott, “Bend low gentlemen.  It reads pretty cramped over there.”

Although my own scaling methods are a bit unorthodox, this lead me to suspect Riley’s docking rings (or gangway) may not be properly scaled in relation to his Phobos or if they are, the original studio models featuring these entryway designs may be inaccurate at some level.  That would be a bummer since I used Riley’s Phobos and Dennis Bailey’s Enterprise to build my main gangway interior some months ago.

Minor update:  I don’t have exact dimensions for these ships, but I decided to compare the Enterprise and Phobos meshes to get an idea of where this all stands (heh, or falls).  The two ships were not to the same scale in their original form, as the Phobos is a bit larger than the Enterprise in every major feature.  I downsized the Phobos so its docking rings matched the Enterprise and found some interesting things.  Though the Phobos warp nacelles turn out to be roughly the same width and height as those on the Enterprise, they are actually shorter by a noticeable degree.  The Phobos saucer is just slightly smaller in radius but the two are very close in thickness along their outer rims, and there in lies the rub.  When their docking rings share that universal diameter, Riley’s Phobos gangway hatch is considerably smaller than the version on Bailey’s Enterprise.  Now I don’t know how this relates to the accuracy of original studio models (nor do I really care), but I was able to breathe a sigh of relief, since Bailey’s Enterprise was the primary scale guide for my recent gangway project which means I won’t have to reconsider any details surrounding that model.

As for the Strider, I will probably have to completely redo the gangway to create a more appropriately sized door, the outer frame of which manages to stay within the confines of saucer rim’s full depth.  The structure I already have in place can’t simply be enlarged without creating maddening corner juts that look very sloppy.

ranger_refit_088eAn early scaling error led to this resizing gaffe.

ranger_refit_080gIn addition to a severe reduction in crew stature the shuttle’s scale suffered as well.

There were a few false starts too, and an early scale error led to this resizing directly above.  In my first attempt at using the docking ring’s door frame as a personnel ruler, I came up with this apparent size scenario.  I had scaled my person and managed to shrink the shuttle considerably to match.  It was almost perfect in terms of the shuttle being more maneuverable within the bay itself.  I was beginning to think there would be room inside to rotate the shuttle around entirely with little or no difficulty, but my hopes were short lived.  As happy as I was with those results, I couldn’t shake the feeling something was amiss.  This ship just wasn’t that big. When I put the generic scale character in the frame of the other docking ring to compare, I realized what went wrong.  Unfortunately, I had missed a major element in the initial measurement when I copy and pasted the docking door inset alone, entirely ignoring the doors’ outer rim and scaling the silhouette to that substandard height.  Alas, I went back and did the entire procedure over with the proper features and was able to come up with the scales shown at the beginning of this blog entry.  The final shuttle scale can also be see just below.  It’s the same as the very top image, but the paperdolls are gone and the cargo details are the latest.  Although the shuttle is still slightly smaller than my very earliest approximations, it’s by no means near as maneuverable as that little error version I had for a brief moment.

ranger_refit_101bFinal shuttle scale.

ranger_refit_097eJust some lighting experiments while trying to fake some things.


~ by starstation on August 5, 2013.

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