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K't'inga class model

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

The design of the K't'inga-class was based on the D7 class class created by Matt Jefferies for Star Trek: The Original Series, which was, in turn based on the manta ray in both shape and color. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook) The studio model originally started out as belonging to the latter class.

The physical model

K't'inga class studio model

Original livery of the model

The original studio model, built in 1977/1978 for Star Trek: Phase II, was constructed at Magicam under supervision of Jim Dow, upgraded at Apogee, Inc., and measured a total of six feet in length (its actual dimensions being 47.5" × 35"). [1] It was based on molds taken from the original television D7-class studio model and was originally intended to be this class. When Phase II was upgraded to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, further refinement was deemed necessary to meet big screen requirements. The upgrades on the model were done in 1979 by John Dykstra's Apogee's model shop, brought in by Douglas Trumbull. Dykstra recalled:

"That model, when it came to us, had been set up for some other photographic technique that didn't fit with ours. So we had to go in and completely redo the lighting. That was done by Grant McCune and the people he had working with him, which is basically a very similar staff to the ones we had on Star Wars and other shows. They did an incredible job. They took all the teeny little lights out of the model and put in some lights of significant size – and they did it in a matter of a few days. They really did a nice job of redoing the model, without destroying what was already there. They had to add a lot of detail to it because we got much closer to the model than I think they ever intended to do before. Once the thing with the ship was worked out, Doug Smith, in charge of shooting that sequence, photographed the opening shot." (American Cinematographer, February 1980, p.174)
Andrew Probert further elaborated on the rework done on the model:
"Due to continuing miscommunication with Magicam, the Klingon model eventually came to our Seward shop for additional detailing. We attempted to stay as close to the TV series version as possible, but after running some camera tests we discovered that an additional level of detail was needed for widescreen photography. A series of slides was taken of the model. We had photostats made of them and I did some initial design work on top of the stats. We painted it a darker color. I've always liked the idea of a black spaceship – which would have been impractical for this movie; so we came up with a dark military green. I had an idea that was carried out beautifully by Ron Gress. Ron painted a giant Klingon symbol on the underbelly of the ship. It was a revision of the old Klingon symbol." (Starlog, No.32, March 1980, p.63)
In the process the D7-class became the K'tinga-class. The most significant change in the design of the K't'inga model was its more detailed surface, so that it would look more believable on the movie screen. The K't'inga-class cruiser sequence shots for Star Trek: The Motion Picture were shot under the supervision of Dykstra. (Cinefex, No.1, 1980, pp.4-34) The footage taken for this movie were the only ones taken of the model in this finish. [2] Later appearances in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: The Next Generation were stock footage taken from this shoot.

For Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country the original studio model, in 1991, underwent extensive modification to become Gorkon's flagship Kronos One. Modifications, done at the Industrial Light & Magic model shop by model-makers Bill George, Mark Moore, and John Goodson, involved a new paint scheme and gold colored metal etched ornaments applied all over the model. [3] As George recalled:

"(...)Mark and I sent out to the library for books on military hardware; and out of that research, we came up with the concept that when Klingons return victorious from battle, they add some new piece of equipment or new graphics to their ships. We chose medieval armor as both our color palette and our design springboard and devised this regal and ornate looking paint job, which everyone liked and approved, so we transferred that look onto the model." (Cinefex, no.49, 1992, p.49)
In addition the warp engines were outfitted with internal lighting visible through newly-applied jagged slotted patterns to the hull. In this finish the model was only used twice more, in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior" and in VOY: "Flashback", as Kang's battle cruiser. In the "Special Features" segment on disc seven of the VOY Season 3 DVD entitled Flashback to "Flashback", there is a 0:02:45 segment with Dan Curry discussing the filming of the encounter between the USS Excelsior and Kang's battle cruiser in the Azure Nebula. In 1993 the model was on loan to Smithsonian Institution for their Star Trek Smithsonian Exhibit, where it was shortly re-united with its "mother", the original D7-class model. [4]


Design patent image

K't'inga class at christie's

The model at auction in its Kronos One livery

A design patent, No. D263856, was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office for the K't'inga on 4 April 1982 (there called a "toy spaceship") noted Andrew Probert as the sole "inventor" of the design. Filed on 7 May 1979, the patent, after being issued, was valid for fourteen years.

The original physical studio model was eventually listed as Lot #996 in the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction, where it was given an estimated sale price of US$3,000 to $5,000; it ultimately sold for US$85,000 ($102,000 with premium) on 7 October 2006. After its purchase, the owner hired Ed Miarecki's company, FX Models, to do restoration work and to build a custom made display cabinet for the model. [5]

Other physical models

Ktinga at Qualor II

Unnamed K't'inga at the Surplus Depot Z-15

Though the K't'ingas shown in The Next Generation were all stock-footage taken from The Motion Picture, there was one exception with the appearance of an unnamed K't'inga-class at the Surplus Depot Z-15 in TNG: "Unification I", where a shot of the ship was used not covered by the footage. For the shot Gregory Jein, assisted by Bruce MacRae and Scott Schneider, built a separate model, using a set of the 1977 three feet molds of the D7 Jein owned. [6] This model has been on tour in 1996 and 1997, appearing amongst others in the 1996 LA Star Trek Convention and in the BOSS Film Studios' model shop expo '97 in Los Angeles and seemed, a bit surprisingly perhaps considering the effort that went into the later "The Way of the Warrior" episode, not to have been used since in subsequent Star Trek productions.

In "Way of the Warrior" several other physicals models of the K'tinga were used for the massive battle scene, supervised by Dan Curry, Gary Hutzel, and Glenn Neufeld. These however were modified commercially available Playmates Toys {"We had to take out the sound effects", according to Judy Elkins), Hallmark Christmas ornaments and AMT/Ertl Star Trek model kits ("which blew up real good"). (Cinefantastique, Volume 28, No.4/5, p.72 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p.263) Being the first mass battle scene ever shown on Star Trek, it was also the last one entirely done with physical models (save for a few shots with a CGI Defiant, the only one available at the time). Effects supervisor David Stipes had the procedure repeated with model kits for DS9: "Call to Arms", the last time physical models of the K't'inga were used. [7]

The heavily battle-damaged IKS B'Moth as seen in "Soldiers of the Empire" was a yet another separately-built model by Greg Jein, again using his set of the 1977 three feet molds of the D7. This model was on tour in 1997 shortly after filming and could be seen at the Star Trek Convention in Pasadena, 1997.

CGI model

K't'inga class model wire-frame CGI model

Perez's wire-frame model

Voroks battle cruiser-fore, Unexpected

Foundation's completed CGI model in action

A low resolution CGI model of the K't'inga was build at Foundation Imaging by Jose Perez for later appearances in Deep Space Nine and VOY: "Prophecy" (although it is there misrepresented as a D7-class vessel), making its debut in DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil". [8] The CGI model was later enhanced by Adam Lebowitz and Robert Bonchune for representation in their book Star Trek: Starship Spotter.

Apart form its "misuse" in the Voyager episode, the model was also "misused" as Vorok's battle cruiser in the later television episode, ENT: "Unexpected", where it was supposed to represent a more than a century-old design prior to the K't'inga design.

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