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

WonderWorks Inc. is a special and visual effects company that specializes in constructing filming miniatures and props. Originally founded by Oliver Ray "Brick" Price, a self taught modeler and designer, in the late 1970s, it first operated under the name Brick Price Movie Miniatures. Starting out as a model maker for a hobby magazine, his work caught the attention of Gene Roddenberry who invited him in 1977 to help out Magicam to ease the workload for the upcoming Star Trek: Phase II television project. He was charged with the construction of the revamped USS Enterprise studio model. Bringing along Model Maker Don Loos to help with the construction, the model was three quarters complete, when in December 1977 the decision was made to upgrade the project to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture movie project. Both director Robert Wise and art director Richard Taylor dismissed the almost complete model as being inadequate to meet big screen requirements and Price and his team were pulled off the project. His company was still retained to build numerous props like phasers, tricorders and such, albeit uncredited.

Star Trek Phase II Enterprise master of the studio model worked on by Brick Price

Price working on the molds of the Phase II Enterprise

WonderWorks Inc. original company logo

Original company logo

Although Price has asserted on occasions that he retained the Phase II Enterprise model, among others to Star Trek aficionado William S. McCullars on his now defunct website "The Idic Page", and in the documentary series Hollywood Treasure (season 1, episode 15, "Trek to the Future", broadcast 8 June 2011), his company's model was discarded by Paramount Pictures after the upgrade to the movie project, as was confirmed by Jim Dow (American Cinematographer, January 1980, p. 153) and Paul Olsen (Star Trek: Creating the Enterprise, p. 46). Nevertheless, he did retain the molds of the model and years later produced from them copies for the "Planet Hollywood" restaurant franchise, among others the New York City location in the early 1990s. The saucer section and torpedo launchers were heavily adjusted to reflect the appearance of the refit Enterprise has in the movies. The nacelles, secondary hull, and the upper dorsal retained its original Phase II design, resulting in an unfamiliar looking hybrid between the Phase II and the movie's Enterprise.[1]. It was the New York City model Price presented to McCullars as being the original. "The model was built from parts pulled from the phase II molds. A lot of models were duplicated so that they could be displayed at more than one Planet Hollywood.", John Eaves later confirmed. [2] American collector Adam Schneider [3] provided additional confirmation of the existence of copies, as he acquired one and had it converted to approximate the The Motion Picture appearance as a companion piece to the actual drydock studio model he owned. [4] [5] Further confirmation was provided in the Hollywood Treasure documentary series episode, in which Brick Price himself presented the molds and partial casts of the model. In it could be discerned that some of the molds were at least partially modified and that the castings were not those of the original model.

During the 1980s Price changed the name of the company to "WonderWorks Inc." and continued to provide special and visual effects assets for several movies. Besides movies, the company also provided numerous models for museums, theme parks, and corporations as well as the aforementioned Planet Hollywood models.

In 1994 WonderWorks was reacquainted with the Star Trek franchise when it was called in to help out in a time when the production staff of Star Trek was spread thin while preparing the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the season 2 ending of Deep Space Nine, the production of Star Trek Generations, the documentary Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the pre-production of Voyager. "Wonderworks" was charged with building the physical studio models of the two Kazon starship classes.

Staff

Brick Price Movie Miniatures crew

The crew of BPMM on the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

There have been a number of staffers and people that have worked closely with the group over the years, including:

Further reading

  • "Star Trek-The Motion Picture: Props", David Hutchinson, Starlog, Issue 47, 1981, pp. 57-61.
  • "Brick Price Movie Miniatures; The Group that Star Trek Forgot", James Van Hise, Enterprise Incidents; special edition on the technical side, 1984, pp. 35-56.

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