U.S.S. Enterprise • NCC-1701 • Constitution Class Heavy Cruiser


Model by John T.


Building the Scratchbuilt USS Enterprise

Fiberglass, custom vaccuform plastic, wiring, LED lighting, wood

Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/130
Length = 221 cm
Width = 98 cm
Height = 56 cm

This is my scratchbuilt model of the classic Trek series USS Enterprise. She measures over 7 feet in length. The saucer is about 3 feet in diameter and the nacelles are about 4 feet long. This model was constructed in the early 80's and even to this day the model is in excellent condition.

I've always been interested in scratchbuilding models of just about everything. As a kid I never got the hang of plastic kits, for the parts were too small and usually never fit. I was notorious for over gluing to the point of meltdown, windshields usually suffered the most...
The concept of building a model of the TOS Enterprise came from seeing it on the series. I was impressed with the design elements of this miniature and that is what got me interested in building her.

The design was a major departure from the typical cheesy 60's finned rockets. Even to this day the sheer beauty of its design is timeless
This model was constructed from materials called fiberglass resin and woven glass matt. At the time this seemed to be a good choice, for I was familiar with its properties and processes.
All the cabin lights that are lit are constantly on. All the navigation lights that are meant to blink, do so as they did on TV. In some of these pictures the port and starboard running lights are lit and in others they aren't depending on when the picture was taken. The Nacelle domes blink in a semi-random fashion and the fan shape inside spins as it did on the show.
There were two events in my life time that had a profound effect on me as a modeler—I met Gene Roddenberry at one of finest institutions, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He gave a talk on the World of Star Trek. I was asked by the promoters if I would bring the model to this event. This was quite a treat to see my model hanging over the area where Mr. Roddenberry gave his speech. Talking to him later on a one-to-one basis was truly thrilling.
The other event was meeting Ed Miarecki, the chief coordinator for the restoration of the original TOS Enterprise for the Smithsonian. I visited him at his home in Springfield, Mass. We had a great time talking about his part and his crew's part in
the restoration process. He was excited to see photos of my model and gave me valuable tips to help make my model more accurate.

This picture depicts some of the fine detail that's actually evident all over the hull, but you have to be pretty close to see it all.
Some of the details are off due to the fact that the model was first built in the early 80's and information was scarce compared to what is available today.

Over the years though, there have been several additions, replacements and corrections to the model to make it more accurate to the filming model.
Here's some under saucer detail. The finishing paints are latex-based. All lettering and stripes other than hull bulkhead numbers were hand drawn, transferred to frisking paper and airbrushed directly to the hull.
Here's a picture to really show the size of the model. This picture was taken at the Shearwater Aviation Museum Model Show/Contest 2003. I'm standing almost touching the port nacelle so you can judge how big the model really is with me as a reference. There's a vintage aircraft in the background as a part of the museum's regular exhibit. The model stand is electric and the Enterprise rotates in a slow path on its post. There's a halogen lamp affixed to the bottom of the stand that shines light on the lower saucer. The Enterprise's running and cabin lights are activated through the stand as well.
This is a composite Stephen did with Adobe Photoshop with a picture he took of my Enterprise.

here to see a picture that Stephen shot of my Enterprise and then composited of himself standing on the hull near the bridge to scale with the Enterprise!
This is the dedication plaque from the USS Enterprise.

Photos and artwork by Stephen L.