(This is the original page, on the 'Net until the project was completed and the site redesigned)
When the season finale of Star Trek - Voyager ended, and I turned off the TV and as I got another cup of tea I realized that it had been a major part of my life, every Wednesday, for over six years. It's not the show and its historical significance (though that's not lost on me), it's not the cast, it's not the "brotherly love" or potential "soap-opera - who's messing with who" angles I cared about. It's the fact that a beautiful ship was thrown so incredibly far from anything resembling familiar space. Resources had to be conserved, efficiency pushed to new limits and creativity pushed to radical degrees so as to survive for what could be a 75 year journey home. The crew of the Voyager had no clue when they came aboard for their shakedown mission that their lives would be so radically altered.
If you have to end up in the Delta Quadrant, you want to have an Intrepid class starship as your primary resource. (Take note of that for when it happens to you. ;) ).
The Intrepid class starship is a beautiful thing - let's compare a few ships and put it all in perspective. Previously my favorite ship was the Miranda-class vessel shown in Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan - it's not just small, it's compact. They put a great deal of functionality in a very small space. This ship is almost half the mass of the Constitution-class Enterprise NCC-1701-A, and yet in all the charts, games and technical details it could cause it some serious damage, to the extent that it can destroy it outright under the right circumstances. It's quick and highly maneuverable.. A ship one could get really personal with.
The USS Defiant is the most compact ship to date, and should have been called the USS Asskicker for the power it packs. While it's another fave it's definitely not a long-term vessel, but rather built for down-and-dirty combat - one could barely sit in the captain's chair without getting a leg cramp!
The USS Voyager, NCC-74656 is an Intrepid class ship designed with a multitude of improvements both in design and technology. It is the most advanced starship created, second to the Enterprise-E (which was developed shortly afterwards). I won't list all the highlights of the Intrepid-class ship on this page - you'll find them here (will open in a separate window).
Fact is, I want one. I want to come home and see it in my living room, an object frozen in a time that hasn't come yet. As I write this, I am obsessed with it - I've been learning every detail. This is new to me - I have never, ever been so myopic regarding anything before (outside of Dr. Who, but then that's not an obsession - it's a state of mind, a way of life. ;) ).
I started cruising the 'Net to learn about how to acquire one, to find out that I'm many years late as a myriad of people got bit by the Voyager-Bug many years before me and got all the toys, models et al that were in production. I can't just go out and buy one anymore, because the license issued to the toy / model companies to reproduce the ship had expired a couple years ago! Everything out there is a collector's item.
So I hit EBay every day for a couple weeks in the remote hope that someone has one in perfect condition they want to sell, and against all odds I found someone in Canada who had a limited edition model and was willing to part with it (for over 400% profit, it's what I get for purchasing a collector's item). I was thrilled, I was maniacal, I bought it, having found it only 40 minutes before the auction was over.
This is the model I bought.
As I searched through the 'Net researching the item I had just paid for, I was suddenly struck with a real, tangible, serious problem-
The last model I built was with my father when I was 12 years old.
My research showed I needed to have a lot more materials and hardware than I possessed (I'm a computer technician, not a model-builder!). I learned that models have gaps ("you mean the model plastic isn't perfect?") that needed to be filled ("with what?") and sanded down ("you have to sand things on a model?!"). You have to paint them ("paint?"), and everyone's using an airbrush ("?!?!?!?!??!?!")....
I had to fess up to somebody in my process of gaining a clue, I decided that it would be the guy behind the counter at the local hobby store. I asked him where someone starts learning about professional modeling, as I had just purchased one and wanted to put it together. When I told him what I had acquired, he said "Where did.. how the hell did you get your hands on that thing?!". He must have been absolutely sickened when I told him I had no clue what to do with it. He graciously led me to the modeling section and pointed out a couple of his favorite materials, and left me to learn.
I dropped another amount equal to the price of the ship itself in supplies, including another, much cheaper ship (the Enterprise-D) for me to hack up and learn against.
And so the saga begins - click on the link below to see how it's coming.
Disclaimers - I realize I've referenced a lot of other people's sites here - I have no intention of plagiarizing anybody else's information or efforts. The places I've referenced I consider authoritative, excellent resources. I would rather hyperlink to them by a picture originally on their site than take their data and not reference them at all - it's a common subject, but they've put more time into what I'm referencing so I may as well refer to them directly.
Don't talk to me about copyright notices - Voyager, Star Trek, UPN and all that good stuff - I'm not making a company or stealing "hits", I'm talking about my new hobby / obsession / life. Sic your lawyers on Microsoft, put 'em to good use and piss off.