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STAR TREK Modeling: A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 4

posted by JamieH 2:00 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The story of the Galileo shuttle by Round 2 consultant, Gary Kerr, continues…

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 4 By Gary Kerr

Turning Back the Clock

The Galileo mock-up sported a glossy, 2-tone exterior color scheme – lighter gray above and darker gray below – but the exact shades of gray were thought to be lost to time since the original paint had faded after decades of exposure to the elements.  In 2015, I’d made a color match for the weathered light gray paint that was on a fragment of the Galileo owned by Adam Schneider (more on him later).  I also had a sample of the weathered darker gray from the lower half of the mock-up.  I now had samples of the original light and dark gray paint, but I had no way of knowing how much the original paints had faded.

The situation changed when I acquired the original window shutter for the Galileo’s “driver’s side” front window.  The shutter is a low-tech affair: a beat-up piece of Masonite with a wooden frame in back.  

The shutter did not slide up and down, but was simply placed into the window opening on the shuttle.  There were a number of spots where three layers of paint were exposed: a white primer base coat, a light gray middle layer, and a darker gray top coat.  The top coat had almost certainly been applied by Trek fans during a restoration, but the middle layer was an exact match for the weathered light gray that I had examined in 2015.  I wanted to expose more of the light gray middle layer, so I began to carefully chip away the brittle top layer of paint with an X-Acto blade.  To my surprise, the freshly exposed paint, which had been protected from the sun by the fan-applied paint, was a couple shades darker than Adam Schneider’s sample.  The paint was a good match for Pratt & Lambert’s “Half-tone”, which the Smithsonian’s paint expert, Dave Wilson, had identified in 2016 as the color of the gray trim under the front ends of the nacelles on the 11-foot original Enterprise model.  Very interesting…

I now had samples of the weathered light and dark gray paints, plus the relatively unweathered light gray paint from the shutter.  If the original light gray paint had faded by X amount over the years, could I arrive at an approximation of the original dark gray paint by darkening my faded dark gray sample by X amount?

 I had the paint store do a color match on my weathered dark gray sample, and then darken the paint by a couple shades.  My recreation of the unweathered dark gray was a good match for Pratt & Lambert’s “Gettysburg”, which the Smithsonian’s Dave Wilson, had matched to the color of the impulse deck and inboard nacelle trenches on the 11-foot Enterprise.  My conclusion: it appears that that Matt Jefferies had selected two shades of gray trim from the Enterprise for use on the Galileo’s outer hull.

The Galileo mock-up first appeared before the cameras for “The Galileo Seven” on September 27, 1966.  Two weeks later, October 12, 1966, the Galileo portrayed an anonymous shuttlecraft from Starbase 11 in “The Menagerie, Part 1”.  Even though “The Galileo Seven” was filmed first, the episode was delayed, presumably by the wait for the hangar bay miniature to be built and filmed, and wasn’t aired until January 5, 1967.  Thus, the Galileo’s first onscreen appearance occurred on November 17, 1966, in “The Menagerie, Part 1”.  

During the run of the series, the full-size exterior and/or interior props also made appearances in “Metamorphosis”, “The Doomsday Machine“, “Journey to Babel“, and “The Immunity Syndrome“, with its farewell performance in “The Way to Eden”.

Life After Star Trek

After the original series ended, the Galileo began a years-long, cross-country odyssey.  Paramount donated the 22-foot Galileo mock-up to The Braille Institute in Los Angeles.  The Masonite, plywood, and metal prop was not designed to withstand the elements, and once outdoors, it began to deteriorate.  Because of safety concerns, the institute sold the prop to Roger Hiseman of Palos Verdes, who displayed the decomposing shuttlecraft, a photo op for young Trek fans, in his front yard.  Following complaints from his neighbors, the Galileo was moved to an open storage area in Redondo Beach.

By this time, the mock-up was looking MUCH worse for the wear, and the roof over the impulse deck had collapsed.  The Galileo changed hands again in 1985 and ended up further south, to another open storage area near San Diego, where the mock-up’s owner attempted a restoration.  Following an appearance at a 1986 Star Trek convention in Anaheim, the mock-up was moved to yet another open storage area, this time near Palm Springs, and the semi-restored mock-up continued to deteriorate. 

In 1989, a Star Trek fan in Ohio, Lynne Miller, purchased the mock-up for $3,000 and had it shipped over to the Canton/Akron airport in April 1991. After many years, the mock-up finally had a roof over its head.  Yet another restoration was begun, and the Galileo was displayed at a Trek convention near Cleveland the following November. 

As mentioned previously, in April 1992, on the way home from visiting the hugely popular Star Trek: The Exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, a couple friends and I rendezvoused with Lynne Miller at the Canton/Akron airport and spent several hours documenting the mock-up.  I took home a couple souvenirs, including an 8 ft roof truss, from a pile of rotting wood that had been removed from the mock-up.

The restoration stopped in 1993, following a dispute between Ms Miller and those doing the restoration.  The Galileo had to be moved yet again when the airport property was sold and the hangar was demolished, and it ended up in open storage at an industrial site near Akron.  The mock-up dropped out of sight when the property was sold and cleaned up in 2008.

What a shocking turn of events! The Galileo straight up disappeared! Find out what happened next in the Earth-shattering conclusion to Gary’s story.

All images courtesy of CBS, except where noted.

TM & (C) 2020 CBS Studios Inc.  ARR.

3 Responses to “STAR TREK Modeling: A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 4”

  1. I actually tracked Lynne down about 20 years ago, just doing various web searches. At that time she let me know it was safe and protected in Ohio. At that point, a lot of folks were asking and I thought I would give it a shot. It seemed at that point that I was the only person that knew where it was.


  2. spock62 says:

    Would it be possible to have model paint equivalents, from companies that still make them (i.e. not Testors), of the two gray colors used, as opposed to house paints?

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