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STAR TREK Modeling: A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 3

posted by JamieH 2:00 PM
Friday, October 2, 2020

Welcome back for our continuing series of Galileo articles by Round 2 consultant Gary Kerr.

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt.3 By Gary Kerr

The Inside Job

The set representing the Galileo’s interior was constructed simultaneously with the exterior mock-up.  To facilitate filming with the large, bulky movie cameras, the walls and front bulkhead were ‘wild’; that is, they could be rolled out of the way, as required, for filming various camera angles.  In a major deviation from an interior that would actually fit inside the shuttlecraft, the ceiling was raised so the actors could stand erect without bumping their heads on the ceiling.  An overhead light panel ran the length of the passenger compartment, and the plastic grid inside the panel’s frame could be removed to allow the use of overhead studio lights.

The flight controls and computers were rudimentary, and were primarily designed to give the impression of high-tech instrumentation, with actors being the center of attention.  To save money, the “computer” props were reused as set dressing in other episodes of the show.  I’m quite sure that nobody involved in the production had the foggiest idea that anybody would be examining their work, frame-by-frame and in high def over a half century later.

The aft compartment was something else altogether, since it changed size and shape in every scene.  For example, in “The Galileo Seven”, there’s a dramatic close-up as the crew members watch Scotty drain a phaser to recharge the ship’s power.   The yellowish tanks in the aft compartment are artfully framed just inside the rear doorway.  But when Scotty goes in back to shock the ape monsters that are threatening them, the aft compartment has at least quadrupled in size, and the yellow tanks are nowhere in sight. 

The audience didn’t realize it at the time, but we got a sneak-peek at the tanks before they were installed in the Galileo when they were turned upside-down to serve as phaser coolant tanks in “Balance of Terror”. 

The starboard wall had several gizmos affixed to it, including an instrument that looks somewhat like a wall clock.  In real life, it was a repurposed Honeywell chart recorder, with the name “Honeywell” covered over.

It appears that there was no port wall, wild or otherwise, in the aft compartment.  In fact, if you carefully examine the scene in “The Galileo Seven” in which the camera shakes while the monsters attack the shuttle, you can actually see the soundstage for a split-second where the left wall should be.

On August 15, 1966, Jefferies flew out to the Phoenix shop for a quick, one-day inspection, leaving LA on Continental Airlines flight #68, and returning on Western Airlines flight #624.  Total cost: $54.29.  Those were the days!

With the mock-up and miniature Galileo under construction, the production needed a hangar bay to park the shuttle in.   Richard Datin, who had built the 3 ft Enterprise model and supervised construction of the 11-footer, built the miniature hangar bay set in his garage workshop at 4146 Klump Ave, in North Hollywood, near Studio City, California.  Datin began construction on Sept 14, 1966, and completed the project on Oct 25, 1966.  Constructed with pine framing, Masonite floor & walls, and Plexiglas ceiling & windows, the 1/12 scale model was 122” long.  The forward end of the model was 76” wide and 38” high, while the aft end was 60” wide and 29” high.  Total cost of the model: $2138.00.

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Once Winfield’s shop had finished their part of building the interior & exterior props, along with the 22” miniature, the unfinished components were trucked to the studio in LA, where union craftsmen did the final painting and detailing, and added electronics to the interior set.

Next time, Gary takes a look at the filming miniature and paint colors. See you then!

All images courtesy of CBS, except where noted.

TM & (C) 2020 CBS Studios Inc.  ARR.



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

  1. James Small says:

    Excellent info! Thank you very much Gary!

  2. Richard Martin says:

    Hi jamie hope the new 1,1000 kit is the k’tinga for new star trek ships can you do from the fan film axanar

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