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Posts Tagged ‘Galileo’

Thank for returning for this final chapter in Round 2 consultant, Gary Kerr’s, history on the Galileo shuttle.

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 5 By Gary Kerr

Rescue and Rebirth

The whereabouts of the Galileo were unknown, and fans despaired that it had been scrapped, but the plucky shuttlecraft resurfaced in 2012, when Kiko Auctioneers held an 11-day online auction.  The auction price was holding at around $20,000, but on June 28, 2012, the bidding came to a head when three bidders jumped in during the last 90 seconds of the auction.  Adam Schneider, a collector of numerous Star Trek studio miniatures, placed the winning bid of $70,150.00, and the Galileo became by far the largest spaceship model in his collection.   

Since the Galileo was far too large to display at Adam’s home in New Jersey, Adam’s goal was to completely restore the rotting prop and donate it to a museum for public display.  Gene Winfield, who had originally built the Galileo, suggested that a builder of wooden boats might be best suited for the job, and Adam selected Master Shipwrights Design and Restoration, which specialized in restoring antique and classic boats, to do the restoration.  The Galileo was trucked to Master Shipwrights in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, but six days later, on October 29, 2012, disaster struck, as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast.  In anticipation of a storm surge, the mock-up’s nacelles were placed in a high and dry location, while the mock-up, itself, sat on 12” blocks.  Sandy’s storm surge flooded Master Shipwrights’ shop with four feet of water, but the Galileo survived.  As Adam said, the mock-up was already such a hunk of junk that the floodwater couldn’t hurt it any further.

Over the next two months, the shop’s employees de-salted the shop and the mock-up, and then they went to work on the Galileo. 

After they straightened and repaired the ship’s internal metal skeleton, they replaced the rotted framing with all-new wood.  Lift points were added so the heavy mock-up could be moved safely.  Sturdy Marine-grade plywood replaced the flimsy Masonite, and the finished shuttle was painted with marine-grade paint.  I supplied artwork for the external markings, plus additional information, and Will Smith built a replacement “busy box”, a collection of gizmos hidden behind a fold-down panel on the aft end of the shuttle, which Spock and Scotty would work on every time the shuttle got stranded on an alien world. 

Once the Galileo was fully restored, Adam set about finding a suitable museum to house the ship. Display space, especially for an artifact as large as the Galileo, is at a premium in most museums, and after contacting over a dozen museums, Adam settled on NASA‘s Space Center Houston, which is part of the Johnson Space Center.  The Galileo was unveiled, amid much ceremony, on July 31, 2013. 

In 2016, the Galileo was loaned to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, and upon its return to Houston, the shuttle was ignominiously displayed in a corner of the museum’s cafeteria. 

The current management team at the museum is apparently not a fan of Star Trek.  The Galileo has been removed from public display and put into storage because it does not fit into management’s “vision” for the museum.

The Filming Miniature

In contrast to its widely-traveled big brother, the 22-inch Galileo miniature was a relative shut-in and remained in the Los Angeles area for most of its existence.  The model, constructed mainly from wood and plastic, was designed to be filmed either suspended from wires, or mounted on a post inserted into the model’s belly.  The studio model also had internal lighting for its impulse deck and front windows.  Richard Datin had decal sheets with markings for both the Galileo and Columbus, but only the Galileo markings were ever applied to the model. 

One of the model’s features has been overlooked until recently.  In 2019, Star Trek authority, Doug Drexler, and aerospace historian and writer, Glen Swanson, had been sleuthing through the archives at UCLA and AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).  Doug and Glen hit pay dirt, we were able to use Doug’s Academy Award winner discount to get 600 dpi scans of previously unreleased photographs (not grainy film clips) of the studio model of the Enterprise, plus shots of the newly built Galileo miniature before it was fully detailed.  The model, suspended from overhead wires, had a glossy, 2-tone paint scheme, and apparently to serve as Commodore Mendez’s shuttle in “The Menagerie, Pt 1”, somebody had plastered “173” in large letters on the model’s side.  Richard Datin worked on the model for several hours on October 31, 1966, and this may have been when the Galileo’s official markings were applied.

The most important discovery lay on the model’s wooden roof: the existence of scribed panels.  They were very similar to the panels on the concept illustration that Thomas Kellogg had drawn for Gene Winfield and Matt Jefferies in 1966, when an affordable version of the Galileo was first being designed.

image description

The 22-foot mock-up did not possess corresponding roof panels, which makes financial sense.  Because the roof of the mock-up was seen only one time in the series, in a wide establishing shot in “The Galileo Seven”, it seems reasonable did not want to waste their budget dollars on full-size panels.

The model vanished after the series ended, and was presumed to be lost, stolen, or destroyed during a cleanup at Paramount in 1973.  In 1987, though, the Galileo model unexpectedly reappeared.  As long-time scenic art supervisor and Trek historian, Michael Okuda, explained, Set Decorator John Dwyer found the shuttlecraft miniature in storage at Paramount. He brought it up to the Art Department, plopped it onto Mike’s desk, and asked, “Do you know what this is?” 

The Galileo was in pretty poor shape. The entire front bulkhead (the panel with the windows) was missing, and overall surface was cracked pretty badly.  The nacelles, themselves, were broken off, and the corrugated cowlings on the ends of the nacelles were missing. 

Dwyer took the model down to the effects shop to have it refurbished. They did a decent job, considering that they were undoubtedly rushed, and probably didn’t have any reference to work from, except the prop itself. The most significant error that they made was that the front panel, instead of being replaced with a new solid piece with three windows, was replaced with a single piece of dark Plexiglas “window”.  The model also lost its 2-tone paint scheme.

Dwyer used the model as set dressing in Riker’s quarters in the 7th episode of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Lonely Among Us“, which was filmed from August 26-September 3, 1987. 

Early the following year, master model maker Greg Jein, who had begun to refurbish the model, loaned it to the local “Equicon ’88 Science Fiction Convention“, where it was on display from April 1-3, 1988.

Afterwards, Greg Jein finished restoring the model to its original appearance, sans landing gear.  Greg noted that before he restored the model, you could see straight through it, from front to back.  During the restoration, Greg gave the model something that it had never had, a dash between the large “NCC” and “1701” on the side of the ship.  The dash had accidentally been omitted from the 1966 decal sheet, and a quarter-century later, that oversight was remedied.

In 1992, Paramount loaned the Galileo model to the Smithsonian for their 1992-93 Star Trek exhibition.

The model’s last public appearance was in 1993-94 at an exhibition at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.


Against all odds, both of the original Galileos have survived over 50 years of rain, sun, floods, crushing, and neglect.  With any luck, they’ll be around for many more years to come.

Thank you, Gary, for all of the work you put into this special blog series. Until next time, live long and prosper!

All images courtesy of CBS, except where noted.

TM & (C) 2020 CBS Studios Inc.  ARR.

STAR TREK Modeling: A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt.2

posted by JamieH 2:00 PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

In part 2 of Gary Kerr’s article on the background of the Galileo shuttle, he explores the construction of the miniature and set mockups. Let’s dig in…

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt.2 By Gary Kerr

The 22-Footer Takes Shape

Once the Galileo’s final design had been hashed out, construction began in earnest at Gene Winfield’s shop in Phoenix.  The target date for completion of the interior set was September 6, 1966, with a target date of September 12 for the exterior prop. 

The Galileo mock-up was essentially a sturdy metal skeleton sheathed in wood.  The lower half of the prop’s skeleton was made from welded 2” square steel tubing, while the upper half was framed in wood.

 A Masonite skin was applied over the skeleton, and fiberglass cloth covered the Masonite.  The internal floor was made from a sheet of plywood.  To avoid unwelcome reflections in the front windows, they had no glass.  Instead, simulated window shutters, consisting of a sheet of Masonite backed by a wooden frame, were inset into the window openings.  Curved fins along the upper and lower edges of the hull were made from sheet metal.  A bulky metal framework inside the shuttle allowed a technician to operate the 3-piece side door.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

The warp nacelle/wing assemblies were designed so they could be removed for transportation or storage.  The nacelles, themselves, were made from 18” diameter steel casings made for oil wells, with square steel tubing providing internal strength for the pylons, wings, and connectors that plugged into the hull.

The aft landing strut was salvaged from the landing gear of a scrapped aircraft.  The identity of this aircraft has remained a mystery for years.  We have the serial number that’s stamped on the landing gear, but this is of limited help since most of the aircraft companies’ old records have been disposed of.  The leading contender for the mystery aircraft thus far is the F-106 Delta Dart.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Details, Details…

The intended purpose of a pair of 5.75” by 13”openings, located at the shuttlecraft’s bow, just under the chine, has been a mystery for years.  They’ve usually been portrayed as vents in toys and in blueprints drawn by fans, but in every hi-res photo from the 1960s that I examined, they appeared to be nothing more than open holes in the bow.  While I was designing Polar Lights’ Galileo kit in 2013, I decided to get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth, so I telephoned Gene Winfield at his shop in Mojave, in the desert north of Los Angeles.  Gene explained that the openings were intended for the shuttlecraft’s landing lights, and that the openings would be covered by a pane of glass to make the lights more aerodynamic.  He further explained that he had wired the nacelle domes for lighting.  The actual lighting would have been installed by union workers at the studio, per the agreement regarding outside vendors, but it appears that budgetary concerns nixed that plan. 

Similarly, the impulse deck consisted of a pair of Plexiglas grilles, with the mock-up’s interior being visible through the vents in the grille.  During filming, one or more sheets of white material was propped up inside the mock-up to block the view.

Over a series of phone calls and emails, Mr Winfield explained that most of his papers were still boxed up, following the move to his current location in Mojave.  He still had the molds for the Galileo’s fiberglass chairs somewhere, but wasn’t sure where they were stored.  He did say that he had a couple old rolls of blueprints laying around, and asked if I’d like to see them.  Of course, I said “YES”, and within a week or two, they arrived at my house.

The original plans were extremely yellowed and fragile, and they showed something unexpected: details that Matt Jefferies had designed for the interior set, but which, like the exterior lighting, had never been installed.  Included were instrument panels for the swing arms of the two globe-shaped viewers, a Galileo logo for the chairs, and instrument panels for the arms of the chairs (presumably the pilot’s and co-pilot’s).  

Next time Gary explores the interior set.

All images courtesy of CBS, except where noted.

TM & (C) 2020 CBS Studios Inc.  ARR.

As the lead developer for our line of sci-fi kits, I can’t be an expert in everything so it is good to know people that “knows people.” One of Round 2’s “go-to” consultants is STAR TREK expert Gary Kerr. If he doesn’t have the answer to any given question he knows who does. He has a lifetime of “side adventures” that have given him close contact with many of the Star Trek filming models and in some cases, our kits are based solely on his exhaustively documented plans of some of the ships he has encountered. Most recently, his plans were used to develop our 1:32 scale Galileo Shuttle model kit. Along the way, he was given the opportunity to write up an article about the Galileo for STAR TREK Magazine published by Titan Publishing. As he wrote, he found that his information overflowed his allotted word count. Neither of us wanted that effort to go to waste so we invited him to publish the overflow on our blog. We’ve chosen to break it up into a series that will be rolled out over the coming weeks. So without further ado. Here is part 1…

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 1 By Gary Kerr

Poor Lieutenant Sulu… slowly freezing to death after a malfunctioning transporter strands him and the rest of the landing party on the increasingly frigid planet Alpha 177.  The glitchy transporter beams down heaters, but they are non-functional, and the landing party seems doomed unless Scotty can repair the transporter in time.

Modern viewers of “The Enemy Within” might be forgiven for wondering why the ship simply didn’t send down a shuttlecraft to pick up the landing party.  The truth is that even though the Starship Enterprise sported a pair of clamshell hangar bay doors at the end of its engineering hull, it didn’t yet have any shuttlecraft or a hangar to house them in.

This article will examine the history of both the “full-size” Galileo mock-up and the filming miniature.  To begin, we should backtrack and examine the origins of Star Trek’s first shuttlecraft.

In the Beginning

As the final design of the Starship Enterprise began to gel in 1964, it became apparent that a starship would probably carry an assortment of smaller craft.  Art Director Matt Jefferies added a hangar bay and a pair of clamshell doors to aft end of the ship, but deciding what kind of craft would be housed in the hangar bay was not an easy matter.

One of Jefferies’ initial concepts called for a small, aerodynamic pod that would be light enough to be lowered from the studio ceiling on wires to simulate a landing.  This ambitious concept was abandoned as being too costly.  Desilu continued to give the construction of shuttlecraft a thumbs-down, which is one of the reasons for Lt Sulu’s predicament in “The Enemy Within.”

All seemed lost regarding the shuttlecraft situation until August 1, 1966, when Associate Producer Bob Justman informed Gene Roddenberry that Desilu attorney Ed Perlstein had concluded a mutually beneficial deal with the AMT Corporation. 

In exchange for rights to produce a plastic kit of the USS Enterprise, AMT agreed to construct both an interior set and exterior mock-up of a shuttlecraft for an estimated $24,000, plus an additional $650 to build a miniature shuttle.  The work would be done at AMT’s Speed and Custom Division Shop, in Phoenix, Arizona.  Gene Winfield, who was serving as a consultant style designer for AMT’s auto kits, served as production manager. 

At this point, nailing down the design of the shuttlecraft moved into high gear.  Although Matt Jefferies favored a rounded, aerodynamic design for the shuttlecraft, he became the first, but not the last, Star Trek art director to learn that compound curves were a no-no on a television budget and time schedule, and that a shuttlecraft had to be built from sheets or plywood and Masonite.  Winfield and Jefferies set about designing a flat-sided shuttle that could be built in the allotted 30 days.  The inspiration for the preliminary design seems to have been Jefferies’ 1964 sketch of “Space Dock Utility Craft Personnel Carrier”.

Jefferies and Winfield passed a preliminary design to Thomas Kellogg for further development.  Kellogg was an industrial designer, working at the Raymond Loewy Associates design studio in San Francisco.  Kellogg worked in some design elements of the studio’s renowned design of the 1963 Studebaker “Avanti” car and created a color rendering of the revamped shuttlecraft. 

For more on Thomas Kellogg’s Galileo design click on this photo to visit

Jefferies added a pair of warp nacelles to Kellogg’s design, and Winfield’s shop was ready to begin construction of a 22’ prop and a 22” miniature shuttle.  Union Local 44 is a professional association of craft persons having specialized skills and talents at Paramount, and the studio’s practice of having outside, probably non-union, vendors supplying props for a TV production would almost certainly cause friction with the union.  To avoid problems arising from the studio’s use of outside vendors, the studio and the union arrived at an agreement under which vendors would supply props in an unfinished state, and union craft people would perform the final painting, detailing, and installation of lighting.

Even though the filming miniature and the full-size prop were supposed to represent the same ship, they are not identical.  The most obvious difference involves the shape of the hull, with the sides of the 22” miniature being parallel, while the aft end of the 22 ft prop (including the nacelles) flares out slightly wider in back. 

Why the difference?  To find the answer, we need to jump to the spring of 1992, when I met with Lynne Miller, the owner at the time of the large Galileo prop.  The Galileo was located at the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio, and I spent several hours documenting the shuttle, which was slowly undergoing a restoration.

 Lynne revealed that Matt Jefferies had told her that the Galileo was only three-quarter scale.  This made perfect sense after I’d climbed inside the shuttle.  Being inside the mock-up was akin to crouching inside a very wide minivan.  It was certainly a far cry from what we saw on TV!  Making “full-size” props at somewhat less than full scale is a common practice in Hollywood.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Matt Jefferies’ brother, John, wrote in his biography of Matt, Beyond the Clouds, that Matt often utilized “illusionary perspective” to create the illusion of distance and makes things appear larger than they actually were.  Looking back and seeing that many scenes involving the Galileo were shot at the rear of the prop, I am now convinced that when Jefferies made the rear portion of the 22-footer flare out wider, he was using illusionary perspective to make the three-quarter sized shuttlecraft appear larger.

The use of an undersized prop makes perfect sense: construction costs were less, the prop could be moved more easily around the soundstage, and it took up less precious storage space.

Come back next time as Gary dives into the construction of the miniature and the set pieces.

All images courtesy of CBS, except where noted.

TM & (C) 2020 CBS Studios Inc.  ARR.


I was actually going to make this a lead in to a longer Star Trek models post that also included an update on the U.S.S. Excelsior since I’ve received the first set of test shots. My point in doing that was to deliver positive news along with what will be a disappointment to some of you. Instead I’m just going to rip off the band-aid lay out the situation with the Galileo Shuttle.  No forward progress is being made to engineer the kit. I doubt this will come as a huge shock to anyone. I hope my directness and openness on the subject is appreciated. It pains me more than anyone to make a statement like this.

I won’t drop that bomb without giving some kind of reason. Basically it comes down to timing and the budgetary limits of a company our size that offers such a wide range of products that we do. Sci-fi model kits take up a relatively slim slice of the pie when considering our automotive and military kits, die cast cars in several scales (including the recently re-acquired Johnny Lightning brand) along with other endeavors. Priorities have to shift when opportunities arise and for now we aren’t in a place where we can commit to the kit. Sometime we can invest in something grand, and sometimes other lines get to do something else instead.

You may ask why we’ve steered away from this one while producing others instead. That’s a fair question and this is where timing kind of comes into play. Initially, there was a bit of a delay in getting completed plans of the ship. Gary Kerr is our most trusted consultant on all things Star Trek, but when we first dug into the project, his plans were very preliminary and just captured the basic shape which we used for the basis of the shuttle in our 1:350 kit. By the time he turned them in, they consisted of over a hundred pages of crystal clear information. That took some time to do and while he was hard at work drawing up the plans we did other kits. Keep in mind it is easy to think about the old AMT kit and imagine that we could just do an improved version of that, but you know our reputation of doing a new kit right when we do one. At scale, the ship measures 11” long and over 7” wide. In that old kit one wall provided the interior and exterior. That won’t work for a kit that is intended to be accurate. it requires separate interior and exterior walls, floor, ceiling, roof, etc. So once parts get laid out on a tool, it essentially becomes the equivalent of two kits! I studied ways to cut back or compromise, but ultimately they would have seemed like a shortcut or cheat. The savings in doing so were negligible. One factor that actually worked in our favor was that when combined the 1:1000 Romulan BoP and U.S.S. Reliant were more manageable financially and they gave us more marketable kits at a lower price point. They also tied directly to other kits of the same scale. If we had done the Galileo those kits may never have come to market.

Why do the Eagle and not the Galileo? That qualifies as a textbook “tough decision”. Ultimately we decided that the Eagle gave us the basis for three variations along with many potential add-ons and accessories while the Galileo could pretty much only exist as itself and therefore limited us with what could be done with the tooling. On top of that, sales on the Space:1999 license proved that the market was hungry for a new kit and that seems to indeed be the case. That isn’t to say one license won over the other. We still have a lot we can and want to do with the Star Trek license!

So why say this now? I could have said something a few months ago, but I was knee deep in other matters. Plus, I still have hope and an idea to be able to do the kit sooner than later. I just wanted to clear the air with everyone that really wanted a straight answer on it. So the straight answer is we aren’t doing it right now, and they way things look we won’t be considering it for a while. I DO want the kit to happen and like I said, I have schemes and ideas, but it is time to move on for a bit with the intention to work back around to it. So what will we do? We’ll see. I’ll show you when I have something to show. Onward…


Star Trek model kits- Galileo Shuttle

posted by JamieH 10:48 AM
Friday, September 7, 2012

Hi all. I know all of you 1701 Club members are anxiously waiting to find out what is going on. Update #8 is finished and should be sent out soon. Many have been asking when we will ask for payment information and you may be assuming the worst that delivery has been delayed… and unfortunately it has a little bit. Fear not though. All development is complete and the kit is currently in production. Details will be in the update.

This blog post might not fill the void left from the above statement, but still we must carry on.

Hopefully you have had a chance to review our Wonderfest video that went live as of my last post. If you stayed tuned in until the end, you found out that the winner of our poll was the 1:32 scale Galileo shuttle! It seems that the Galileo benefited from a grassroots movement that made it the clear winner. I was surprised, but not shocked by the result.

All of the candidates were strong contenders. Some have made the point that with so many great subjects to choose form, some kind of cannibalized the votes of others. If, say, either the Reliant or K’tinga had been left off the ballot that the remaining 1:1000 scale craft would have drawn the votes of the other and therefor put it over the top. I purposely tried to stay out of the nomination process. As long as the winning kit would fit what we had in mind for the size and budget, I knew whatever won would do well. But, I didn’t want to limit the choices in any way. Why? Because I wanted the modeling public to get a taste of the decisions we have to make when it comes to our product line. Our range of choices are also nearly unlimited. Whether it is another Star Trek kit or any other license there are tons of great subjects deserving of being made into a great kit. Figuring out where to start is the trick.

You might wonder if any of the other contenders could get made someday. I threw out several ideas at the presentation covering several types of kits from many properties. In the perfect world of my mind, they would all get made some day. The disappointing truth is that I doubt that 100% of them will get done, but they are all on a list of kits I pull out each year to determine what we will do next. I’ll need to weigh our tooling budget and licensing responsibilities against popular demand.

When it comes to creating brand new kits, we need to hit a home run every time. With reissues, if something doesn’t sell well, we are only out the time it took to create the packaging, etc. But if a newly tooled kit fails, the chances of getting another one made lessens. We have heard the demand for NEW kits and we are putting a plan into action to create new tooling. It will be up to you guys to vote with your wallets to tell us you want more.

Getting back to the Galileo, Gary has already begun digging into the project. As you know getting the interior set to fit within the craft as seen on the show is impossible so our work is cut out for us. We have already started discussions on what kind of details we hope to include in the kit. We will do our best to get the kit finished and on store shelves by the end of 2013. I’ll keep you updated as we progress.

Next week… Wolverine…