One of the most memorable entrances in Trek history is realized in Eaglemoss Collections release of the VULCAN LONG RANGE SHUTTLE that is first seen on the big screen and delivers an emissary of great importance onboard!
They say that only the most diehard Trekker can sit restlessly through Star Trek: The Motion Picture. At just slightly over 2 hours in runtime, the film released in 1979, was the studio’s answer to the growing interest in the science fiction genre generated by Star Wars and Ridley Scott’s Alien. The hope was that Paramount was sitting on a blockbuster franchise, and although efforts were underway to revitalize Star Trek (a new television series “Phase II” was in pre-production) both the studio and Gene Roddenberry wanted to “go big” and thus the slightly more modest television budget ballooned to accommodate the demand of the wide-screen.
The effort felt flat (mostly) with critics, and although the fans were excited to see the return of the Starship Enterprise and its crew, the story involving the threat of a giant interstellar cloud on a destructive path toward Earth didn’t resonate with many, especially the uninitiated. The one thing that everyone certainly agreed upon, was the special effects used to bring the film to the big screen and the care to detail to “refit” the real hero of the film, the Enterprise for the larger film format. In fact, the special effects and ship design featured in Star Trek: The Motion Picture stand among the most iconic in cinematic history.
Ships of the Line
The USS Enterprise was redesigned and appropriately “refit” for its Motion Picture reintroduction. In the narrative of the film, the vessel under the command of now Admiral James T. Kirk had concluded its historic 5-year mission and returned to dry dock to undergo a complete overhaul and reassignment in the latter half of the 23rd Century under the watchful eye of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott and the ship’s new captain William Decker. With a mysterious anomaly on a deadly trajectory towards Earth, Kirk wrestles control of the Enterprise for himself and sets off with his crew to intercept the enemy. Notably absent as the ship launches is one individual.
It took some very intense behind-the-scenes negotiations to bring Leonard Nimoy back into the fold as Star Trek: The Motion Picture went into production, and director Robert Wise was not convinced that his feature would entirely work without the Enterprise Vulcan Science Officer. Eventually, the efforts to court Nimoy paid off and the script was adjusted to incorporate Spock into the mix. Getting him back onto the bridge which was decided as the ship was en route to face its enemy. Gene Roddenberry demanded that Spock would arrive by courier, and the Vulcan Long Range Shuttle was introduced.
The ship designed by Andrew Probert had to look “dated” but sit firmly inside of the Trek universe. It also had to have a distinctly Vulcan design that set it apart from the Enterprise but still align with familiar Starfleet design; Probert gave it an extended set of warp nacelles to convey its endurability and speed, but there was still one catch: the shuttle had to dock with the Enterprise to deliver its envoy. That was easily solved by allowing the catamaran sled to detach from the main shuttle compartment which navigated skillfully and attaches itself to a port located at the rear of the Enterprise Bridge level.
The model of the Vulcan Long Range Shuttle has been recreated by Eaglemoss Collections and introduced as a Special Issue in the series of models in their Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection. It is larger than the standard die-cast releases measuring in at just over 9.5 inches and is expertly detailed and beautifully captures the elegant and very practical design of the ship as it appeared on the big screen. Fans will be reminded of the shuttle’s ominous arrival and how it rotates 180 degrees to connect with the larger Constitution-Class ship. It makes for a handsome addition to the collection and a reminder of the relevance and impact of the first motion picture.
Vulcan LONG RANGE SHUTTLE | Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection | Special Issue | Eaglemoss Collections | $49.95 available from Eaglemoss Collections here.