This is one of those subjects that got me thinking into the world of Star Trek. Just how would things work in that universe.
Perhaps I’ve been looking at Enterprises to long.
If you spend time on any subject your bound to start thinking about things. Going beyond what’s been presented. I do that with asking questions. Like…
“Would Starships have weathering?”
This brings up a lot, firstly people just love to make things look dirty. I guess it has something to do with the resistance of children to bathe, or clean their rooms. The ILMer’s did it to save time, sadly it stuck. Yes, things in the real world get dirty that’s what inspired movie makers and model builders alike. But if you ask a mechanic about something dirty, they would much rather have a clean machine to work on. It’s much easier to identify problems when you can see the parts.
In the modeling world it adds scale, and something to relate to. There is only one problem, nobody knows how a starship would weather. Guys bring up the space shuttle, but that isn’t even comparable.
It’s like asking a guy in 1640 to weather a B-17 from 1940, he would be clueless. He would most likely weather it like a building. After all that’s all he has to go by. The same goes in our world, we model spaceships like airplanes. Since that’s all we have to go by.
The first thing to think about is where these ships operate.
Space, it’s the worst environment we have ever encountered. You can’t breath, hot and cold are to the extremes. You have radiation, and what seems to be an endless supply of particles(in all shapes and sizes). Along with God only knows what else.
Consider the tiny particles. We can get around temperature, breathing even radiation(not so easily), but the particles are the killer. I don’t care what material you have, if you bombard that material long enough, you will wear it down(just like nature does). Now add to that problem speed, something you need to get anywhere worthwhile out there.
Since it’s accepted that warp 1 is the speed of light that’s 670,616,629.38 mph.
Nobody has ever traveled at such speeds. We can only guess about what happens at such a velocity. But one thing is very clear the tiny particles would rip through and wear down anything traveling at such a speed. Most likely long before you ever got to the speed of light. Which would mean the ship would be destroyed, most likely so fast the crew would never know what hit them.
The original creators of Trek were well aware of this fact. Thus they came up with the concept of a deflector.
A deflector is a device that moves the particles out of the way of the ships path. Using some type of force field. Anything beyond a set size the ship would have to maneuver around.
This adds a huge wrinkle to how a ship would be weathered. Since no particles can reach the ship how would it get dirty? Even in orbit the deflector system would be operating, for the particles are still there, they may even be more concentrated around a celestial body. Yes, the ship is moving much slower perhaps 17,500 mph(that’s how fast the space shuttle was in low earth orbit). The same problem would still exist, particles striking the hull will still cause damage.
So how would a starhip get dirty? The drive systems depicted in Star Trek are solid state, no moving parts. No need for any lubricants, so there is nothing to leak?
To add the Enterprise was designed so nobody had to go outside to maintain things. So there is another issue. Perhaps you could find some way to make some weathering around the shuttlebay, or perhaps the deflector post. Those would be the only moving parts on the exterior of the ship.
A ship in combat might have weathering, but then all you have to is knock out the ships deflector system, then leave. It could take hundreds of years to get home, since the ship can’t travel at speed.
But we really don’t know what form space combat will take. My guess is it will be something like sub warfare, a bit different from what is depicted in the movies(with the exception of Wing Commander, I know guys didn’t like the movie, but it did show a lot of thought into how you could fight in space).
So how do you weather a starship, the answer is simple.
Do whatever makes you happy. It’s your model, your the only one who has to be satisfied.
But I’m going to add a little more here.
All ships traveling to and beyond the speed of light. Must have a deflector system, without it your going to have a real short trip. I think it’s fun to see how this idea has been missed/ignored. Here is the most glaring example.
I’m sure somebody would point to some part on this ship and say it’s right there. No it’s not there, because there isn’t a deflector system on the Reliant. Regardless of it’s popularity it’s the worst ship the Trek world ever came up with. I could go on for quite a while about just how bad a design this ship is. That’s what happens when you cobble parts together
This is the stuff that happens when the show needs something quick. They grab parts off of a shelf(or some old kit), and here is your new ship. Regardless of how ridiculous it looks.
This is just the beginning, next I’ll give some of my ideas of why starships wouldn’t have any panels/aztecking/grid-lines/etc.
To those who are wondering I’m still on the Big E. I’ve been doing some major rework. I’ll show something when I’m ready.