Klingon D7 Battle Cruiser filming miniature - Star Trek
Profiles in History - Hollywood Auction 24
(NBC-TV, 1966-69) Approx. 26 in. in length, mounted on a custom stand. Constructed of finely carved wood and resin, hand painted and detailed. In 1966, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek beamed aboard the airwaves. Soon thereafter, Desilu Studios (now Paramount), thought that some form of merchandising would enhance viewership of the landmark television show. It was decided to make a model kit of the main spaceship, the U.S.S. Enterprise, to sell to model builders, children, and any other fan of the show. The model of the Enterprise was so successful that AMT Corporation, the company that produced the model, asked Mr. Roddenberry to create another vessel on the show so the toy company could then make another model kit. Mr. Roddenberry discussed the deal with Matt Jefferies, the production designer for Star Trek, and the “Klingon D7 Battle Cruiser” was born. Matt Jefferies then designed the now-famous Klingon spaceship and sent his designs to AMT Corporation. AMT was commissioned by Desilu to build two filming models of the ship. AMT constructed two 29-inch long models out of composite materials and wood and then shipped them to a soundstage in Hollywood for filming. The Klingon ship then made its first of many appearances on the show. AMT subsequently started making its 14 inch plastic model kits for sale. Their success rivaled that of the Enterprise sales. In this case, AMT acted as the prop maker as well as the toy company. They did such a good job making the filming model of the Klingon ship that the studio later asked them to make the Galileo shuttle filming model as well. The two Klingon ships were filmed many times during the three-year run of the show.
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When filming ended, Matt Jefferies was allowed to take one of the two filming models home as a souvenir, and Gene Roddenberry took the other. During the 1970s, there was a major push to start a new Star Trek series. The Roddenberry- sponsored venture went through years of pre-production, including casting, costuming and prop and set making. During this time, the original models were brought to Paramount to be “updated” for use in this new series entitled Star Trek: Phase II. Matt Jefferies’ example was repainted and touched up with new markings, new windows, and other changes. Mr. Roddenberry’s filming model was not touched at all, as the proposed series was soon scrapped. The studio’s efforts were redirected into making Star Trek: The Motion Picture. By this time, the studio had green-lighted a much larger filmoriented budget and the producers decided to make a new Klingon ship from scratch, with built-in lighting and other enhancements. The two original ships were sent back to their respective owners. Mr. Jefferies’ filming model was sent to Ed Miarecki in Massachusetts, while Mr. Roddenberry’s filming model was returned directly to Mr. Roddenberry. Ed Miarecki stripped the new Phase II paint off the ship and “dressed it down” to look like it did when it was used in the original series. He then sent it back to Mr. Jefferies. Mr. Jefferies donated his example to the Smithsonian Museum, where it resides today. Mr. Roddenberry gave his filming model to his longtime friend, Stephen Whitfield (who by now was using the pen name “Stephen Poe” – he wrote one of the Making of Star Trek books). Mr. Whitfield retained the Roddenberry model until 1998, when it was sold to a private collector in Beverly Hills, California. Only two Klingon D7 Battle Cruisers were ever made for Star Trek, and both were used in filming the series. It is presumed that Mr. Roddenberry kept the one that was in the finest condition.
What is fact is that Matt Jefferies’ example has been drastically altered, and that it is now the property of the Smithsonian and will never be in the private domain again. Aside from the Enterprise, which also resides in the Smithsonian, Mr. Roddenberry’s Klingon D7 Battle Cruiser is probably the most important miniature in the history of television. This superb miniature is mounted on a custom stand, and accompanied with a signed letter of authenticity from the late Matt Jefferies.
Estimate $65,000 – $85,000