A British parody track from the 1980s: Star Trekkin’, by The Firm.
About the Origami Starship Enterprise
Anyone who’s ever watched the Star Trek TV series or any of the movies will recognise this origami model as the Starship Enterprise! The tagline for this blog is ‘Explore the World in Paper’. With this Origami Starship Enterprise you can seek out new worlds and new civilisations and boldy go where no origami model has gone before! Well, maybe that’s pushing it a bit, but it’s a fun model anyway.
This model is designed by Larry Hart and his brother in law Ashgar Malik. Larry taught me how to make it at a London Origami Mini Meeting. There have been several different incarnations of the Enterprise over the course of several series and films and as Larry says, the intent with this design was to create a generic representation, rather than any specific one. You can of course spend time tweaking and shaping the model if you want to create a particular version.
Designing the Enterprise
The best of getting an insight into how a designer comes up with a new model is usually by talking to the person that created it. Here, Larry explains the creative process behind the Origami Starship Enterprise in his own words:
“So Asghar who wasn’t my brother-in-law at the time, in fact I don’t think he’d even met my sister at this point! is in my living room, discussing how we both like star trek – and there aren’t any really good versions or not that we liked of the Enterprise. I’d even asked Robert Lang if he could use his treemaker to come up with one years earlier – the answer was I’m not interest, if you want one do it! So back to me and Asghar, I said I could see it in my head……. the basic shape was from a birdbase, and Asghar actually laughed at me!! I know can you believe it? so I quickly made a birdbase, folded it in half then folded the legs into nacelles facing the wrong way because I couldn’t think which way round they went for a moment & the saucer was kind of diamond shaped, but it was a starting point. Asghar asked if he could play around with it, and didn’t laugh anymore!
Cut to several weeks or a month later, and I’d forgotten all about it, he came round and showed me what he’d done with it, and I said it looked good, but couldn’t really remember having started it off, so he gave me the original back and when I look at how basic it was it clicked and I did remember! He has never been a great one for location points, so lots of nagging and several changes and over 30 hours until I was happy with the diagram……………”
Folding the Origami Starship Enterprise
Although a Bird Base is a pretty simple origami construction and one of the first bases that anyone learns when they start making origami models, this is an intermediate level model. It relies on accurate folding and a couple of interesting swivel folds when forming the two nacelles at the rear.
I recommend reasonably thin paper for this model as the layers get quite thick along the main hull section. Larry taught me how to make this using a standard 15cm x 15cm (6in x 6in) sheet of origami paper or kami, but I would recommend something slightly larger for the first attempt as it can get quite fiddly at that size. Paper at least 20cm x 20cm (just under 8in a side) would be good. You can use any colour paper you like, but as the various versions of the Enterprise were either white or grey, these colours are probably the best ones to use. You also want paper that is coloured the same on both sides, otherwise the saucer section of your Starship Enterprise will be different colour – as you can see in the picture above. I made this one from a 30cm x 30cm (12in x 12in) sheet of tissue foil from origami-shop.com that was grey on one side and silver on the other. This produces a model that is about 12cm long and 5cm wide.
Make your own Origami Starship Enterprise!
Asghar and Larry have kindly given me permission to make this video showing how to make this model. The video lasts about 45 minutes because I’m taking time to demonstrate each step, but once you’re familiar with the folding sequence, you should be able to make this model in about 20 – 30 minutes.
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