Originally Posted by Admiral Archer
As a nitpicky Star Trek fan growing up, I've noticed a couple of things that bugged me about the refit Enterprise, and her various incarnations. I heard somewhere that for each film the ship was repainted to depict that film's respective director's ideas of what the Enterprise should look like. Here's a list of the films and what the Enterprise was like in each film:
My personal favorite, the TMP Enterprise had several exterior features unique only to it. For instance, at impulse speeds, the ship's deflector dish turned a warm beige, while at warp the deflector changed to blue. Also, the rough equivelent of the bussard ramscoop (the front of the nacelle, not called a ramscoop, I forget what it was exactly) was a sort of reddish-bronze, while the warp field grid was a dark cobalt blue until warp speeds. Also the hull was a bright pearly white.
Except for the reused scenes from TMP, the deflector dish remained blue at all times. The reddish-bronze and cobalt-blue of the nacelles were replace with a dark gray verging on black, while the hull appeared more silver metallic than pearly white.
Possibly due to the attempt to keep the ship looking as though it had just come from a huge battle, the metallic silver was dulled to an opaque shade of gray. The copper/cobalt nacelles and the beige deflector where gone, replaced by the blackish-gray.
A new ship, and the attempt to make it look new seemed to succeed rather well. Although the beige deflector and copper/cobalt nacelles were still absent, apparently gone forever, the hull returned to a glossy silver, and even the black nacelles looked comparatively fresh.
The Enterprise-A in this film can easily be confused with the one from TMP, at least in my book. Again, the blue deflector, but the nacelles seem to gain a bit more color, if only a lighter shade of gray. The hull is a sort of creamy pearl, a strange color for this particular ship, but an interesting change.
Nicholas Meyer marks his return by having the Enterprise gain a "weathered" appearance; Black nacelles, blue deflector, and the dull gray from TSFS. While understandable to attempt to make the ship look old, it is still my least favorite version, partly because part of me was hoping that the beige deflector and copper/cobalt nacelles would make a come-back.
It's interesting to note, when going through design sketches and concept art, that the area of the nacelles which was reddish-bronze was originally intended to glow a bright ruby red, but strangely only the cobalt blue part got to light up at all. In a way, I suppose I've come to realize that I probably rather prefer the PHASE II design to the final refit as it appeared later on. As it is, the ship from TMP is still my favorite starship in the whole Star Trek universe.