Repainting the Original Star Trek Enterprise Was an Intensely Time-Consuming Process

It’s one of the most recognizable props in pop culture history, so it’s only fitting that the Smithsonian recently spent almost two years restoring the USS Enterprise model used in the original Star Trek TV series. The paint work alone was a painstaking process, as detailed in this new behind-the-scenes look at the restoration.


Sometime in the 1990s, the museum upgraded the model with additional lights and details that weren’t screen-accurate to the original series. So for the show’s 50th anniversary, the museum’s creators ensured the follow-up restoration was as accurate to the original model as possible, which included a lengthy process of stripping away previous paint jobs, and giving the model a fresh new coat.

The work featured in this doc was all completed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s facilities, but the model itself is now on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the National Air and Space Museum location on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

[Vimeo via Slorum]


There’s just something about the Enterprise that every time I see her, I feel as though there’s hope for the future.