The Captain's Chair and Engineering

Star Trek has a lot to answer for. A lot of it is good, and a lot of it is bad. Good stuff? Automatic slinging doors, the cellphone and easily portable data storage amongst others. The bad? Well, tons, not least being the establishment of a sci-fi series convention model that has confined serialised sci-fi back for over thirty years. Two things I want to cover in particular, since they're relevant to the subject of deckplans.

A: - The Captain's Chair.
Lemme start on an up note. The bridge design of the Enterprise is probably the finest piece of command and control architecture anywhere in the known universe. Matt Jeffries' multi-tiered design with a single rotating command chair on a dais, able to spin to direct any of the eleven stations is GENIUS. Unfortunatly it does not tally with the actual design factors used in real world naval architecture. The canon capital ships seen in the SWU have bridge designs that directly hark back to how actual bridges are built. Without exception every single bridge has seating for equipment operators only, the command staff STAND. Why? Several reasons, two prominent ones are;

1 - It is far easier to remain alert when on one's feet.
2 - It has been noted time and again that the command staff of a naval vessel must command respect from the crew, therefore the officers must be seen to be strong, unwavering stoical. Sitting down reduces them simply to 'guys with more gold ribbon'. There's a wonderful chapter in Moby Dick that deals with this, Ahab has had his left leg removed by the white whale, and replaced with a skrimshaw (carved whale ivory) stump. Since he will absolutely never be seen sitting in front of the crew he has had dozens of holes augered into the deck that fit his stump, so he simply slots himself into place, and stands firm in even the mightiest of hurricanes.

OK so I said every capital ship. Are you going to be one of those people that's aching to yelp 'But what about the Radiant VII?!' I know there are a few of you out there. Right, the Radiant VII is too small to be considered a capital ship. The captain is seated because it has a cockpit, not a bridge. As an additional possibility there does stand the chance that Qui-Gon is the direct senior officer and is occupying the command position. (Qui-Gon is standing) and that under normal circumstances, the captain would be where he is.
What does this mean in practice? Well, basically you'll not ever see a Captain's chair on a capital ship of mine. (Unless I've done a custom ship for someone who can't let go)

B - Engineering Sections
Right, this is slightly different because obviously real world ships actually have these. The gripe I have with engine rooms is that since Star Trek they have been considered absolutely essential because Star Trek turned them into generic 'technology rooms'. Engine rooms are for maintaining engines. The engines on a starship occupy a huge amount of space, and certainly would require dedicated workspaces to maintain IF it is possible to maintain them from inside the ship. The Phantom Menace showed in a neat bundle at least one standard way of conducting engine maintainance. Astromech droids are designed to repair and maintain ships from outside using their wide array of equipment. Even the Falcon has an Astromech hatch which looks very like the one on Amidala's Space Bird.
Further we have seen that the majority of Star Wars ships exhibit a fair dependency on redundant propulsion systems, meaning that the failure of a single engine does not require effecting repairs in space. These redundant engine systems are more prevalent on the larger ships. Below is a brief list of the canon ships and their engine numbers.


CR90 Space Corvette 11
Imperial Star Destroyer 7
Sentinel Shuttle 2
Millenium Falcon 6 - Feeding dozens of emitters.
TIE Fighter 2
X-Wing 4
Y-Wing 2
Vader's TIE 4
Executor Star Battleship 13
Lambda Shuttle 2
Gallofree Transport 3
TIE Bomber 2
Slave 1 3
Nebulon B 7
MC80 Various multiple
A-Wing 2
B-Wing 4
Radiant VII 3
TF Battleship 3
Naboo Royal StarBird 2
Sith Infiltrator 2
N1 2
Vulture 2
Naboo Senatorial Transport 4
Padme's Yacht 2
Acclimator 4
Aethersprite 2
Venator Star Destroyer 6
ARC-170 2
V-Wing 2
ETA-2 2
Tri-Fighter 3
Recusant 3
Munificent 6
Providence 4
P-38 2
Mankvim-814 1
Bellbulab-22 2
Theta Shuttle 2

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