On The Bench 26: John Zizolfo’s Bridge

Originally posted in 1998.  Photos are very low res!


This is an “On the Bench feature that I am proud to present. John Zizolfo has been talking about this model as long as I have know him. Well, now he is willing to share this with all of us.

John begins, “Here are some work in progress shots of what’s become known as the “UAB” – Ultimate Anal Bridge. You can thank your host Steve (CultTVman) for that name.”

“The kit suffers from several major design flaws (and a ton of minor design flaws, but that’s another story!). The biggest problem is that two key floor plates, the Turbolift section and the Main Viewscreen section, are smaller than the rest of the floor plates. This not only makes the Turbolift doors and Viewscreen too small for the scale of the kit, but misaligns the command deck with the Viewscreen and the side staircases to the point that nothing lines up with anything else.”


“Reconstructing the floor ring using pairs of floor plates from both kits results in a correctly sized and aligned floor layout. Find the matching parts from both kits and align them diagonally opposite each other until you have a complete ring. The only exception is that the plate the command deck attached to on the original kit is now the Main Viewscreen plate (the one with the straight inner edge). All other plates are the angled inner edge ones. Use a pair of these as a template for where to remove the extra side sections where the staircases attach. (Staircases will ultimately remain, but the real Bridge didn’t have those little extension sections).”


“The new Main Viewscreen and Turbolift are completely scratchbuilt, based on a combination of measurements from the “Bridge Blueprints” by Michael McMaster (available at most conventions), still framing various episodes and just kind of “eyeballing” it. In all photos, the original kit parts are on the right, new construction is on the left.”


“The major addition to the kit is an actual Turbolift car. I started with 2 pieces of PVC pipe joint collars glued together, then built up the inside walls of the turbolift. The front was cut flat with a band saw, then the alcove wall sections were built out from there.”

“The entire floor section of the turbolift and alcove is attached to the kit floor plate. I haven’t decided how I want to deal with drawing attention to the open doors just yet. That decision is near the end of construction, anyway.”


“The Viewscreen section seems simpler to build since it doesn’t require a section of floor in addition to the kit floor plate however, due to its many angled parts, you will finally be able to put those 9th grade Geometry formulas to good use!”


“The difference in height is due to the new Viewscreen sitting on top of the floor plate, whereas the original one attached behind the edge of the floor plate.”


“The screen area itself is also larger than the original, so don’t think about using the decal that comes with the kit. One idea would be to cut out the planet or Bird of Prey from the kit decals and put them on a star field painted viewscreen.”

“And finally, you’re probably wondering how these parts look in terms of the completed kit. This view is a temporary assembly of all the Bridge stations and the 2 newly constructed sections. (All the sections are simply clothes-pinned on from below or taped in place for this shot). The overhead viewscreens are cut out, pending the addition of Lightsheet. (BTW: As wonderful as the “Captain’s Chair” CD-ROM is, there is a mistake in the CG reconstruction of the Bridge. Spock’s and Uhura’s Bridge stations are the only ones with two overhead screens. All other stations have one larger screen. Check the episodes for that detail!) The consoles have also had a total of over 2000 (yes, two thousand!) holes drilled in them for an elaborate and detailed fiber optic lighting scheme. The astrogator (the center section of the helm/nav console) will be lit, as will a few more fiber optics on the control panels on the arms of the command chair.”


“Ultimately, there isn’t one part of this kit that won’t be modified in some way. I’m also working on a completely new set of figures to populate the Bridge. Again, that’s near the end of construction, so no pics of them yet!”jzbr11a jzbr11b