Every so often we sit back and are forced to do a double-take at some of the items coming to market. While there are many products rooted in the past – after all, we are selling historical collectibles – one looks to tear a page out of Star Trek lore to help generate interest and take a shot at melding fact with fantasy.
Such is the case with Hobby Master’s latest Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (HA1044), which was profiled in the nineteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. In the episode
dubbed “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, the crew of the USS Enterprise accidentally travels back to 1960s Earth and must correct damage they cause to the timeline.
On stardate 3113.2, the Federation starship USS Enterprise is thrown back in time to Earth during the 1960s by the effects of a high-gravity “black star“. The Enterprise ends up in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and is picked up as a UFO on military radar.
A U.S. Air Force F-104 interceptor piloted by Captain John Christopher (Roger Perry), is scrambled to identify the craft. Fearing an attack, Captain Kirk orders a tractor beam to be used on the jet, which tears the plane apart. The pilot is transported aboard the Enterprise.
Fearing Christopher could disrupt the timeline if returned to Earth, Kirk at first decides that the pilot must stay with the Enterprise. When Science Officer Spock later discovers that the pilot’s as-yet-unborn son will play an important role in a future mission to Saturn, Kirk realizes he must return Christopher to Earth after all.
After learning of the existence of film taken of the Enterprise by Christopher’s wing cameras, Kirk and Lt. Sulu beam down to the airbase to recover the film and any other evidence of their visit. They are caught by an Air Policeman, who accidentally activates an emergency signal on Kirk’s communicator and is immediately beamed aboard. Kirk and Sulu continue their search, after which Kirk is captured again and Sulu escapes.
Spock, Sulu, and Christopher, who knows the base’s layout, beam down to recover Kirk. After Kirk’s guards are subdued, Christopher grabs one of their guns and demands to be left behind. Spock, having anticipated Christopher would make such an attempt, appears behind Christopher and disables him with a Vulcan nerve pinch.
After they return to the ship, Spock and Chief Engineer Scott inform Kirk of a possible escape method by slingshotting around the Sun to break away and return to their time. The maneuver is risky, since even a small miscalculation could destroy the ship, or make them miss their own era.
Kirk okays the maneuver, and time on board the Enterprise moves backwards. Christopher is beamed back to his fighter jet at the instant he first encountered the Enterprise, preventing any evidence of the ship being produced, and erasing his memory of his time on the Enterprise. The same is done with the Air Policeman. Enterprise then successfully returns to the 23rd century.
While we don’t suggest performing the same slingshotting maneuver, or advocate turning back time to score higher on your college entrance exams, its comforting to know that at least one model maker is willing to take a chance by setting aside history and dabbling in the “What if.”