Rank Insignia Devices of BSG-2003/04

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137th Gebirg
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Rank Insignia Devices of BSG-2003/04

Post by 137th Gebirg » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:32 pm

Since the outset of the remake of Battlestar Galactica by Ron Moore and David Eick, I was fascinated by the rank insignia devices used by the Colonial military. Unlike the somewhat vague and ambiguous nature of how certain insignia were used in the original series, Ron Moore's experience with the US Naval JROTC program incited him to instill within his series a certain militaristic atmosphere and flavor akin to that naval experience, including a more fleshed-out rank device system.

Unfortunately, while most modern-day rank devices are specifically designed to be easily recognized from a distance by respective wearers, so that they may know who to salute to and from whom to expect a salute, NuBSG fell into the military science fiction trope that others like the Star Trek movies and other shows and films have. By that I mean, unless you get right on top of them, the devices are not easily recognizable from one another. It took me many years to try to get this chart correct (the final was version 7.1 - a lot of iterations). I really didn't come up with a finished product until the show was over, resulting in all the prop dressings having been put up on auction and high-quality replicas being made available from various official and fan-made sources. Despite all the confusion, I'm pretty pleased with the result.

A quick note about a couple of the designs:

The Ensign Grade:
There had been several featured crewmembers of the Galactica that were listed as "Ensign". Originally, on an earlier version of the chart, I made that device an open diamond without any internal chevrons. In reality, the costuming department was using Lieutenant Junior Grade's devices on Ensign lapels, hoping nobody would notice, no doubt. I suspect they didn't have the budget to make new ones, so they used existing ones for the "lower decks" personnel. In my chart, I made an all-gold version of the Lieutenant's device so that, from a distance, it could conceivably look like an LTJG, but it's subtly different to have it conform to the established canon. That is why I have labeled it “conjectural”.

Warrant Officers:
This one is more of a sticky wicket for me. In the 2-hour telemovie, “Razor”, we see a slightly younger Lieutenant Colonel Fisk wearing a very odd device. The problem was, it looked a lot like what some crewmembers wore, who were sporting these tan jumpsuits, similar to the green ones used by the enlisted personnel and deck hands. One very similar set, which we know to have been labeled “Warrant Officer” by the costume department, seemed larger and far more elaborate than what wound up being LTCol, yet still with an identical center area with the diamond and recessed starburst. It’s been a long time, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen both versions of these devices on the tan-jump suited crewmembers, which is why I named the one they call Warrant Officer as Chief Warrant Officer and the one they named Lt Colonel as simply Warrant Officer (and no LTCol in my chart). Personally, I think it’s another situation where they added a rank grade to the crew for the purpose of plot – after all, Cain had to promote the poor, feckless Fisk after she ventilated Col. Belzen’s cranium. They didn’t have an extra free design lying around, so they used one that was normally placed on background characters that nobody would have noticed.

Everything else appears to be consistent with established canon. Man, I sound like a Trek geek, don't I? ;)

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