NX-01 Enterprise Class


Enterprise – Rendered by Rob Bonchune

Since we featured the Akira yesterday, I thought it would be fitting to cover the Enterprise class today. The dedication plaque refers to the class as NX (This was a request from on high), but according to naval tradition, the first ship of a new contract is what the class is named, so Enterprise class. My main mission was to inject as much of the original Enterprise into this ship as I possibly could, and I made sure that the basic dynamic between the saucer and the nacelles was the same. To a person with a sharp eye, the NX-01 is loaded with TOS Easter eggs, and one of these days I will write up a key and post it.

By the way, I have posted these images at a higher resolution than I usually do, so that you can see the enormous attention to detail that Pierre and I injected into this ship.



This is an unusual render of the Enterprise in that there is a lot of ambient light. It really shows off the panel detailing. Like Andy’s “D”, every panel was designed and fitted painstakingly to the function and form of the ship. All sections have their own distinct personality and are not simply cloned and repeated. It was designed by someone who full well knows how close you guys like to look, because I’m one of you. Something you probably never heard before, is that the nacelle struts were originally much finer, like the TOS ship. Dan Curry thought that they didn’t look like they could support the nacelles, and that it looked silly. All due respect to Dan, but that is one of the things I loved about the TOS ship. It suggested a technology beyond our own. On the original show, the nacelles defied gravity. I was sorry when the TMP shp heavied them up. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks great. Just not what I wanted for the NX. Ok… look at the struts, notice that there  is a tapered fairing on the leading edge. Those were the original struts, well…  a  little heavier than that. A third more. But everything behind that was add on. I emphasized that front fairing so that in some light conditions it would be all you would see, and feel more like my beloved TOS Enterprise.


Here is nearly the same angle but with the ambient turned down, the the  key turned up, and a bigger lens. Notice how the larger lens stacks things up a bit, and flattens them out. These lighting conditions push the plate detail back, and emphasize the ship’s self light and luminosity. Truth be told, the fronts of the bussard collectors are too red and lazy for my taste. I would have pushed to the orange side and had a much more volatile and seething kinetic look there like TOS. It was not to the taste of our bosses. I found (and all due respect), that during the Berman years, anything brassy, meaning what they perceived as loud, was pushed into the background. The musical score became wallpaper, and colors were desaturated. One day I came into the living room, and Enterprise was on… Hey! What’s wrong with the TV? There’s no color!…  Then someone walked onto the scene in the blue uniform. Oh! The color IS on! It’s just that Enterprise was shot in all blues and greys. Very monochromatic. Anything colorful was crushed out of the picture.


(Below) Here again is nearly the same shot with a lot of ambient light, and no clear key. I wish that the brightness of the ship had been a little more like this, closer to… you guessed it, the original Enterprise. The NX appeared dark and dingy on actual show. Against space it was often hard to see. Not to my taste. An Enterprise should not be pushed into the background, it should show boldly. It’s gallant and bright, and wears a white hat. But that was all part of the Berman look. If it stood out too much it was pushed back. the logic was that this would bring the characters to the forefront. I understood, but did not subscribe to that theory, although it was an interesting one.


(Below) My idea was that at the end of the fourth season, the ship would put into drydock for a major refit. After four years, out there, dealing with unknowns, it would be time to upgrade the ship based on everything they had learned. Look at this profile. Imagine adding the dorsal and secondary hull. One of these days I will roughly add that on so that we can get a look. The fairings would go way, engineering would get more room, and move out of the ships primary living areas. The saucer would become capable of sep. The NX would become an NC.


(Below) from the above view you can clearly see the original nacelle pylons. they would have extended a bit on the Z axis, but would not have encroached upon the aft impulse engines. One thing that I would have loved to have seen were those square cargo doors on top and bottom of the saucer open. That would have created a zero G tunnel though the ship. Catgo containers would be floated into the tunnel, then pushed onto receiving decks where they would be processed and stowed in fitted wells.


(Above and Below) If you examine the saucer inpulse engines mounted in those prominent notches at the back of the saucer, you will see that if you took just the aft half of the exhaust cone, and pushed the stbd and port pieces together, you would have the TOS impulse cone. Another fun reflected detail is the airport style control tower dome at the back of the saucer. I don’t think an Enterprise is an Enterprise without that. The boys who designed the original ship came from an aviation background, and that is a prominent feature on the that ship. The top obs dome is primarily a command center for supervising  the frequent engine tear downs  the ship should have experienced while deployed. The bottom dome would have served a similar function, but would have had a secondary function as flight control for the shuttle pod drop bays. The top and bottom dome would be connected by a tunnel containing a ladder and a small lift, similar to the lift in engineering.  The gravity orientation in the bottom dome is inverted, so anyone in there would be standing upside down in relation to the rest of the ship. Another interesting note is that the lower sensor dome was lifted intact from the TOS Enterprise.


(Below) Speaking of lifted intact, the forward deflector dish is the dish from the original Enterprise, squeezed on the Y axis. Another carryover finger print is that the nacelle pylons when seen from the front, do not line up with the centerline of the nacelles. The pylons insert into the bottom of the nacelles, just like you-know-what.


(Below) On the original Enterprise, the ends of the nacelles with their hooded cones suggested exhaust. That was remedied by adding spheres. That was a cool solution,  suggested a different technology, and did away with the possibility of thrust coming from them. I kept that for the ends of the NX nacelles, but split the sphere in two. Now Dea, cover your ears. If the fronts of the nacelles look like penises, I compounded that by making the ends of the NX nacelles look like a girls butt in a thong. I thought that was fair.


I felt compelled to put this pictorial together, because Richard Martin said so many horrible things to me about the NX in an E-mail the other day, that this was the only way I could exorcise all the bad energy. So thanks Richard! It yielded some good things!


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.


I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield


Screen caps courtesy of Jörg, just back from Munich!

Enterprise NX-01, Breaking the ice (4)

Enterprise NX-01, Breaking the ice (7)


Enterprise NX-01, Terra Nova (4)

Enterprise NX-01, Terra Nova (5)

Enterprise NX-01, Terra Nova (6)

Enterprise NX-01, Terra Nova (7)

Enterprise NX-01, The Andorian incident (4)

131 Responses to “NX-01 Enterprise Class”

  1. 1 Mark Delgado
    June 13, 2009 at 12:40 pm


    As I said before, I was none too thrilled with this ship when I first saw it on ENTERPRISE, but thinks to the numerous NX-01 entries in your blog, I have a whole new appreciation and respect for the ship. Thanks for continuing to post such interesting info!

  2. 2 deg
    June 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Sweet baby Enterprise!

    Th, Th, Thanksssssss, Doug!


  3. 3 Ryan T. Riddle
    June 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    “It was not to the taste of our bosses. I found (and all due respect), that during the Berman years, anything brassy, meaning what they perceived as loud, was pushed into the background. The musical score became wallpaper, and colors were desaturated. One day I came into the living room, and Enterprise was on… Hey! What’s wrong with the TV? There’s no color!… Then someone walked onto the scene in the blue uniform. Oh! The color IS on! It’s just that Enterprise was shot in all blues and greys. Very monochromatic. Anything colorful was crushed out of the picture.”

    This was one of my problems with ENT and a lot of ModTrek after season 3 of TNG. On TOS, the future was bright and colorful and brassy. During DS9, VOY, and ENT, the aesthetic pushed everything into a monochromatic sameness in terms of colors and music which I think was a disservice to the fine production work being done behind the scenes.

    Of all the Trek series, ENT had the most verisimilitude in terms of set design and a lot of it gets lost in the desaturated lighting scheme of the series. Same with the NX-01.

  4. 4 deg
    June 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I felt compelled to put this pictorial together, because Richard Martin said so many horrible things to me about the NX in an E-mail the other day,…

    I missed that, but Dea emailed me about it. See, that’s a case of someone who really does need to get back on their meds, or start taking some. Certain types of peeps never fail to fascinate me.

    Don’t ever let the turkeys keep ya from soarin’ high, Doug. :)

    Mediocre minds will always try to drag down (as misery loves company) those that they envy. They have nothing better to do with their time, and that exactly why they find themselves where they are. Responsibility in life is the furthest thing from ever being able to comprehend. Life is all about avoiding and/or laying blame to such types. Pay ‘em mind, and you only feed ‘em their drama-engine. Ignore ‘em and they tend to go away.


  5. June 13, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Man oh man, I don’t know how people can criticize this ship. I could always tell that it was designed by someone with a deep love for the original. Even though I *think* I know where all the TOS Easter eggs are, I’m looking forward to the post on that. I might not have gotten them all. ;)

    I agree with you, I have a lot of respect for Rick Berman and the way he kept Trek going as long as he did, but the colors suck. They took it to more of a Nicholas Meyer (again, no offense) Star Trek VI look that I never cared for.

    Your idea for adding the engineering hull would also have been sweet. Some fans theorized that this ship eventually became the NCC-1701 (hence, the lack of it on the “ships named Enterprise” exibits) but the Enterprise series finale (I don’t like that episode) kind of killed that theory. Your plan to add an engineering section could have made that vision a reality. You could have even changed the lines of the whole ship some to make them even more TOS-ish, to show a natural progression towards the one true Enterprise.

    And, last but not least, no offense meant at all to Ryan Church, he’s a great concept artist, but I wish you’d been the one to design the Enterprise for the new movie. You’d have stayed more true to the original than he did (in fact, I have no doubt that you’d have fought hard to have changed *nothing* about the ship and might have won that argument, but we’ll never know.)

  6. 6 Loskene
    June 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’m surprised how much of the TOS Enterprise is included in the NX. I knew the sensor dome was similar but I didn’t know it was the exact same. Same goes for the D-dish. What about those Nacelle intercoolers? They look rather familiar

  7. 7 Ben
    June 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    first of all thank you very very much for sharing not only the images but aswell some insight, why, what looks like it does, and what you had in mind.

    Since I basically started with ENTerprise I actually prefer the ships which don’t have a long/high neck between the saucer and the engines ie the ones which seem to most of you a bit flat.

    the Zero G tunnel would have made a great storyline if you would replace the cargo with folks in eva suits, who have to take back the ship, or some kick out of the ship etc – maybe it even would have been big enough for a shuttle pod to fly trough…

    the NX-01 is by miles my fave ship in Star Trek.

    Who did the OV-165 ship which is seen in the Opening Credits, are there more detailed pictures, maybe even cutaways or any info on why it looks like it does, and what could have been diffrent, what inspired you or them to use it etc ?

  8. 8 Ryan Cornelius
    June 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Doug, I can assure ou that for every one Richard Martin there are 1000 Ryan Cornelius’ out there worshiping the ground you walk on…

    Keep up the good work! We all love you, and Mike, and Denise, and Rick, and You, and Mike, and Denise, and Rick, and You, etc.

  9. 9 Bwack
    June 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I heavily criticized the show for having boring, repetitive design at the time, but afterwards (and also thanks to blogs like this) it occured to me that it wasn’t really the fault of the designs. There was a certain ‘Star Trek look’ which had more to do with poor presentation than anything else. More often than not, the ENT-NX just looked like a dark Akira-shaped blob to me during the actual show. It looked far better in some of the art books I looked at later. The same goes for the sets. Pictures of the bridge or engineering always seemed more impressive than their appeaances on the show…

    I remember early TNG episodes, when there was a greater use of different angles and camera shots. For example, a shot under Worf’s consol looking at Picard. It was as if after a certain point they bolted the cameras down and only shot from certain stock positions. I kind of liked the more bold and experimental look of the earlier episodes.

    Anyway, that was my impression. Maybe I’m over thinking it.

  10. June 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Cool renders and info Doug. You’re right about the first ship of a class having the same name.

    Out of curiosity, when you said it would be NC? Just NC or NCC? Since the Columbia was also NX, I guess that idea didn’t fly. Do the producers like the way NX sounds since the Defiant never became NCC-74205.

  11. 11 Stu
    June 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    My god Doug, that was stunning! :) This is without a doubt my favourite thread yet! Prepare for the post-count on this one to soar!

    I gotta say though I am a fan of the beefed up struts! Yes they may take something away from the elegance of the design maybe (maybe not!) but these things are critical in not only providing the conduits that keep those nacelles running but the ship is frequently getting caught in a fire-fight; you don’t want to show a potential foe that the struts are vulnerable or you’ll see these aggressors repeatedly picking them as a choice-target! Similarly I’ve always questioned why the bridge is on Deck 1 knowing what a dangerous place the galaxy is; what an inviting target to an enemy! Regardless of the practicality of such a location, I read only recently that this is a Roddenberry-requirement and of course this is a ship of exploration first! Some traditions can’t be broken for sure!!
    So, yeah… beefier struts! Cool by me!! :)

    As for the colours… After having spent 20 years or so in the 24th Century (lots and lots of pale colours!) I’ll admit that the pallet of colours on the NX-01 did take a bit of getting used to, but it did grow on me!

    As for Mister Martin, hmmm… Several of his ‘contributions’ to the threads have consisted of doses of Enterprise-bashing; he says that he(QUOTE:) “despises Enterprise” ! That’s his opinion which is fair enough but Enterprise kicked out four whole series; if he couldn’t find his enjoyment by the end of the first season, why did he subject himself to three additional years of ‘torture’? That doesn’t sound too bright to me… ;)

    Again thanks for the best post yet Doug! What a week!! :)

  12. 12 Boris
    June 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I actually think it’s a good thing that the Defiant remained an NX; it helps explain all of the inconsistencies introduced by its haphazard (for a hero ship) real-world design process. One week it may fire a torpedo from somewhere on its underside, the next week it could be from the tail, then the Chaffee would suddenly show up out of nowhere…all in the interest of R&D for other such vessels. Doug Drexler fleshed it out eventually, but there are still inconsistencies from the earlier stages of the ship’s design. Still, as I said, this actually works well with the story of the ship in-universe.

  13. 13 Pacal
    June 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Great stuff Doug,thank you!

  14. 14 Snafu
    June 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Perhaps the TMP Enterprise’s struts’ thickness was compensated by their leading and trailing edges’ apertures and inset radiator surfaces suggesting they are hollowed, so not that heavy. This Enterprise’s struts, with those chunky leading edges, probably would look better if they were a bit thinner. What I like and wouldn’t change is their tapered shape: it makes them bold and energetic, and works wonders for from-behind shots (which sort of elongate the ship and make her quite dynamic, as those last two pictures show).

  15. 15 D.Doubleyou
    June 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I like this model with secondary hull refit: http://bridgecommander.filefront.com/screenshots/File/41035/6

    You planned something similar or position under the saucer with direct connection?

  16. 16 davidp75
    June 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The NX was my favorite starship in the Star Trek franchise long before I ever knew who designed it.

    Now, I’m not a purist; some of my favorite features of the NX are those things that differ from the “one true Enterprise” (including the hull coloring and the beefier pylons). However, I wonder whose idea was the blue glow of the intercoolers? I’m guessing someone high up decided to impose the blue glow as a retroactive design feature, following Enterprise-D. This is one case in which I would have preferred following the original E.

  17. 17 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Ben… the OV-165 ship? Is that the ship over the moon colony/ I’ve never heard a number spoken for it before.

  18. 18 Bret Oliver
    June 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I think I would have loved it even more had the producers let you keep the thin pylons. Aside from aesthetics, weight is one of the main design concerns with spaceships; more weight means more fuel, which means less space for more important things, like scientific equipment!

  19. 19 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Ryan! Thank you buddy! What a wonderful thing to say!

  20. 20 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Bwack! I happen to agree with you all the way!

  21. 21 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Starting with NC seemed like a nice along-the-way step.

  22. 22 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Stu! Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, the bridge on the top is a tradition. Gene wanted to give the bridge a highly identifiable place to be for the audience. On BSG the CIC is buried deep within the ship, which makes a lot more sense in a dangerous universe. I have to admit a certain disconnect though. I like seeing them on high. Thanks again, and I’m delighted you enjoyed the article. I enjoyed putting it together!

  23. 23 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I hear ya Snafu!

  24. 24 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    D.Doubleyou! That is freaking awesome… and I don’t use that word very often. I certainly give it my wholehearted blessing! Hot stuff!

  25. 25 davidp75
    June 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    D.Doubleyou, that is an amazing idea for the secondary hull — a morph of the warp field governor!

  26. 26 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Davidp75, The blue glow was something that all of us wanted to see, and I’ll tell you why. That was something Gene wanted for the original ship, but couldn’t afford it. We thought that Gene would be OK with this update, just as he was OK with updating the glowy-swirly fronts of the TOS Nacelles, which in the very beginning, were painted, and not lit. In fact, the painted domes appeared periodically thru-out all three seasons of the original show.

  27. 27 davidp75
    June 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I definitely liked the improvement with the bussard collectors (was that even their name during the TOS?). Now that I look a bit more closely, it seems that the blue glow is coming from behind the intercoolers — the actual warp coils perhaps? If so, I can at least understand the reasoning.

  28. 28 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Hi David! You’re right, bussard collectors was something that arrived during TNG, and we’ve all accepted it. It’s a clever idea, making them big ramscoops. I think that was a Rick and Mike innovation. Yes, you are correct. The glow comes from behind the intercoolers, eminating from the warp coils.

  29. June 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    very cool beautifull renderings.. I always got a Lockheed P-38 Lightning vibe to the ship.

  30. 30 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Brandon! I love the Lightning, and pushed it that way as much as I could, including the turbochargers!

  31. June 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Oooo, more shots…

    Yeah, that is the reason I immediately fell in love with the NX, for the twin-boom 38 feel, as I love that bird, always have.


  32. 32 Syd Hughes
    June 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    God, I love that ship, and I really wish

    1. The ambient light had been cranked up like you have here and
    2. It had been far, far less aztec’d, which really looks out of place. I think the way the Defiant in “In A Mirror, Darkly” was done perfect — aztec’ing in the same shade as the hull, but of a different reflectivity, so when the light source hits it you can see the plates. It made the surfaces more visually interesting while keeping the overall look consistent, and I really wish the NX had gotten the same treatment.

    And the general washed-out aesthetic of ENT was a horrible decision, especially for a series trying to recapture some of the TOS vibe. Nothing says EXCITEMENT and SCI-FI ADVENTURE and REVITALIZING THE FRANCHISE like grey, bland everything and muted orchestral arrangements. When I first watched the DVD sets, I thought something had gone wrong with the color settings on my monitor!

    Anyway, please please PLEASE throw together that secondary hull! It would’ve been so good to see the NX-01 growing towards the Constitution onscreen, but I’d be more than happy to see an ‘official’ one on the Drex Files! (can I beg for the approval model to be used as the base?)

    Thank you for these pics!

  33. 33 Phil
    June 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve always liked the NX.I appreciate the retro quality,whilst still looking advanced.I also like the concept of the shuttle bay and the neat main deflector dish.Over all a sutble mixing of styles.The tapered nacelle pylons remind me of the movie refit Enterprise,perhaps my all-time fav.

  34. 34 Beta Capricus
    June 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Damn I really digg your idea of having the ship refit after four years in space. Not that I have anything against your design of course, but, after four years of experience it just makes sense. Have you ever mentioned that idea to Manny Coto? I imagine he would have loved it, and that he might even have encouraged you to put some more “tos” in the design. Weird how any time you tell us something like that, I find a reason in it to start mourning for Enterprise’s cancelation again. That fourth season sure was starting to put the brassy back in Star Trek.

  35. 35 Beta Capricus
    June 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    By the way, I was in the process of each month spending a part of my meager earnings on buying a season of Deep Space Nine. But as of this month I switched to buy ENT first, and it’s all because of Drex Files posts like this one…

  36. 36 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Syd! Thanks buddy! Now as far as the Defiant goes, I never would have aztec’d that at all. As much as I like the aztec’ing on the TMP ship, to my eye, it looks more primitive than the ceramic-like look of the TOS Enterprise, which may have been “grown” for all we know.

  37. 37 Ben
    June 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Doug: here is the OV-165 (well it seems more a shuttle than a ship in my view)


    Who came up with the design/idea, are there cutaways, more infos etc

    This Blog is simply wonderful.

  38. 38 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Beta, in the fourth season we were really developing an amazing working relationship with Manny. If we had gone to a fifth season, I feel confident that we would have resubmitted all of our ideas for the Enterprise for reconsideration.

  39. 39 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks Phil!

  40. 40 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Beta! Wow! Thank you so much!

  41. 41 RichT
    June 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Like many others I was quick to pooh-pooh the “Akiraprise” design of the NX-01 at first, thinking it a design aimed simply at pandering to fan favouritism. What completely swung my viewpoint round and made me appreciate the NX-01 on its own merits was seeing the sheer attention to detail and amount of thought that had gone in to the design. The slatted blue glow on the nacelles was revealed, with some high-resolution renders I stumbled across, to be the energised warp coils themselves visible through vents in the nacelles; the sensor arrays had tiny parabolic dishes on them; the RCS thrusters had individual thruster nozzles. It was a revelation.

    Too often in science fiction a ship has a dislocation between its interior and exterior; the exterior was designed because it looked “cool”, and the rooms and spaces we see don’t seem to bear any relation to the hull, or even necessarily to fit comfortably within the exterior. To an extent even the TOS and TNG Enterprises were guilty of this. The hugely detailed and in-depth designs of the NX-01 always helped it feel much more “real”, more like an actual *thing* and less like a collection of sets and CGI, however fantastic or improbable the stories and technology themselves were.

    Although I could never admit to being Enterprise The Series’s biggest fan, I have always been hugely appreciative of Enterprise The Ship. Truly a design to be proud of.

  42. 42 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Ben, Sure, sure. It’s sort of a Pan Am Clipper, kind of based by John on the HL-20 space plane (among others).
    There are no cutaways, although I may be able to turn up profiles.

  43. June 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I never jibed the NX-class design as an Akira knock-off, simply because (1) with all due respect to Alex Jaeger, the Akira was a bit player in the Trek scheme of things, and (2) as a general rule, Trek ships of the same operating authority tend to have very similar characteristics.

    I’m not a fan of the Enterprise TV series, but I am a fan of the Enterprise NX-01. Always have been.

  44. 44 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you so Rich! When I was putting the approval model of the ship together, the set blueprints were on my desk. It was a true collaborative effort, and I was hand in hand with the set designers and Herman. Everyone knew where it all fit as we were going along, and that’s why there is no disconnect between inside and out.

  45. 45 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you Greg!

  46. 46 Richard Martin
    June 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    The NX1 in my opinion looks too much like a 24th century ship to be a predessor to the Constitution class Enterprise.

  47. 47 DeanneM
    June 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Ben, I’m with you on the NX love! :)

    Ryan, ya left out Mr. Eaves…Mike and Denise and Rick and John and so many other who join with us here and you…. :D Now I agree!

    Wow, I just got done looking at pics and reading posts and enjoying D.Doubleyou’s link. I’ll be saving a lot and perusing some more while I work today!! Thanks, Doug! I covered my ears, but it didn’t seem to keep me from reading that part. ;)

    D.Doubleyou, I love your shots of the NX/NCC line! I’ve always thought they would be named after the shuttles, and it’s so coool to actually see them as you see them. I immediately put your ISS Enterprise on my desktop…it’s the clearest version I’ve seen by far. Hope you don’t mind!

  48. 48 DeanneM
    June 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I failed to mention that I like the kinda bronzed color on her, but not so much during the show. That light, closer to TOS, shot looks fantastic!

  49. 49 Psion
    June 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Darn darn darn darn! I’m coming in late and with no real time to read all the above posts or to say much, but I suddenly love this ship even more. It’s been growing on me since the series ended, and I’ve occasionally looked over high-res renders and my Art Asylum toy. I’ve found the original impulse engine myself, but missed the stretched NavDef. Of course, my favorite touch from the beginning was the illuminated “planetary sensor” dome on the bottom of the saucer.

    I’m sorry to say, I was never very fond of the open space between the cats and behind the saucer. I’ve always wanted to see that whole volume filled in, especially since the volatile materials weren’t being housed in the warp modulator that looks like it’s designed to be jettisoned easily. Nor did I like the stretched navigation deflector dish. I’d rather you guys had gone with a big, ugly dish messing up the flow of everything, or two or three in a row. I just can’t imagine that stretched shape being very useful, as parabolas go.

    Years ago, someone on TrekBBS speculated about how easy it would be to add a secondary hull to it and make it much closer to the original ship. Now hearing that was something you’d planned to do makes it a very exciting detail. Would you have actually been permitted to pull this off?

    Thanks, Doug. Now I’m going to have to track down that beautiful Polar Lights model of the NX so I can add it to my huge stock of Trek models I’ll build some day.

  50. 50 Greg
    June 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm


    Great renders of the NX!

    Now can you find us some stuff on the Klingon Battlecruiser? (The one actually used IN the show, as in the Klingon augment virus 2 parter…)

  51. 51 Greg
    June 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I forgot to ask…was there ever any real sense behind the scenes that S5 was a posssibility?

  52. 52 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    “darn, darn, darn, darn” … that’s a bit of Herman Munster there!

    I wanted the top dome lit as well, but no dice, they wouldn’t go for it. One out of two ain’t bad! That parabolic dish works in conjunction with the odd warp field that the assymetrical warp coils generate. You’ll notice that the various ships have different defelector shapes depending on the warp field they generate. The D has a bit of a squeeze on it as well. Are you buying this? Not at all?

    No kidding, would I love to have a nicely put together Polar Lights kit!

  53. 53 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Greg! yes, I’m sure I have the Klingon Battlecruiser you are talking about. i’ll look for it.

    We had heard that Mr. Berman, and the new CBS bosses were not clicking, and that did not bode well for a 5th season. We figured it was 50/50. Enterprise never had really bad ratings. It actually was pulling better numbers than Galactica, which was a hit for Sci Fi. What really killed it, IMO, was Les Moonves, the head over there. He didin’t get Star Trek, didn’t care for sci-fi, and there was no love loss between him and Mr. Berman (or so I’ve heard).

  54. 54 Chris McKinney
    June 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    You truely are a most wonderful artist and genius.

    Such a beautiful ship and fitting for the first deep space ship named Enterprise. I agree on the design elements that you pushed for and were rejected.

    Believe me Doug Mr Jefferies would be so proud.

  55. 55 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Chris, You are so very kind. I do the best I can, and cross my fingers! Thank you, kind sir!

  56. June 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Fantastic write up, I wasn’t really a huge fan of this ships similarities to the Akira, but i must admit, if they’d had it in the show with the more white appearence it would of been fantastic. I always felt the ship was to dark on screen.

    So many homeages to the original Enterprise on her too, which I really like!

    If I were to make another change to the ship, other than having it lighter, it would be to remove that platform that the bridge sits on that opens up at the end. I know the Akira has it too, but it were removed it would really bring out the saucers shape much more.

  57. 57 Snafu
    June 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    You know I am an “aztecs fascist” :D , but I think these textures were too prominent in the case of the NX-01, and contributed to the overall dark and perhaps a bit too busy look of the ship in this chosen lighting style. I don’t think aztecs work too well in small ships unless they are unobtrusive.

    I remember studying some really HiRes pictures of this ship, marveling at the level of modelled detail: the running lights are even fresnelled (would that be a correct term?).

  58. 58 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you Suricata! Yes, If I had my way, I would have finished it in a ceramic like the TOS ship. Losing that platform would have happened if we’d ever lost the booms. maybe in the “remastered” edition! : P

  59. 59 Greg
    June 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm


    Thanks for the insight, and for trying to find something on the Battlecruiser…that is the ONE model from Enterprise that it seems noone has done much with in the way of documenting. At one time Rob was going to post some orthos on another forum, but he never got the chance.

  60. 60 dougdrexler
    June 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Snafu, I wouldn’t have made it so dark, but I’m certain that it was pushed that way. I would have lightened it significantly. Check out the approval model: http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/nx-approval-model/

  61. 61 John N. Ritter
    June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    More please. More.

    If the Entereprise had been up graded, just how much faster would it have been? Or is that even the question? What would it capabilities have been versus as built?

  62. 62 Chris McKinney
    June 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry to be a pain Doug.

    I was wondering if you had any renders of the 01 with all the battle damage she took during the later half of season 3?

    Azati Prime happens to be my favourite Enterprise episode for the fact that she lives up to the hero status of ships named Enterprise (also talk about a cliffhanger!).

  63. 63 DeanneM
    June 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Chris, I saw an Azati Prime version on the link at #15, if you want a quick fix. I have only seen those epis once, so I don’t recall how close it is, but his others are pretty darn good.

  64. June 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Doug, great write-up! It’s almost as good as getting a tour of the NX-01 in person! I hope to get a chance to design a ship in detail like that someday soon!

  65. June 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    “An Enterprise should not be pushed into the background, it should show boldly. It’s gallant and bright, and wears a white hat.”

    Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for all the gorgeous eye candy and the thoughtful analysis, Doug! It’s a terrible shame we didn’t get to spend more time with this beautiful lady, but I’m looking forward to seeing what might have been had Star Trek: Enterprise been granted a fifth season.

  66. June 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    ^ I agree! The battle damage was spectacular and “Azati Prime” is one of my favorite Enterprise episodes.

    And Mr. Drexler I am absolutely loving this post, especially the brighter renderings. They really enhance (and in a way de-emphasize) her hull plating. And you know how much I love this ship so any post about her, no matter how small, is very much appreciated. Many thanks!

  67. June 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I liked that about Enterprise. The ship got damaged and stayed that way. As with the Galactica. One of my problems with Voyager is that the ship looked like it was fresh from spacedock even after 7 years on its own in the Delta Quadrant. I get they had the ability to repair damage or even got help from alien space stations. But still, it would have been a nice touch if over time it appeared battle worn.

  68. June 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Doug, I was never a fan of the NX, but your retrospective has given me a new appreciation for the work and love of Trek that went into it. IT’s just a shame that same level of commitment doesn’t seem to have been shared by those in charge.

    BTW… dug out those bottle labels yet? :)

  69. 69 Matt Boardman
    June 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    As I’ve said before, I was one of those who had one of those “love at first sight” moments with this ship. There was something to me that just made sense that this was the Enterprise. Having had the opportunity to read about the nods here and there to the 1701, I know why that was. The thought that went into the design is truly amazing. She has a lot of great filming angles!

    I think one of my favorite scenes was when we see the NX-01 leaving dock in “Broken Bow.” That scene to me had the same emotion and feel as seeing the Enterprise leave dock in TMP.

    The producers may have handed you lemons with trying to make the ship of Enterprise an Akira, but you guys made some pretty fine lemonade!

  70. 70 DeanneM
    June 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Best lemonade I ever had! :D

  71. 71 Bwack
    June 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I agree that the eye-candy got a lot more impressive in the 3rd/4th season.

    Someone mentioned the blue nacelles, and that reminded me of my list of complaints that I originally had back during season 1. Basically, anything that wasn’t in TOS but WAS in some other Trek, I was again’t.

    -Blue nacelles
    -The TMP-like elements, such as window shape
    -The fact that the saucer rim was wider at the bottom rather than the top, unlike a certain other Enterprise…
    -The blue glow behind the deflector. (of all things to notice.)
    -backswept pylons.

    I realize all those are perfectly defensible from an in-universe POV, but my fan eyes were expecting something like the Daedalus. I did like the TOS hull font, the lit dome, the rest of the nacelles, hangars, and so forth. But one tends to fixate on the negative at first. Near the end of the show, I started to realize that out of context with the latest barrage of Ferrengi, Borg, Klingon,and Risa episodes, it was actually a very good looking and complex ship.

    Mr. Drexler, after hearing some of your comments I was wondering what you think of this ship style, based on the NX: http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/ess-aachen-xcv-770.php

    Also, any posts with the Shuttle-Pod would be cool, that was one of the designs I thought that really stood out from the beginning, both on the inside and outside.

  72. 72 ScoobieFan
    June 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Ok. BRAIN GAZIM!!!!!!!! Drex, this made my Saturday. A. Super reference for modeling. B. Killer wallpaper. C. Proof the whiners calling this “Akiraprise” were oh so wrong! Cept for the “A” this is the best Enterprise and I will look forward to the refit pics!

    Thanks so much!

  73. 73 Scott D
    June 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Interesting to hear that you guys were planning on putting on a secondary hull and revising the design. It’s interesting because not too long ago, John on his blog, put up a design that was an offshoot of the NX, which sort of had a secondary hull.


    If Enterprise continued for a little bit longer, you could’ve had a transition that eventually made it to the Daedalus-class, with it being the first Starfleet vessel with a unified Secondary Hull. But you know, I kind of glad it didn’t happen. Because wasn’t Engineering in TOS, right by the Impulse Manifolds? So in the end, it was fate.

    So Doug, you think you can give us a quick sketch of what it might’ve looked like? ;)

  74. June 13, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Wow. What a revelation! I’ve always liked the NX but was never in love with it. I never really thought about why that was until now. It’s the @#!?! color! It’s too darn dark! It’s amazing to me how that high-ambient shot puts it all into perspective. Take that type of light hull and tone down the aztec contrast and you have an Enterprise that I recognize as an Enterprise! What an epiphany. This is a great write-up, Doug. thanks for the in-depth overview of “why things happened”.

    For the record, I feel that no ship design that would have been accepted by a 21st century audience could have looked “cruder” than the original Enterprise. This NX approach does an admirable job of filling that very difficult to define niche, IMO.

    And DDoubleyou’s take on adding the secondary hull is quite impressive! Nicely done, sir.

  75. 75 Jonathan Burke
    June 13, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Doug! As usual, I find myself in agreement with pretty much everythng you’ve said. I have to say: your bosses should have listened more to you art guys. Your synopsis of what was wrong with the “blandness” was really spot on.

    I really agree with all the things you’d have done differently if you’d had the option, except one: I would not want to see a secondary hull added. It’s funny, as one who originally hated this design (and am still saying “Hail Marys” at the Church of Drexler because of it :( ) I would really be loathe to see a secondary hull added to it on the show, when it looks fine without it. :)

  76. 76 Mysterion
    June 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Doug – the more you show us here, the more I am liking this ship. I’ll admit to not having been the biggest ENT fan while the show was on-air, but I picked-up the whole series on DVD in a going out of business sale awhile back. Between re-watching the series and your posts here, I have come to appreciate the stuff you guys behind the scenes were trying to do, even if it was squelched a bit before it reached my teevee screen.

    The other effect your posts here are having on me is a very frustrated desire for a techical manual/blueprint set that i know Pocket will never produce. *sigh*

    Keep ‘em flying, Doug!

  77. 77 Mysterion
    June 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Oh, and as to the resemblance of the NX Class to the Akira Class, yeah I see it. But I’ve always thought there was more of a visual resemblence to this:


    That’s Todd Guenther’s Akyazi Class perimeter action ship from his fan-published Ships of the Star Fleet Volume 2 (which pre-dates the appearance of both the Akira and NX classes). So apparantly Starfleet ships designers have decided this basic layout has some utility to it, huh?

    I really like this sort of sychronicity, don’t you?

  78. 78 sam moreno
    June 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Doug, The first time I saw this ship was in the TV Guide fold out at a Wal-mart & I feel in love with the ship ever since! A true MASTERPIECE!

  79. 79 DeanneM
    June 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    So you like centerfold type pics, huh, Sam? JK! I wish I’d seen that!! I haven’t bought a TV guide in at least 15 years. Once in a while they do have some memorable photos and stories that are worth the issue price, for sure!

  80. 80 Saga Charade
    June 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm


    First of all, let me give you a hearty and heartfelt “thank you!!” for all the stuff you’ve put on your blog. For a die-hard fan like me, especially one who loves the ships and tech of Star Trek, it’s a great perk in my day to see what you’ve trotted out.

    The above article on the NX is most excellent. I have to admit to not much caring for the ship at first, but she grew on me; I am DEFINITELY looking forward to your key to TOS easter eggs on the NX, as well as the “NC” upgrade.

    Keep ‘em coming, and thanks again!!!

  81. 81 Matt Wright
    June 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Late to the party since I just got back from vacation…

    Awesome, awesome, awesome pictoral and notes Doug! Your vision would have been quite a bit different, and in mostly good ways, sad it wasn’t listened to, and even sadder that season 4 had the new guidance it needed and it could have been/would have been in season 5 :(

  82. June 13, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I initially was a little troubled with the more futuristic look of the NX-01, but it was such a darn good design, I couldn’t help but love it. Once I got the really well done Hallmark ornament in my hands, I was forever sold. I would love to see a render in TOS ghost grey with some early Federation heraldry… maybe side by side with the Kelvin :) Great job Doug- it will always be one of my favorites.

  83. June 13, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Richard who????

    Doug, I gotta say I wasn’t fond of the NX when I first saw her and I did think the shape was too close to the Akira class (I guess I was hoping for an all new design or at least a secondary hull). But she has grown on me over the years and I really appreicate the fact that you put so much hard work into making her a unique pre-TOS ship. Your blogs on the NX and it’s technical aspects have really shown the ship in a new light for me and I don’t think I can look at it on “Enterprise” the same way again without seeing penises and asses. (kidding)

    Also I am all for making “Enterprise Class” canon.

  84. 84 Jay
    June 14, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Also late to the party but wanted to throw in a modest tuppence: I am of two minds about “Enterprise”, the series.

    Mind One: As a true prequel to the original Star Trek, it is not the series I would have made. From the design of the ship to the wardrobe, from the relationship between the humans and Vulcans to the choice of alien races the crew encountered, from the visual palette to the style of the music. I would have preferred something that was far more colorful and bold on all levels, as opposed to what I perceived as a series that was developed to play it safe. And I realize those were all decisions that came from the top, made by two people whom I continue to believe were, at a very basic level, embarrassed by the original series, and thus they steered their creative decisions in the opposite direction. Decisions that tended toward the bland, the quiet, the inoffensive, the grey, the dispassionate.

    Mind Two: Conversely, and as time went on, I realized that the people who worked on the show did remarkable work within the limitations that were set for them by the producers. Enterprise herself, while not the design I would have liked to have seen from the beginning, was a beautiful ship. The production design, the effects, the costuming, all were superb. Some of the writing was excellent and I’m convinced all of the actors could have done much more with their characters than they were allowed. I have great respect for the work that was done, and I have enormous respect and appreciation for Mr. Coto, who was a wonderful breath of fresh air that was desperately needed. I think he did an amazing job steering the show in a direction that was more to my liking, but I also realize that he was only able to do so much given that so much of the look and tone of the series was pre-established. If he had been in place and in the decision-making loop from the beginning, the show could have absolutely knocked *my* socks off, and those are the only socks I can speak to.

    At this point, though, the show belongs to history. It is what it is and is what it was, and my wishful thinking about “what could have been” does nothing positive or productive, especially in a venue like this, which should more often than not be a celebration of the hard work that went into making something that we all more or less love in our own ways.

    Although I still think that whole temporal cold war storyline was a crock. :)

    Thanks for all you do, Doug. You’re a gracious man to spend time interacting with those of us in flyover country. I’m putting you on my Christmas card list.

  85. June 14, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Actually I don’t mind the aztec-pattern being so strong. It gives the ship a more clunky look. While the overall shape looks very sophisticated, it’s the details which make the ship fit into the 22th century. And I’m a bit glad it doesn’t look too TOSy. While the homages are great, there are still supposed to be another 100 years till the NCC-1701 ;)

    Doug, can you enlighten us about the weapons-systems? Particularly how they evolved during the show? I always had the feeling originally only the spatial torpedos where specified. In Broken Bow we can see some laser pulses never to appear again and later the season the Phase canons are added, which feel like a late addition. Can you tell us some more, what weapons where actually planed for the ship?

    Love your articles, take care!

  86. June 14, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Wonderful, wonderful stuff! Thanks so much for psoting this, Doug!

    I loved Enterprise. I didn’t stick with Voyager as it just didn’t really float my boat, and Enterprise felt like a great chance to jump back on board, and was just a great ride. My wife, who’s not a big Trekkie, loved it too. I must admit I didn’t really enjoy season three – the whole Xindi hunt felt a bit too Voyager-esque for me, but season four was just fabulous, and made it all the more painful when the series was cancelled, knowing what potential was to come. I’m really grateful to the Pocket Books folks for keeping the storyline going, and would urge anyone who hasn’t tried them to pick up a copy of ‘The Last Full Measure’, ‘The Good That Men Do’ and ‘Kobayashi Maru’ to enjoy the continuation.

    D.Doubleyou – great extrapolation of s secondary hull version – would love to have seen something like that for Doug’s refit idea.

    Doug, love the TOS touches, and though I agree a Daedalus class would’ve been cool I’ve got to agree with Don @74 that a contemporary audience would’ve wanted something that looked higher tech, and you did a wonderful job, Doug, of straddling those two concepts. (BTW love the Enterprise-class name touch!)

  87. 87 Barrie Suddery
    June 14, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Doug Drexler: the man, the legend. The end.

  88. 88 Syd Hughes
    June 14, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Don: If you haven’t checked out the original approval model for the NX-01 (before wrangling with the VFX dept and producers, etc), you really really should. Doug posted a link to it, comment 60 on this post I think.

  89. June 14, 2009 at 4:04 am

    I kind of have a special feeling for “Enterprise”. It was the first Trek show that I was able to watch as it was coming out. (I live in a lost country down south, where DS9 and Voyager never aired, and TNG came out irregularly).
    Maybe because of that, I never cared to much about the “Akira” thing. I had never seen her outside some pics on the net.
    My only real complaint about the NX was the paneling and “outside stuff”, which I didn’t like in any other Federation ship. It always made great sense to me that all the systems should be covered smoothly to make maintenance from the inside of the ship possible.
    I really would have loved to see her in the “ceramic” covering. Maybe you could add that to the “5th season upgrade” if you have the time and opportunity to give us some pics?

    Thanks a lot.
    P.S. “Star Trek” just opened on teathers here last friday. First Trek movie since “First Contact”. I’m gathering strength to go out and watch it

  90. 90 ety3
    June 14, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Great stuff, as always.

    Your comments on pushing the Enterprise to the background reminds me of a big disappointment I had in the pilot episode: the launch of the Enterprise. Yes, the recording of Zefram Cochrane was cool, but there was literally no fanfare and only a couple of quick shots of the E leaving spacedock. The “camera” didn’t linger on the ship at all and this momentous event was robbed of weight.

    Shoulda taken that as a clue as to how the series was going to be for the first three seasons.

  91. 91 Ben
    June 14, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Doug, thanks for the background info on what happend behind the scenes and obvioulsy answering our questions and sharing everything Star Trek here.

  92. 92 Lt. Washburn
    June 14, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I find it really interesting the criticism of the bland, washed-out look, of Enterprise. This is one of my big pet peeves with television shows. Some do things with their look that I might find cool for a season, but years of it is just too much. I notice it all the time…but I never even thought about it with Enterprise. I always appreciated it’s look. Check out any of the darker episodes where the ship is being repaired from some attack and I think it looks very cinematic (in a good way).

  93. June 14, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Okay. I’m looking at this image and having a darned tough time finding the easter eggs. Then again, I was never that good finding actual easter eggs, so it’s probably just me. :D

    Thanks for posting all this neat stuff, sir.

    Keep the Dick Tracy stuff coming! I read those when they first appeared and the memories are flooding back.


  94. 94 the bluesman
    June 14, 2009 at 8:53 am


    When I saw the promo picture of the NX I thought upside down Akira. Which everyone thought.

    I gotta admit it took me some time to warm up to the design.

    My only critique on the NX is I might have like to ahve seen it a bit smoother liek Matt Jefferies Enterprise, but I aslo understand that this ship is 100 years before then so a little ‘clunk” was needed.

  95. 95 Loskene
    June 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I don’t know if it’s been said yet (a lot of comments there) but isn’t the Constitution Refit class also called Enterprise class?

  96. 96 DeanneM
    June 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

    To Rob Bonchune, thanks for the nice eye candy on this post! I wanted to let you know that I appreciate it. It certainly takes care of my sweet tooth. :)

  97. June 14, 2009 at 9:26 am

    >I don’t know if it’s been said yet (a lot of comments there) but isn’t the Constitution Refit >class also called Enterprise class?

    Loskene, at least, according to the simulator where the Kobayashi Maru exercise was taking place, yes. I guess that makes it canon.
    I always felt like the big changes the ship went trough justified a “class change”.

  98. 98 jonbrazer
    June 14, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Really Beautiful. I never really got into Enterprise myself, but I always liked the look of the ship itself.

  99. 99 CarlG
    June 14, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I was one of those guys who wasn’t crazy about the general shape of the NX. Not cause it looked like the Akira, but cause it looked awkward from a few angles on screen (like screencap 2).


    I loved everything else. :D Seriously, you can just freeze-frame any shot of the NX and find at least 20 cool things if you look closely. And when filmed from the right angle (like the first 5 pics), she looks gorgeous.

    Posts like this make me respect even more the incredible amount of work and thought-outedness you put into this ship, even if I’m not 100% in utter love with the design.

    Random thoughts:

    It’s funny, I find that the first render with lots of ambient light is the one that looks flatter, myself. It could be that the more pronounced shadows on the second render are playing tricks on my eyes.

    The first few times I saw Enterprise, I could have sworn it was done in shades of bronze ( which would have been pretty cool, actually)! Was that a product of the “dark and dingy” lighting scheme, or did you guys have alternative colour palettes in mind (other than Starfleet greys) when you were designing her?

    “During the Berman years, anything brassy, meaning what they perceived as loud, was pushed into the background…”

    Don’t even get me started on this guy. I read the story about how Ron Jones got canned from TNG for making music that was too interesting (!!!), and I thought to myself, “there is something very, very wrong with a guy who doesn’t like music”. Grrrr. >:(

    Anyways, this post is made of pure unadulterated win and awesome. “Thank you” seems inadequate, but there you go. :)

  100. June 14, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Least liked show, by a long shot, but the design of the ship is great. Actually, the only Starfleet ships I actually hate are the Olympic class like the USS Pasteur. Great post.

  101. June 14, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I,ve been sometimes harsh on the NX-01, I’ve been a critic of the design and so on, but this I like.
    I wish you had been able to persuade Berman to have the NX be as bright as her sisters, it does a lot of good, she’s far less greebled and “bumpy” looking that way, far more elegant and also far far FAR more a real Enterprise, thumbs up.
    So I suggest that if you ever do a Mr Scott’s type of book/website on the NX it should be bright and blame Berman for casting a dark shadow over her in the series. ;)

  102. 102 Richard DeRosa
    June 14, 2009 at 11:12 am

    When I first saw the NX on the cover of TV guide my initial thoughts were,it looks cool, but out of place as a precursor to the original E. I liked the twin boom design as well as the overall shape and the obvious nods to the original 1701. I figured that the secondary hull arrangment was something that would have come about at a later date; the other starfleet ships shown in Ent would seem to support that.

    Oh, here is my attempt to ‘upgrade’ an NX-class:

    USS Fury

    I created an entire back story for the ship, (something I like to do before I begin cutting plastic) just so I have an idea where I want the design to go and what the rationale would be behind the additions.

  103. 103 Richard DeRosa
    June 14, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Okay, apparently my attempt to post a link to my pic above failed. So, here’s another try:

  104. 104 Richard DeRosa
    June 14, 2009 at 11:20 am


    Figures…well, if anyone is interested you can just put the image code in a search and find it fairly easily.


    Doug, thanks for posting your thoughts and reasoning on the NX. I think it helps those of us who always felt the ship was out of place within the context of a prequel series.

  105. 105 Matt Wright
    June 14, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Rich, you’re using forum tags, this isn’t a forum, so you actually need to to use normal HTML code for linking, or just paste the URL as text and WordPress should pick up on the URL itself when you hit post.

  106. 106 DeanneM
    June 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Richard, I got a look at it from the email notifying me of your post. It worked there. I think you took a pretty good stab at it…nice model!

    But I’m already in love with Enterprise, and I’m not known to compromise my loyalties. :)

  107. 107 AdmNaismith
    June 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Pic #13 (just before the planet shots) does a real service to the design of theis ship that the television broadcasts do not. You can really SEE the ship, in a way we just haven’t before.

  108. June 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Doug, if you get chance, are you able to tell us what the armaments of the NX/Enterprise class are, please?

    Memory Alpha says: 12 phase cannons (from originally 3), 6 spatial/photonic torpedo launchers, plasma cannons and pulse phase cannons. Are you able to tell us if those are correct by the end of season four? (as the armament changed through the series).

    Many thanks if so!

  109. 109 dougdrexler
    June 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Lt Washburn, I have nothing against using shadows and silhouettes for dramatic purpose, and they were often used well in Enterprise. Overall I thought the show was monochromatic and the spaceshots murky.

  110. 110 dougdrexler
    June 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Richard… Couldn’t get to your picture!

  111. 111 dougdrexler
    June 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Mark, I’ll have to dig for my notes on that. I’ll let you know!

  112. 112 Matt Wright
    June 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I fixed Richard’s post(s), his link is now viewable…
    Richard: your first post wasn’t wrong per-say, but you didn’t put any text between the href tag so there was no text to click for the link.

  113. 113 Richard DeRosa
    June 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks Matt! Well, now I know. :)

  114. 114 1701dfan
    June 14, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Excellent pictorial and details!

    I’ve always liked the low tech look to the NX-01, while at the same time still looking futuristic. It looked like it was exactly what we could produce within then next 100 years.
    It’s perfectly in keeping with star trek and does not break from the all important canon. Something I try to respect, be realise you have to allow for artistic license.

    I don’t get how some people are so vehemently against the design of the NX-01, calling it the Akiraprise. A name I think is very naive and closed minded. So what if it has similarities to the Akira class? The Galaxy class has similarities to the constitution class, yet folk to not tear that design apart?!
    I like to think that just before the events of ST:FC, Starfleet engineers needed a new ship quickly, so looked at old, decomissioned designs with a view to modernising and possible up-scaling them, et Voila; Akira class.

  115. June 15, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Mark, regarding the weaponry of the NX, that seems to be counting any firing port seeing at any time in the 4 year run. The Phase cannons are supposed to have replaced any other beam weapons.
    The designer creates it, and I guess the producer/director overblows it :-)

  116. June 15, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Great post! Looking forward to your guide to the Easter Eggs.

    Regarding the colors, I never preceived Enterprise as being too monochromatic. But it is noticeable that, besides gray, only brown and blue are prominent colors, and the latter mainly because of the uniforms. Everything alien seems to be brown, especially the interiors and the uniforms.

  117. June 15, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Hi Diego, yes that’s what I thought – I count 4 forward and 2 aft torpedo tubes (presumably for spatial or photonic torpedoes), but I don’t know how many plasma/phase cannon hatches there are, as they extend from inside the hull and I can’t spot them on the orthographics. 12 seems a lot, though one of the earlier NX Tech briefs mentions that each of the hatches could deploy a variety of equipment like antennas, sensors and cannons, so maybe not. (It was the phase cannons which replaced the plasma cannons though wasn’t it?).

  118. June 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Doug, thank you very much for this wonderful (and invaluable) set of reference images. I’m a scale modeler, and one of my current projects is a Polar Lights NX class ship; however, I think I’ll adopt your suggestion and start referring to it as “Enterprise class”. ;-)

    My first exposure to this design was of the approval model in TV guide. My first impression was not all that good, primarily for the reasons you cited in your blog entry. However, once I saw the premiere ep, I became a fan of it…and my enthusiasm for the design has only grown over the years (especially after reading all your blog posts about the effort that went into the design).

    I could never understand the “Akiraprise” brouhahah…some hated the design because it wasn’t a “traditional” Enterprise layout, some hated it because it “looked like the Akira”. I could see the heavy Akira influence from the beginning, however, I liked this and the way it connected to the later 24th cent ship (I assumed the backstory was that this NX was the inspiration for the Akira, and that Starfleet had several standardized designs that were always more successful than others). Oddly enough, there also seemed to be a group that flat-out denied any resemblance to the Akira… :-D

    Thanks again for sharing this info with all of us…ignore the naysayers. Remember:

    “Those who can, do…those who can’t, flame.”

  119. 119 Rich G
    June 15, 2009 at 7:42 am

    It’s a beautiful ship, Doug. I remember being so excited hearing about it being shown in TV Guide…I ran out and got a copy right away.

  120. 120 doubleofive
    June 15, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I’m sorry I ever thought ill thoughts about this ship. Much more thought was put into it than I ever imagined just by glancing at it. Truly something to be proud of.

  121. 121 Scott Moody
    June 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Hey Doug,
    Umm….yeah….what all these folks are sayin’ and I repeat, the NX-01 is one of, if not the most beautiful and well designed ships of the franchise. It’s a great piece of eye candy that one can stare at and dissect all day. Thanks for the detailed look at her, and how you and your colleagues came up with elements of the design. I look forward to your addendum of the “Easter Eggs” that abound on her.
    Say hi to the NV boys in yer neighborhood for me:)



  122. 122 The DC
    June 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm


    One thing your site is revealing is how diverse opinions were about this series. I find myself agreeing with most of yours, which to be honest is a surprise for me. I was not a fan of this ship but it was not because it was not thought out well, it was, nor because it was too different, it was obviously and appropriately a love letter to the TOS big E. I always felt that the tech was not in line with the established canon. Move this ship up a few decades in the timeline and I would have been fine with it from the start.

    What your posts have revealed is how hard you and some of your peers worked to keep things as canon and realistic as possible. For that I am greatly impressed. I wonder what you could have done with a management team more sensitive to consistency and respect for the body-Trek. Given what you produced against the forces that were, I can’t imagine what we would have enjoyed out here in critique-land!

    I will say for the record, though I had strong differences with this design when watching the series, your explanation of the political forces that surrounded the choices made have only increased my respect for your work and your final product. You tried so hard to preserve the integrity of other’s contributions which is the respect of one artist to another [something VERY sorely missing in Hollywood today]. I have always held a strong sense of obligation to the artist and this ethical strength is reflected in your commentary. I respect so much your not trying to change the canvass for your own ego but your finding ways to celebrate the old. I honestly think this is more challenging and an aspect of a mature artist. You’ve made a true believer of me. I find myself re-watching the Enterprise…

    Thanks you for your continued education on the behind the scenes factoids and the understanding of how hard it was to protect:

    Star Trek…

    The DC

  123. 123 dougdrexler
    June 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    The DC – I woke up this morning after an oddball nightmare about having to fly a commercial passenger liner to Europe with the U-87, the killer robot from Caprica. Needless to say, I started my day with an elevated heart rate… I’m having a challenging day at work… we’re under the gun, and the usual landmines are going off all around us… part of the job…I was a little blue. Thanks for the lift!

  124. June 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I liked this ship the moment I saw it. I prefer it to the Akira. Nothing against that design but I just like this one. And almost all the ship from Enterprise. Great work from all of you who worked on it. This also helps me with the Enterprise era ship I’ve been slowly working on, thank you Mr. Drexler.

  125. 125 Jay
    June 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Wow and I thought *I* had weird dreams! :)

  126. 126 DeanneM
    June 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Jay, I’m sure you have some strange dreams, my friend!

  127. 127 CX
    June 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Be cool if you could label what the little hatches are for. :)

  128. 128 F.E. Spencer
    June 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Well, here I am a day late and a dollar short.

    Not too much I can ass here that hasn’t been said already.

    Thanks for everything Doug. You’re the reason I keep on keeping on.

    All the best,

  129. 129 thedarkestwish
    June 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm


    I was a huge fan of your ship design for Enterprise. Actually all of the ship designs on Enterprise were amazing, but specifically the Enterprise ship it’s self. You did a bang up job, man. :)

  130. 130 dougdrexler
    June 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you darkestwish! You are most kind.

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