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.
Screen caps courtesy of Jörg, just back from Munich!