Klingon Bird of Prey Paradox

For quite a while now fans have argued about the size of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. In the original films it was portrayed as a small ship with a size of around 110 metres, however, when The Next Generation came out the Bird-of-Prey appeared in a few epidodes in a completely different scale, the most obvious offender episodes been ‘The Defector’ and ‘ Yesterdays Enterprise’. This was attributed to this new Bird-of_prey being a different class, Bernd over at Ex Astris Scientia hasa good article regarding the scaling and classes:-


Recently a debate started due to my size comparison charts regarding the size of the Bird-of-Prey, more sepecifically the Kvort variant which Ex Astris Scientia believes in the episode ‘The Defector’ has to be atleast 700m in length for the scene to work. This has been widely accepted as fact. The thread can be found here discussing the size issue:-


So, I decided I would create the scene in 3D to help clear this up once and for all. It was my intent to create the scene with a 350m Bird-of-Prey and a 700m Bird-of-Prey. The first thing I had to do is scale the models to the correct sizes.

Once I had the scales figured out I went about placing the ships in the correct positions to get the same image as was seen in the episode. I did not scale any of the ships, I simply moved them in relation to the Camera until I got the next image:-

As you can see, this scene is pretty close to how the episode looked, this is using 350m Bird-of-Preys, ofcourse, people have argued that the Bird-of-Preys would need to be sitting on top of the Warbirds for this shot to be possable, so I decided to rotate the scene so you can actually see the distances between the ships:-

At this point I decided not to even bother recreating the scene with a 700m long Bird-of-Prey as it seems pretty obvious that a 350m long Bird-of-Prey is more than large enough to create the scene as was seen in the episode. I’d conclude from this that there is no evidence to support the idea of a 700m long Bird-of-Prey.

Since I posted this people have said that the Bird-of-Preys are still to close to the Romulan warbirds and thus the length in the DS9 Technical Manual are the true numbers, so, I recreated teh scene with 700m long Bird-of-Preys, as you can see from the Tactical view below, the rear Bird-of-Preys are at a much more reasonable distance, however, the ship in the foreground now has its wing almost wrapped around the Enterprise for the scene to work, which is obviously far to close. I’d deduce from this that the ships in the scene from ‘The Defector’ had to be the 350m long ships.

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12 Responses to Klingon Bird of Prey Paradox

  1. PG says:

    Hi.. I am a first time visitor on your blog.. really cool stuff here.. thanks !!!

  2. doubleofive says:

    Still doesn’t explain HOW they managed to scale up such a tiny ship, but it sure beats them scaling it up twice that!

    Nice blog!

  3. Muser says:

    The real problem is that a 350m Bird of Prey would seem to be no threat to the D’Deridex. Do three 350m Birds of Prey “even the odds” enough in Picard’s favor to make the Romulans back down the way that we saw in the episode?

    • Jamie Stearns says:

      Length isn’t everything; the D’deridex is mostly a big shell with a huge empty space in the center while the BoP is fairly short but has a wide wingspan.

      Also, more importantly, it was never stated that the Klingon support gave Picard superior firepower. Tomalak did state that “You will still not survive our assault,” and only backed down because the odds were just shaky enough to make him doubt the outcome.

  4. Suricata says:

    Size isn’t everything though, the weapons on a 350m Bird-of-Prey could be just as formidable as the weapons on a 750m Bird-of-Prey afterall, just look at how powerful the relativly small USS Defiant is afterall. Eitherway 4 vs 2 definatly evens the odds compared to 1 vs 2 :-)

  5. Jason Belkin says:

    . What about Klingon birds of prey during Yesterday Enterprise they look like about same sizes once in the picture. I think these are the same kind of bird of prey as once Yesterday Enterprise as will.

  6. MajorD says:

    Really cool, but what about the low end? What is the smallest Bird of Prey that will work with this scene?

  7. Tony says:

    Your 350m Birds seem to be more logical. What many people don’t realize is that ther is this little thing called: PERSPECTIVE SHOTS in film making. Your 3D image proves it. Besides, the crew compliment is 12 (as stated by Sulu and many tech manuals and websites). Why would it need to be 700m long. That’s longer (slightly) than 1701E, and that’s the longest ship in the federation. Also, just 3 Birds decloaked. Do we know how many more didn’t? Perhaps the script (which most all of us did NOT read) indicated more that didn’t.

  8. DSG2k says:

    I applaud the work, however the KBoPs are too small relative to the Warbirds in your reconstruction.


    Using the image of the scene on Memory Alpha, you can readily see that the left KBoP, part of which is obscured by the Warbird and which thus must be behind it, is approximately 200 pixels wide versus the approximately 300px width of the Warbird. Or, more simply, the KBoPs are about 2/3rds the width of the Warbirds in the image.

    Even assuming they are on top of each other (in order to keep the Bird of Prey as small as possible), a Warbird at its design length of 1353 meters (which is thus approximately 1068 meters wide) would require a Bird of Prey some 670 meters wide, which (roughly estimating that a BoP in that configuration is 75% as long as her wingspan) gives us a length of 500 meters.

    Even assuming a 1200 meter Warbird, the length drops only to 440 meters. To get a 350 meter KBoP from this scene, we would have to assume Warbirds ‘only’ 947 meters in length.

  9. Suricata says:

    I made the scenes by first scaling the ships to 700m and 350m and then placed them on top of a screenshot from the scene that I had. I used a scale of 1200m for the Warbird which is the generally accepted length, althoguh I am aware when it was first designed Probert said its length was approximatly 1353m long (this was before the scale model was built however).

    Either way, the sizes are 100% accurate in this scene since I set the scene properties to meters and made sure each ship was the exact sizes that were generally accepted as Kvort class lengths. The point of the reconstruction was to prove that 350m long Bird of Preys could easily be used. I can’t really see how my method could give incorrect sizes because I set the sizes before making the scene, since I wasn’t trying to find out how big the ships were (since that is not easily possible from a screenshot like this), but was rather trying to prove that the scene could be made using a ship size people say is not possible.

    So, my conclusion was that although a 700m Bird of Prey could exist, this scene is not irrefutable proof since it can be made with smaller ships. More so since when using 350m long Bird of Preys the scene looks far more plausible.

    It’s worth noting that before I did this reconstruction I fully believed the ships ‘had’ to be 700m long in this scene, I actually did this reconstruction to ‘prove’ that they were 700m long in fact, but once I’d finished I realized I was wrong, thus why I posted my findings on the blog :-)

  10. DSG2k says:

    Given that you were using extant sizes rather than attempting to derive them, I’m sad to say that the initial point remains . . . the distant KBoPs are too small relative to the Warbirds compared to the screenshot.

    (Or http://www.st-v-sw.net/images/VisAid/KlingonBoP-RomulanWarbird-comparisonfix.jpg for a larger version and if the img tag doesn’t work.)

    For the purpose of your reconstruction, this means that the KBoP on the left, for instance (as emphasized in the red box) must therefore be significantly closer to the Warbird. For a 350m KBoP, this may require that it be virtually on top of the Warbird.

    And it also means that your percieved disproof of the 700m KBoP may, in fact, not be so . . .

    In any case, I applaud the work you’ve done on the post. I was doing similar work in regards to Star Trek recently by using SketchUp, but I haven’t had the time of late to publish the research. As I saw in the overlay process to make the image I posted above, though, you got pretty close. I was using SketchUp at 50% opacity (thanks to PowerMenu) with a screenshot posted behind it in order to match scenes. That’s the only way I was able to get even reasonably close with this, for instance:


    So yes, good work, and I hope to see more. Sorry for nagging/nitpicking. :)

  11. Cepstrum says:

    I, too, applaud your efforts. I do think DSG2K has a point, though.

    Would it be possible for you to overlay wireframes of your models on top of the screenshot? To me it seems the left BoP is narrower in your recreation than in the screenshot. But if you’ve already taken precautions to do this, I’ll accept your word.