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August 24, 2013
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Constitution Class Concept (first draft) by Kasterborous Constitution Class Concept (first draft) by Kasterborous
This has only taken me a few weeks - perhaps because having a very clear picture of the Constitution Class design in my head I didn't have to "feel" my way as I have done with other more original designs. Like many Trek fans I'm not terribly keen on the design of the Enterprise in the Abrams movies. For starters, it was designed at a specific size by designer Ryan Church – 366m to be precise, on a par with the original's 289m and the refit's 305m – and then pointlessly doubled in length by Abrams because of course bigger is better, making it a colossal 725m long on screen (significantly bigger than the behemoth that is the 1701-D), with bizarrely outsized windows and hatches. I don't like the silly brewery engineering sections, I don't like the ridiculously outsized nacelles, and I don't like the big sweeping pointless curves of the neck, secondary hull, and pylons. About the only thing I do like is the saucer, which tidies up some of the fussiness of the refit Enterprise saucer and has a nice spine component linking the bridge bubble with the impulse engines.

So this is sort of my attempt to show how I wish the Enterprise had looked.

The scale: This Enterprise is 439m long. That's significantly bigger than the original 1701, but it was designed from the beginning to be bigger than the original 1701. My starting point was that the 1701 and refit 1701 saucer rims are two decks tall; this design puts the saucer rim at three decks tall. The windows are bigger than on the original 1701 because they're supposed to be panoramic and offer good outside views. The circular windows are intended to be roughly the same size as Deep Space 9's characteristic portholes. The saucer is based very heavily on the design from the Abrams movie, because I actually liked it. Whereas the original 1701, refit, and movie versions have a bevelled saucer rim, I went for a curved one. I'm not entirely sure why from a technical point-of-view, it just seemed to suit the design and cut down on unnecessarily hard edges.

The phasers: the original 1701, the refit, and the Abrams-Church version have little swivelly hemispherical phaser turrets. However, the phaser strips of the TNG/DS9/VOY era are so distinctively and idiosyncratically Trek that I thought a reboot should at least acknowledge this. As a result this 1701 design has solid state turrents that function in effect like very small phaser strips – they're turrets but they don't have to physically move to aim. I think this is a plausible bridge between the deliberately retro swivelly turrets of the NX-01 and the circumferential phaser strips of the Enterprise-D, especially considering Trek itself never explained where phaser strips came from – Constitution Class and Excelsior Class ships just had traditional ball turrets, then the Ambassador Class and Galaxy Class had big strips. There are port, fore, and starboard phasers on the top and bottom surfaces of the saucer, two ventral phasers on the underside of the secondary hull, one dorsal phaser array on the top of the aft end of the secondary hull, and one horizontal rear-facing array below the shuttlebay doors. That's ten arrays for good all-round coverage.

The photon torpedo launchers: in the original series the 1701 fired photons and phasers from, depending on the episode and the camera angle, somewhere just underneath/forward of the bridge, or somewhere around the dome at the bottom of the saucer. The 1701 refit famously had the photon torpedo launchers moved to a big bulgy thing the base of the neck, which seems to have become the Starfleet ship standard (even the Abrams-Church design retcons this). My design moves the main photon torpedo launchers back to the bottom front of the saucer (two tubes), whereas there is a single combined photon torpedo and probe launcher at the base of the neck. There is also a rear-firing launcher recessed into secondary hull undercut (not visible in the side view). That's four tubes total.

The neck: the original Enterprise always had a stupidly thin neck. This neck would be somewhat thicker due to the increased scale but it lacks a normal deck structure, having instead some pressurised compartments (good place for observation lounges and recreation spaces that won't be used in an emergency) and a lot of conduits and structural framework. That's why a lot of the surface is covered by radiators and tactical sensor arrays. I much prefer the linear necks of the original and refit 1701s to the super-curvy Abrams-Church version.

The secondary hull: somewhat similar to the Abrams-Church design in that it has a large undercut. I liked this because it looks like a deliberate part of the design, rather than the much smaller undercuts of the original 1701 and refit, which looked more like afterthoughts. The navigational deflector is a coppery dish like the original but recessed into a glowing blue housing like on the refit.

The nacelles: the honking nacelles and curvy pylons are the bits of the Abrams-Church design I hate the most. These pylons are straight, like on the original. I tried swept-back pylons like on the refit but it looked a bit weird. Originally I had intended spikes on the Bussards and rear fins like on the original and the Abrams-Church version, but I found during the design that a simpler, more streamlined look worked better for me. The nacelle is based on a cross between that of the Kelvin and those of the NX-01, which I think gives them a nice retro feel compared to the red-fronts-and-blue-sides look familiar with 24th century nacelles. I imagine the warp field grille on the sides of the nacelle actually folding open like louvred slats when the ship jumps to warp, the rest of the time shielding the internal components.

The shuttlecraft: both types of shuttle are designs featured in the Abrams movies and taken directly from the ships gallery section on Ex Astris Scientia, with only tiny editing to tidy them up and resize them appropriately.

:iconphaeton99: for his USS Concorde: Rebooted piece, which initially inspired me to try my hand at my own interpretation of the Constitution Class.

:iconviperaviator: for his Alternate Star Trek Pennants, after which I patterned the pennant on the side of the secondary hull.

:iconsuricatafx: for the best 2D schematic of the Kelvin I've seen, which I used as a basis when creating my Constitution Class concept's Kelvin-NX-01 hybrid nacelles.

See also the Goodstuff 2 blog by "Gus" - don't know if he's on DeviantArt - whose high-res schematics of the original 1701, refit, and Abrams-Church Enterprises proved an invaluable resource.

Star Trek and the USS Enterprise belong to someone else. No violation of copyright is intended. This is fan art, created just for my own amusement and that of others.

Update: I've had to take steps to prevent unauthorised copying, modification, and redistribution of this image. I apologise for the reduction in quality and clarity this has caused.
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MorganDonovan Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014
This is very good.  You should do the other views.
Ex-Pendable Featured By Owner Edited Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi Kasterborous, nice ship! While I like the overall impression, I'm going to point out a few things.

First, there's the neck of the ship. The radiator blends a bit too well with the background, making it harder to see and gives the false impression that the neck is slimmer than it is. And it begs the question - what's there that needs such a massive radiator? Keep in mind that the nacelles and the struts have radiator systems for the main engines.

I like that you put photon torpedo tubes back in the primary hull - but I have a problem with having a probe launcher and a single torpedo tube at the base of the neck. Space is at a premium aboard ship, so when possible you design systems to have multiple functions and so a little redundancy. Like torpedo and probes - the only real difference between them is the payload, so it makes sense to design your probes within the operation specs of the torpedo launcher so you can use the same tubes and magazine systems for both. Also don't forget recorder-marker buoys, target drones and vessel simulators.

You've put in a lot of detail into this, I can tell - but I can't see how that hanger door as drawn can possibly open, the lines look all wrong to me.
Kasterborous Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
Hi Ex-Pendable. I'll answer your points in order.

Re: Radiators... the ship would have multiple systems that needed different grades of radiator. Life support, cryogenic fuel storage, secondary power generation... not to mention large surfaces for certain types of sensors and subspace communications arrays. While the nacelles may well radiate surplus heat from the warp drive you don't want life support shunting its surplus heat through the same radiators because the warp engines would then end up cooking everyone. The neck is an otherwise unused section of the ship I thought could be pressed into use. (Of course, like most Star Trek ship designs the actual explanation is a combination of "I thought it looked good" and "I couldn't decide what else to put there" ;).)

Re: The launcher... the launcher at the base of the neck is actually intended to be primarily a probe launcher, with a small magazine of photon torpedoes as a secondary function – used if the main launcher is offline, or if the ship needs just that little bit extra firepower. The probes are not installed on the ship in a sealed, pre-configured state like photon torpedoes; rather they can be customised and modified according to the needs of any particular mission. Putting the probes at the base of the neck puts them nearer to the engineering and cargo sections of the ship. While space aboard ship is an absolute premium for spacecraft today, it certainly doesn't seem to be for Star Trek ships – even the NX-01 is quite spacious and well-equipped. Only the Defiant seems to actually be compact, cramped, and extremely pushed for space by design.

Re: the shuttlebay door... well, possibly. I haven't really worked out how it opens yet... fantail-fashion like the classic Enterprises, or in the rather odd articulated way the Abrams-Church Enterprise does, or something different. I'll need to finish the top view before I fix it though! ;)
harroldsheep Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Professional Filmographer
i like this more that the awful JJPrise, but I think I disagree with you on the straight vs. swept-back nacelle struts.  with the aggressive lean forward of the beefier neck, swept-back nacelles would be a nice counter-balance.
Kasterborous Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014
Thanks! I'll have a look at revisiting the nacelle struts if I ever get around to a second revision :)
Time-Lord-Rassilon Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
now that's beautiful. I love the line work there. The colors and highlights make it truly exceptional.
Commandox20 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2013

Would you mind if I took a crack at modeling this beauty? 
Balsavor Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice adaptation. I like the blend of the old Trek with new the new concepts of today (or future, however you like). I would've liked this Enterprise much more than the iPrise Abrams has. (I guess, in the future, Apple designs starships too ~My conclusion about Abrams Enterprise)
DalekOfBorg Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013
With your permission, I would like to use this design as a template for the refitted USS Hindenburg. I will credit you wherever she is used.
CyberRaven Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
*sigh* if only JJ's ship looked something like that, i' think you've hit the nail on the head with the major gripes i've had with it, though i may differ with you on the neck, i quite liked the thicker, curvier neck on JJ's ship IMO anyhow, that, and the saucer section, but this is a vast improvement. w00t: esp with the longer secondary hull-seemed way too short in movies. 
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