Examining Eaglemoss Concept Star Trek Ship Models

Source: Eaglemoss

Eaglemoss has some interesting new models, including a concept version of a classic ship.

It's always interesting to look on a shelf – or, more recently, at an online store – and see a model or a toy that represents a conceptual or prototype version of a movie star, be it a character or vehicle. In the 1990's now-defunct toy company Galoob released a line of vehicles based upon the conceptual art of Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston from the Star Wars trilogy, while recently NECA began releasing figurines of unused concepts from the Alien series. In fact, even Star Trek has done it before, with the Playmates Toys line of figures for Star Trek Generations, which featured characters such as Picard clad in a new type of uniform that was ditched before the film went into production. Most of these toys are manufactured long before the film comes out, so are often based on preliminary designs. However, when it comes to starship concepts, Eaglemoss Collections are leading the way.

Using The Unused

Hurtling towards us at maximum warp is a brand new model of the U.S.S. Excelsior, however not in the guise we're used to. Back when Star Trek III: The Search For Spock was in pre-production in 1983, it was decided a new ship would be introduced, far more advanced than the Enterprise. Many designs were submitted, with the final ship based on a Japanese-influenced design by Bill George. However, one of the other popular designs was a huge four-nacelle behemoth that was conceptualized by Nilo Rodis-Jamero, who had just worked with concept art on Return of the Jedi. In July, Eaglemoss will be unleashing their model of the Excelsior concept and it's clear to see the power of the design, especially the huge scale just looking at the size of the saucer section, as well as those four massive warp nacelles.

Nilo Rodis-Jamero's original design for the Excelsior
Nilo Rodis-Jamero's original design for the Excelsior.

However, the Excelsior is not the first ship that Eaglemoss have produced. Back for issues 7 and 8, they produced two models based on unused concepts of the starship Enterprise. Issue 7 saw a model of Andrew Probert's design for what would eventually become the Ambassador-class Enterprise-C, based on a production painting the illustrator had created at the beginning of his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's a beautifully realized design, and clearly represents Probert's intention to show an intermediate model between the Excelsior-class of the Enterprise-B and the Galaxy-class of the Enterprise-D. Following that in issue 8 came what is probably the concept model that came closest to being actually produced for Star Trek.

Where Is Spock?

In 1977, Paramount Pictures committed to making a new television series based on Star Trek, which would be a spin-off of the 1966-69 series entitled Star Trek: Phase II. As well as several new characters surrounding originals such as Kirk, McCoy, and Uhura, the Enterprise herself was redesigned by her original creator, Matt Jefferies. Speaking to Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens for their 1997 book Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, Jefferies said "Basically, what I did to it was change the power units, and make a slight change in the struts that supported them.

The Probert Enterprise-C model.
The Probert Enterprise-C model.

I gave the main hull a taper, then I went flat-sided and thin with the power units, rather than keeping the cylindrical shape. Trying to work out the logic of the refit, I knew a lot of the equipment inside would change, but I didn't see that there would be any need to change the exterior of the saucer. Certainly, though, the engines would be a primary thing to change. Part of the theory of the ship's design in the first place was that we didn't know what these powerful things were or how devastating it would be if anything went awry, so that's why we kept them away from the crew. And that meant they could be easily changed if you had to replace one." While the project was sadly canceled, it eventually became Star Trek – The Motion Picture, and the Enterprise was further upgraded for the detail of the big screen. However, Eaglemoss' Phase II model is a fantastic reminder of what we nearly got.

The other concept ships in the collection both come from Star Trek: Voyager, with the first being the ship herself. For the eleventh Bonus edition came the original version of the Intrepid-class starship as designed by Rick Sternbach. It's an interesting design, with an elongated secondary hull, longer warp nacelles that look like the pontoons of a catamaran, and a triangular saucer section that predates similar ships like the U.S.S Prometheus. Along with this, for issue 78, came the Voyager's Aeroshuttle. Originally called the Aerowing (which needed to be changed due to a licence dispute with Disney), the ship was designed to be a warp-capable auxiliary craft for the Voyager, attaching itself to the ventral side of the saucer section in a similar way to the captain's yacht Cousteau on the Enterprise-E, as seen in Star Trek: Insurrection. While a CGI model was made, the ship was never used, citing its similarity to the aforementioned yacht as well as the Voyager's own Delta Flyer shuttle. Nevertheless, it lives on in Eaglemoss' model.

The Eaglemoss Sternbach Voyager model
The Eaglemoss Sternbach Voyager model

Many concept ships exist in the archives ready to be turned into models. One notable example would be the original design for the U.S.S Defiant, called the Valiant-class, or the initial design for the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where the ship's configuration was turned 180 degrees – when the design was approved by producer Harve Bennett, he had held the blueprints upside down!

With all the concept art produced over the fifty-three years of Star Trek, the only limit now is our imagination.

 

Contributing Editor

Charlie Brigden has been obsessed with spaceships, horror films, and film music since a young age and can usually be found across the internet writing about one of those three. He lives in South Wales UK with his family, cats, dogs, and tarantulas.