the early NX-01



the whatever it is version

the whatever it is version

the other what ever it is version

the other what ever it is version






When Enterprise was starting up the first and foremost top of the list was the new ship, and orders were to try everything under the sun and don’t go for the obvious… Doug Drexler was seriously stuck over at Foundation Imaging and he was pining to come over and start on day one…. It was a big show and and for a month or so it was void of it’s greatest designer. My boss Herman Zimmerman gave me both the NX and the Sulibon vessels as a starting point. He had found a shape he liked in one of Syd Meads many books and thus had me translate the shape into a starship thus is the first image,,, I was so glad that after he saw it on paper he changed his mind and we started to pursue a more traditional starship look. Many many versions came and went and all were getting the boot with little to no direction on what they wanted to see from the producers end. by now time was getting critical and the Sulibon stuff was falling behind as well. On the side Doug had started to also work on Enterprise concepts and his work was very impressive and filling the voids of time and history with great ease,,, I think being away from the heavy pressure at the art department was a blessing for what he was doing. Sadly non of his beauties were getting anywhere either. the next sketch was the last that I had drawn together with Herman, and it was a fun piece just to for concept sake. Doug was now free and starting on the lot so our duties split thankfully. Doug had a huge nightmare to work thru but I’ll let him tell you that story!!! and the Sulibon was also full of horror and gnashing of teeth. but the art department family was back together again and there was no better place to be.

38 Responses to “the early NX-01”

  1. 1 Freak
    March 25, 2009 at 5:26 am

    O sweet I had heard that you did a fair few Concept for the NX.
    I always wonder what you had done before they went with the Akria-prise.
    thanks for showing these.

  2. 2 ST-One
    March 25, 2009 at 5:32 am

    I really like the ‘whatever it is version’ 🙂

  3. 3 PatrickK
    March 25, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Hmm, the first one looks more like a fast courier or a luxury passenger liner. The second one looks too large and mighty for the 22nd century. But with a few adjustments it would make a suitable Enterprise for the new movie.

  4. 4 Eric
    March 25, 2009 at 5:52 am

    I think Michael Putman built a kitbash inspired by the second design.


  5. 5 Lee
    March 25, 2009 at 5:53 am

    So, instead of the “Akiraprise” we could have had the “Battlestar Galactiprise”?! It’s growing on me, though, but I agree it would probably have been a bit too “out there” for the show ship.

  6. 6 deg
    March 25, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Cool designs nonetheless. Doug’s NX I really love, the twin booms esp. Like a P-38 in space.

    The hard lines of your 2ndary hull remind me of Gabriel Kroner’s re-do. Or the other way around, as his came around these eh.

    Thanks for sharin’ these dude. 🙂


  7. 7 Mr. Wilde
    March 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Love the first one! Would have fit the prequel idea much better to have a more compact ship without a saucer.

    Reminds me of the Captain’s Yacht of the Enterprise-E somehow. And I take those warp nacelles were supposed to retract? Would have been cool, too.

    And your second drawing proves my point about the new 2009 Enterprise: your drawing looks very sleek, very fast, because the secondary hull is pushed back, so its far away from the center of the saucer.

  8. 8 Pacal
    March 25, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I kinda like the first as the Blus Whale class, I mean that sincerely and not as an insult. One of the largest and most graceful creatures on our planet.

  9. 9 Csalem
    March 25, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I like the first ship but not as a potential Enterprise.

  10. March 25, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Cool, I know another version that has cutouts in it. It was more like the NX-01 version in the show, but the saucer section has cutouts.

    Thanks for the photos/Sketches.

  11. March 25, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I think I just wet my pants. Jeez, your stuff just rocks!

    Eric, I hadn’t seen John’s early NX sketches prior to my Pre-TOS Constitution class ship…but I can see the similarities. Though John’s is sooooo sleek and gorgeous! Thanks so much for this blog John, it is like a gift everyday…


  12. 12 Paul
    March 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

    John, you made my day. I’ve been waiting yonks for these to see the light.
    Thank you.

    I remember seeing a blurry picture around of two other designs, one was a 3 nacelle rocket ship i think with a triangle forward section. The other looked like the NX but could detach it’s saucer.

  13. 13 Eric
    March 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Sorry Michael, my bad. They do look similar, an assumption on my part.

  14. 16 Jonathan Burke (TrekBBS' Praetor)
    March 25, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I have always liked that first sketch A LOT from the first time I saw a clip of it online somewhere. With round nacelles, I think she’d have been a great Enterprise or at least a guest/background ship.

    I had also wondered if you meant those nacelles to retract when she wasn’t at warp? That’d have been way cool. And pre-Galactica. 😀

  15. 17 the bluesman
    March 25, 2009 at 9:56 am


    I that lower nx concept hanign in my studio…with a cool little message signed by you.

    I like this one as it keeps the classic Matt Jefferies lines while updating it, but yet backdating it…okay this is getting confusing.

    If memory serves you did the NX shuttle pods as well. I think remember seeing one design that was kind of a rounder X-24 kidn of shape.

  16. 18 the bluesman
    March 25, 2009 at 9:58 am

    And I need to type slower!

    • 19 johneaves
      March 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

      wow what a day haven’t been able to get on since this morning!!! yes these were all fun to explore new shapes for the show. The shuttles were based on the X-24 but the translation from sketch to blueprint to finished piece sorta lost all aerodynamics and went frumpy and boxy. Side by side on the set we called them the dutch cloggers!!!

  17. March 25, 2009 at 11:26 am

    The upper “whatever it is” version looks a lot like a private owned yacht or cruise ship to me. It would have made a great holoship in “Insurrection”.

    When I saw your lower sketch with its traditional configuration and the nice retro touch for the first time I was even more disappointed about the final NX-01. But – if we ignore the existence of the Akira for a moment (and most people would) the final NX-01 has a certain distinctiveness. The lower “whatever” ship is a more fitting Enterprise, but perhaps the “Akiraprise” was the better ship for a new series that needed a visual difference. That doesn’t mean though that in my view the visual difference could have been, well, still different.

    • 21 johneaves
      March 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

      The versions Doug had come up before he was ordered to remodel the Akira were perfect!!! His designs were exactly retro enough to not only compliment the OS version but made a great Starship for it’s century,,, Hopefully Doug will post some of these soon so you can see for your self. Thanks for the notes to!!

      • March 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

        I’m eagerly awaiting these. I have come to appreciate the work that Doug has done on the NX-01, and how we made it look reasonable, despite the perhaps unusually tight leash that he was on.

  18. March 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    The first sort of reminds me of the Gatactica in it’s basic shapes. Cool but not an Enterprise.

    The second, on the other hand, kicks butt! THAT is the approach that the new movie should have gone with, IMO. Details that harken back the the TOS ship but definitely update them.

  19. March 25, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for showing the NX-01 sketches. It is nice to see the Enterprise that did not make it.

    • 25 johneaves
      March 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm

      Your welcome and sorry it’s been a rough day here at work,,, almost no time to come over and participate in all the fun comments!!! Why don’t you pick the subject for tomorrows blog and if I have it here I’ll put it up!!!

      • 26 Boris
        March 26, 2009 at 1:08 am

        Well, since you’re taking suggestions, I’d personally like to see the final sketches for your first Dominion battlecruiser, preferably a version with labels and various other notes. How’s that? 🙂

  20. 27 FSL
    March 25, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Nice. The second one could look fitting as the new 2009 Enterprise. Oh well…

    Mr Eaves, did anyone even try to adapt the Daedelus as the NX-01?

  21. March 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    That first one is interesting, not sure of moving nacelles on a pre tos ship but the curves and stuff are fantastic. Very much ocean liner as someone earlier said and could have worked as a background ship.

    The second image, I have seen before and still LOVE the overall curved edges but still retaining that crisp corner effect. that neck and secondary hull image is awesome in its execution along with that deflector of yours, very similar to the design sketches you did for the E-E. I loved that deflector design and wished it had made it onto the final Sovereign design. Ok, all Im doing now is gushing over the drawing OTL.
    I second everyone too plz more nx design images.

  22. 29 gwilliams
    March 25, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I think the second image you posted (“the other what ever it is version”) is the most photogenic Starfleet ship design to date. It looks so much better than the refit Constitution, Ambassador, Galaxy, Sovereign, and Intrepid classes. It would even look at home in the TNG era.

    One question, you have an “impulse” call-out pointing to the aft center of the saucer, so what are the two protrusions on either side of it (where the impulse engines would be on the Galaxy-class saucer)?

    • 30 johneaves
      March 26, 2009 at 7:38 am

      those protrusions were nacelle shielding. the point was that the energy displaced by the warp engines was still a sorta unstable system and the shielding was precautionary, there is more of this shielding on the inside and back of the nacelles.

  23. 31 1701dfan
    March 25, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    The second design is awesome. I can definately see that as being a forerunner to the classes we know and love.

    Out of interest, was it you who penned the design of NX-01 as we know it now?

  24. March 25, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Cool designs – fascinating to see the direction the NX might have gone in (looking forward to seeing Doug’s takes on it too). The concept design for the U.S.S. Aventine from the current Trek novels has echoes of that first NX concept: http://img.trekmovie.com/images/merchandise/aventineconcept.jpg

    Got to agree with folks re the end one, that would have made a cool Enteroprise for the new movie, but looks a bit too hi-tech for the NX. Great design though.

  25. 33 ST-One
    March 25, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    *johneaves said: Why don’t you pick the subject for tomorrows blog and if I have it here I’ll put it up!!!*

    Okay… the USS Archer schematics (I’m now in full annoyance-mode 😀 )

    or how about some of your concepts for ‘Generations’; the drydock and the Amagosa-observatory in particular.

  26. 35 Paul
    March 26, 2009 at 1:32 am

    I’d like to see more sketches of Enterprise designs that didn’t make it onscreen.

    It’s all good!

  27. March 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I always felt that Enterprise should have broken the “command disk” tradition in favor of a Deadalus style sphere. Reach back a little to Jeffries Deadalus and 2001…and make a ship that looks like something we hadn’t seen as a hero on the screen before. Older, less refined, but with a statuesque grace…

    Anyway, my two cents. I am fascinated though with the idea of seeing some other unrealized visions for the NX-01.

    Thanks so much for sharing all this material!


  28. 37 CX
    April 2, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I actually like the top one better because it gets away from the more traditional saucer/nacelles look everyone’s gotten used to. Not to mention that the unibody and retractable nacelles would have fit into a kind of design lineage with the Phoenix you came up with for First Contact. I probably would’ve kept the nacelles round, though.

  29. April 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

    satan cut records? who knew?

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March 2009

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