ejecting the warp core from the Enterprise-E


the big belly view

the big belly view



the mighty core itself, or a big silly straw!!!

the mighty core itself, or a big silly straw!!!





exploding outer hatch

exploding outer hatch


launch door sequence

launch door sequencea view of the big belly

One of the big story points in ST Insurrection was the ejection of the Enterprise Warp Core. It was a huge scene full of action and suspence, dramatic dialog and awesome acting opportunities for Frakes and Burton. Well if you saw the film it didn’t exactly turn out that way. This production was an odd one on a bunch of levels, mostly frustrating levels,,,,,There were a lot of “what the heck’s”, and “why didn’t that make it’s” and “wholly cow you’ve got to be kidding’s” and “your a bunch of giant dog scratcher’s” and an awful lot of GOOGER-FLUEGGENS!!!! Anyways the task was to draw up the ejection system for the “E’s” warp core. Being a HUGE fan of Ron Cobb (who I payed Homage to in these drawings) always drew the greatest escape hatches and heavy space doors for example his work in, Alien, Aliens, and The Abyss. For the “E” we first designated a spot on the under belly of the ship approximately where it was drawn in the cutaway poster from First Contact. Next there were to be a series of exploding hatches and 4 point retractable port doors followed by a big scene of warning lights and venting plasma. VFX wise the core would be ejected with traces of glitter and metal fragments. when we were at the screening of the film not of this had been shot and was only mentioned in anticlimactic dialog. I want to say it was budget but I know there was more behind it than that!!! HAAAAAAAAAAA! I wish I could accent this dialog,, ( here’s a quick safety notice) I am not gripping if it comes across that way,, as I am writing I am jokingly laughing so read it in a funny not cranky way!!! OK so from there the core itself had to be drawn and it was a quick sketch with very little feedback and was passed thru on the first pass. The fun drawing was of the exterior of the ship where I had a little extra time to do a color rendering,,, Doug Drexler liked this one so I gave him the original marker sketch. For point of interest, In most if not all movies and shows the design process is usually what establishes the budget, story advancement, and the pacing, many, many drawings and scenes are created and shot only to be discarded in the end. Thanks to the extras on DVD’s, the internet and blogs all of this stuff has a chance to come out of the closet.  So with that I wanted to wish everyone a great weekend and again extend my thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and comments, all the cool links, and especially for the good wishes and prayers for my daughter. I have really enjoyed starting up the blog a few weeks back and it’s been a real hoot to go thru the drawers and dig out old forgotten things. Next week is Jerry Goldsmith week, and also I’ll try to find all the orthos requested from previous posts. Thanks again and have a good one.





63 Responses to “ejecting the warp core from the Enterprise-E”

  1. April 17, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Sweet, I love that long shot of the core!!


  2. April 17, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I’m really fond of your drawings, not only the beautiful over-all sketches. I especially love the kind of pictures that explain the more technical details.
    Although the scene didn’t make it to the movie, these pictures allow us to really participate this part of starfleet’s systems.
    Thank you very much and all the best wishes to you and your daughter & your entire family!

    • 5 johneaves
      April 17, 2009 at 8:51 am

      Thank you!!! Thank you!!! M Max My little one is doing really good with all of this and everyones wishes and prayers for her really mean a lot!!!

  3. 6 Rick
    April 17, 2009 at 6:51 am

    I remember watching this movie in the theater…right when Geordi says, “We can eject the core.”, I started getting all excited. I thought it’d be cool to see how the core was ejected after reading about it so many times prior…..

    …and all we got was banter interplayed between Riker & Geordi, a subtle sound effect, and an itty-bitty warp core exploding in space. Oy…

    At least these renders help to add more to the Enterprise. It’d be great to see someone work this into an E-E model, just for the heck of it.

    Thanks John!

  4. 8 DeanneM
    April 17, 2009 at 7:10 am

    This would have been sweet! But now I’ll be picturing the whole scene in my mind when I hear the “subtle sound effect” (as Joe said), so it’s all good. “We can eject the silly str…er, the warp core.”

    Sooo looking forward to Jerry Goldsmith week (I don’t know if you saw my late post on the Son’a ship article last night) since the music of Trek is da bomb!! Have a good weekend, and as always, still praying for Carlene!

    While you’re digging out stuff, how ’bout my angelic pic?

  5. April 17, 2009 at 7:24 am

    I love how you’re not simply doing drawings that show a piece of hardware – you’re actually understanding the plot needs and using your creations to tell a little mini story within the big story. This would have been a very cool sequence and would have added to the excitement. Or, rather, created some excitement in a scene that had little.

  6. 13 Fluxfire
    April 17, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Aww yeah…. This helps me a lot with the ship i am making, I wasn’t sure how the modern ejection system for ST would look, but now hell yeah. Thank you.

    I do believe there was an ep of voyager where they did eject the core and you did get to see the sequence…. However i don’t remember what season or ep it was….

  7. 17 BB43MAN
    April 17, 2009 at 8:01 am

    These posts just keep getting better and better! Thanks for posting these, John! I’ve always wondered why they cut that sequence down to practically nothing.

    Have a great weekend and we’re looking forward to next week’s posts!

    • 18 johneaves
      April 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

      Why thanks BB43MAN!!! It’s fun what memories are conjured up by seeing the old drawings again.. Glad that I still have a memory to be able to write something down!!!

  8. 19 Freak
    April 17, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Man that some sweet stuff right there.
    Yeah I was also disapointed with core ejection.
    To see this way would have been truely great.

    Jerry Goldsmith stuff next week, sweet I love the work he did on Trek but his other movies and TC shows as well. Some of the Music as gone to cult status.
    I wish I could have seen him at the Royal Albert Hall here in London.

  9. 21 evil_genius_180
    April 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I don’t usually follow blogs but when I found out on one of the 3D forums that you’d started one, I was there. 🙂 You’re an inspiration and a constant source of cool stuff to model, even for us amateur CG modelers.

    And I definitely agree with the others in wishing you and your family the best and your daughter a speedy recovery.

    I always wanted to see a warp core ejection, ever since I found out the Enterprise-D could dump its core. And then you guys finally did it and they did it on Voyager. I always thought it was a nice sequence but the way you describe the concept sounds way better. I love your concept drawings (as always) especially the big belly view.

    • 22 johneaves
      April 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

      awesome!!! Glad you visit and you’ll have to send over some of your work!!

      • 23 evil_genius_180
        April 18, 2009 at 7:39 pm

        I could show you my Photobucket album but it’s a mess. I have WIP images mixed in with completed stuff and tutorial stuff. There’s absolutely no organization involved.

        However, I do post most of my 3D stuff at this forum, if you’re interested:


  10. 24 Jonathan Burke (TrekBBS' Praetor)
    April 17, 2009 at 8:17 am

    How the heck did they not actually take the opportunity to show the core ejection? As your drawings show, this would have been an awesome VFX and dramatic moment…

    GOOGER-FLUEGGENS!!!! indeed. 😀

  11. April 17, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Awesome art , it would have made for such a better scene had they given it to us , but alas all they gave us was an itty bitty warp core hitting the subspace tear , they saved the big bucks for tossing around the CGI model like a kids toy . Oh well , at least we’ve got our art to admire . Keep it up john!

  12. April 17, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Great stuff and once again, what could have been makes me a little sad, it really would have added some some drama to the movie. All this Insurrection stuff does make me want to pull out the DVD and watch it again.

  13. 29 Matt Boardman
    April 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Talk about some meat and potatoes! These are fantastic! I don’t blame Doug for asking for the original marker version! The attention to detail is amazing! I had to take a Fine Art class during my first year of my Media Arts and Animation program. We worked with markers and it being my first experience, I got very frustrated and wondered what the point to all of it was. (LOL!) Now seeing your work, I might enjoy a side of mashed potatoes with that crow. 😉

    It’s too bad that this didn’t end up in the movie because it would have really been a neat shot to see. Not only that, but pacing-wise, it would have broken up that particular sequence and lent to it being a little more dramatic than it was.

  14. 32 Mr. Wilde
    April 17, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    How could they possibly leave that sequence out of the movie?!

    Would have loved to see not only that exterior shot, but also an interior shot of Geordi watching the entire warp core wooshing past him.

    Love that warp core drawing. There’s a scene in The Motion Picture where Kirk looks down into the abyss to see the entire warp core. I kinda missed something like that in the TNG movies. There the warp core just vanished in the floor and ceiling.

  15. 34 Jay
    April 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Three cheers for the Ron Cobb shout out, Mister Eaves! What an imagination on that one, eh?

  16. 37 JD
    April 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    What might have been?! 😦

    Still, I like a good marker rendering… so I LOVE this!! I dig how the crossed marker strokes make a panel effect!

    I’d welcome an entry on your drawing process, John. How big you draw, preferred papers and pens, etc. Very cool!

  17. 40 bender23
    April 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    John, the Ent-E is my absolute favorite Star Trek ship! Thanks for sharing these!! I especially love the upgrades you did to it for Nemesis. Do you have any high rez orthos of that version?

    • 41 johneaves
      April 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks a lot Bender. I am a huge fan of the original, the retro fit for the motion picture, and the Excelsior. I can’t take all the credit for the “E” though. I just did the concept sketch, Rick Sterbach took it from there and created all the beautiful blue prints, layed out all the special details such as the RCS thrusters , Transport emmiters, Escape hatches ETC, From there the brilliant folks at ILM led by John Goodson, and Bill George created the awesome model. There are many tools in the toolbox and it takes all of them to finish a project. That’s the best part of working in the art department or the model shop is that it is a huge collaborative environment!!!

  18. 42 BB43MAN
    April 17, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Ya know, I’m still geeking over the fact that we’re (me too!) talking to and getting direct responses from the MAN who designed the Enterprise E!!!!! I mean, this guy, along with Doug Drexler and his AWESOME website, makes a Trekker’s dream come true!!! The 1701-E is my favorite ship, right after TOS Big E! Maybe at a convention in the near future you could have “hoist a brew and design a starship with John” night! Keep those posts coming, Buddy!

  19. 44 Simon Matthew Coles
    April 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Insurrection always seemed me like it was a film on the verge of greatness… so near and yet, so far. I do wonder the real reason for the outcome – given that a full scale village set was built, they clearly weren’t short of budget. Perhaps it was producer meddling, the “because we can” attitude that sank this film?

    • 45 johneaves
      April 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

      It was odd to see all the troubles that were associated with that film, It was truly an awesome film when it hit the screen from what most had to work with!!! Frakes gets the bulk of the credit for how good the final film was!

  20. 46 LarryN
    April 18, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I don’t think it ever got mentioned–so for the curious, the warp core ejection that finally worked (and was depicted) was indeed on Voyager: “Day of Honor.”

  21. 48 Don B
    April 18, 2009 at 5:52 am

    “Next week is Jerry Goldsmith week”

    Fantastic! To me Jerry Goldsmith was an essential part of Star Trek. May he rest in peace.

  22. 50 Marc
    April 18, 2009 at 9:22 am

    The coloured picture of the bottom side of the E is simply beautiful John.

    Thank you for another great entry. Please continue to post!

  23. 52 Shipbuilder
    April 18, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Agree with BB43Man, it’s great that you are making yourself so accessible to the fans, it’s greatly appreciated.

    Since you have that great shot of the EE core up there, any background on how the core design came about? Specifically the multi-coil appearance…was that just something to show it was more powerful? And is there a center coil or just 4?

    It’s a shame we didn’t get a John/Rick/Mike/Doug tech-manual out of the EE 😦

    Thanks again for the posting.

    • 53 johneaves
      April 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      It is based on 4 cylinders, thanks to you and the gang, its great to be a fellow fan and chat and share all the fun stuff we love.

  24. April 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Dude, dude… it never ceases to AMAZE me! the sheer magnitude of your design vision, and on top of that, your ability to get it down on paper! Doug said you have a, “3D program in your head,” and that ’bout sums it up, eh. The fact that you can draw like this, it is a true God-given talent you have there mister!

    I’m not an envious guy AT ALL (more just happy for folks to have what they have), but if I was, I’d be envious of your über-ability to conceive of this stuff, and then get it down so magnificently on paper.

    As always fantastic work my friend, just fantastic! 😀


  25. April 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    BTW, LOVE Cobb too, and Goldsmith (as I collect soundtracks). I built an unused Alien heli-jet design of Cobb’s. Sent it to him too, but never heard back, no worries though. He was in Conan the Barbarian too.

    I would sell hagga to a slayer such as you?

    As always, thanks for sharin’ brother! 😀


  26. April 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    BTW, LOVE Cobb too, and Goldsmith (as I collect soundtracks). I built an unused Alien heli-jet design of Cobb’s. Sent it to him too, but never heard back, no worries though. He was in Conan the Barbarian too.

    I would sell hagga to a slayer such as you?

    As always, thanks for sharin’ brother! 😀


  27. 57 Mark A-C
    April 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Hi John,
    Some wonderful drawings and concept, funny to read the Ron Cobb mention, as I too am a huge admirer of his work, and have just made mention of Mr.Cobb in a comment I made on Doug Drexler’s blog about my favourite conceptual designers (the trinity of Cobb, McQuarrie and Probert)….how’s that for a coinscidence?

    Glad to read your daughter is getting better. I too have two lovely daughters, and worry when they are even slightly sick. My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family.

    Looking forward to Ron Cobb week.


  28. 59 LoyalTrekFan
    April 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Mr. John Eaves,

    I have always been a fan of your work and I think that Star Trek was very lucky to have your talents. The ENT-E is my personal favorite ship ever designed. Nothing beats the Sovereign Class! I love the technical thinking behind your work, the MSD (with 24 DECKS) and the beautiful (and powerful) upgrades to the Ent-E in Star Trek: Nemesis. 16 Type XII Phaser Arrays and 9 Torpedo Launchers is quite impressive. I also have the STAR TREK and STAR TREK: TNG MOVIES SKETCHBOOK and I frequently enjoy going through it and enjoying the hard work and love you and all those involved in STAR TREK put behind your work. Thanks for the inside info and, of course, all your work over the years and this wonderful blog that gives invaluable insight into the inner workings of STAR TREK.

  29. 60 LoyalTrekFan
    April 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    The scene you describe would’ve made an excellent one. Too bad it wasn’t in the film.

  30. 61 Paul
    April 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Riker: Geordi, eject the core.
    Geordi: I just did.

    Great to see this hidden Gem since we didn’t get to see it in the movie. I really don’t get why they didn’t show it. I was excited to finally see it happen in Voyager.

  31. 62 Simon Matthew Coles
    April 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Don’t forget though that the Ent-E was a collaboration, as is anything in the film world – let’s not forget the contributions made by Rick Sternbach, Mike, Doug, Denise, Zimmerman, and all the rest of the team, not to mention the people at ILM who built the model. Undoubtedly, John’s exterior design formed the overall direction of the ship that everybody else took their lead from.

    Not entirely my favorite Enterprise design, but it is badass and suited the tone of First Contact perfectly, so it was a job masterfully done by the designer.

  32. 63 Mr. Wilde
    April 19, 2009 at 7:08 am

    I can’t really imagine First Contact, Insurrection or Nemesis with the Enterprise-D. Somehow that doesn’t fit. But to see the massive Ent-D crashing into the Scimitat instead of the Ent-E, now that would have been something. 😉

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April 2009

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