the starships of expanse


Pierre's cg model of the delta From Expanse #52

Pierre's cg model of the delta From Expanse #52


rough concepts for earth based defense squadron starships

rough concepts for earth based defense squadron starships

Pierre's cg version 1

Pierre's cg version 1

Pierre view # 2

Pierre view # 2


Pierre view #3

Pierre view #3

Pierre view #4

Pierre view #4


Two more roughs for Earth's defense fleet

Two more roughs for Earth's defense fleet

2 more horrible concepts, and that introduced the first doughnut idea!

2 more horrible concepts, and that introduced the first doughnut idea!


cu #2

cu #2

close upThe Expanse offered the opportunity do build an Earth based starship defense system that incorporated some new ship designs. like the armada from First Contact theses vessels had to have the design elements of the Federation but be distinctly different when seen in an FX battle Sequence. This was a huge concept show that included a new klingon Bird of Prey, the NX-02 in space dock and under construction, The armada vessels and a whole host of other designs. The armada drawings never went past the rough sketch form and after the producers made their choices the drawings went right to Eden to be built. Those CG monsters always went the extra mile to model fabulous ships and images for Enterprise. It was a real treat to see the creativity that would come from the vast amount of talent housed in a small dark lightless cove over at the Gower studios. I don’t think they even have house lights in their bldg.. because I once saw housecleaning using miners hats to light the way and if the light would hit a modeler they wold hold their face and scream as they would fall back out of their chairs!!! HAAAA! this is a true story by the way! Anyways here are some views and concepts to start the week and thanks for all the stories shared last week with Cobb and Goldsmith!!! have a great Monday!

55 Responses to “the starships of expanse”

  1. April 27, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Thanks for the images, John! This is a fabulous start for the week! I never realized that the nacelles of the Intrepid /half saucer) have those tubes on the inside. This really makes them look a little more old school than the NX. I love the concept images, would have been cool to see some more of those pre-Federation starships, I do think the ones we got in the end are the nicest, though. Have a great Monday to! 🙂

  2. 3 Lee
    April 27, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Out of the six concepts, who made the final choice of two? Because I completely agree with them, they’re the best designs by far. Which sounds like I’m dissing the rest, which isn’t intentional!

  3. 5 John N. Ritter
    April 27, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Specs please. I am sure every body here would like to know the specifications of these ships.

    In particular what some call the Iceland class(Star Fleet Delta), and the Intrepid class(The Half Saucer)…

    • 6 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

      We need to beckon the mighty Rob Bonchune for this question!!!

      Oh gifted Rob,, do you here our scaling plea’s!!! come forth and give us the required measurements!

  4. 7 Freak
    April 27, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Ow great start to the week John.

    I love the fact that some of these ship look less like Federation Starfleet ship.
    I always believed that ships from TOS onwards where designed by Humans as well as non human, which is why they looked so different to ship we are building today and the concept for tomorrow.

    When I first saw the NX apart form thinking it was a rip off of the Akria, I though it looked to Federation and not enough human design. With the delta design I am glad you went with a look closer to the Concepts that are currently going around for space crafts for tomorrow.

    I know you don’t like the design in the link below, but with a few changes they would make great post Nemesis ships.

    • 8 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm

      That crazy delta shape had many treatments on the various episodes before it finally got an approval for this episode. it was based on the Lockheed X-33 Venture star as to do just what you said, breach the future designs of today with a future starfleet design history

  5. April 27, 2009 at 7:08 am

    OH…Sweeeeeet!!! Thanks!!!

  6. 11 Suricata
    April 27, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Love the concepts, they have a great ‘old’ Trek feel to them, you can see them as been very basic treknology wise and best yet, Donuts!!!! 🙂

    • 12 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks and love those donuts too, I have a grand scale donut ship that has a unique saucer separation craft, It was one I drew for perpetual and will have to dig it out!

  7. April 27, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Aah. I love the Warp Delta, and that ‘long’ version in the second image is pretty cool too. That one has a bit of the Spaceflight Chronology feel to it.

    A techy question: the NX-01 had the Warp Field Governor (the device between the nacelles), and these concepts all have the same pieces of machinery. Was the WFG a requirement for the Warp 5 engine, and would you think that these ships also have Warp 5 drives?

    I’d love to see some concepts of that other wacky Earth starship: the Sarajevo.

    • 14 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      That was a detail used to give you the impression that the nacelles had a very hazardous area and that extra shielding was used as a safety element in the early warp ships.I’ll have to dig out those drawings of the Sarajevo for you.. this week is pretty well planned out so next week for sure.

  8. 15 evil_genius_180
    April 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Dude, this is definitely one of my favorite episodes. I remember watching it when it was first on and the Klingons attacked and for the first time Earth ships were there to assist. Ever since then, I’ve been all obsessed with these designs. Thanks to you and Doug Drexler, though, we’re getting some great images of the CGI models you used. I love your concept art also. I especialy like the ship flying next to the half saucer in exp-2.jpg.

    A few months ago, I built my own version of the Half Saucer, later designated the Intrepid in the episode “Twilight,” using those great orthos of Pierre’s model that were released on the web about 4 years ago. Even though, I love the other ship used in “The Expanse,” this one is my favorite.

    • 16 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      Those are beautiful!!!!!! what a great talent and love your planet too!!! Do you have these up anywhere for all to see???? I think we need to have a Blogman day and put up all the great stuff that everyone is bringing to the table

      • 17 evil_genius_180
        April 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

        First, thanks a lot. 🙂

        As far as ‘everyone to see,’ I post regularly on some of the 3D forums. Most of my stuff is over at http://www.3dscifi.com/ Other than that, I’ve considered making a gallery site but I’m just too lazy.

        And I also want to say thanks for posting the great concept art. You’ve given me more cool stuff to model. I have to model at least a couple of the ships in this post. 🙂

  9. 18 Paul
    April 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

    John, you Rock man. You and Doug are the coolest guys around.

    BTW My favorite of the above are those Horrible concepts.

  10. 21 Eric
    April 27, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I love these designs, thanks John. I hope to see you at WF2009.

    • 22 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

      I’ll be there and can’t wait to meet Penny Robinson,,, Aka Angela Cartwright and her sis Veronica!!! those two have really made a huge mark in the world of Sci Fi!!!

  11. 23 Pacal
    April 27, 2009 at 11:23 am

    John can we assume the saucer section of the Intrepid is the same size as Drexlers NX class? Or was the ship designed to be smaller?

    • 24 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm

      that would be a fair bet,,, Rob are you reading today!!!! We need your Eden scale chart on these???? Thanks buddy!

  12. 25 Matt Boardman
    April 27, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Love these designs! I know you said that they were “horrible” but I honestly like the one on the left a lot. It looks sort of like a Dreadnaught of the NX starships!

    As for Eden FX and those dark cubicles…I’m serectly holding out for computer monitors that have a tanning option that you can turn off and on! 😉

    • 26 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

      It was always fun to go to lunch with these guys and watch em squint when we would go out the front door!!!! HAAAA! Those horrible renderings really need a lot of work!!! The doughnut actually had a design resurrection in the episode called “Home”

  13. 27 John N. Ritter
    April 27, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    evil_genius_180 good pictures, well done.

    One differnce if I had any skill in this is that I would have had only four gun mounts forward, with two stern chasers.

  14. April 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    WOW, you’re really spoiling us! I can see a couple of those unused concepts being worked up in 3D pretty soon. Funnily enough, although I didn’t like the NX’s similarity to the Akira, I do quite like the Akira-ish sketch up there.

    Btw, any idea why one of the sketches has green bussard collectors? It looks as though they were red but coloured over in green.

    • 29 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm

      Sorry!!! They are meant to be red and orange,,, I am color blind and red and green constantly give me trouble,,, especially in photoshop with that bloody color rainbow……

      • April 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

        I wondered if that might be it… I sorta remembered you saying you were colour blind, but I can’t remember it ever showing up in your work before so I thought I must be wrong.

      • 31 johneaves
        April 28, 2009 at 4:37 am

        It stinks but I have managed to cheat it OK,,, at least I haven’t been fired yet but no one ever lets me mix paint anymore!!!

  15. 32 Mark Delgado
    April 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Of these six concepts, I think the two that were chosen were the right choices. The “warp delta” looks sufficiently primitive enough to be a realistic 22nd century ship, while the “half-saucer” looks to be an intermediate step between the former ship and the NX-01. The other four concepts just look too advanced for the 22nd century, IMHO.

    John, there was a final Earth Starfleet vessel shown alter in the series, called the Sarajevo. DO you know which ship I’m referring to? I believe your concept art for it listed it as an “elite observation vessel.” Do you by chance have any concept art or orthos for it?

    • 33 johneaves
      April 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      I do have the art for that one,,, I believe it first appeared in The episode Home!!!! I’ll go find it for you!

      • 34 davemeggison
        August 14, 2009 at 8:16 am

        Lovin the pics of the different star fleet classes, im still dyin to see what you’ve got on the so called’ elite observation vessel’ named as the sarajevo, is there anyplans to post cg pics or orthos anytime soon?

  16. 35 BorgMan
    April 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Y’know, I kind of like that ship with the trimaran hull; it’s funky and even looks practical, when taking into acount the fact that older ship might have needed more support.

  17. 37 Razor
    April 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Oh yes awesome!

  18. 38 sam moreno
    April 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    NEAT! I even love the ship’s that didn’t make the cut! (Now THAT’S TALENT!) Any idea on how big these ships were?

    • 39 johneaves
      April 28, 2009 at 4:40 am

      unless my boss asked for a specific size, the lengths and measurements were set by the VFX supervisor and the folks at EDEN.

  19. 40 FSL
    April 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    FUnny you should mention First Contact because one of these ships look similar to one of those ships (the one with the nacelles resting on the saucer).

    Was there a concious decision to use a few different designs instead of a fleet of same type?

  20. 41 johneaves
    April 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    There was a ship in First Contact that had a nacelle atop the saucer configuration,,, I have all of Alex’s ships at home and soon we’ll have Alex Yeager day!

  21. 42 the bluesman
    April 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm


    More cool stuff as usual.

    I always like seeing alternate solutions.

    • 43 johneaves
      April 28, 2009 at 4:42 am

      There were sure a lot of alternates on this show,,, during the Xindi episodes they would sometimes ask for 5 to 6 different ships per episode and that would be anywhere from 1 to 10 ideas each,, there was a while where I thought that there were no more ship shapes to use!!! HAAA!

  22. April 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Awesome stuff, thanks for posting these John! I’ve loved that half-saucer design since I first saw it. In fandom it’s often called the NV class, though don’t know who coined that name, but there was a mention of a Neptune class in one episode too. Any ideas if that was supposed to refer to the delta or the half-saucer?

    FSL, someone mentioned the same thing re looking like a First Contact ship on Doug’s blog, I think they meant the Steamrunner, which does have an interesting resemblance.

    So cool to see images of the Earth ships. Can I respectfully join the throng of voices keen to see more of the Sarajevo? That was such an unusual design, I’d love to hear more about your ideas behind it (what actually is an ‘Elite Observation Vessel’ for example?).

    Thanks again for posting these pics!

  23. 47 Andru
    April 28, 2009 at 12:11 am

    John, was the triangle ship (Warp Delta) consciously inspired by the early warp ship from the credits (“Emmette”) or was it simply coincidence? Also (perhaps getting off topic), in the case of the early warp ship did you also sketch the front part, or only the back that would be showing in the credits?

    • 48 johneaves
      April 28, 2009 at 5:01 am

      there were a lot of views and ships drawn for that opening sequence and those are all coming on tomorrow,,,Wednesdays post. I really liked the delta shape and always tried to pitch one if the story or script would lend itself to the idea,,, not so much a coincidence as more on purpose.

  24. 50 JNG
    April 28, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Those last two sketches are really working. They’re a treat. Hope to learn more about those designs!

  25. June 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Sweet – great views – man between yours and Doug Drexler’s sites I am in heaven!!


    (BTW – you may not remember me, but we met briefly at Digital Domain during Nemesis – I was the motion control operator on the show)

  26. June 6, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I really loved the other starfleet ships in Enterprise… I just wish someone would whip up a few good wallpapers or something. Especially the Sarajevo (“Elite Observation Ship”).

  27. 54 Al
    March 6, 2010 at 5:22 am

    All of the Earth ships looks futuristic, except those ships which appeared in the series. That Akira-looking type really looks like the 26th Century Akira class, that’s great! If the series were to continue, I would love to see more defense ships patrolling the Sol System! More great designs!

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April 2009

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