the ss conestoga


the two choices for the conestoga

the two choices for the conestoga


This little chuck wagon in space comes from one of the early Enterprise episodes called Terra Nova. The premise of the show was that this ship crash-lands and the survivors make homesteads from the wreckage. here are the sketches that were worked to best utilize usable shapes for dwellings constructed from panels and debris

how many things can you make with a 12 piece box of legos

how many things can you make with a 12 piece box of legos


a bizarre perspective topo view of structure placement

a bizarre perspective topo view of structure placement



the producers pick

the producers pick

51 Responses to “the ss conestoga”

  1. May 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I’m rather relieved the second one made it. Both designs are eye-catchers, but I think the more compact layout of the second conestoga fits better. And I really like the structure that runs from the cockpit/front to the middle of the back.
    Thanks a lot for this and all the other pictures!

  2. May 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I absolutely agree that the second one sells “early Earth starship much better. The back part of the first sketch reminds me of an early Klingon ship. It’s a shame that the cool design and the highly detailed CG model was only seen on tiny viewscreens for a few frames, it would have been great to see the ship fly alongside to the Enterprise. Here are the three shots that were ultimately seen in the episode:


  3. 4 the bluesman
    May 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm


    I like the old style engine bells along with the warp pods.

  4. 6 Barrie Suddery
    May 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    First time I saw the Conestoga I thought “That’s what the Enterprise should have been!”

    I love the combination of today’s rocketry and Treknology: it really sells the idea that this is pre-TOS.

    Any more pictures/ortho’s would be gratefully received.

    Over to Jorg…..

  5. 8 MikeZ
    May 4, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Interesting revelation. While I like the pylons on the other concept the chosen one is obviously better defined.

    Wasn´t Terra Nova actually intended to become a colony but the project was cancelled when the contact to those first colonists stopped?
    It´s been a couple of years since I´ve seen that episode.

    • 9 evil_genius_180
      May 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      It was intended to be a colony and it was doing well. So, Earth decided to send another ship full of colonists but the people on Terra Nova objected. Then an asteroid hit and wiped out the colony, contact was lost and Starfleet never sent the 2nd ship because of the lost contact and didn’t send a ship to investigate until 2151 because of the time to get there at warp 1. (though they never said whey they didn’t send a ship there with a warp 2 or warp 3 engine. ;)) Great episode, I just watched it again a few months ago.

      • 10 johneaves
        May 5, 2009 at 6:13 am

        Thanks for the historical background on this one!!!! You are the Evil genius of everything trek!!!

      • 11 evil_genius_180
        May 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm

        See? And they told me being a geek would never come in handy. HA! Shows them! 😉

    • 12 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:13 am

      I believe this is true!!!

  6. May 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Here’s a shot of the disassembled hull on the planet surface:

    A cool idea that was later used again in “Twilight”.

    And yes, I’d looove a sideview of the ship 😉

    • 14 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:11 am

      Hey thanks for the screen pictures there Mr Jorg! I’ll see what I can find on the CG’s of this one.

  7. 15 Jonathan Burke (TrekBBS' Praetor)
    May 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I love the Conestoga. 🙂

  8. 18 Andru
    May 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    The Conestoga is a very nice old design. Was that cockpit/bridge inspired by an existing aircraft? The oval hull lines remind me of the Defiant nacelles, or the canvas cover from a… Conestoga wagon!


    • 19 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:10 am

      The bridge was actually inspired by a cool 18 wheeler I saw that had giant wind deflectors all across the top of the cab,,, I wish I had taken a picture of it when I saw it on the road.

  9. May 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    The producers picked the right one. The second design rules. The first one should get rid of that Klingon-like pod. Rather than that, I could imagine something like a conning tower in its place.

  10. 22 Matt Boardman
    May 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I like the covered wagon-esque feel of this design. Gene always said that Star Trek was a wagon train to the stars and this design really lends to that early space pioneer feel. It also fits right in with that progression from the Phoenix to the NX starships!

  11. May 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    One of my very favourite Trek designs. It’s a shame it was so briefly seen onscreen, but then again, its obscurity makes it that more interesting. You can have too much of a good thing, after all.

    • 25 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:07 am

      I think thats why I liked Alien so much because you really didn’t get to see that magnificent creature in full detail for most of the film!

  12. 26 Masao
    May 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    The bridge of Conestoga reminds me of the bridge of Nostromo.

    • 27 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:05 am

      OHHHH I have to watch Alien this week for some 30th Anniversary art I am working on so I’ll have to see if I subconsciously ripped it off….

  13. 28 Mark A-C
    May 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I had no idea you designed this beauty. It rocks baby!!

    But I should have known….it has all the right nods to Ron Cobb, and goes to further placing some of his own excellent designs for the Alien Universe as possible early Earth ships for the Star Trek design lineage. Anyway thats my story and I’m sticking to it!

    I’ve just been at Doug’s blog earlier today raving on about how much i love Greg Jein’s Valiant design, then I wander over here and you’ve posted the PERFECT next step in such a wonderful design lineage…..are you guys conspiring together or what?

    Man, you two are certainly spoiling the inner starship-geek inside this currently over-worked father of two…thanks mate.


    • 29 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 6:03 am

      THANKS!!!! we had another away weekend and I so want to have an hour to dig in the shed and get all the photos and Greg Jein stuff out… When I get it all together there will be the Greg Jein week on the blog and it will be a fun time.

  14. 31 evil_genius_180
    May 4, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    That’s definitely a sweet design. Someone challenged me a few years ago to build a CGI model of it and I collected resources but never got around to actually building it. After seeing this, I might have to dust off the old references and giver it a go. 😀

  15. 34 Paul
    May 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I like the Pre TOS look of it. This might be cool as the main ship. For some reason it reminds me of the NX warp core though :p

  16. 36 DeanneM
    May 4, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Definitely like the accepted version of this for what it is and the era. It would have been VERY interesting to see something like this as the new (previous) Enterprise, but I like what we got!

    Always liked the resourcefulness of the colonists and the way the parts were used. Been a while since I’ve seen this epi, but I remember thinking at the time that I liked that concept.

    • May 5, 2009 at 2:37 am

      I think a series aboard this ship would’ve rocked! And the design is cool enough to please (appease?) the producers and the supposedly attention deficient 18-25 demographic while still looking functional and believable. I’d imagine it’d have a slightly Fireflyish feel as the main crew rushed to those front windows to see what was going on every time the ship unexpectedly shook. 🙂

      • 38 johneaves
        May 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

        that’s a great idea with the Firefly reference!!! I just started watching FF and it’s pretty darned good so far!

      • 39 DeanneM
        May 5, 2009 at 8:54 am

        *sigh* Firefly – what could have been! Just like ENT, there was so much more yet to see….

    • 40 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 5:55 am

      I need to watch this one again also!!!

  17. 43 John N. Ritter
    May 5, 2009 at 2:23 am

    What I would like to know, is how were the colonists carried? Awake? Or in hypersleep? Nine years on that journey, if awake, can you imagine how tight the ship would be? I favor asleep.

  18. 45 Simon Matthew Coles
    May 5, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Was the Republic Cruiser from Star Wars Episode 1 an inspiration at all? The bridge structure is very similar…

    • 46 johneaves
      May 5, 2009 at 5:53 am

      It does have a resemblance but the Cruiser wasn’t a reference piece,,, I was using the cab of an 18 wheeler as the cockpit inspiration

      • 47 Simon Matthew Coles
        May 5, 2009 at 6:07 am

        yeah, I was reaching there, I was pretty sure it would just be a coincidental similarity.

  19. 48 Freak
    May 5, 2009 at 3:47 am

    LOL I just watched this last night, along with The Andorian Incident. (Due to your blog I have decided to go back to the start of Enterprise and rewatch it all.)

    I have to say that I love the ship that was chosien for the final design.
    I love the idea that the ship was built for a one way trip. Once at Terra Nova the crew had designed it to take it apart so they could build their new homes.

    I am not really a fan of the episode, it starts of so well but after the crew meet the Novan’s it start to go down hill from there. But it not one of the worst episodes of Enterprise.

  20. 50 Scott
    May 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Gosh John, where do you come up with all these wonderful designs? You sure are an inspriation.

    To be honest, I’m taking up a challange of sorts in making a ship behind the Jupiter Station that Doug mentioned a few weeks ago, and Consitution-Inspired design for those playing Star Trek Online (they love the ol gal!)

  21. February 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Hey John,

    I have some of the 3D renders of the Conestoga used as viewscreen inserts in the episode. How to get them to you…? 🙂



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May 2009

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