inspection pods from Enterprise




the first pass

the first pass


the 4X4 off road pass

the 4X4 off road pass

mike Okuda's hatch design

mike Okuda's hatch design

more from engineer Mike okuda

more from engineer Mike Okudaslightly different and has the newly installed okudahatch


With the Okudahatch view

With the Okudahatch view


the simpler version,,,,No more off roading for you little fella!

the simpler version,,,,No more off roading for you little fella!

These are the little inspection pods from the pilot episode of Enterprise. To recapture the big VFX magic that we saw in STTMP The art department was asked to recreate the service pods to fly above the Enterprise NX-01 to not only give her some scale but to show her off to the audience. The first pass of the pod was a little boxy unit that had about 10 minutes worth of time put into it. Herman Z walked by and said that we were going to reuse the Phoenix Capsule from STFC so we can start redesigning around that nose cone shape. the next version is the heaviest of designs with a lot of 4X4 accessories to give it a more rugged, industrial look. Mike Okuda was busy working on a very nice docking and hatch sequence which took the best from NASA and mixed with his own imagination came up with the following designs and details of how the coupling system works. The next sketch shows how Mikes designs were incorporated with a small pull back on the heavy detail.  The producers felt that the big off road lights were a bit much so we pulled them back to a bare minimum as well as the exterior detail. This was modeled over at Eden by the CG wizards and I’ll need to double check but I think this one was done by Lee. below are some grabs by the brilliant Jorg!!! Thank You Mr. internet Wizard


pod view

pod view


pod view 2

pod view 2

pod v 4

pod v 4

pod v5

pod v5


pod v 7

pod v 7

23 Responses to “inspection pods from Enterprise”

  1. 1 Freak
    May 11, 2009 at 6:14 am

    The first pass has a larger workbee look to it, Was the Workbee your insperation for it?
    As for the 4×4 lights I like it, if your going to inspec something you want to see everything. 😉

    • 2 DeanneM
      May 11, 2009 at 8:26 am

      I’m with you on the lights. I noticed in one of those shots the pod is practically touching the hull, which wouldn’t be what you’d want. Those cool off road lights would probably make it possible to be at least a little bit farther from the hull when inspecting it!

      • 3 BorgMan
        May 11, 2009 at 8:29 am

        I think that it would be even cooler if one of those 4×4 lamps broke off because Tucker wasn’t paying attention. That would leave a REAL scratch instead of the puny little one they left now…

  2. 4 Barrie Suddery
    May 11, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Regards that docking mechanism. Mike Okuda’s a genius!

    If he’s not too busy making the final frontier look as cool in real life and he did onscreen, is there any hope of an Okuda blog?

    Thanks for posting this stuff John. Your art is just superb.


  3. 5 Richard Knapp
    May 11, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Great stuff – I’m loving these daily updates! Thank you John and please keep them coming.

  4. 6 BorgMan
    May 11, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Hell yeah, that first concept will be my new workbee. It fits Nemesis era a bit better than ENT, which I think is a good thing ^_^ Is there any chance to see a bigger shot of the docking mechanism? Am I correct in that the door of the pod becomes flush with the door of the receiving target so that there’s zero between the two? It’s a little bit too small to make out the details which I would love to see. Also… That 4×4 pod is badass 😀

  5. 7 BorgMan
    May 11, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Ugh, no edit function…

    What’s up with that thingy in front of the shuttle. Is that a shovel like Thunderbird 4 had?

  6. 8 DeanneM
    May 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I really enjoyed the scene with the pod surveying the ship…I wanted to go next, but I’ll take the off road version, please!

    The pod designed as a reuse of the Phoenix Capsule seems to be a good idea because it appears to be a bit more maneuverable, so I like it. But was that supposed to actually be the case, that they reused the capsule design, or was that just Herman or someone liking the look and wanting it in the show. Just curious, as I said, I like it!

    • 9 BorgMan
      May 11, 2009 at 9:29 am

      I think that it was on purpose due to budget concerns. Being able to re use a big deal of something that’s already designed saves a LOT of money 😉

  7. May 11, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Love the detail of the docking ring, it’s like someone who knew what actually worked helped design it 😉

  8. 11 evil_genius_180
    May 11, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I like your first idea, it’s reminiscent of the pods in Mike Minor’s paintings from Phase II/TMP way back in the day. Of course, the pod they used is a sweet design also. I love that docking port that Mike Okuda designed. I had fun building that when I was making the half saucer ship from “The Expanse.”

    Here’s the WIP image where I zoomed in on the port: http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g276/evil_genius_180/IT025.jpg

    One thing that bugged me about the docking port is the size of the hatch. The hatch on the port itself isn’t a problem, it’s pretty short but you’d expect that most bipedal species could duck and step over the bottom of the doorway to go through. What bugs me is the fact that the airlock set that we saw a few times only had 1 size of door, the size of the interior doors on the Enterprise. Where was the short door that represented the docking hatch? That’s bugged me ever since I scaled the hatch when I was building the port.

  9. 12 Suricata
    May 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Those sketchs are ace, I really like the first concept, as well as the flashlights.

    Is it just me, but in pod view 2 captain archer appears to have the window rolled down as his head is outside where the window should be, not a wise move in space…. 🙂

    • 13 johneaves
      May 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

      Archer has smeared a new breathable jelly across his face and can comfortably roll the window down to grab things that go floating by!

  10. 15 Matt Boardman
    May 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I love this little pod! I always appreciated this scene in the first episode when they came up to the NX-01 for the first time. Nice little nod to TMP! Love Mike’s docking hardware based on the ISS docking.

    Man, I’m bummed that rollbar with the KC lights didn’t make the final cut! 🙂

  11. 16 Scott
    May 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Poor Trip, he never did get that scratch fixed.

    And I never noticed those handle bars on the front before. Guess it’s for those adventurous types who want to inspect the old fashion way.

    BTW John, what’s the diameter of the Airlock? 2 meters?

  12. 17 FSL
    May 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Beautiful. That pod scene in the pilot episode was so nicely done, the background music too.

  13. 18 johneaves
    May 12, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I too was in love with the big KC lights and was sad to see them go!!!

    • 19 evil_genius_180
      May 12, 2009 at 7:16 am

      They would have been a smart feature to have, especially when the ship was in space, like it was when they used the pods in “Shuttlepod One” and “Dead Stop.” They needed to illumiate the hull to see all the damage and there’s no better way to do it than with some big honkin’ lights. 😉

  14. 20 CX
    May 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve always wondered – what’s the function of that wedge-shaped device on the front of the pod?

  15. 23 DeanneM
    August 4, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Oh man, I totally forgot that they actually did hit the ship with the pod in the show! I just watched Broken Bow for the first time since it originally aired…thanks Syfy for starting at the beginning! They are automatically recording on my DVR, and I have 6 or 7 of them already to watch! I think I’d be better off getting the disks on Netflix after finishing BSG. 🙂

    I just sat back and enjoyed watching my fav “Big E” pull out for the first time. And then a second time. 😉 I enjoyed watching Zefram Cochran give the boldy go speech, too! I can’t say enough how much I love having this whole universe of continuity that’s so full of overlapping goodness!!

    I “awww!!”ed (does that work?) just like I did the first time, every time I saw Porthos…I had a Beagle!

    Man, I gotta get this series set somehow.

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May 2009

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