Alex Jeager and the ships of First Contact

Alex Jeager was the key concept artist at ILM on ST First Contact. We first met by phone and later in person on one of my trips up to see all the model work going on with the new Enterprise and the Phoenix. Alex was in charge of creating a lot of the designs for the borgification VFX sequences, the Borg Queen, various details on the “E”, the color scheme for the Phoenix, VFX storyboards, and mostly he was the one that designed the Federation Armada that battles the Borg over Earth. Alex back in the days was a pen and marker guy and advancing to computer modeling and photoshop work. on FC he did a bit of both CG and Traditional renderings and here are some samplings of both. As requested here are many of the concepts that didn’t make the final film and a special group of images from my favorite of Alex’s incredible designs, The Akira!!! I am probably the only one that can’t get on Alex’s web page but I can get to his Blog and both links are over in the Blogroll to the right!!! Hope you enjoy all the cool drawings and CG meshes by the incredible Alex Jeager!

art 1

art 1



concept 1

concept 1



concept 2

concept 2

concept 3

concept 3


love this little beauty!!!

love this little beauty!!!

awesome quad runner

awesome quad runner


WOOOOO, my fav!!! the oh so sleek Akira!!

WOOOOO, my fav!!! the oh so sleek Akira!!




what a beauty #1

what a beauty #1

meshed potato

meshed potato


what a mesh

what a mesh
what a beauty #2

what a beauty #2


33 Responses to “Alex Jeager and the ships of First Contact”

  1. 1 Freak
    June 4, 2009 at 6:32 am

    The Akria is Fav design. It such a cool ship.
    Alex, can you Confrem if this ship desgined as a carrier for Federation Fighters?
    I read some place that it was.

    I also love the top and fornt view of this desgin.

    but the side view look to me a little fat.

    Same with some of the others.

  2. June 4, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Oh my! These are wonderful. The Akira is fantastic and when I saw FC I was amazed. I was glad to see this class make it’s way into DS9 at the end. The Criterion is a tad odd, IMHO, but those other designs are incredible.

  3. 3 Lee
    June 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I think we can safely say we’ve been waiting for these forever (or, well, thirteen years). Thanks John!

  4. 5 Eric
    June 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Yes!!!! You made my day. I have been looking for concept drawings from ST.FC forever. This is great. Thank you for posting these John and great work Alex.

  5. 7 the bluesman
    June 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Nice stuff. Computers are cool, but pen and markers are better.

    I’m an old school pen and marker guy myself.

  6. 8 Andru
    June 4, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I was quite happy to learn that Mr Jaeger designed the background ships in the new movie, as I was impressed by his designs for First Contact. They were all different from what was seen before, different from one another, yet still believable as Starfleet ships. The NX-class Enterprise is a beautiful (yet perhaps misplaced) testimony to his appealing Akira design. I look forward to a more detailed look at his work in the new movie, as well as yours John! (nudge nudge 😉 Thanks for this great post.

  7. 10 Sojourner
    June 4, 2009 at 7:40 am

    While I wouldn’t call most of those Starfleet ships, they are cool designs never the less!

  8. 11 DeanneM
    June 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Yea! A lot of Akira to look at! Finding the Steamrunner Revamp to my likiing, but I liked the original, so go figure. Then the one just bellow it gets an A+ in my book!! Since I’m watching it in the next couple of days, I appreciate all these details that make it even more fun to watch. 🙂

    I do like the lines of the first one a lot, but I got the impression it would work well as a transport, like a carrier, or a civie ship, like a cruise ship…I’d book a trip!

    Thanks Alex and John for sharing!

  9. 12 Starship freak
    June 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I can´t get the larger versions of the 4 last! can someone fix that?

    • 13 Matt Wright
      June 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

      They all work for me, I also just made all the images click’able to expand to full size(execept for the 2 CG renders of the Akira which look terrible when enlarged for some reason).

  10. June 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Wow, fabulous stuff! I’ve always wanted to see more of the concept sketches. Thanks for sharing these, Alex and John!

    I really like that first unnamed Steamrunner (concept 2). Nice to finally see the Zandura too (I’d heard that listed as a four-nacelled serpearble science vessel?). The Criterion’s pretty funky too.

    The fifth one down (the little beauty you mention) looks almost like a Dominion ship from the front. Do you know what the circular structures on the edges of the saucer are?


  11. 15 evil_genius_180
    June 4, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Dude, the U.S.S. Criterion has some friggin’ huge nacelles. He had some pretty cool concepts, though I do feel they used the best ones in the film. I also love the Akira-class but my favorite from the movie is the Steamrunner-class. I like both the sketch you have here (and in the sketchbook) where he has the nacelles on bottom and the deflector on bottom and the flipped version that made it into the film. I don’t suppose you have more CGI renderings of that ship that didn’t make it into the sketchbook (you don’t even want to know how long I’ve spent staring at that one view. ;))

    BTW, you’re not the only one having issues with his site. All I got was a black page with Alex Jaeger in the title bar. Obviously, they’re having some kind of issue (or it’s just you and me, who knows.)

    • 16 evil_genius_180
      June 4, 2009 at 8:40 am

      Eek, I just noticed a SNAFU. On the Steamrunner sketch, I meant nacelles on bottom and deflector on top, not nacelles on bottom and deflector on bottom (that would be too cluttered.) 😉

  12. 17 Scott D
    June 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

    The Akira’s wonderful, no doubt. But I’m just so intrigued by the other concepts. I’m guessing that the first and third ones were concepts for the Sabre? And the second, has the Bradbury-class feel to it. Too bad it didn’t make it in.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see those rejected concepts are starships someday.

  13. 18 Sojourner
    June 4, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Anyone else notice that most of these have the same “chin” profile for the underside?

  14. 19 Triton
    June 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for sharing John! 🙂 I have been wondering about some of these designs for years ever since the publication of “Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook–The Movies/”

  15. 20 Matt Wright
    June 4, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Good stuff, glad the Alex archive is open 🙂 First Contact is my favorite (as it is with most people) of the TNG movies.

    • 21 johneaves
      June 4, 2009 at 11:26 am

      wooo hooo!!! takes for ever to get all this stuff scanned, framed, numbered, the little title thing-y put on and posted,,,, thanks for being patient with the long process of getting things up!

  16. 22 George
    June 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    What happened to the Norway class?

  17. 25 Mark Delgado
    June 4, 2009 at 10:46 am


    Thanks so much for the concept art for the First Contact ships! I remember when the movie first came out…starship nuts like me were going wild with all the new ship designs. That’s kinda what’s going on right now with the new movie…there’s at least six new ship designs there too!

    Looking at these concepts, I can see how the initial designs evolved into the finished products of the Saber, Steamrunner and Akira classes. However, I do have a question: Why, with all the other cool designs like the Criterion, the Zandura, and the one you call “the little beauty,” did they choose the Norway? It was a very ugly, plain looking ship, and I don’t think it was even finished being rendered by the time it was used. Huh?

  18. June 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Some great concepts there, I love how you can see that concept 2 and 3 got merged togetehr to become the Steamrunner class we all know and love.

    I’m really really happy with what Alex did in First contact, he really gave starship architecture a breath of fresh air by breaking the traditional layout of Starfleet ships, I think alot of people, especially with fan deisgns, were getting scared of breaking the traditional saucer, hull, 2 nacelles layout.

    As for the Norway, I really curious about her. The model in the film was not finished, she had the Defiants texture on her underside, large renders of her also show that she wasn’t at the same standard as ships like the Akira. My bet would be the production schedule caught up with the special effects guys and they didn’t have time to clean up all teh models as they wanted.

    I’m assuming the Norway will be getting her own little spotlight, since shes such a mystery ship 😛

  19. June 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I love the look of the first ship in this series of images… it has a manta ray feel to it.

  20. 29 Richard Knapp
    June 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for posting these John – I’ve been curious for years about the Armada designs that didn’t make it on screen. Alex did some great work with these ship designs.

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of them tomorrow, hopefully along with some more your designs as well! 😉

  21. 30 Jonathan Burke
    June 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Awesome! 😀

  22. 31 James_M
    June 4, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    All I can say is THANK YOU John and Mr. Jeager. These are beyond great!

  23. June 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Well it’s safe to say I can die happy now. 😀 Hehe, it’s just amazing to see these lost designs and I can’t believe there’s even more coming tomorrow! Thanks John and Alex!

    p.s, I have the same issue with Alex’s site. Just a blank black page. No idea what the issue is.

  24. June 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Fantastic stuff. I own the sketchbook and I’m delighted to have something to add to it all these years later. Thank you!

    Akira is a knockout. Best Starship design since the original Enterprise.

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June 2009

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