art of the romulan warbird valdore, (day one)

Man, has it been busy at work…so much so, the blog has suffered.  Thanks for hanging in there through the quick throw in posts and the no posts at all.

As promised, here is day one of the Valdore concepts from Star trek “Nemesis” 2002.  Both Dave Negron Jr. and I were working on the same thing from different locations, and here are a little of both of our takes on this new vessel.  David came up with a very aggressive T tailed design that incorporated some of the lines from Andy Probert’s TNG Warbird.  He compacted the design, and I really liked the interpretation he came up with.  For the sketches I was working on, I ran to Andy’s ship for an architectural  lineage to use as the cornerstone for the renderings.  A single page of 3 or 4 ideas went over to the art meeting, and Herman Z came back with a circle around the bottom left drawing and said that they wanted to see more done with this one.  A rough sketch was next with some awful panel work, and then a 3rd sketch came out resembling a bird like panel breakdown.

From years of stories about Romulan and Klingon architecture in ships and the cross over of what race did what, I had to come up with an understory to use as a basis of how the designs would relate to both alien races.  In “Star trek III” I heard the warbird and the aliens were to be Romulans, due to budget they kept the ship but turned it into a Klingon vessel because Paramount had a surplus of Klingon costumes to use instead of putting up the cash for new outfits and make-up. Thus the Klingons were piloting a Bird of Prey!  So from there I started my idea that the Klingons stole or bought the warbird or it’s technology and made it their own…this would keep the overall look connected to the Romulans, from there the Romulan Warbird Valdore could easily fit into the design realm of what was seen before, only heavily modified.

Being that both the Remans and Romulans were related and in close proximity to one another, the Scimitar would also be able to share similarities in design.  I spent a lot of time trying to concoct a viable story and lineage to carry what was getting approved to fit in the understory as best as possible.  So with that all said and done, here are the drawings for Day One of the Mighty Valdore.


Dave Negron's first pass

Dave Negron's first pass

Dave's gnarly underbelly view

Dave's gnarly underbelly view

some quick scales and schematics

some quick scales and schematics


and from the other side of the lot came this page

and from the other side of the lot came this page

the shape was there but the paneling wasn't

the shape was there but the paneling wasn't


this one got the star and happy face from the producers and next will come plans schematics and cg models from DD

this one got the star and happy face from the producers and next will come plans schematics and cg models from DD

42 Responses to “art of the romulan warbird valdore, (day one)”

  1. 1 the bluesman
    August 12, 2009 at 10:48 am


    as I’ve told Mr Drexler…work first, blog later. We all appreciate you showing us your this wonderful creative stuff, but don’t apologize for getting busy at work. It is better than not being busy.

  2. 4 Sastrei
    August 12, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Schematics for Valdore, you will be my hero. Was a class name ever decided (D’deridex for Andy Proberts Warbird), or is it just a “Valdore-type” ship for now?

  3. August 12, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Awesome! I’ve been really looking forward to seeing more of the Valdore – my favourite Romulan design (with due respect to Andy Probert’s D’Deridex!). 🙂 Really looking forward to the rest of the posts.

    Thanks for posting these, and like The Bluesman says, we appreciate whatever you post, whenever it comes – no need to apologise.

    • 6 johneaves
      August 12, 2009 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Mark! and I really think you’ll be happy when the Digital model shot’s come up!! The DD guys really did some awesome work!

  4. 7 Pacal
    August 12, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Great to finally see the behind the scenes of this awesome ship! … I’ve seen licensed/official Trek cards from Decipher refer to this ship as the Norexan class. Was that ever discussed in the design/workup phase?

  5. 9 Lee
    August 12, 2009 at 11:41 am

    So at which point was it decided that the circular wing concept (of the D’deridex) would be consigned to history? Not that I minded, I was never a fan.

    • 10 Mike
      August 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm

      I have allways assumed that the D’Deridex’s design was like that so a smaller Destroyer-class or Frigate-class ship could attack while taking advantage of the D’Deridex’s cloaking device.

    • 11 huth
      August 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm

      Well, you see echoes of it in the double-bar thing in the neck here…

  6. August 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Fantastic, I’ve always liked this ship. I’m really looking forward to seeing the schematics. I’ll admit I really miss the Star Trek:Encyclopedia, it was great when the revised editions came out with the new ships and thier top and side views. It’d be great if they made one more edition with all the Stuff from Enterprise as well as the most recent films. Maybe even get Mike and Denise Okuda to do a new chronology 😀 (Bit of a random babble there, but really miss seeing the more offical graphics coming out rather than fan made ones!)

    • August 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

      It may have been a random babble, but I fully agree. With all the neat stuff being blogged by the likes of Messrs Eaves and Drexler, it’s clear there’s a wealth of info, and a huge interest for a new encyclopedia/chronology.

    • 15 Paul of NC
      August 12, 2009 at 7:55 pm

      I agree…even a digital version would be cool. It could have 360 views of the ships (like the U.S.S. Kelvin on the Intel website), clips from the shows and movies, and interviews with the designers/artists…

      • 16 BorgMan
        August 13, 2009 at 5:16 am

        I’d buy a new encyclopedia without hesitation, a paper version even more so than a digital. My eyes get sore from staring to long at a screen. I wouldn’t mind if it came with a free-for-one-year subscription, though, which would give you access to all kinds of goodies.

        Great work on the Valdore, by the way. I’m glad The Gent’s choose the sleeker option as I’m not really a fan of the bulky warbird. The triple “visors” are a nice touch, though 🙂

  7. August 12, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Always interesting to see the beginnings and progressions of design work.

    Thanks for posting all this great work.

  8. August 12, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Ooh, I like concept #2! The finished product looked very cool, but #2 has a rather elegant look to it, while still having a menacing feel to it.

  9. 22 Syd Hughes
    August 12, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    (drool!) Unless I’m crazy, there’s a lot of TMP BoP in that final Valdore sketch, but it’s also a logical and obvious followup ot the D’Deridex. So cool! The third one has a real Star-Wars-prequel feel to me, too. I’m glad to say the producers made the right choice!

    How’s the Valdore compare to the D’Deridex in your mind? Larger/smaller?

    Man, you make some pretty ships!

    • 23 JNG
      August 12, 2009 at 3:39 pm

      The movie’s scale sheet shows the Valdore at 1,980 feet, so while it’s huge (bigger than a Nebula-class starship, and around twice the size of the Enterprise-E), it is utterly dwarfed by the D’deridex-class warbird (which, at its design length of 4,440 feet, is somewhere around six times bigger).

      • 24 Syd Hughes
        August 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm

        Awesome — thank you!

      • 25 Boris
        August 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

        Could you tell me your source for that Warbird figure? Andrew Probert told me over email that it was intended to be 4400 feet long, so I’m curious if you found an independent source with a more precise number.

      • 26 JNG
        August 13, 2009 at 4:26 am

        Boris, I wrote Andy myself for confirmation on the 4400-foot length for that warbird and his reply was “4,440 feet, to be exact”

        1353.33 meters…it’s a behemoth :O

      • 27 Boris
        August 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

        Nice job! The Encyclopedia references “The Neutral Zone” when it says that the ship is almost twice the length of the Galaxy class, but it’s probably a myth or a deleted line from the script – I watched the episode with this in mind, but I didn’t notice any size reference.

  10. 28 FSL
    August 12, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    A great lineage down from the D’Deridex. A beautiful ship. And it did get to do some heavy fighting in the movie. Very nice!

    Was there ever any attempt to make the Scimitar look like a bigger brother to the Valdor?

  11. 29 evil_genius_180
    August 12, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this series. I love that ship. Dave Negron’s design sketches are certainly cool but yours really say “Bird of Prey” to me. I like how, even in your early sketches, you stretched out the wings and neck to give the ship that classic feel. I’m looking forward to the schematics and CGI ship images. 🙂

  12. 30 huth
    August 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    For some reason, the finished Valdore looks like it might predate the D’Deridex-the Excelsior or B-17 to the D’Deridex’s Galaxy or B-52…

  13. 31 Scott D
    August 12, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    John, out of all the alien ships in Star Trek. My all time favorite is definitely the Valdore. She is a beauty!

  14. 32 Matt Boardman
    August 12, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Woo! That’s an awesome ship right there! It really has a menacing, stalking attitude about it. I like the way Dave’s design looks from the bottom, but something about that T tail throws it off a bit for me.

    I never knew that the Romulans were supposed to be in ST:III instead of the Klingons!

  15. August 12, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    John, you could make a great book out of your work here that I’d gladly buy. It’s so interesting to read how you tried to tie in the designs of the Romulan/Klingon Bird of Prey from Star Trek III all the way into the design for Star Trek X. You make me like the Valdore even more than before!

  16. 34 DeanneM
    August 13, 2009 at 12:35 am

    evil_genius, I totally agree about the stretched look being reminiscent of the classic ship design. This final version in just right, IMHO!

    BTW, the pics are now clickable for larger versions….

  17. 35 Freak
    August 13, 2009 at 2:55 am

    This really is a beauty. Look forward to seeing more.

    On the BOP from ST:III, I always heard that it was created form an Alliance with the Romulans. but at some point between then and when the Ent-C was lunched the alliance fell apart, which is part of reason of the hatred between both races.

    But Since ENT, we seen the Klingons with older versions of the BOP, so I guess. the Roumlans got the desgin of them.

    Still, your backstroy sound like it was cool, just need to swicth the races over. 🙂

  18. August 13, 2009 at 4:46 am

    I agree with everyone that something like a new encyclopedia, maybe even a ship encyclopedia, would have a market.

    Regarding the Valdore, I have to say I like the chunkier version by Dave Negron better although I can understand the decision to hark back to the Romulan/Klingon lineage.

  19. 37 Praetor
    August 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I like to think of the Valdore as the Romulans’ answer to the Sovereign and other “lean mean” ships, where the D’Deridexs are the gigantic do-everythings.

    I really liked Mr. Negron’s concept but I see too much of the “Athena” from “Starship Troopers” when I look at it. I prefer John’s version, but I prefer the version with the upswept wings. I think it more nicely echoes the classic BoP. 😀

  20. 38 Matt Wright
    August 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Is it just me or does Dave’s first pass have a bit of a Flash Gordon rocket ship thing going in with the front?

  21. 39 CarlG
    August 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I really like the Dave Negron version of the Warbird (especially that killer underbelly view!), but for some reason, I just don’t buy it as a huge starship; it looks like it ought to be a shuttlecraft or something. Yours just looks more massive.

    Thanks for this — Romulan ships were always my favourites! 😀

    Can’t wait to see your stuff in the “art of Trek” book.

  22. 40 Hayes du Plantis IV
    December 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I must say John, you’ve had the most enviable profession from my viewpoint. I’m like A.D.D. with a pen. I’m always doodling a new spaceship or drawing shapes and textures. To have your work come to life on the big screen must have been phenomenally rewarding. I could only dream of such a thing! I love the Valdore. I’ve always loved Romulan designs. You definitely created a unique look while still following the Romulan Trend. Thanks for all your hard work to make the show such a treat!

  23. 41 Adrian
    December 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Was there ever an official name for the Valdore’s ship class? (Or was that the official ship class name?)

    • 42 johneaves
      December 8, 2010 at 11:35 pm

      as far as I know it had no other class name so Valdore class would probably do you well!!! I’ll call Mike Okuda tomorrow and ask the only man that would know!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

August 2009

%d bloggers like this: