...let’s talk about the NX-01.
|Posted: 10 October 2019 at 9:24pm | IP Logged | 12
I’m not much of a fan of ENTERPRISE. In this very forum, I described my experience of watching the entire series with a critical eye. Yes, I found things to like, but it was largely in exercise in wasted opportunities, frustration, and annoyance. SO MUCH could have been done with a proper TOS prequel—sort of THE RIGHT STUFF crossed with STAR TREK—, as well with established lore like the Romulan War and how Earth got its act together to help form the Federation.
Instead, we got a prequel which skewed more toward the warmed-over-TNG end of the spectrum (a style which VOYAGER had already cornered the market on). My very first gripe with the show, before it had even aired, was the idiotic reveal (clearly driven by marketing needs rather than storytelling) of an Enterprise which predated Kirk’s, and which Did a Ton of Ridiculously Important Stuff Before Kirk And Picard Did.
I most definitely prefer the Daedalus class design and its spherical primary hull as a logical precursor to Kirk’s Enterprise. Because it WAS a precursor! Matt Jefferies’ early design works very well in that regard. However, due again to branding and marketing needs, the bigwigs insisted on both a saucer-shaped hull AND that the Akira class design (created for FIRST CONTACT) serve as a basis.
Years ago, I disliked the NX-01 design for looking too much like a TNG-era ship, rather than a TOS precursor. I’d like to take that opinion back...somewhat. Over the past few years, I’ve come to appreciate the design on its own terms. I’ve listed to and read numerous interviews with designer Doug Drexler (who’s a fun and awesome guy, by all accounts), and have learned to appreciate the amount of thought that he put into the ship. He tried to steer it as much as he could in the proper direction, and the design includes numerous Easter Eggs from both the TOS and TMP Enterprise so as to foreshadow where the technology would go.
...which leads us to the NX refit. After ENTERPRISE was cancelled, Drexler dreamed up a conjectural refit of the design, which incorporated a secondary hull to serve as an additional power plant for the engines. This design is unique in that it was so embraced by the fanbase that it ended up being incorporated into numerous officially-licensed products, such as the SHIPS OF THE LINE calendars and the Eaglemoss starship miniatures.
...and Round 2’s NX-01 1/1000 scale model kit.
I’ve grown quite fond of the refit design, and bought one of those model kits when it was released in 2013. After a few false starts, I gave up on it, then recently bought another two kits to start fresh. I just finished the first model. That being said, I can’t allow myself to get too fond of the design, because, at the end of the day, it looks like a stockier, clunkier, reverse-engineered Enterprise more than it does a design which would eventually evolve into the classic look. But, as it’s own thing, it’s pretty nifty.
I don’t particularly like ENTERPRISE, nor would I wish to consider it canonical (...but I would take it any day of the week and twice on Sunday over the Bad Reboot Hell which STAR TREK has become fatally trapped in for the past decade.), but I really have come to dig the NX and NX refit designs. I can now somewhat plausibly accept them as alternate universe precursors to Matt Jefferies’ iconic Constitution class design.
So, I decided to build two. One essentially in the onscreen NX-01 style, but with the refit’s secondary hull and alternate (Columbia NX-02) style deflector dish on the front of the saucer, which is also included in the kit. The second model will be built in a style much closer to TOS, with a proper TOS color scheme (no metallics, weathering, etc.) and “Cage”-ish detailing (antennas on the nacelle domes, markings).
I’m very pleased with how this first model turned out. As a new and different type of project, it was refreshing. I may not particularly like ENTERPRISE, but this was a lot of fun to build. In my head-canon backstory, this is a Romulan War-era ship: S.S. (...not yet a “United” ship) Delaware, named for the first state to ratify the Constitution (a subtle joke, since the NX was backdated from Matt Jefferies’ Constitution class design). And the registry number (NCC-018) was chosen with a slant toward the sequential numbers of the ships in ENTERPRISE (all two of them), rather than Matt Jefferies’ system (which had Kirk’s ship as the 01st build of the fleet’s 17th major design). And, of course, “NCC” instead of “NX” because the design had well been proven by that point, and was no longer experimental.
It’s been a long road, gettin’ from there to here...six years, to be exact!
Edited by Greg Kirkman on 10 October 2019 at 9:31pm