Star Trek is a special franchise with a special design scheme. It’s Saucer/nacelle “variation on a theme” is a cost effective approach to varying class types and building upon a proven design. It’s crazy to try and enumerate all of the Starships in the show, but plenty try to do so with a number of well put together websites highlighting any ship they can find and include. Usually these are broken into a few categories such as Federation ships, Klingon ships, Romulan ships, other alien ships, civilian ships, etc, and most of these ships have ample screen time to cement their place in Trek lore, but there are other ships that are absolutely canon that are almost never seen and are quite mysterious. There are a number of these one-off, kit-bash or CGI ships scattered in many of the series that you definitely may not have laid eyes upon in all their undestroyed glory, but they are there. So let us take a look at some of the starships you may or may not have known were in the show and are considered canon.
Let us start out with one from the Original Series, the Antares class or sometimes known as Sherman class. This class of ship first pops up in the Animated Series episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” as an automated grain transport. It never truly appeared in any live action show and it is certainly a point of high contention, especially with Gene Roddenberry’s request that the Animated Series be removed from canon in 1988. Be that as it may, the Antares ship would enter the Star Trek “Halls of Canon,” as I like to call it, when the Original Series was digitally remastered in 2006-2008. In the original airing of the episode “Charlie X,” the Antares was never seen.
The remastered version of the episode aired on July 14th, 2007, and finally featured the Antares as a CGI ship for the first time. The design was handled by Michael Okuda who used the Animated Series design of the automated grain transport as the bulk of the ship with the addition of a front module for the crew. The U.S.S. Antares was given a registry of NCC-501, while another Antares class can be seen above Starbase 11 in the TOS episode “Court-Martial,” this one being the U.S.S Yorkshire NCC-330.
2.Harry Mudd’s Class J Ship
Due to not so great production values in the TOS episode “Mudd’s Women,” you can just barely make out that this is a ship at all. In the remastered version, it is completely redesigned and made a bit more visible. It is a two nacelle design with a main engineering hull. This class of ship can also be seen in the TOS episode “Way to Eden” as the remastered version of the Aurora.
The Gorn ship is another ship never seen in the original versions of the TOS series. Like the Antares above, it was added into the remastered version. This ship was not designed by Michael Okuda, but Niel Wray, Visual Effects Supervisor of the remastering. The Gorn Ship is as fast if not faster than Constitution class starships and an equal fight concerning fiepower.
This class was created by Franz Joseph and first posited in his 1975 publication Star Trek Starfleet Technical Manual. Although the book is considered non-canonical, portions of the book were sourced for several Star Trek Movies and The Next Generation episode “Datalore.” The Saladin/Hermes classes depicted in the manual were used first in The Wrath of Khan and then again in The Search for Spock. The classes entered canon status on revolving bridge displays in both movies, extremely hard to see unless one is looking very closely at the displays in the background, and certainly easier to see in HD versions of the movies.
To the naked eye, the classes are almost exactly similar. The only notable difference when one looks closer is the armament of the
classes; while the Hermes class is a scout and only possessed one phaser bank of two phasers, the Saladin was classified as a destroyer and housed three phasers banks and two photon torpedo launchers. It is interesting to note that Gene Rodenberry’s official design rules for the starships of Star Trek denoted that Starfleet vessels were required to have nacelles be in pairs, meaning no odd number of nacelles.
The Curry class starship is a bit of a Frankenstein. The studio model was a kitbash of an Excelsior kit, comprising the saucer section and engineering hull, and the warp nacelles of a Reliant kit detailed with Runabout decals. The Curry class ship was only used once for the Deep Space Nine episode “A Time to Stand.” The Curry class is sometimes referred to as the “Shelley” class, a name taken from Mary Shelley for the ship’s Frankenstein mish-mash of parts.
The Soyuz class, at first glance, looks like a Miranda variant, but upon closer inspection, it is more of an update or refit. The biggest difference is the extended body astern, to which extra and more advanced scientific sensor pods were installed. The Soyuz class came about when the TNG script for “Cause and Effect” called for an older class starship. Originally intended to be a completely new design, then suggested to be a TOS version of a Constitution class, budget tightness squashed these ideas, hence the redress of the Miranda. The finished product was constructed by Michael Okuda and Greg Jein from the Wrath of Khan Reliant model. The Soyuz class ship was only used for this one episode.
A little known fact is that the Vulcans and Terran shipbuilders would sometimes jointly design ships for Starfleet, of which a prominent example can be seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in the long range shuttle Surak, which transported Spock to the Enterprise. Another design, which I almost missed myself, was the Apollo class. The Apollo class was seen in one episode of The Next Generation, “Unification II,” and two episodes of Deep Space Nine, “Captive Pursuits” and “For the Cause.” It featured a very non-Starfleet design and look, with the main elongated body circled by a wraparound
housing the warp nacelles. Apollo class ships were typically used for deep space exploration but were also utilized as freighters and transports by both Vulcans and Maquis. At least one Apollo class starship, the U.S.S. Gage, was destroyed at the battle of Wolf 359.
The Sydney class was a personnel transport used mainly throughout the 23rd century. It
had moderate defensive capabilities of two type VII phaser banks and standard deflector shields. Its canonicity is probably not in question, of course, but still a worthy mention due to its only two appearances; the TNG episode “Relics” and the DS9 episode “Chrysalis”. The model itself is simply a redress of the orbital shuttle seen in The Undiscovered Country, with Constitution class refit nacelles and bridge module being added.
Here is another wacky kitbash ship. It was created from Voyager and Maquis raider model kits although the size relationship between the two vessels is disproportionate when looking at the ships next to each other on their own. The Yeager was the most frequently seen of the various DS9 kitbashes, appearing in at least 24 episodes. The ship showing in the picture above, the U.S.S. Yeager, was part of the defense brigade which constantly protected Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War.
10.McQuarrie Enterprise or B-24-CLN
The B-24-CLN was a ship designed by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie and Ken Adam for the ill-fated Star Trek: Planet of the Titans movie, which never saw the light of day. The ship was to be a new iteration of the U.S.S. Enterprise for the movie, although a variant of this ship can be seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in a spacedock scene. The concept model was reported to be used in the graveyard of Wolf 359 but no photographic evidence has ever been provided. The ship would eventually be seen in the TNG episode “Unification I”, as a decommissioned derelict assigned to the Surplus Depot Z15 orbiting the planet Qualor II.
11.Excelsior Study Models (3 versions)
For Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, ILM visual artists Nilo Rodis-Jamero and David Carson produced several designs for a new class of starship, the Excelsior class. These renderings were then given to model makers Steve Gawley and Bill George to be made into study models which were then brought before producer Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy, the director of Star Trek III. Of these models, four would eventually make it on screen: the chosen Excelsior final as depicted in Star Trek III, a sleek four-nacelled model, a two-nacelle version dubbed U.S.S. Alka-Selsior, and another four-nacelle model with pivoting nacelles like the intrepid classes variable geometric nacelle pylons. The latter three models can be seen in the Surplus Depot Z15 in the episode “Unification” of TNG. The reason I include them in this 359 section is because Michael Okuda confirmed their use in “The Best of Both Worlds” graveyard scenes although none of those scenes made it into the finished version of the episode.
The Battle of Wolf 359
The Battle of Wolf 359 is a special case when discussing canon ships as at least ten ships were known to have been specially created as defeated starships at the hands of the Borg in the 2 part TNG episode “The Best of Both Worlds.” None of these starships would ever be seen in another episode, and all would never be seen in their pristine undamaged form, except the Cheyenne from a very distant point.
The Challenger class was a two-nacelled Galaxy family type of starship. The nacelles were positioned on the top and bottom of the engineering hull. The ship seen in “The Best of Both Worlds” was known as the U.S.S. Buran and the only Challenger class to be seen on screen, albeit as a destroyed husk of a ship. There are at least two other Challenger class ships known to have existed, but both, The U.S.S. Armstrong and the U.S.S. Kearsarge, were only name dropped during other episodes.
The Cheyenne class was another wreck observed in the Wolf 359 graveyard. This was another four-nacelled ship, akin to the Constellation class and Prometheus to come. The saucer was of an Enterprise–D model while the nacelles were made of highlighter markers. The Cheyenne class ship depicted in the graveyard, The U.S.S. Ahwahnee, was the only model not to be destroyed or maimed.
15.New Orleans Class
The New Orleans class was another of the Galaxy family ships created specifically for the Wolf 359 graveyard. This class is very similar to Galaxy class starships as it is derived from a Ertl Enterprise-D model kit, with the addition of three marker pens for either smaller nacelles or sensor pods with two on the top and one on the bottom. It possessed a larger bridge and windows in order to make it seem like a smaller ship than the Galaxy class. The class name was never given on screen but the name of the ship destroyed at Wolf 359 was, as the U.S.S. Kyushu NCC-65491.
16.Proto-Nebula USS Melbourne
The Nebula class starship is special for the fact that like the Miranda, it is customizable and has a sizable amount of variants. One of these variants (and actually the first Nebula to be seen on screen) was the U.S.S. Melbourne NCC-62043, a predecessor to the classic version of the Nebula class in “The Best of Both Worlds.” The version in this episode is considered a Proto-Nebula class, with two smaller nacelles above and behind the saucer section and the two larger nacelles underneath. This early Nebula class has actually two versions where one has the top smaller nacelles set farther back at the aft end of the engineering hull (BoBW) and the other has the smaller nacelles situated right behind the saucer section (which can be seen as a model in the TNG episode “Future Imperfect” and is probably not an actual ship since the episode is a Romulan simulation).
The model of the Melbourne used for the Battle of Wolf 359 was created from two different size Enterprise-D kits, a 1/2500 kit for the two smaller nacelles and a 1/1400 kit for everything else. The name Melbourne is a contentious fact, as well. These first study models of the Proto-Nebula class were built by Ed Miarecki and both were given the registry of U.S.S. Melbourne NCC-62043. These models were used and destroyed by Michael Okuda in “The Best of Both Worlds” and is the ship mentioned in the episode that Riker turned down for captaincy. Unfortunately, you can’t see
the registry in the episode for the Proto-Nebula Melbourne, so for whatever reason, the production crew for the DS9 episode “Emissary,” in which the Proto-Nebula Melbourne would reappear destroyed, gave an Excelsior class ship the exact same name and registry U.S.S. Melbourne NCC-62043. This can be plainly seen in “Emissary” but would only be found to be the registry of the Proto-Nebula Melbourne years later when pictures of the models would be provided. It makes sense that the Proto-Nebula Melbourne is the actual Melbourne, given the high 5 digit registry, while Excelsior class registries usually fall in the 2000s. Whatever the case, it was quite a wise decision, unbeknownst, for Riker not to take up that command.
The Springfield class is another kitbash done by Ed Miarecki for the graveyard of Wolf 359. The U.S.S. Chekov NCC-57302 was built from two different Ertl Enterprise-D kits, a 1/1400 kit for the bridge and a 1/2500 kit for the saucer and pylons. The nacelles were built from the same highlighter markers as the Cheyenne class while the upper pod and lower engineering hull are possibly custom built or scavenged
from other model kits. The name on the model and in the script for the episode was given as the Chekov, but at some point after filming deemed silly so the name was changed to the Tolstoy in postproduction.
The Niagara class is one of the few starship classes that break Gene Roddenberry’s nacelle rule of being an even number or pairs. This three-nacelle ship shares design aspects of both the Galaxy class and Ambassador class starships. Unlike most of the other ships made for the graveyard scene in “The Best of Both Worlds,” the Niagara was not a kitbash from commercially available model kits but was a scratch built model built by Greg Jein. The Nacelles are from the Galaxy variety, the body of the Ambassador class and the saucer is custom made for the build and would only be used for this class and the Freedom class. The ship depicted in “The Best of Both Worlds” was the U.S.S. Princeton NCC-59804.
The Freedom class, U.S.S. Firebrand NCC-68723, was another Gregory Jein kitbash akin to the Niagara class. The model had the same Saucer section and same nacelle design as the Niagara kitbashed model with the exception of the neck which was from the Constellation studio model. The Freedom class was another ship which broke the Roddenberry rule of nacelles being in pairs. Its only appearance, as with most of the Wolf 359 starships, was “The Best of Both Worlds.”
Star Trek Encyclopedia-Pocket Books-1994