Analysis of the Qualor II Surplus Depot
In TNG: "Unification", the Enterprise visits the surplus depot at Qualor II where several wrecks and decommissioned ships are being stored. The surplus depot was created using modified Wolf 359 stock footage from TNG: "Best of Both Worlds" (BoBW), combined with some new shots. Many of the ships to be spotted here are already known from the Wolf 359 graveyard and some other are quite familiar and easily recognizable. The rest has long been a mystery until recently better screen caps became available (thanks to The Red Admiral). Here is a concise analysis of the Qualor II scenes.
The following screen caps are shown in chronological order.
1. The first take shows how the Enterprise arrives at the scrapyard. It is unchanged stock footage, identical to this screen cap from BoBW. Hence, we see the USS Princeton (#1) and USS Buran (#2) once again at Qualor II.
2. The second shot is still essentially the same as on this image from BoBW. The USS Buran is still visible as #2. There are several dissimilarities, however. Most obviously the planet Qualor II has been inserted into the scene. The Nebula-class Melbourne (#2a in the upper left quarter) is not burning here. There are a number of additional objects. Ships #3, #4, #5, #7 and #7a are new. While #5 is quite clearly a Klingon K't'inga (we can only guess that Starfleet captured this ship long ago or that the Klingons don't mind such an old ship being stored there), #3 and #4 are yet unseen or unidentified Federation ships. #4 may be easily identified as the shorter of the two prototypes that Ralph McQuarrie devised for "Planet of the Titans" (which was abandoned in favor of the series Star Trek Phase II) in 1977. #3 has remained a mystery for some time, but now we are sure that it is the four-nacelled Excelsior prototype I of 1982. In the center of the image we can make out #7, the space station model that will later appear as the particle fountain in TNG: "The Quality of Life". Finally, there is object #7a which we can identify as another space station which was apparently built as a study model for the spacedock in "Star Trek III".
3. The third image shows a closer view of some objects in the surplus depot. #7 is the said particle fountain, now very clearly recognizable. Curiously, this totally unremarkable appearance of the model is before the particle fountain will be prominently featured in TNG: "The Quality of Life" in season 6. Also, the lower pod of the station is still missing here. There used to be a painting of a space station of a similar structure in Captain Picard's quarters aboard the Enterprise-D. The miniature that later became the particle fountain, not yet serving a specific purpose, may have been inspired by this painting. #6 is a yet unknown starship saucer. It has been suggested that it could belong to the second Excelsior prototype, but whilst certain details look similar, the saucer here appears to be overall too thick and its dorsal surface too steep. It is possible that the quite chunky saucer is a yet unknown prototype designed by McQuarrie and built for "Planet of the Titans". He intended the separated saucer to have a landing gear, and made according sketches. But as mentioned, no model based on these sketches is known so far. #8 requires a close look, and it becomes clear when it is turned upside down. It is the ubiquitous Antares-class freighter as it appeared in TNG: "The Final Mission" (similar to the original configuration as Batris in TNG: "Heart of Glory"). There is also a Miranda as #11 and another one as #12 in the lower right corner of the image.
4. In the fourth take, when the Enterprise is just about to shut down power, #11 and #12 are the two Mirandas again. The upside-down Antares reappears just above Miranda #11. While the perspective may be deceptive, it does not seem that these ships could be the same as in the second take #2, although they are probably intended to be. Especially the two Mirandas seem to be much closer to the Antares in the third take. The fourth screen cap reveals a new ship, #10. This is obviously a four-engined vessel, with an engineering hull underneath the nacelles. Thus we are probably dealing with the second four-nacelled Excelsior prototype and therefore not the same ship as #3 in the second take.
When the Enterprise has deactivated its systems we can see yet another vessel, #9, on the left edge of the screen (inset). Interestingly, this is the bow of the Xhosa which is identical to the ventral side of the Batris bow. Since the Xhosa model does not yet exist, it seems like this part of the Batris was ripped off the miniature and filmed separately to add more diversity to the ship wrecks. Maybe the Art Department decided that this version of the Batris looked good enough to become a distinct ship on Deep Space Nine.
5. When the Enterprise, still in the parking position, fires at the smuggler ship in the fifth take, we can see three more starships. #13, the one on the left, could be the Excelsior, but more likely it is an Excelsior prototype, as we may assume that all three of them were present for either BoBW or "Unification" or both. #15 in the middle is definitely the Talarian warship as it appeared in TNG: "Suddenly Human". Actually, there were two Talarian ship types in that episode, a training vessel with horizontal and vertical wings and a warship with diagonal wings. The model as seen at Qualor II originates from the latter but has no wings; it is gray instead of brown. If it is of Talarian origin, Starfleet may have captured and stripped this vessel. #14, the one on the right, is the automated defense drone of which three were launched in the Mars perimeter defense line against the Borg cube in BoBW. The model, without any visible modifications, will later appear as Soliton Wave Rider in TNG: "New Ground". It is composed of the hull of a Soviet Typhoon-class submarine, with two Los Angeles-class submarines as nacelles.
6. The sixth take shows exactly the same ships as the previous one, although the relative positions and orientations seem to be quite different here. #13, better visible than on the previous screen cap, is unmistakably the flat Excelsior prototype. #14 is the Mars drone or (later) Soliton Wave Rider again. We can see the Talarian warship #15 with its characteristic tapered shape up close, although its orientation was left-right reversed relative to the previous take. A thorough inspection of this ship ends in a surprise, as it looks like a modification of a vessel from a different sci-fi universe. The tapered part of the Talarian vessel seems to be nothing but a modified Imperial Star Destroyer.
More about the Topic
Wolf 359 - Overview - the list of ship names, a collection of screen caps and the status of identification
Redresses of the Batris - modifications for Ornarans, sublight freighter, Norkova
Redresses of the Talarian Warship - modifications for Qualor II, Lysians, Frunalians, Drayans
A big thank you goes to The Red Admiral who made the screen shots and provided a lot of input for this page. Thanks also to the other members of our Wolf 359 Research Project, in particular Timo Saloniemi, and to Dávid Metlesits for an idea about the unknown ship #6.