Redresses of the Wadi Ship
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
The Wadi ship from the Gamma Quadrant made its first appearance in DS9: "Move Along Home". Since then it was shown a few more times until the fourth season of DS9, but in the role of ships of the Alpha Quadrant. This is a list in chronological order:
1. Wadi ship (DS9: "Move Along Home")
2. Bajoran ship (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")
3. Xepolite freighter (DS9: "The Maquis, Part II")
4. Bajoran ship (DS9: "Indiscretion")
5. Trill ship (DS9: "Rejoined")
6. Bajoran ship (DS9: "Crossfire")
Wadi ship The episode shows the model with a fair level of detail. It can be described as an overall rather flat design with a trapezoid main hull and a ring-shaped structure on its top. On either side of the main hull there are thick vertical fins attached to small horizontal wings. An angular section is protruding from the front of the main hull. The sloping aft end with the blue engines looks like carved out except for a solid bar in the center. The overall color of the vessel seems to be gray with an ochre hue. There are some sections in plain red, like the bow tip and one area on the starboard side of the main body (and probably the port side too).
If we compare these findings with the views of the ship as published in the Star Trek Fact Files, we will not only find the usual inaccuracies, but the reproduction is definitely wrong in some parts, as will become obvious later.
Xepolite freighter We may skip the Bajoran version from DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets" which was just stock footage and therefore looked exactly like the Wadi ship. But we ought to have a close look at the Xepolite freighter from DS9: "The Maquis, Part II". Here the model can be seen up close like nowhere else as it passes by the camera. If we compare this to the scene with the Wadi ship, we discover that many features of the two vessels don't match. Most obviously the ring on the dorsal side is much taller on the Xepolite freighter. Actually there are two staggered rings on this version, whereas there was just one on the Wadi ship. Moreover, in its previous appearance there is no box shape as the base of the ring(s) like one is clearly visible on the Xepolite freighter. The colors appear to be essentially the same, but it looks like the red area on the starboard main hull is missing on the Xepolite freighter.
The four colors and the letters A and B mentioned in the following paragraphs refer to the marked areas in the comparison image below.
The first question is whether the ship model was modified for its new appearance. We think it remained the same. Almost certainly the ship (to be precise, rather the film than the model itself) was just flipped upside down to act as the Xepolite vessel. There is further evidence because of the Wadi nose section where we can see a narrow and lighted part on top, while this part is on the bottom on the nose of the Xepolite freighter (red, lowermost part). Finally, the ring that we make out on the top of the Wadi vessel looks a lot like the one on the bottom of the latter version (green). Even the slightly different painting on the two versions could have actually remained the same if the ship was just flipped.
Wadi vs. Xepolite vs. schematic
(image by Jörg and Bernd)
Looking at the rear ends, a real difference between the two models may exist though. As already mentioned, the aft end of the Wadi ship (B) is about equally inclined and hollow, whereas we can make out engines that are affixed to the aft end on the Xepolite freighter (A). It may be objected that we are looking at the upper half in one case and on the lower one in the other, but if the distinct Xepolite engines had already been on the Wadi ship, why weren't they illuminated in "Move Along Home"?
Comparing the structures of the two ships to the Fact Files rendition, we quickly notice that the magazine actually shows us the Xepolite version with its tall rings (red) and their boxy base (blue) on top. The artist either based his drawing primarily on the much better visible Xepolite version assuming that the orientation was always the same, or he had access to photos of the model and just took it for granted that the taller ring structure was the top side, which appears like the logical choice. It seems like no good pictures were available though because aside from this mistake there are some significant inaccuracies in the drawing too. First of all the nose section (red) is much too rounded in the Fact Files. In reality it consists of a quite boxy upper half (going by the order on the Xepolite ship) whose forward end is sloping down with a distinct kink. The structure in the middle almost mirrors the one on top, only that it is wider and slightly tapered when we look at it from above. The lowermost piece of the bow is boxy again and recessed backward. It may be annotated that most of the nose piece of the Xepolite vessel is above the centerline (yellow) and thus anything but close to the ship's bottom.
The ventral side (as seen on the Xepolite freighter) is the second major inaccuracy of the Fact Files drawing. Actually the lower half of the miniature almost mirrors the upper half as the centerline (yellow) extracted from the bow shot of the Xepolite ship unmistakably reveals. The look at the Wadi ship, particularly at the aft end (B), confirms that the upper half of the Wadi ship can't be as flat as the Fact Files suggest. Overall, our reconstructed side views don't look as elegant as the ones from the Fact Files, but they reproduce the model's true look more precisely.
Bajoran/Trill ship All re-uses of the Wadi model as a Bajoran ship (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets", "Crossfire") or as a Trill ship (DS9: "Rejoined") are entirely stock footage of the Wadi ship from DS9: "Move Along Home". There is absolutely no difference to the Wadi version. It is remarkable that in all takes of the Wadi and Bajoran vessel the model looks very flat and we see almost nothing of its ventral side, although we know that this side (which is the dorsal side of the Xepolite version) has to be quite tall. But this must be a matter of the camera position. It is improbable that this side of the ship was ever flatter than the top of the Xepolite version.
Bajoran ship, stock footage
(screen capture by Jörg)
Trill ship, stock footage
(screen capture by Jörg)
Only in DS9: "Indiscretion" we can find a new shot of the vessel. We assume that there were never any changes to the visible top side (the bottom side of the Xepolite ship) either, because probably no one would have bothered to return it to its original configuration. It remains unknown, however, whether the Xepolite engines were removed for the Bajoran ship.
Bajoran ship, new shot
(screen capture by Jörg)
The hexagon The characteristic hexagon looks like it is the same part that can be found on top of the "hammerhead" vessel that first appeared as the Bajoran "Antares class" in TNG: "Ensign Ro". Even the two parallel raised strips on the hexagon are the same. On the hammerhead freighter the hexagon was made putting together the two forward fins of the ship. Perhaps a mold was created from the hexagon for use on the Wadi ship?
Hexagons on Wadi ship and on "hammerhead"
(image by Jörg and Bernd)
Studio model A clear picture of the Wadi ship (showing the top side of the Wadi/Bajoran version) in the catalogue of the "40 Years of Star Trek" auction at Christie's confirms that the bow really looks like reconstructed above (albeit not quite as angular). The new picture also reveals two different shades of gray on the ship's hull which were not discernible on screen.
Wadi ship miniature
(image taken from Christie's)
This table summarizes all the variants and appearances of the ship model:
|Ship type||Episode||Stock footage from||Configuration|
|DS9: "Move Along Home"||-||Original version, blue engines|
|DS9: "The Maquis, Part II"||-||Upside down, new red engines|
|DS9: "In the
Hands of the Prophets"
|DS9: "Move Along Home"||Original version, blue engines|
|DS9: "Rejoined"||DS9: "Move Along Home"||Original version, blue engines|
More about the Ship Model