Freedom Class Reconstruction

We know from the Star Trek Fact Files that the Freedom class is supposed to be a Galaxy-era ship design with only one warp nacelle. The USS Firebrand of the Freedom class is supposed to have appeared in the Wolf 359 debris field in TNG: "Best of Both Worlds II". In this article, we identify the model on screen and have a closer look at its design.

The Wolf 359 Research Project was initiated and is maintained by Mark Delgado, Balapoel, Bernd Schneider, Chris Spinnler, Timo Saloniemi, Masaki Taniko, The Red Admiral and Nick Angeloni.

 

References

The earliest known image of the Freedom-class model comes from the TNG season 3 DVD special features. This ship was already built with all the damage by Greg Jein.

 

Analysis

After the Freedom schematics had been shown as a single-nacelled vessel in the Star Trek Fact Files, Bernd identified the Freedom-class USS Firebrand as the ship in the upper left corner in the total view of the graveyard scene. The structure of the ship and the damage pattern are perfect matches. Note that the depicted screen cap is not from the American TV version where the nacelle isn't visible at all. On the DVD and on the remastered version on Blu-ray, the same scene is about half a second longer.

There is only one nacelle of the Galaxy type. The neck resembles the one of the Constitution class, but neither the photo nor the screen cap reveals any details. As the neck is rather thin, it is probably not taken from the Galaxy class.

Overall, the Fact Files depiction of this ship is fairly accurate. Even the superstructures on the custom-made saucer are correctly reproduced; they only seem a bit small relative to the saucer.

The Freedom saucer superstructure apparently consists of two decks, rendering the whole ship quite large (430m long), and the nacelle could be a full-sized Galaxy-class type in this case. The windows in the neck in the Fact Files image suggest a smaller size of the ship, though. On the other hand, we can't see any details on the neck in the screen cap, whereas the two decks on top of the saucer, probably bridge and shuttlebay, are quite clear. As Greg Jein obviously put a lot of work into the model, it is likely that on the actual model the windows and decks are in scale to the rest.

One detail we didn't spot back in the early 2000's is some sort of cannon pod on the ventral side of the saucer, instead of a sensor dome. The CGI made for the Eaglemoss Official Starships Collection includes this cannon. We can barely make it out on the only official photo of the ship too. But we already know this cannon. The same detail can be found on the ventral side for the Constellation-class filming miniature. So while Greg Jein was at it, he did not only create a cast of the neck but also of the cannon.

Based on what we know about the model, Bernd has slightly reworked the Fact Files side view, adding details such as most notable the cannon. Masaki has created an illustration of what has been used to build the Freedom (but still without the cannon). Greg Jein used one 2-foot Enterprise-D studio model warp nacelle and probably a dorsal neck from the 3-foot Stargazer studio model. The saucer and some small parts were custom-made.

 

Conclusion

We have identified the Freedom-class USS Firebrand in the Wolf 359 debris field. The depiction of the ship class in the Star Trek Fact Files is largely correct. We assume that the actual ship has a single nacelle of the same type and size as on the Galaxy class. This fits well with the deck height on the saucer superstructure, and it would render the ship about 430m long.

 

Credits

Thanks to Joshua Wright for some information and pics.

 


Freedom class model built by Stephen L.

 


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