Redresses of the Groumall
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
A new miniature was built for the freighter Groumall that Gul Dukat was in command of in DS9: "Return to Grace". The model was used four more times on DS9 and Voyager. These are the appearances in chronological order:
1. Cardassian freighter Groumall (DS9: "Return to Grace")
2. Cardassian freighter (DS9: "Rules of Engagement")
3. Freighter at Nekrit Station (VOY: "Fair Trade")
4. Cardassian freighter (DS9: "For the Uniform")
5. Klingon freighters (DS9: "Sons and Daughters")
In DS9: "Return to Grace", the Groumall is a Cardassian military freighter under the command of the now disgraced Gul Dukat. The ship with its partly horizontally and partly vertically arranged cargo containers and the characteristic forked bow is one of the few ships in Star Trek whose main body is taller than wide. The ship has four impulse exhausts at the aft end, whereas it is unknown where the warp drive is located. The two larger vertically arranged exhausts glow orange, the two smaller ones on port and starboard are yellow.
We can observe that the Groumall is about a third as long as the diameter of Deep Space 9, perhaps less, and at least twice as long as a Klingon Bird-of-Prey. This roughly complies with the supposed design size the freighter of 256m.
The very same model appears on one more occasion, in the convoy in DS9: "Rules of Engagement", here flanked by Cardassian freighters that I have listed as type 1 and type 2.
The model of the Groumall was used without recognizable modifications for the freighter with whose crew Wixiban made illegal deals near the Nekrit Station in VOY: "Fair Trade". Only the color is different, as the ship is now faint turquoise. This may be just a matter of lighting, but the later appearance of this color on a Cardassian ship leads us to the conclusion that the miniature was indeed repainted. Whoever decided to take the Cardassian model for an episode in the Delta Quadrant may have thought it would be a good idea to change at least the color. It is unknown whether the Cardassian emblem is still on the Delta Quadrant ship. Most likely there was no emblem because after repainting it may have seemed unlikely that it could serve as a Cardassian vessel again.
Cardassian freighter variant
The Cardassian freighter returns in DS9: "For the Uniform", where a ship of this type is attacked by the Maquis. It seems odd that the ship is not ochre but faint green this time. The explanation is simple, as the model may still have this color from the previously produced Voyager episode "Fair Trade". The Cardassian emblem is again or still where it should be. The colors of the impulse engines are switched compared to the first appearance of the Cardassian freighter. The main engines are now yellow, and the auxiliary exhausts are orange.
If we don't focus our attention on the color, we can pretend that this ship and the Groumall are not two different ship types. Clearly they were intended to be the same by the VFX people.
The one and only time the model was structurally changed was for the freighters in the Klingon convoy in DS9: "Sons and Daughters". These ships were obviously not meant to be of the same type as the Cardassian military freighter, although their purpose is the same. Nacelles were affixed to the wings near the aft end, and the gap in the fork was covered with an additional front piece. It also looks like some details were added to the gaps between the cargo containers on the port and the starboard side. The Cardassian emblem was removed (obviously). No recognizable Klingon emblem was added, but it would be nice if it were so.
The two large impulse engines glow red/orange and the small ones yellow, much like on the original Cardassian freighter Groumall.
The screen evidence from "Sons and Daughters" shows us that the Klingon freighter has to be substantially larger than its Cardassian counterpart. We can make out that the vessel is at least four times as the escorting Birds-of-Prey.
The model in its current state was part of the Christie's "40 Years of Star Trek" auction in 2006.
The table shows all versions of the miniature at a glance:
|DS9: "Return to Grace"
DS9: "Rules of Engagement"
|VOY: "Fair Trade"||Greenish||Unknown||-|
|DS9: "For the Uniform"||Greenish||Cardassian||-|
|DS9: "Sons and Daughters"||Green||Klingon||"Fork" at the bow filled, nacelles added, detail changes|
Finally a tip: Open each of the four clickable side views in a new browser tab or window and enjoy!