Redresses of the Romulan Scout

by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

A ship miniature designed by Rick Sternbach made its first appearance as the Romulan scout in TNG: "The Defector". It was then seen, slightly modified, as the stricken Romulan science ship in TNG: "The Next Phase" and, a few years later, as the Nasari ship in VOY: "Favorite Son". The configuration and/or orientation and/or color is different each time. Finally, more than 25 years later, a CG model of the science ship variant can be seen in DIS: "Red Directive".

1. Romulan scout (TNG: "The Defector")

2. Romulan science ship (TNG: "The Next Phase")

3. Nasari ship (VOY: "Favorite Son")

4. Derelict ship, CGI (DIS: "Red Directive")

This article investigates all variations and modifications of the design.



Romulan scout

The miniature features a narrow body with massive wings, on which two nacelles are attached. When the model first appears as Admiral Jarok's ship in TNG: "The Defector", it sports a pointed cockpit section with clearly visible windows, establishing that it is orders of magnitude smaller than the Warbird in pursuit. The scout has the nacelle style in common with the much larger Romulan vessel, and the shape of the cockpit is reminiscent of the Warbird's "beak". The color of the scout is plain green, much as how the Warbird is commonly illuminated.

Romulan science ship

When the model appears for the second time in TNG: "The Next Phase" two seasons later, once again as a Romulan ship, it has a new semicircular section at its rear end. The rounded cockpit was removed and replaced with a tapered and overall very angular command section. This may have been done to let it appear larger.

The color of the science ship is gray-bluish green, unlike the intense green of the scout. There are also defined plain gray areas as well as green highlights. The dot on the wing is clearly yellow. At least, this all is true for the remastered version of "The Next Phase". In the original TV episode the ship is more uniformly dark green. This is most likely not just a matter of the lower resolution of the footage composed in the 1990's. It looks like a bluish green color filter was applied back then. When the episode was remastered, this step was either not deemed necessary or was simply forgotten.

Furthermore, the model was turned upside down, so the former top of the scout is now the bottom of the science ship. This fact is not immediately evident, considering that the new front section, unlike the old cockpit, looks the same as seen from above or below. However, there is one decisive piece of evidence. In "The Defector" we can recognize a fin running along the top of the scout right up to the very aft end. The side view of this ship shows that there is a similar structure on the bottom as well, but it definitely is not quite as long, even though the parallax doesn't allow a really good estimation. On the dorsal side of the science ship in "The Next Phase" we can see a fin that ends well in front of the new rounded aft section, so this is very likely the former ventral side.

Nasari ship

The composition of the miniature has remained unchanged, as the originally Romulan design appears in the far reaches of the Delta Quadrant as the Nasari vessel in VOY: "Favorite Son". Only the color is different, it is ochre/brownish now instead of greenish. We can easily notice that the Nasari ship is flying backward compared to the Romulan science ship; the round aft section is now the front section.

Also, "Favorite Son" provides further evidence that the model was turned around. As we look at the top front portion of the Nasari ship, we can recognize that the fin ends well behind the rounded front module. This is what the bottom aft part of the Romulan scout used to look like. So both the Romulan science ship and the Nasari ship were turned upside down; the latter is additionally flying backward.

One further difference allows us to tell apart the upper and the lower surface of the model. There is a flat ridge or bar on the front section, which is located on top of the Romulan scout and at the bottom of the other two ships. This feature matches with strips on the nacelles (top and bottom). At least, we can clearly recognize it on the ventral side of the Nasari vessel, whereas this side is never really visible on the Romulan science ship. Also, on the scout there is a hole in the hull between the end of the tall fin and the beginning of the flat strip on the front section, which is probably supposed to represent a disruptor hit. This hole was repaired for the later appearances, in a way that the flat bar is now continuous between the fin and the respective front module (which, on the Nasari ship, is the aft section). We can see that the whole angular part of the cockpit, including the bar, was retained when the new boxy section was added. The shots of the Romulan science ship as well as various model photos show that the former bottom (the side with the short fin) does not have that bar.

As for the "new" brownish color of the formerly blue/green model, it is not evident from the SD screen caps of the Voyager episode how this was accomplished. Yet, there are various photos of the model, some of which were taken after the end of Voyager. In real life, the model can be seen with the colors it had in "The Next Phase", including the yellow dot and the either gray or bluish green areas. The latter are still paler than they appear to in the remastered TNG episode. So it is almost safe to say that it was not repainted for the Voyager episode but colored in post production.

The Eaglemoss models

Jörg was involved in the creation of the Eaglemoss model of the Romulan scout and science ship:

"In November of 2015, I was asked to help with the recreation of the Romulan scout ship and science vessel as CG models for the Eaglemoss starship model/magazine series. I provided all the screenshots and reference images I could find, including model pictures that had been released in the past and when the ship was auctioned off by Christie's. I also remembered the dorsal and lateral view of the ship that was published in the Star Trek TNG Technical Journal and added it to the reference material. All of the research I had already done for this very article way back in 2004 was also very helpful. Unfortunately, there were no shots around of the underside of the front section of the model from the time when it still was the Romulan scout ship. Ed Giddings recreated both ships as CG models at the same time so he went with the side shot we got of the front section (which was later replaced for the science vessel) in "The Defector" and added something like a short "disruptor strip". His interpolation of what we could see on the underside of the front section in screenshots and in the lateral view from the TNG Technical Journal is what you can find on the underside of the Eaglemoss model and the CG 3D model which he created.

About a year later or so, Rick Sternbach released two books with several of his starship design sketches (called Alien Ship Designs by Rick Sternbach) on eBay. One book featured his sketch of the underside of the Romulan scout ship, showing what the ventral side of the "nose" actually looked like on the filming miniature. Unfortunately, it was too late to incorporate this into the Eaglemoss model."

Derelict ship

More than 25 years after its last appearance, a CG model of the Romulan science ship appears in the Discovery season 5 premiere "Red Directive". Unlike the ship in "The Next Phase", it is plain green without differently colored details. Burnham's away team boards the derelict, 800-year old vessel to search for an ancient artifact.

Very detailed display graphics of the ship were created by Timothy Peel, even including an interior layout that shows the movements inside. Not all of them made it into the final episode though.

The graphics also reveal that, although the proportions are still the same as on TNG, more than only tiny details were changed about the design. It is a matter of interpretation whether this is a variant of the science ship in an in-universe view or whether it should be rated as a "visual improvement".



Here is an overview of the appearances of the physical model and the CGI:

Ship type Episode Model type Configuration Orientation Color

Romulan scout
TNG: "The Defector" Physical Rounded cockpit section, no aft section Original Green

Romulan science ship
TNG: "The Next Phase" Angular command section, half-circular aft section Upside down Gray/bluish green

Nasari ship
VOY: "Favorite Son" Upside down and backward Ochre

Derelict ship
DIS: "Red Directive" CGI Like physical model of science ship but with many add-ons and structural changes Unknown Green


See Also

Romulan Ship Classes

Delta Quadrant Ships L-R



Thanks to Timothy Peel for providing the production graphics!

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