Starship Mutations

by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider



Many articles at EAS address variations of starships that were created over time. Sometimes, however, one and the same ship mutates to a different class or variant within the same episode. The usual reason is that incompatible stock footage is used, and that the visual differences are either overlooked in the production or deemed small enough not to be noticed.




The model of the original USS Enterprise was noticeably altered prior to the filming of the first regular TOS episodes. The bridge dome was lowered, the black markings near the upper saucer edge were removed, the deflector dish was replaced with a smaller one, the spires of Bussard collectors were removed, the previously dark collectors received the spinning lights and the perforated plate on the nacelle aft ends made way for two balls. There are several re-uses of the pilot Enterprise in regular episodes, albeit with decreasing frequency in later seasons as it seems. The pilot version still shows up in the closing shot of TOS: "Day of the Dove". Our examples are from "Mudd's Women", "Charlie X" and "Arena".

All of these errors were fixed for the remastered episodes. TOS-R uses all-new shots anyway and consistently shows the series version of the CGI.


A new 4ft miniature of the Enterprise-D was built, with the intention to supplement and eventually replace the 6ft model for easier filming. In order to accommodate the Ten Forward set, introduced in TNG: "The Child", the 4ft model came with a changed window arrangement and notably with a thicker rim of the saucer section. Several episodes of later seasons used shots of both models. This went largely unnoticed, but is physically impossible.

The remastered TNG consequently uses the very same model shots as in the original episodes wherever available, including all discrepancies between the two models. Only in some cases new CG shots were created.

TNG: The Perfect Mate

In the first shot showing the Kriosian ship (before Picard and Briam enter the transporter room), stock footage of the USS Enterprise-D and the small Talarian observation craft from "Suddenly Human" is used. When the two ships part ways at the very end of the episode, this is stock footage from "Suddenly Human" again. But this time, the much larger Talarian warship is seen instead.

Sadly this clear mistake was not fixed for the remastered version of the episode, even though the first shot could have easily been replaced with one of the Talarian warship facing the USS Enterprise-D, as available from "Suddenly Human". It would only have been necessary to remove the second warship from that shot.

TNG: Ship in a Bottle

Both the exterior shuttlebay and the interior shuttle shots leave no doubt that Moriarty and Countess Bartholomew depart from the USS Enterprise-D in a Type-6 shuttle. For one shot, however, stock footage from "Unnatural Selection" of the Sakharov, a Type-7 shuttle, is used. When the episode was filmed for the sixth season, the full-scale set of the Type 6 was available. An effects shot with an opening shuttlebay door, on the other hand, was only available with the otherwise retired Type 7. Note that the shot from "Unnatural Selection" shows the inaccurate mock-up of the Type 7, which is much less rounded than it should be.

The wrong (and ugly) exterior shot was not fixed for the remastered episode. Since the shuttle is a hastily created holographic illusion anyway, this is forgivable.

VOY: Non Sequitur

The new Yellowstone-class runabout that Harry Kim is working on in the parallel reality in VOY: "Non Sequitur" is essentially identical to the Danube class. This allows the episode to use the runabout set and existing model shots from DS9. Yet, briefly before it explodes, the runabout suddenly has a rollbar (stock footage from DS9: "Armageddon Game") that doesn't exist in the other shots. The rollbar was originally created for DS9: "Past Prologue" to tell apart the USS Ganges from the pursuing Yangtzee Kiang in its standard configuration.

On a side note, the spacedock door seen in the first shot is a re-use of the Dyson sphere door from TNG: "Relics", of course.

VOY: Coda

In VOY: "Coda", the shuttle that crash lands with Chakotay and Janeway is a Type 6 on the outside and a Type 8 according to its MSD. This is a only a small blooper, but it foreshadows the total mess in "The Raven" (see below).

VOY: Rise

We see a Type-8 shuttle enter the atmosphere and crash on the planet. The MSD visible next to Tuvok's seat depicts a Type 8 too. However, a specific interior set or a full-scale mock-up of a Type-8 shuttle was never built and that of Type 6 used instead. We may accept that a Type 8 and a Type 6 are identical on the inside, but when Neelix goes outside to check the damage, it is clearly a Type-6 shuttle.

The Type-8 shuttle was originally created as a more "Voyager-ish" variation of the Type 6. Note on the miniature and on the MSD that the nacelle design of the Type 8 matches that of USS Voyager.

VOY: Before and After

Kes and Tom Paris travel on a Type-8 shuttle in VOY: "Before and After", as indicated by the size of the set and by the LCARS side views on both sides of the cockpit. The exterior shot, on the other hand, shows a Type-9 "speedboat".

VOY: The Raven

In VOY: "The Raven", Seven blasts the shuttlebay door open and leaves the ship in a Type-6 shuttle. In the next exterior shot, it is suddenly a Type 8 - similar but definitely not the same. When she encounters the B'omar, the shuttle is a Type 6 again. Then it switches to Type 8 yet again. The LCARS display in the cockpit clearly shows a Type 8 as well. But the confusion is not over yet because when Seven approaches the planet where the Raven has crashed, it is a Type 6 again.

Once again, this error came to pass because of the similarity of the two intentionally distinct shuttle types.



VOY: Caretaker

In the Star Trek: Voyager pilot episode, Stadi and Paris are on a Type-6 shuttle. The type remains consistent (the similar Type 8 did not yet exist at that time), but the lettering changes from "71325" to "1701-D" when the shuttle is seen passing the station. It later changes back to "71325".


See Also

Voyager Inconsistencies - including the famous Voyager shuttle count


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