Redresses of the Tarellian Vessel
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
One of the first alien ships designed for TNG was Andrew Probert's Tarellian vessel from TNG: "Haven". After this episode, the model was modified and could be seen in four other roles. These are the appearances in chronological order:
1. Tarellian plague vessel (TNG: "Haven")
2. Zalkonian warship (TNG: "Transfigurations")
3. Ktarian ship (TNG: "The Game")
4. Hunter ship (DS9: "Captive Pursuit")
5. Haakonian shuttle (VOY: "Jetrel")
With just two exceptions, new shots were made for every appearance of the ship miniature. Very likely the only physical modification took place before it appeared for the second time in TNG: "Transfigurations". Most obviously the characteristic bubble of the Tarellian ship is missing on all later incarnations of the model. The hole in the hull was filled with a new superstructure. The bow was significantly modified too. Aside from that, several color and lighting changes were made, which are analyzed in the following.
The plague ship sports a bright purple semi-transparent bubble occupying most of its rear half. It is a part of the warp drive according to Andrew Probert. There are no visible sublight engines, but some areas on the top rear end behind the big dome are red, indicating that plasma is flowing here. The bow consists of a recessed round central part flanked by two fork tines. While there are many windows in the bow and on the port and starboard sides, indicating that the ship is quite large, there are none at the aft end.
Two indentations on the port and starboard sides near the aft end are colored dark red, unlike the silver blue/gray of the rest of the hull. In front of them, on either side of the engine bubble, we can find another indentation which is essentially just a bit darker than the overall hull color, with certain areas shaded in red and several windows too. Finally there is a third long recessed area in the forward half of the ship, again with numerous windows and with shaded areas in dark gray and dark red.
The most obvious alteration of the model is that the big bubble was completely removed and replaced with a new superstructure on the dorsal side. This superstructure consists of three irregularly shaped longitudinal tubes which are connected through one thin transversal strut. The new part almost looks like a complete small vessel or like the catamaran hulls of a sail boat. There are several windows in the superstructure. The second clearly visible modification was made to the front tip. It appears that a new part was designed to completely cover the old bow of the miniature. Maybe the lowermost part of the fork was cut off to get the shape right. The new bow is closed and looks like a seashell.
The color of the six rectangular areas on the dorsal side was changed from red to orange. Moreover, several windows were added to the very aft end of the ship. Minor changes were made to the hull colors. The rearmost indentation now has almost the same color as the rest of the hull. The central indentation shows a different paint scheme, and the windows seem to be missing in this area. The fore views of the ships also reveal a transversal line which is lit blue on the Tarellian ship just in front of the big dome, whereas it is rather violet on the Zalkonian version.
One take of the Ktarian starship in TNG: "The Game" is stock footage of the Zalkonian vessel from TNG: "Transfigurations". It is the one where the alien vessel faces the Enterprise in the background. Everything else of the Ktarian vessel was newly filmed, as it appears with a physically unchanged model. In one sequence the miniature is shown upside down, meaning that it was filmed upside up like always, but the film was either flipped or turned by 180 degrees. The reason for that may have been that showing a starship from below generally lets it appear more menacing. Since the model is otherwise almost vertically symmetrical, we could presuppose that the Ktarian ship may have the same superstructure on the ventral side too (we never actually see the ventral side where the model is mounted on a rod).
The overall lighting intensity may have been reduced for the Ktarian vessel, the ship also appears to be somewhat darker. In addition, the thin line in front of the superstructure is not lighted any longer.
The model, now representing the Hunter ship, can be seen from behind, approaching Deep Space 9. There are no visible lights on the ship, although this may be a matter of the rather steep viewing angle. Only the superstructure seems to be illuminated. There is no other lighting except for the rectangular areas behind the superstructure. Overall the color appears to be very dark. The colored areas are all still there, though.
The appearance of the starship miniature as the Jetrel's shuttle in VOY: "Jetrel" is very brief. The vessel can be seen only on Voyager's main viewer, and it looks like it is the very same take as one of the Zalkonian ship in "Transfigurations", only mounted into the viewscreen. It is noteworthy that the picture of the shuttle is unusually fuzzy. If it is stock footage, we should be able to see windows, but they are not recognizable. It is possible that the take from the TNG episode was deliberately blurred in order to make the Haakonian version of the model look smaller.
This table summarizes all the variants and appearances of the ship model:
|Ship type||Episode||Stock footage from||Configuration||Lighting|
Tarellian plague vessel
|TNG: "Haven"||-||Original version, big bubble, forked nose||Sides, bow|
|TNG: "Transfigurations"||-||Catamaran superstructure, seashell nose||Sides (limited), aft, superstructure|
|TNG: "The Game"||One take from TNG: "Transfigurations"||-||Sides (limited), aft, superstructure|
|DS9: "Captive Pursuit"||-||-||Superstructure|
|VOY: "Jetrel"||Possibly from TNG: "Transfigurations", blurred||-||None recognizable|