Redresses of the Phoenix Cockpit
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
A cockpit set for Zefram Cochrane's first warp ship, the Phoenix, was constructed for "Star Trek: First Contact". In addition, a life-size mock-up with black windows was built. It was attached to the tip of the Titan II missile, which represented the rest of the Phoenix. However, these are two separate objects: the set in which all cockpit scenes were filmed on one hand, and the nose section only for the scenes that showed the tip of the missile on the other hand. In addition, a scale model of the complete Phoenix was built, which was needed to film the space scenes with motion control photography.
The cockpit was slightly modified and reused in Star Trek: Enterprise a couple of times, whereas the mock-up could only be seen once more, in ENT: "First Flight".
Star Trek: First Contact
As mentioned above, the cockpit and nose section were built for "Star Trek: First Contact". Around the front tip there are six windows, two of which are small and circular. These two characteristic windows were usually covered when the cockpit appeared later and would not appear again.
According to John Eaves, the round window should be a "bubble window [...] to enable the crew to look out and around", but in the actual set and on the nose section mock-up the round window is not curved and does not have a different refraction of light than the other four windows.
There is space for three people in the cockpit. Behind the tapered nose section of the cockpit, in which the "captain" sits, there is a characteristic metal ring that Riker holds onto. This very structure should be seen again and again in later re-uses.
There are upturned glasses stands on the back wall of the cockpit that were used to make this area a little more interesting. The often reused oscillation overthruster from "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension" is affixed above the white column with the glasses stands as an in-joke.
The consoles and control switches look appropriately bulky and antiquated compared to the later Star Trek technology.
The exterior set has the same windows. However, these are black and not transparent, as otherwise it would be revealed that the cockpit interior set was not actually located inside. The Phoenix miniature also has the same cockpit windows.
ENT: Broken Bow
In "Broken Bow", an orbital inspection pod appears for the first time. The Phoenix cockpit was reused for this small ship. From the outside, too, the pod is very similar to the nose section of the Phoenix.
As can already be seen in the computer-generated exterior shots, the two round side windows have been removed. In addition, a wide, large upper window was added behind the four windows. Jonathan Archer is filmed through this window during his first appearance in the series. In "Broken Bow", there is no scene yet in which we can see the area of the cockpit where the two round windows were before, but from the outside it is clear that these windows no longer exist.
All consoles and displays inside the cockpit have been replaced, but the two chairs inside the inspection pod are the same as the ones in the Phoenix. Here, however, they no longer have seat belts. The lateral consoles of the Phoenix, which protrude slightly into the room, have been removed.
Above the cockpit window, the Phoenix has a square console, in which there is an elongated display with rounded corners. This display was retained for re-use in the inspection pod. Its arrangement was changed and Enterprise-era buttons were added. Above this display there are a number of switches and buttons on the Phoenix; this is also the case on the inspection pod.
The previously mentioned metal ring behind the pointed nose section and the rectangular hatch on the back wall of the cockpit are hard to see in "Broken Bow". It seems as if the cockpit of the inspection pod is a little shorter than the one of the Phoenix.
In the pilot episode, the front, central control console of the inspection pod cannot yet be seen because the camera never pans down that far.
ENT: Shuttlepod One
The orbital inspection pod can be seen for the second time in "Shuttlepod One". Here, we get a good impression of the consoles in the front of the cockpit area and the rear side window for the first time. As can be seen, every remnant of the round window on the Phoenix was removed. Since the last appearance of the cockpit, only slight changes have been made to the side interfaces. We can also see the lateral edge of the large panorama window behind T'Pol.
The central console in the front of the cockpit holds a joystick that controls the inspection pod. Above the joystick there is a large, inclined monitor with a color display. To the left and right of it there are numerous buttons, as we know them from the technology of the 2150s. This is not a re-use of the original Phoenix console.
Comparing this new console with the console in the CG model of the inspection pod, we can see that essential features match. There is a central monitor and fields with buttons to the left and right of it. In the actual set, however, the console has many more buttons. In addition, the joystick cannot be made out in the CG model.
ENT: Dead Stop
Before the cockpit of the orbital inspection pod was reused for various alien spacecrafts, it could be seen once more in its original appearance in "Dead Stop". There are two similar shots as in "Broken Bow": a view through the panorama window from the outside and a look forward. If we compare the caps from the two episodes, we can make out no changes. The characteristic rear part of the cockpit chairs with two metal bottles is easy to recognize.
As mentioned in the section about "Shuttlepod One", slight changes have been made to the side consoles since "Broken Bow". If we compare the images from the starboard side, it becomes clear, for example, that the small console with two switches and a lamp has been turned around. Stickers and other small unlit consoles (which could simply be stuck on and then reused) are in other places. The same applies to the port side, which, however, was often only blurred. After "Shuttlepod One", no further changes appear to have been made.
In "Dead Stop" we can see the smaller metal ring for the first time, which is located at the very front of the cockpit and is made of the same material as the larger, rear metal ring. This smaller ring is another characteristic feature of the cockpit, which was also clearly visible in "First Contact".
The joystick to steer the ship appears again after "Shuttlepod One". Only part of the central screen of the front console can be seen. The buttons to the left and right of the screen are not visible because this part of the cockpit is completely covered by Archer and Tucker.
ENT: The Seventh
In this episode, the set appears as part of an alien ship for the first time. Here, it is used as the forward section of Menos's ship.
The characteristic windows and the cockpit chair (this time only one) are immediately recognizable. The small console, which is located above the window, is still there but is not illuminated. The large panorama window was covered with a metal grille. Instead of the inspection pod console, there is now a console in the front of the cockpit that is familiar from Chakotay's and Tuvok's offices on the USS Voyager. Behind it, more consoles were attached on both sides.
All further wall consoles were swapped out, considering that it is an alien vessel now.
The cockpit set was attached to the rest of Menos's ship. A slightly larger hatch with rounded corners was installed behind the characteristic large metal ring in the rear wall of the inspection pod. Behind it there is a short section with the lateral door. Still further to the aft, the large cargo hold of Menos's ship is located.
The CG model of Menos's ship was only shown briefly and in a dark scene in the episode. We can see it better on Pierre Drolet's renderings. Here, it becomes clear that the two large windows of the CG model do not match the four characteristic cockpit windows. The rest of the appearance of the CG model corresponds well to the life-size set.
In this episode, the cockpit of the orbital inspection pod was reused for the Vissian stratopod. The whole set was rotated by 180° so that the tapered nose section with the four windows is now behind the pilot's chairs. The large and small metal rings are still clearly visible. Instead of the massive pilot's chairs that were previously in the cockpit, Vissians seem to use two simple office chairs.
The two side consoles with the characteristic shape that were first seen in the cockpit of Menos's ship are still in the Vissian cockpit, of course with new interfaces and buttons.
The four windows were sealed with similar Vissian graphics and buttons. The large panorama window and the area behind the smaller metal ring were covered with a gray material. The small console under the windows is still there, but now has a Vissian interface.
The CG model of the Vissian stratopod fits the interior of the ship. It is flat at the front and has a large window, while it tapers towards the rear.
ENT: First Flight
In "First Flight", the Phoenix cockpit was used as the cockpits of the two prototypes NX-Alpha and NX-Beta. The alien displays had to be removed and the characteristic earth technology of the middle of the 22nd century had to be reinstalled. In addition, in this episode we can see the life-size nose section that last appeared in "First Contact".
If we first look at the nose section, we can recognize that it remains almost unchanged compared to the nose tip of the Phoenix. Some new stickers and hull markings have been added. The most important difference is the fact that the round windows are now filled with gray, so they no longer represent windows. The CG model of the NX-Alpha and Beta reproduces these covered windows correctly (although there are several other inaccuracies).
In the cockpit set, the round windows had already been removed for the first re-use in "Broken Bow". Therefore, they were not allowed to be visible on the life-size mock-up. Nevertheless, the two outer windows now have a characteristic shape, as on the Phoenix. On the cockpit set, these two outer windows would have had to be adapted, but they look relatively simple and do not have the round recess. Still, the windows of the set were adapted from the inside, as can be seen on the example of the starboard window.
In the script of "First Flight", the cockpit of the NX-Alpha is described as follows:
Cramped and somewhat primitive by [NX-class starship] standards (and perhaps similar in appearance to Zephram Cochrane's [sic] 'Phoenix'].
For this re-use, the central control consoles were actually slightly adapted. In "Shuttlepod One" these still consisted of a central, sloping screen with consoles full of buttons to the right and left of it. Now, further side monitors have been added. The joystick of the inspection pods was retained, however. The original control panel of the Phoenix was not reused for this performance, even if there are now stronger parallels due to the bulky monitor and the extended side consoles.
The small console above the window is still in place. It no longer has a display, but various buttons.
The Phoenix chairs were retained, and there are also seat belts again. The rear wall of the cockpit is new. There are numerous displays and buttons here, but no longer a door as in the inspection pod set.
After the NX-Alpha has been destroyed, the next time we see the set it represents the NX-Beta cockpit. In the script of the episode, the cockpit of the NX-Beta is described as follows:
Virtually identical to the NX-Alpha cockpit, though a few instrument panels have yet to be installed (selling its not-quite finished look).
The consoles on the rear wall of the cockpit are unchanged. The central front console exhibits slight differences, however. Underneath the middle monitor (which is the same), the Beta actually seems to be missing a panel with buttons. In addition, the displays of the two large side monitors have been changed.
Only in the NX-Beta cockpit we can recognize what happened to the large upper panorama window. Small lamps were put here.
Finally, it should be mentioned that in several places there is a graphic of the NX-Alpha/Beta, which shows the ship from above. However, this graphic exhibits several differences from the CG model. This also applies to the cockpit section and the tip of the nose, which are much more rounded and less pointed than the CG model.
ENT: The Expanse
A bit later, the inside of the orbital inspection pod is seen for the last time in the final episode of the second season. To accomplish this, it had to be largely rebuilt to its "Dead Stop" state. However, as we look at the footage from the episode, we can see that some of the changes made for the NX Alpha/Beta were retained.
As in the cockpit of the NX-Alpha/Beta, there is now a lamp with switch buttons above the two side windows. This was not the case when the inspection pod previously appeared. The area of the smaller front metal ring was lined with carpet in the previous appearances, but here it is painted gray, just like in "First Flight".
The inspection pod now also has the large side consoles. The central, slightly inclined console, on the other hand, has the same buttons and displays as in the previous episodes in which the inspection pod appeared. As in the cockpit of the NX-Alpha/Beta, the small upper console no longer has a display, only various buttons. In "Broken Bow" and "Dead Stop", there was still an illuminated display. The lateral consoles also correspond more to the appearance from "First Flight". In previous episodes there were various smaller button strips above the large lateral illuminated consoles. Instead, there is now a large button strip field, just as in the NX-Alpha/Beta.
It can also be seen that the seat belts are still there, although so far the inspection pod didn't have them.
The rear wall with the hatch of the inspection pod was faithfully reconstructed. Here it becomes clear that the rear wall is located directly behind the large metal ring. Inside the Phoenix, there was a lot more space behind the ring.
ENT: Hatchery / Azati Prime
The Phoenix cockpit set is seen for the last time in these two consecutive episodes of the third season. No changes were made to the cockpit between the two episodes.
The cockpit was modified for "Hatchery" and "Azati Prime" so that it could serve as the front area of the Xindi Insectoid shuttle. Of course, all human consoles had to be removed for this.
The central console was completely removed so the four cockpit windows and the front metal ring are unobstructed. The outer windows no longer have the circular recess from "First Flight", but look again like in all previous appearances of the cockpit in Enterprise. The inside of the front metal ring has been designed a little more elaborately and is no longer just filled with dark gray carpet or a light gray paint.
In the center of the cockpit, but further back than the previous consoles, there is a large, clunky Xindi-Insectoid console.
The cockpit has been extended to the rear, as the Xindi Insectoid shuttle has a more elongated shape. The rear metal ring with its characteristic recesses is gone. The rear metal ring and then the rear wall of the inspection pod were just behind the panorama window. There is now a door on the starboard side of the shuttle. We get a good impression of what the side area of the cockpit now looks like and the extent to which it has been enlarged.
The panorama window also contains several lamps, as inside the NX-Alpha/Beta.
For "Azati Prime", a human computer monitor was added in front of the Xindi console in the course of the episode, so that the ship is easier to control.
Looking at the CG model of the ship, we can notice that the windows do not match the cockpit. The Xindi shuttle only has two windows from the outside, while the cockpit set retains the characteristic four windows. However, the general shape of the front section of the Xindi shuttle matches the cockpit set.
After this appearance, the Phoenix cockpit was never seen again, eight years after it had been built.
The comparison images show the best views to the fore and to the aft of the cockpit set.
Several screen caps from Ariane's Star Trek Gallery.