Twenty-five years ago this past January, the Star Trek franchise set off in a bold new direction with a Star Trek: The Next Generation companion series, the first not set on board a ship called Enterprise. In fact, the primary setting wasn’t a starship at all, but an old Cardassian mining outpost, abandoned after the end of that civilization’s brutal occupation of Bajor, renovated by the Federation and then relocated to the site of a recently discovered stable wormhole, the only one known to exist in the galaxy. This was a Trek like no other. This was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
A fully functional space station at the galaxy’s farthest reaches, Deep Space Nine and its charismatic crew (some of whom were Enterprise-D transfers) played host to countless visitors from varied civilizations – some familiar, most never seen before. These characters and cultures typically arrived with their own missions, alliances, long-standing grudges and hidden agendas – not to mention modes of transportation.
So let's hang our legs off the promenade’s upper deck as Eaglemoss Collections takes a closer look at some of the classic ships that put into port across DS9’s seven seasons.
We’ll start with five and then explore another four in our next installment. Regardless, all are yours to own at special 25th anniversary savings, either as part of your subscription to the Official Star Trek Starships Collection or as individual purchases from the Eaglemoss Shop or your favorite comic shop.
01: Danube Class Runabout
The smallish (23.1 meters) Starfleet Danube Class runabouts were a vital part of operations for the Deep Space Nine crew, able to serve on a variety of different mission types. The ships in this class were named for famous rivers on Earth, including the U.S.S. Rio Grande, the U.S.S. Yangtzee and the U.S.S. Orinoco (Issue #32 from Eaglemoss), complete with modular sensor “roll bar” attached above the main hull.
Their design lineage can be traced back to 22nd century shuttlecraft, such as the Galileo, with its side opening doors and low-slung warp nacelles. The runabout, however, was a little larger than a typical Starfleet ship-support shuttlecraft, designed for more extended missions if needed, with a modular midsection and a small aft habitat section. A two-person short-range transporter (and food replicator station) was located at either the rear of the roomy cockpit, or further aft in later configurations, allowing the crew to beam down to a planet's surface while leaving the unmanned ship in orbit. The innovative compact warp core was horizontal, rather than vertical, and ran along the top of the craft, giving the runabout a respectable top speed of warp 5. Defensive capabilities consisted of a duranium composite hull with full shielding, six phaser strips, and a micro torpedo launcher under the nose, making this robust ship often a match for much larger vessels.
02: Bajoran Solar-Sail Vessel
The Bajoran Light Ship (Issue #18), also called a Solar-Sail vessel, was a relic from the distant past of Bajoran space exploration. Legend had it that it made it all the way to Cardassia itself almost 800 years prior, just as humans were first sailing Earth's oceans. Was reaching a neighboring star-system in one of these fragile vessels actually possible?
The season 3 DS9 episode “Explorers” tells how Benjamin Sisko recreated this ship from ancient plans to answer that exact question. Powered by the solar winds of Bajor’s sun and using sails resembling a butterfly, this craft had no impulse or warp engines – only a cramped two-person crew compartment. Interior controls were mostly manual cranks and levers, used to adjust the huge reflective sails controlling the ship’s direction. Sleeping accommodations simply consisted of hammocks strung up towards the rear of the habitat module. One of the only changes Sisko made to the original specs was adding an artificial gravity net under the floor, as weightlessness made him queasy.
Apart from the lavish interior set built for this one episode, the on-screen version was one of the earliest examples of a ship made exclusively in CG, versus a practical model.
03: Cardassian Galor Class
The most-common warship in the Cardassian fleet, the powerful Galor Class (Issue #14) featured heavily in DS9 during the Dominion War. Fighting alongside Dominion ships, they inflicted heavy damage to the combined Federation and Klingon fleets.
There were three known classes of the Galor class, with the Type III being the most advanced and lethal, as well as a variant known as the Keldon Class used by the dreaded Obsidian Order, the Cardassian intelligence agency. While these warships weren’t a match for the most advanced Starfleet ships, they were usually deployed in groups of three using numerous deceptive tactics to their advantage and so were not to be underestimated.
The ship was 371.88 meters in length, with a crew complement of around 600. Weaponry included at least six spiral-wave disruptors at various positions ship-wide, as well as a photon/plasma torpedo weapon. During the war, many were outfitted with a Breen energy dampening weapon that rendered opposing ships helpless against their offensive battery.
The ship’s colors and design reflect an Egyptian influence; the initial inspiration for the shape draws off the ankh symbol. Other features on the hull harken to pyramids, and even include a sacrificial altar-like feature at the dorsal section’s highest point.
04: Akira Class
A fan favorite, the sleek Akira Class (Issue #12) was built for action and played a major role in winning back Deep Space Nine for the Federation. At 464.43 meters long, it had a crew of 500 and a top speed of warp 9.8.
Designed to confront threats encroaching on Starfleet’s borders in space, the Akira’s layout presented a narrow target, with the bridge nestled between the raised catamaran-like hull on either side, as well as the rear shuttle landing bay. The saucer section’s nose housed the wide 3-doored forward “launching” shuttle bay area. In effect, this class was not unlike that of an aircraft carrier, built to continuously launch and land a large fleet of auxiliary craft with its massive “fly through” hangar deck contained within the saucer.
An astounding array of weaponry was positioned around the hull, including a weapons pod atop the arch connected to the warp nacelle support pylons. The pod itself housed 13 torpedo launchers; forward facing included five photon and two advanced quantum launchers, with the rear having six additional photon torpedo tubes. Further torpedo launchers were positioned above and below the deflector dish, with starboard and port facing launchers on the saucer’s edge. And don’t forget the six Type 10 phaser strips.
05: U.S.S. Defiant
Originally built to defend against a Borg invasion, the relatively small class prototype NX-74205 U.S.S. Defiant (Issue #9) was the Federation’s very first true warship. Every part of the compact design spoke of its purpose, from the cowled warp nacelles attached directly to the oblong hull to the bridge location protected within the ship. The hull itself featured a newly developed type of ablative armoring to protect the ship even in the event of conventional shield failure. Weapons consisted of six torpedo launchers, firing Quantum, Mark VIII and Mark V-IX torpedoes, and four twin-pulse phaser cannons.
The ship was famously megapowered. A class 7 warp coil in a ship of this size (170.68 meters) provided a scorching maximum speed of warp 9.982, with a sustainable cruising top speed of warp 9.5. Additionally, the Defiant was outfitted with a cloaking device on loan from the Romulan Star Empire, something only to be used while in the Gamma Quadrant with the oversight of Subcommander T’Rul. At just 4 decks and a crew of about 40, the Defiant nevertheless proved itself as one of the most-powerful and consistent players in the Dominion War’s hard-fought battles.
And that’s a wrap on part one of our survey of significant ships from DS9. Another four will be profiled in part two, but you can get all of them in the Official Star Trek Starships Collection. New subscribers in the US will not only get their first ship – TNG’s U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D – for only $4.95, but will also receive the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205 for half price – both with free shipping. Plus, every subscription includes a selection of free gifts valued at over $90 and additional savings of up to 20% off each ship in the collection. In the US, fans can visit st-starships.com for more details.
UK customers can start the collection with the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D and receive the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205 as issue 9 at the regular price. To subscribe in the UK, visit Eaglemoss UK Starship Collection.
Not ready to subscribe? Then drop by the Eaglemoss US Shop to enjoy 10% off (US only) the purchase of any or all DS9 ships, including our Deep Space Nine 25th Anniversary Bundle, which includes a special edition Deep Space Nine space station and two ships from Season 2. Or look for them at your local comic shop.