January 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the conceptual stage of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E. Flashback to 1996 and Star Trek First Contact was ramping up to full production all across the Paramount Pictures lot. Meanwhile, back in the Deep Space Nine art department, we were serving double duty on both the television production and trying to get the look of the second Next Generation movie's architecture designed. Herman Zimmerman (the production designer) had received a beat sheet for the film several months earlier. In the beginning, the film’s title was Star Trek Resurrection. However, over at 20th Century Fox, the fourth Alien movie was being made… with the same name. It took several months to see which film would keep the title, but in the end Alien won out and our film was to be called First Contact.
Now, prior to working in the art department, I was a model maker and on many occasions we’d fix the D model when it got damaged. At one point we had to make a four-foot version of the ship. It was a tough model to work on and I remember that every time we had it on stage the cameramen would gripe because it was such a difficult model to shoot. They’d argue that there were only a couple of angles they could use that looked good and they’d already used them… over and over again. I so thought about those comments while I was trying to think of how to handle the situation.
One element that was going to make this Enterprise different from the previous ships was that it was designed to fight the Borg. That meant that it had to be more of a battleship than an exploration vessel. So, with that, more sketches came along. I remembered that in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the E got hit pretty hard with a long phaser blast across the neck of the ship. I thought that if Khan had kept firing for just a second longer the saucer would’ve been blown clean off from the rest of the ship. That started the idea of a thick neck that tapered into the saucer, effectively eliminating that danger zone on the new E. I finally rendered a few sketches I liked, and one in particular was a profile that started the path to what the final ship would soon look like. It was a profile drawing in blue pencil with a rough sweep of the ship with short nacelles.
Fritz was so right, and from that day on, the rest of the designs had reverse-facing struts. Christmas and New Year's break came and the ship was almost done. During the first week or so back, Herman and I delivered a black and white drawing of the ship in view form and it got the green light for a color pass. The next day, we presented a finished drawing that got the seal of approval and the E-E was off and flying....
Well, with all of that said, we come to the finale of this piece – and, yes, that means the latest in the Red Dress Series. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mrs. Brittany Hollinshead. Brittany is Mrs. Ivins 2015 and she had never modeled before. This was her first shoot and she did a fantastic job. Effortlessly, she took on the Trek theme with great class and style. Above and beyond her title and newly found modeling talents, she stands up for something special. Brittany became ill and after years of suffering and misdiagnoses, she learned that her symptoms of increased heart rate upon standing, dizziness and fatigue were caused by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS for short.
John Eaves is veteran artist and illustrator who has lent his talents to too many films and television shows to count. Actually, he's at 60-plus and counting. Over the years, he's made a tremendous mark on Star Trek, as he's worked on The Final Frontier, all four TNG films, DS9 and Enterprise, Star Trek: The Exhibition, Star Trek Online, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Check out John Eaves' website, Atomic Johnny's Pin-Ups.