USS Nautilus Pt. 01

This is a little something I started fiddling with yesterday. I’ve been out of the mood to do CGI for a while (I’ve mostly been gaming) but Steve Neill’s work on the USS Sirius for his upcoming web series gave me some inspiration to start a new ship. So, I started pushing some polygons in trueSpace.

First of all, a little background. This ship is a support ship, not an exploration vessel like the Enterprise. As such, it’s not quite as sleek and sophisticated. It’s designed to be attached to a Starbase, outpost or even a planet as a patrol craft or a ship for short-range missions. Unlike ships like the Enterprise, it’s not designed to be out on its own for years on end. So, it has no need for a lot of cargo space, science labs, or a lot of crew recreational facilities (no holodecks on this ship) because the crew will regularly get to go down to a base or planet and the ship’s stores will frequently get restocked. Also, any scientific work will be done in the place to which the ship is attached. It’s not particularly fast at warp, it can probably cruise at warp 5 and hit warp 7-8 in an emergency. The Enterprise can go at least warp 9, so it’s clearly faster. However, the lower mass and sleeker profile of this ship make it faster and more maneuverable at impulse than a heavy cruiser.

The design of this ship is intended to fit its purpose. Obviously, it doesn’t have a lot of internal space. The entire ship is only 220 meters long, the saucer is 98 meters wide and 4 decks tall. At first, I had a regular round saucer on there, but I decided that was too small, even for a support ship, so I elongated the back. That will give the ship a little more internal space. I figure the upper structure (secondary hull, if you prefer) is good for little else than housing the deflector, engineering and engineering support and the shuttlebay. I could have made it larger, but I didn’t want a huge structure hanging over the saucer. Originally, I had it longer (the length of the saucer) but I shortened it because it looked too much like a nacelle.

Obviously, the design itself isn’t all that original. Though, truth be told, there are few ways you can configure a saucer, engineering hull and nacelles that hasn’t been done before. However, what will set this ship apart from others is that a lot of these type ships are made by using those ship kits and rearranging parts from the Enterprise, Excelsior, Reliant, etc. I will be building everything for this ship from scratch except for the nacelles. Those are off of my Constellation-class V3 build, which is currently shelved. I could have made new nacelles, but I didn’t feel like building a new set of virtually identical nacelles when I had a perfectly good set already made. Plus, the blockiness of the Constellation-class nacelles really fits my vision of what I want for the nacelles on this ship.

Anywho, for everyone who managed not to nod off or leave the page during that, here are some renders:

Obviously, this is very rough so far. However, that’s what I have so far. Obviously, the warp pylons will eventually connect to a yet to be built structure under the back of the saucer. Expect slow but fairly steady progress on this in the upcoming weeks (I really can’t predict this stuff.) In order to get my money’s worth, I like to play games that I subscribe to for at least a few hours most every day, so I’ll be dividing my free time between this and Star Wars: The Old Republic, to which I’m currently subscribed.


16 thoughts on “USS Nautilus Pt. 01

  1. awesome work! was wondering if you planned on relaeasing this model in 3D max 9 Format? WOULD SO LOVE to work with it! I’m VERY new to Modeling, started as a result of my star trek fan cluns ship an “Enterprise ” class vessel, and I with some help created a Little known production error, seen only one time on screen in all star trek history in the TNG episode “The Booby Trap” I would LOVE to work the two models together into pics!

    • Thanks for looking and commenting. Unfortunately, I don’t work in 3DS Max and I have no idea how to convert anything to .max format. Plus, most conversion software won’t convert to or from .max format. If I release it, it will be in trueSpace .cob format.

      • what is “trusespace”? I have blender, (NO CLUE how to use it!) does “turespace cost a mint? etc? I would be willing to attempt to learn it just to get a chance at using your model in a pic alongside my “Aruga” class:)

      • trueSpace is free. However, it’s also no longer developed. The latest version is from 2006 or 2007. However, it used to be paid software, it retailed for just under $800. Microsoft bought the company that developed it, released it for free in 2008, and then pulled the plug on the project in 2009. Their website is down right now, I have no idea if it’s a temporary thing or if Microsoft finally pulled the plug on it. However, the software is available here:;1

        Learning wise, it’s going to probably take a while. Though, since you’re completely new to 3D, it might be easier for you. Too bad their site is down, you used to be able to download the manual and a lot of tutorials on there. Hopefully, it will be back up at some time.

      • thans for the link:) I have truespace now, and it appears to be VERY different from 3D max. I now have to figure out HOW to create the shapes, and textures I will need to create three different starships, one was intended to be USS VOYAGER, one was intended to be USS RELIANY and one is the TMP era “Explorer” class reconnaisssance cruiser. could you perhaps refer me to tutorials etc? these three ships are REALLY something I want to get created:) ESPECIALLY the USS RELIANT:) she was suposed to have her nacelles above the saucer section and her roll bar below the suacewr section. and I CERTAINLY can not afford 700-900- bucks for someone to create the modes for me. I also need to fugre out HOW to render an image with the true space program:)

  2. Chris:

    Wanted to drop by and say that I’m really liking the new concept. It is reminiscent of a modified Miranda-class design, with the engineering section replacing the “roll bar” atop the saucer. Also, may I say that I much prefer the “finless” nacelles from the Constellation-class in your design than the ones more commonly seen on a Constitution refit or the Miranda?

    Great choices so far, looking forward to seeing the final product!


  3. Thanks guys. Yeah, I’ve always liked the Miranda-class, so it’s a bit inspired by that. I thought of doing that style of ship, but I did one of those last year and I wanted to do something slightly different. I plan to get back to this beast after I go to work for a few hours. The shuttlebay area is looming before me, so I want to knock that out. It promises to be a pain in the ass, but worth it in the end.

    • ok I now have true space 7.6 I have a few cob models now for the program but have no clue HOW to Import the models or open them in truespace to use them!LOL:0 if I understand rightly I need to go to “file ” in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then to “load” correct? when I do this the model does not show up to be Imported into true space and it IS a cob file. any suggestions would be greatly appreiciated!;)

      • To load .cob meshes, you have to be in model mode, not workspace (towards the top left of your screen.) In model mode, there’s a thing under the “File” thing marked “tS6 Files.” Use that menu to load .cob meshes. Since they changed default formats, you have to use that menu to “import” the old format (.cob) meshes.

        However, to be honest, you may want to pass on trueSpace. tS 7.6 is a buggy piece of shit compared to older versions of the program. Also, they changed a lot of things between tS 6.6 and tS 7, including the default model format. I don’t even use tS 7.6 for much, I use tS 4 for modeling. Plus, their website had the best knowledge base for trueSpace. They had the user manual in .pdf format and loads of video tutorials. However, their website doesn’t appear to exist anymore. So, I don’t know if there are even any good tutorials left for trueSpace. You could try Googling “trueSpace tutorials” and see if you get lucky, but that’s the best suggestion I have.

        I only use trueSpace because I’ve been using it for 12 or 13 years and I haven’t talked myself into learning something else.

      • Thak you for the help:) honestly the ONLY reason i download true space WAS your new starship design (no joke I kid you not LOVE the thing, just wish it was not intended to only be a small supprt ship!LOL) it was my hope to import your completed design should you ever release it publically to try to convert it to a max file:) just so I could use it in images with my starfleet chapters “Enterprise” class starship:) I just happen to think the design one of the best I have seen and I also have the program for the same reason regarding another cob formatted model.

      • Yeah, your best bet is to stick with Max, especially if you have the fully licensed version. That’s $3500 software and it’s what some FX companies are using.

        trueSpace comes with a plugin called luuv. That’s to be used to import or export to .obj format. This is probably going to be your best option as far as exporting to a format that Max can read. That or use conversion software like AccuTrans, which can load .cob meshes and export to a number of formats. (sometimes, the plugin can crash trueSpace, so AccuTrans might be less of a headache)

      • looking into the program you mentioned. looks like a canadian compay makes it. cost is about 30 buick or so so I will likely buy it pretty soon:)

        thanks for the info:) I’am a LONG way from being able to create ships etc, i can only import models and create images. the learning curve is steep sing that “Miranda” class design might take months. or maybe be never since I have no clue how to do it. but I plan to try anyway:)

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