It’s either a warp nacelle or a lightsaber, you make the call. 😛
No, seriously, it’s one of the ships in this image:
As you can see from the text on the image, it’s a John Eaves design. As I’m sure a lot of people know, he designed several Starfleet ships for the Enterprise Season Two finale, The Expanse, and two were chosen. The one on the right was one of the ships used and, as many people probably know, I built that ship a few years ago. (it was called Intrepid on screen in the Season Three episode Twilight) In fact, I think an image of it circulates on the header from time to time. One of these days, I’m going to build that ship again in Lightwave, but not right now.
I decided the other day that I wanted to do something in the Enterprise-era, so I started looking through my references folder for NX-era stuff (which is, of course in a sub-folder. ;)) I was looking through images for inspiration when I came across that image, so I decided to do the ship on the left, which is a great design (in my opinion) but was never used on screen. As I’m sure a lot of people are aware, concept artists submit X amount of drawings, the powers-that-be pick what they like and they either ask for alterations or approve one on the spot. Fortunately, among other things, John likes to post his concept art from the various shows and movies he’s worked on, including Enterprise, on his blog, which I follow. So, I’ve saved various things he’s posted over the years to use as inspiration later. For this particular ship, later became now. 😉
For the overall design, the ship will be pretty much as John has it drawn. I see no reason to change it because I really like the design, that’s why I’m building it. Though, of course, I’ll be doing more Enterprise-esque details so that it fits in with the other ships from the series. Fortunately, Enterprise was a bit of a Renaissance series, in that warp drive had been invented less than a century earlier and Earth was designing newer engines and ships, trying to push the technology forward. So, unlike the later (or earlier, depending on your point of view) shows and movies, no two ships really have the same details. Indeed, even the warp nacelle designs vary slightly from ship to ship. So, this leaves me a bit of leeway with the design.
I started with the nacelle because it’s easy to use for scale. I did a quick check using my fingers as calipers and the nacelles on both ships are the same size, or at least close enough. So, I loaded up the orthos I have for the Intrepid at the scale I figured out when I built that ship and used that to get the nacelle the proper size. Obviously, there’s much more to do on the nacelle before I can even start on the pylons, but I wanted to show my progress thus far. I would like to have been farther along before showing progress, but I’m still learning the software and much of what I’m doing I’m figuring out as I go. Though, as a proof of concept model, it’s going great. I never could have gotten the side cut-out or the part that goes inside and wraps around the hull to come out that smoothly in TrueSpace. Indeed, my Intrepid has some mesh errors in that area. Also, I figured out a great way to do the hull paneling using mutlishift and smooth shift, which took some trial and error to figure out (I used a sphere for testing.) But, it worked great. Also, I kept making mistakes earlier and had to keep going back and redoing stuff, so that didn’t help my progress. But, all in all, it’s going well. 🙂