So I bought a second (third-,... ,seventh?)-hand ArtAsylum Enterprise 1701-A (Wrath of Khan-ish), no battle damage, and I noticed that for some reason it is possible to remove the nacelles from the struts, and the struts from the secondary hull. The mechanism to enable clicking the pieces onto each other and removing them again are well executed, so I am rather sure that it is not simply for assembly purposes (where some click-or-glue-once thing would suffice). Yet the saucer section seems to not be removable from the second hull, which is odd, given that would be the cinematic and canon choice if removal of parts is on the table.

So my question: Is there a series/movie sequence where the Enterprise 1701-A gets its nacelle(s) shot off, and or the struts, but does not saucer-separate?

NCC-1701A Model, Partially Disassembled


2 Answers 2


No, but the Constitution Class appears to have that ability. The Enterprise certainly needed to jettison its nacelles in TOS: The Savage Curtain (and Kirk anticipates that they can do this), although the crew ultimately did not receive his order.

KIRK: Scotty, inform Starfleet Command. Disengage nacelles, Jettison if possible. Mister Spock, assist them. Advise and analyse. Scotty? Scotty?

YARNEK: Your communicators no longer function, Captain. You may proceed with the spectacle.

TOS: The Savage Curtain - Transcript

A similar situation occurs in TOS: The Apple. Kirk suggests they lose the nacelles if needed, but Scotty comes up with an ingenious fix and they end up not doing so.

KIRK: Then use your imagination. Tie every ounce of power the ship has into the impulse engines. Discard the warp drive nacelles if you have to, and crack out of there with the main section, but get that ship out of there!

SCOTT: Sir, I'm going to switch over everything but the life-support systems and boost the impulse power, but that's just about as dangerous.

KIRK: Do it. Kirk out.

TOS: The Apple - Transcript

  • Thanks for the answer - i knew about The Apple, but The Savage Curtain scene was new to me. That this was only ever hinted at, but never actually done makes it doubly weird that Art Asylum would go for nacelle separation as the 'action' component on their model.
    – bukwyrm
    Aug 20 at 8:30
  • 1
    @bukwyrm I think the Star Fleet Technical Manual mentioned the ability, and maybe also The Making of Star Trek. Model makers would have been familiar with these sources.
    – Barmar
    Aug 20 at 14:18
  • @Barmar -I've checked the Technical Manual as well as the Mr Scott's Guide to the Enterprise (and the fake Haynes manual) and none of them mention any way of decoupling the nacelles on the original Enterprise
    – Valorum
    Aug 20 at 14:32
  • 2
    I thought of them as being effectively the same -- you jettison the nacelles by separating the whole engineering section from the saucer section. The terminology is just a matter of perspective.
    – Barmar
    Aug 21 at 15:30
  • 1
    I think the "main section" is the saucer section.
    – Barmar
    Aug 21 at 17:53

Please note part of this is speculation, but the original quotes leave some room for interpretation and I guess the writers didn't have any specifics in mind.

From The Savage Curtain:

Scotty, inform Starfleet Command. Disengage nacelles, Jettison if possible.

"Disengage" and "jettison" are rather broad. While it might suggest dropping the names, it might also refer to simply jettisoning fuel like real world planes might do in emergencies.

The quote from The Apple is way more specific:

Discard the warp drive nacelles if you have to, and crack out of there with the main section, but get that ship out of there!

The writers probably intended this to definitely be some mechanism to get rid of the "dangerous bits" in some kind of fashion and to build tension, but ultimately it wasn't picked up again and most likely retconned.

What brings me to this conclusion two big features specifically introduced with the main protagonist ships in both The Next Generation and Voyager:

  • The Galaxy class (i.e. Enterprise D) introduced the saucer separation as a big thing, which is also why it's heavily featured in the pilot episode. It's quickly forgotten again for most of the episodes, but it never sounded like a stock feature common on other ships, especially considering it would have been way more useful on many episodes.
  • The Intrepid class (i.e. Voyager) added jettisoning the warp core as something new (mostly to add the prospect of "never getting home" as an undesired plot outcome other than losing the whole ship) after TNG promoted it to possibly the most likely cause of ships getting destroyed.

If either of these two features (in any kind of iteration) would have been available since Kirk's generation, wouldn't it have seen more widespread use during and after TNG?

As for your model kit: Losing one or more nacelles during battle wasn't a too uncommon sight throughout the series, when they wanted to depict a damaged or derelict ship for plot reasons. Maybe the creators simply wanted to provide an easy way for this without breaking the actual model?

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