Ships of this class saw action at the Battle of Sector 001 in 2373, where several were lost. Several other Steamrunner-class starships were involved in the Dominion War, and participated in Operation Return in 2374 and the second Battle of Chin'toka in 2375. Several ships of the class were stationed near Deep Space 9 during the war. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "The Changing Face of Evil")
Ships of the class
- USS Appalachia (NCC-52136)
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, a USS Hiroshima was a Steamrunner-class vessel, but such a ship was never mentioned on screen. This ship name referenced in the Encyclopedia II is from behind-the-scenes source from ILM by John Eaves and Alex Jaeger. The original ship scale with alternate names can be found on John Eaves' blog. Nevertheless, the reference to the vessel was removed from the third version of the Encyclopedia.
The Steamrunner-class starship was designed by Alex Jaeger at ILM. The original name was apparently intended to be "Streamrunner," based on the name appearing in Jaeger's sketch of the revamped "USS Streamrunner," dated 4 April 1996. This name was a homage to a song by the band Fold Zandura. The reasoning for the name change to Steamrunner is unknown, and was subsequently adapted (or adopted) by the Star Trek Encyclopedia and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual. Jaeger, in far more detail, recalled in 2009,
"Here's a bit of background on the Steamrunner: As one person pointed out, it was originally to be called the StReamrunner. This was the name of a song from a band called 'Fold Zandura' (formerly 'Mortal') It had a sci-fi feel to it and I thought it made a cool ship class name. But somewhere in the process the 'R' got dropped in one of the approval pages and it became the Steamrunner, which is still kinda cool retro-steampunk sounding. So the name stuck. Also on the design, it is actually the merging of two different designs I did. The front saucer section of one ship combined with the catamaran nacelles and boom section of another. The boom section of the second ship was then flipped upside down so the deflector was underneath. The first design had a secondary hull, but instead of struts to hold the nacelles, they where instead mounted to the saucer section and then cowled over. There was even a 3rd version with 4 nacelles, two on the top and two more attached to the lower secondary hull.
"The second design was more to my liking, it was a bit more 'automotive' in its design shapes. It featured the catamaran nacelles, but instead of being mounted on top of the saucer, they were mounted underneath and the saucer sort of bent around them. The Deflector dish boom was then mounted more like the boom on the Akira class only this wasn't a weapons pod per say. In the end I was asked to combine the front of #1 with the tail of #2 and after some adjustments, bam the Steamrunner as it appears in First Contact. Some of the more angular features were also a result of the rough model as well. So the more rounded #2 design would've been less economical from a VFX standpoint too."
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The model was rendered as a computer-generated model and built by Larry Tan and Paul Theren. According to designer Jaeger, the software used to build the models consisted of software that, "(...)ILM was using Electric Image for animation and Form-Z for the models of these ships back then." A year later ILM was requested by Paramount to hand over their models made for Star Trek: First Contact, amongst them the Appalachia, to Digital Muse in preparation for use in the upcoming DS9 episode "Sacrifice of Angels". Due to software differences, the model had to be largely rebuilt in LightWave 3D and was remapped at a higher resolution in the process, but was completed early enough to be already showcased in "Call to Arms".
It also appeared in Star Trek: Legacy as a playable ship.
In Star Trek Online, the Steamrunner-class Blockade Runner Escort is an unlockable ship obtained by installing the game with Valve's Steam DRM software and purchasing the "Steam Starter Pack".
The following specifications are given in the Starfleet Operations Manual supplement for Decipher's Star Trek RPG:
- Type: Heavy Frigate
- Dimensions: Length, 375 meters; width, 270.9 meters; height, 79.5 meters.
- Complement: 200 officers and crew
- Performance: Warp 9.6 for 12 hours
- Armament: Four type-10 phaser emitters, two photon torpedo launchers.