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The Jitty's Top 25 Sci-Fi Space Ships

Posted by Hunter on Tue, 21 Jul 2009.

Mother Ship Close Encounters 3rd Kind

We linked to a while back from the forums to an article, listing the top 75 Sci-Fi Space Ships of all time. Quite frankly, some of the glaring omissions were just too much, so we decide to put things right. So here we have our top 25 Sci-Fi space ships, according to the Jitty, please note we did not include designs from cartoons or computer games and neither did we include any of the ships from the Waltons in space meets The Seven Samurai and Star Wars, otherwise known as that beast of a film: Battle Beyond the Stars. So let’s start, from 25th place, and work our way to number 1. Start the Top of the Pops music now ta.

25 – The Mothership (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). In one of those early cinematic jaw dropping moments, Spielberg introduced filmgoers to the awesome spectacle of his vision of the “Mothership” in a true “how small do you feel now” fashion. It’s almost a floating Minas Tirith, complete with towers, more lights then an 80’s stadium rock festival, and a host of smaller UFO’s zipping about around it.

24 – The Martian Ship (War of the Worlds). H G Wells mars invasion of earth was an inspirational masterpiece, and although it dealt with far more “current” and ”earthly” issues, it still has to be one of the benchmarks of sci-fi. Their ships were totally impervious to the various amounts of ordinance thrown at them, and just when you thought you had found a nice hidey hole, this weird little Cobra thing complete with camera and death ray would silent weave and snake it’s way into view.

Starfury Babylon 5

23 – Starfury (Babylon 5). Criticisms were levelled at the design of this concept as being a rip off of Star War’s X-wing, or indeed the Last Starfighter, and largely speaking they were grossly unfair. The Starfury was a lot more then that, with the ability to flip and turn on a “dime”, and look cool into the bargain as well. The only reason why this little dogged fighter isn’t higher up the rankings is because we feel that those little cannons just aren’t persuasive enough.

22 – The Scimitar (Star Trek). If ever there was going to be a ship that would make Jean-Luc Picard fear for his own safety (and for his head just to look just that bit more shiny with sweat) it was going to be The Scimitar. Looking like a cross between a Klingon Bird of Prey on a supersize me diet, and a Lionfish, this thing had the ability to unleash all sorts of planet sized levels of hurt on its tagets. As ever though, the weak point lay in its captain, Shinzon, as opposed to the “foolproof” cloaking device. How on earth he thought he was going to take on the Federation when all it took to undo his evil plans was a straight forward ram from the Enterprise Captain, it’s just blatantly a whole ship of fail. We would recommend Shinzon re-build the Scimitar, watch classics such as Ben Hur taking particular note of the Roman War Galley’s tactics, and also acquire a copy of “How to ram a ship for Dummies”.

Shadow Cruiser Babylon 5

21 – Shadow Cruiser (Babylon 5). It’s dark, it’s pointy, it looks like a spider sea urchin cross, and it has a cool name. Just for extra effect you were never sure if it was a living thing or an actual spaceship, accompanied by some very uncomfortable screeching noises.

20 – B Wing (Star Wars). For a relatively small ship, it got a lot of attention. A unique design, and a mainstay in the Rebel’s fleet the B Wing is simply a must for this top 25. With a rotating / detachable cockpit, the B Wing would leave kids the galaxy over contemplating the correct way to hold their beloved toy, horizontal, vertical, who knows, but it’s cool any which way.

19 – X Bomber (Star Fleet). Gerry Anderson meets Star Wars and Japanese Anime. The awesome X Bomber, the flag ship of Star Fleet, was the protector of the universe from the nefarious deeds of the evil (but possibly cute) General Makara and her Imperial Alliance. I lost count of the amount of times the X Bomber was downed, but then fought back in true Rocky style to be triumphant over evil with guns blazing.

Liberator Blakes 7

18 – The Liberator (Blakes 7). The Liberator was a deep space battle cruiser bucking the trend of being needlessly slick and aerodynamic, with rumour having it that the Liberator's main hull was based on the shape of a cordless microphone with the three nacelles being added to disguise its design basis. Behind the assortment of weapons and other gizmos available to the crew was the powerful ship AI, Zen, and a crew dressed up in Abba’s cast offs.

17 – Nostromo (Alien). The Nostromo served as an arena for Ripley and her alien adversary to do battle, which was quite frankly, monumental, and maybe not the sort of idea that Star Trek had for “First Contact”. The ship acted as a space “Tug” for a huge imposing gothic refinery. This beast would head into the deepest reaches of space for the “Company” on mining missions, or “recovery”, with the ability to detach itself from whatever it happened to be towing. Sadly however the crew had a talent for letting themselves getting picked off by a Xenomorph.

Solar Sailor Star Wars

16 – Solar Sailor (Star Wars). There’s something olde worlde with the Star Sailor “borrowing” concepts from traditional maritime design, and throwing in a bit of cool futuristic lines into the mix. Watching the beautiful reflective sail/parachute unfurl to catch the sun and sail under a canopy of stars was something of a “wow” moment, even though Mannequin Skywalker and some plot holes you could drive a Star Destroyer through contrived to divide opinions amongst fans.

15 – Battlestar Galactica (Battlestar Galactica). Looking like a hulk of a battering ram mounted on skis, the Galactica was the last hope for the inhabitants of the old Colonial Planets (all named after the signs of the zodiac) after a serious beating courtesy of their former servants, the Cylons, but it’s a damned impressive hope at that! Armed with nukes, and dazzling array of batteries that create a fire shield, it is quite simply formidable.

14 – Event Horizon (Event Horizon). This experimental behemoth, lost in space, and then found, proved to be hell on toast, quite literally. The aggressive look of this huge craft resembles at times the Klingon Bird of Prey, complete with useless wings. What put this ship in our list wasn’t an extensive array of weaponary, or the sheer scale of it, but what it’s put through. Liberate tutame ex infernos.

Icarus II Sunshine

13 – Icarus II (Sunshine). Icarus II resembled a fragile sink plunger, with an impressive heatshield of megalithic proportions designed to hide the body of the ship away from the harmful emissions of the sun it’s trying to revive. So many ships were drawn up by designers with aerodynamics in mind, to the point where we either had dull saucers or very pointy ships with little character. Of course the joys of space is that with gravity being absent, all of those aerodynamic issues can be thrown out of the window… which of course should be firmly shut it in space, so maybe just file those away in the bin instead.

12 – Cylon Raider (Battlestar Galactica). The raider looks awesome, with the searching red light, and the forward sweeping “wings”. However the inclusion of this “ship” is a little controversial, because it’s not totally a space ship. Bombshell. Nope, midway through season 2 of the new Battlestar Series we learn that these raiders aren’t spaceships flown by Cylons, oh no, they are in fact “living” Cylons themselves. Don’t get us wrong, the old design was pretty sweet too, but the new one just has the edge.

Colonnial Viper Battlestar Galactica

11 – Colonial Viper (Battlestar Galactica). Just ahead of it’s old adversary, the Colonial Viper finds itself high up in our list. Resembling the X Wing (complete with long nose, and even the colour scheme) which is no mistake as they have the same designer, the Viper was extremely zippy and agile, and in the hands of Starbuck and Apollo, were lethal. At this point we should also mention that Richard Hatch’s performance in the new series was brilliant.

10 – Eagle Transporter (Space 1999). In the 70’s the Eagle was a well recognised sci-fi bit of kit that looked pretty rugged and “fit for purpose”. Borrowing from Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds, the Eagle had an interchangeable middle section. The design was remarkably practical, with huge landing feet, and rocket engines protruding from the back. Nice and sturdy, just like the acting.

9 – Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda). The Andromeda Ascendant just screams style, and how it was left out of other “top Sci Fi ship lists” is totally beyond us. It’s aggressive but curved poise gives it a sleek futuristic look, controlled by an AI, and Hercules in space (Dylan Hunt). Instead of using warp drives, it goes through “slipstream”, similar to that used by Star Trek’s Borg.

Sulaco Aliens

8 – Sulaco (Aliens). Sadly, the Sulaco’s appearance is brief, but leaves a lasting impression. It looks like a flying M16 on steroids with a grenade launcher bolted on for good measure, and a plethora of antennae arranged haphazardly on the front. There are no Star Trek Cadillac tail fins for the captain to hoon around in, no ridiculous holodeck, here is absolutely nothing “soft” or “vulnerable” about this hulking metal lump.

7 – X Wing (Star Wars). As mentioned previously, from the guy who brought you the Colonial Viper, we have the X Wing. Very pointy, with wings that would sweep into position for what we don’t know, any ship that can knock out a planet sized space station has to be included, even if the pilot did apparently “cheat” by using the force. The totally impractical sized guns were never questioned and just looked the part with nobody asking the question of how much recoil those cannons had and whether the wings would just snap off with the first shot. Also, very handily it came with a cup holder, that just so happened to be R2D2 size too.

Romulan Warbird Star Trek

6 – Romulan War Bird (Star Trek). There are similarities it has to be said, between the front “bridge” of the War Bird and the new Cylon Raider’s “cockpit”. The first time the Romulans de-cloaked in Star Trek: The Next Generation, poor Geordie La Forge probably thought someone had tampered with his visor for a joke. With ships like this, how the Romulan Empire hadn’t given a swift kick in the rear to the Vulcans is a mystery, but we do recognise that the “Black and Decker” bowl hair cuts could account for them being very angry and serious all of the time.

5 – Slave 1 (Star Wars). Is it an iron? A knife shaperner? A fridge handle? Nope, none of the above. It is in fact the infamous and feared ship of Boba Fett, the Galaxies premier Bounty Hunter… who fell into a pit, and whose father, also a top Bounty Hunter, failed in an equally naff manner. The ship itself though is exceptional, bucking all the trends in design, and still standing out from the rest of the crowd with its unique look.

4 – Klingon Bird of Prey (Star Trek). The original “bad boys” of Star Trek certainly knew how to conquer in style. The Cornish Pasty headed ones chosen ship for instilling fear in their enemies was well chosen, and was indeed an imposing “wessel”. Even the name sounds good.

White Star Babylon 5

3 – White Star (Babylon 5). Rangers you say? In a Tolkien / Aragorn twist of writing in Babylon 5, the “Rangers” are introduced into the Babylon 5 galaxy, and what with the threat of the Shadows, a new ship is needed, and you know what. We have one just here. The White Star made it’s appearance, and the galaxy was saved. Well ok not strictly all down to the ship, but it certainly looked the part, even if it’s crew sometimes looked like the extras from Robin Hood.

2 – Millenium Falcon (Star Wars). It’s the fastest ship in the galaxy, made the kessel run in less than 12 parcecs, so there you go, it has to be good. Fantastically original design, complete with hidy holes, and “Flying Fortress” type swivel guns top and bottom, the Falcon is simply an icon of Sci-Fi.

 1 – Cheyenne (Aliens). This ship was just… well, it’s simply the best. Cobbled together from an AH64 Apache Gunship and other military aircraft, this thing had more rockets and coolness then you cold shake a stick at. And it’s a drop ship!! An express elevator to hell, going down!! The Cheyenne quite simply looks hardcore military and suitably sci-fi all in one.

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