|Armament:||Torpedoes, Tholian web|
|Interior cabin, with Commander Loskene|
Tholian starships were small starships of characteristic shape, utilized by the Tholian Assembly during the 23rd century. These vessels were armed with plasma torpedo-like torpedo weaponry. But their most powerful weapon was the so-called "Tholian web". This web was "weaved" by two or more Tholian vessels around an enemy ship. This web could be used as a high power immobilization field/tractor beam to pull captured starships back to Tholian territory. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")
In 2268, a Tholian vessel intercepted the USS Enterprise, demanding that it leave Tholian territory. At the request of First Officer Spock, Tholian Commander Loskene allowed the Enterprise additional time before they were required to withdraw to allow the Enterprise to rescue James T. Kirk from the interphased USS Defiant. The Enterprise crew was unable to rescue Kirk within the Tholians' time limit and the Tholians opened fire, damaging the Enterprise. The Enterprise returned fire, inflicting damage on the Tholian vessel.
Soon after, a second Tholian vessel appeared, and the two ships began constructing a web in an attempt to trap the Enterprise. The Enterprise crew, fortunately, was able to recover Kirk and escape before they fell victim to the Tholian's web. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")
Ships of the classEdit
Due to restrictive finances, Walter M. Jefferies designed the Tholian ship to be simple and inexpensive to build. Two studio models of the vessel were built, constructed almost entirely from wood except for the addition of reflective inserts embedded near the tails. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection issue 26, p. 11) At least one of these minitiatures, the actual working model of the Tholian ship, was constructed in part by Denis Russell. As he later demonstrated at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention Vegas Con in December 2005, this model was so tiny that Russell could keep it in his pocket. wbm
For the making of "The Tholian Web", the Tholian ships were filmed against black velvet. (Starlog, issue 25, p. 61) The filming made use of some multi-colored lighting which was employed to help accentuate the strange, alien nature of the Tholians. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection issue 26, pp. 11 & 13)
The visual effect of the Tholian ships spinning their web around the Enterprise in "The Tholian Web", which was nominated for an Emmy Award in recognition of its special effects, definitely made an impression on the television audiences of the 1960s and the Tholian ship was certainly not forgotten. However, illustrator John Eaves – who modified the Tholian ship for appearances on Star Trek: Enterprise (in the episodes "Future Tense" and "In a Mirror, Darkly") – was slightly critical of the original design. "I felt the profile view was a little stark and harsh in The Original Series," he said. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection issue 26, pp. 11 & 12) On the other hand, reviewer Sue Uram described the Tholian craft as "a rather nice touch from the effects department." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 97)
This model was the last new original design created for the series, and was subsequently redressed to represent the Aurora in "The Way to Eden". In fact, according to Star Trek Maps, due to the similarity, it was believed by Starfleet that the Tholians were using modified Federation space cruisers as their starships.
For the 2006 remastered edition of "The Tholian Web", the Tholian vessels appeared much different from their initial appearance. Now more closely resembling the Tholian ships from Star Trek: Enterprise, the TOS-R version featured an altered structure and lighted interior.