I have said before that reading virtually every Classics Illustrated (CI) when I was a kid left a number of profound images in my head. One of the most intense is that of the Martian tripod fighting machine (above) from H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds.
I read the actual book a couple of years ago and discovered that the CI illustration, as sleek and sinister as it is, takes somewhat of a departure from the machines described by Wells:
And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it…
Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about..
Recently I discovered the fairly new book series called The Great Martian War by Scott Washburn and was once again completely captivated by the machines. This new series describes a second, much larger Martian Invasion as a sequel to the first invasion described by Wells. Washburn stays very close to Wells in describing the machines:
Emerging from the mist, maybe a half mile away was a tall, dark shape. A bulbous head sat atop a small body from which three long legs descended, Several arms waved about it. A single red eye glowed faintly in the center of the head…
…the oval (head) was mounted on a box or a cylinder. Two arms sprouted from the top of the box and three long, jointed legs were attached to the bottom. A pair of thin metal arms, almost like tentacles, were mounted between two of the legs. A ray of morning sunlight escaped the mountains to the south and the metal of the Martian machines gleamed and glittered.
OK, now I needed to get me some some of the machines to use in a wargame! Using various wooden shapes and pieces of armature wire I went to work.
Here is the first prototype:
I photographed it on the table I’m setting up to wargame the Battle of Benburb in 10mm. It stands roughly 115mm which puts it closer to 15mm scale than 10mm but I like it somewhat exaggerated:
There is a good deal of potential to do War of the Worlds in HOTT (which I’ll likely do) but I want to also explore some other rules possibilities (Washburn’s books are part of the backstory being created for the Wargames system, All Quiet on the Martian Front.)
I now have A PDF of the AQOTMF rules as well as a copy of Future War Commander. I have also ordered 10mm WWI era men and equipment from Pendraken (as well as some of their tripods – which my HOTT mentor, Terry, tells me will probable scale better for that application).
clearly I am going to run out if life long before I run out of wargaming possibilities.