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War of the Worlds Classic Illustrated Edition

July 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

“Across the gulf of space…intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely they drew their plans against us”…
From H.G.Wells “War of the Worlds” novel

I read those words some 50 years ago and I must admit Wells style of writing stayed with me all these years. So much so that I promised myself that one day I’d construct a diorama based on a chapter from the book.
While the “war machine” from the Classic Illustrated artist might appear dated in this modern 21st century, to a 10 year growing up in the 1950’s, it was cutting edge. Long before the Star War AT-AT’s captured the imagination of movie goers, Mr. Wells book is the “prototype” of our current crop of scifi epics. The Classic Illustrated “war machine” or tripod may not impress today’s youngsters but I had a fascination with it’s overall look and the drubbing it gave to a panicked British army. And the battle between the Royal navy’s torpedo ram the “Thunderchild” and the tripods is a classic.
The diorama depicts the “black smoke” (poison gas) attack on a British artillery position. I didn’t want the diorama to be strewn with mangled bodies so I choose a scene to be a bit “tasteful” depicting death. If you look at the soldier in the pig pen his red kerchief filtered out the poison and now he studies the unstoppable Martian device.
The tripod itself was built from scratch, using brass tube for the legs and plastic fishing bobbers for the articulated upperworks. The “heat ray turret” was a modified plastic cover from a small car model. I turned the heat ray tube from aluminum and the “tentacles” are fashioned from armored elecrical cable. The martians were built of celluclay and painted. The pig pen and shed were scratch built and the stone wall was built from model railroad scenic material (as was the grass and sand). The machine guns were built out of the parts box, and the seige gun was a modified resin kit. The figures are Tamiya and the tree is a piece of sage brush from the banks of the Rio Grande river (courtesy of a fellow builder).
I can’t say I’m a scifi builder of any worth but Mr. Well’s book just seems to stick with a person, at least for me. One of these days I plan on another diorama depicting the “Thunderchild” battle with the martians, a little different from other similar dioramas.

13 additional images. Click to enlarge

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9 responses to War of the Worlds Classic Illustrated Edition

  1. This is a great example of a good model being a good model no matter the subject. Your camera work really brings it to life. If you had not shown it on your workbench I would not have believed it to be as small as it is.
    Great model!

  2. pretty darn amazing…love all the artillery and the Gattling gun of cannon

  3. All the detailing is great. I agree that the photography really makes it with the way you posed it outside – seeing it on the table was a real surprise.

    I wonder if the guys who created the British s-f series of the 1980s, “Tripods” thought at all about Wells’ original extraterrestrials.

  4. I love it !!, it must have taken ages to complete and so refreshing that you have stuck to the original book as your source of inspiration and not the awful dumbed movie down version of recent years.I would be happy to see you get another prize for this, thanks for showing.

  5. A few words her though, this is totally off the hook!

  6. Outstanding model and photography. I think you really nailed Well’s description to the walkers.

  7. Far out! Every time I look at an elevated water tower I think of Well’s Martian war machines. Some images just don’t fade. That is sooooo cool!

  8. Mike,
    WOW! I really like what you have done to bring this scene to life. I can only add to the other comments, outstanding craftsmanship and photography. Your dedication to detail is amazing.

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