The most marvellous machines for conveyance of persons, without which there could be no Empire- Compiled by Jakar Nilson
I beheld two ministries,
One of air and one of earth --
At a thought I married these,
And my New Age came to birth!
- Kipling, The Inventor
|Suddenly, that morning, all eyes in London veered towards the heavens. For up above flew the HMAS Byron, the latest pride of the Royal Navy. One could spot every bolt of her hull, and yet be amazed at the smoke from her Cavorite engine. The Byron was nearly as long as the Tower Bridge, yet it looked as if all of Westminster had been stuck upon it, if one would take turrets, sponsons, funnels and masts for Big Ben. One could spot an airship man waiving down to the cheering crowds, knowing full well of what lay ahead. For ahead stood the Thames, and beyond, the Channel, and beyond, all of Europe to awe. On this day, Britannia ruled not only the seas but the skies…
Here’s a list and plenty of pictures of vehicles that one can buy for 28mm Victorian Science Fiction gaming. It can be more enjoyable to work from scratch, but not everybody has the time to fine tune some of the wackiest creations (they do seem to possess more money, however, proving Franklin right).
One of the foremost makers of resin terrain, scenics and vehicles, Amorcast makes some great customisable armoured death-traps. From the huge "wooden" Grizzly walker to the Frank 'n Steam, passing by insane amounts of artillery, these babies will make your enemies flood their trenches…
And yes, these are the same guys that did the "market research" for the EE, before being kicked out for more expensive sculpts by You-Know-Who…
|Originally only a distributor, Lon Weiss went into the business of having his own line (s) of minis. Upfront here are the official G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. minis, mostly from an alternate War Between the States. (Of course, “official” here means that they just have the rule set’s name branded on and that miniatures from other manufacturers are more than welcome, unlike the Evil Empire) Lon has stated that more people are buying the parts rather than the kits, but that’s scratch builders for you…
More fun from Captain Cook's marvellous discovery, Eureka really has lots to offer for the Scientific Romance addict.
The guys with one of the best websites in showcasing their products (and having fun while doing it), Flagship Games has one of the best ranges for nautical mayhem. Not content for making historical ships for Pirates! , they also have Ironclads, submersibles, and airships! (which happens to be perfectly within the topic)
They once had a fantasy game called Leviathan, which happened to include some very good Dwarvish war machines. From Steam Golems to landships that Fu Manchu would love to build, there’s some great stuff here.
|They are not really from London, but they do supply plenty of reliable material to the Soldiers of the Empire. Landships, land tricycles, steam tractors, human-built Tripods, plenty here to satisfy both the Imperialist and the Industrialist.
Long-time makers of Aether Marines and resin landships. They have plenty of detailed vehicles from all of the Great Powers, no matter if they fly, walk, or tread. They even have habitats for those distant Lunar outposts…
Known for the card-dealing Weird Wild West game Deadlands, where magic runs wild through the North American frontier. The miniatures have character, and lots have weird things onto them, but they are a tad oversize compared to everyone else. Bikes, Gyroplanes, Steamsuits, landships, they do have a good selection here (although there’s only one of each kind…).
Formerly known as Icon, and Harlequin before that. They make a Doctor Who range, and while it is not quite what we are looking for, there were plenty of Adventures that the Doctor had in the Age of Victoria, so it does qualify. Although the sculpting is passable, it is of higher quality than the stuff from BBC’s prop department… Note that the packs tend to match Foundry prices for some reason, and that you’ll have to browse to find the figure you’re looking for, as well as four others you might have not wanted…
OK, there aren’t many vehicles to choose from, except really for
Bessie and the Tardis, and maybe these war machines. They do cost a lot.
If not, there’re plenty of UNIT forces (but they ARE from the far
fetched future of 1970, so we won’t mention them again)…
|They no longer make new things for the Victorian angle, but their Earth Aethership and Martian Tripod are still available through the London War Room.
Irony seems to be their game, since their Ironclad walker is based on the Monitor…
Seriously, it’s a nice model. Sadly with Merrimack acquired by J & T Miniatures (and the buildings and ship now produced under partnership with Old Glory) noone seems to be actually making it any more.
One for your ebay search methinks, and perhaps a polite letter to the London Times, enquiring why this piece is allowed to be looked over.
We know Parroom Station to be quite high on the idea
of scientific romance, and they've yet to let us down. For vehicles, one
can find Martian-made and Earth-made pieces. First off, a couple of small
float-ships (perfect for patrolling the canals), followed by a light version
of the Invader Tripod (lighter as in smaller, less armour, but
|Known for their large range of terrain and their range of large figures, Monolith Designs have managed to salvage some of the derelict Invader Tripods from the failed Woking Offensive. With a bit of spit and elbow grease, they’ve copied the designs and are now producing them for civilian consumption. Henry Ford, beware…
|To go along side their great collection of historical figures, Redoubt has come out with Queen Victoria’s Secret Weapon, the Land Ironclads. There are several designs, as well as a few other mechanical fantasies. Of course, who’s stopping us from using these beauties with non-Redoubt minis…
An antique company, known for the game Starguard. Most of the Reverisco vehicles are made from paper (funny, so are Robur’s…), so are much cheaper than those heavy resin models everywhere else here. Air, land, sea, you can probably find it. Heck, if you look closely enough, you’ll spot some Tripods marching through Surrey…
|Current makers of Warzone and Chronopia. To find stuff of interest, one would have to browse through the various Warzone vehicles. The Imperial, Capitol and Bauhaus walkers can quickly be converted to use by the Great Powers…
|One of the Mage Knight vehicles, seen here, is perfect for Victorian gaming. Sure, it’s awful in design, but isn’t that the whole point of VSF machinery?
|If one knows where to look, one can find model kits of the contraptions from the moving pictures of yore. One only needs to visit the local modelling store, or if there are none, to search "online" for electro-digital suppliers.
|Years ago, many may remember an atrocious movie bearing the name of the acclaimed TV series Wild Wild West; but for plenty of VSF gamers, this was a great age since Burger King had released plenty of Kid meals toys that fit right in. Everywhere you go, you will see the dreaded Tarantula Walker, a fabulous model. But where to get it, since fast food chains only run these toys for about a month? Well, EBay, garage sales, they pop up now and then…
Most will remember that Disney gave us a truly gothic version of the Nautilus, but more recently they have also given us some more of these odd contraptions with the release of the moving picture “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (this was a few years back, mind you). They must have been thinking of us (no, they were thinking about the children…) when they released a blitz of plastic toy versions of these machines that, unfortunately, just sat on the shelves.
For some splendid illustrations of this maxim, take a look at White Knight's page on this very website.
|Without whom no one would have thought of making these wonders in the first place. From those first few who grew up reading H G Wells’ The Land Ironclads and those that built flying machines out of deodorant bottles comes a fine engineering tradition of making what one does not have with the wildest assortment of materials.
Finally, an option I almost completely glazed over- die cast vehicles are readily available from tinker's stalls, hobby shops and boot sales, dollar/pound shops, those mall things, and World Fairs. Companies like Corgi, Rio, and Brumm do make a variety of 19th century coaches, steam-lorries, early 20th century automobiles, and what-nots.
And if they look like they don’t convey enough scientific romance, then simply scratch build what you like over them.
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