Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

26 June 2016

Thunderchild (2)

So the Kreuzer Emden gets a new name, eh?

Now the ship is nearing completion, it is time to tell a bit more about the rest of the build. First of, I am not the first one to make such a diorama. The scene I planned is derived from one I saw done in styrene a couple of years ago. But as far as I know it has never before been done in paper. When asked where he got his creative ideas, jazz- bass player Ray Brown used to say: “steal anything you can”. So I did too. 
So, credits where credits due: thanks to Marco Scheloske for inspiration!

So there you have it. In the title and certainly the link above it already became apparent but for those of you that could keep their curiosity in line and read on: H.G Wells’ War of the Worlds. Thunder Child. Martian tripods. That is the story in three short sentences.

In the story, the main character sees his fiancée leaving on a steam paddler, while the tripods wreak havoc all across the country. Three of them see the small ship leaving and head for it. While they are stepping into the sea to intercept the ship, a small battleship called Thunder Child lies waiting and suddenly steams up to the approaching three intruders. In a surprise attack, Thunder Child rams the first tripod, which topples over and falls into the sea. The second tripod is taken out too, when the guns of Thunder Child come to life. Then the battle ship turns to meet the third tripod, but it already has become aware of the threat and fires its heat ray. After a couple of bursts, Thunder Child slowly sinks, taking its occupants down with it.

Here, the walkway between the front and the aft deck is made. It has a couple of small lookout posts half way through. All of it of course has railings around. a Little tricky in this scale.

I have not entirely decided which scene I want to depict. I want to make it spectacular but not with the actual explosion. So how it will look is a surprise for me, too.

Walkway attached, and left you can see the first mast in place. I used sewing pins for inner reinforcement.
The first chimney attached. It starts to look like a ship now.
The Martian tripod is my own design. I wasn’t really keen on replicating the best known version, the one from Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the story. Although it is quite iconic, and there actually is a really nice officially Jeff Wayne - endorsed paper model freely available, its legs are not how H.G. Wells described them in his novel. 
They should have been nimble and agile. The "Jeff Wayne tripod" is not able to move very swiftly and quickly at all, with its stiff legs. So I designed the tripod myself.
Looking at the images I found on the web, the most authentic ones were almost comical. The only thing they had going for them was something a little steampunk-ish in their general appearance. Others were very massive and much taller than Wells envisioned (they were about 30 meters tall).

Steampunk, yes. But a little too funny. "Whoops! Sorry! How does this thing work?"
(image: Wikimedia, drawing by Henrique Alves Corrêa, 1906)
Spielberg's version in 2005. Impressive design and also nimble legs but far too large.
(image © Paramount / Dreamworks / UIP)

It had to look of course a little “steampunk-y”, and old-fashioned to fit in with Wells’ vision. But it also had to be menacing and alien. And with that in mind, one soon enters the realm of insects. So in came the spider legs. I also wanted to continue the insect-like shape into the cabin, the “head” of the tripod. A bit like the underbelly of a beetle, segmented, curved, a little streamlined. I took my sketchbook and made an impression of what I wanted.

My own design for the Mars tripod.
The first try building it was going nowhere. I used some coloured paper I usually use for reinforcing to test the shape. As a base I cut out an oval shape out of that grey card that often is used as the backing of a writing block. Loose segment strips didn’t seem to give the right result. 

I tried those loose segment parts here. it was flimsy, flat and didn't have the front opening I wanted.
Then, after some research online, I tried a technique I saw done by people making origami insects. Double folds in a row. Zig-zag. That seemed to do the trick quite well. 

Now that looks a lot better. Sturdier, rounder and still segmented. I went with this design.
In the actual model version I am using, I added 'rivet lines' for steampunk-level detail. With a black water colour pencil I added black under the folds, which I diluted and spread out with some water and a small brush. It gave the copper colours a smudgier look.
The ‘face’ was hard. Should it have eyes? How many? Two? maybe a little too earth-like. One big eye with a cat-like vertical black slit, like I did in the drawing? Menacing for sure but does it hold in this context? Green? Yellow? Round? I tried several options and finally settled with a “blind”, shiny black screen as a face. Impersonal, detached, inhuman.

A glossy, blind face plate.
Air conditioning.
This was the first try on legs.
A three-legged bug.
The legs were supported by thin welding wire. This way I still could shape them a little after I put the paper parts on. Elbow caps and knee caps in copper coloured paper, like the “head”, the rest aluminium coloured paper. Small aluminium bands around the spot where the legs come out of the body.

Standing! Front legs ready. Do I hear someone saying Starship Troopers? Those bugs had four legs.

So, almost finished with the first tripod, I still need to do the bottom part of the legs, the heat ray and just improve some parts a little. And of course some tentacles dangling below the head. Anyway, here is the result for today. Can you hear it scream? ULLA!!


Oh yes, a PS is in order here. What about Thunder Child? Well, it also had some progress. The first photo in this post shows her as she is now. Here are some more.
It still is in need for its masts and crow's nests on both masts.
Oh, and of course its guns and some wiring.
Xacto added for scale.
Hope you enjoyed this picture-galore post!
See you soon,
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...