Bryan's VSF Inspiration

Victorian Science Fiction Inspiration

Back to whence you came

VSF is an alternative history in which the imaginations of Joules Verne and other creative writers rule. Man uses his steam powered technology to explore the world and beyond. Here is a brief history of Victorian Mars.

Victorian Science Fiction Inspiration

Land Vehicles

This was my starting point, a 1940 Solid Model (blocks of wood with plans) of an Australian tank called the Hornet. I don't know if it is real or not.

Some inspiration for "future" work.

This is a British steam road train as used in Boer War.
Link to full plans of the Flower's
This is the Fowler B.5 Armoured Road Locomotive.
The link above includes line drawings and shows needed information to build one for yourself.

A road train not unlike the Fowler.
This model is a tricycle, but looks to be making good headway through some acid terrain.
Could this be Mars? Most be a more settled area as the ladies are riding up front for this photo.

The use of wheels were not limited to the conventional arrangement of four.

A simple tricycle arrangement

An interesting six wheel engine with the center set wider then the leading or trailing set.

A internal explosion powered six wheeler with a four wheel tuck under the heavy engine area. Sprung to provide a smoother ride.

Steam engine were very powerful.

And even internal explosion engines could be made to pull a road train along good roads.

The problem comes when you want to more your engine off of the roads.
Poor traction and high ground pressure meant that heavy engine would often become mired in soft ground.
There were several ways to address these issue:

Some images that I am planning on working up some more Landships.

The Pedrail in concept and in action.
Too bad the works of the wheel is covered by a protective plate on this engine.

Early experiments with caterpillar style tracks were powered by steam.

Several makers were working on this same line.

This model by Ruston.

This model by Hornsby

Here a fully tracked engine pulls a artillery caisson and gun.

Early "War Tanks" and "Combat Cars" can be an excellent source for VSF inspiration.

This is a large German Panzerkampfwagen planed for the Great War.

A Russian vehicle also planed for the Great War. Clearly large was in fashion. Check the size of the man standing at the far right.

This photo shows off a end of WWI tank to its best potential.

One important question is "what would these things look like". There are a growing number of models of VSF landships out in the world now. Most follow a First World War line. As I must admit, the exotic look of WWI "tanks" was the original inspiration for my journey into the world of Victorian Science Fiction. But to assume that such vehicles of the late nineteenth century would be much like that of WWI is perhaps a very poor one.

Here are a few more imaginative ideas of land fighting vehicles.
These, in fact, date from the time of the Great War, and are perhaps not too practical, but do show the imaginative nature of thought on this issue.

This artist's impression of a flame shooting landship is perhaps more practical.

With this as a background and armed with the building plans from the "Australian Hornet" I set out to make my own Landship .

Victorian Science Fiction Inspiration

Water Vehicles

A wonderful page with very nice graphics about The Winans Cigar Ships.

In a slight change of direction, let us consider the development of the navel Ironclad.

Here we have the deck plans for one of the transitional forms as the navel ship moved from the sail powered vessel to the steam power.
More examples of these early Ironclads can be found at The First IronCland.
I drew particular inspiration from:

The French Taureau built in 1865, and

The French Le Tigre built in 1871.
These vessels and others of the same type, known as Iron Rams, were the model from which I have built my own Iron Rams.

A few more imaginative ship designs.


Here is a link to some more inspiration:
Armored vehicle of the Great War are a great source of inspiration. It is difficult to find a better modeling and information site then Landships .
Of particular interest to me is French Tanks in French. (I should have paid better attention in language class.)
For vehicle of the First World War and shortly there after made by Great Britain try the Tank Page .
For more direct VSF inspiration go to theMajor General's. and THE AFRIBORIAN CAMPAIGN.
Here is an Amphibian Vehicle that I am planning to model as part of the German force on Venus. It is from about 1960, but is too cool of idea not to use. Just go to the The Marsh.

Below are links to some of the interesting things happening in the Victorian and previctorian age:
Perhaps one of the most interesting is the work of John Worrell Keely who claimed to have tapped into the power of "Ętheric Energy". See John Keely and THE KEELY MOTOR COMPANY .
And if that is not enough to get you thinking, consider The Great Moon Hoax. "Thank you"s go out to the folks at The New York Sun.

Here is an excellent example of what can be done with the potential of Victorian creativity. Take some time to explore the times of Boilerplate.

To start VSF over go to The Victorian Science Fiction Page. To see where this inspiration leads go to How To Page. For more models go to Model Gallery Page. To get all the way home go to DyeHard's Home Page.

I hope to be able to add more latter.

Thank you for looking:


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.