Saturday, 17 March 2012

Martian Fliers

I rather liked the look of the Barsoomian fliers in the new 'John Carter' film. They weren't really as Burroughs described them, but they had a 'Burroughs' feel about them. I'm sure he wouldn't have objected to how they were shown.

Anyway, there is a current discussion on the HOTT Yahoo Group about suitable models to depict fliers in Martian armies, so I thought I would post scans of illustrations I have of them that I think are close to how they are described in the books.

The first three are from 'Warriors Of Mars - The Warfare Of Barsoom In Miniature' by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume and published by TSR in 1974*. The pictures are by Greg Bell. Click on them to see them bigger:

Pictures of Martian warships from Gygax and Blume's magnificent 'Warriors of Mars'

This small picture is the only depiction of a flier I could find by Michael Whelan. He did cover illustrations for all eleven of the Martian novels, and all of them are pretty accurate with regard to the descriptions and contents of each book. So if Michael Whelan thinks that this is what a Barsoomian flier looks like, then this is probably what a Barsoomian flier looks like. It's tucked away on the back cover of 'Llana of Gathol':

A Martian flier, illustrated by Michael Whelan

*This is what it says - a complete set of miniatures rules for Barsoom. It has ground combat at both army and individual scale, and also a set of rules for aerial combat. Very old-school, of course, but quite nostalgic.


  1. I loved the film. As a result I have read the first three books back to back, downloaded from Project Gutenberg onto my Blackberry.

    In the first book I think it is there is a description of a one man flyer. It's very much like the one in the film. A bit like a speeder bike.

  2. The Bell warships shown, and to a lesser degree, the fliers in the film both suffer from the fact the pilot does not have a clear view of the ground to facilitate landing.


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