What the Well-Informed Adventurer is driving this year:
Victoriana Conveyances Page
BACK to Main Victoriana
(Warning: This page has some remote links to images.. some may be slow to load and may not load at all)
What would Victoriana be like without a collection of strange and whimsical conveyances for our gentlemen (and lady) adventurers to putter around in? Herewith is a page with some sources and ideas for conveyances for Victorian Science Fiction gaming. The primary source for conveyances in VSF, as in other historical periods, is the ever-burgeoning worldwide toy market. Diecast companies are a veritable goldmine for VSF conveyances (Lledo, Corgi, etc.), but the discriminating collector should consider a few facts before rushing out to purchase diecast toy cars on a grand scale. First of all, many of them are built to the 1:43 scale, which equates to "O" scale in Model Railroading. This MAY work with the overly large figures on the market today (especially the Pinnacle 30mm figures) but it will definitely make true 25mm figures look pretty diminutive next to them. It's a good idea to add some scale details to cheat the eye a bit: handrails, foot rests, etc. that ARE in scale. Secondly, diecasts are marketed as "collectibles" and all too often have a collectible PRICE. For instance, you will not be able to get Rio vehicles for under 23 dollars in the states (lower in Europe, I'm guessing). Try the Ebay market for diecast conveyances, some amazing bargains are to be had there. There is also the non-diecast plastic toy market, which is extremely volatile to predict. Visit yard sales, browse ebay, you will find some treasures awaiting you. The second section discusses movie-themed toys that can be used for VSF purposes. Lastly there is the section on purpose-built miniature conveyance
Diecast conveyances Section
The KING of Victoriana period diecast is Lledo, a British diecast company recently acquired by Corgi, another giant in the industry. Their DAYS GONE BY range is very much worth a look.
Personally, I rather like the Burrell's Steam Tractor (below), but there are many other models to choose from, including a large selection of horse drawn wagons (albeit with rather smallish horses), streetcars, trolleys, etc. Lledo is a very handy source for conveyances for "urban setting games", such as the streets of London. Lledo's parent company, Corgi, does not seem to have many older conveyances in their product line.
Rio, in Italy, makes a very cool Dion De Boutoun Steam Carriage in 1:43 scale (largish for 28mm)
I intend to modify a figure for a seated Chinese Mandarin, and create "Fu Manchu's Steam Powered Rickshaw" out of this model...
(Update) I found a De Dion Boutoun on Ebay, somewhat banged up (the rubber tires are missing on the rickshaw part, some of the lanterns are busted). With a little epoxy this will work just fine. EXCELLENT fit for 28mm figures!!
BRUM's "Old Fire", "Brumm" and "Historical" lines are exceptional. Brum is another Italian diecast company specializing in 1:43 scale cars. They have an entire line of steam-powered conveyances!
Here are some samples of Brum's work. Remember the scale is large for 1:28
Pretty impressive craftsmanship, in my opinion. I could picture Holmes and Watson tooling around the streets of London in that four wheeled cab on the right, quite easily.
NEW! Just in from a local Brum dealer, more pictures from their "Old Fire" line:
I'm loving this coach here...
Same thing, side view:
How about THIS Steam juggernaught?
Same thing, side view:
An older, defunct company is RAMI. Rami manufactured many fascinating turn of the century vehicles, including steam cars. According to Chris Palmer of GASLIGHT fame, these vehicles scale well with a standard 28mm figure. These two are my favorites, but there are many other period cars available.
Scotte voiture à vapeur 1892
Rocher Schneider 1895
Other Toys and Toy Conversions
This is a difficult section to keep up to date, because the toy market is fairly volatile. Many excellent lines of toys come and go due to their association with a movie that might have flopped at the box office. A very good example is the toy line associated with ATLANTIS, the Disney mega-flop from Summer 2001. In conjunction with the movie, Disney licensed several toy lines that featured Edwardian science fantasy style conveyances that work very well with 28 to 30mm scale figures. That's the good news. The BAD news is the movie tanked so quickly that most of these excellent toys are as of this writing (August 28, 2001 ) already in the Palookaville of toy stores, the discount bin. So if you act quickly, you can acquire some excellent and imaginative conveyances for your campaigns. Suggestions: the "Spanner" set, which creates a flame-thrower tricycle, a diminutive landship, and a deployable bridge. The Auto Evac set is designed badly-- it cannot be constructed as the picture on the top of the box indicates. However, MANY derivations of the basic set are possible, and it comes with an additional truck and a flying wing to play with. The Flyer Launcher is yet another basic truck (they look like the Model T "Liberty Trucks" of WWI fame, by the way), with a launching catapault and a flying wing attached. There's a small steam powered doohickey that's part tractor, part hoeing machine that comes with it. The "Atlantean conveyances" driven by the denizens of Atlantis are very decent aquatic conveyances with all sorts of fins and tentacles and other fishy appendages in the design. Good for "Captain Nemo" style games. Lastly there is a very decent, but small, Submarine which is usable but small. In conjunction with the movie release, McDonald's released a large selection of happy meal toys with a Atlantis theme. All of these will require some conversion work to make into usable conveyances, as they were assembled with a ridiculous large cartoon character from the movie in them. Fortunately, these are easy to remove.
Another bad movie that generated good toys was 1999's hugely awful WILD WILD WEST. I'll reserve additional critical commentary for a later date. Suffice to say that whatever its merits as entertainment, WWW generated a veritable goldmine of usable steampunk style toys. The official toy line featured a steam tank, a small "Dr. Loveless figure (on a quadriped base), a flying bicycle, and other amusements. Most of these were scaled for large action figures, but with some ingenuity they can be modified to become really, really big landships, flying conveyances and such. The quadriped base of the Loveless figure is particularly handy if you are intent on making "Walker" style conveyances. Burger King released their own line of Happy Meal Toys for this movie, which have a few interesting items-- the most popular being the giant "spider" figure that can be used to make a multi-legged "walker" conveyance (Toy Number 5 in the series). The often overlooked toy is the "Rita's Wild Ride" stagecoach (Toy Number 3 in the series) . This is fairly large for 28mm but with a little work it can be modified into a very interesting conveyance. See my TOY CONVERSION page. You will have little difficulty finding some of these in yardsale junk boxes and on Ebay. I picked up two of the Rita's Wild Ride stagecoaches for a quarter a piece, in the original plastic wrapper.
Purpose Built Hobby conveyances
I have alluded to some of the VSF conveyances in the Figure Sources page. There are some excellent sources of conveyances in the miniatures market, particularly conveyances scaled for 28mm miniature figures.
Eureka Miniatures (Australia) has some fascinating and comic bicycle models. These are truly excellent.
Scheltrum (Scotland) manufactures a nifty line of aether fliers, mole drills, armored stagecoaches, plus a wide line of in-period boats and such.
Reverisco makes a VSF Submarine, Tripod walkers, and assorted cool Stuff
The London War Room sells some very nice (albeit pricey) aether fliers
Brigade Models makes a nice range of figures for AERONEF
Redoubt Enterprises makes a new line called VICTORIA'S SECRET WEAPONS. Landships, mostly.