Saturday, November 13, 2010
Built into the hull of a flier are buoyancy tanks which contain the eighth Barsoomian ray or the ray of propulsion. This ray is “constantly streaming from the planet constituting a force of repulsion to gravity which when confined is able to lift enormous weights from the surface of the ground. It is this ray that enabled them to so perfect aviation such that battleships far outweighing anything on Earth sail as gracefully and lightly through the thin air of Barsoom as a toy balloon in the heavy atmosphere of Earth.” (PM, XXI) Altering the concentration of the eighth ray in the flier’s buoyancy tanks allows the craft to vary altitude; however, the Red Planet’s thin atmosphere makes heights in excess of five haads (1000 ads or 2 miles) suicidal.
Noiseless engines with concentrated, highly flammable, fuel power the propellers that drive these vehicles to speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. The flier is steered either by using large rudders or by varying the relative performance of the propellers. Each modern flier is equipped with the “ordinary Martian Air compass, which, when set for a destination, will remain constantly fixed thereon, making it only necessary to keep a vessel’s bow always in the direction of the compass to reach any point upon Barsoom by the shortest route .” (TMM, II)
The scout flier (not pictured above) is the smallest and fastest of all fliers. “The body of the one-man air craft is about sixteen feet long, two feet wide and three inches thick, tapering to a point on each end. The driver sits on top of the plane upon a seat constructed over the small, noiseless radium engine which propels it.” (PM, XXI). It is capable of exceeding speeds of 150 miles per hour. The scout flier is utilized in scouting, patrolling, and relaying messages.
Does anyone know where I can obtain good miniatures to represent Martian fliers?