Thunderchild - HMS Majestic or Polyphemus

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by malfunkshun, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. malfunkshun

    malfunkshun New Member

    In H. G. Wells' book, The War of the Worlds, the Thunderchild was described as an iron clad torpedo ram which lay low in the water with dual stacks and guns. The closest thing to the description in the book is probably the HMS Polyphemus or the HMS Majestic. Neither are torpedo rams as far as I can tell, but they look like what I want to model to match the martian tripod paper model I just completed.

    Has anyone seen any good links to simple British victorian era battleship paper models (Majestic or Polyphemus, preferably)? I found a free Dreadnought kid download at Digital Navy, and I'll use that if I have to, but its a little more complex than I wanted, plus the deck guns are too big.
  2. Renaud

    Renaud Member

  3. Renaud

    Renaud Member

  4. malfunkshun

    malfunkshun New Member

    thanks for all the links renaud, but i'm looking for paper models, not just references
  5. Renaud

    Renaud Member

    Victorian Navy

    I am afraid you are on the way to buid your own: apart from the model of the Duilio, an Italian battleship by 1880, the Huascar, the small Peruvian ironclad ca 1865, Paper Shipwright's monitors, and a reconstruction of Jules Verne's Nautilus, nothing is available nor has existed. Disappointed?
  6. bholderman

    bholderman Member

    Here's my 2 cents:

    One of my interests lies in the Naval ships of the Spanish-American War, there are a few types that may be interesting to you (again, no paper models, just photo references):

    The USS Katahdin (Torpedo Ram)

    Or maybe perhaps the later monitor like the USS Terror:


    My 2 cents.

  7. Corporal_Trim

    Corporal_Trim Member

    I remember seeing a very simple paper model of a pre-dreadnought, but can't recall at the moment who makes it or where I saw it. IIRC, it was the Wien, but rather generic and toy-like in appearance, so it might be okay for a conversion job. Do it up in Victorian livery, stick a Union Jack on it and call it a day. :wink: I'll look for it and post a link when I find it.

    Regarding the somewhat earlier period of British ships, Renaud is correct. There's really nothing available that I'm aware of. The only HMS Majestic that I know of was the one of the large class of pre-dreadnought battleships of the 1890's, more modern in appearance than the earlier rams or barbette ships.

    Maybe this is not at all what you're looking for, but I had fun building Reviresco's multimedia kit the "HMS Terror". It's a combination of paper model with metal fittings and sailors, in 25mm scale. It's supposed to be a gunboat for colonial wargaming, but might do as a generalization of a British Victorian-era ship.
  8. malfunkshun

    malfunkshun New Member

    thats actually pretty close to what i'm looking for trim. something simple, and it fits the description in the book fairly closely. i may have to design my own. oh well, thanks for the info peeps
  9. Renaud

    Renaud Member

    Victorian era navy

    Battleship Wien, simplified version, available from both :

    The ironclad Huascar, 1865, two different paper models :

    and the Huascar in images :

    A German designed ironclad, 1885, built for the Chinese navy, both scaled 1/700 : ( free paper model) Chen Yuan JB.htm (resin model)

    The famous Nautilus ( 20000 leagues under the sea ) a free paper model:

    Henry Hathaways designs, most of them covering the Victorian era, fine paper models, some of them are free :

    And toys ships as a start for self modelling :
  10. Corporal_Trim

    Corporal_Trim Member

    Those are excellent links, Renaud. Yes, that's the simplified Wien model I was thinking of.
  11. ct ertz

    ct ertz Member

    Helo everyone. More great info for a new guy like me. I am looking for info on the Monitor style ships used between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century. In particular, I want to do a model of a Monitor as seen during the Civil War and then the same ship as seen during the Spanish-American War. I am not sure, but photos seem to show that the old veteran Monitors were decked over with wooden decks, much like WW2 battleships.

    Anyhow, as for torpedo Rams, what about the Confederate style. All were low sitting rams and most were armed with "torpedos" of the period. Just a thought.
  12. davelant

    davelant Member

  13. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Wow, this is really on old thread ... !

    In case anyone is still interested in this ... I think it's hard to say just what kind of ship the Thunder Child was from Wells' description. Although he identifies her as a "torpedo ram", his description of the ship sounds like something much larger. A torpedo ram was a small warship, but he seems to describe something that dwarfed the channel steamer from which the story's narrator described the famous encounter.

    From the novel (emphasis added):

    Below, a British torpedo ram of the era. Does that look like a "giant", a "leviathan"? :confused: It looks smaller than a channel steamer!

    Attached Files:

  14. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member

    An even older ship to consider is the USS Alarm spar torpedo boat (1874) from Walden Models
  15. angevine

    angevine Member

    Examining the artwork on the Musical CD (I know it is not accurate but does seem to match description) I did find the following close match HMS Lord Nelson:


  16. angevine

    angevine Member

    Another consideration could be HMS Orion but I am unsure if she is not too new for your reference:

  17. Longshaor

    Longshaor Member

    I think you're going in the wrong direction....

    I think you need to be looking at the older battleships and armoured cruisers designed by Sir William White.

    Take a look at HMS Canopus here:

    HMS Formidable:

    HMS London:

    These all seem to bear more of a resembalence to your CD cover than the Lord Nelsons or the later Orions. Hope this helps!

  18. angevine

    angevine Member

    I think your right


    I think your are correct. The ship that closely matches the CD image is HMS Canopus but the photo of her taken in WW1 (Photo Below)


  19. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Hmm ... those are all battleships aren't they? Wells said the Thunder Child was a torpedo ram, a far smaller warship. Apparently few torpedo rams were ever built, the Royal Navy had only one, the Polyphemus (see photos upthread and below). However, it was supposed to have been quite well-known at the time of the novel, so it was most likely the inspiration for Wells' Thunder Child, even though it had only one funnel and seems a bit small to qualify as a "leviathan" (maybe the Thames sidewheeler it was being compared to was tiny). Even so, it would be very odd if he used the term "torpedo ram" to describe a full-on battleship.

    It sounds like the original poster (four years ago!) was trying to remain faithful to the novel. In that case, I definitely would not use that Jeff Wayne album art as a guide. Those cartoonish Wayne illustrations have little in common with the detailed descriptions of the tripods found in the novel (beyond having three legs).

    At least that part fits the appearance of torpedo rams, which had low profiles. The nearest thing I've seen in paper, in terms of size, shape and era, would probably be something from Paper Shipwright. He has a few monitiors that are close in size and general appearance, although nothing with two funnels.

    Attached Files:

  20. Gixergs

    Gixergs Well-Known Member

    There was another thread here that went went into detail about the Thunderchild but I can't seem to find it I thought it might help ho hum. HMS Polyphemus is the most commonly quoted inspiration for the Thunderchild but I don't believe a model of her was ever found. there were 3 Iron Clads that turned up later on.

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