We sang songs to drown out the rumbling of the engines, and at least challenge the shrieking of the wind. We were bright blades piercing the breast of the night, recalling Roland and Oliver at Roncevaux, as was only fitting. We perched on columns of fire, arcing in a gentle parabola and feeling none of gravity’s curse, having solved the riddle of the Martian gravity engines.
It was just a drill, just a show for our allies and enemies. We all knew though. We knew we were going to Mars. We knew we were going to fight something ancient and terrible, and dig it out of its hole. It had tried for us, tried to conquer and harvest our world, and failed. The ogre and the dragon are terrible, but how much more terrible is the knight with revenge in his eye and steel in his hand? Well, we all know how that turned out!
Still, we were young and the universe was a new thing. Those old ships were deathtraps, with their fulminate fuses and the engines we really didn’t understand yet. It was intoxicating, though. Intoxicating not like any wine that mortals know, but like falling in love and foreseeing your own death at the same time. It was a different time.
-Michel de Traci-Bocage, Mémoires du Futur
The Incroyable class was a stopgap class of vessels designed to intercept a third wave of Martian landers that never came. Fast, lightly armored and terribly fragile, they were the first space vessels to be fielded by the Third Empire in any number. While cursed with a number of design deficiencies and poor serviceability, they did give the French crown an edge in practical engine design that extended up to the time of the loss of the Gloire.
-Dominic Rossignol, Origins of the Fall
Another illustration and a bit of the backstory for Spacecraft of the First World War.
often I notice stopgap machines are.... disposable with all their potential advantages often never realized- particularly their less dependence on limited resources to make and maintain even though if armor and weaponry is not a top notch brawler...
generated with industry made to be sustainable, the availability number mobility and ease of maintenance would serve to split enemy forces and concentration to which only really careless planning and over bearing mechanical prowess would swing the tide around.... even so, time would have been bought and resources saved... unless if pilot casualties are unacceptable.,.. which suck and then invalidates everything i just listed... uggggh....
still a clever idea to have the ships built around huge cannons- makes a lot more sense than many ships I've seen.
Meanwhile on Earth
Stephan: "You stupid git! You left me behind!"
Yeah, I'm putting together a sort of fake history picture book called 'Spacecraft of the First World War'. Hopefully it'll be out later this year, but life is pretty busy. I'll probably do it as a Kindle format e-book for starters, then do an expanded version for print if there's enough of a positive reaction.
Yes, the front is actually a 15" gun from a scrapped cruiser. The bit on the front is tungsten-alloy squeeze bore adapter than compresses special skirted shells down to about 14.5" to increase the muzzle velocity.
Of course, art can be a very personal matter and I totally understand if you would prefer I not. For my own part, I learned a lot from this tutorial, which seems like it's pretty legendary at this point: androidarts.com/art_tut.htm
I feakin love that ship. It's rear is just so industrial/steam punky while its bow is so smooth.
They're based on guesses as to how the great powers would recover and resume their empire building after the events of 'War of the Worlds'. The devastation had been widespread, but the captured Martian technology (automated mining and smelting, feedback and control systems, and most importantly gravity control) enabled a rebuilding of industrial and martial strength on an incredible scale. The arms race continued hand-in-hand with a sort of 'land rush' for the inner solar system. History didn't stop, but these events were greatly altered.
I'm glad you like the design. It seems like what often works well is a particular sort of look overall, but with some variation to draw the eye.
Is what's sticking out the front a huge-ass gun, or is it some component of their engines?
Yes, the front is actually a 15" gun from a scrapped cruiser. The bit on the front is tungsten-alloy squeeze bore adapter than compresses special skirted shells down to about 14.5" to increase the muzzle velocity. The unspoken rule is that these small vessels are actually expected to ram incoming cylinders if they can't be shot down. Very motivated crews.