Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm A Grown Man And I Bought This: War Of The Worlds Martian War Machine

I first saw the 1953 version of "War of the Worlds" on TV when I was a kid (and not in the 1950s!). I was probably around 8 years old. It made a HUGE impression on me. Those Martian War Machines were the coolest things I'd ever seen in my life. And the scariest! There's something really alien about that manta ray shape and that cobra head, and that sound it made when it fired its heat ray! It still gives me chills to this day. I probably wouldn't be as much into sci-fi, horror and comics as I am if not for that movie.

So ever since I first saw the movie I've been wanting a toy or model version of the War Machine. It took over 40 years, but the wait is finally over! Pegasus Hobby just released a 1/48 scale Martian War Machine model kit and an identical pre-painted and assembled version. All I can say is it's about freakin' time!

I have no idea why it took over 40 years to get a plastic representation of one of the most memorable spaceships in movie history (Actually there have been a number of unofficial "garage kits" made over the years, but they were all prohibitively expensive-- think three figures. Way out of my price range). If I had to guess I would say the hold up was due to some sort of rights issue. That's generally the case in instances like this.

This is a photo of the pre-painted version, obviously. The sculpting is top notch. The parts all fit together pretty seamlessly for a mass-produced toy. For the past 40 years the only place I've ever seen the ship is in the movie, where it's pretty much only shown head on. So it's kind of weird to be able to see it from other angles, especially from above. It always seemed very slim and flat from the front. From above it's surprisingly bulky, and not quite the shape I expected. It's still a cool design though, that was way ahead of its time.

As happy as I am to finally have a toy of the War Machine, I have a couple of complaints (you would expect no less from me). First, it would be nice if the cobra head and the green translucent parts lit up, but that's not a deal breaker.

My main complaint is the mirrored bronze finish on the main body. I've seen the movie fifty times and the ships were a dull metallic bronze. They weren't reflective. If the movie model had a mirrored finish it would have reflected the studio ceiling, stage lights and anything else in the room. So I'm not really sure why they went the mirrored route here. Plus the reflective finish is very fragile-- mine came out of the box already scratched by those cursed twist ties that lash every toy I buy to its packaging. The finish also shows fingerprints like nobody's business as well. I'm thinking about repainting it a dull metallic bronze like it was in the movie.

Those are minor quibbles though. I'm just happy to finally have a War Machine. If you're interested in buying one, don't bother looking in any brick and mortar store. I bought mine at a model/toy show. The internet is probably your only hope of acquiring one. Just keep it away from Earthly germs & microbes!

Now if someone would just release an affordable Nautilus sub from Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea," my life would be complete!

By the way, I know that these photos are awful. I really need to buy some sort of backdrop and learn to use a camera. Don't judge me!


  1. Oh, Man, you know I'm getting one. I already looked the site up online for Pegasus and I'm giving them a call tommorow! Hell, yes! -- Mykal

  2. If that cobra head is hollow thru the neck I can help you light it up.

  3. Happy to help, Mykal! I didn't know they were finally making one until I saw them at the model/toy show.

    KW: Yes, the cobra head and body are hollow, but it would be impossible to wire it. I'm afraid you'd destroy it trying to get inside it. It's pre-glues and assembled. Now the model kit is a different story. I bought the model kit as well, and that would be easier to wire for lighting. You could wire it up before you put it together.

  4. I bet keith can make it happen!

    I would definitely repaint this to a nice matte finish, i agree the shiney just isn't doing it.
    Can you imagine if the X-wing from star wars was all shiney?

  5. Yeah, that mirrored finish has to go. It's even more reflective in person than it looks in the photos. I'm wondering if I repaint it if I should sand it down first. I'm not sure if paint will stick to that mirror-ey stuff.

    If the X-Wings had a mirrored finish they would have looked like the Queen's shiney ship in the Phantom Menace. I didn't like any of the ships in that movie.

  6. I'd be very cautious about a re-paint. Considering the highly reflective and hard smooth surface, it might come out looking very painted and streaky. -- Mykal

  7. I figured I would use copper or bronze spray paint on it. That ought to make it smooth. I agree, brush painting would not be the way to go. Especially the way I paint!


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