"Death and famine stalk the land like . . . two great stalking things."
Ever since the appearance of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, walking machines -- quite often tripods --have been a feature of Victorian science fiction (as often as not stalking the land like great stalking things). My earliest exposure to Victorian science fiction was the Classics Illustrated comic book of that same novel, and the distinctive look of those Martian tripods has remained with me from that day to this. Naturally, a comment on walkers in Victorian science fiction, particularly in miniatures games, has to begin there.
The photo above is the Reveresco model of the Martian walker, patterned after the images in the Classics Illustrated comic. The legs are not quite 100% faithful to the original, but the model as built works very well on the gaming table, being able to tower over most terrain types and nestle its legs into village streets, forest clearings, etc. Nicely done.
One difficulty I always had was envisioning how a tripod would actually manage to walk, and I never found any of the stool-like arrangements of legs very persuasive. My willing suspension of disbelief is not completely crippled, of course, but I do wonder how things work. With the Martian tripods, the product of an obviously advanced technology (including heat rays, after all), I simply assumed the vehicle included a compact and very powerful gyroscope for balance. For more primitive machines, the sort Victorian inventors would cook up, it remains (for me) more of an open question.
That said, they are simply too cool to dispense with, and if you give me a good-looking model to put on the table, I'm on board.
Willing suspension of disbelief in a miniatures game is, for me, easier than in fiction. In fiction I have to envision the machine, and to envision it I have to believe in its existence. On a miniatures table, it's already there -- and a detailed, fully-painted miniature vehicle has a great deal of existential presumption. I'll have more on addressing the reality of walkers in fiction in a later post. For now, enjoy the toys.