I’ve posted a few times about Germany’s Perry Rhodan series. This series of space opera stories began in 1961 and has been running continuously ever since. It started as the story of an astronaut named Perry Rhodan who goes to the moon with three other astronauts and discovers a stranded star vessel inhabited by aliens called Arkonides. Rhodan then sees an opportunity to unify the people of the Earth and begin a new era of deep space exploration. Around the same time, certain humans have begun to exhibit mutant abilities such as teleporting or mind-reading. Overall, the series has elements of Star Trek, Doctor Who, and the X-Men while predating all of those franchises. For the most part, I’ve been reading the Perry Rhodan NEO series, which was a reboot started in 2011.
My explorations of the Perry Rhodan universe led me to discover that in 2000, Revell released four model kits based on vehicles from the books. As far as I know, these are the only kits ever made by a major model kit manufacturer based on vehicles that appear exclusively in print media. I knew I wanted to build one of these kits both as a tribute to my enjoyment of the series and because these kits were based on books rather than movies or television. It was a little tricky to know which kit to pick. All were a little difficult to come by since the kits are no longer manufactured. I was tempted to build the Sol because it appeared in the comic series “The Cartographers of Infinity” and “Battle for the Sol” that I had read. However, I ultimately decided to build the Marco Polo, mostly because it’s the one that most resembled the ships in the novellas I had read so far. Here’s the Marco Polo ready to launch for its first mission.
The Marco Polo has appeared in numerous Perry Rhodan novellas. It first appeared in episode 450 published in 1970 called, “Departure of the Marco Polo.” Unfortunately, this story hasn’t been translated into English, but it is available for download as a German-language ebook in the United States.
We see the Marco Polo right on the book’s cover. Also, you can see, a sizable ship launching from the Marco Polo, which in turn is launching a fighter. Set in the year 3437, the novella opens with two humans, Mentro Kosum and Menesh Kuruzin, approach a giant ship, two and a half kilometers in diameter. In the second chapter, they meet Colonel Toronar Kasom who explains that the Marco Polo is a Carrier Class Ultra Battleship. They soon set off for the Sombrero Galaxy, NGC 4594, the home galaxy of a race called the Cappins who seem to have set their sights on the Milky Way.
As it turns out, the Marco Polo is a much bigger ship than the spherical ships I’ve encountered in the earlier Perry Rhodan NEO novellas, but I’m happy to have built it and I will definitely need to read more about its adventures. The model itself was somewhat challenging and involved careful painting and decal work. Still, I took my time with it and I’m pleased with the final result.
As it turns out, I have published a novel with a ship called the Marco Polo. The novel is Upstart Mystique by Don Braden. In Don’s universe, the Marco Polo is a colony ship en route to a new star system. However, it gets drawn off course to a planet where many of the inhabitants have uploaded their consciousness into the planet’s computers. Now it would seem the planet would like to add the human colonists to the data banks as well! You can learn more about Don Braden’s Upstart Mystique at: https://hadrosaur.com/UpstartMystique.php