The Definition of Steampunk

2014_Post_feature_thin

steam·punk

noun stēm-pəŋk

:  science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology

“Steampunk.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 May 2014. 

I think that’s a boring, generic definition written by someone who has no interest in the genre. I define Steampunk as:

steam·punk

noun stēm-pəŋk

: A science fiction sub-genre featuring post-apocalyptic or open faced anachronistic technology, spiritualism, and/or evolution. An art and design rebellion against the modern era of disposable products, hermetically sealed technology, and safety labels.

The historical fiction re-enactment style stuff isn’t nearly as interesting to me as the post-apocalyptic punk art of steampunk.

My introduction to the ideas that make up steampunk as a fantasy sub-genre came from watching Voyagers! reruns as a kid back in the 80’s, watching City of Lost Children in 1996, and later playing Thief: The Dark Project in 1998. These sources have nothing to do with the Victorian era too often pre-supposed as the definition of steampunk. The sequel to Thief pushed the “medieval fantasy universe with electricity and steam power” aesthetic further. The key defining idea in Thief 2 was a hidden war between a religious faction of machinists and a nature worshipping pagan faction.

I thought that was a great contrast and I still like that balance in my art. My other influences were mostly Japanese with more well-known titles, like Final Fantasy VII (more dieselpunk, but it still counts) and another Square Enix title, Full Metal Alchemist. There were plenty of other influencing sources too, but I really didn’t assign a genre title to anything until 2007 when the term “Steampunk” was a joke about “Goths that found brown.” I never got into the wardrobe part of the genre because my clothing is starkly functional and rarely defined by a myriad of accessories. That said, I did sketch a coat and pants back in the day that now look totally steampunk-esque to me.

Well, that’s my definition of Steampunk post. How were you introduced to the genre and how do you define it? Let me know in the comments. Cheers.

Posted in Steampunk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cosplay: N7 Armor Project – Day 1

People cosplaying Mass Effect characters has been really popular at conventions lately. I’ve played the games and am a huge fan of that universe, but only recently did I get past the perfectionist in my head enough to try using cheaper materials like EVA foam instead of wishing I could use carbon fiber, like the real thing. I’ve wanted to put together some blue, N7-style armor to use for a photo shoot with the Nerf arsenal. I found a blog online that had rough patterns for the EVA foam version of the N7 armor. I have the EVA foam, the straps, the buckles, and the tools. I printed the patterns out earlier and taped them together. They look a bit big for me, but I’ll follow the pattern for the first copy to make sure I do it right. I’ll size them as I go. I’ll make sure to post my process here as I go. For now, I’ve linked below to a zip containing all the PDF printouts of the patterns that I am using. Keep in mind the scale is a little big. I recommend printing at a percentage of the scale. I tried 100% but it’s made for giants. I’m going to try 70% now. The gauntlet is a good starting point.

The blog I got the idea from is: Bioweapons.com.

[download id=”8″]

Posted in Props and Costuming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cosplay: Professor Paradox

Last weekend during the Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, New Jersey I thought it would be fun to cosplay a lesser known time traveler, Professor Paradox. I figured there’d be plenty of Doctor Who’s, particularly since the tenth doctor had a steampunk flavored TARDIS bridge. David Tennant (the tenth Doctor) was my first Doctor Who, and I’ll always have a soft spot for his portrayal of the character; but I thought it might be fun to show up as a different anachronistic character. I chose Professor Paradox from the Ben 10 series on Cartoon Network. Paradox is a bit more diesel punk, but the later Ben 10 series had him appear as an intentionally (hang a lantern in the dialogue) steampunk time-farer. The first theme was simpler and looked like a real scientist, so I chose to assemble that version. I trimmed out the safety goggles with a little brass to steampunk it a bit, and that’s about the only difference.

20140521-213606_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I present the source character below as an example.

Paradox3

Posted in Props and Costuming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steampunk World’s Fair 2014

Last weekend was the Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, New Jersey. I had a blast wandering around the booths and listening to the various panels or musicians. I had attended several years ago and spent the weekend taking photos of the … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Modding Week: All but the Vulcans

Here it is, ladies. The finished products of my misery last week. I had a couple of problems when a can of black paint didn’t adhere to the plastic in certain places. It caused some cracking of the paint later … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Modding Week: Grey Faction

Here’s a gallery of last night’s painting. The focus was on the grey faction. I started with the Nerf Barricades, masked them off, and brushed on the matte grey. I did the same with the Nerf Stampede. The CS-6 Longshot was … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Modding Week: Arsenal update

I’ve got so many paint mods hanging to dry now that I don’t know where to start with this update. In an effort to maximize these past few nights, I’ve gotten almost the entire rifle and handgun arsenal painted. Everything except … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Modding Week: CS-6 Update

The painting is almost complete. After I applied the primer black coat to the Nerf CS-6 I did a little simple form of ‘battle aging” using outlining and dry brushing with silver paint (sprayed the silver can into a plastic bin). I … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Modding Weekend: Nerf Barricade

I got a ton done, but this isn’t really a mod. This is more of a Nerf blaster paint re-scheming.

20140503-205500_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I’ve shaved the the labels off the Barricades and prepped them for painting.

20140503-210236_Photographer_Jon_Decker

Because I’m going with the cyber-punk theme, I decided to use a metallic paint which supposedly sticks to plastic as my base coat. I like the way that metallics make matte black look metallic later. The first coat is always light, just to make sure it sticks.

20140503-210639_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I was going to mod the Barricades for better speed and efficiency, but then decided that their use as props made power modding useless. I’ll show updates when I get more done on them.

Posted in Props and Costuming | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Modding Weekend: CS-6 Longshot

Saturday night I started modifying one of the Nerf CS-6 Longshots from my arsenal. Speaking of arsenal, these are going to look sweet when everything matches the previously modded Centurions on the right.

20140503-192330_Photographer_Jon_Decker

The mod I had in mind was to take the one-shot pump action gun from the front and integrate it directly under the barrel, where the tripod legs are.

20140503-211025_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I’ve seen this done before, but never seen one done that was super clean and looked intentional. Since I’m doing this for the prop and not a Nerf war, I don’t have special rules to stick to in this mod, nor do I care if the gun is super powered.

Fist step was to split the extension gun barrels length-wise. I opened up the bottom half as more cutting would be required.

20140503-220332_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I wanted to keep the top barrel as an extension, so I kept the locking mechanism in tact for later.

20140503-220344_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I used a hot-knife to cut the tripod section off the rifle. This was probably not wise, as I discovered the load mechanism had a little spring attached to an arm just millimeters from where I had cut through. Oh, well, no harm done.

20140503-214248_Photographer_Jon_Decker

Next, I sized the shotgun to match the rifle with a little room for the trigger and load mechanisms to still function.

20140503-221340_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I cut the shotgun down to size and fitted the trigger mechanism with an eyelet. If I can fish a line through the body of the rifle later, I can probably figure out how to integrate a double trigger later. For now, I focused on the shotgun integration.

Before gluing the shotgun to the rifle, I patched some of the missing body parts. I made sure to keep the split down the middle of the rifle body. That way, after everything’s done, I can still take the gun apart to fit the double trigger or clean it.

20140503-234051_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I glued the shotgun into place next. I made sure to leave enough space for the trigger mechanisms and such. I’m not 100% certain that it will come apart, but if it doesn’t I think I can cut the glue blobs and still get to the inner mechanisms.

20140504-013241_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I used EVA foam (the stuff your work-out floor is made of) to patch some of the body inconsistencies. I also used a bit from the foam edging to make nifty looking bottom panels for the extension barrel. It doesn’t do anything except hide  the missing a lower half. I’ll add some scarring effects during the painting to make it look super.

20140504-013454_Photographer_Jon_Decker

Part of my mod is making it not look like a Nerf gun. That includes shaving off all the warning labels, Nerf insignia, and instructional diagrams. This requires a bit of sanding, but the painted gun will be intentionally aged. Any scratches that show through the paint will work with the battle theme.

20140504-021506_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I made certain it still fired rounds before I painting it. I also pulled the handles off to make painting easier. If you squeeze a handle hard it releases the clips on the inside and just pops off the metal rod.

20140504-021913_Photographer_Jon_Decker

This is just the first primer coat. It’s still wet in the photos. It will be matte grey. I’ll post again another day to show the paint process and scheme as I do it.

20140504-021921_Photographer_Jon_Decker

I’m going cyber-punk on it. I’m painting pairs of guns with one faction colored grey and the other faction colored blue. It’s intentionally vague so that all the props will be interchangeable for different photo shoots, cosplay, or videos. Even steampunk would fare well with these, assuming the character wasn’t 100% brown and brass themed. Come on, steampunk is what the world would look like if steam power existed as the primary energy source in the future, right? 😆  I lost that ideological battle years ago. The gallery below has all the images for those who are intrigued.

Posted in Props and Costuming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment