A Logo or Four

I had a quick project that a couple of friends of mine and I got started earlier this week. We’re still in the planning and prep phase, but it’s basically an alternate reality world building exercise for the fun of it. It’ll also be a fun platform to create art from. For starters, I churned out four representative faction logos and a temporary site banner based on the Machines vs. Magik backstory that we are building. It is designed to be a fun imagination exercise to further develop some of our mutual art ideas within the general steampunk genre. Northern Contingents_Machines_BW_smallIf you’d like to see the logos and keep up with our progress, the website is NorthernContingents.com

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The Definition of Steampunk

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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.

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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″]

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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.

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I present the source character below as an example.

Paradox3

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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