Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pot-Belly Ray Gun

I had been kind of dialing back on the details lately, so I wanted to amp it up a bit and go crazy with the flare. This stubby little piece was a bit challenging to figure out, but is probably one of the cutest projects I've put out. I have never put the power gage on the fin before, but think that worked out really cool.

Not sure if you can make out the gears in the window very clearly; it was a cool idea, but the details are not very visible. The do-dads are farther from the window than I would have liked, and there is no alternate light source, so its kinda hard to see. Here is a close-up that shows off the gears a bit better...

I like the kooky layout for the window, and that key actually turns, though it doesn't do anything.

I'm right-handed, and tend to put most the detail on the left side of the gun. This time I tried to share the love and add some cool stuff on the other side, as well.

Again, I worked this out in transparency. I found some cool lightbulb-shaped containers at the craft store, and thought I would see what I could come up with. Here are a couple of WIP pics.

I attached the gears to a square wood dowel that also helped hold on the barrel. I cut the silver gear in half, so that it would fit through the mouth of the bottle better (you really can't see the bottom of it anyway, and it gives depth to the clockwork inside the gun). This was a lot like I imagine building a ship in a bottle would work. If I go down this road again, I will likely split the bottle, add the details and then put it all back together.

The decorative pieces really brought the whole gun together for me. The whole mixture of flare and functionality  is what I consider to be at the heart of the steampunk visual aesthetic, and is what makes this one of my favorite. Hope you like it.

Keep Zap'n!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Crystal" Wand

This one was a for my youngest, and one of my first projects with the plastic "crystals". The challenge here is that when you're building for a kid, you have to build it fast. This one didn't take too long, and the handle was found in the back yard; great piece of wood. I really like how this one came out, and will likely build one like it with some of the lessons I learned along the way.

Hope you like it.

Zap on!!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


So, I guess it was only a matter of time before I combined my ray gun a steampunk wands together. The result is:
The Witch-Pistol. I was checking out some other steampunk art, and thought it would be cool to have wand added bayonette (did I spell that right?) on the barrel. There was a lot of experimentation with this piece, and it almost came out looking totally different.

This was an early progress photo when I was thinking about a top-mounted wand, and a more open mouth. Something didn't look quite right, and some feedback pushed me back in the right direction. I admit, though, I will probably try out that more open mouth look on a later project.

My favorite part is the gears. It was also the hardest to pull off. I'm still not sure if I'm done with securing the glass cover. It is still wobbles a bit.

The wand came out OK. I had a bag of those decorative cylindrical beads and wasn't sure I would ever find a place for them. Happily they fit in just right on this project.

This was a last minute add. I knew I wanted to add something to the top, but wasn't sure what. These were some pieces that I had lying around, and they came together quite nicely. It also helps tie in the chamber and the rear of the gun.

That pod was one of the first parts I built for this piece and looks rather cool; I think. Though this is mostly a toy mod, it is one of my favorite pieces. I may work on more guns like this and form a series. Not sure yet, but hope you like it.

Keep zap'n!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Steampunk Airship- The Cumulus Rex

"Rex" is the person aero-pod for my steampunk character Professor Perilus. This is a model made of polymer clay and measures about three inches long. I made this as a guide for future drawings, to help keep details and proportions straight.
This model is a bit of a sketch itself, and took about 15 minutes to make and a little longer to cook. The painting took about 30 minutes; so about an hour, all together. Here is Rex with the sketch that inspired the model.

I made a few changes, mostly in the color department. Not sure if I prefer the bronze coast vs. gold, but it still has a metallic sheen and shows the highlights properly, so it will do. I opted not to add the bands to the gas envelope on the top of the ship, because it made it look too much like a cockpit, and threw off the design a bit. This also give me a better spot for the Prof's emblem, so its all for the best. There is a light sketch of the Prof next to Rex for proportions, it is actually just a bit bigger than the sketch may suggest, though still pretty closed quarters.

Here are a few pages from the sketchbook to show Rex's evolution:

Above & below: Started off stuck on the idea of Rex being a hanging gondola and looking rather nautical. I had that "seen it all before" feeling, plus I wanted the Prof to have something a little more unique and sci-fi looking.

I eventually got into "pod" territory, but everything kept coming out Nemo.

Eventually, squished it all up and internalized most of the air bag. In all, I thought it was rather sexy and dashing, so this design in the winner. Not sure what I'll do with all of this, but all least its done.

Hope you like it. Keep zap'n!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Steampunk Wand

Here is a new wand, with a design much closer to what I originally had in mind. It is a great deal smaller than the last wand, which I think may have been just a bit too long. Still using the art foil and brads, which add an industrial look to the wand. The base for this piece is a dowel, or something, so not as organic and the previous wand (fashioned from a tree branch).

This model has a tube at the end with a crystal suspended from a cool little antennae-thingy. I had used this idea for a ray gun recently, and really liked the way it turned out. I added a cool cylindrical bead to the mix for good measure. (I had bought a bag of these some time ago and this is the first project that they really fit well in!)

I had toyed with removable tubes, and may build one in time, but not today. This model does have a removable tip, however. I like the idea of a wand base coming with a selection of different tips for different situations. This idea really cracked me up, for some reason; and I think adds a bit of modern sensibility and utilitarianism to an ancient magical tool.  For now, this wand just has the one tip, but it does come with a cool box for safe keeping.

In all, I really like the final outcome of this project and will work on some more.

Keep zap'n!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Steampunk Magic Wand

Interest in the occult was very much alive and well in Victorian England, so it only seems fitting that magical devices would get the steampunk upgrade, as well. I had wanted to work on these for a while now, but just recently got to it. I made a wand last year to see how it would go; it was cool, but my oldest is into Harry Potter, and so absconded with it.

I kept the over all design pretty light (I think) and tried to minimize visual distractions from the exquisite curve of the wand body.

This is actually my first time using heavy-duty art foil. I thought I would give the electrical tape a rest, and try something with a genuine metallic sheen. I thought it might be a hassle to cut, but that was absolutely not the case. I used a bit of glue, and a brad to keep the foil closed and in place.

The crystal chamber and tubing port worked pretty well, though it a appears I have a little surplus glue to cut off once everything is totally dry. I had a lot of fun putting this together and will likely do another soon.

Hope you like it. Keep zap'n!!!