Steampunk Modeller, No. 1, Vol 1

Published: March 21st, 2011     
Product Image
Cover
Reviewed by: 
Tom Pope, IPMS# 47261
Company: Steampunk Modeller
ISBN #: 978-0-9564306-7-0
Other Publication Information: 128 heavy, glossy, color pages in a soft cover book form
Price: $24.00
Product / Stock #: Issue No. 1, Vol 1 - 2011

Introduction

"Steampunk", according to Wikipedia, "...is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s..." and "...involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used--usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain--that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy." "Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history." You can read more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk or just search the web.

Combine the concepts of the genre with 'kit-bashing' and some serious 'scratch-building' and the concepts are endless. Very cool... I'm fascinated ! As I find out more about the genre, I see there's an entire cultural following on-line. The subject draws me in with every new web site I come across. Makes me wonder where I've been since the 1990's.

My thanks to Happy Medium Press for the review copy and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to delve into something new, exciting and extremely interesting.

Description

From the folks that bring us Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller magazine and many other "special Specials" comes the first offering of Steampunk Modeller. Steampunk Modeller is a collection of articles written by accomplished modellers that describe their build up of 'miniatures' depicting 'steampunk' vehicles and scenes that might have been in the Victorian era, had history and technology made a few more or different twists and turns. These are really more than just articles though. The articles are written by the modellers themselves - 1st hand accounts from masters to learners. These guys are artisans of their craft. Each build has a story and is complete with the basis for the concept, historical references, how-to's on kit-bashing, scratch building, painting and weathering techniques and much more plus additional information and ideas including references to various web sites.

This is another high quality publication from Happy Medium Press Between the heavyweight glossy covers are 128 color glossy pages containing 12 articles. The only 'marketing' [& that's too strong a word] in the book is on 3 of the last 4 pages and those are simply listings of other Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller &Happy Medium Press publications. Pure content. Of the 127 pages of 'pure content' there are TWO (2) pages that have no pictures and both of those are opposite full page photos. These builds have full color photos from every angle (and a few black & white and brown & white for effect). Very nicely done. Talk about getting your money's worth!

The Content

When I said "serious scratch-building" above, that's exactly what I meant . There are descriptions of using major hardware (with pictures) such as anvils, pop-rivets, electric motors, ball-peen hammers, sheet metal and more - way beyond the spare kit parts and sheet and extruded styrene that I used to think of before looking into this topic. What an eye opener!

All aspects of each build are covered - cutting, shaping, gluing, stamping, embossing, wiring, painting, weathering, riveting, staining - the entire gambit - with a huge range of materials. Kind of stretches the imagination of us normal kit-bashers (what?).

Right off the bat, many of the subjects outlined in the Wikipedia listing above are touched upon in this first-of publication.

The Table of Contents lists the articles below with a little flag representing the author's country of origin. Some of these authors have built collections and pieces that are displayed in museums. The articles contained in this volume are listed below with a short summary:

  • A Step on the Moon and a Mote in the Eye
    • The author takes you through the build of a diorama of the landing scene from the 1st Science Fiction Movie - the 1902 George Melies film "Le Voyage Dans La Luna" (A Trip to a Moon).
  • Wish You were Here
    • The author takes a break for tea, from his surveying duties on his Martian Excursion Vehicle, to send a postcard home to mum & dad.
  • Digging Deeper
  • The Iron Mole - a 1:144 scale version of the drilling/tunneling machine from the 1976 movie "At the Earth's Core".
  • Junkyard Dog vs. Junkyard Hog
    • A steam powered super bike.
  • Deadly Dirigible Encounter
    • A build-up of a deadly airship from a concept of a 'world war' in 1945 - from on a story written in 1887(?) (confused?)
  • Only Slightly Removed From Reality
    • As the title implies, an only slightly modified concept from detailed drawings of the Civil War Ironclad USS Manassas. A really cool article with lots of actual history.
  • Pity the Poor Messenger Boy
    • Ever ask yourself what a 19th century "Steamfleet" Communicator would look like?
  • On the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller web site, you can see a video of the Victorian style communicator in action 
  • A Classic Timepiece for a Classic Character
    • A concept of what Captain Nemo's Watch might look like. Although there's no actual model here, the story is very interesting.
  • Behold the Brazen Homonculi
    • Steam Puppet theatre - A reproduction of an old toy concept (really old).
  • Night Marshals versus Nosferatu
    • Tough times call for tough measures. The Night Marshals battling Nosferatu's armies develop an Anti-Vampire tank... if that doesn't get your attention, your AMS must be severe!
  • Just When You Thought They Didn't have Three Legs to Stand On
    • A Martian tripod straight from the pages of the 1946 version of War of The Worlds (a different illustrator's concept) - 50 years after the original Wells book.
  • Diving Stations
    • A 19th century diving suit Nemo himself would be proud of.

Conclusion

Wow! Well written articles by a few of the masters, presented with lots of full color photos and complete with all the details of each build and the stories behind the ideas. A very complete and well presented, soft cover book that has much to teach us. The contributing authors, listed by name on the copyright page as "Miniaturists", are experts.

I highly recommend Steampunk Modeller for anyone even remotely interested in scratch building and/or kit bashing or those simply interested in how technology might have evolved differently back in the day. The Steampunk genre opens a door to limitless ideas on how things we are familiar with today might have looked or worked differently and these modellers/authors show/describe bringing some of their ideas into 3-D. The articles are fascinating and it is a joy to see what the masters can do and show us.

I highly recommend Steampunk Modeller for anyone even remotely interested in scratch building and/or kit bashing or those simply interested in how technology might have evolved differently back in the day. The Steampunk genre opens a door to limitless ideas on how things we are familiar with today might have looked or worked differently and these modellers/authors show/describe bringing some of their ideas into 3-D. The articles are fascinating and it is a joy to see what the masters can do and show us.

Thanks again to Happy Medium Press and IPMS USA for the privilege of doing this review.


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