castalia: (SAJV - Aurora 'fantasy')
Well, that was kinda failtastic. I'm disappointed. See, someone put out a casting call for steampunks recently and posted them on the LJ comms. I was expecting some great costumes/fashion to be showcased tonight.

Instead, I saw...well, mostly a lot of goth type outfits, a few corsets, a random newsboy cap, a few top hats and bowlers, and one pair of light up goggles. Not much historical fashion or gadgets, really. Would it have killed them to have someone with a cool gadget who could interact with Abby or something?

Then they had all the club "steampunks" with any lines call the cops "muggles". WTF, since when does steampunk mean Harry Potter fans? Did they confuse "muggle" with "mundane"? Argh.
castalia: (SAJV - Aurora 'fantasy')
18 Hilarious Modes of Transport Science Gave Up On Too Soon

Unsurprisingly, most of these appear to be from the Victorian era and early 20th century. I have concluded that there is no vehicle the steampunk genre can come up with that was not already tried, likely with tragic yet amusing results, by the Victorians.
castalia: (SAJV - Aurora 'fantasy')
Some days I'm not sure which is worse - the Etsy infused, "Hi, I'm new! Tell me how to make/buy the right clothes!", throw-some-goggles-on-your-head-and-call-it-done atmosphere of [livejournal.com profile] steamfashion or the holier than thou, "You don't know the history of Victorian clothing like I do", "I only wear aristocratic clothes, not like all you poor plebes" snobbery to which [livejournal.com profile] steam_elegance descends.

I really need a happy medium somewhere, damn it. Somewhere I wouldn't have to be subjected to so many "buy my crap!" posts nor be bombarded by the elitism of those who think you're not doing it right unless you spend hundreds of dollars per item of clothing made by some professional company (and god forbid you want to be an airship pirate character or one of the working class).

The steam track at D*C had better not be like this, or I shall not be happy.
castalia: (SAJV - Rebecca Oh Bugger)
I am making good progress on a steampunk costume for Dragon*Con, though I may or may not be able to incorporate the ray gun I made earlier this year. The more I think about it, the more I want to go with a sort of Victorian naturalist character, as I could play with specimen cases and jars and all sorts of little accessories to dangle on my person.

I am currently busy on an Eton Jacket, which I plan to wear over a blouse and a boned corselet I've already completed, made out of a faux tooled leather jacquard. These will be worn with the short version of this split skirt, without all that fringe of course. And boots.

Where I fall down idea-wise is the hat. I'd like to have a hat, b/c I like hats and they make outfits seem more finished somehow. The options I'm considering are 1) Make a hat, and 2) Buy a cowboy hat and call it a day.

For option 1, I've found a cool site that offers Victorian hat patterns and kits, complete with everything one needs to make a buckram frame and the instructions to cover it with the fabric of one's choosing. You can see finished hats at this site - lots of variety and it's easy to change the style just by bending the brim. At around $35, this isn't a terribly expensive option, and I'd get the satisfaction of having a finished product I made myself. I'm considering the Audrey or the Julie, but I can't make up my mind.

As for option 2, it'd actually be a bit cheaper and obviously less work. Sierra Trading Post has a bunch of cowboy hats on sale for $20-$25 each, which isn't bad. I could get a crushable one which would pack well, this more curvy model, a pinch-front Stetson, or for a little more a Kakadu Langston slicker hat or cowhide hat. STP is forever having sales and free shipping options, so it would be pretty affordable and all I'd have to do is maybe adjust the bands or stick a feather in there, etc.

To the costumers on my flist, what say you? I'm not really going for the high society look or anything very froofy, so if I make a hat it'll likely be something that would look a little more outdoorsy and rugged anyway.

Have a poll:

[Poll #1436360]
castalia: (Aurora 'fantasy')
Yay, it's finally finished! I've had a ton of fun the past week playing with this thing. If I get to do something for Dragon*Con I'll definitely have a nice sidearm to take with me :)

I was remiss in taking "before" pictures, sadly, but suffice it to say the original gun was bright blue plastic with a hole at the top to load little plastic balls which the gun supposedly shot (trying out the trigger, however, didn't produce anything much that could be classified as ballistic). The gun was, of course, only a dollar, and everything else either came from junk drawers in my house, the depths of the basement, Home Depot, or Michael's and Hobby Lobby (hurrah 50% off coupons!). I don't think I spent that much all told, and of course I have tons of paints left over for future use. The spray paint is the biggest expense, so those 50% off coupons really helped keep the budget down. I'm also pleased with the Krylon "Fusion" paint made specially to bond to plastics - it comes in black, so there was no need for primer.

After a coat of spray paint, some Rub'n Buff (which is fabulous), and acrylic paints to try and approximate wood grain, I had this:

Large pics behind the cut )
castalia: (Steampunks 4 Obama)
After this year's Dragon*Con and seeing how much Steampunk has caught on, I've been very tempted to join the fun and put something together for next year. As [livejournal.com profile] shanola22, [livejournal.com profile] delle, and [livejournal.com profile] mir280 do lots of Victorian stuff, I wouldn't be alone which is helpful. Will require help on many things, but I have some ideas and have begun to tinker with gears and other bits with which to make accessories and things. I have lofty ambitions with clockworks but for now will have to remain very much a beginner with no mechanical skills.

Today's Googling resulted in some very nifty Steampunk finds indeed. A blog known as the Honky-Tonk Dragon posted an awesome collection of some of the first motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters - true Steampunk history and wonderful examples of how beautiful this sort of technology can be. I especially like the wooden and brass "Reitwagen", the first cycle propelled by an internal combustion engine.

All of those remind me of the episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr that featured "steel horses". Motorcycles and the Old West seem anachronistic but it's nice to know that real motorcycles actually pre-date Brisco by a few years (it was set in the early 1890s, I believe). Very cool.

The second site that made me drool a little bit today is the website of Eric Freitas, a clockmaker who definitely is as much of an artist as he is a machinist and mechanical expert. His clocks are just fascinating.

Steampunk seems to be made up of two sorts of people - costumers and mechanics. Or those who are both. Some of the costumers produce absolutely exquisite authentically Victorian outfits that could pass for the best movie wardrobes. While the mechanics come up with the best gadgets ever, whether they're altered modern items or clockworks made from the ground up. It's the coolest DIY group ever. Here's hoping I get that new job so I can play too.

ETA: Made the icon from a political button offered by DemocraticStuff.com. Seriously, they have a button for everything.

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