Sunday, 28 August 2016

Loki Stuttgart Cane Build

A while ago I got a commission to build  a replica of Loki's cane from the Stuttgart opera scene in Avengers Assemble. Biggest drawback is the shortage of decent pictures on the Internet. Anyway I found a few, but it was always going to have to be more of a pastiche than an exact replica.

I started with an oak  walking stick or cane shaft, standard item, tapered. I stuck a couple of offcuts of polyurethane foam to the top end to give a bit of extra length and to start shaping it to look something like the film prop.

 I had intended to finish this part of the build and then make the top section with the crystal. I got carried away! I shaped the foam like the top of the cane and then covered it with glass fibre and resin for strength.
Not too shabby so far.

After liberal application of filler and a good bit of rubbing down, a quick spray of primer as a guide coat to see what needs work.

I needed to to make the piece which seems to wrap part way round the top end of the cane, I thought maybe I could cut a piece of polystyrene sheet to shape and then use heat to bend it to the shape of the cane. I was wrong! Well it wasn't a complete failure, if the cane top had been a straight cylinder I would have got away with it, but there are some compound curves in there which made it difficult to get it right. Could be done with a vacuum forming machine probably but you'd need the top of the cane to use in the vac former as a form to mould the sheet to.
I went back to basics. Cut the shape from cardboard, tape it to the top of the cane where it's supposed to be then cover the cardboard with glassfibre and resin.
Next I used filler to smooth it out and trimmed off the excess glassfibre.
When the glassfibre moulding of the cover plate had cured , I trimmed it to shape and applied a layer of glassfibre to the inside, set it aside to cure again. Now cured trimmed to size, filled and sanded for a smooth finish, embellishment in polystyrene sheet attached, drilled countersunk and painted.

 Meanwhile I'd been filling,  sanding, priming and painting the cane. Grey primer, coat of flat black and then gold top coat. I'd also been working on the "crystal" I thought I would use a piece of clear acrylic sheet mould to shape to make the fron of the crystal which when fixed in place in the cane would create the space for the LED and battery.
I made a former by shaping a piece of wood and cut a corresponding shape from a piece of MDF. I screwed the acrylic sheet to the MDF, propped it on a couple of blocks, heated it with a hot air gun then pressed the wooden former in to the softened sheet.

And after some fiddling around , a trial run with the LED fitted.
I got hold of a small 12 volt battery and holder which made a nice tidy job of the installation and it's all finished

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Steampunk Outfits On The Cheap

We have quite an active steampunk group in our locality, we have fortnightly meetings in local pubs which are well attended. Sometimes we get messages from newcomers on social media saying they’d like to come but don’t have any steampunk clothes.

Well first off, you don't need them to attend a meeting or an event,  certainly not the ones organised by us. We don't expect everyone who's interested to turn up looking like the best dressed steampunk in the world.
Some folk are just curious to find out what we get up to, other’s are really interested but don't have the nerve to wear anything that will draw attention to them. Either way you won't be ridiculed for coming in your everyday clothes.

With the pub meetings not everyone has the time to get dressed up, they may have to come straight from work. As far as events go we're happy to see you show an interest. Some long term attendees wear the minimum of steampunk dress, maybe just a nice waistcoat with a watch and chain, or a suitable hat that they feel comfortable in.

It has to be said that many of the ladies make a supreme effort and they do look fabulous. Though some of the male peacocks among us won't be outdone.

It's surprising how often a couple may become involved in steampunk mainly because one of them is very interested and makes an effort with clothes and accessories while the other is a little reluctant and often stands to one side during group photos. That often doesn't last and it's not long before the reluctant one is telling you how many waistcoats or hats they now own. Not surprising because it's fun. It is nice to be well dressed in good clothes. It's also nice to be repeatedly complimented by members of the public on how splendid you look. Let's face it most people look frightful on a daily basis.

So what should you wear? The short answer is something you feel comfortable in, you can get plenty of inspiration from browsing the internet. It probably won't be long before you find something that inspires you.

The best way to do steampunk clothes on a budget is by visiting Charity/thrift shops. Pound shops/Dollar stores, in fact all discount stores. Wedding outfitters can be a great source for cheap frock coats, waistcoats and top hats. You can probably snag some bargains on Ebay. If you can sew or you know someone who can than second-hand curtains/drapes are a good cheap source of fabric.

This is me on an outing in my very first Steampunk outfit. the velvet frock coat, shirt, cravat and waistcoat all came from a wedding hire company who were selling last seasons stock. I think the total cost was less than £15. The top hat was a vintage bargain from ebay. I've been wearing similar outfits for sometime. I have two frock coats and a tail coat and about four wing collar shirts all from the same wedding company.
It's the accessories that set us apart from the Victorian re-enactors. The brass goggles of course, a good steampunk cane, maybe a ray gun.Many of these can be upcycled toys again often from charity shops.

I recently decided that I wanted an outfit which was more "Steampunk" and not so obviously Victorian in style. I saw a painting which inspired me. I started to make a pattern for a flying helmet but my wonderful children bought me one for my birthday. The leather jacket was another Ebay bargain cost £10. I already had the old pair of cargo pants, my old brown boots and the equestrian gaiters also from Ebay £12. I added an old leather belt which I could use for attaching a small leather bag and a bottle holder, the small lamp was from a charity shop. The gun and cane I made myself.

So you can do it on the cheap, keep an open mind, look at things with a fresh eye. It's not "what is that" it's "what can that be made into".

Steampunk Cravat Pins

Well that was a surprise, someone bought all of the cravat pins I had on sale in the online shop! Not that I'm complaining, it's just unexpected. Never mind though I've managed to find the time to make a few to re stock for the time being. I'll have to get more done soon. If you want to take a look at them click here.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Steampunk Gun Seized by Border Force

On the 23rd of April (2016) I despatched a painted Nerf Rebelle Charmed dauntless Blaster to a customer in Australia I chose "tracked and signed for" for the shipping so I'd know when it got there. It never arrived, Tracking it online only told me that it had got to Heathrow in London then nothing. I contacted Royal Mail who basically just acknowledged that they didn't know what had happened to it. So much for paying extra for tracking.

The customer said they were happy to wait longer as they really liked the gun, fair enough. Royal Mail said I had to wait 25 days to see if it arrived before submitting a claim. As the customer really would rather have the gun than a refund I did my best to paint an exact copy. I posted it on 24th June. By the 21st of July the replacement gun still hadn't turned up! I offered the customer a refund but they said they would wait a while longer Bless them!

On the 31st of July I got an update from the customer, the gun had been seized by Australian Border Force on the grounds of being an "imitation handgun".
The customer submitted a claim for the return of the item on the grounds that the border force description was inaccurate, the claim was upheld, the gun would be delivered.

It finally arrived on the 18th August. (today as I write).

The joys of selling internationally. I've posted lots of guns, scratch built, modified or painted with no problem. I don't think I'll send any more to Australia.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


My latest painted Nerf gun. It's based on my favourite Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster. Do you think they were going for the longest name? I love the styling on these, the scroll work and flourishes and the quilted leather effect on the grips is fabulous.
This one is basically silver and blue. It's available now in my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Captain Mal's Gun From Firefly

I'm afraid the TV show Firefly seem to pass by unnoticed by me  for some reason, though I do have a copy of "Serenity" on DVD. I recently got the chance to see a replica of Mal's pistol, owned by a fellow steampunk, It was a slightly "steampunk" version with a copper barrel. Anyway having seen it close up as night follows day it was a certainty I'd make one eventually. Turned out to bee sooner rather than later. I get these obsessions.
So with a few photo's gathered from the internet and some measurements plus my usual assortment of materials, MDF, hardwood scraps, bit's of old Biros and clock parts I made my very own Captain Malcolm Reynolds gun.

If you haven't seen Firefly you can get it on Amazon.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Steampunk Canes

Here's a few of the canes I've made in the past.
Apart from the couple which have obviously got copper shafts they generally have hardwood shafts with a black finish.

My Steampunk "to do" List.

I'm going to be busy next week, I've got a lot of things waiting to modify and paint. The list right now consists of.
2 Cyberman helmets
2 Nerf Rebelle Charmed Duntless Blasters
1 Huntsman Boomstick
1 large pirate flintlock
1 Nerf Strongarm Blaster
3 Nerf Rebelle crossbows
1 Western revolver
Plus a couple of light up LED canes and a couple of Femur handle canes.
Makes me tired thinking about it. I seriously doubt that I'll get it all done in a week.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Steampunk Gun Commission

 This is a small steampunk pistol I was commissioned to make by a young lady. Mahogany and brass construction with her initials etched into a brass plate on one side and scroll work on the other side.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Steampunk Nerf Guns

I often paint Nerf guns to give them a more Steampunk appearance, I'm not a big Nerf gun fan but there are one or two which I really like in particular the Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster. Quite a mouthful of a name, I really like the look of this one.

 The Rebelle range is very different from the other ranges in style and most noticeably the colours especially the pinks and purples, it's obviously aimed at the female market.

The Charmed Dauntless is particularly nice with it's quilted leather look grips and the scroll work on the body and the engraving on the barrels. It gives it a quite Victorian almost Art Nouveau look.  For some reason Hasbro decided not to do the ornamentation on the other side of the gun.

I don't do much in the way of modifying this gun it doesn't need it, the one thing I really don't like is the clunky cocking mechanism so I cut that off and replace it with a brass ring.

Apart from that its just the usually process of prepping and painting. If your a beginner I wrote a tutorial here

This is a Nerf Rebelle charmed dauntless Blaster

Here are three of my painted ones.

steampunk nerf rebelle charmed dauntless blaster

Monday, 1 August 2016

Chtulhu Statue

I do occasional commissions sometimes for props for photo shoots or theatre productions, awhile ago I was commissioned to make a statue for a stage version of The Call of Chtulhu.
It didn't need to be finely detailed obviously and I wanted to be very close to H P Lovecrafts original description. So I started by re-reading the story and getting a copy of the authors original sketch.
This is the description from the story. 
"The figure ... was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally life-like, "
 This is Lovecrafts sketch.

 I made the statue approximately the same dimensions as the description, it was constructed using what artist sometimes call "mixed media" it sounds better than scraps of wood, bit's of wire and paper mache!
It was painted with acrylic paints.