Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steampunk Vehicles

This post kind of ties into my previous one on the Holt Steam Tank (quite strongly, truth be told), because it focuses on things you need to think about when creating steampunk vehicles. My opinion on making things up when something real will do is well-known, so onto the steampunkery.

Steampunk vehicles are about more than looking pretty, which we can all admit they do very well. They also have to appear functional (the keyword in that phrase being appear of course -- no one's expecting you to actually build an airship or a steampunk motorcycle).

What's this mean? The simplest solution is to adapt real machinery to a steampunk style. Kind of like how the aesthetics of World War II infused the design of Keith Thompson's War Zeppelin:

If you click on the photo and go to the larger version, you'll see the way the design flows. He hasn't shown any exhaust steam, but the engines are probably set at the back near the tail or on the underbelly. Either way, the point is that something like this could exist. That's the major thing when it comes to designing steampunk vehicles.

For CALLARION AT NIGHT, I created a tank nicknamed the Turtle. It's a copper dome on treads with a boiler/exhaust in the rear and a 50-caliber machine gun up on the roof in addition to the main gun. The design was inspired by Crabfu Steamworks' Lobster Tank:

If you want good starting points for steampunk vehicles, you could do worse than perusing the Crabfu website. He also offers a brief tutorial on how to draw steampunk machinery, which gives similar advice to what I've been extolling here: Make it look like it could possibly exist.

Other than that, and a few general steampunk accouterments such as filigreed details, wood paneling, and a variety of other materials in warm tones, the world is your proverbial oyster. But remember, it has to look plausible for it to be believed.

More steampunk art can be found at Dark Roasted Blend.

P.S. Go check out Natalie Whipple's post on Steampunk. The fashion she details is very interesting.

15 comments:

Adam Heine said...

Wow. That how-to-draw-steampunk-machines link is pretty cool. I've already thought a lot about how the airships in my world work, but I've never found a look that I really like. Maybe I'll try some of his ideas.

Renee Pinner said...

You changed the background again...kinda diggin it. I still liked the previous one!

L. T. Host said...

Whoa, new layout again! I like it. I liked the old one too though. I'm no help, haha.

Yay learning! I love these posts you do on steampunk.

Matthew Delman said...

The old one was bothering me because I couldn't figure out a way to make the link size bigger. So I went with this one instead -- makes sense, seeing as I live on the East Coast and all.

Susan R. Mills said...

I like this new layout, too. It's actually easier to read the post. I'm impressed that you built that 'turtle'. You go all the way when it comes to research, don't you?

Matthew Delman said...

My other half has agreed to do some character sketches for me (I might ask -- read: bribe -- her to do some vehicle ones too).

Bane of Anubis said...

Ditto what everyone else said... I wish my other half could draw (admittedly, she can draw better than me, but she's an advanced stick-figure drawer, whereas I'm remedial).

K.M. Weiland said...

Love the Crabfu site! Thanks for sharing.

Matthew Delman said...

And thank you for visiting, K.M. Glad you enjoyed it.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I guess I'm not hip to steampunk, but I didn't realize the freedom you have in creating new technology. That's awesome!

Natalie's post on fashion was also nifty too.

Matthew Delman said...

And this is all barely heading down the rabbit hole called steampunk. There's oodles of other fun things you can do with it I haven't even touched on yet.

I might do a post on steampunk robotics in the near future. Haven't decided yet.

Natalie Whipple said...

For the record, this layout is much more readable. I wanted to read more of your awesome steampunk posts, but it was killing my eyes.

That how to draw link is fabulous and now bookmarked.

Matthew Delman said...

Yeah, I'm happier with this one too. Although I suppose that's what I get for downloading a random template.

Natalie said...

So cool Matt! I love the redesign too.

dorla said...

I posted mine! I'm so excited about this. Thanks for hosting it! Add