Steampunk Digest - Jan. 18, 2019
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
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Steampunk artist Franklin Vanseizenberg has created a working steampunk version of the Sega Master system II game console. He began collecting the parts about five years ago and only recently completed the project “after a few setbacks,” he writes. His Facebook page includes photos and a short video.
It appears to have been quite an undertaking, requiring Vanseizenberg to remove the innards of a Sega system and rewire the video output to an old monitor. “Please don’t forget, CRT sets can be very dangerous as they carry high voltages,” he cautions. “If you plan on building your own, please be careful.”
The steampunked console “looks like someone traveled back in time to the late 1800s and tried to find a way to play video games on a phonograph,” writes Ethan Gach in Kotaku. “It looks totally bonkers, but I deeply respect Vanseizenberg’s commitment to setting a new bar for special edition versions of game consoles.”
Vanseizenberg is also the creator of Steampunk Times, one of the top Facebook groups for steampunks. He’s based in the UK.
Game publisher Last Level is planning a February release for Steamcraft, a multiplayer shooter game in which you build your own steampunk-styled combat vehicles from more than 600 components and 40 weapons. You then get behind the wheel and do battle against other players. You can also “team up with friends and deploy side by side, capturing bases and destroying enemies,” the publisher says.
The Zootown Arts Community Center in Missoula, Montana is exhibiting the work of local mixed media artist Linda Cohen, who describes herself as “The Steampunk Lady.” In a recent interview with Peter Friesen of the Missoulian, she explains that her interest in the genre began about six years ago when her daughter introduced her to the steampunk band Steam Powered Giraffe.
“In the years since, her inspiration has led to making steampunk jewelry, clothing, clocks, sculptures and dolls,” he writes. “She sports a pocket-watch-style clock with exposed gears on a necklace and has sold handmade goggles at the Missoula People’s Market while sporting a top hat.”
Her pieces are made mostly from found objects scavenged from Home ReSource, a local reuse center for building materials. There, “Cohen and her husband dutifully dig through bins of spare parts, the more rusted the better,” he writes.
Steampunk in Space: Honeybee Robotics, working in collaboration with the University of Central Florida and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has developed a proof-of-concept prototype of a steam-powered spacecraft that can gather its own fuel. Dubbed W.I.N.E. (the World Is Not Enough), the vehicle would mine ice or hydrated minerals from planetary bodies and heat them to create steam.
“By propulsively ‘hopping’ from location to location, WINE can explore Solar System bodies as well as individual bodies,” the company said in a press release. “And by refueling itself as it goes, WINE’s range is not limited by consumables. This makes WINE particularly well suited to prospecting and reconnaissance missions.”
The company has posted a video showing the prototype in action. NASA provided support for the project through its Small Business Technology Transfer program.
Stormfront Entertainment, a producer of independent low-budget movies, announced that it is in pre-production for Secret within the Sphere, a steampunk feature film. The company offered this synopsis: “Airship Captain Verne Rudolph leads an adventure to acquire the Lelia sphere, an ancient energy course (sic) that the manipulative Victor Augustus will use to power his visionary city of the sky. Accompanied by the Duchess Adeline, Captain Rudolph finds him at odds against local law enforcement, air pirates, and many other adversaries determined to make the hero’s life difficult.”
Principal photography will take place in June and July at various locations in Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. Auditions are scheduled for Jan. 26 in Lancaster and Feb. 17 in Carlisle (near Harrisburg). The company is currently based in Carlisle. Stormfront Entertainment is led by David Noble, who will direct the film.
If Noble’s past efforts are any indication, this will not be cause for celebration. His most recent movie, Lost Padre Mine (2016), is available for streaming on Amazon, and after watching it, we share the assessment of other reviewers. “How in the heck did this get on Amazon?” remarked one. “Man that was painful,” wrote another.
Yet it is far better than his previous film, The Knight Squad (2012), about two vigilantes in South Korea doing battle with Russian mobsters and North Korean agents. We viewed it recently on Amazon, in a “Grindhouse Double Feature” with Nunja (about a nun who hunts vampires). It’s no longer available, but you can watch the trailer if you dare.
See the company’s website for more info.
New on Kickstarter
Inverse Press is seeking funding for Last Ride for Horsemen 3 - War, the third chapter in its Steampunk Apocalypse comic book series. From the description: “The desolate town of Promise enjoys neither food nor water, precious resources obliterated by the horsemen Famine and Pestilence, both ghosts of dead men wronged by local land baron, Wilbur Fairless. Now comes the horseman War in the guise of another, quite petite, missing acquaintance of the old tycoon.”
The story was written by Kevin LaPorte and illustrated by Nathan Smith and Ari Arnaldsson. Tragically, Smith passed away from epilepsy in November. He was also an actor whose credits included American Horror Story and Zoo. His share of the comic book sales will go to his son Devon.
Girded Rose Games is on Kickstarter with Clockwork Depths, described as an “underwater themed steampunk live action and table top role-playing game.” It’s set in an alternate present day in which authorities have banned energy sources more advanced than steam technology. In addition to humans, the world is populated by species such as Mechis (spirits inhabiting clockwork bodies), Merrow and Undyne (underwater creatures), and Chimaera (created through alchemical experimentation).
Whanganui Vintage Weekend takes place Jan. 18-21 in Whanganui, one of New Zealand’s oldest cities, and local steampunk group Copper Cogs and Corsets will be there in force, writes Paul Brooks in Wanganui Midweek. This includes a large contingent at Saturday night’s Dazzle Ball, where members will aim to be “splendid” and show off their best costumes.
The group can make props and costumes for any occasion, and “to do that work they have a Steampunk space – a huge shed they call The Hangar – in which they have work tables, sewing machines and all the raw materials needed for their creativity,” he writes. The shed includes an H.G. Wells-inspired Time Machine made from scrap and recycled materials. The group used it as a float for a Christmas parade, he writes.
Steampunks will also be mingling with the crowds at other Vintage Weekend events. The program includes live music, vintage cars, heritage bus tours, glassblowing demos, and rides in steam trains and tractors. See the Vintage Weekend website for more info.
Steampunk author Jessica Lucci will read excerpts from her novel Watch City: Waltham Watch on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Porter Square Books, 25 White Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Set in 1884, the story involves “a revolt against tyranny” in Waltham, Massachusetts, which at the time was a major center of watch manufacturing.
The Douglas Art Gallery in Douglas, Arizona is hosting a steampunk art exhibition through Jan. 26. It features costumes, props, and other items from the personal collections of local steampunk enthusiasts Paul Martell, John Floyd, Peter Valentine, and Jeff McDaniel, writes Aaliyah Montoya in the Douglas Dispatch.
During an opening reception on Jan. 5, “the audience learned about the simple ways one can create steampunk gear,” she writes. “Many of the high-tech gadgets on display at the gallery were sourced from household items like toilet paper tubes, Nerf guns and metal hardware.” Her report notes that the makers were preparing for the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention, scheduled for March 8-10 in Tucson.
Douglas is about 120 miles southeast of Tucson. See the gallery’s Facebook page for more info.
Models of steam engines, steam boats, railroads and other contraptions will be on display — and available for sale — at the 23rd annual Cabin Fever Expo & Auction, scheduled for Jan. 18-20 at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center, 80 Rocherty Road in Lebanon, Pennsylvania (between Reading and Harrisburg). Billed as the “largest show of its kind” in the U.S., the expo will include operating steam railroads, an indoor boat pond, and a working quarry scene with miniature radio-controlled construction equipment. Exhibitors will be showing model collections, and vendors will be on hand to sell kits, plans, tools, model components, and other items for model makers.
Auctions are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan. 19, while the show itself will happen on Saturday and Sunday. The admission price of $15 is good for the entire weekend. Admission is free for kids 12 and under. See the website for more info.
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