phrawgg, That's a sweet design! It's meant to sit against the shoulder like a short rifle, right? (trying to get a sense of scale...) The thumb hole is clever, and I really like the coil. Not sure how the coil bit attaches to the rest of the gun, but you've probably got something thought up.
Are you going to model it in blender? Its for the WETA competition, right?
Thanks. since I last posted, I've uploaded many more variations.
I was not aware of the Weta competition when I started and I don't know how to use Blender. It will be rendered in Rhino and then mostly CNC'd in aluminum, hopefully anodized black and then faux-finished to look more like steel, with the grip being walnut, the jules verne style stock's rearmost plate being in brass, and most of the complicated bits will probably be resin casts of 3d prints, which would ultimately be painted and faux-finished to look like they're of the same steel as the gun. I may use actual CNC'd brass for some parts as well. Not sure what i want to do for the fuel jar. Glass? plastic? No idea. You can't 3d print something and have it come out properly clear like a jar. You can print glass but it comes out with a lot of stepping and dangerous edges. It looks great for fine art or even wacky lighting but not for making a proper transparency. Also its fragile as all glass is. If I find the right sort of glass or plastic tube, I will have to take exact measurements from it and resize teh whole gun render around those measurements. The other thing that will determine scale is the grip, because the size of the average human hand is a constant.
another reason I don't want to get in on the Weta competition is I want to retain ownership of the final product. I want to be able to reproduce it and promote it at will and I want it associated with my name. I intend to do any one or all of the following with it and any brethren I create: I like the idea Weta had of making an art exhibition for the guns, as well as a complete back story, so I saw how they set the new standard and said to myself "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!" My main line of work is fine art sculpture. Before I got to art school, I doodled random machines and vehicles all the time. Rarely people, though I did once or twice draw up some power armor ala Machinen Krieger. I knew a bit about how to do figure sculpture and I once sculpted a caricature of Napoleon as a "phrawgg" hence my screen name, but when I got to art school and for the following 8 years, all I did was fine art stuff. Portraiture, figurative, and mostly geometric sculpture (see the rest of my flickr account.) Out of the blue in December I got the idea to start doodling fanciful machines again but now using my design sense that I picked up at art school. I may never actually do a show about the guns, as a faux historical exhibit of course, but I would like to be able to sell these things at conventions and on sites like Etsy.
A side note: no disrespect to any of you out there but I've never been satisfied with other people's ideas. After years of being what homophobes would call an "art fag," and my girlfriend smacking me for using the term because she finds it offensive since she's bi and takes such issues seriously, I came to the realization that the only way to really satisfy my disapproval of other peoples' designs is to start making my own. I made a project of seeing what everyone else was doing and decided to engineer mine to be if not different or better then at least distinctive. I don't particularly like all of Weta's aesthetic. However I do like their craftsmanship and the fact that the guns aren't merely assemblages of bits and bobs but creations from scratch. Most steampunk guns out there are assemblages and they look it. Its just not something that appeals to me or fits with my take on steampunk:
My take is that a steampunk object shouldn't look like a refined technology but it should be a creation wherein everything looks purpose-made. Clocks' inner workings are like that as are the guts of steam engines and every other machine. Every piece of a gun from that era has components that were made just for that design. And I prefer to have complete control over my aesthetics. I don't like the loss of control required for assemblage construction. Functional machinery that lifts parts from other machines were anomalous in the victorian era and only began to come more into fashion in the latter part of the 20th century. Now you have gaming PC's that are harmonic hodge podge of components from different manufacturers, each with its own warranty. I'm talking about the ones that people build themselves. Hotrod cars didn't come into fashion until the 30's. In art, it is true that Picasso and Braque messed around with collage in the heyday of cubism, which started in the middle of the first decade of the 1900's but it really took off in a big way during WW1 with Dadaism. It stuck around in mainstream art for the most part ever since. But it never ever looked steampunk.
Its true that Terry Gilliam liked to stick unlikely things together in his animation for Montey Python, sometimes suggesting steampunk aesthetics, but that's not the same as making guns made of slapped together recognizable components.
I used to be obsessed with the military hardware that every nation used in world war 2. One thing that always jumped out at me was that the hardware fielded by every nation seemed to have a consistent national personality about it. All of the German things looked aggressive and menacing. The british stuff with the obvious exception of the Spitfire, looked stiff, proper, and slightly fragile. The American stuff (ground and sea) looked and was bulky, ambivalent, and they used simpler shapes. Compare a sherman to a british crusader tank, to any make of Panzer. Compare an M1911 pistol to a Webbly revolver to a luger or walters P.38. The differences when it came to submarines were perhaps the most striking. Even though the American submarines were the most technologically advanced, when compared to most Uboats of the era, they just looked boring. Everything on the Uboat looked sleek, adapted for its environment, and malevolent. The british subs looked somewhat fragile, "proper", and sometimes awkward. The aircraft were somewhat of a mixed bag but the German stuff almost always looked hte most menacing. The Americans went in for duller shapes, save for the P-38 and P-51. The Corsair, a personal fav of mine, was only aesthetically remarkable because of its wings. A Heinkel bomber will always look more scary than a B-25, B-17, B-29, B-24, Lancaster or anything else the Allies fielded. The Japanese ships looked to my eyes like they were right out of ink paintings and wood block prints with their angles and curious curves. The submarines were indeed impressive but they were softer-looking that the German ones. Their aircraft didn't look all that special and they recycled the basic aethetic a lot. Some of their flying boats were beautiful but without any suggestion of malice. Even if one of their tanks was rolling right at you, you probably wouldnt' be intimidated. Their rifles looked generic if slightly arcane. Their main light machine gun was a near-copy of the british Bren, which had a bit of that fragile properness to it as well as awkwardness, with the distinctive top-side magazine. Their automatic pistol, when compared to a Luger, which it most closely resembled, looked like an emasculated version of the same, lacking the visual mass and the right subtle angles to suggest refined killing intent. Heck, the Japanese uniforms were the least aggressive of any that were fielded in the war. The Russian stuff looked unrefined across the board. Heck if you look up close at the casting and welding jobs on the tanks, you can see the crudeness. It looked at once brutal and sloppy, and it all seemed to adhere aesthetically to the famous Russian saying that "better is the enemy of good". It was definitely the common man's army. Everything about it lacked class, rather hilariously, IMHO. And interestingly, in every nation, every company that contributed to the war effort had its own unique aesthetic too.
So it got me thinking, back to steampunk, that something you or your character or a steampunk character creates should have a look that is as much as possible his/her own, and that means having complete control over how every part of it looks. Steampunk creations that are made entirely of whole cloth tend to be in the minority so I decided I will join that minority and be distinctive within it. That's the plan, Stan.
Meanwhile I do not have any ego about my work and feel that the best art comes from dialog so if you have any input you'd like to give, or if you think something is working particularly well, please let me know and tell me why. Thanks awfully much!