Sometime in 2015 we wanted to try something a bit different than the styles we've been doing. Steampunk offered a number of interesting variations on designs and it became decided to try our hand at a steampunk battle mech. The idea goes that somewhere there's a secret laboratory in a cave, where a genius scientist is building an army of robots to take over the world. Maybe GI Joe or Acid Rain figures stumble across this lab and are about to shut it down when all hell breaks loose: a giant, iron mech lumbers from the depths of the lab, firing machine guns and cannon at the heroes. The idea was to make a scene of the figures retreating from this armored, mechanical nightmare. But to do this we had to design the mech.
The steampunk genre offers some interesting visuals for both photography purposes and general story telling. The history of the world is remade with technology exist powered by steam. Common story themes include airships sailing the atmosphere, or submarines exploring the deepest depths of the oceans. Steampunk is not limited to Earth, but can also take place on other worlds or even alternate timelines. For our purposes, a steampunk battle mech could easily fit in with a number of action figure toy lines. What works really well is Acid Rain World.
The inspiration for the DioWarriors steampunk mech comes from Jules Verne, especially "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Old Victorian diving bells came to mind when we were determining the overall look. We wanted something that looked like it could be made in the Victorian era, limited by the technology of the age: barrel-like, boiler drums, metal beams, and gears. In following with Jules Verne, we left exceptions of super-technology. In novels like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Master of the World" the inventions of the antagonists are super-technology either powered by electricity in some way, or capable of amazing speeds on both land, sea, and air. In much the same way, the steampunk mech is a super-technology machine.
The mech would be powered by a hybrid of electricity generated by steam. Rails from a rail road would form the length of the legs. Things could be attached to the rails: armor to protect the body, guides for tubes delivering pressurized steam to turn the gears for moving the legs, and rubber coated feet pads. The diving bell-like body would be segmented into two halves, with a geared ring dividing the center where weapons are mounted. The front of the body having sensors that resemble a WWII era radio triangulation device or early RADAR as seen on some ME-262 -- the world's first combat jet -- for night missions. An "electronic eye" mounted in the center of the body would get attention when painted in evil red. The rear of the mech would have the steam engine, looking vastly different than traditional engines. Above the engine, external capacitors store electricity that powers the primitive electronics of the mech.
The weapon systems are part of the exception involving super-technology. Both machine guns and cannon are not Victorian, but WWI or Crimean War. The water cooled machine guns are certainly WWI inspired, but the cannon inspired by the Crimean War, with, of course, some liberties. The cannon is a revolver type, which in the real world, was actually attempted. Real revolver cannons were a failure: the kick from the first shell firing was enough to set off the other shells. However, in this mech the genius scientist who developed the mech has also perfected the revolver cannon.
As it stands, the DioWarriors steampunk mech is a work-in-progress. There are times we get a creative block and can't think of a design that looks right. Other times other projects need to worked on, and the mech gets pushed back. But it's coming along and nearly complete.
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