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Steampunk Sensational
Created by ggrihn on 4/28/2014 4:29:43 PM

Steampunk Style: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Contraptors, Gizmologists, and Primogogglers Everywhere! Edited by Steampunk Oriental Laboratory

Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor


I think that Steampunk Style: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Contraptors, Gizmologists, and Primogogglers Everywhere! is perhaps the most elegant and impressive “Maker” book I have seen. Half “Gallery” and half how-to, it illustrates Steampunk works of art by Japanese artists and crafters. (And justifies its otherwise overblown title--.)

The works showcased range from digital art, such as paintings by Toshiyuki Kimura; to what may be the ultimate “mecha-maid” costume, by “TOON MART” Naoto Nishiwaki; to elaborate bio-mechanical arthropods, by Yasohito Udagawa. My favorite of the latter is “For My Baby,” which depicts a scarab, or dung beetle, but the mechanical insect’s ball of waste is made up of compressed metal parts.

There are a lot of things in this beautifully photographed book that beggar description: they must be seen.

The second half of the book goes into crafting techniques, some of which, such as “Cutting and Dying Brass” (using etching solution), are definitely for the advanced worker. Projects include building a working brass diaphragm shutter (!); sculpting leather; making a custom watch case, face, and hands; and how to make the “mechanical armor” in the maid pictures.

A third section is titled “DIY Antique Interiors in Order to Live in the Steampunk World,” and deals with projects for the home, such as modding keyboards, picture frames, and book covers.

This is an utterly gorgeous book and the gallery pictures are worth the price alone. Warning: Contemplating the objet d’arte therein may make you despair of your craft skills, but, on the other hands, may give you goals to aspire to.

Steampunk Style: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Contraptors, Gizmologists, and Primogogglers Everywhere!

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