Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Steam 6/8/13

Let's start with this week's most popular steamy snippet:

Awww yeeeeeah.

Now, I'm not saying the alcohol is what makes this handcrafted, wood-and-brass AT-AT by Colin Rhino so appealing, but I don't think I'm the only one imagining whistling the Imperial March to get it to deliver couch-side. JUST SAYING.

Seriously, though, would you LOOK at this detail??
Stunning. It really is fit for an emperor!

- I think I posted one of Andrea Masse-Tognetti's airship ornaments last Christmas, but Allison P. just linked me to this one, Andrea's third, and it's even more impressive than her first two!

Check out the tiny bead "lanterns", and the brass angel figurehead!

"Airship Three Hanging Sculpture," $255 by Merimask

While the hull may look like carved wood, it's actually sculpted leather. (The interior floor and cabin are balsa wood, though.) Some of you may recall that Andrea - better known as Merimask - is most famous for her leather masks, so these little ships are just a side hobby for her. I really hope she makes more, though; they're fantastic in every sense of the word.

- Some of you might recall many eons ago (ie about two years) when I reviewed the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and then linked to the astounding - and very real - automaton that inspired the book (and later the movie, Hugo.) The source I found for the automaton wasn't great, though, and the video of it in action was just so-so.

That's why I was delighted this week when my friend Steampunk Boba Fett posted a video feature CBS did on the Maillardet Automaton last year, plus a few other fascinating examples. I'm not sure how I missed this when they first released it, but better late than never, right? Check it out:

If this doesn't get you excited about history, lost knowledge, and old stuff in general, I'm not sure WHAT will. (I've come to love almost any kind of mechanical antiques: forget the doilies and glassware, and lead me to the old hardware, tools, and glorious, rusty "junk!" Ha!)

- This is going to sound pathetic, but John and I have never gotten into table top gaming mostly due to a lack of friends to play them with. (Pathetic, right?) However, if you're into complex strategy board games - and have friends who are, too -  you might be interested in the soon-to-be-released Planet Steam:

Per the maker's website: "In Planet Steam, two to five players take the roles of entrepreneurs, racing to assemble equipment, claim plots of land, extract resources, and accumulate riches."

It looks crazy complicated, but I love this slider-gauge "Resource Terminal" thingie:

There's a two-part strategy guide/review here, plus another picture of the full board, so check that out to learn more. (And thanks to Elizabeth E. for the tip!)

- And finally, Vivienne V. found this sweet octopus lamp by mixed-media artist Karl Dupere Richer:

It's made from found objects like garden hoses, Christmas ornaments, a candy dish, and a "suspended globe."

When I went to grab the link to Karl's site, I found he makes all KINDS of colorful, whimsical lamp creations:

Plus mechanical-assemblage faces like this:

Most of them are oddly endearing, like this guy:

 Head over to Richer's portfolio to see lots more. (Note that the site is in French, I believe, so you may want to have Chrome translate it for you.)

As always, please share your own steamy finds in the comments or over on the Epbot Facebook page - and have a happy Saturday, everyone! 


  1. I want that lamp SO much...

  2. Are you kidding me??? I practically lived at the Franklin Institute growing up and NEVER saw this? When did it go on display? And that museum in New Jersey, new on my hit list of things to see!!

  3. wow. that video of the automoton is fantastic. Thank you for sharing. I'm never disappointed when I visit your blog. Good work Jen (& John and wrecky henchpeople)

  4. You and John should try 'Ticket to Ride' - it's really a great board game that's totally playable with only two people!

  5. Check this out:

    Steampunk Old West FTW!

  6. How two of the coolest, most awesome people on the Interwebzez--nay, on the PLANET--not have enough friends for tabletop games??

  7. I saw that AT-AT this winter in Vancouver. It is awesome in person!

  8. Aw Jen, I'm on the same boat for tabletop games. But I think they're a great idea, and I plan to drag the few ppl i know, DRAG them i say, screaming if necessary, to some games. Do you know Tabletop, the online web series by Wil Wheaton on Felicia Day's Geek and Sundry Channel? It's awesome, so much fun to watch you can't help but wanna try it out. It's a great way of finding out more about some cool games and figuring out which you wanna try.

    1. I too am in that boat, and found Tabletop about 2 weeks ago. Love it! It's gotten me to thinking I should just join a board game Meetup group. Surely it'd have people in it who would be willing to play something other than party games!

  9. That Planet Steam game appears to be made by the same company that made one of my husband's favorite games: Red November. 3-8 players (gnomes) work cooperatively (usually) to fix a progressively worsening submarine as you wait to be rescued (or die - usually die). It too is "crazy complicated" (with heat, oxygen, and pressure gauges in addition to the general rules about floods and fires in rooms - and your drunkenness meter), but it can get pretty ridiculous (i.e. fun). :) We don't get to play it often because it requires a minimum of *three* people to play, but since Planet Steam has a minimum of two, we'll have to check it out. :)

  10. Jen, I don't know if by "tabletop" you're only referring to board games, or if you and John also have an interest in old school RPGs. If you are interested in role-playing games, may I suggest RolePlay on Line ( It's a forum for playing RPGs and since it's on-line it's perfect for people like The Husband and me who want to game but (a) don't have friends near-by to game with. (b)don't keep the same hours (it's text based, so you can pop into the game on your own time) (c) would like to play games that our friends are not interested in.

    You do have to create an account to look around, but it's free and you don't get spam. There are lots of games looking for players and it's anonymous - you pick a screen name, and once you're involved in a game, you're only ever listed by character name.

    The Husband is currently playing in three games and running one (he's a fantastic GameMaster, which means he never gets to play because everyone always wants him to GM!) The game he's running, "ICONS - Untarnished Silver", is a superhero adventure based in Hawaii! (No one in our regular game group is interested in superheros) You and John (and the rest of the Epbot crew!) are welcome to take a look at the game as an example - and if it looks interesting, we're open to more players!

    Feel free to drop me a line if you need/want more info!
    DainXB (at) SBCGlobal (dot) net


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