Friday, 24 January 2014

Steampunk Cheescake!

The Legatus is not really surprised to discover that there is a whole genre of Victorian steampunk cheesecake.  Certainly some of the wargames figures out there fall into this category and I am currently working on one now, although as she is one of the most challenging figures I have ever attempted to paint I'm not going to do any work in progress shots in case, as is quite likely, she turns out to be a total disaster!

Our first picture is by Taiwan-born American comic-book artist Ben Dunne who has actually written a book on how to draw steampunk; and their are quite a few books on this subject.   The young lady's weapons have a seventeenth century look to them.  She illustrates many of the conventions of the genre:  brass back pack, goggles, straps, random clock faces/pressure gauges and an inability to keep her upper thigh covered. Her blouse is more early Edwardian and, in common with a lot of these pictures, she sports anachronistic suspenders (garter belt for our American friends) for her stockings. Dunne was influenced by Manga early on while living in Taiwan as can be seen from her face.

A sword-armed lady this one, channeling Catherine Zeta-Jones, in Zorro perhaps.  Hopeless underwear here: Victorian ladies would have worn knee length drawers, no suspenders and bras hadn't been invented yet.  Probably a scientist could work out exactly how many sword strokes it would have needed to render her into this state.

This is a better effort, although it is let down by the suspenders and the sheer stockings.  The wings are intriguing.

Pistol connected to backpack. Check.  Goggles check!  Random dials attached to stockings. Check.  At least this girl doesn't have suspenders but the required tightness of her garter, in order to support all those brass dials, would surely cut off the blood to her legs.  The gloves are a nice touch but the effort of lugging all that equipment around has given her rather fearsome shoulder muscles.

Our next steampunk heroine, who looks like she may, in fact be the one above her as well, is certainly generating a lot of steam from her enormous, but rather nineteen thirties, backpack. She is encased in a frankly very un-Victorian catsuit affair. Her shoes are wrong so we can’t give this effort a high mark. Where are her goggles? Where are her dials?

More steam in this one and at least she has boots and goggles. Her trousers, vest and screwdriver all put her rather later than the nineteenth century, however.  Still she would make a good engineer (no doubt the Professor's wayward niece) in the engine room of a steam powered tunnelling machine or some prototype land dreadnought.

A trio of ladies, now, and not a backpack in sight but a very assertively displayed frontpack instead. Goggles straps (one of which appears to be dragging the centre lady’s petticoat rapidly southwards) and big brass-bound pistols are in evidence. There is not much point in having a corset that is so abbreviated that it doesn’t cover the waist, however.   The lady on the right has a nicely sportif hat; ideal for riding or a spot of archery, perhaps.

This picture of two exhausted looking maids (why are they so tired, we ask?) was the first steampunk cheesecake picture we found. What is that, exactly, gazing at them through the window? Perhaps it is a Victorian gentleman paid to play phonograph cylinders looking for a young lady to moles...,er, impress? A reasonable attempt at the stockings but those knickers are hopeless. The bra, of course, didn’t really catch on until the period of the Great War with the first short, boned camisole appearing in about 1900. It certainly didn’t look anything like this frothy, abbreviated little number.

The final one, I have to say, is my favourite. Not only does the lady look feistily independent but her clothes are much better; with lace cuffs, ankle boots and striped stockings, which were very popular at the end of the nineteenth century. She has a nice hat too. Too many of these ladies are out and about without hats which is certainly not the thing!  The brass encased fingers add the requisite steampunk element as does her fearsome looking pistol

So, I hope to get on with my own steampunk heroine this weekend.  


  1. A wonderful collection of artwork of a charmingly somewhat risque nature!

  2. They are all great in their diversity!
    One of the best discrimative between Victorian SF and Steampunk I read is "Women wear their corset under their dress in VSF, above it in Steampunk" (summarizing well that Steampunk goes further away from historical reality, not only in technology but also in society including fashion). Does it applies also to 'Lacepunk' girls? These would go wall with your Hussarettes!

  3. Legatus, There is a Facebook page called " steam punk world " Filled with very inspiring pictures.

    1. Thanks, but I don't understand Facebook!

    2. I had a look, just out of curiosity... you will definitely like it, I rather think its right up your street:
      (copy and paste above to your browser)

    3. Goodness. What a fine collection of post modern corsetry!

    4. LOL, thought you'd like it! ;-)