Dec 252013

Hey, everyone! This is Chaos on behalf of the entire Radiant Vanguard group saying Happy Holidays to one and all. There’s no posts today, but we’ll return next week. For now, I hope everyone’s enjoying the holidays with those close to you.

Dec 192013

Alright, as part of the current/upcoming holiday season, a lot of people are visiting friends and family. I just got back from a graduation party/pre-Christmas visit with my brother and parents myself. Of course, one of the questions that everyone asks is ‘what have you been up to lately?’ or something of that sort. After going on about finals and classes and other stuff, I eventually came around to the Cleveland Zeppelin Union meet-up the three of us attended a few weeks ago. Which in turn lead to explaining what the group is based on- steampunk. Every single person’s reaction?


“What’s steampunk?”


So I was wondering- what is everyone’s best method or strategy for trying to explain what steampunk is to friends or family that have no  idea. I used to try and use the movie ‘Wild Wild West’ but… for one thing, besides Will Smith and Kevin Kline having some pretty good buddy-cop type chemistry, the movie kind of sucked. And not a lot of people have seen it so it really doesn’t help.


Any tips?

 Posted by at 7:30 pm
Dec 152013

Greetings, loyal followers! Today, I have a confession to make: I have NO IDEA what I’m doing and it’s awesome!

I decided to make a wig from scratch. I knew I wanted a whole head of tubular crin, also known as “Cyberlox”; what I didn’t know was, um, anything about wig making. At all. Fun!

Most of the actual steps toward making a wig of hair would be utterly useless when making one of tubular crin, but all the crin tutorials I could find involved making ponytails or falls rather than rooting it to a head shape. However, yarn wigs are popular and relatively similar. With that in mind, I set out to find some crin, a wig head, and a wig cap.

Note: This is entirely the wrong kind of wig cap.

hair net 1
hair net 2

I decided to use it anyway, because what the heck, if it works it works, right? Wrong. Stitching the crin to the cap didn’t seem to be holding so well:

hair net bad idea 1

Then I browsed some more yarn wig tutorials and discovered I already had an alternative: a bit of pantyhose. I cut the foot off, stretched it over the head, and began stitching:

Note that, yet again, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. None whatsoever. Eventually, stitching became increasingly tedious, so I decided to experiment with hot glue. It works well enough, but you have to remember to wiggle the cap a little to loosen it from the styrofoam as the glue dries, lest the wig be glued to the head.  However, hot glue is HOT, and crin isn’t solid; this WILL burn your fingers if you’re clumsy like me.

As I kept working, I realized I probably should have started with the bottom layers and put in the highlights last. Whoops. So I started methodically adding the darker strands:

At some point I realized that if I put the glue on the crin first, let it cool halfway, then pressed it to the stocking, it would both hurt my fingers less and be less likely to adhere to the styrofoam head. I still ended up running my fingers underneath after every few strands to make sure it loosened.

Then, when all was said and done…

It didn’t go on my head! The darned thing just won’t fit on my head, it keeps popping off.

So I don’t think I like this stocking method. I think I’m going to see if I can glue the stocking onto a beanie  for shape. Anyone got a better idea?

Dec 132013

Hey, this is Chaos. I had a post this week, but it apparently got deleted at some point between two weeks ago and last Wednsday. That along with moving and finals has put me in a rather bad mood, so I figured I’d share my feelings using a song by a steampunk-esq band that I learned about at the last Steampunk Symposium. Hope you enjoy.

Dec 082013

So, I haven’t done stage makeup in years, not since I graduated with my BA in Drama. But, since I got out the kit for the Halloween special, I figured I might as well demonstrate another trick: making a nose seem broken.


You Will Need:

  • Nose & Scar Wax
  • Spirit Gum
  • “Bruise” makeup

Step one is to coat the nose liberally in spirit gum to help the wax adhere:

pic 1

Next, roll a ball of wax and adhere to the nose:

pic 2


You’ll want a makeup palette like this one from Ben Nye:pic 3

Yellow and purple make for bruise colors, and the red looks more “wound-like”. See:

pic 4 pic 5


Voila! Looks like he took a pretty good hit, huh?

Sorry this was short, I’m busy working on my next surprise 😉

Dec 042013

Hey everyone. Chaos here, and I wanted to welcome everyone to the new site layout. Hopefully if you’re new here you’ll take this chance to look through some of the older posts and catch yourself up. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

*crickets chirp*

Alright, great. Now that you’re caught up I’ll go ahead and introduce myself for those that didn’t look at the backlogs and are just going ahead with this. I’m the prop builder of the group, in so much that they let me paint over nerf guns and make interesting things that may or may not light up and make sound. I modify pieces or items we can find to fit characters (mostly weapons at this point) and in some cases I’ve even created bits from scratch. I kinda fell into the job since I’m going to school for an Engineering Master’s degree and I really can’t make costumes, but it’s actually been a lot of fun.

Bob- Gun and Holster

The gun was modded personally, but the holster was purchased.

I’ve done a few posts on what I think about when coming up with pieces for character costumes, but this is actually something that I ran into when going over my next project. I was talking with Yami about some of the ideas I had and she mentioned that it wouldn’t really work because if someone WAS wearing said prop as a real thing, it would be really hot and probably burn whoever was wearing it. I countered that Steampunk is somewhat fantastical so I didn’t see what the problem was, but she insisted that it didn’t make sense. We eventually settled on another design for the prop that worked with something less problematic, but it got me thinking. How much do the props we wear in Steampunk have to worry about real-world physics?

Not a clue what's it's for, exactly, but who cares? For SCIENCE!

Not a clue what’s it’s for, exactly, but who cares? For SCIENCE!

There’s some merit in not worrying about how props would actually work in the real world. There are a lot of props that you see at Steampunk conventions wouldn’t really work by the strictest sense of science, but they have enough grounding in them that you can see how they work with just that dash of outlandish that makes them interesting. Personally, I’ve always liked science fiction and the more outlandish the design, the more interesting I find it. I always find my mind wondering how such a device would work. Could you make something that actually functioned like that, and what sorts of science would have to be changed just for that one piece to work. It could just be my years of being facinated with sci-fi and robots and ray guns and all that stuff that makes me worry more about ‘what would look interesting’ rather than ‘what makes sense for the characters and setting’. Not that you can just ignore setting or characterization if you’re trying to make a coherent world.


This is Lucas Warren. He’s my steampunk character and is something of an amoral businessman. He’s high class and does everything he can to keep it that way. Lucas knows all the right parties to attend, the right people to impress, and the good business sense to press an advantage when he has one. He has his prejudices, but they’re mostly to those he would find useless to his goals. If you provide him with an advantage, he has little qualms with what else you do. If you become a hinderance, he will not hesitate to cut you off and cast you aside. If you have something he requires, he will find every way to relieve you of it, and it will all be done with business deals and subordinates.

Lucas is a very particular character with a set of goals, characterizations, traits, and themes and while I’d love to give him something like a steampunk crossbow or some sort of mechanical display that hangs from his hat, I wouldn’t because it doesn’t fit his character. I think it would be cool, but it would just clash with everything that the character presents. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some interesting additions to the props later (mostly once I get a bit more time) but anything he has needs to fit his character and theme. You have to strike a balance between ‘what looks interesting’ and ‘what fits the character’. It helps with making pieces that ‘fit’ a character rather than making a prop and trying to jam a character around it.

Ultimatly, it comes down to the goal of a prop. I think that if it’s something that’s supposed to go with a character, you need to keep the prop within the bounds of what the character would carry around. If you’re making a prop to just go ‘hey, that’s an interesting idea’ then I’d say the sky is the limit. Let your imagination run wild and see what sort of contraptions you could make.

I’d like to welcome anyone to give me their take on the topic. Do you think that props have to be bound to a specific set of rules or can they be completely unbound from any one interpretation of Steampunk? Do you think it can be both? Do you want to just share some ideas you might have on props you are/would like to make? Go ahead and leave a comment with your ideas and here’s hoping you’ve all enjoyed my little introduction to my side of the group.

Dec 012013

So this year, we’re moving literally the week of Christmas and New Year’s: we take possession of our new place December 22, and we’re promising to be out of the old place by January 1. In light of this, we’re not doing a tree this year 🙁

Instead, we’ve agreed to a compromise: we’re going to make a few smaller decorations, such as a fake wreath we can re-use next year, and maybe some garlands. So this post is where I’ve been collecting some inspiration 🙂

First off, of course, there’s Jen from EPBOT’s steampunk wreath:

Click to view the walkthrough and details

While I like the gold embellishments, I’m not sure I want a green wreath like that. If I do go green, I’d want the items to be more tree-themed, like little clockwork birds or squirrels or brass pinecones or something, so it feels thematically together.

I found this one on Pinterest:

I believe this is by Megan Crandall Cooper, click for her facebook

I like the idea of this better, it feels more thematically solid, but it seems a bit skimpy and flat compared to a proper wreath. So as you can see, I am a fickle person and cannot make up my mind on anything 🙂

This one’s from Etsy, available for purchase if it tickles your fancy:

Listing is for a totally custom work by splendidcolors, click for her store

It feels very solid thematically, with being made entirely of gears. And it’s definitely more full than the previous one. But it’s still very flat, because gears are flat.

Here’s the mistress of crafts, Martha Stewart:

Martha Stewart. Click for tutorial

This could be a nice alternative to green, I think, but I’d want to avoid making it too one-note probably. Maybe. I don’t know. Hmm.

Here’s one from a blog called Crafts n Coffee:

Crafts n Coffee. Click for tutorial.

I don’t like this style at all — too flat and silver — but I love some of the embellishments. That bird on top is gorgeous, as is the dragonfly and those cute little Victorian flowers.


So now I’ve got some solid ideas; I try not to let anything be too firm in my mind before I go to the craft store because, as I learned with Nettie’s Hats, it’s often the spur-of-the-moment inspiration at the store that helps really make the idea come together.