Saturday, November 24, 2007

Introducing the Blunder bassoon

An elegant weapon from a more civilized age

During the buildup to Dragoncon 2007, I was tasked with constructing props for several members of the Vertigo's crew and companions. I made a stethoscope for our Doctor of Physik, a vasculum for our Botanist, but we also needed a weapon suitable for our weapons specialist and slayer.

First I did a little research on the kinds of weapons available in the real-world Victorian age (1830's to 1900's) and what was postulated by the Victorian fiction. Here is a short time-line of the history of firing mechanisms of personal weapons in the 1800's:

Flintlock: 1630 - 1860
Percussion Cap : 1830 - 1870's ish
Pin fire: 1835 - 1880
Rim fire: 1850 - Present
Centre fire: 1873- Present
Disintegrator Beam: 1898 -The not too distant future

The dates are estimates, with some disagreement between patent dates and first sale dates. Depending on when one's steampunk adventures take place, a rim fire revolver could be anachronistic, while having a energy beam weapon is within the bounds of the imagination of the era. Since this was kind of a golden age of development of the personal firearm, I tried to make something really interesting.

Since this is the weapon of a steampunk slayer, it needed to fire various target specific ordnance, including shot shells, gas assisted wooden flechettes, holy water phials, and bolts of bottled lightning from an advanced voltaic pile. The hose leading off from the bottom of the barrel is a "gas venting hose," which could be coupled to a exhaust canister or chemical drum.

Blunderbassoon Blunderbassoon
Using a toy "Smok'n Barrel" shotgun as a frame, I cut, sanded, and painted it into what we see here. I gave the plastic stock and grip a faux wood finish made it look used, but well cared for. The new muzzle is a toy clarinet. The idea was to invoke the look from the wide barrelled blunderbuss, while adding and steampunk styling such as gold and copper fittings. The scope is a Pirates of the Caribbean Mega Bloks spyglass.

Since it was build from of a toy gun, there is a functioning sound module in the stock that makes a "phutwow" shot sound effect when the trigger is pulled. The break action works great for carrying, storage and re-loading.

Let's face it. It's an excellent steampunk weapon.

1 comment:

by DAVID SPEAKMAN - said...

These look exceedingly awesome. If you bring stuff to D*C 2008 - as a fellow Steapunk fan, I'd like to see them in person.