Monthly Archives: December 2016

Elemental Dragon of Earth

Cole's Elemental Dragon

Cole’s Elemental Dragon

Dragons aren’t seasonal.

Chinese New Year, perhaps, but not Christmas.

Nevertheless, I found myself in dragonbuilding mode, and as my kids are Ninjago fans, the build quickly developed into a Cole’s Elemental Dragon of Earth MOC.

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It’s obviously a much more Oriental style of dragon than most of the Ninjago dragons; one of my peeves about the theme is the Western nature of its dragons.  Only the awesome Sensei Wu dragon is a really Oriental-style dragon.  Plus possibly the Morro dragon.

This one has wings, which isn’t technically correct for an Oriental dragon, but my 5-year-old is baffled as to how a dragon can fly without wings.  I told him that perhaps they were like some sort of living airship.  Steampunkery for the win.

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Cole is obviously seated atop the body, which has a pleasing amount of articulation in the three-section design.  He’s holding the Scythe of Quakes, because I’m a traditionalist, even though the Golden Weapons were long since destroyed.  Probably.

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The head is nicely moustachioed, has twin stud shooters for its nostrils, and antlerlike horns that neatly reference the Nine Resemblances of the Dragon.  The neck is thinner than I’d really like, but it works as a neck.  I really must get some of those Bionicle arm/leg shell elements in a colour other than red sometime.  They’re so useful for this sort of bulking-up.

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Colonel Bombast’s Walking Skiff

The inestimable Colonel Thomas Bombast presents his amazing rotary cannon-armed walking skiff.

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Built around the hull of a sturdy small Atlantic boat, the good Colonel’s feat of engineering utilises advanced mechanical gearing and gyroscopic self-balancing.

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The two-legged design is the speediest of the several available steam walker platforms, and the Colonel’s patented Mechanogyrotropic Self-Balancer utterly counteracts the inherent instability of other bipedal platforms.

Advanced gearing allows the use of a relatively small steam engine for power, with plenty of steam left under normal usage conditions to power the mechanical rotary cannon slung under the skiff’s hull.

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A six-barreled, two-inch-calibre weapon, the rotary cannon uses a steam-driven version or Mr. Gatling’s patented automatic gun mechanism, and at the limits of its gearing can fire nearly 200 shots per minute.

The secondary weapon is a swivel-mounted repeating blunderbuss which can be loaded with lead shot for unarmoured targets or steel slugs for use against more protected opponents.

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I quite like the look of this walker, with the boat hull and everything, but buildwise it’s nothing particularly special. No major interesting part use or special technique on display; just another steampunk walking machine.

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Colonel Bombast may prove useful as a character. He looks a bit grim, but I expect even I’d be marginally uncheerful with a pegleg and a hook hand. On the other hand, he gets to stomp around in a steampunk walking boat, which I don’t.

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On the Orion Express

The Wayrail! Every advanced steam-using civilisation in the Galaxy is connected to it. A vast interstellar transportation network carrying the passengers, goods and mail of the Galaxy.

The Orion Express cosmic steam locomotive

The Orion Express cosmic steam locomotive

When the Builders trundled their Tracklayer into Sol system, humans had been crossing the aether between planets for nearly a century in their steam-powered aetherships, but no-one had imagined anything like the great loop of diamond-hard rail track strung around the Sun between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. At various points, junctions came off the ring and headed out, disappearing into Railspace to emerge at other stars.

When the Solar Terminus ring was finished, the Builders left a message for the Empire of the third planet, sometimes called Earth or Tellus, announcing that the station was open for business and inviting Mankind to build and operate locomotives on their completed track.

And so humans descended upon an unsuspecting Galaxy…

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A cosmic steam locomotive running on an interstellar hyperspace railroad. Even for steampunk, we’re in strange territory.

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I could pull the excuse that as a genre, steampunk operates on Rule of Cool, not physics. When it comes right down to it, very few steampunk creations would work in the real world; coal-fired steam power just isn’t efficient enough to power the monstrous walkers or massive land-dreadnoughts of real steampunk, and there is no lifting-gas, not hydrogen and certainly not helium, that could lift the armoured airships which are nearly standard.

No matter. This is steampunk. A willing suspension of disbelief is required.

No, the excuse I’m going to use for the insanity of a steam railroad through hyperspace is that this is LEGO. We imagine the unthinkable, and then try to build it.

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This, then, is my cosmic steam locomotive, the Orion Express. Yes, that is an “Orient Express” reference. It’s microscale; I’m imagining that the phantom track on which it rides is something like a 37 1/2 ft gauge, making one stud length a little over six feet for scale.

The tender could really do with another axle in the middle, but I only have two of that size of wheel mount, so it’s not happening. And you’ll have to imagine the goliath four-storey carriages, too.

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Enjoy.