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Not Minis, But a Home For Them


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So I've been working on steampunking this case for a little bit and only posting it on our local board, but now that there's something to show, I thought I would take it to a broader audience. It's nowhere near done, but the top panel is finished, so I'm eager for opinions. By the time all is said and done this will hold my crew with a magnetized display inside and foam under that, hopefully a mechanically powered turn-crank opening mechanism, some working gear panels displayed on the sides, and maybe even some steam effects. But anyway, right now it's just got some pretty and lights...


Here are some pictures of what's been done so far, including the original box, the cut box, the interior of the box with the lights (held in place temporarily) and the exterior with the large gem inset. And, a picture with the lights off for dramatic effect. I was -astounded- by the amount of light this thing cast.







Moving right along, I put the gilding on the case to present the idea of an alchemy circle using a variegated red/copper leaf (easily found in a kit at Michael's). Leafing is a complicated, but easy, process, that I am not going to detail here. If you have any questions about it, I'm happy to share the little I know. At this point I am deciding whether or not to antique the gilding, but I am leaning toward yes.


In addition, I put the etching on the large gem surface, deciding on the Ouroboros as a good symbol, being highly representative of alchemy, but also a symbol somewhat recognizable to the modern nerd. I made my own geometric motif for the stencil as bold, clean lines work best where illumination is concerned. Again, etching, an easy, but somewhat hazardous, process, with kits available at Michael's. The short version is as follows: Mask the area you DO NOT want to turn frosty with a waterproof mask (I used 2" packing tape, contact paper works, as does the expensive stencil stuff they sell you). If you are cutting your own stencil, it's best to put the sheet in place, cut the shape, then remove the appropriate parts. In particular, if you're doing a negative space stencil like I did, you'll be hard pressed to find another way. Once your mask is set, daub on highly acidic dangerous nasty goo, let sit for 60 seconds, wash off, remove masking, voila...


And here's a test fit of the gem in the case (no lighting). The next steps are antiquing the gilding, if I go that route, and affixing a wire setting (cage style) over the gem with copper wire. From there, for the top at any rate, all that remains is the side panels of glass to be etched, set in place, and edged in some way. Then, onto the electrical work!


I've added brass grilles loaded with filters to diffuse some of the (RIDICULOUSLY BRIGHT) LED output. I was amazed at the amount of filtering (1/8" frosted glass pane over 8 sheets of parchment paper) required to prevent blindness. I am not 100% thrilled with the visible whiteness through the grille, so I may end up teastaining the top layer of filter or glass, which hopefully won't ruin the hue of the light. All I need to do is screw the grilles down in place, but that waits until morning as I don't have any era-appropriate (i.e. flathead) brass screws in the Giant Box O' Screw we keep. The lights aren't aligned for the center gem in this photo, but the etching is still visible, along with the copper wire setting I added to hold the behemoth in place. Depending on the finished product, I may end up adding some more antiquing to the fixtures, but that's easy to do later.


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Thanks for the compliments, all.

Brushmistress (or anyone else) - That's a question I've been asked so many times now, and I just don't have an answer because it's not something I considered. At this point, I'm now considering selling this one when it's done just because a market seems to exist. If you are truly interested in one, I think it would make more sense for you to contact me privately and we can discuss your personal budget for something like this, as well as your vision for what kinds of elements you would want to incorporate to make it yours. Professionally, I am a wedding cake decorator, so this is the model of business I am used to following, and it has always served me well. ;)

If anyone else is trying a project like this and wants my input or advice for whatever reason, I'm also happy to help on that account just for the fun of it.

I have a spamtastic email address that's already all over the internet, so I save it for posting places like public boards.. If anyone wants to contact me, please do so at phoenixenvy@hotmail.com

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