I think people just lack an intuitive sense of subtle, or "less is more". People are naturally inclined to really, really want to make sure everyone can identify their steampunk weapon as steampunk. The easy way to do it is to make it absolutely unmistakably obvious, with a grand visual of lots and lots of metal.
A more subtle, nuanced weapon that still makes the desired effect is harder. And going the hard way with things you're supposed to be doing for fun is a tall order! But I think you have a good point here, would be great to see some minimalist yet true-to-the-setting designs.
Honestly I'm not really sure why people add all the extra stuff. It seems that with steampunk, as ornate as it can be, the KISS method has been completely forgotten.
Now if you are making a massive death ray from scratch sure it makes sense. But when modding an already perfectly functional firearm (as it were) you could do a lot more with 2 or 3 tubes and an empty CO2 canister. Or other small accessories.
The biggest pet peeve I have is seeing all these damn flintlocks used. It's Victorian era normally as I see it and black powder weapons were 40 years out of date with ease by this point. Guns such as the C-96 Broomhandle by Mauser, Colt revolvers, and repeating rifles were common firearms for the time. The Gatling gun had already seen use on a war front and we're less than 20 years from the first tank being used on a battlefield.
I know we are not strictly Victorian by any means but a bit of cursory research into what was commonly used to base your stuff of has never hurt anyone!
In someways I think its the folks who only know steampunk as a sci fi setting and have little historical knowledge about the time. Some awesome weapons were in use and yes, they had STEEL barrels Then again to be fair there were those who dandied up their fire arms as well with gold and engraving so I guess it really is a mater of fashion and style.
Oh I agree. There was lots of spiffing up of firearms if you had the money.
No reason someone can't spiff up their gun or make it fancy as hell without adding all the massively bulky pieces.
Get a metal gun and print out some design you'd like it. Trace the pattern on some wax paper and cut it out of a sheet. Tape over so that the design is the only bare metal. Buy some acid from a pool cleaning supply store and use that to acid etch the pattern. Then just fill in with some of the cheap gold leaf from any hobby store before covering with a thin clear sealant.
Yep. Simple can still be attractive. If the weapon is not meant to be a strictly "ballistic" type, then one or two energy transfer tubes, say a focusing element, and a small "aether" reservoir is all needed as add ons. Then plan design and paint to emphasize (?) the component parts.
Why thank you Sir, it is an awesome word if I do say so myself.
I have thought more about this and it really does seem to be just a personal choice for flair more than anything else.I might could see the gears on the outside of a "ray gun" but honestly what gets me is a beautiful 1875 Remington with stuff all over it.And a steel barrel is much better than brass for bullets.
First, forgive me for not reading the previous responses, I didn't want my answer to be tainted or influenced by public opinion.
For me, the steampunk aether world is so elegant and froth with danger, that every weapon IS INDEED A DEATH RAY. The more gaudy your uniform, rifle, sword, steam powered jet pack, bracer re-pulsars, replacement limp, or what have you, the better.
I agree there needs to be some style and beauty to your leather armor and not just a collection of antique adornments thrown up all over you. But I love to see details and steampunk weapons and apparel.
I've always loved steam punk for the ability to use your imagination . Some peoples personas are fine using historical or period weapons and some like to be creative.
I tend to think its a pretty even playing field for both parties. Though I do tend to like more refined pieces and a bit more elegant this being said I do not fault those who have different conventions and think they should embrace it.
I am thinking more and more about my personas look and feel. Being American I'm leaning toward the more functional western steampunk look now.Still building a Tesla pistol but thinking about giving it a more down to Earth look and feel.
I'm going for a fantasy style American Civil War uniform. My revolver is an electrical coil atop a Colt Navy with wires ran down into the barrel. It will have a plastic counterpart with the orange tip.