Steampunk is a popular sub-genre of science fiction. Boilers, cogs, brass and gears, anything clockwork or steam-driven is venerated in this fascinating genre. Thanks to third party developers and niche model makers, our games can be styled in the age of steam. Popular bits side Maxmini offers a few sets around this theme, and today I’ve opened up a box of Steampunk weapons.
Each set of weapons costs £5.59 RRP (as of September 2014), and for that you get three axes and two swords, all of which have a heavy steam-punk vibe. The blades are fashioned into cog-shapes, and all have added gears, wiring and hinges. For no obvious functional reason, just because it looks cool.
The weapons themselves are of a high quality. The details are crisp, with no severe or instantly noticeable imperfections in the resin. The blades aren’t chunky either and some of the details are really small, which is great for today’s world of highly detailed models. The larger weapons (mainly the two-handed axe) are a bit too flexible at the shift, but that’s down to resin’s own properties rather than a product defect. Providing you are careful this shouldn't pose an issue. They are all intricately detailed, apart from the sword shown below: it feels a little plain in comparison to the others.
Design-wise, they are perfect for steam-punk settings and games in 28-30mm scales, and not just the obvious 40k used like Mechanicum armies. models such as the Miner’s union for Malifaux, and those from games such as Wild West Exodus and Wolsung might benefit from these kits. They have no real “identity” in the sense that they belong to a certain game (whereas many shoulder-pad designs and shapes are obviously themed at a certain sci-fi race of super-humans). This gives them quite a wide range of applications, from science fiction machine-men to the mad scientists of a historic-fiction age.
For use on models, you’ll either want arms with open hands, or you’ll have to cut the weapon and/or the hand to get it to fit in. whilst this means almost any model can use it (pre-moulded hands on weapons do limit what can use them), it does result in more work for the modeller.
Here is the largest weapon, a two-handed poleaxe, shown on a Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Chosen model. Part-open hands like the one on this model are perfect, as the weapon simple slips in and looks the part. I’ve turned a bog-standard Chosen into something else, perhaps a Warpsmith or an Iron Warriors sorcerer. This goes to show that even one part can change the whole model.
These weapons make a fantastic addition to any clockwork, mechanical, or tech-themed models you have. With such a wide scope for their use, I can see how they can be blended in with other ranges from several games, and 100% look the part. Yet again, Maxmini fails to disappoint, and I hope to see more from this particular theme in the future.