Transformation – Amelia (mechanic/aviator)

img_20160716_080357-2Here’s a rare picture of Amelia with her identical twin sister Leonora.  When I first met them they both looked exactly like Leonora (left).

All my steampunk characters start out as mass produced dolls which I pick up online or in shops or bazaars.

First the clothes and excess glue are stripped off.  Then I look at the hair and decide whether it’s salvageable.  Sometimes I keep it and just do a restyle, as I did here.  Sometimes I make a new wig.

Next they sit for a while on the workbench while I decide how to transform them.  I’d done several lovely Victorian ladies in long dresses with top hat style fascinators or cogwheel covered headdresses, but Amelia seemed to want to break the mould.

img_20160716_080532-1So here she is – a fearless flyer and expert mechanic.  She may be petite and blonde, but she’s the equal of any other aviator and is happy to strip down an engine with the best of them.

The details were fun to make – the hip flask swinging from her belt and the leather wristband, the brass knee protectors worn over tight leather trousers, the chamois leather scarf and the wrap-around goggles.

20161009_190651As for Leonora, she must have been inspired by her sister.  Following a very unpromising start as a dolls’ house housewife, she ended up as a renowned explorer, travelling the world with her glass astro-chronometer.  Her unusual goggles have integrated clockwork dart-launchers.  I wish I had the skill to make them work!

If you’d like to see more pictures of this intrepid duo, or welcome them into your lives, the links to their pages at the Steampunk Dolls House are here:

Amelia:  Click here.

Leonora:  Click here.



20160925_115957_resizedMeet Bella, one of my favourite steampunk creations.

The ballgown I fashioned for her has a black brocade skirt, trimmed with metal beads and cogs.  The bodice and sleeves are made from pale grey leather and black lace, heavily embroidered with watch parts.

Some costumes work better than others and Bella’s suits her personality well.  I was going to make her a headdress of some kind – perhaps a veil over her face, made from the same lace that covered her bodice.

20160925_120249_resizedBella was adamant, though.  She wanted a mask.

I’d never made one before at that scale (1:12).  I used a piece of lace, stiffened with several layers of PVA to make the mask base.  Next I raided my box of watch parts.  Two pieces (called, I think, ‘flirts’) took my eye.  Wired together, they made a skeletal stag’s head shape.  20160925_120128_resizedTiny coils of brass wire formed the eye spaces and cheekbones.  Minute cogs and chains were stitched into the spaces, and there was Bella’s mask.

Now she can decide whether to wear it on top of her head or as a mask.  She normally chooses the latter, though.  Bella enjoys retaining an air of mystery and keeping her identity concealed.

If you would like to visit Bella in her temporary home at the Steampunk Dolls’ House shop, click here:

If you’d like to give her a permanent home, she is available for sale.


Algernon and Mercurius

20160929_133029“Mongolia?” repeated Mercurius, his eyebrows almost vanishing beneath his flying helmet.

“Oh yes. Mongolian Steppe. Perfect climatic conditions there for incubation,” mumbled the old man, whose back was turned as he counted the money and placed it into a brown envelope.


20160925_114134_resized“There’s no need to squawk in that manner, young man,” Algy responded. “Your advertisement in the Gentleman’s Weekly stated that you would carry any cargo to any destination with no questions asked. Yet you pester me with questions!”

Mercurius shook his head slowly.  Algernon Fforbes was not typical of those who required his services.  To be honest, he was most often called upon to deliver weaponry of various kinds.  This intricately carved casket and its key – which he was under the strictest instructions not to open under any circumstances until he arrived at his destination – intrigued and concerned him, in equal measure.

“Forgive me,” he said, “I have no wish to know the reason you are sending this – item, or where you obtained it.” (This was patently untrue; he was itching to know both these facts.) “However for my own safety I need to know what type of material I am carrying.”

Algernon gave a snort of irritation and reached for his pipe. “You are carrying an egg, young man.  It is well wrapped, so you need not fear breaking it, unless you are foolish enough to crash that flying contraption of yours.  You are to find as remote a location as possible in the Mongolian Steppe, place the casket on the ground and unlock it, using the key provided.  You will then have ample time to leave the vicinity and fly away before the di- before it hatches.  I’d advise you to make as much haste as possible, however, since you are so concerned for your safety.”

“So I simply abandon it there?”

“Have I not just said as much?” Algy snapped.

20160929_133135Somewhat unwillingly, Mercurius picked up the casket and attached it to the lanyard beneath his greatcoat.  He hung the key beside it.  Algernon handed him the envelope stuffed with banknotes.
“You will find the agreed fee there,” he said shortly.

The messenger walked slowly to the door. He made every effort to keep silent, but finally cried, “You are spending a huge amount of money, it appears, to abandon some unfortunate newborn creature to a slow and lingering death in a frozen wilderness, Sir. There seems no rationality to it!”

Algy smiled at this. “Not at all, I assure you. The creature will thrive. The conditions in the area where you will leave it are the closest on the planet to those in which it was conceived, in its own time. I am offering it – via your services – the gift of life. Now good day, Sir, and make your journey with the utmost speed.”

20160925_114057As the door closed behind Mercurius, Algy picked up his Device and cradled it fondly in his arms.

“The ‘creature’ will thrive,” he chuckled to himself.  “But I can’t say what the effect on those who encounter it may be.”


If you would like to become further acquainted with Mercurius (complete with the casket and key) follow the links below to his page at the Steampunk Dollshouse.

Algernon is no longer available.  All the characters in the shop are one-off creations, so won’t be replaced once sold.  However there are many more to choose from here: