Sometimes we like to push ourselves a bit – yes?
So I was staring at this gorgeous picture on Instagram – yes, this one here – and thinking how much I’d like to create something like it. Now I don’t have a soldering iron or any other metal-working skills or equipment. My woodworking ability stops at cutting up coffee stirrers and lolly sticks with a junior hacksaw. In fact, I’m strictly a glue-and-cardboard person if I need to make anything rigid. It didn’t look particularly hopeful.
Then I remembered that I had a couple of cheap 1:12 scale metal prams. I put them next to the photo and decided the larger one might just work. Well, it was worth a try.
First there was much measuring, pattern cutting and trial and error with some nice brown card I had lying about. Next each piece was lined with card-backed fabric in a subdued floral pattern and the centre part of the body was glued in place. It looked roughly the right shape.
Putting together the dashboard, steering wheel and brake was easy, as was the little padded leather seat. My horseless carriage was coming together.
If it was going to be horseless, it needed an alternative power source. Steam – obviously. I cobbled together a little steam engine to go on the front and used a drinking straw covered in copper tape for the funnel.
It was at around this point that the vehicle’s name came to me. In Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, there’s a character called Autolycus. He describes himself as ‘A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’ and that is exactly what this vehicle was becoming. A spring from a ballpoint pen, the stick from a cotton bud, several small rubber washers, along with beads, chains, charms and jump rings from my junk jewellery collection all went into it. So The Autolycus it would be.
The boot was turned into a strong box, with tiny nail art crystals for the rivets. The windows were cut from clear acrylic packaging and set into suede strip seals.
Finally – and very nervously – I put the whole body together. A couple of coats of clear gloss acrylic varnish gave it look not too unlike polished wood, and strips of leather thong worked well for trims. The roof frame was – obviously – made from coffee stirrers! The door was attached with a strip of cotton tape and some faux hinges made of beads stuck to the outside. More beads and some earring wires made a pair of suitably ancient-looking lamps and at last The Autolycus was finished.
Obviously it lacks the beautiful clean lines of the vehicle that inspired it, but I’m not unhappy with the overall result and I’m sure the ladies and gents at Steampunk-Shrunk will be rather interested in this strange vehicle, despite the fact that it’s the steampunk equivalent of a smart car and only the skinniest and most agile contortionist would be able to get inside and steer the thing.
The Autolycus will be on display at various Steampunk days and miniature fairs in the New Year. Check the home page on this site for details of dates and venues.