Sunday, February 14, 2010

Airship Month: What type of airship best represents the Steampunk ideal? (Poll)

It is odd how inspiration arrives, or at least how one arrives at said inspiration.  While enduring NBCs insipid coverage of the Vancouver Olympics (oh, how I miss the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations presentation), I took that time to update my infrequently used laptop.  Aside from the never ending list of updates to it, I began searching for a new wallpaper background.  Deciding that it would be an airship, I went looking between Google, Bing, Deviant Art, and a few other locations, searching for an appropriate image.  The longer I looked, it seemed to me that there were some overarching generalities regarding airships, which led me to my current (next) poll question.

There seem to be three general categories of airship appearance from the images I located.  The first type is a nautical ship suspended by an inflatable and over-pressurized gas bag.  Essentially a ship hanging by ropes to some type of balloon holding a lighter-than-air gas, the Nautical Flying Ship seems to be the simplest representation of airships.  Straightforward in design but classic in appearance, it may be the oldest type of airship representation

(Second Life)
(425 prims, but only L$1!)

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Next is the Zeppelin-type of airship.  Usually based on a rigid or semi-rigid frame holding the lighter-than-air gas, the Zeppelin design also has an attached structure beneath the frame, be it a basic capsule, utilitarian under-carriage, or luxurious accommodations such as those from the Indiana Jones movie, based on the LZ129 (the Hinderberg Wikipdeia is a wonderful tool).  Obviously, an interior of such a Stemapunk ship would be modified to reflect the Steampunk / Neo-Victorian genre, but this type of Zeppelin ship, with its frame and capsule style, is another style that was also noted in the image search for airships.

The luxurious Dining Room for passengers of the LZ 129 Hindenburg, 

(Second Life)

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The last category seemed to be based on, shall we say, non-obvious means of flight for airships.  These airships came in many forms and types, and frequently seem based on traditional military ships of the first half of the century (such as stylized battleships, cruisers, and destroyers from the first and second world wars).  Their means of support/propulsion are secondary to their appearance (e.g. they use cavorite {first noted in the Wells book First men in the moon), Liftwood (Space: 1889)), and almost exclusively are angled for military confrontations.  For ease of reference, I will simply refer to this category as the Flying ships with no specific propulsion.

(Second Life)

There is, as always, the Other category.  However, the only well-known example that I can think of at the moment is the Flying Wing airships from Howls Moving Castle, with ships that had mechanical flapping wings to support their air flight.  I am confident that there are alternative examples which would fit the Other category, and as I come across them, I promise to post them.

The aforementioned airships from "Howl's Moving Castle" - as one can see,
the wings on this vessel actually "flap" to maintain buoyancy

As such, I have posted the poll on the left sidebar, so please feel free to make your choice and air your thoughts on Steampunk airship design!

Fair winds and following skies - until the next airship entry!


Annotated Margins said...

If its an airship, in any of the three main designs, its perfect.

steelchair53 said...

this is my space ship !!!!!!!!!!!!

Google Mark Phenicie steam punk

Patrick Whitaker said...

I am producing model flying airships based on four basic designs. I would like to release these according to the tastes of this community. They can be seen at Input is appreciated.