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Friday, September 23, 2011

SL Nautical Steampunk: The JD Barracuda Submarine

Main advert for the Barracuda

AS one likely knows from reading the main blog, SL is a significant part of my Steampunk persona.  One of the nicer aspects of virtual Steampunk is indulging in a variety of odd and unique modes of transport.   As I have been eyeing a number of vessels to replace my current submersible, I felt I would start with one designed by one of SL Steampunk more innovative builders, Miss Jenne Dibou, and her signature submersible, the Barracuda!

The Barracuda surfaced... with its signature light

Miss Dibou has many stylish Steampunk builds (including the New Babbage wall, just north of the sims of the Palisades, and Industry).  However, with the psudo-aquatic design of the Barracuda, she pays homage to classic Steampunk ships with a ichthylogical bent. 

One more surfaced view

Though she has an inworld store, those who are intersted in a quick view may want to pay a visit to her SL Marketplace location, where she has additional vehicles and sundries available.  To do so, please turn to...

Taking the mini-submersible for a spin!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Horrible Histories - The Royal Navy!

I believe that by the Steampunk era, the bulk of these practices had been eliminated, but I couldn't resists posting one last Horrible History, from the lead provided by the Trial by Steam!  Do enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nautical Steampunk Art: Kawaii Octopi, by *egyptianruin!

For those who may not be familar with the term Kawaii, you've actually see much of it over the past few years.  According to the "urban dictionary", Kawaii is...

"An adjective in Japanese meaning "pretty; cute; lovely; charming; dear; darling; pet"... It's stem is two kanji meaning "can love".  It is commonly used by anime and manga fans."

One can gather that the octopus is a very popular kawaii topic, so as I searched DeviantArt, I came across a designer named *egyptianruin.  Her work, which can be found at her Etsy store, Kelly's Keychains, have a cacophany of unique items, including plenty of little octopuses!

If these little fellows do catch your eye, then consider a visit to her Etsy shop, at:
... where she has many more little fellows to eye!  Do enjoy!

Left to right... Sherriff Octopus, Gentleman Octopus, Sombrero Octopus, and Fez & Bowtie Octopus

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nautical Steampunk Art: Octopus Month! - Art Set #1

One new topic I'll be starting up with the Steampunk Shipyard will be a focus on nautical Steampunk art, with a different theme each month.  I haven't quite planned out all of the schemes as of yet, but I'll kick off September of 2011, with an icon of the sea - octopuses!  Please do enjoy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Submersible Steampunk Nautical Terms, Part 1

As with any specialty, there are terms which are unique to any environment - and submarines are no different.  As a subset of Naval terminology, sub have a twist of linguistics all their own.  To add upon that, though not all transfer to a Steampunk subset, many do, as some below are listed (with their possible Steampunk associations in parenthesis)...

1-MC: The ship-wide intercom system aboard U.S. submarines.
(Steampunk translation - I'm confident that there would be some translation of inter-ship communications aboard a vessel, be it air or sea.  So though it may not be a shipboard system run off of electricity, it would be an essential component of a ship.  If the captain has to make a ship-wide announcement, it would be over a general announcing circuit.
One thought, still used to day is a "sound powered phone", which as one can see an interesting concept dating back literally decades.  Some version of this might work, and the genre being what it is, pushing it back a bit further to the 1890's wouldn't be too much of a stretch, I'd say!)

Ballast Tanks: Large tanks are filled with seawater, which acts as weight, causing the submarine to lose buoyancy and sink. To surface, compressed air is pumped into the tanks, forcing the seawater out and restoring positive buoyancy.  
(Steampunk translation - Physics are physics, and since the first implementation of a using a ballast system, I'd say it wouldn't have changed much, though it might affect the ship design.)

Battle Stations (aka, General Quarters): Areas throughout the ship which crew members man during engagements with the enemy. These may or may not be their standard assigned sections.
(Steampunk Translation - Conflict is essential to just about every story, and if a person is part of a ship's compliment, they will have a job to do, somewhere on the ship - navigation, gunnery, engineering, damage control, etc...  If a person is a guest (aka - "rider"), unless they have an amazing skill, and are trained on a specific useful combat system, and have the Captain's blessing... they'll likely be sent to the mess decks, standing by to help in any way they can.)

Boat: Submarines were originally referred to as boats due to their smaller size. They are now as large or larger than many naval vessels and are considered ships. Generally a boat is a vessel that can be carried by a ship.

Bridge: On a submarine, the small observation area on top of the fairwater or sail.

Captain’s Mast: Session aboard ship at which the captain administers non-judicial punishment or commends outstanding performance.
(Steampunk Translation - Originally based on the "Rocks and Shoals", and after being consolidated with the other use forces regulations to become the "Uniform Code of Military Justice" (aka "UCMJ"), going to Captain's Mast is a big step down from a "Court Martial", and usually issued for lesser infractions at sea.  They are usually decided by the Captain, and the accursed attends in their formal dress uniform.  Also called "shooting pool with the old man", as the table the Captain and two officers in judgement sit behind a table with a green felt.  Not a fun time.)

Head: An original naval term for a toilet.  On olden ships (aka, wooden surface ships), it was at the "head" (forward bow) of the ship.  No toilet paper, just salt water to be refreshed.  Subs are a bit more civilized, but the "special" tanks need to be blown to sea, so they can be refilled.

Helmsman: Crew position from which the attitude within the water and direction of travel of the submarine are controlled.

OOD–Officer Of the Deck: An officer on duty aboard ship acting as the commanding officer’s representative, usually on the conn.
(Steampunk Translation - If the Captain isn't on the conn, the the OOD will have the conn.  Usually, the OOD will be an experienced officer who has the CO's trust to run the ship while s/he is otherwise occupied)

Periscope Depth: The depth at which a submerged submarine can extend its periscope above the surface.
(Steampunk Translation - If you are looking out of a periscope at something, then you'll be at periscope depth.)

Periscope: Any one of several varieties of optical instruments allowing submarines, while remaining submerged, to view activity on or above the surface.

"Rig for …" : Command reference indicating that the ship needs to be placed in some specified condition as in “Rig for dive”.

Rudder: A movable waterfoil attached to the stern of a ship, used to determine the lateral direction of travel of the ship.

Sail: The streamlined conning tower protruding from the top of a submarine.

Screws: The technical term for a ship’s propeller.

Sea Mount: An under-sea mountain.

Watch Section: The officers and men on duty in a specified area constitute the watch section for that area.

XO–Executive Officer: Second in command of a naval vessel. The XO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the ship while the captain keeps track of the “big picture”.  Usually s/he has to be the hatchet-man/bad-guy/ass hat who enforces things the CO wants happen (e.g. field days, watchbill modifications, other unpopular decisions).  Thankless job, and a precursor to eventually taking command of a ship.

(These were culled from the following location:, with the "Steampunk analysis" appended by my own observations and thoughts)!

For a few more casual terms, I've included a listing from the "Author's Den" - many of which I would certify are still in use!...

CO- Commanding Officer
THE OLD MAN- See above
DINK- A person who is not progressing in his submarine or watch station quals.
MANUVERING WATCH- Stationed when the sub in leaving or coming into port. This watch puts the best crewmen is the right place. 
NON-QUAL- A person who ha yet to earn his Dolphins
NUB - A new unqualified member of the crew. Having just been through boot camp and sub, or nuke school they still have very little hair. 
RACK - A bed on the submarine. This might even  be on top of of under a live torpedo.  Usually very cramped - like a coffin.

This list just *begins* to scratch the surface of nautical terms, not including "saltier" one.  For more intersting and amusing terms, please consider visiting..., and
There are quite a few not mentioned here, but do apply to RL Submarines!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The legendary SL designer Sextan Shephard, and his migration from Second Life... (*update!)

(*Update - Mr. Shephard left a comment on the main blog that might have gone unnoticed, so I decided to repost it here....

Just one thing, don't you think that this sound a bit like an obituary blog.. I am not dead!!!! (yes..this is Sextan speakin) it's not that I have left SL.. it's simply that, for now, I don't have any free time to get online... and I have prefered to totally stop to sell stuff and having a land just because I have no time to answer customers requests, IMs, land fees .. and to do everything that must be done daily when you owe a brand and a runing business in SL.
So I still build, but for a private company/foundation and on a private grid (12sims) and I have a lot of stuff to build (no steampunk stuff this time!. But most important thing, I have been hired for my first serious job as a music composer... and as already I have a regular daily job.. I spend my nights working on those other projects.. and I still have to save time for my family. So I'am not dead and gone.. I'am just a bit busy ^^. Anyway, I think I will be back on SL but I just can't tell when. 

... So we'll be looking forward to the day the Mr. Shephard returns to the Steamlands!)

For those who are involved with Second Life, they are aware events and locales tend to happen at a blazing quick pace.  Sims rez, change, or disappear, as do individuals.  I've heard (through passing discussions, mind you), that often times a person involved in SL will at one point become "burned out", or have pressing RL issues, and withdraw from the virtual Steampunk world, sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly.  As I was busy planning future entries on the Steampunk Travelogue, to my surprise, I came across some disturbing clues which indicate one of Second Life's premeir Steampunk builders, Sextan Shepherd, has quietly left Second Life, for destinations unknown!

For those who may not know, Mr. Sextan Shepherd was one of Second Life's most innovative Steampunk builders.  His ground breaking "Nemo I" build (the first video above) became a stunning example of the potential of genre building in the virtual Steampunk worlds.  Prior to Nemo I, he had been known for his breathtaking textures, which were not only iconic in its Art Nouveau influence, but his unique works (his first store was a floating set of island, which harbored his first few ships, which also became a standard in the virtual Steamlands (New Babbage)  

(unfortunately, this is simply a link to the YouTube video, but still worth the trip!)

He followed Nemo I, with Nemo II, Nemo III, and finally Liberty Cove - all exceptionally impressive builds.  Over the time he was in SL, he developed a loyal following, and one could easily see (and recognize) his works.  In fact, his last work, the aforementioned Liberty Cove, had his unique thumbprint on it, as well as his playful genre sense of humor (note the giant Steampunk robot to the right of the photo - it would greet you upon arrival at the sim)!

So, as I mentioned earlier, I was researching work for the Steampunk Travelogue (a kind of repository of Steampunk sims which is sadly not quite up-to-date), when I started to come across clues that Sextan had left Second Life, including....

1) Liberty Cove (below) is, for lack of a kinder word, gone...
2) His online shop in the SL Marketplace is gone, and most telling...
3) His profile states that he is (now) a content creator on another grid.

Based on the above... I have to assume he has moved on from Second Life to greener (steamier?) pastures.

Liberty Cove in September

Can't say exactly why he moved on, though speculation can run rampant (e.g. SL demands, SL business cutting into his building time, or even worse, the demands of RL).  Still, its sad to see someone of his established building skill, impressive genre vision, and excellent customer service depart SL.  Afraid I don't know where he has gone off to (I gather he wanted it to remain a secret, else he would have announced that fact), but nonetheless, the SL Steamlands are richer for his time and skills, so I do wish him fair winds and following seas, and the best of luck on his future endeavors!

To see more photos of Mr.Sextan Shepherd's amazing work, please turn to:
(above (stunning) photos by Lyloo Mitter)

My own copy of Mr. Shepherd's classic ship leaving New Babbage

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back "Underway" with the Steampunk Shipyard....

Well, its been a busy summer, but with the return of the fall, the Steampunk Shipyard is (and will be) back.  I did have to make some difficult choices on blogs to continue and let go on hiatus.  The Steampunk Tribune will obviously stay on as the "flagship" blog, but others (SL Jazz After Midnight, SL Dark Realms, and SL Ports of Call) will be put on hold for the formidable future.  Additionally, with two major Steampunk conventions with nautical themes on the horizon, it seemed like a good time to brush off the virtual dust from the Shipyard, and continue on with the projects I started earlier.  So do keep an eye here, for fairly biased and nautical Steampunk topics to come!