Work in Progress

The Queen-Empress Victoria

Posted by steve_pickstock on 19 Aug 2021, 15:31

This is an occasional series - so I will not be posting every week, but it will be very picture heavy.

So what is it?

Try this for starters
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This is Neverwas Haul, as it appeared at the Burning Man Festival a few years ago.
Burning Man is a sort of giant art installation/music festival/thing that happens in the Black Rock desert in Nevada, the creations that people come up with for it are incredible and one year someone turned up with Neverwas Haul.
It is a kind of steampunk tour bus and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to build one for the wargames table.
There are some more pictures of the real item on a Pinterest board https://www.pinterest.co.uk/stevepickst ... rwas-haul/

Steampunk and Victorian science fiction have fascinated me for a long time, so I started pulling bits together for this project - initially I called it Neverwas Haul 2, but since it started getting built I needed a better name.

The original vehicle is quite modest, though the builders made good use of the space and the parts, but ultimately, I suppose, the biggest constraint was moving it on the roads.

Not a problem I have.

I have a friend who uses my 3D printer and he created some wheels for it. they reminded me of 19thC and early 20thC steam traction engines. To cut a long story short - I went big.

First up the hull.
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Sheet styrene - plastic card, evergreen, whatever you want to call it. 60 thou thick and quite solid. Extra plating to give it that boiler maker/industrial feel. Oh and port-hole on either side.
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The Cardinal was there just to scale it for the pictures.
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Next I added a deck, to give myself an idea of what room I had to work with,
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I used Evergreen I beams to add stiffness to the structure and keep the industrial theme.
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The figure is a Strelets Boer, very steam punk with the top hat.
With the wheels
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I built the pilot-house from some Wills Scenics windows, in fact all of the windows and doors are by them, I glued them side by side in a curve and added the rest of the structure around them.
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And attached to the hull.
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There will be a set of wheels (and a cow-catcher) underneath the pilot house.
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The figures in this shot are from the Red Box "Stalkers" sets (72039 and 72040), again very steampunk(y) figures.

Next up was the roof.
I was anticipating this to be the most difficult part. But I sat down and worked out on paper what I wanted, and it seemed to work out.
The structure in the top of the roof is a 'widow's walk' - and is a walk way accessible from the inside of the roof.
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And to conclude the pictures in this update - the first of the sidewalls , the hull and the roof.
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From the tabletop to the rooftop I think it's about 15cm tall.

So why is it called The Queen-Empress Victoria?

In my head the middle of the 19thC saw the European Empires in a vigorous outwards expansion. The Americas, the Siberian Steppes, Africa, Mars and Venus. Engineers came up with all sorts of novel inventions to help the exploration and conquest of these areas. The Armstrong and Whitworth Company (of Manchester) built a series of Landcruisers, and the Queen-Empress Victoria was one of them. Long since transferred into private hands, many of these wonderful old vehicles can be found around the globe from the plains of Champagne to the Gobi desert, as scientists use them as bases in their explorations.

Thank your for reading thus far.
Pickers
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Kekso on 19 Aug 2021, 19:16

I will follow this one with great interest.
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Posted by MABO on 21 Aug 2021, 09:17

You are so hardworking, I can't believe it! The next wonderful project!
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 21 Aug 2021, 11:08

MABO wrote:You are so hardworking, I can't believe it! The next wonderful project!

It helps to be retired. And the lock-down too, that has helped, I'm working on things that I have had in my head for years.
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Posted by MABO on 21 Aug 2021, 16:04

I hope I can do that as well when I am retired. I have basement full of stuff to work on... :-D
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Posted by Peter on 26 Aug 2021, 20:38

Another great project to follow, Steve! I like the start of it! :-D
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Posted by Susofrick on 27 Aug 2021, 08:08

Agree with the others!
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 28 Aug 2021, 17:17

Susofrick wrote:Agree with the others!

And me too. :yeah:

Santi.
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Posted by Howlin on 30 Aug 2021, 06:05

I love this, really, so much... Working with evergreen is so nice... cuts so easily and carves nicely too...

It reminds me of the movie Immortal Engines..... Which I loved the premise more than the movie but essentially due to dystopian future towns became mobile giant machines with contrasting architecture and technology.
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 30 Aug 2021, 08:35

I admit Immortal Engines was one of the reasons I went big. So much that was good in that film, but ultimately it leaves you kind of disappointed.

Styrene sheet is what I started modelling on, and I agree, there are a LOT of positives about it.
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Posted by Howlin on 30 Aug 2021, 08:58

Super cool, looking forward to whats next. Is that a water tower/ silo on the side?

Some kind of steam punk interior?
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 30 Aug 2021, 10:10

There will be two 'towers' one round tower and one square. I am torn, I cannot decide between a simple open top to the square tower or whether to go full 'Addams' family on the top, with one of those little square spires.
The round tower on the original Neverwas Haul was actually a camera obscura - so a round dome top would be in order for that, but I was also cosidering something like an open top (If I put a spire on the square tower; an octagonal spire - but that is going to be a lot of work, and the final option is something like an M5 Stuart turret or a Somua turret.
As for the interior? The Queen-Empress is very much a wargames piece, and I want to to be strong enough to take handling and so an actual interior is not really on. There will be an interior to the Pilot House - very much along the lines of a ship, a vertical wheel rather than a steering wheel arrangement, voice pipes and an engine telegraph - I'm thinking of those lake cruisers you get in the States where the pilot station is part of the living room area, so you get upholstered couches etc.
I need to get the exterior of the pilot house painted so that I can get the windows on before I start decking out the interior.
Do you have any thought on the towers? Or something I can add, that I may have missed? I am always open to sggestions.
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Posted by Howlin on 30 Aug 2021, 17:55

Well I really like your vision so far, so hard to say to add anything to it.

I think the square tower being tall with a spire is the way to go for an ultimate battle look out/ snipe position. And will really add to the Victorian look. As for the round tower I think I would want some more flat top deck space so would raise it about an inch and leave that flat top or with some kind of feature on that flat top units can interact with (weapon, crane, etc..) Since you had mentioned a dome, and that the foundation is floating, I would consider putting the dome at the bottom to make the tower look like this...

look at picture of the bottom middle pic and see the 4 top side towers and how they fit on.

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It could even be a partial grain/coal hopper for the bottom half and have a chute going to the heart of the engine room. to feed the steam enginses

Questions: what will power it? steam? Will it have pipes and I will be curious how you make the flaring speaking horns.

Other details to consider: handing side lamps/ (projectors on the real one)
maybe a small paltform with a railing on the bottom back of the engine room, with a door there so its like the end of a old train

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side stairs or way to get up?

what is that garage door like large opening on the side?

is a brush plow too much?

This is so much fun
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Posted by Howlin on 30 Aug 2021, 18:13

Options

just thought of A giant turreted spy glass
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 30 Aug 2021, 18:23

There will definitely be a brush plough/cow catcher!
There will be a substantial nose wheel strut undercarriage thing, linked back to the main body by a framework with the cow-catcher on that.

The more I think I about it, the more I like the idea of the square spire. I lived in the city of Lancaster for a while and near where I lived there was a house just like that and it always caught my eye, plus there's the Addams family thing. (I think at some point the Queen-Empress was refitted/rebuilt in the US, as there are many features that you find in American architecture.)

Pipe/feed line from the bottom of the round tower into the hull? Yes good idea.

Fuel? Don't know. But I am inclined to some sort of early fusion reactor - hey! It's Victorian sci-fi!
There will be a tall smoke stack, and two ventilators facing forwards in the middle of the facade behind the pilot house, like on the Neverwas Haul.

Details. There will be a couple of companion ways, that lower down from platforms for boarding, and a crane/derrick for loading that will swing out, possibly from the balcony on the portside. On the starbord side there is a shallow bay window, that takes up a lot of the space - this is it partly finished:-
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There are two things I am planning for the back/stern - one is another balcony, that hangs out quite a way, and there will be a second porch below it closer to the ground.

I have two frames of etched brass 'steampunk' fittings, and a bag of tiny cogs and wheels. The steam punk fittings contain things like the sort of crown you see round smoke stacks and rivetted bands, There are cogs and chains and brackets, that sort of thing.

The structural part of the build has gone very quickly, I think the slowest part will be getting the details right.

I have just seen 'Giant turreted spy-glass' that would have been the original's camera obscura.
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Howlin on 30 Aug 2021, 19:09

Glad to hear there is so much more small details to be planned.

I think you will find all the effort rewarding for the tower, is this something you can 3-d print some vicorian details like a doily embossing ( hey maybe even paper cut and hardened with something? ) and use that to make some of the work easier but adding more detail?

Victorian Scifi is cool, anything is possible... I am going pretty mechanical with my own ancient themes. And I think its totally fine n' fun. Even with a fusion reactor still need the water steam elements right? just maybe not a smoke stack, but a steam vent, well it could always be an arc fusion reactor or something and not need anything....

With an accordion type ventilator I think its trying to use oxygen to feed some kind of fossil fuel. With a hopper chute I think it would be going that way too. I wouldn't complain or anything, I would accept it as art but may be a little curious and would question how it helps a fusion engine work.

Love everything you have and all your ideas. Will be watching and geeking out over it.
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 30 Aug 2021, 22:11

Thank you, and I hope I can make it live it up to our expectations.
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 16 Sep 2021, 15:01

Another one in this occasional series (and also one reason why stuff isn't getting done on other projects).

Since the original post I have been slowly building additional bits - most of this is by bending styrene around forms, leaving it so that the sheet takes the shape and then cutting it, filing and adding bits to it.

The multiple windows are simple enough, I start by lying them on a flat surface and glueing them side by side. I use Tamiya Thin glue. Once they have set, I use Evergreen strips of various sizes to make the frames and trims.

This is the state of completion up to the end of the first week in September.
From the front
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There will be a 'nose wheel' type assembly under the pilot house, and a 'flying bridge' on top of it. This will have a compass binacle and voice pipes.
Behind the pilot house, in the slot running up to the roof, will be a tall smoke stack and two ship type ventilators.

Port side
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The large hole in the port side will be a recessed balconey, which will also have set of steps that will lower down for access. It needs more trims adding round the windows. I am not sure yet what will go on top of the round tower, on the original it was a camera obscura but I recently acquired some interesting 'bits' and I will have a look at them before I make a decision.
There will be pipes and tubes coming out of the bottom and into the hull, as per the conversation with Howlin.

The back
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Still a lot to do here - that bay window took a week to make, but I really like it. The square tower is the most Addams family thing about this and it really screamed out for a tall spire.
Below the bay window will be another access point, this time a veranda directly on the back of the hull, like the back of the train carriage in the picture above.

The Starboard side
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Pretty much done. Just needs trimming round the windows.

I'm planning three dormer windows in the roof and there will be railings on the section over-looking the pilot house.

The 'flying bridge'
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Made from a set of railings I bought off e-Bay (the "1 metre of HO railway scenery" sort of thing.) I trimmed it down and bent it round a form, adding the inner strip of plastic card. Once that had set, I added the outer strip of plastic card and glued it to the base.
This is where it will sit on the vehicle.
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The Addams family spire
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Simple construction, 2 x triangles, one with a window, I added a piece of thick styrene on the inside at the peak of the triangle to act as a stiffener and also as extra gueling surface for the roof.
Then the two pieces of the roof and the whole thing, glued to a base which is wider than the space on the original template to get mpre architectural detail.
To this I added more tops off model rail way fencing to make the fancy details.
The back
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Side view
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Some assembled roof shots.
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And some with the roof on top of the upper works - it's a damned sight taller than 15cm now!
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I'm tempted ...

Oh! who am I kidding? - now that I have thought of it, I will try to fit a small door and platform to the back/inboard side of the Addams spire.

I will show that in a future update on the Queen-Empress.

Stay safe all,
Pickers.
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Peter on 16 Sep 2021, 15:42

Okay you still have to do a lot of work, but it is allready looking impressive! You did a fantastic work so far Steve! :thumbup:
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Posted by Minuteman on 16 Sep 2021, 23:19

Great! Most impressive build quality and imagination...in fact, every mobile home should be built like this :-D :yeah:
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