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The Spectrascope

 Skilful Steampunk makers recycle and reuse, fashioning unlikely or unwanted stuff into practical Victorian-looking objects of beauty. So, having enjoyed building models as a kid and dabbling in little DIY projects over the years (my late dad was a plumber), Steampunk has given me a valid excuse to get into the shed and have a potter. Anyway, here’s a record of my trying to put together a Spectrascope, the communications monitor which sits on Wicko’s stage door desk in the SS&M novels. Of course, I now wish I’d kept a more comprehensive record of progress. 

It started with an obsolete though working HP monitor which was nevertheless destined for the tip.

I clad it in soft wood, which was then stained, glued, screwed, found to be out of square so unglued and unscrewed, fixed and dressed up with brass angles, along with odds and ends, and sprayed gold. Then the lengths of my dad’s old copper pipe were clipped onto the frame making the monitor pretty much ready for the launch of Steam, Smoke & Mirrors in 2015, and subsequent signings.

The monitor was hooked up to a laptop and played a slide show of SS&M and Steampunk related images – purely to make the stall look more interesting.  It was functional and fine.

Then I saw what the really clever Steampunk makers were putting together and knew I needed to gussy the whole thing up. So, I added some extra pipe work, and an old gas tap and bought an old gauge online which was far too big.

My friend Barry, who has a much better eye for these things, suggested the gauge from the knackered old foot pump he was about to take down to the tip. A quick wash and a spray of rose gold paint – and that was it. Oh, then I had the idea of adding a lock and key at the front to give it some additional interest.

The Steam, Smoke & Mirrors Spectrascope is not a stand out in the realm of Steampunk makes – but it works and was great fun to try.

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