Ray Guns

Ray Guns are something which, it seems to me, cross over between Steampunk and Dieselpunk, Since they are both alternate universes, some devices defy categorization and I submit that Ray Guns would fall into that category. Buck Rogers would certainly qualify as Dieselpunk since between his adventures on Mongo, he constantly returned to a 1930s era Earth. Here is a CG model I did of one of the original Buck Rogers ray guns from the films. This was based on a photograph.
Likewise Sky Captain made much use of ray guns in its Ortensian Dieselpunk world. Here is a CG model I did of Dex's ray gun based on one of the designs (pencil sketch) posted online by the production.
Here is another Sky Captain design that never made it into the final production, but I always liked the sketch so I decided to see what it would have looked like and modeled it.
Although not as sleek, here is a ray gun from my story "The Aerial Corsairs" which is definitely Steampunk and tries to imagine what kind of weapons a Victorian Military would develop if it had a bit of alternate universe technology. This is based on the Martini rifle in use at the time.


  • That last one looks very fanciful! Steampunk-esque yet definitely Victorian. Good job!

    My favorite's the Sky Captain raygun though. Yours are excellent illustrations!
  • Very nice rendering, Sir. I do like the first one most, I must admit. You will gather from other threads that I'm a huge fan of the old Buster Crabbe movies and seriels. And I loved Sky Captain
    Erasmus wrote:
    Buck Rogers would certainly qualify as Dieselpunk since between his adventures on Mongo, he constantly returned to a 1930s era Earth.
    Surely you mean Flash Gordon? ;)
  • Oops. You are correct sir. Flash Gordon it is. Or was. On the same subject, I would wager that no one would reckon that Gene Autry was a Dieselpunk, but I submit that his serial "The Phantom Empire" certainly qualifies. Who else would bring us robots in cowboy hats, Evil agents from beneath the earth on horseback, a singing Hero with his own radio show, all set in the 1930's with fashions and automobiles of that era. Oh, yeah and they had ray guns too.
  • I found a few more posters for The Phantom Empire.
    And though I've never heard of it before, apparently there was a Dick Tracy serial where he also battled a Phantom Empire. Judging by the green guy in the poster, it must at least have some sci-fi elements to it.
  • Fantastic!

    I posted up a link to downloadable old radio plays on one of the threads which you may want to check out.
  • In the same vein as "The Phantom Empire" there were other serials that we would also consider Diesel Punk today. The first being "The Undersea Kingdom" starring "Crash" Corrigan.
    Like Flash Gordon, this existed in a (then) modern 1930's world, but with a ruthless foe from another world. This one underwater.
    And they had robots as well!
    Then their were two precursors to "The Rocketeer". One was "King of the Rocket Men".
    The other, looking very similar, but much more famous, was "Commando Cody and the Radar Men From the Moon".
  • Excellent! I would also reccomend a Dan Dare story called Reign of the Robots, which has some superb clanky robots that seem to be made from giant bean cans.

    The Martini is really cool. It looks very much like the weapons I envisaged my own characters wielding.
  • Those CG pieces you've done are lovely, Erasmus, as are the old pulp images! Do continue sharing your wonderful work and image finds :D
  • "King of the Rocket Men"? Amazing! Now why don't they make posters like that no more?
  • Here's a question for you. Do super heros qualify as Dieselpunk? For example, here is Captain Marvel.
    Except for the fact that he received super powers and turns from a kid into a super adult, his serials are almost the same as Flash Gordon, Gene Autry's Phantom Empire, Crash Corrigan's Undersea Kingdom and both King of the Rocket Men and Commando Cody.
    Then if (Shazam!) Captain Marvel is Dieselpunk, why not Superman et. al.? This could open up a whole can of worms.
    Also, does dieselpunk have to be a film or book set in another period other than the one in which it is written? I'm thinking Sky Captain (definitely Dieselpunk) versus "The Mole Men" which was seen as science Fiction at the time it was released, but looks pretty Dieselpunky today.
  • Superheroes can certainly be part of dieselpunk. Just think of Sky Captain, The Rocketeer, Batman, even Indiana Jones. All superheroes to different degrees. Especially several versions of Batman have many noir or even all dieselpunk-esque elements.
  • How about Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars? The beginning of the first book takes place immediately after the end of the American Civil War, qualifying him as a Steampunk. Then, however, most everything happens on Mars. The occasional return to Earth as years pass and he doesn't age bring him into the 1930s transforming him into a Dieselpunk! A man of many facets! I hear Pixar is making a film of "A Princess of Mars" and haven't decided whether or not to do it as all animation or part live action and part C.G. I vote for the latter. Pixar's first live action film would definitely be an event and what better story?
  • If I remember correctly, Tommy Steele was also in the 'King of the Rocket Men'. A far cry from 'Half a Sixpence'!
  • Correct you are, Sir. As a matter of fact the poster for The Undersea Kingdom got me wanting to recreate that look, so I have modeled this homage to Crash Corrigan and the Undersea Kingdom. I tried not to modernize it too much and just keep it the way they would have done it in the '30's. Now maybe I should make some robots for him to fight.
  • I just had to add those Robots.
  • Ha ha, what a delightful addition those robots make!
  • Its funny. They are so primitive and kind of look like a guy wearing a trash can, but if you light them right, they can actually be sort of menacing.
Sign In or Register to comment.