Rayguns are a science fiction staple. The directed-energy weapons are usually lethal and destructive. They are perfectly suited for steampunk even though they are not powered by steam. When you search for steampunk and raygun on the interwebs, one of the first names you'll see is Dr. Grordbort. I encountered the name first at a booth at Comic-Con. I could not be pryed away from the display despite the people trying to crowd in. I ooh'ed and aah'ed and came this close to drooling on a raygun. Who was this Doctor and why did he have beautiful steampunk rayguns?!
As it turns out, back in 2006, Weta released a line of devious disintegrators by the genius Dr. Grordbort in the form of a graphic novel. These delicate weapons were designed by artist and concept designer Greg Broadmore. While he was designing weaponry for District 9, he painted some of these retro-futuristic rayguns in his free time. He happened to show them to Richard Taylor. And it's at Weta. I mean, by the next morning they were all probably buried in a pile of prototype rayguns.
Now, they have become collectibles. Duh. The fictional Dr. Grordbort keeps inventing fantastical, intricately detailed rayguns. You can get life-sized or miniature rayguns in a plethora of models. Broadmore has created whole backstories for the Dr. and his world. If you visit the website linked above, you can get lost in the images, the characters, and the world Weta has created around these lovely side arms. There is at least one other book, Victory, scheduled for release too.
You can shop for rayguns here. If you're looking for some design inspiration, you could do worse than picking up Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory . Soon, I will post a tutorial on how to make necklace pendant size rayguns.
A quick note: Broadmore really doesn't consider his rayguns steampunk; he thinks of them as retro sci-fi. But, he doesn't mind if other people do. What do you think?
To see more Steampunk Thursday posts by myself and Mary, click here.