Wherein "steampunk" is explained.

The next sentence is the most important one in this article. A model can be "steampunk" without having a single brown piece. Hope y'all read that sentence. A follow-up sentence might look like "In fact, avoiding brown will likely result in a better steampunk model."

The tau-ansformer-tau-ank fad has spread like wildfire, cancer, or christmas cheer. Of note to this article is this "steam varient" tau-ank:

Tongue-in-cheek replies were written; the audience didn't "get" it. This is a common problem. The not-getting-it, yes, but more importantly, the perennial "what is steampunk" question.

The ever-patient Jonesy has attempted answering multiple times — December 2005, September 2006 — and again, today. He might as well tattoo it on his back, dear reader.

Readers confused whether using brown pieces automatically makes a model "steampunk" would do well to study Jonesy's words. Let's not embarrass ourselves again, yes?

Editor's Note: For the purposes of this article, the word "steampunk" is used without reference to or consideration of the literary or cultural birth of steampunk, or the relationship to "cyberpunk" or really anything to do with "punk." Take that, Tim Gould.


  1. this has already become the best lego blog.

    so if brown doesn't make a creation steampunk, then it must make it post-apoc, right?

  2. Only if it also has dark grey.

  3. Amen brother! This is actually something that I've though, but never voiced. It's nice to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts on this. Though I think brown can have it's place, it seems to become the dominant color in so many "steamy" MOCs. Many builders fall into the idea that the piece color denotes genre rather than using building skills to create the style.

  4. So long as you acknowledge its origins I'm happy. I've all but given up on that particular campaign. I have also complained about the lack of colour.

  5. (Apocalust posting under a pseudonym) What is the brown supposed to represent anyway? Copper? Rust? If it's wood, then fine. But I see to many MOCs that defy physics structurally if the brown is meant to represent wood. I worry if it's meant to represent copper as copper is also not much for structure as it is for pipework and boilers. Iron shouldn't be rusting unless it is abandoned.
    Color should not denote genre!

    Unless it's Blacktron.

  6. ^ "I see MOCs that defy physics structurally if the brown is meant to represent wood" ?!

    That's hilarious! We're talking about stuff like ironclad battleships held up by balloons: I think the defiance of physics is kind of a given.

    Being someone who builds a lot of clanky stuff I would have to say that wood is an important element in many of my builds - therefore brown features. But it only dominates the construction if wood dominates the "real thing" in my head.

    I accept that there is some crap out there labelled steampunk which is just slapped together out of brown bits with a barrel stuck on the top. However, dismissing this building genre because of the common use of one colour is like saying all Castle is crap because the walls are often grey.

  7. No one is dismissing the genre. I'm a huge supporter of steampunk, having built many models in the genre, 2 of which appear in the "but where's the brown?" picture. 3 others included are built by close friends.

    You are right, brown does have it's place, representing unpainted wood in places where unpainted wood is appropriate.

    re: the point about defying physics, I think he was referring to places where wood wouldn't work at all, like places where fire is, but your point is well made, many a good steampunk model defies physics one way or another.