The Flying Fortress

Rebuilding a 1938 Novachord keyboard

Posted in DIY by flyingfortress on November 23, 2009

Phil Ciricco recently documented his restoration/rebuilding of a 1938 Novachord. The novachord is an early, polyphonic keyboard made by the same company that made its more famous cousin, the Hammond Organ. From his description, it was a long, difficult project, but you can hear how well it turned out from the audio samples at the bottom of the page. It makes an incredible range of sounds, some very warm, some rather dark, and others reminiscent of the soundtracks from early video games. (via).

Here is an example of what it sounds like,  overlaid onto footage of the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, where it was introduced.

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Women in the Fight

Posted in Uncategorized by seraphimish on October 25, 2009

Life women

Life put up some fantastic WWII pictures about the better half and their part in the war, and we can’t help but share them!

Which ones are your favorite?  I for one want a pair of those gunner’s sunglasses immediately.

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Dieselpunk sightings: Arisia SF Con 2009

Posted in Aesthetics, community, DIY by flyingfortress on October 21, 2009

*Update: Improbcat is the photographer, not the person pictured below. Sorry for the confusion.

I just happened to stumble upon Flickr user Improbcat‘s great dieselpunk outfit from this year’s Arisia convention and had to share it:

Improbcat at Arisia 2009

Improbcat at Arisia 2009

The hat, tie, headphones, and armband are excellent touches.

The contrasts are easy to see next to the steampunk costumes that are in other pictures from that set. While the crew of Steam Trek looks quite good in tassles, gold trim, and other such extravagances, the military look in dieselpunk style takes on cleaner lines, simpler uniforms, and modern neckties. This outfit cuts a very distinct 40s-era airforce or navy look with a few well-chosen accessories. It looks great as it is, but if someone else wants to try a variation on the theme: add medals, some more early electronic equipment, try a shirt with buttoned breast pockets, chevrons and other military insignia, boots, map cases and period backpacks, etc.

Improbcat: if you see this post, we’d love to see a few closeups of that armband, the equipment you have on your tie, and are those straps for a backpack? Let us know if you have any detail pictures in the comments.

A Brief Observation of 9

Posted in Uncategorized by Zagglenack on October 4, 2009


So I finally watched 9. I’ll admit, it disappointed. Not because I thought it was a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but because the film really failed to draw me into the world in a way that other animated films in the past have (I am looking squarely at you, ‘The Brave Little Toaster’).

only very minor spoilers ahead.


The Second Industrial Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized by seraphimish on September 21, 2009


We shall take a closer look at some of the technological leaps that helped give birth to the Diesel age that we adore so.


Ye Not Guilty: Giant Fighting Robots & Diesel?

Posted in Aesthetics, themes, Uncategorized by Zagglenack on September 10, 2009


My previous post dug around the video-game realm, and in it, I tried to suggest that despite not nailing the aesthetic in the same way that games like Bioshock and the Wolfenstein series do, Final Fantasy VII had skirted the line into Dieselpunk with its depictions of technology and military power.[incidentally, for those of you interested in Bioshock or Wolfenstein, the Gatehouse discusses them both briefly but effectively here.]

Because I find myself so drawn to Dieselpunk as a result of its particular visual nature – something I think comes through very clearly in my posts thus far – I have some time discussing subjects which I believe help to flesh out that nature. Today, I am going to make an attempt at the same argument, but in a new medium.

The medium is Anime. The subject is the Big-O. And I would suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t begin properly: ‘It’s Showtime.’


Community roundup: pulp, cars, and ephemera

Posted in community by flyingfortress on September 7, 2009

It’ll be at least a few days before we get another substantial post up, but in the meantime, here are a few bits from around the web that are definitely worth a look:

For Want of a Nail…

Posted in Definitions, themes by seraphimish on September 2, 2009

Cruise valkyrie

World War II films are easy targets for discussion for us here, but I would much rather continue the dialogue on how certain stories such as those in Valkyrie and Inglourious Basterds set up the potential for alternate timelines that inherently welcome factors of dieselpunk into their folds.  WARNING: Spoilers!  Not on a grand scale, but enough to diminish enjoying these movies for the first time.


Final Fantasy VII. The best Dieselpunk RPG ever made. Almost

Posted in Uncategorized by Zagglenack on August 27, 2009


Released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII has long been heralded as one of the most entertaining games of the series, as well as representing a fundamental change in the way the American audience perceived Japanese role playing games – games which previously found only niche acceptance in the US.

I firmly believe that FFVII is the greatest Dieselpunk role-playing game ever made. Almost.


The state of dieselpunk DIY

Posted in DIY by flyingfortress on August 24, 2009


To be generous, the dieselpunk DIY scene is, well, nascent.

Compared to the steampunk scene, the goths, etc., we haven’t got a whole lot. What we do have, however, is pretty high-quality. I’ve collected everything I’ve found below in hopes of inspiring the makers, modders, and crafters among us.