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Steampunk: Industria Mechanika Kit Previews

By Terry Miesle - images & text © 2015

If you're not familiar with Steampunk, you may not know it's a realm populated with some very creative designers. Sure, some products are uninspired, but that's not the case with the Industria Mechanika line and its related Fichtenfoo line. These are the creations of Michael Fichtenmeyer and a few other designers. The designs are original, plausible (within the genre) and very well-engineered. The resin casting quality has continuously improved over the past few years and has genuinely hit a steady peak. It's all very good now.

Within this line are some submersibles, creations of the fictional Professor Fichtenfoo, and insectoid fliers, creations of other fictional inventors. The Odothopter and the Hornethopter are the first two in this line, and fit into the prototypical zeppelin-based aerial battlefield circa 1890-ish. The insect-type fliers make sense to me in an era when nature was the inspiration for so many designs.

Doktor Orpheus Odonata's Dragonfly Odonopter Type One

Scale: 1/35 - 9½"/241mm long with 14"/356mm wingspan

Parts: 40 resin, plus 4 photoetch frets, 2 glass eyes, laser-cut wing film, and rigging wire.

Instructions: One stylishly-printed page. If you study and plan, the instructions are adequate

Decals: None

Molding Quality: 9.5: Very good, well-engineered with only a couple small seam line issues. No bubbles or voids and easily-removed stubs.

Detail: 10: Outstanding attention to detail.

MSRP: $99.00 USD (~$130.54 CAN/ € 86.92 EUR as of 8/2015) available from Industria Mechanika

Overall Rating: 10. Buildup is aided by exceptional engineering. With planning this will not be a difficult build. With smart pinning, the inherent fragility can be mitigated.

tm_steam_dragonfly-1 (164K)

^Completed model (courtesy of Industria Mechanika)

Image: Main "fuselage"

Image: Sengine and detail pieces

Image: Another look

Image: Legs

Image: Pilot

Image: Rigging & clear "eye"

Image: Brass sheets

Image: More Brass

Image: Clear acetate for the wings

The Dragonfly Odothopter (the Odonata order includes dragonflies) is a mixed-media kit with primary resin parts, phototeched details and wings, plus acetate wing membrane and windscreen, glass eye lenses and scale cable and hosing. Included is a figure, a standing version of which is included in the Aviators figures set. This aviator looks, to me, very much like Laurence Fishburn -- who else should pilot a giant mechanoid dragonfly?

Casting is outstanding, with well-engineered parts breakdown and no noticeable voids or bubbles. The pour stubs are placed in the right places, and easily removed. I did notice two seam lines. The leg mounting cylinder has a seam on the bottom which will be easily filled. The head has a line on its back, a less visible place than the front and surely easier to repair than the front would be. I plan on cheating this seam instead of trying to fix it. I'll add some styrene rod designed to look like reinforcement lines or cable conduit. This will not detract from the part.

Details are very good - bolts, rivets, and gears become visible once you look closely. The photoetch really must be seen. Industria Mechanika has very much raised the bar with its use of photoetch, and not only with this kit. The wings are pretty much only possible with well-designed photoetch. You will see on the wings tiny eyes for cable mounts and other details. You'll also notice little gear heads and other details, just like his other kits. Laser-cut wing acetate is another nice touch.

My test-fitting has shown this should be straightforward to build. I plan to pin pretty much all the parts, particularly the legs and wing joints. These I think will be the most stressed part of the kit. While not heavy to lift, the wing pivot point is going to experience a fair amount of torque, particularly if I want to take it to shows. I may even decide to devise a way to remove the wings for transport. Michael also reports he used Future to adhere the wing photoetch to the acetate, and then used a non-fogging CA around the edges to reinforce and smooth the joint. That's the best option I can think of at the moment.


The price of $99 is a good one, you get one of the better values for this amount of money. Look at what you get, with the beautiful photoetch and casting. I think if you want something which will definitely grab attention at a show, these kits are well worth their retail cost. The presentation is part of that, you will be able to frame the instructions, they're that cool. You will not need to spend your valuable time filling and sanding, but can essentially get to painting, which is where you're going to have fun. Right now I'm leaning toward painting this as a Cobra Clubtail, given its shape.

I can confidently recommend this newest insectoid flier. You will not be disappointed.

Professor Fichtenfoo's Implausible Long-Nosed Submersible

Scale: 1/35 - 6½" 165mm long when built

Parts: 18 resin parts, plus 1 photoetch fret, 2 laser-cut windows, brass rivets, metal details including propeller, and rigging wire.

Instructions: One stylishly-printed page. If you study and plan, the instructions are adequate

Decals: None

Molding Quality: 8.5: Very good, well-engineered with only a couple seam line issues. No minimal bubbles voids.

Detail: 10: Outstanding attention to detail.

MSRP: $99.00 USD (~$130.54 CAN/ € 86.92 EUR as of 8/2015) available from Industria Mechanika

Overall Rating:Overall Rating: 10: Outstanding!

Professor Fichtenfoo's Implausible Long-Nosed Submersible is another of Industria Mechanika's steampunk designs. This is the second submersible. This version is overall better executed than the first one. Both design and casting are better, with some very cool touches. Professor Fichtenfoo learned from his first attempt, apparently.

[Click to enlarge]

^Completed model (courtesy of Industria Mechanika)

Image: Main hull piece and detail insert

Image: Inside the main "cabin"

Image: Another look at all the cast-in detail

Image: And another

Image: Exterior

Image: Resin detail pieces

The castings are very nicely engineered. The dorsal mechanical piece fits snugly in place, and the cowl requires little cleanup to mate well with the body. It's not perfect, but it's close. There's an unfortunate dorsal seamline, however, which will need to be addressed. How this will be done without losing the large rivets is something I've been trying to figure out. Also, if you look at the interior you may see some areas where you'll need to do some tricky cleanup. This may be the price for a one-piece mold. If you're planning to seal the fish up and not light the interior you can safely ignore most of the interior problems.

If you do choose to light the interior, you'll have to figure out where to do it - but wires to lamps will not look out of place. You'll have a great interior to show off, too. The metal reinforcements and wood structure are very well rendered. A pilot's couch and instrument cluster make good use of photoetch. The pilot looks good - he has a seam line, but it's dorsal so you likely won't even need to fill it.

Image: Crewman

Image: Inside the "snout"

Image: Another look

Image: "Snout" (exterior) and cabin floor

Image: Photoetched brass sheet & accessories

Image: The rest of the detail pieces

You get some laser-cut acetate for the windows, and very cool photoetch window reinforcements. A cast-metal propeller, some rigging line, rivets for the fins, and a propeller shaft complete the package. A round access hatch may be posed open, though you'll need to make your own hinge assembly.

As with the previous fish-shaped submersible, the photoetch is a real showstopper. The control fins and window reinforcements are beautiful and super steampunky. You'll need to think about control surface alignments if you plan to pose the vessel underwater.

Aviator & Mariner Figure Sets

Scale: 1/35

Parts: 4 resin figures with separate arms and several other items.

Instructions: One page, adequate for figures.

Decals: None

Molding Quality: 9.5: Very good, well-engineered with only a couple small seam line issues. No bubbles or voids and easily-removed stubs.

Detail: 10: Outstanding attention to detail.

MSRP: $35.00 USD (~$46.15 CAN/ € 30.74 EUR as of 8/2015) each, available from Industria Mechanika

Overall Rating: 10. Overall, these are both good figure sets. Poses are appropriate.

Industria Mechanika also offers figures designed to fit with its 1/35 scale subjects. These include an Aviators set suitable to pose with the Hornethopter or Odonopter. As with some other recent releases these are designed by Christopher Desse, and look very nice. The same individual you get with the Odothopter is in this set, with a relatively dynamic walking stance. This individual looks to me like Lawrence Fishburn, and another looks like a young Willem Dafoe.

Costumes are period steampunk leathers and boots. Helmets and goggles are also a nice touch, and everything has a consistent design.

These are great figures, and will flesh out any steampunk vignette.

The Mariners figure set is designed for use with the two fish-shaped submersibles. Professor Fichtenfoo's men have four poses - two divers (one with a harpoon gun), two shoremen- one with a grapple and one leaning against a post with a mug of coffee.

Thsee figures are also very well cast, with logical parts breakdown and a consistent style. They are bound to be useful in vignettes or dioramas with the fish-shaped submersibles.


I enjoy a creative design, it's what attracts me most to Science Fiction subjects. We're seeing a lot of new creative releases now, and Industria Mechanika is right on top. Their designs and execution continue to improve with each release and with numerous designers contributing the company is well worth your attention. You can purchase from them with confidence.

Many thanks to Terry's wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 6000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2015 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 21 August 2015.