The “Stratowing”

I used to love seeing Steampunk creations until they became a rather worn and oversubscribed cliche often consisting of nothing more than gluing far too many cogs and copper pipes to anything that would hold still. Recently, However, both dieselpunk and decopunk design styles have caught my eye. I knew a build in these styles would be much more demanding and exacting in terms of shapes and details but the “look” was calling me and I could not resist.

Deciding on a basic shape to build upon was tough. I didn’t want to just “decorate” a standard guitar body shape or simple box, it had to be both mechanical and organic...something “sculptural”. I looked everywhere but the body shape, the basic form alluded me. I went back to the designs that inspired the idea and I noticed many diesel and decopunk designs are focused on vehicles so looking to scale model car body shapes came to mind. I found a radio control car and parts supplier called Kamtec ( who’s owner, owner Keith Dowsett used to be a toolmaker and does all the model making and vac forming of the heavy ABS rc car and truck body shells he sells. I was thrilled when I saw their online catalog and Keith was intrigued and helped a great deal in setting me up with a few 1/10th scale MGB body shells.

I first cast a 1 piece polyurethane foam body “slug” from inside the vac form shell. I cut this up to work out the final size and shape I wanted. I took a section out of the middle of the form, both longitudinally and laterally. After I had a play with the foam sections I placed these cut up foam casts back into the vacform shells and marked their outlines. I cast fibreglass cloth into the shells with epoxy resin to reinforce the final castings. When fully set I cut the fibre re enforced shells out along the previously traced lines. I assembled the resulting 8 trimmed shell pieces together with superglue and added to the epoxy laminate on the inside of the body shell halves to permanently bond them. This shell was then filled, shaped and sanded.

The neck was a pre made 650mm scale 6 string, paddle-head neck off eBay. I cut the width down to a parallel 42mm width. I designed an art deco head and cut the shape into the wood and also cut some aluminium sheet to match. I also replaced the nut with a matching custom cut aluminium one.

I made up other shapes with pvc plumbing tubes and wood. I moulded and cast many parts in polyurethane resin. After endless body filler, knifing putty and sanding it was ready for some aerosol cellulose ral colours.

I purchased a Hype Fuzz / Destructor Drive from Lee at Pedalparts in the Uk and fitted it to the guitar internally. A toggle switch selects either the pedals output or a true bypass from the pickup. The “headlights” are some large panel mount bulb housings with 10mm, warm white leds fitted. These are illuminated when the internal FX pedals output is selected.

I used a computer to come up with a “Stratowing” text and logo. I turned this into a decal and applied it. I used coloured vinyl to add the dark blue pinstripe.

Finally, I discoloured and stained the guitar using oil paints.

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Comment by Tom Lauten on May 17, 2018 at 12:21pm

Thanks a lot Jim, much appreciated!

Comment by Jim_N on May 15, 2018 at 8:07pm

Original, clever... so well done. Unreal. Good for you, Tom!

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