"I love building. I was always taking apart things and rebuilding them, just looking at every little working bit there," Mitch says. "I've done that since I was a kid. Mom and dad were like, 'Don't touch the lawnmower.'"

Mitch Brose describes their father as "one of those do-it-yourself types," and he taught them how to build houses — they assisted in the construction of the second story of the family home. Their mother taught them how to sew their own Halloween costumes. They used the knowledge to construct Halloween haunts on the lawn of their Flagstaff home. Their parents gave them permission to go all out, provided no nails or screws went into the house. It started with a mausoleum covered in dead juniper trees, and has escalated every year since.

One year, Rhonda Brose left her husband and sons for a weekend to do some environmental work in New Mexico. "When I came home, there was a full-scale ship in front of the house — 40 feet across and 30 feet high. It went above our house, which is two stories," she recalls.

The Brose Brothers -- and a growing number of Valley artists -- take their Steampunk very seriously.
Jamie Peachey
The Brose Brothers -- and a growing number of Valley artists -- take their Steampunk very seriously.
Ben Brose wields Wild West steampunk weapons.
Jamie Peachey
Ben Brose wields Wild West steampunk weapons.

Another year, the Brose brothers constructed "Sin Gulch," a Western set that included a saloon, an outhouse, a sluice box for gold panning, and a fully operational, 30-foot-high water tower. Of course, there was a story in Sin Gulch, too. "We basically play actors in this saloon world, who are hired to entertain the people and take their minds off the negative energy that haunts the town," Ben Brose says. "I have an arm cannon on my guy, because he loses an arm in the story. It's steam-powered, in theory."

The Brose family lawn became known as the annual Halloween hot spot in Flagstaff. "Our neighbors got used to the fact that this place was a zoo. We probably had 1,000 to 1,500 kids each time," Rhonda Brose says. "We loved it. We like creating thrills so scary that kids stand in place, stomp their feet, and cry."

Though they look alike, each of the Brose triplets has a distinct personality and skill. Mitch is the mechanical brainiac, and the only one who's right-handed. Ben is the boisterous one who likes to make big, loud things. Casey's the shy visionary who, at age 12, told his mom he could live in his head because all his friends were there. She encouraged him to put them on paper and bring them to life.

When the Brose brothers create one of their worlds, it usually starts with Casey's drawings. "Casey is basically the birthstone of all creations," Ben Brose says. "His artistry is amazing. It's unbelievable how well he can draw. Casey draws it, and then Mitch and I take it and put it in 3-D."

The Brose brothers' attraction to steampunk, like their love of animals, began early. "The guys have always loved the time before electricity," Rhonda Brose says.

These days, they spend about 60 hours a week developing story lines and characters, and building elaborate sets and costumes. "We are always working on something. Always," Mitch Brose says. "And if we ever do have 'down time' from some things, it's because there's a big construction project going on."

Lately, that big construction project has been their latest haunted house for the Phoenix Zoo's Howl-O-Ween event. They recently formed Brose Brothers Productions to create interactive entertainment for people, like their haunted houses. They'd ultimately like to have a line of products, from children's books to films. They're also thinking about building custom props to sell for money for materials.

They frequently get inquiries from people wanting to purchase their props. Casey's hand-stitched, braided leather backpack is a particularly popular item. "We had a gentleman come up and ask how much he'd be willing to sell that backpack for," Ben Brose says. "And he said he'd purchased a similar one for well over a thousand dollars, and it wasn't near as good quality as Casey's."

"That's the kind of craftsmanship we love to do," he says. "We like to make it different from everything else. You can make something that somebody else has done, but we like to take it to the next level."

For Mitch Brose, the appeal of steampunk is all in the limited technology of the Victorian age. "No digital, no electricity, none of that stuff whatsoever. There was an article I read where somebody explained steampunk, and now, in the year 2010, we would actually be doing a lot of mechanical, steampunk stuff if the guy who created plastic wasn't around," he says. "When he popped out plastic, that's when everything went to that. If we didn't have that, we'd still have mechanically driven stuff."

"Oh, I wanted that to happen!" he says. "Oh, dang it! I would love to have this stuff all the time."


The biggest problem with flying a steampunk airship like The Elandora, the Brose brothers' zeppelin, is all the damn gremlins. The mischievous little creatures have been wreaking havoc on airships in English folklore for years. But to crash The Elandora, they'll have to get past Ruby the Ray Gun and Broc Trappit, created and portrayed by Ben Brose.

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10 comments
Yourmom
Yourmom

LOL Damn "posers" trying to be steampunk. He just wants people to think he's cool. Everyone knows there is nothing more awesome than a 30 year old playing dress-up with a homemade costume.

linaimai
linaimai

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Google in the input: = aamall.us = you can find many brand names, even more surprising is that he will sell you the unexpected o(∩_∩)o

ProfessorKillianKilljoy
ProfessorKillianKilljoy

Great article, too bad you had to speak to a poser named McMann. Chub Chubs happens to be well hated in the Phoenix area for his lack of ethic, style, and general attempt to try too hard to be "steampunk". Case in point, see the failed Temporal Rift formerly at Mardis Gras bar in scottsdale. Horrible beyond belief and an amateurish attempt at most.

Unfortunately one has only to see Mr. Mcmann dressed as a cowboy to see that he is simply a hick looking to capitalize on the scene as he was just a cowpoke beforehand. A "Steampunk Trainwreck" as Urban Dictionary tells.

Ryan McMann aka Professor Killian Killjoy aka Pirate Airship captain, aka Mad Scientist, aka Cowboy.

ryanmcman
ryanmcman

@ProfessorKillianKilljoy

Interesting how the one who called me out won't use their own name. I calling you out! Tell everyone who you are if you even have the courage.

Second if your attempt to call me fat, weak at best. Also if you think calling me a hick or cowpoke is an insult thank you. I actually know plenty of people in the community and they are extremely nice people and they don't hide behind anonymous posts online.

Sure the night at Mardi Gras wasn't a success not everything is such as your attempt to insult me.

"Capitalize" Hmmm...Last time I checked when people start a business they don't do so to lose money. With that said we will just say this is another failed attempt to insult on your part.

In the end it appears you are nothing more than a troll.

 
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