Steampunk...........hmmm. Love Sherlock Holmes. Not interested in Colonials. Hated Dickens and Hardy, but Stevenson, Carroll and Verne lots of fun. Why then, do I desire some Victorian Sci-Fi so???
Simply put, the sheer variety of creative opportunity it affords. As I guy who cannot stand to have too many figures in excatly the same pose and colour scheme (which is why I do irregulars and pre-18th Century mostly, and like to include at least four colours of hair in a "basic" 16-ish figure unit), making stuff myself is always a winner where figures are concerned, so long as I do not have to resort to building everything from scratch. The Games Workshop kits/ Airfix Multipose sets are my idea of figure heaven. I built two Chaos armies in Warhammer 40K and mixed and matched parts to my heart's content, using VERY few standard figures in either army. With Steampunk, I can buy/ kitbash/ scratchbuild tanks, buildings, weird scince, figures, airships, terrain and all manner of other stuff. I can create my own uniforms for my own fictional forces should I wish. I can create my own characters (cue Fritz von Nutzenboltz). I can do what I want to, in short.
Don't get me wrong, however. History is my first love (after wife and bairns), and my gaming life revolves around history for at least 80% of the time. Yet even my fantasy games have to have a necessary realism, which is why I shy away from the gamier army lists/ books/ tournaments/ etc. My Tomb Kings are archers and have few of the choicer items, the blurb being that the glory of the King is hindered by non-humans killing the enemy. Why turn up at all if you can merely let slip the (incredibly large and deadly) dogs of war? My Orcs are based loosely on Irish clan armies up to Elizabeth 1's time, with red hand iconography, etc on shields. And I definitely DO NOT go in for "talkin' funny" or "boyz".
So, mini-rant aside, here is the lovely Lady Ilse Dampfpanzer, latterly of the parish of Krupps of Essen. She will be joined in due course by more of her ilk and various associates, but we all have to start somewhere.