Imagine for a minute that man's invention of flying machines happened some 50 years earlier, and that some of that technology fell into the wrong hands. A thieving gang of outlaws in the still-untamed West began to rob banks, raid stagecoaches, and loot railroads--from the air!
I present to you "The Buccanair" - an airship built from an old ironclad hull, outfitted with four turbines and a twin-propeller rudder: the terror of the deserts from the air. A crew of eight greedy varmints mans the vessel: outlaws and deserters the lot of them.
The ship includes four turbine propellers mounted on the sides, the two attached at the stern can be angled independently to adjust the speed and angle of ascent, while the two in the front can be tilted in tandem to maneuver the ship quickly to avoid pursuit. In addition, the rudder actually turns with the helm. Other visual details are added throughout, with furnaces and boilers to power the turbines, a safe, compass and map, sticks of dynamite and of course, a whole lotta guns.
Although this is the main model, other models could easily be made to expand the theme, such as other smaller aircraft, or a Sheriff's airship, for example, along with the bank, a small railroad set, etc. These history-bending models could even be released side-by-side with more 'authentic' Western sets which LEGO might produce in the future.
I'm not sure on the piece count of this particular model, but I believe it to be about 600, so this set could sell for about $60, although probably with fewer minifigures--maybe leaving out the two ex-cavalrymen so that it would be easier to produce "good guy" and "bad guy" sets. Since there are no licensing issues, the price could feasibly be much cheaper, since most of the pieces--other than the hull of the ship--are small.
Please look over the photos, post comments--I would love to hear feedback and suggestions. And of course, support!
UPDATE (25 Jul 12):
Added new pictures. Also disassembled the model this week and found that my previous estimate on the piece count was a bit too low (sorry! I'm so bad at guessing)--this set would have to retail for closer to $80, but taking out some of the extra detail on the bridge and inside the ship (the furnaces, for example--you can barely see one of them in the new photos below) would cut the price back down without affecting the model too much.
Thanks for all the support thus far!