FAN FILM FRIDAY: Roundup: Nazi Mechs

Church
Church's picture

Mechs, giant pilotable robots, were a postwar creation of Japan. They started to catch on in the west in the seventies and eighties with the introduction of Japanese animation. Lately, they've been mashed up with dieselpunk (the more industrial cousin of steampunk) and alternate history. Let's take a look at two shorts featuring Nazi mechs.

-------

1945A is a vignette from an imagined movie. It was made by Ryan Nagata and George Edelman for under $2000. It's an interesting way to present a project, since the story is left unresolved.

An interesting thing here is that all the vehicles are 1:6 scale radio controlled models. They were shot at 48 frames per second to give them an impression of larger size. Nagata said on his site, "I wanted the project to have a very tangible, non-CGI feel to it." I'd say he succeeded.

On the other end of the production spectrum is C.O.D.E. Guardian, a short film by Italian animator Marco Spitoni. It was created entirely with 3DStudio MAX. He spent five years working on this in his free time.

Spitoni is very clever about working within the limitations of his software. His human characters, for example, are rarely shown with their faces uncovered.

The Nazi mech gets better characterization, probably since he's the villain of the piece. Note his amused shrug at the collateral damage the American mech inflicts, and the comical spin of his head when he is first punched.

The ending here is interesting. It can be inferred that these aren't proper mechs, but either their remotely-controlled ancestors or fully autonomous beings themselves. Is he meditating on the futility of war, or the neglect of veterans who sacrificed for us?

Spitoni said on his youtube channel "I've always loved cinema and its language, and this is a chance for me to tell a visually intriguing story, just using my imagination and creative skills... just a 3D package and a PC." That's also the appeal of mechs. With the right tools (and skills) you can be very powerful indeed.

-------

Have a webseries or fan film you'd like to see featured? Hit up Church at church@republibot.com

Tags: 

Comments

P-51

Republibot 3.0's picture

You know, the Brits go on and on and on about the Spitfire, and how it's the most beautiful fighter ever, and all that crap, but I gotta' tell ya: the P-51 Mustang is just the most stylish art deco engine of destruction ever devised by man. It's not just patriotism that makes me say that.

They're just gorgeous.

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

One thumbs up second no thumbs

neorandomizer's picture

The first video I liked the mech looked period and the table top modeling was great. The second I did not like I hate CGI animation and the Mecha looked like a Max Fleischer cartoon.

Jay Leno

Republibot 3.0's picture

I think the Fleischer thing was what they were going for. Jay Leno as a giant Nazi robot...

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

Suspension of Disbelief FAIL

kelloggs2066's picture

I'm afraid I failed.

I kept thinking: An artillery barrage should take that out no problem. If they can see it from a General's command post, there should be forward observers all over the place to call in fire.

Charge? They're charging a mech with infantry when they've got armored units still duking it out? That's a dumb a tactic as a Japanese Banzai Charge!

The second:
The English Channel's too deep to wade.

Waitaminute, he just waded past a destroyer? Why aren't the destroyer crews opening up on him? Why isn't the 5" battery of the battleship knocking him to pieces?

You can't throw a truck that way. Not without rediculously overpowered hydrolics, you'd rip your own arm off.

In order to actually balance and walk, that thing would have to be thinly armored. There's no way it would stand up to a Mustang's 6 50-cals...

Yeah, I know. I'm nit picking. Sometimes I can't disengage my brain. But, sometimes, there isn't enough story and thought behind something to turn a Japanese WWII Battleship in space into something cool.

21st Century Fox
The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades
http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/

Vought OS2U Kingfisher

kelloggs2066's picture

By the way, the OS2U Kingfisher that spotted the Nazi Mech wading the channel at the beginning of the second film was the wrong sort of plane for that.

For one thing, it was in Pacific Colors, secondly, if it was on patrol, it would be doing so off the back of a battleship or heavy cruiser which should have been able to shell the heck out of the Mech.

Personal note:
My dad learned to fly Kingfishers at the Naval Academy during WWII. I bought him a mahogany desk top model of one that's sitting on his book case down in San Antonio.

(This is why, in my strip, the amphibious aircraft of choice is named the Kingfisher.)

21st Century Fox
The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades
http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/

Battleships in space

Republibot 3.0's picture

>>Yeah, I know. I'm nit picking. Sometimes I can't disengage my brain. But, sometimes, there isn't enough story and thought behind something to turn a Japanese WWII Battleship in space into something cool.<<

One of my quotes that's been floating around the site for a while: "The idea of an Imperial Japanese Navy battleship from World War II flying around is space is just stupid; its so amazingly stupid that somehow it manages to completely go around the bend to end up being cool again. Stranger still, because of its inherent stupidity it somehow manages to be cooler than if they’d just started out with something that wasn’t stupid to begin with. I don’t pretend to understand how that works, but it does."

As for me, it seemed the recoil from the big gun on the robot's arm should have ripped the arm off when it fired.

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

Soundtrack Question

kelloggs2066's picture

At 2:47-3:03 is a martial piece of music that I recognize as being by John Williams, but I can't place it.

I think it's either from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", or "Jaws", but I'm stumped.

Anyone?

21st Century Fox
The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades
http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/

Which clip?

Republibot 3.0's picture

Which of the three clips?

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

Oops.

kelloggs2066's picture

The Guardian 1 clip, when the German Mech is wading into the harbor.

21st Century Fox
The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades
http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/

Continuity Error

neorandomizer's picture

I just notice something out of wack in the Harbor scene. Look closely at the trees and ships; that's Pearl Harbor.

Atlantic or Pacific?

kelloggs2066's picture

Yeah, now that you mention it, you're right. (Though, perhaps not Pearl, as some Generic Pacific Island staging point). I think it was meant to be the Mech equivalent of the December 7th attack.

Of course that means that the German Mech would have had to hike half way around the world through ocean bottom mud thousands of feet below the surface to get there.

However, as Mama Fisi would say:
"You've got World War II Giant Nazi Samurai robots walking around and you lost your suspension of disbelief over weither it was Pacific or European Theatre?"

21st Century Fox
The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades
http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/

Two different intents

10000li's picture

The first is by a team of professional quality media folks. Ryan's webpage has the models and videos he's made and you can see that he's a real artist.

The second is by an aficionado who wanted to make a vid in his spare time. I doubt his intention was to be historically accurate in any way, or worry to much about materials science. The second was more inspired by fantasy like "Transformers" than by anything scientific.

When I saw the mech in the first video, I wanted to call it a "clank" a la "Girl Genius," because it reminded me of some of the battle-mechs from that strip.

********************

All the historical fiction that's associated with steam-punk and all its variants makes me wonder how much of the historical fiction will bleed over into historical revisionism. Americans are pretty crappy at history (as they are at just about any other activity requiring knowledge and effort), so I wonder how many Americans believe that internal combustion engines were the norm in the days of Queen Victoria and that humans and dinosaurs walked together?

Nit Picking

neorandomizer's picture

>>However, as Mama Fisi would say:
"You've got World War II Giant Nazi Samurai robots walking around and you lost your suspension of disbelief over weither it was Pacific or European Theatre?"<<

No but being an ex-Navy man I just out of habit try to figure out the base when they are shown. (On second thought it looks more like San Diego.) I was wondering if he lifted the scene from the video game Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault.

Pre-atomic ignorance

Republibot 3.0's picture

>>All the historical fiction that's associated with steam-punk and all its variants makes me wonder how much of the historical fiction will bleed over into historical revisionism. Americans are pretty crappy at history (as they are at just about any other activity requiring knowledge and effort), so I wonder how many Americans believe that internal combustion engines were the norm in the days of Queen Victoria and that humans and dinosaurs walked together?<<

What makes you think they don't already think that?

I mean, about 30% of Americans believe the Dinosaurs/Humans thing already. 60% if we count Lynyrd Skynyrd as Dinosaurs (Which is ironic since Skynyrd never actually existed, they were just a special effect concocted by L.B. Abbot for a Flash Gordon movie). 9% of the population don't believe we went to the moon. About 15% believe in that ancient astronauts horsecrap. Saying Queen Victoria had a Ferrari is really pretty tame as American Ignorance goes...

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0