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[m o r e]   mecha

[h e a d] design

[Designing] a distinctive head for your mecha can really add character to it. Some have sinister looking visors or monoeyes, where as the hero mecha usually have more friendly looking viewpanes or heroic looking facial features. Examples include the RGM series of mobile suit from Gundam and Optimus Prime, from Transformers. Here we go into how to draw a basic looking head with a viewpane for a face. This is one of the most general looking heads, with some portions that are fairly representative of Japanese design.

step 1.

[s t e p] 1.

[sketch] the head and shoulders like you would on any normal figure... ie. human drawing. This is assuming of course, that you wish a humanoid head.

step 2.

[s t e p] 2.

[add] outlying details... a lot of Japanese styled mecha have an enclosing face grille... so i have elected to use a generic Gundam styled head... fans will recognize it as a RGM clone.

step 3.

[s t e p] 3.

[flesh] out the details. i know this is a lot done between this step and the one before... but all it really is is darkening major lines, and ignoring the construction lines. i also added a gun port to the temple... (sorry... force of habit...)

step 4.

[s t e p] 4.

[add] the assorted knicknacks such as sensor pods and vents... sketch in box like shoulders... and voila!

[m u l t i] legged machines

[Bring] on the crawlers... Back in August of 1999, I received several e-mails concerning multi-legged mecha, or crawlers. Although not as prevalant in manga and anime as the bi-pedal anthropromorphic fighting machine, crawlers are none-the-less more realistic. Crawlers are essentially walking tanks, their multi-legged configuration letting them mout more weaponry than their two legged counterparts. Excellent examples of crawlers can be seen in Patlabor the Motion Picture, and it's sequel, Patlabor II. Other examples of multi-legged combat machines can be seen in Star Wars, from the memorable Imperial attack on Hoth.

cut away low tech leg

[My] philosopy on multi legged units is to study industrial machinery and insects. As multi-legged vehicles are more easily attainable by todays standards, I tend to have a retro view on the subject, building them with 20th century technology. Insects are a good study piece as they show how the legs would orient themselves, in addition to how the joints function, and where the center of balance lies. Below is an example of a crawler I designed for the online-impromanga Abaddon. (Yeah... that's supposed to be cannon fire... ^^;;)

Frame from Abaddon (

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