Design commentary: Star Wars and world war armor

WWI Wehrmacht

Killzone for Sony Playstation 2

The act of recycling is not new, and putting on the Reich seems to be a popular antic among science fiction's badies. I believe such a blatant liberation of aesthetics to now be a cheap shot on the part of art teams to convey that these are the bad guys; the trick has lost some of its impact. Let's go back a ways, prior to the advent of Master Chief (or even Atari) and cross examine a small part of the art direction in Star Wars.

Can we agree that Starfox had cooler belt-buckles?

The original movies was an unexpected hit, and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was slated for a 1980 release. This time around a generous budget would be put toward all kinds of cool things, like the Bespin sets and Frank Oz. Stop-motion animation was utilized in one battle sequence to animate towering battle walkers.

All Terrain Armored Transport vs. German 1918 A7V tank. Beyond the costumes, perhaps there are also parallels in vehicles design. The spacecraft battles in the first film were heavily influenced by WWII aerial combat footage; I'd like to believe the artists who designed the walkers that appeared in the invasion of Hoth had seen this particular armored vehicle. Notice the sloping roofs, the kind of raised cupola in the center, and how the driver and idler track wheels on the tank are placed where the hip joints are on the walker. Also, the tank's main armament was fixed on the front unlike the turreted vehicle we think of as tanks; the ATAT is similar in that its big pew-pews were mounted forward-facing under its command cabin. You would think that rogue squadron would have had an easier time flying around.

More on the A7V via Dieselpunks. Due to its poor ground clearance the A76 did not have the trench-clearing ability demonstrated by the legged AT AT walker. Still, there is something to be said in terms of the fright factor of armored boxes creeping their way along.

Pirates are fierce.

It's worth noting that each vehicle had its shortcomings.

Jagdpanther vs. All Terrain Attack Pod. I.e. wedges with guns:

The Jagdpanter fulfilled a tank destroyer role with the potent 88 gun mounted on the terrain-able Panzer VI Panther chassis. The walker here is from the third prequel. As it had very little screen time, the most "official" image I could find was of the Hasbro toy.

Here's a well-produced brickfilm that jives with this post:

1 comment:

gorgarrak said...

I will soon be building a Jagdpanther mecha for Westwind's Secrets of the Third Reich, based upon the AT-AP's three leg design, I hope it works - lol


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