FAN FILM FRIDAY: Roundup: Nazi Mechs

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