Why show your love for just one great sci-fi series when you can combine two?
The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise is largely credited with kicking off the “real robot” movement in anime, in which giant mecha are treated not like characters in and of themselves, but as instruments of war in the same vein as real-world tanks and fighter planes. Still, that doesn’t mean every piece of robotic military hardware in Gundam is a mundane mass-produced unit, since the stars of the show often get their own custom or improved versions of the series’ mobile suits.
Along similar lines, Korean Gundam fan Kunho Noh isn’t satisfied just following the directions for putting together the out-of-the-box parts in the model he builds. He’d rather his models were one-of-a-kind, and his approach is to add Gundam-inspired motifs and flourishes to the armor of Star Wars’ Imperial stormtroopers.
Not only does Noh regularly share photos of his completed projects, he also posts videos showing the extensive production processes involved, such as this one detailing a stormtrooper based on the series’ original RX-78 Gundam.
There’s actually a little bit of historical precedent for this crossover. Rumor has it that Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of the Gundam franchise, saw Star Wars: Episode 4 while the first Gundam series was still in the planning stages, and was so impressed by the stark contrast of the stormtroopers’ uniforms that he wanted a similar black-and-white color scheme for his anime’s titular robot. The idea was reportedly nixed by toymaker and sponsor Bandai, which wanted brighter hues in order to help move merchandise, but the pre-repainted stages of Noh’s model give a look at what the two-tone RX-78 could have looked like.
But while each anime installment’s hero pilots a Gundam of some variety, it’s often the villains’ mecha that steal the show. Having fallen under their spell, Noh has also crafted a stormtrooper that takes cues from Gundam’s perennial underdog/low-ranking bad guy mecha suit Zaku.
And of course, you can’t talk about advanced mobile suits without mentioning the Char customs, the blood-red, horned machines piloted by Char Aznable, one of anime’s most charismatic villains.
▼ Sazabi storm trooper
Speaking of charismatic villains, Noh also produced this mashup of Darth Vader and the Sazabi.
On the other end of the hero/villain spectrum, this Nu Gundam stormtrooper looks positively stalwart.
And finally, before we bid farewell to these awesome models, let’s make one last stop in Zaku Land to check out the Zaku I stormtrooper, the predecessor to the Zaku II seen above.
With still literally hundreds of mobile suits left in the Gundam franchise, it’s doubtful that Noh is finished creating on his stormtrooper canvas, and we can’t wait to see what he builds next.
Related: Kunho Noh YouTube channel, Facebook, blog
Source: Culture Lab
Top image: YouTube/Kunho Noh
Insert images: YouTube/Kunho Noh (1, 2), Kunho’s Pretty World, YouTube/Kunho Noh (3), Kunho’s Pretty World (2), YouTube/Kunho Noh (4)