“Invincible Guardians of World Freedom!”

I’ve mentioned a couple of times on the Manifesto that I don’t share the same childhood nostalgia for LEGO that many of you do.  While I certainly owned a shoe box full of LEGO like every other kid on the planet, it wasn’t my go-to brand for burning away a summertime afternoon.  When I think back to the carefree days of my youth I fondly remember toys like Star BirdMicronauts and the mighty two foot tall Shogun Warriors.  Not only did they look cool, they had crazy features like weapons that really fired, detachable space ship brains and wheeled feet.  So when I stumbled upon the work of Marco De Bon it took me right back to 4th grade (yeah I’m old).  Submitted for your approval is Marco’s latest build, “Icarus“.


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01
LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

I know some of you may be saying to yourselves “Uh…Goldman, this mecha is rad but it doesn’t really look like any of the Shogun Warriors.” and you’re right, strictly speaking it doesn’t look like any of the giant robots in the photo above.  Nor does it look like the Manga source material that inspired Mattel’s line of toys, Mazinger Z.  However, my brain instantly made the connection to the old toys and that interests me a great deal.  Some of it has to do with the primary color scheme and the proportions but the more I compare the two photos I think the attitude of the pose is a big part of the link between the two.  Shogun warriors always looked like they were ready to kick your ass, and so does “Icarus”.  Just like a great 80’s toy it can also be reconfigured into fighter jets and stuff.


My only complaint about “Icarus” can be found on the head, specifically the white square behind Sauron’s ring.  Black might have been a better choice for that area or some color other than white.  You can see the corners of the white squares sticking outside the ring and it’s distracting in a way that makes my brain itch.

Obviously the toy and the mech differ greatly and the LEGO model is far more detailed.  The only logical comparison exists solely inside the confines of my skull-case. Memory and nostalgia are perhaps too specific to reference in a blog article for a broader audience but hopefully you’ve come to expect a little free-association on the Manifesto.  If you’re so inclined, I’d like to hear about your experience with these kinds of connections in the comments

Pictured below is “Orion” from May of this year, anther build by Marco De Bon that shares the same vibe and I like to think of him as the Raydeen of the Shogun crew. The Iron Man chest-plate has rarely looked so good and it recalls the toys, as does the forearm shield and the yellow wings.  Again, it’s the pose that sells the model here, the attitude. I’m not well versed enough in mecha design to comment much about the techniques used in Orion.  Whether the methods of construction are mundane or advanced, Marco gets a nice variety of dynamic poses out of the design.


I can’t finish a post that references Shogun Warriors without recognizing Mark “The Grand Admiral” Sandlin’s take on Mazinga from 2008, built with the help of Brian Cooper’s Teknomeka Instructions.  It’s huge, just like the toy.  You don’t get more old-school in the hobby than Sandlin and Cooper, they were already titans when I found LUGNET and started posting my own models.  Sandlin is one of the few guys who was able to live the dream of designing a really cool set produced by LEGO in 2008. Cooper is a straight up genius whose builds are truly epic in both scale and functionality.  Brian is responsible for one of my favorite photos of all time, taken at Seattle’s BrickCon in 2007.  Watching Cooper’s famous MechaGodzilla rampage on KeithLUG’s Omicron Weekend is one of my favorite convention memories.


I’ve got a weird story about eating meatballs with Cooper, but I’ll save it for another day.  This post has already wandered far enough afield, constant reader.


13 thoughts on ““Invincible Guardians of World Freedom!”

  1. fantastic stuff, an you know the blog is good ehen u walk away with a new great builder to follow on flickr. (Sandlin). Thx for that. Man i miss thoses days of star wars an mechs.


  2. To go even more meta, my teknomeka photo above is a version of the character Ultra V from the PS2 game, War of the Monsters. Ultra V is still an homage to Mazinga, and later on I converted the MOC into an actual Mazinga.

    Mazinger Z


    1. So many layers…like an onion made out of LEGO. Cheers Sandlin, it’s good to talk to you again. I hope to make it to BrickCon this year too and we’ll have to get a beer.


  3. I was never into anything mech-related when I was a kid, so I don’t have nostalgia for this type of thing. But I love the toy-like primary colors on Orion and the dark background makes them pop even more.


  4. I think my biggest issue with Icarus is the black lines with white and red color blocking all over. It looks like the Partridge Family bus was actually an Autobot. The Mondrian Warrior. I remember trying to build things like this back in the mid-eighties with the LEGO of the time, and being very unsuccessful at recreating the Shogun Warrior look or even the Robotech compactness. Still tried and really appreciate that these lovely guys are more plausible and playable nowadays. But it really wouldn’t be a Shogun Warrior unless several rocket fingers were lost somewhere in the yard.


    1. Ah, apropos! Keith is always going on about his rocket fingers!

      Very cool to see both Sandlin’s and Cooper’s stuff in this post! I have met both and consider them to be two titans of the hobby who are every bit as powerful as builders as the mega-zegga-boom-boom robots they build.

      A 3vill and Meca-Godzilla combo for lunch. I still recall the “war heads” carried in the weapons bay of the Azmodeus. Excellent stuff!

      Sweet nostalgia indeed!


    2. Partridge Family Autobot…now I can’t unsee it. Where is Ruben Kinkaid? I lost all my rockets for Mazinga, then the other Shogun Warriors mocked him relentlessly. It completely ruined our friendship.


  5. Greetings! This is mmy 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through our posts.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go ovr
    the same subjects? Thanks ffor you time!


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