Over the span of many years spent looking at LEGO mecha (robots, drones, etc.), I’ve concluded that the single feature that separates the good builds from the great ones is the foot. Poseability is a close second but nothing screams mastery of the genre to me more than a nice pair of robo-feet. More than a fetish on my part, I submit that most mecha have unlikely, under-detailed or just plain ugly hooves. Constant reader the next time you look at a mech I urge you to check out the feet, more often than not they are blocky or just plain wrong in some way. Never has the concept been better illustrated than the latest build by the usually reliable Gamabomb. The thumbnail for “WARMATE” got me very excited, until my gaze drifted down to the feet. My first thought was that those things would sink into the mud like crazy, causing the legs to snap off at the knees when it tried to move. The lower legs look like stilts that would cause the war machine to collapse at the first indication of a strong breeze.
It really is a shame because the rest of the design is money, from the Xenomorph style head to the beautifully detailed arms to the exacting sticker work. I’m not sure if the stickers are official LEGO stock or custom, but the little triangles are just the right answer. In fact, there is great texturing everywhere you look, the head is almost a build within a build and it’s so inspiring that I can easily imagine it as a detail on other models like a tank or a spaceship. Gamabomb also hit it out of the park with the Photoshopped image above. The choice of background, shadowing and logo all combine to elevate the build beyond the common fare. That’s where the nu-school has it over the old-school in spades; for the most part they have a much greater skill set when it comes to presentation.
I mentioned that the ability to strike a pose is also paramount to quality mecha design and Gamabomb gets an average score there. WARMATE seems a little static from the waist down and I wish it could hold its rifle with a little more panache. The thigh gap on this model may be admirable, but those feet!..it looks like the builder just quit when he got to the knees and that’s a damn shame because the rest of it is stunning.