Machination Studio’s Codename: Colossus

Imagine an alternate timeline wherein fiction became reality, specifically that the terrifying premise behind H.G. WellsThe War of the Worlds actually occurred. But instead of mankind becoming subjugated by the Martian invaders, their onslaught is halted and their towering three-legged fighting-machines are entered into humanity’s collective knowledge. With history quickly correcting itself, a new deviation arises: just as the armistice to end The Great War is to be signed, a natural disaster rends the Western Front apart, leaving an infernal chasm of lava in its wake. With both sides accusing the other of causing this tragedy, all hopes of peace are dashed though they are each forced to retreat from the battlefield. After eight years of relative calm, the British War Cabinet unveils the fruits of a secret weapons project they’d undertaken: giant walking tanks designed to cross the burning wasteland. Welcome to the world of Machination Studio‘s Codename: Colossus creations.

A Brief History of Codename: Colossus

The brainchild of Michael Sng, a veteran product designer whose experience included Ban Yinh Jheow‘s hyper-articulated STIKFAS action figures, the Codename: Colossus series stemmed from his desire to merge the detailed execution of model kits with the mobility of radio-controlled vehicles. Inspired by his own love of miniature wargaming, Sng’s journey to manifest his ideas began with an eighteen-month investment in learning 3D modeling & printing, electronic circuit construction, and programming microcontrollers. Discovering hexapod movement through trial-and-error, the shape of Sng’s first creation in his new breed of kinetic designer toy began to take form.

The Initial Codename: Colossus Constructions

Sng revealed his initial entry into the Codename: Colossus world in mid-2016, a towering heavy siege machine for his scaled-down universe. Bearing the fictional British military prefix HMC, or His Majesty’s Colossus, this unique creation was the HMC Boudicca and it featured not only mechanized mobility but also pulsating gun barrels, illuminated searchlights, smoking exhaust ports, and numerous other imagination inducing aspects. And though every bit of its over 20-inch tall frame begged for its Commander (or owner) to gleefully interact with it, the finished form of these 435 specially-designed, 3D-printed and laser cut parts was unmistakably not a toy but rather a hand-painted invitation to join Sng’s imaginative world. Eager to display a work along these lines at that October’s New York Comic Con, Sng quickly began construction on a piece that was similar in shape and functionality to the HMC Boudicca, a cosmetically altered version that he titled the HMC Galahad. And while it received an enthusiastic response from convention attendees, the length and intense process in constructing one of these goliath works meant they also bore a justifiably high price, putting them out of the average connoisseur’s budget.

Re-Inventing Codename: Colossus

Comprehending the potential reach of his creations, Sng investigated producing model kits based on his concepts, maintaining the awe-inducing aspects of his dieselpunk designs while shifting the impressively large and overly complex constructions down in size. After determining a method that would allow the assembly to take only a few hours, requiring only screws and slight gluing on the part of the collector, Sng revealed his 1:56 scale Mk.I Cyclops in November of 2016. Standing roughly 13-inches tall, these constructions for his British Empire’s army were funded through Kickstarter within seven hours, each kit eventually expanded to be accompanied by The Butler, a utility walker with loading arm. Following this success, Sng explored an Imperial German’s entry into this new arms race, the Pzkpfl.I Schnauzer Armoured Walker. Set to be produced in collaboration with Mighty Jaxx, in both green for Grenzjäger (Border Patrol) and grey for Kaisergarde (Imperial Bodyguard) versions, this 1:35 scale model was canceled, existing only in prototype form. Despite this setback in 2017, Sng continued to explore Codename: Colossus in 2018, adding the U.S. Marine Expedition Force’s M1A2 Light Walker to the fray. Lovingly known as “Bug Zappers” within Sng’s fictional timeline, these were once again successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign and demand resulted in a second version — the M1A1 Light Walker — also being offered, both of which were accompanied by a multi-part character figure. And while the M1 Light Walker renditions weren’t capable of independent movement, they still sparked the imagination through their working lights and spinning lightning cannon.

Building off this momentum, September of 2018 had Sng introducing the first Imperial German walker to actually be produced in an edition, the Pz.Kpfl.II Krabbe. According to the narrative, these walkers served not only as mobile watchtowers but also as support for the border Jagerbattalions, German troops stationed in the smoldering wilderness as the first line of defense against Allied attack. Opting to better illustrate the conflict in his alternate timeline, Sng proceeded to create a detailed diorama using his Pz.Kpfl.II Krabbe and a Tamiya-produced British Infantryman, their skirmish on frontline frozen in a moment that questions who will emerge victorious. And, almost as a tacit challenge presented to his collectors, Sng provided detailed instructions on how his diorama was constructed, an unspoken invitation for them to re-imagine the Codename: Colossus world similarly.
And like a belated Christmas gift, Sng had one final design to offer in 2018, adding to the year’s previous American and German walkers. Within the Codename: Colossus timeline, the British Empire had hoped that their heavy siege machines might win them a quick victory but, as the war raged on, it became apparent to them that they needed to invest in light reconnaissance walkers, such as the Mk.I Cerberus. And that is exactly the design that Sng decided to explore most recently, an impressive construction that was larger than the previous offerings from 2018. Comprised of polyurethane resin and 3D printed parts, like all the artist’s model kits, the Mk.I Cerberus features a soup can-like body shape which surely accounts for its “Campbells” nickname. Not to be taken lightly, especially as they are armed with two Vickers machine guns and a 1.5 pounder Gatling gun, Sng has turned once more to Kickstarter to finance his project, the artist hoping to deliver the initial kits to collectors in March of 2019. And as Sng already begins imagining the future of his imaginative fray, he has begun contemplating the creation of more character figures, which would allow collectors to themselves construct detailed skirmishes. The only question is, will you accept the challenge of Commanding your own battle?

Click Here to Acquire the Mk.I Cerberus model kit from Kickstarter.

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