CHIN, Chien Ting (
Thu, 22 Mar 2001 12:03:18 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

Dafydd Neal Dyar wrote:
> It occurs to me that a stop-motion animated Gundam using dioramas put
> together by that insane bunch of modelers who do those features for
> Hobby Japan and the like, augmented by some judicious CGI for beam
> effects, smoke, water and such, might be the best way to go for a
> live-action Gundam. The end result should be at least as good as the
> Gerry Anderson actors-and-models shows, UFO and Space: 1999.

I have been thinking about that since, oh, about 17 years ago. Creating
or recreating a whole story, nay, even a single 26 minutes episode would
be simply daunting. But doing a 2-5 minute skid is probably within

> Given the level of detail on the Perfect Grade models, I think that a
> film based on stop-motion could actually be more realistic than
> anything currently possible in CGI.

I don't really think traditional animation and/or CGI are inherently more
or less realistic than stop-motion techniques. Bottomline is stil how
much talent, man-power and material you put into it. Reboot and Toy Story
1-2 did very well with all CGI, Futurama blends conventional animation and
CGI very well. SW1 and Gladiator did quite decently with blending live
action with CGI. Given the existing evidence, I'd put my money on
computer assisted conventional animation as the most cost-effective way to
achieve the realism you are after. Something like Ghost in the Shell and
Futurama. But I am sure any other combination of techniques can also get
you there, given enough talents and efforts.

But IMHO, visual realism is not of highest priority here. The original
designs were rather unrealistics to start with. The elbows, knees, hips,
ankles were all rather rigid in the original designs. The animators get
around this with rubber armors. The model designers just didn't get
around it. So those old Bandai TV ads always show the models in very
limited situations. Invariably you have either the Factory (with all the
mechs standing still and looksing pretty); or the Launch (with the mechs
_shooting_ out of the hangar or WB etc; or you have the Lift, with mechs
emerging out of the ground in (invisible) EVA-style elevator; or you have
the Approach, with the mech flying towards the camera until the face or
chest of the mech fill up the whole screen; and finally you have the
Crash, with a good guy and bad guy flying towards each other, just before
they touch, there's a flash to symbolize the fight or explosion. You
never see the mechs doing simple things like walking or shooting or
drawing the beam sabre, actions that are essential for even the most basic
story. Hand-to-hand combat, perhaps the most important action scene,
would be impossible without (at least) PG models.

Having said all that. I think it is getting almost possible for talented
amatures to produce short entertaining films with toys and models. I
really like this guy: especially his SW
take-offs. If you look at his SW films and think about doing the same
things with Gundam, you'd realize we have plenty of models, a few
(non-articulated) character figures, and some pretty useful toys (to be
released this year), BUT sounds is difficult, we will need some talented
fans to put together BGM, sound fx and voice acting. From my POV, sound
is the biggest problem.

But hey (shameless plug) we already have a small piece:
It's produced by Ash the Cyclone Rider and myself. And of course, I have
a few "spinners" sprinkled in my reviews.

Are there any more model movies on the web?

Dr. Core
Brain Surgeon
Newtype Asylum

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