Over on his ArtStation page, artist Emerson Tung has been posting designs from a project he calls TankHead — it looks like World War II tanks reconstituted as two-legged mechs. We needed to know more.
HEAVY METAL: What is the Tankhead project?
EMERSON TUNG: The world of Tankhead revolves around the Never War, a relentless global conflict between the great powers of the Britanica Alliance, the Greater Kaiserian Empire and the Yamato Kingdom. These factions wage the war with their own fearsome Tankheads, each one bringing to the battleground a distinct look and function.
HM: Because of the clear design elements from tanks (and planes, and boats), the brains of those of us raised on Transformers might think of them as Transformers. But they’re not — they don’t change from a Sherman tank into what you see here. Correct?
ET: They are definitely not transformers. Most of the mechs in the world of Tankhead are based on vehicles actually used in WWI and WWII, but there are others that are purely imaginative like the Mammut Heavy Tankhead or the crab tanks.
HM: The crabs look really cool — what are they?
ET: Crabs and spiders are popular motifs used in mecha anime culture, and I just wanted to try my own take on them.
HM: In fact, Japanese tanks were rare (or lightly used) as the war in the Pacific was an air/sea war. Were you working with historical references to design these Japanese mechs or were you using more imagination for those?
ET: Both are true. Some of the mechs from the Japanese faction Yamato are based on rare examples of Japanese tanks, but I had to come up with a lot of them from scratch. I also used elements like samurai armor motifs and sashimono banners to tie all of them together.
HM: Dumb question here, do the plane-based Tankheads fly? Do the warship-based Tankheads go in the water?
ET: Yes, the Never War spread to all environments: land, sea and air. There are plans for Tankheads based on submarines as well.
HM: You have done a ton of these designs — how many in total? Do you have more in the works?
ET: I have around 40 designs done and posted online.