When does a toy stop being a toy and become something altogether more impressive? It's a difficult distinction to make, but the HMC Boudicca — a 20-inch-tall scale model of a multistory walking tank — certainly crosses the line for us. Assembled from 400 hand-painted, 3D-printed parts and outfitted with Arduino-controlled motors, servos, and LEDs, the Boudicca is an undeniably impressive labor of love. Oh, and it's also available to buy if you've got $5,000 to spare.
A walking tank from an alternate history WWI
It's the creation of Michael Sng, a toymaker from Singapore who was previously the lead product designer for the STIKFAS range of action figures. The walking tank is the first in Sng's ambitious Codename Colossus project, a "made-to-order, kinetic toy line set in Europe in an alternate history during The Great War." Although Sng's website doesn't offer much detail on this fictional backdrop, the Boudicca itself reminds us of the steampunk universe of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan novels, where giant iron mechas battle it out with bio-engineered beasts of war in an alternate history WWI. Thankfully, detailed photos of the Boudicca showing its spotlights, machine guns, and cannons, do just as good a job of bringing Sng's model to life.
Sng says that if Codename Colossus gains traction, he'll "explore creating more accessibly priced versions of the toys for a wider audience," but at the moment he's only making models to order. "More accessibly priced versions would not be anyway close to the same size and will likely not be fully 3D-printed and definitely not be hand assembled," writes Sng on his website. Looking at the time lapse of the Boudicca's build, we can certainly see why: