What are Maschinen Krieger or Ma.K (aka SF3D) Model Kits?

By Charles Villacara and Kevin Derken

The genre known as Maschinen Krieger or Ma.K (formally SF3D) was created in 1981 by Kow Yokoyama when he and two other creatives produced monthly installments for the magazine Hobby Japan. Collaborating with story editor Hiroshi Ichimura and graphic designer Kunitaka Imai, the three gentlemen told visual stories using Kow’s scratch built models as the story’s central character. Kow designed powered armored fighting suits, two legged walkers and other futuristic military equipment (earth and space bound) to use in scenes depicting battles as well as everyday life around a military camp or installation starting in the year 2882.  Kow’s designs and the inspiration for the monthly installments for Hobby Japan is said to have come from Yokoyama, Imai and Ichimura’s interest in WWI, WWII tanks and aircraft, the space program and popular films of the time- Star Wars, Blade Runner, Aliens and The Road Warrior.

Maybe it’s the low-fi, futuristic vintage look of Ma.K.that got us hooked. It’s difficult for me to explain the reasons why I became obsessed with it especially since I wasn’t a science fiction lover to have started with. In general, I find people either get the Ma.K esthetic or don’t. If they get it, they go in deep. It’s usually because they love the simplistic composition of the design. This is partly due to the shapes and donor kits used to create them. Then there’s the potential the kit has for the builder to put their own stamp on it. Kow has eluded he gives modelers “a potential in the box.” This sentiment holds true. I hand paint all my builds in a particular fashion picked up from Japanese artists and then I finish them of with a few weathering techniques absorbed from western modelers. Ma.K. kits provide me with an interesting subject, design and surface to combine my influences within a single work. So, combined with Kow’s “potential in the box” sentiment, a kit that often contains interchangeable parts for use with his other designs and the general Maschinen Krieger esthetic; there’s a different model building experience to be had.

For my demos at Jerseyfest, I’ll focus on the following:

“Space Weathering” demonstrated using AK Interactive products, art markers and oil paints on the Hasegawa Maschinen Krieger Luna Diver. I’ll create discolorations on the Luna Diver’s hand painted lacquer surface. With the mediums mentioned, I’ll emulate the wear and tear I imagine a vehicle retains over elongated periods of service in space.

“White Wash” camo demonstrated on the MPC Star Wars T-47 Snowspeeder. Hand painted on using acrylic, oil and enamel paints over hand painted lacquer contrast base coat for a finish that has layers and depth.

Kevin Derken is another extremely talented and expert Ma.K painter who also will be doing painting demos at Jerseyfest.  He adds… “To me, the designs of Kow Yokoyama, (Maschienen Krieger) are all about form, not function. They rely heavily on organic shapes mixed with mechanical parts. In my work, I like to accentuate these organic forms often painting the engines dark. The best part about Ma.K. is that there is no “one way” to create it, everyone does it slightly different, and it’s ever evolving. Note that Ma.K predates Macross (Robotech).”


See the schedule for Charles’ and other Jerseyfest vendor show demos by clicking here. See info on Kevin Derken’s “all day” painting class at Jerseyfest Academy by clicking here (enter web page and scroll to bottom).

Below are samples of Ma.K kits built and painted by by Kevin Derken and Charles Villacara:



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