Book Review: Abakan 2288 / Author: Luca Zampriolo / Format: Paperback / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
Italian designer Luca Zampriolo’s imagined world of towering mecha is wonderfully visualised in Abakan 2288.
Earth’s natural resources have run out. The oil wells have dried up. Giant robots are forged from the flotsam and jetsam of a bygone age. Welcome to Abakan 2288 where Hard Doll Machines aka H.D.Ms keep the peace in the aftermath of society’s collapse. From this bubbling cauldron of chaos, the Weingart family emerge. Bigger, stronger and just plain harder than anyone else, the Weingarts proclaim themselves an independent nation and hold a type of ruthless monarchy over what’s left of the world. With an energy crisis of hitherto unprecedented proportions man turns to the planet Jupiter and its alternative energy source, gas, for salvation. This gas is reduced to a crystalline form, then shipped back to earth to power even more advanced versions of the H.D.Ms.
Abakan 2288 openly embraces Japanese culture, most notably manga and anime, and attempts to fuse certain core themes with the culture of Italy. The result is an eclectic mix of paintings, sketches, digital work and model design – and as an extra bonus contains a detailed back story of mankind’s fall and subsequent rebirth.
Also included are step by step guides on how Zampriolo creates his limited edition mecha, from models that fit on the tip of your finger to full miniature set pieces, a guaranteed treat for enthusiasts. If you feel the need for a slice of steampunk aesthetic mixed with giant robots of Warhammer fame then Abakan 2288 is the book for you. Kallamity will walk you through from concept to finished design, which when the tutorial comes from the likes of Luca Zampriolo, a world renowned sculptor, should be worth the cover price alone.
Abakan at times loses itself in the narrative, becomes bogged down in details, and comes across as a self-indulgent fantasy more than any cohesive story. All can be forgiven, however, for the mecha artwork takes centre stage. There’s something truly mesmerising about giant robots straddling a cityscape or marching in formation across wastelands. Zampriolo’s attention to detail really pays off; his style remains unique and instantly recognisable. The result is a highly sophisticated look at an alternative future of man and machine. Well worth a read.