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Fan makes incredible Warhammer 40k Akira diorama

Hobbyist Paul Michel has used Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult parts to recreate an iconic cell from Katzuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime and manga.

A Warhammer 40k Genestealer Cult Atalan Jackal converted to look like Kaneda from Akira by Paul Michel - a converted Warhammer 40k figure recreates the cell in Akira in which Kaneda skids to a halt on his motorbike in the centre of the road, raising plumes of dust

It took over 20 hours for hobbyist Paul Michel to create this outstanding Warhammer 40k Akira diorama. Michel used parts from the Genestealer Cults Atalan Jackals bikers to recreate the iconic panel of Kaneda screeching to a halt on the highway of Neo Tokyo.

Warhammer 40k factions have a predilection for motorbikes, despite how impractical they are as a military vehicle. “I’d wanted to do something with these biker models for a while”, Michel says, “and at some point last year I was on a cyberpunk rush and I ended up watching the movie, which is what gave me the idea”.


Michel worked on the Akira diorama “on and off” since January. He says: “I struggled a lot to get the lighting right on the biker. I wanted to match the reference to an extent but also have some interesting lighting on his back. There was a lot of “futzing around”.” He adds that “getting the forced perspective out of plasticard for the plinth was also difficult because of all the moving pieces”.

But the challenge has been good for his miniature painting and converting skills: “I was able to advance my sculpting (for the rider) and my freehand (for the background)”, he says. You can find more of his impressive dioramas on his Instagram.

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Michel first encountered Akira via the manga – you can learn more about the film and manga’s simultaneous production history and cultural impact in the excellent video essay by SuperEyepatchWolf embedded above. Michel says: “I remember being impressed by the aesthetic and the whole apocalyptic feel of the work. I actually only saw the movie recently, it holds up quite well!”

Michel is “looking forward to new projects now that this ones finally over”. He adds ”I might go with a more classic 40k piece next…”

Akira had a huge influence on all the sci-fi that came after it, including Warhammer 40k. Doomed protagonist Tetsuo Shima is a spot on representation of a Warhammer 40k psyker being overcome by the power of the warp, and the Adeptus Mechanicus and Chaos Space Marines both owe a lot to the film and comics’ depictions of biomechanical transformation. Not to mention the design of the Space Marine Outriders motorbike…