How to create really awesome robots?

So I’m trying to create a really awesome looking robot in blender with a bunch of mechanical parts, and whatnot. I want him to be pretty dynamic, in that he can move his body in a bunch of different ways and also have a human-like design. I was thinking maybe a ninja-robot. Problem is, I only have experience creating and modeling organic characters and creatures, I’ve got a few cool robot ideas, but am finding it quite difficult to create a really awesome robot design and implement working mechanics. I don’t just want to make a cartoonie robot with simple ball joints, I want pistons, motors, all sorts of detailed mechanical parts. I can model all the parts easily, but implementing it all into one fluent, kickass robot design, that’s what I’m having problems with, and I don’t just want to steal someone else’s cool robot concept. Any advice, tips, links, modeling advice, whatever, would be wonderful. If not, I’m sure I’ll get this looking cool eventually. Also, on some robot designs I’ve seen there are cylinder like things with holes in them coming off the back, what purpose do these serve?

How to actually create? Easy…

Draw him on a piece of paper.

Ok, more than create. I more need help with how it actually mechanically works, and designing aspect. I can draw a decent robot, but so far my robot designs are yet to punch me in the face with a KAZAA, ya know.

I’m a very competent modeler, so I can model just about anything, but how should I go about the modeling of such a machine? With organics, I usually start rough and work down to the details, but since he’ll be made with hard surface parts, screwed together, it might be less work to model it detail up, but then it’s harder to visualize the final product.

I was thinking he would be an assassin ninja run off gasoline, and the majority of his joints are hydralically powered, the rest are driven by motors, so I have to accomodate them in the design. I want him to be sleek, sexy, and powerful, able to perform flying kung-fu moves, and slice off heads with a sword.

Is this a bi-pedal robot?

Maybe you can start off with a human skeleton reference and work up from there?

I hear the “build an awesome ninja robot” button is going to be a feature of Blender 2.5, until then, take a look at rab3D’s mechanical modeling tutorials.

Yeah it will, because I’m making the awesome ninja robot for the ninja robot button, so in the future, all you gotta do is be like whacha, and boom, one kickass ninja robot! Rab’s mechanical tutorials have some very useful info in there. Maybe I should start posting concept sketches eh.