After wowing us with an amazing collaborative diorama of Cloud City, builder Caleb Watson has turned his skills to another classic Harrison Ford franchise, Indiana Jones. In this huge diorama, Indy runs through all the perils from the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark as he escapes the temple with the idol. But this diorama holds a secret: it’s completely motorized, with minifigure Indy actually dodging each of the traps.
Check out this video of the action as Indy makes his way through the temple, and then read about the details of how it works below.
We had a chance to get an up-close look at this model at BrickCon a few months ago, where it won an honorable mention for Best of Show. Caleb spent over 300 hours working on it over the past year. “By the end of this project, I had so thoroughly used up my inventory of a ton of pieces that I had to try and find other solutions to connections to avoid having to buy more pieces,” he told TBB. “At [BrickCon], the biggest issue arose too, in that when you run LEGO mechanisms long enough with significant load, the pieces start to give out. Every day at Brickcon after the show, I had to replace a large number of the gears in some of the mechanisms because the teeth were bending over, and underneath other connections were piles of plastic ABS dust from pieces rubbing next to each other all day.”
Perhaps the most impressive parts are the complex mechanisms that Caleb developed to power each of the traps, which he designed with very clever self-correcting mechanisms in the gearing to keep things running smoothly, particularly the rolling boulder. For instance, the model actually employs two boulders, and only starts the rolling sequence once the first one has been fully recycled and returned to the starting position. Additionally, Indy is triggered to dodge the boulder by a hidden pressure plate that the boulder hits, meaning Caleb didn’t have to perfect the timing sequence to save Indy–he’s always perfectly in the nick of time, although it did take a lot of work to get the boulder path correct. “I worked on that section for months,” he tells TBB, “because to get the boulder to hit the pressure plates reliably, I had to adjust a single brick at a time to balance the functionality with the aesthetic of the rocky cave floor.”
There are 10 Indiana Jones minifigures throughout the diorama, each facing off with his own precarious trap.
Caleb detailed all of the rock work to make it look like a giant temple, and even managed to hide a few Easter eggs. Caleb used just six LEGO motors to power all the functions in this huge model, which measures 8.5 feet long. He told us he’s not sure how many pieces he used exactly, but considering he’s weighed the model and it’s “almost exactly 50 pounds,” we’re betting it’s significantly more dark grey bricks than most of us have. He tells us that he does know he used “a couple thousand 1×2 45-degree dark blueish gray roof slopes, the most common piece … used for rocks.”
Check out more of Caleb’s work on Instagram at cwatsonlegobuilds.