This epic LEGO coal mining shovel is nearly as tall as its builder

If this 1:28.5 scale model of the Marion 5760 Mountaineer stripping shovel doesn’t make your jaw hit the floor, then I suggest you take a closer look. Personally, I am glad that it is equipped with robust power functions to lift mine back up. Beat Felber, also known as Engineering with ABS, has created an absolutely stunning model of this monster of a machine used to scrape off the top layers of earth from seams of coal in Ohio. The Mountaineer was in operation from 1956 until 1979, and considering how massive the LEGO model of it is, I can only imagine how enormous the real thing was. It must have moved a lot of dirt. I almost said “a ton of dirt”, but I’d bet the shovel could lift a lot more than a ton of rock and dirt in every scoop. (It was closer to 60 tons per scoop! – Ed.)

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

I took me a while to realize the size of this beast. It was not until I recognized the wheels used in the pulleys that it began to sink in. Then I searched for some studs, and the few that I found (since the exterior is extensively tiled and smooth) made me blink.

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

This is big. In fact, Beat says it weighs about 35 kg, including 5.5 kg of added steel for a counterweight to the boom, which is over 1.6 meters long.

And it moves! There are four XL Power Functions motors, four large ones, and at least nine medium PF motors. Then there is the additional 9V motor that runs the elevator for the crew, since the men operating it needed to get to the different levels easily. There are lights, too, a whopping 44 LED lights making it operational even at night.

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

Since LEGO doesn’t make treads big enough for something like this, Beat had to make his own. It’s no wonder that he calls himself Engineering with ABS, since I could not even begin to figure out how to make all those technical bits fit together and still move.

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

The stairs that allow the crew to access the machinery at the top of the boom might be my favorite part of the whole thing, though. Neck brackets are cleverly used to angle the steps, making me wonder at first if it was some new part, perhaps part of the new roller coaster system, that I did not recognize.

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

I also appreciate how the various Power Functions motors blend so seamlessly into the overall product. In the overview shots, I did not even notice them, and even in the closeups they look like they belong.

Marion 5760 The Mountaineer

So, can you dig it? If so, check out the full journal of designing and building this model on Beat’s site, Engineering with ABS.

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