In 1999, my favorite LEGO theme by far was Rock Raiders. It was a great sci-fi take on a mining/construction theme; it had cool colors, chrome elements, interesting looking builds, and best of all, awesome rock monsters. Sure, I had some concerns about the environmental impact of mining operations. And were those rock monsters evil or just creatures defending their homes and families from overworld plunderers? No matter, there were crystals to be had. And those crystals were in transparent neon-green plastic and I needed them.
These days problems are bigger, so it’s only appropriate that the Rock Raiders have been scaled up as well. Peter Carmichael took the 4950 – Loader Dozer Rock Raiders set and made an amazing UCS version of it. Peter’s build takes on all three key elements – the Loader-Dozer itself, the monster, and the power crystal. (Or, as I like to call it, the Giant Crystal Of Crystalness.)
Most UCS builds are “just” larger scale versions of smaller models. Not so here! This vehicle is still designed for minifigure use, creating a cool visual twist on just what “bigger” means in this context. The dozer’s giant Technic digger bucket (last seen in 2018’s Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX) catches your eye first. But don’t overlook the expertly up-scaled roll cage, or how the side spotlights have gone from hand-held to a more solid presentation. This dozer’s big brother came prepared.
The rock monster’s big brother is ready, too. Peter has managed to recreate iconic details like the splayed fingers, linebacker pose, and even the craggy nose. The added detail here really helps take the bigfig from “somewhat goofy” to “pretty menacing” – thanks in no small part to those new deep set eyes.
As cool as those two builds are, I still love the giant power crystal the most. There are some nice subtle angles at play to create this larger version of the standard LEGO crystal, and the rock base makes this feel like a display piece that could be featured on its own.
I hope this build inspires others to revisit the Rock Raiders theme. There are a lot of great sets that could use embiggening like this. And then we can move on to the Power Miners reboot where the monsters were also made of transparent LEGO. Everyone needs a bit more of that in their life, right?