It was a different time in 1996. Prince Charles and Lady Di call it quits just as Mad Cow Disease hits the UK. Coincidence? Nearly everything topping the music charts was vapid tunes we’d much rather forget but LEGO was doing some fun things. Among them was the 6190 Shark’s Crystal Cave from the Aquazone theme and famed builder Bob DeQuarte gives it a modern makeover.
I particularly like the plate-stacked ocean floor in dazzling colors and the crystal cave and aquatic plant life are not without their charms. But the real star of the show is most certainly that shark submarine staying true to its original color scheme and play features with the added inclusion of dark blue, which didn’t exist back then. There’s been a resurgence of awesome Aquazone and Rock Raiders set redos from 1996 and 1999 lately which, in my opinion, is far better than revisiting “The Macarena” or Cher’s “Believe”, respectively.
Much like Aquazone, I’ve always viewed Rock Raiders as “even more LEGO Space.” And there was never anything wrong with more sci-fi sets, in the opinion of 12-year-old Kyle. These are the kinds of fond memories triggered by this wonderful recreation of 4950 The Loader-Dozer by Bob DeQuatre. Without using any parts that are distinctly from either of the mining-heavy themes, Bob captures the essence of this powerful equipment perfectly. The choice of scoop at this scale is dead-on, and the move from black to dark gray feels more in keeping with the rest of the design. I just can’t get over the stellar use of spinner bases from this Ninjago set for the hubcaps of its mighty wheels. It’s as if that was their intended purpose all along!
And please take a minute to admire the craftsmanship that went into an accurate rendition of the accompanying Rock Raiders’ antagonist: the fearsome rock monster. This posable version feels so much more play-friendly than the single-molded version from ’99.
People are suckers for nostalgia. This is a well-known fact that even the LEGO company has been tapping into lately. It is no wonder that this creation by Bob DeQuatre is hitting all the sweet spots. It is a rebuild of the 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub from the Aquanauts theme. This version is quite a bit larger than the original. The cockpit manages to fit 3 seats and a hatch to access the ocean. I am not sure, as it is not mentioned by Bob, but I can imagine quite well that the big trans purple windscreen from the Pop-up Party Bus was the starting point of this amazing build. To top it all off it even has working lights.
Building a colony on another world won’t be easy. It’ll require tons of resources that you better hope are available on the planet and that you can build close enough to them. Builder Bob DeQuatre is certainly aware of the issues that go along with settling new worlds. As a precious and necessary resource, water is certainly worth a hike to retrieve. This nuclear-powered, armored water tank, dubbed the Dionysus, was designed by the Mars Corporation to quickly transport water from remote extraction sites to the main outpost. Massive wheels and an armored body ensure that every drop makes it back safely. All while looking absolutely gorgeous with that white and red color scheme and interesting angles around that elevated cabin.
Do you know what’s scary? Velociraptors. While the Tyrannosaurus is all teeth and ignorant brawn, the Velociraptor is a smaller, nimble and cunning creature capable of working together to hunt down kids in a laboratory. At least that’s what Jurassic Park has led us to believe anyway. Bob DeQuatre takes the already scary raptor and puts it in a spacesuit; one with opposable claw finger technology. You may as well just kiss your tookus goodbye by this point. Not only are the kids toast but the director and camera crew won’t be around to make the slew of blockbuster sequels. It’s a bummer, really. But all kidding aside this is a really cool idea. I particularly like the expression of the raptor’s face under the protective space dome.
I think I’m not alone in assuming, as a child, that we’d have Mars colonization by the time I was grown. Well, we haven’t even sent manned missions out there yet. But when we get there we’ll inevitably need to shoot stuff. Bob DeQuatre shows us what that could look like with this impressive LEGO Mars Corporation Ares Long-Range Artillery Platform. As you may know, Ares is the Greek god of war and Bob tells us this is Mars Corporation’s deadliest vehicle. He could have called it by its Roman mythological name but that would have been…uh…redundant.
Proving he’s no slouch, Bob also built this Hermes Mobile Command Center in the same striking red and white color scheme. Designed for long-range missions, this vehicle can hold up to six passengers as well as the driver and gunner. This makes sense considering Hermes was the ancient Greek god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves,…and travel. Phew, that’s a lot of jobs! We can only assume all those other things are going on onboard as well.
We’re kind of really into Bob’s stuff. Here’s the proof.