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.
Were you aware of Znap, a line of LEGO sets from 1999? What about the ŁM-50 overhead loader, a piece of Polish construction equipment from the 1960’s? Well, Maciej Szymański uses the specialized pieces in the former to make the latter. It was essential to get the proper curved track up and over the operator’s head, depositing the contents of the front-loading scoop behind the machine. Based on reference pictures online, the shaping here is spot on, with some great part choices to recreate the loader’s red wheels. The model feels very clean and intentional. And the panel of intricate wires and tubing feels right at home on equipment like this.
But choosing the correct parts for that overhead track is only worthwhile if the model moves, right? Well, this model comes with motorized treads and an operational winch hooked to the front bucket. I really like the design that drops the bucket at the end of the track, completing its over-the-shoulder hook shot. Check out the ŁM-50 in action below!
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.)