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.)
I am not a miner, but I imagine that it is not quite as fun and exciting as the 1990s Rock Raiders LEGO theme made it look. Nevertheless, I have fond memories of this action-packed adventure theme. My nostalgia was somewhat dormant for a long time, until I had the privilege to write about a Rock Raiders tunneling drone here on the Brothers Brick. The creation made me feel so good that I felt compelled had to make my own Rock Raiders-themed model. And here it is; the “Dolomite Destroyer” (named in the honour of the iconic 4940 Granite Grinder LEGO set).
I have experimented with proportions a bit for this model. Just a simple colour scheme would not cut it for a Rock Raiders build. It had to be bulky and rough. The whole thing started with a Throwbot/Slizer shoulder/hand piece as the mech’s arms and continued from there. The second central part was an Atlantis minifig helmet within the body. I finished the model off with a little crane because I think cranes look so cool and industrial. While this model was fun to build, I will be scrapping it to build another creation in this style later on.
Twenty years after its inception, the often-overlooked yet undeniably cool LEGO Rock Raiders theme finds its way into fan creations as well. In February we featured a collection of vehicles built in honour of this theme, and now it’s Chris Perron‘s turn to show off his gritty tunneling hovercraft, with all its glorious teal and chrome highlights. Chris notes that this creation is actually a year and a half old, but was inspired by friends to give the tunneler a base and finally upload it.
The base is a convincing cutout of a rock tunnel, dotted with chrome green crystals (these crystals actually come from the Space Port line from the same year–Rock Raiders featured trans-neon green crystals), and it’s perfect place to show off this cute little drilling drone. The drone itself is quite a perfect representation of its theme. The colour combination has all the characteristics of Rock Raiders; teal highlights, black and yellow warning stripes, a brown rollcage and grays as the main colour. What is especially impressive is the complex drilling head in the front, built of various custom chrome elements.
When it debuted in 1999, Rock Raiders was LEGO’s first theme dedicated entirely to mining, and this year marks its 20th anniversary. Set in a futuristic world, the teal highlights and yellow caution stripes now evoke a particular kind of nostalgia for those of us who had the line as kids. Purple-Wolf has put together a series of creations set in that grungy, dark underworld. First up is a sort of convoy truck called the Rubble Shovel, and it’s armed with the biggest plow possible. That plow is actually from Duplo, but it fits the aesthetic perfectly here.
See the rest of the Rock Raiders creations