One of LEGO’s new lines for 2009 is Power Miners, a series of awesome machines built to tunnel underground.
In the storyline, geologist Brains and his three friends have created all sorts of really cool-looking vehicles to help them tunnel under the earth and harvest “power crystals.” Who do they find but a new race of sentient beings that eat those crystals. And so, in the honored tradition of kids’ toys since the beginning, the two sides do battle.
Let’s face it, the real star of Power Miners are the vehicles. The miners themselves seem like mere operators and the bad guys — generically called ‘monsters’ — really offer very little in the way of personality. But the vehicles rock my world. They’re colored silver, orange and lime green, and the line’s many unique parts — mainly of the drilling and clawing variety! — offer huge value to builders.
I had the chance to play around with the Crystal Sweeper, a medium-sized, bulldozer-esque model that features a tank-treaded platform equipped with a gigantic sweeper wheel on the front designed to gather power crystals into an interior bin (It rotates as the Sweeper’s treads roll.) It has an industrial-looking driver’s booth and an awesome drill attached to a swiveling arm.
As with many of LEGO’s models, the tiny details make the model. There are dynamite packs attached to the side of the unit and a banana in a box, ready for a quick snack. I love the Crystal Sweeper’s dirt bike held in a rack on the ‘dozer’s chassis. This sort of mini vehicle reminds me a lot of Exo-Force, LEGO’s sadly discontinued manga line that sported complicated vehicles decked out in drones and mini gliders, and featured gears and other complex parts that put them a step or two above similar models.
Also like Exo-Force, you can download building instructions helping you combine multiple sets into new models. For instance, you can take the Crystal Sweeper’s parts and those of the 8959 Claw Digger and make a new vehicle, the Crystal Crawler!
The Crystal Sweeper offers a challenging build and wonderful details for any LEGO fan.
(See my Flickr set for more shots of the Sweeper.)