This is an ŁM-50 tracked front-end overhead loader, a Polish device characterised by two curved metal bars that allow the bucket to pass from the front to the rear of the machine over the head of the driver.
Which provides something of a conundrum when recreating it out of Danish plastic, because LEGO don’t make Technic bars in curved form. Or rather, they don’t any more…
Back in 1998 LEGO were in trouble. The perceived threat from electronic toys and rival construction brand K’nex sent the firm down some very dark alleyways, and the darkest of the lot* was Znap.
Essentially a K’nex rip-off, the Znap range lasted just two years across nineteen sets, and its most notable feature was that it had virtually nothing to do with LEGO bricks whatsoever.
It did however feature curved beams, beams that Flickr’s Maciej Szymański has somehow integrated into his superb fully-RC ŁM-50 front-end loader, enabling the bucket to slide over the model just like it does on the real thing.
A suite of third-party CaDa electrics power the movement of said bucket, plus the skid-steer tracks, but seeing as they’re about as genuine LEGO at Znap was, we’ll let it slide.
Excellent attention to detail and top quality presentation complete Maciej’s model, and there’s much more to see (including a video of the model in action) at his ‘ŁM-50’ album. Click the link above to bend and Znap!
*Except for Galidor of course.
**Today’s tenuous title link. You don’t get quality like this at The Brother’s Brick.