The Bagger 288, also known as the Excavator 288, is the largest land vehicle in the world. Somehow, I hadn’t heard of it until now—probably because it’s hanging out in Germany, where it was built by Krupp AG, one of the biggest steel and arms manufacturers in the world through World War II when it then switched to making industrial machinery. The Bagger was completed in 1978, and surpassed NASA’s Crawler-Transporter as the most massive terrestrial vehicle known to man, weighing in at 13,500 tons. Here’s the real thing, which inspired a music video that will leave you scratching your heads, it also features a bunch of animals head banging to its sheer awesomeness.
This machine is so mind-boggling that it motivated an even more mind-blowing thought: what if it were a Transformer?
The Bagger has the capacity to remove 240,000 tons of coal from the ground per day, which is itself a remarkable feat. The mechanical behemoth already made its cinematic debut in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and was featured in the 2009 video game Borderlands. While these representations of the are cool, they don’t hold a candle to what animator Dan DeEntremont managed to do. DeEntromont is a visual effects designer who has worked on a bunch of films , like Sharktopus). In his hands, Bagger 288 transforms into a fire-breathing, dagger-toothed, red-eyed monster that can send ripples through the Earth with a single step. The most miraculous part is how Bagger transforms—not just by sliding its parts around, but also by lobbing them from the ground up to its developing appendages.
I think an entire Transformers movie featuring real machines would be pretty awesome. NASA’s Crawler should definitely turn into some sort of intergalactic combat vessel. Maybe the Navy’s rail gun or laser could transform into something else too. The Large Hadron Collider could morph into Unicron-style planet destroyer.
Regardless, the animator has to be up to the task, which DeEntremont obviously was. The project took him months, and is particularly impressive in light of the in-progress video he posted four months before he finished the final project.