an acronym for; Kludge Robotic Autonomous Wrecker and Locational Recycler

KRAWLR test composit

This is John Henry’s home; a mobile workshop, a giant, slow moving, largely automated, tracked vehicle, something like a huge garbage truck.

I wanted to create something realistic and grounded enough to seem like it could exist; to seem functional, but also of a scale to show how large this world is.
nasa crawler
John goes through the waste gathering scrap, so its main role is as a recycler, and not necessarily military applications. I really like the Crawler they use at NASA to move the Shuttle, for example.
Images tagged as inspiration on Tumblr.

These were some of the early sketches, playing around with various ways of loading it and sorting it’s scrap, from arms like a garbage truck to piles of junk chained and heaped to it’s back.

Obviously I wouldn’t be able to create something of this scale this in my back yard, or be able to rent one, so I’ve opted to go for the practical approach and create a model. I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside Fon Davis and pick his brain for ideas and tips about what will work and what won’t, as well as the opportunity to work out of Fonco.

The first concern he told me would be scale, too small a model would never look realistic if for no other reason than the size of a camera’s lens wouldn’t allow me to get low/close enough. 1/24th scale was the starting point he recommended.

I’m more interested in ‘kit-bashing’ this model together rather than making it completely from scratch; it’ll allow for a faster build as well as helping it fit into the aesthetic of this world. Also the steps of construction will be more easily repeatable at different scales by using manufactured scale parts.

The first major decision was on the chassis, an M2a3 Bradley tank. This 1/6 scale model is huge, about 2 feet tall and 3 wide, its like a coffee table! It was produced for by 21st century toys for 12″ GiJoes and I used it in my “drabbercm” stop motion film/installation.

The 1/6 Bradley tank will become the basis for a 1/24th scale KRAWLR, the ‘Biggature’ as I’ve been calling it.

I’m creating a smaller KRAWLR concept model at 1/140th scale, in train speak this is N-scale, from a smaller 1/35 scale base Bradley model.

Started by carving foam for the main shape of the hull and placing it in the Bradley chassis;

I vacuum formed plastic over the foam to create a hollow shell and began gathering parts from model trains and rail roads;

I made a mold and cast up some resin copies of vents from a train engine to make a big engine for the KRAWLR, also made a second vacuum form pull from the hull shape from thicker plastic to make an outer shell;

Added more details and structural parts.

Used tiny rare earth magnets and dollhouse hinges for the outer shell;


One of the trickiest parts was adding the wire rails for the side shells to slide along;


I added the base and pistons from a watch for the main tower uplink and I used etched brass fire escape from a train set to create a platform beside the Com array.

I’ve been planning out certain comp-shots and environments around the model where I could stage a scene and have elements to interact with, the front cabin, the loading bay in the rear, etc.

Added more engine details as well as started the primer/basecoat;


The KRAWLR carries the LOADR on it’s back;

As I go, I’m shooting tests from this model, to see how it works on screen, and where details can be added or changed. Its much easier to make these changes here than it will be on the ‘Biggature’.

KRAWLR (work in progress) – set on Flickr.


About brad isdrab

Artist and world maker View all posts by brad isdrab

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