As it turns out, monsters are real. They're the size of city blocks, made of metal, and probably hanging out not too far from where you live.
While these super-sized mechanical beasts may not technically be "mystical creatures" with "supernatural abilities" here to eat our collective face, they are imposing (some might say monstrously so) figments of our everyday world. These gargantuan metal brutes were born at the far reaches of engineering, but can now be found roaming our mines, ports and oceans where they transport outsized payloads, harvest vast swaths of the Earth for raw materials, and blast through blocks of arctic ice like butter.
While, officially, the U.S. government has failed to articulate a cohesive mechanical monster policy (in fairness, we reached out to government representatives for comment on this story, but have yet to receive a reply), DVICE's stance is quite clear: we're kinda scared, but that's what we like most about them. And to that end, here are nine of our favorite industrial monsters from the far reaches of the ridiculous scale that could easily destroy you and everything you hold dear.
1. Continuous Miners
All mining equipment is frightening. As it should be — it's designed to go to war with the Earth itself. Some of the scariest examples from the subterranean are so-called "Continuous Mining Machines," pictured above.
These stone scrapers are used to extract material across a horizontal plane while purposefully leaving some to form support pillars as part of so-called "room and pillar" mining. The Joy 12HM36 currently holds the title for the world's largest underground continuous miner. The 120-ton nightmare machine was first produced in 1948 and while designs have somewhat evolved since the Truman administration, it remains in service today.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: Forget what IMDB has to say on the subject, we're pretty sure this made cameo in Hellraiser II.
2. One Hell of A Dump Truck
Don't you hate it when you pack up for vacation, and you are just short of enough headspace to fit that last piece of luggage? Well, that's not a problem for good folks at the Liebherr mining equipment company with its 400 short-ton payload capable, T 282C super truck. Don't let the roving bulk fool you, all 237 tons (empty) of the diesel/electric T 282C can still manage a brisk 64 mile-an-hour pace.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: The roving land-based hunter-killers from Terminator
3. Taisun Super-Heavy Crane
Holding the top three spots for the Guinness-authenticated heaviest "lifts" of all time (20,133 tons, 17,100 tons, and 14,000 tons respectively), the Taisun crane located at the Yantai Raffles Shipyard in China's Shandong province is easily the world's strongest crane. The Taisun is used in the construction of massive semi-submersible FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading) units for the offshore drilling industry.
Traditionally, these huge installations had to be built from the bottom up. The raw gravity-clobbering power of the near 450-foot-high Taisun Crane can simply bring one segment up onto the other which means construction of both sections can occur simultaneously. This translates to cheaper, safer, and faster construction. That also means you get amazing shots such as the one above, with the crane holding up an oil rig.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: The harvesters from the incubation scene in The Matrix.
4. Bagger 293, The Classic
No discussion of scary outsized machinery would be complete without discussion of Bagger 293. Courtesy of industrial mining firm Takraf, this football field tall piece of industrial-sized destruction doesn't just move large segments of the planet's surface for the purpose of excavating the sweet geologic goodies below; it does it with the raw hatred of a thousand burning suns. Fortunately for the rest of us, speed is not this class of Bucket Wheel Excavator's strongest suit — it can eke out about 30 feet/minute atop 12 foot wide tracks.
But still, just look at it.
This metal behemoth so rouses fear in the world that at least one young man was inspired to pen a ditty about Bagger 293's slightly smaller though pretty much identical sibling, Bagger 288 (pictured above).
Oddly enough, at 738 feet long and a mere feathery 31.3 million pounds, Bagger 293 can be run with as little as five human operators.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: We're gonna say Apocalypse from X-Men. And if it came down to a battle between the two, Apocalypse would probably win, but we think ol' Bagger might prove a formidable opponent.
5. Big Tunnel Borers
Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) have been used to dig passageways through solid rock since the mid 19th-century. The current record for largest TBM is held by two machines, actually: the twin giants S-317 and S-318, which check in with a 50.62 foot diameter drill head (what they lack in creative names, they make up for in intimidation).
The twin tunnelers were built by German engineering firm Herrenknecht AG and were used to drill a pair of tunnels below China's Yangtze river.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: Shredder's Drill Tank from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
6. Antonov 'Mriya' Super-Cargo Plane
Another excess of the Soviet's bigger-is-better engineering policy, the Antonov An-225 Mriya is the world's largest fixed-wing aircraft, as well as the world's heaviest flying machine. The Mriya (Ukranian for "Dream" or "Inspiration") was designed to transport the Soviet space program's Buran space shuttles, which would often piggyback on top while in flight. This eastern air monster boasts a 290-foot wingspan, is 275 feet long, and can safely bring up to a half-million pounds into the air.
Fun piece of trivia: with an internal cargo hold that measures 141 feet by 21 feet by 14 feet, the Antonov is the only flying vehicle that could accommodate a full-grown blue whale.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: Mighty Mothra rises!
7. Yamal Ice Breaker
Did you ever look at a picture of ice floating in the arctic and get uncontrollably angry? Sure, everybody does. Who does that ice think it is? That's why we can thank the good people at the Murmansk Shipping Company for this colossal nuclear-powered icebreaker, the Yamal (named for the Yamal peninsula in Siberia) for telling large blocks of ice what's what.
While the Yamal looks like it bursts through arctic passageways via the power of sheer mass, it's a bit more sophisticated than that, utilizing a jet powered "air-bubbling system" that helps break up the ice. At 490 feet long and 180 feet high, this ice monster was originally created to free shipping lanes, but it has never filled that duty, and is instead used to clear the path for scientific endeavors into the great white north.
To celebrate the turn of the millennium, the Yamal cleared a path directly to the North Pole, becoming only the twelfth surface ship to do so.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: The Titanic. Okay, so that's not technically "sci" nor "fi,," so we'll try to further qualify this as James Cameron's film, Titanic. They're both big boats that went to battle against the ice. I guess Titanic lost in its tussle with the berg, but it gave it a nice wallop I'm sure.
8. NASA Crawler-Transporter
As it turns out, the retiring space shuttles are quite lazy. Sure, they thrust themselves into space, but when it comes dragging their low-orbital behinds to the launch pad, they're all like "I'm tired, someone carry me." Wimps.
For express purpose of carrying the delicate little princess rocket ships to the launch pad, NASA — in conjunction with underground mining equipment manufacturer Marion Power Shovel (now part of Bucyrus International) — designed a specialized vehicle, the Crawler-Transporter. This six-million-pound transport system is the world's largest self-powered land vehicle. When loaded with its shuttle payload atop its 131 by 114 foot platform, the crawler plops along at one mile-an-hour, but, when unfettered, the space age beast can muster a two mile-an-hour clip.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: We're gonna go old school and say Atlas, the Titan who holds the heavens on his shoulders (mythology is just sci-fi for the pre-industrial age, after all).
9. F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridge
From the people who brought you the Bagger 293 comes another preposterously large mechanical leviathan, in fact this Goliath holds the record for the world's largest moving machine. At over 1,600 feet across, the Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60 lurches over coal mines on top of two rails, removing layers of "overburden" (material on top of what you want to excavate, which in this instance is brown coal fields of Germany).
There are currently five F60s in existence throughout Germany, each of which is capable of removing enough overburden to cover a 25 foot thick FIFA-regulation soccer field every minute. Interestingly, while the F60 is one of the extremes of the engineering profession, it's a bit wimpy in the social department: as of writing this piece, only 14 people "liked" the F60's fan page on Facebook. Point of comparison, "Anthony Weiner's Weiner" had 1,200 likes. Priorities, people.
Best Sci-Fi Analogy: A tie here: if considering shape, the Aerial Security Transport from Tron comes to mind, but for function we're gonna go with the Rock Eater from The NeverEnding Story.