Why do they have this device in (LEGO) Bikini Bottom?

If you have been on the internet the past few months you may have seen a screenshot from SpongeBob SquarePants floating around along with the caption “Why do they have this device in Bikini Bottom?“. This is from a scene in the show that has Squidward catapulted into a machine with seemingly no purpose other than crush him between two spiked rollers and continue his eternal misery. Well now that eternal misery can be duplicated in LEGO!

Over the last few days I have attempted to recreate this vehicle which is sometimes referred to as the Spike Crusher Mobile by fans.

I’ll get into the build process in a minute but, if you just want to get to the good stuff, a completely free parts list and instructions are available right now on the LEGO sharing site Rebrickable. You can also scroll down to the bottom of this article to find the instructions too.

As the ludicrously large and seemingly purposeless spike rollers are such an important part of this vehicle, I started with them first. They were, funnily, the easiest part of the whole process. By stacking round bricks we quickly got to the required shape and cones attached to the sides of those bricks gave us the spikes.

I would have loved to give the spikes a sharper end, but LEGO doesn’t produce something that would have fit. I could have ended the cones in this horn element but they’re curved and wouldn’t have looked right. The classic LEGO harpoon could have been used instead but it doesn’t come in the right colour (Light Bluish Grey) and it would have been costly to get enough for this build.

The disappointment continued in the spindly arms that connect the rollers to the vehicle. LEGO makes a few Technic linkage elements that are the perfect shape, but they again don’t have the right colour or size, and many of them are discontinued and expensive. Instead I used Technic liftarms which don’t look as good but they do the job much better.

And here is where I offer builders a choice in the way you make this. In the cartoon the rollers have only one arm connecting it to the main vehicle. This is part of the jokey proportions of the cartoon along with the tiny, floating wheels that the whole vehicle rests on. While you can build this with only one arm, the spike rollers may sag or the whole build may topple over. Because of this the parts list and instructions give you the option to build a second arm to go on the other side of the vehicle. Less cartoon accurate but more real world sensible.

Another problem on that front came to the boat / car main portion of the vehicle. The crusher is built on top of a boat hull, like most vehicles in SpongeBob SquarePants, but LEGO simply doesn’t make a boat hull piece in the right off-orange colour.

I originally wanted to build the entire structure on top of this single piece boat hull that LEGO has been making for decades, but the closest colour it comes in is red. Instead I settled on LEGO’s regular orange for most of the hull build, using an aircraft fuselage aft section for the main curved area. I think it’s a good compromise and it gives the build some extra presence.

The build from the top, with two arms.

The rest of the hull was built up with mostly regular bricks and plates, including a sloped back section to make it less blocky. As with all my builds which I share free instructions for, I made sure to make it as strong as possible.

The cab area where the driver stands in is a seemingly simple box, but it has some hidden complexities. The doors, for example, I decided to make openable on the LEGO version and there’s enough space in the cab for a LEGO minifigure to stand. Speaking of minifigures LEGO made quite a few for SpongeBob SquarePants including Squidward which you can pick up to put into the rollers for a display, but he’s quite expensive.

The driver on the other hand is much more comfortable inside of the cab with a pair of control sticks, just as it’s shown in the cartoon. At the end of the original clip we also see the driver lean out of the front of the cab, indicating that it has no windows, so I didn’t include any clear pieces to represent windows in this build.

With most of the vehicle complete I added some simple small wheels that aren’t floating like in the cartoon but still do the job. On the back of the vehicle I also added a small propeller like we see on most of the vehicles in the cartoon.

As mentioned the parts list and instructions are available on Rebrickable and, if you build this for real, please upload an image to the “Photos” section of the Rebrickable page. The instructions can also be found below.

I’m waiting for parts orders to arrive to build this myself so if you see any issues in the build please let me know.

If you’ve gotten this far why not check out another LEGO build based on the vehicles of SpongeBob SquarePants by clicking here?


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