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Ramez Goes Underground 

Mechanical Rigs

explore project

The show - aired annually over Ramadan, and hosted by Ramez Galal - pranks its (often famous) participants in creative and inventive ways. This year’s event involved a devious plot in which the ‘victims’ are invited to take part in a Land Rover 4WD drive challenge across the desert. After being told to drive into an otherwise innocent looking patch of sand, the vehicle gets stuck, and slowly starts to sink in what turns out to be quicksand...

Project Details 

In order to escape, the participants are forced to climb out on to the roof, as the vehicle sinks beneath the surface. Next, an extremely large and dangerous looking lizard makes its way towards the hapless victims, flicking out its tongue. Just as the end seems near, the lizard unexpectedly removes its head... to reveal that it’s not actually a lizard, but Ramez himself in an animatronic suit.

We were tasked with the job of creating the hydraulic lift that lowers the car safely beneath the surface, whilst still remaining functional and reliable for the duration of the show.

To achieve this we designed the mechanism on our CAD workstations, and built it out of steel. It was then tested in a tank at our West London workshops along with the ‘quicksand’ that we also supplied into the show. Following the testing process the whole thing was disassembled and sent to the UAE for reconstruction in the desert. Our technicians spent some 5 weeks or so working in temperatures sometimes exceeding 50 celcius.

Many talented people were involved in the production, and we’d like to send special congratulations to Foley Specialist Vehicles (who adapted a pair of Land Rover Defenders to allow them to be fully submerged and yet remain fully functional), and Creature Effects Inc. (who created the wonderfully lifelike animatronic lizard, complete with flicking tongue). Nice work.

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