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Click hereK'Nex Screamin' Serpent
photos and words by Lando da Pimp

Want to experience an amusement park in your living room? Then pick up the K'NEX Screamin' Serpent Roller Coaster. The Serpent is a replica of the modern steel coaster. This mega-monster is 6 feet long and 3 feet high so it does require some space to build it. A battery-powered motor pulls the coaster cars up the 3 foot incline. As the coaster goes down the hill a sound module creates coaster sounds complete with screams!

Click hereThe first thing I did was to examine the small people that ride the coaster. Their facial expressions are great. Some have a look of fear while others look like they are going to lose their lunch. All of them have interchangeable hair and hats. But the best part is that one of them comes with a mullet. Nice touch.

Click hereExamining the bags of parts I realized that I was in for the long haul. There is easily over a 1000 pieces. They all come neatly separated by piece and color in 5 separate bags. I of course immediately realized that I have to keep the pieces in a bag as to not lose any. I tend to do that. [Ed note: Lando also has a cat that likes to bat things around]

Click hereIncorporating the wife's help, we cleared out the dining room. Looking at the directions the first thing I made note of was that they are separated into two sections. The Screamin' Serpent can also be built in a smaller version Screamin' Serpent Jr. This is for either lack of space or for younger builders. Well since I cleared my living room and I am in my late 20's I figured I should tackle the larger version. [Ed note: Too... many... jokes... *collapses*]

Click hereConstructing the roller coaster is a process. You first have to build the structure of the track. The 138 page directions are very detailed and easy to follow. You begin construction of the skeleton structure of the coaster in small sections. Eventually the sections connect to each other forming the basic shape of the track. I messed up a few time putting the coaster together. The key is to really look at how each piece fits together. I recommend double-checking each step before moving on.

Click hereAfter the skeleton structure is built you need to attach the track spacers. The track spacers keep the rail rods equal in distance around the entire track. This step is where you start to see the track take its shape. When you begin to attach the rail rods you need to start with the inside track. The rods easily attach on the side to the spacers. The hardest part is getting the rail to form the loop. The approach needs to be very straight and form a circle on the loop. It the loop is off the train may not complete the loop. The rail rods are longer than you need. After you cut off the extra, you need to save it. When you rebuild the coaster you may not build it exactly the same way.

Click hereBefore you run the train you need to put the decals on the train and the flags. Also don't forget to put the Serpent sign at the top of the hill! When the coaster goes down the first hill it sets off a sound effect machine of people screaming giving you that amusement park background sound effects. All the fun of an amusement park without the nausea! [Ed note: Unless you are of course, a midget]

Click hereI didn't have any trouble getting the coaster to make the loop and then a complete rotation. It's a lot of fun watching the roller coaster's cars pass through the serpent's mouth down the hill and then speed through the loop. I invested a whole Saturday afternoon building this set. Once you build it, it's hard to take it down! But the best part is putting the coaster together. K'Nex has produced one of the best tech toys I have ever put together. The Screamin' Serpent is available at retail stores nationwide and

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If you like setting up tracks, check out Mr. Stinkhead's review of X-Trek Micro R/C Racers with Track.

All photographs and article are © 2003

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