The original 2,400-piece K’nex roller coaster is one of the holy grails of ‘90s toys. And for some, it inspired a lifetime obsession with building scale model thrill rides. YouTube’s CoasterWriter has taken the hobby to its extreme, building a backyard-sized K’nex coaster featuring a towering 10-foot tall main drop.
When it opened to the public back in 1989, Cedar Point’s Magnum XL-200 was the fastest and tallest coaster in the world, with a terrifyingly steep descent coming off of its highest 200-foot tall hill. It’s credited with starting the roller coaster wars where theme parks around the world aspired to build record-setting thrill rides year after year in order to attract visitors. CoasterWriter’s creation is loosely based on Cedar Point’s Magnum, but since its highest point measures 300 centimeters tall, it’s been officially christened the Magnum XL-300.
CoasterWriter estimates there are thousands of dollars worth of K’nex pieces in the Magnum XL-300, which they’ve been collecting for over 15 years, but a lot of the parts come from simply being gifted K’nex sets on birthdays and other holidays. The majority of the coaster is built from stock pieces (although some have actually been dyed red to create a specific aesthetic), but the coaster itself is actually a custom 3D-printed creation that closely resembles the actual cars used on the real thing at Cedar Point.
Like the original K’nex coaster set the Magnum XL-300 is currently manually powered, but eventually, CoasterWriter plans to incorporate a drill to power the mechanism that pulls the coaster up the main hill before letting gravity take over. They’ve also created a custom 3D-printed mount for a GoPro camera so soon they’ll even be able to virtually take a ride on their backyard coaster. It’s not quite as thrilling as riding the real Magnum, but there are also no hour-long lineups for this one.