A Mammoth Undertaking

So, on 1/19/2011 Rebecca Watson spoke these immortal words: “In ten years there will be baby mammoths with jetpacks” (48:20). And then in April, the Skeptical Robot store started selling baby mammoth jetpack buttons.

And of course that got me thinking about building one. The mammoth itself was pretty easy. A bit of googling located a Webkinz wooly mammoth.

The jetpack, though, required a bit of improvisation. So I headed over to the craft shop and started wandering around, looking for things about the right shape and size. I ended up with two water rockets, some assorted dollhouse bowls, big plastic buttons, leather scraps and some silver paint.

I cut the nozzle and one fin off each rocket and glued them onto an old jewelcase, with the bowls glued on as new nozzles. The whole thing was painted silver.

Yeah, a bit too shiny. So, neat trick: paint the whole thing with watered-down black paint and then wipe it off. You get a nice grubby look and the textures stand out better.

Add some leather strips and some logos printed on sticker paper and you get this. The goggles are buttons glued to a piece of leather.

And here’s the mammoth wearing the jetpack and goggles.

“But wait, what are those two wire loops on the jetpack?” you ask. Well, what’s the point of a jetpack-wearing wooly mammoth if it doesn’t fly, right? So… Wooly mammoth on a zip line!

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Steve D

Steve D

Steve consists of approximately 60% water and 40% organic molecules, arranged in a configuration that is, among over things, capable of describing itself in this manner.


  1. September 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Steve. Steve, Steve, Steve… You are the master. This is mind-bogglingly amazing.

  2. September 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I love how you can see something awesome, decide “this should exist,” and then just make it so.

  3. September 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I just gave the mammoth to Rebecca, along with a couple hundred feet of zip line. I take no responsibility for what happens as a consequence of this.

  4. September 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    @Steve: Great job. You’ve just killed everyone at DragonCon!!!

  5. September 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I continue to be jealous of you at DragonCon

  6. September 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Awesome… absolutely amazing!

  7. September 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Two awesome things:
    1. I just listened to the SGU podcast with the “Baby Mammoths with Jetpacks” line in it for the first time today. SPOOKY COINCIDENCE? No. But still pretty neat.

    2. I missed the sentence where he mentioned the zipline when I clicked the video, and totally wasn’t expecting that. Although, really, nobody expects a Baby Mammoth with a Jetpack.

  8. September 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    So, during the general confusion of Dragon*Con someone misplaced the mammoth. Fortunately, the person who found it recognized the Skepchick logo on it and returned it to its rightful (if slightly-less-deserving) owner. 😀

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