"The toughest part was getting it to throw pizzas hard enough to look cool, but without hurting anybody."
Did you have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles "Pizza Thrower" toy? I did, along with joyous memories running around my parent's house shooting the shit out of my friends with it. Well now it's really real, hauls ass, and can huck pizzas thirty feet.
In an effort to promote their pizza that's nothing short of brilliant, Pizza Hut commissioned a company called Synn Labs and their affiliate Special Effects Unlimited to recreate the toy as a full-size, working vehicle that will move under its own power (up to 75 MPH, they promise) and can actually shoot pizza.
It's not street legal per se (at all), but the two-ton machine that stands twelve feet high, nine feet wide, and sixteen feet long is pretty impressive even in "almost-ready" condition.
Synn Labs cooks up wacky contraptions for TV and movies all the time; they were able to bang out the Pizza Thrower in around seven weeks. I'm told the paint's just about drying on it right now, but it will be making an appearance in its final form at the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.
"So throwing pizzas is a unique challenge, " said Adam Sadowski of Special Effects Unlimited. "The solution we settled on is actually a pneumatic ram. We take compressed air and inject it very quickly into a cylinder which will propel our pizzas right out the barrel... it's gonna be a sight to see."
The Pizza Thrower is built on the chassis of a 2002 Toyota Tacoma, which it's mounted to on modified airbag suspension that allows the body to be raised or lowered eight inches.
It's made from a mix of molded box steel, fiberglass, and reinforced plywood. The rotating pizza turret can launch pies up to thirty feet at a pace of twenty feet per second. Open wide!
The vehicle's operation, as described by the builders:
Pizzas are loaded by a gunner in the belly of the vehicle and then "thrown" by the press of a trigger on the handlebars on the turret atop the structure. When the trigger is pressed, compressed air fills a pneumatic actuator which causes a plunger to rapidly extend and launch the pizza at a target.
The turret is powered by an electric wheelchair motor attached to a vertically mounted 3-inch metal shaft, allowing the perch to rotate from 9-o'clock to 11-o'clock in less than 5 seconds to fire at targets surrounding the Pizza Thrower.
Operators climb aboard the Pizza Thrower using one of the two chrome ladders located on each side of the vehicle.
Pizza Hut has a history of doing awesome things for attention (remember when they sent a pizza into space?) and I'm glad to see they haven't outgrown their sense of humor yet.
I can't wait to see this thing in "pizza resistant" Ninja Turtles livery!
Images: Pizza Hut