The Fleetwood RV Mobile Lab or Challenger Trailers are modified trailers the Gatherers used during their expedition to Isla Sorna, alongside two Mercedes. Their purpose was to be able to drive and navigate throughout the island for the gatherers purpose of studying and examining dinosaurs. The Mobile Lab was a custom 1996-1997 Fleetwood Southwind Storm.
Interior and Main Systems
One of the film-built "props" of the trailers was up for auction in L.A. on Ebay. Unfortunately, the trailers were in very poor condition, however, photos taken for the sale provided far more information about the trailers. The RV was bought and is currently being restored by a group, and have YouTube videos about the restoration, which is close to being fully restored.
The RV was designed by engineer Eddie Carr (who built all the custom vehicles the team uses). The RV served as the main laboratory for Hammond's team. The first trailer contained sleeping quarters for four (bunks), a small library, kitchen, and computer consoles. It was parked near a cliff-side, which was made into a temporary basecamp for the InGen gatherers.
Referred to as the Challenger Trailers, the novel trailers are built by Thorne Field Systems and are extremely strong and very light. They have an emergency defense system that runs 10,000 volts around the outside of the vehicle, much like a very powerful bear defense. It is also equipped with sensors that set up a large perimeter on a clearing or designated area. The first trailer connects to the second through a steel-casing, mesh covered accordion connector, that is apparently very strong. The main trailer houses sleeping quarters (bunks) for four, a small bathroom (and shower), kitchen, biolab, and small library. The rear of the trailers was fitted with an array of equipment, including many electronics, for research, among them communications equipment, microscopes, and an ultrasound machine.
- A thorough database on all the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna
- A screensaver depicting dinosaurs in alphabetical order
- Dinosaurs shown on screensaver in order: Brachiosaurus, Compsognathus, Dilophosaurus, Gallimimus, Pachycephalosaurus, Pteranodon, Parasaurolophus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, and Velociraptor.
- a GPS system
- Various Maps graphing:
- topographical locations
- area elevations
- territorial dinosaur patterns
- Satellite phones for communication
- Weapons (novel only)
- Computers (for data recording & transmitting)
- Small Refrigerator
- First aid kits
- Styrofoam Containers (for holding dinosaur eggs)
- Morphine Syringes
- Nonlethal area-dispersal smoke cubes
- Night Vision Goggles
- A steel slab table for dissection/injury treatment (used to treat the baby T. rex who was injured)
Isla Sorna (which ran on geo-thermal energy) had many still functioning systems including the mainframe and surveillance. While attempting to use the trailer's radio systems, Arby Benton inadvertently tuned into the island's radionet and was able to access the mainframe which allowed the team access to the information within through the link Arby established with the trailers. The mainframe access also enabled the trailers to use the island's surveillance systems to monitor things.
The trailers ran on Nissan’s lithium-ion electric batteries, powered by photovoltaic solar panels that were held in place by a special vibration dampening system that Eddie Carr had designed himself. The construct of this unique engine system made the trailers virtually silent despite their size. However, Eddie and Thorne were very aware of not wasting battery life when they didn’t need to, even refusing to use the air conditioning system in the tropical heat of Isla Sorna.
The first trailer was roughly the size of a bus, and held the feature of being able to expand it’s walls when parked. Designated the “Challenger”, it held the cab, living quarters, and main work space. The cab featured a GPS system and communications array. Of the communication devices, there was a standard radio as well as a satellite phone, which Thorne was able to design to be small like a cellular phone. Beneath the dash, there was a utility box that held a myriad of tools as well as a fifty foot nylon rope. There was also a station that allowed a user to link up with remote frequency inputs, which was utilized on the expedition in 1995 to autotune into the Site B Network that was still operational even after years of neglect.
The laboratory area held only Biology equipment and a a large computer station. Items such as dissecting pans, trays, and microscopes that connected to viewing monitors near the computers were the main composition. There was also biochemistry equipment such as spectrometers and automated sample analyzers. The computer station held any array of processors, LED monitors, and a television set all built into small tables that slid into the walls and were bolted down. When activated, the monitors had a green glow to them. Along with this equipment came a bookshelf that held books strapped into the shelf by a Velcro strap. The books included were Modeling Adaptive Biological Systems, Vertebrate Behavior Dynamics, and Dinosaurs of North America, among others. A part of the Biology area also held enough equipment to perform small amounts of medical tasks, which proved vital in the expedition.
The living quarters featured bunking for four, a shower, lavatory, microwave, refrigerator stocked with plastic wrapped sandwiches milk, and water, a couch, and cabinets that could be used for personal storage. The entire area, like much of the rest of the the trailer, held grey upholstery and carpeting. Along the ceiling edges between the ceiling and the walls, were more cabinet space, which locked from the exterior. The living quarters were located at the back of the first trailer, right before the accordion divider.
Slightly smaller than the first, the second trailer was mostly storage. Holding more cabinet space, spare tires, and extra lab equipment, the second trailer also held a small electric motorcycle off the back end of it. Although it was connected by the accordion tunnel this was not a permanent arrangement, and the second trailer was capable of being detached from the first for transport. The second trailer was where the weapons were stored. Along with the Lindstradt firearms, the trailer also stored a few nonlethal weapons such smoke bombs and cholinesterese bombs that caused short term paralysis.
Malcolm, Harding, and Van Owen got trapped on either side of the Mobile Lab by the parents of the infant T. rex who's leg they bandaged. They release the infant T. rex, hoping they might be left unharmed. After trying to radio for help, the rear trailer is smashed into by a parent T. rex at full speed. The trailer is flipped over and the accordion connector between the two trailers is collapsed. The two adult T. rexes begins to roll the RV towards a cliff, getting one section dangling off with Malcolm, Harding, and Van Owen stranded inside. Eddie Carr finds the wreckage, and does his best to help slow the sliding Lab with anchoring it to his Mercedes. The T. rexes dismantle the car and tear the poor man in half. The RV plummets off the cliff along with the Mercedes and is destroyed while Malcolm, Harding, and Van Owen hold onto the anchor from Eddie's rope.
Malcolm and Harding are bandaging the infant Tyrannosaurus' leg after Howard King unintentionally stepped on it, breaking it. When the parents come, they flip the first trailer after retrieving their infant, and proceed to push it toward the cliff face. Harding and Malcolm are both trapped inside the main trailer due to the accordion connector being twisted shut. When the first trailer goes over the cliff, Harding is able to temporarily restore power and the bear defense system, but the trailers short-out in the rain. Jack Thorne arrives and anchors the second trailer to a tree, then climbs down the bottom of the inverted first trailer. Harding then takes rope, climbs the outside of the trailer, and secures it. Thorne sends Malcolm up (who broke his leg in the fall) and then proceeds to climb up himself. Eventually, the first trailers' weight is too much for the mesh accordion connector to hold, and the steal-casings snap, one by one. The first trailer falls over 500 feet to the bottom of the valley. The second trailer is later used as a sort of "Safe House" type of location for the characters, but is then abandoned.
Jurassic Park-inspired games
LEGO Jurassic World
A LEGO version of The Mobile Lab also appears in LEGO Jurassic World in The Lost World: Jurassic Park section of the game. It first appears in Eddie Carr's Garage level where the player must complete the construction of the Lab by attaching the roof of the Main RV. The player must have Eddie fix the garage's crane controls and then use the crane to pick up and then attach the roof. Completing it will trigger a cutscene of Kelly Malcolm's appearance in Eddie's garage and her stowing away in the lab while her father, Eddie, and Nick Van Owen are busy putting a pig in a crate. The Mobile Lab is then shown being transported to Isla Sorna by boat. After Ian and company locate Sarah Harding they notice a fire back at base camp and find that Kelly started it in an well meaning yet ill advised attempt at making dinner for her father and the other gatherers when they got back. In the Hub sequence before the InGen Arrival chapter, the Mobile Lab can be explored by entering the two open doors. Interestingly, the driver seat of the main RV can be accesses in the same manner as other vehicles in the game, though the RV remains stationary and cannot be driven however the car horn can be honked and if the buttons for reversing or accelerating are press any characters near the RV will act as if they where run over even though the RV remains stationary. This indicates that at some point in the game's development the Mobile Lab was originally going to be a drive-able vehicle. In the Mobile Lab level, the Lab is partially knocked off the cliff by the parents of the Infant T. rex after retrieving their baby and Malcolm, Sarah, and Nick hang on to a cable and avoid falling debris, while Eddie tries to pull the main RV using his trucks wench. The level's Amber Brick which unlocks Compsognathus can be found on top of the Main RV, which Eddie can reach by jumping from the hand holds on the side of the RV. At the end of the level the two Tyrannosaur attack Eddie's truck and he flees into the jungle (he is not eaten unlike the original film) and the Mobile Lab plummets off the side of the cliff though Ian, Sarah, and Nick survive by holding onto the cable and are rescued up by Peter Ludlow, Roland Tembo, Ajay Sidhu, and Robert Burke. After this level is completed the Mobile Lab will disappear from the Mobile Lab Site area of Lost World Isla Sorna map.
- Unlike the film, in the novel the RV goes over the cliff, not the trailer it pulls. In reality, it would not be likely that the second trailer could hold the weight of the first trailer; once the engine went over, the rest would easily be pulled over. However, it is possible that the first trailer was much, much lighter than an average RV, due to its electric engine, lightly built design.
- In the film, when the trailer is pushed over the cliff, the accordion-connector holds the trailer from falling, which is impossible because the massive weight would rip it apart. Also Eddie Carr goes through the RV trailer with a rope to send down to Ian, Sarah, and Nick; however, he travels through the accordion-connector, which is essentially impossible. When the second trailer is flipped by the rexes, the connector would be twisted shut like in the novel, yet Carr is able to easily climb through the passage and toss the rope down. Also Carr would not be able to pull the massive weight of both the RV and the trailer with a small cable on a car.
- The combined units weighed 20,000 pounds (10 tons).
- One of the Fleetwood RV mobile labs built out of plywood for the film can be seen on display in the Jurassic Park section of the Universal Studios Hollywood tour.
- While the scene where the mobile lab is pushed off a clif was filmed in the backlot soundstages, some of the shots were filmed right outside the Universal Studios parking garage with its structure covered in a cliff backdrop and blue screen at the bottom to add in special effects water and explosions.