Tanker Crush. In 14 years of MythBusters, we've done a LOT of explosions, but this was our first implosion. It had been on my list for years, but it was so logistically difficult, we saved it for the final season.
The myth: Engineers are steam-cleaning a freight-train tank car when a rainstorm lets loose. Thwarted by the weather, they seal the container -- which is full of hot steam -- and head home. The rain cools the outside of the tank car, while the steam inside condenses and contracts, and the resulting pressure differential causes the massive steel car to crumple like a soda can. But would this be possible?
EVERYTHING about this episode was on a big scale. It took a year for the producers to source a tanker car for us to destroy, and months more to find a rail yard willing to host the shoot. (We finally found one in Boardman, Ore. Thanks again, guys!) The team really killed it for this one.
The tanker car itself is the biggest prop in MythBusters history, measuring 67 feet long and 10 feet in diameter and weighing 67,000 pounds. Its steel is 3/16" thick. This puppy was HEAVY.
Did I mention also that it was hot? Very hot. We were shooting in the high desert in the middle of July, and it was brutal being outdoors all those days. The steel was too hot to touch. To go INSIDE a tanker was an hour-long air-quality-monitoring escapade. That piece to camera I did from inside was so insanely uncomfortable. I think it was 130 degrees in there. Holy cow, I'm sweating just remembering it. Being out in that heat and repeatedly having tank cars not fail made it a very long shoot. Long, hot, tiring, implosionless days. (Is that even a word?)