Hello, I'm Ken Hartlen (aka Coaster),

I'm currently living in Toronto, Ontario Canada. and earning a living as a software developer.

View from balcony

View looking at south east Toronto over the Don Valley Parkway towards the Lake Ontario shoreline from my 24th-floor balcony.

Why Coaster?
I was given this nickname when we were putting together a company softball team and we needed unique uniform names. Coaster, because I'm originally from the east coast of Canada and that I'm a roller coaster nut and spend a lot of time riding the roller coasters at Paramount Canada's Wonderland. An excellent site dedicated to Paramount Canada's Wonderland (PCW) is PCW Junkies that has statistics, photos, and some videos of the park's rides.

Although I am very interested in motorcycles, I do not ride one. But I do ride an Honda All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). 

Too Cool!!

After seeing the K'NEX Screamin' Serpent TV commercial back in 2001-2002, I was quick to get a set since I like roller coasters so much.

It is huge when built, at 183cm (72") x 61cm (24") x 91.5cm (36") and has 1280 pieces and a 140pg (8.5"x11") instruction book. The sound effects box is incredibly cool. Hear the click...click... of the lift chain and then the riders' screams as they plunge done the hill. The sound effects box uses a light sensor to detect the passing train and then starts screaming.

The next K'NEX offering was the Rippin' Rocket. Rather than a light chain, this set used to motors with spinning wheels to launch the cars.  I never did get my hands on one of these as I was out of work at the time and avoided such unnecessary temptations.

The K'NEX Shark Run uses the same coaster parts as the Screamin' Serpent and Rippin' Rocket, but this set is a modest size in comparison. Much less work to set up and take up less space. Unfortunately, also a short ride around the track. The car is a surfer figure riding the track 'waves'.

The most recent (2005) K'NEX offering is the Vertical Vengeance. This set uses new "Micro Parts" that are about 40% smaller than the standard K'NEX parts. The advantage of this is that a much more complex coaster can be set up in a smaller space. The Screamin' Serpent has 23ft of track compared to the 33ft with the Vertical Vengeance. This makes for a longer ride to watch .

The next K'NEX coaster will be called the Renegade Run. This set will also use the "Micro Parts", but  will only include  19ft of track. So, like the Shark Run, a smaller set for quick set up and with minimal space requirements.
K'NEX Screamin' Serpent product page

K'NEX Rippin' Rocket

K'NEX Shark Run

K'NEX Vertical Vengeance

Renegade Run
June 2007

Realistic Working Roller Coaster Models!!
While the K'NEX coaster sets are fun, they don't look realistic. If you want a working roller coaster that looks like the real thing, then you'll want to check out the sets available from CoasterDynamix. The models look fantastic and you simply have to watch the videos to see them in operation. Then you'll want one!

About The Site

I developed this site on my own. Originally it started as a learning tool to learn how to build a website and create HTML documents. My site has gone through several major revisions over the last couple of years. Each time trying to make the site more user friendly and informative.

The current look and feel of the site was influenced by two books that I'd recommend to any aspiring web designers. They are:

Web Style Guide : Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites
by Patrick J. Lynch, Sarah Horton
ISBN: 0300076754
Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design
by Author Vincent Flanders
ISBN: 078212187X

And to make page maintenance easier, I developed a program that will take template and content files and build the final HTML pages. This makes minor 'look & feel' changes to the site very easy and less laborious.

Some Reader Feedback

I just had to drop a note and say "Wow, I'm truly impressed!" Both with your modeling skill AND the web page. - Mac

Great website, I've added it to my 'favorites' on my PC. - Glenn Ryder

Congratulations great site in motorcycles!!!!! - Marco Antonio Elguezabal

I truly enjoyed your website. It is by far, for me, one of the most 
informative sites I've ever been on. Outstanding job.
- Paul Paster

Very nice work Ken. Every so often you see a picture of a model that makes
you ask "is it real or is it Memorex"? Thanks for the pics and suggestions.
- Rick

I came across your web-site more by accident than design, but having done so I must congratulate you on a truly professional site. It really is an excellent source of information on all things motorcycle kit construction related. - Keith Bristow

OMG !!! man your website is, I must say it LOUD !!! , the best thing I've seen in a long time! Great infos, techniques and much much more...too much for me ! - Storm

My name is Adam. I, like many others it seems, found your site by accident.
I have to say, you have done a phenomenal job.
- Adam Watson

Thanks to Ken's help, I took second place in a contest a couple of years with my first MC kit. - Jarvis Offield

Contact Coaster
Last revised on: May 4, 2007
Copyright © 1998-2007, Kenneth W. Hartlen. All rights reserved.

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