The Jungle Cutter was a Soviet vehicle designed for clearing a path through dense vegetation. With two giant spinning circular saws on its front for cutting down trees, and wood chippers to reduced cleared debris into bits, it could hack a roadway through the jungle so that a convoy of vehicles could follow.
In 1957, Soviet forces under the command of Irina Spalko and Antonin Dovchenko brought a Jungle Cutter to their base in Brazil for use in their expedition to find Akator. After a captive Indiana Jones helped decipher the addled words of Harold Oxley of where the Crystal Skull of Akator was to be returned, the Soviets began a trek through the rain forest with the Jungle Cutter in the lead.
After Indiana Jones, Mutt Williams, and Marion Ravenwood freed themselves in their truck, Indiana Jones used an RPG-2 to stop the Jungle Cutter. His attack caused one of the two sawblades to come loose, and it bounded backwards through the convoy, wrecking vehicles, and even damaging the truck that Marion was driving.
Unfortunately for Indy, the jungle was thin enough for the remaining Russian vehicles to drive through and continue on their mission, making Indy and his companions crew race for Akator against Spalko and her troops.
Behind the scenes
The Jungle Cutter used in the film is actually a real tree-cutting vehicle built for the movie, based on the chassis of a Russian T-55 tank. However some of the effects of the Jungle Cutter were computer-generated.
Hasbro released a 1:18 scale vehicle of the Jungle Cutter from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull line. The playset includes a background diorama and an empty crate. The vehicle has two spinning saws that can be used when moving the vehicle and it actually spins, the Soviet tree-cutter tank can fire its projectile, a bulldozer bumper. 4 figures can fit on the Jungle Cutter; a Soviet Soldier can be used as the driver. The Jungle Cutter's details is accurate to the one used in the movie. But the twin cutting saws has to be angled at the ground for it to spin when the vehicle is rolled on the ground.
Hasbro also released a small scale display piece of the Russian Jungle Cutter for the Titanium series. It is die-cast metal, another great addition to the Indiana Jones collection. The piece is actually very accurate to the Jungle Cutter used in the movie.
The LEGO Company has released a set containing the Jungle Cutter, Indiana Jones with an RPG, two Russian soldiers, Dovchenko, and some trees to cut down.