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Bauma 2004 - A Disappointment for Scale Models?
Editorial April 2004

So Bauma is over for another three years.  The world's largest exhibition of construction equipment closed its doors before Easter.  Over 400,000 people visited and Liebherr is claiming that they have sold more machines at this year's show than ever before.  The pictures of the exhibits are certainly impressive with Liebherr displaying the T282 Mining Truck and LR1750 Mobile Crane amongst a huge range.  Terex showed large numbers of machines.  Bauer had a fleet of foundation machines.  Yes, no doubt that the show was a great place to see a huge variety of real machines.

But what about scale models? You would expect that this would be the place that the original equipment manufacturers would also display their new scale models, perhaps coinciding with the launch of new machines.  Well you would think so, but the reality seems to have been a little different.  Sure, there were some new models at the show, but wasn't it just a little disappointing?

Liebherr displayed a 1:50 scale model of the historic L300 model which perhaps was a surprise.  The long-awaited R996 backhoe was there and no doubt this pleased the fans of the big mining machines.  There was a new truck mixer and the L510 wheeled loader.  At last the LTC 1055 city crane made an appearance although strangely you could buy it in Mammoet colours but not Liebherr's - how weird is that?  The new 1:87 Flat top tower crane appeared on websites a month before Bauma.  But there was no Liebherr LTM 1400 or LR 1750 (not even in prototype), although the latter is promised for later this year.

Terex had a CC8800 with a luffing jib. Good, but not a surprise.  They also had, well, nothing else new in cranes except an AC40-1 in Terex colours.  Manitowoc / Grove / Potain will have some new models later this year.  What about the smaller manufacturers?  Faun had their three axle Conrad crane model.  Sennebogen had their four axle small truck crane also from Conrad.  Komatsu had the PC3000 backhoe and the WA 250 loader.  There were other models from Schwing and Bobcat to name two. 

Perhaps the real surprise of the show was the model of the BG24H rig from Bauer.  At last we have a proper model from this sector, which together with demolition equipment, has been under represented with volume scale models.  The Bauer model looks very good, although much of the drilling equipment is sadly plastic.  Bauer (and Brami if they are the model maker) has a real chance to produce some very collectible models if they do it right and the good news is that it is reported Bauer plans one new model a year.  Remember how the Sennebogen Starlifter first appeared as a prototype at Bauma 2001?  Look how far crawler crane models have come in the three years since.  Perhaps we'll see the same with foundation equipment.

So for the model collector Bauma 2004 was not as exciting as it might have been and you have to wonder why.  After all the date for Bauma has been in the diary for years.  Why can manufacturers not commission models, and model makers not deliver, in time for the show?  Well, the time taken to deliver models to the marketplace - that's another topic for another day.

Cranes Etc