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The Nuremberg Toy Fair 2005
Editorial June 2008

The 2005 Nuremberg Toy Fair was held between 10-15 February and is the annual event where model makers, particularly the German companies, reveal new models.  This year there were some exciting new large models appearing as well as a selection of the more usual models.

Commencing with Conrad, the crane model everyone was waiting for finally made an appearance.  The Liebherr LR1750 looked hugely impressive with one example of the model on display being well over 3m tall.  The model looked close to a production version and will be a must-have for the heavy crane collector.  There was no sign however of the LG1750 truck carrier for this crane so it looks as though this remains firmly in the 'rumoured' category.  Elsewhere on the crane front there was not much new although there was a version of the Faun 5-axle crane in new colours which seems a little strange for a model that was thought to be retired.

This year Conrad excelled in the heavy haulage category with the long awaited Goldhofer 'girder bridge' model.  This looks stunning with the need for display space going to threaten the horizontally challenged.  There was also a welcome introduction of the Goldhofer 5-axle ballast trailer which, with a matching tractor, gives an option to similar Zon models.  Hopefully this model will appear later in different company colours.  Also shown was a Nooteboom 4-axle telescopic trailer, which provides a variant to the existing 3-axle model.

Conrad displayed its range of concrete pump models but now there is only one truck mixer model and maybe this market is now lost by them to the cheaper imports from China.  Missing from the show was the long rumoured next variant of the R984 excavator and also the Case CX800 with demolition attachment.  Perhaps these are being saved for a later construction equipment exhibition.

The NZG display was a little muted compared to the larger number of new models showcased last year.  A prototype of the Manitowoc 18000 from TWH  was on display and looks to be of the same high standard of detailing as the stablemate Manitowoc 555 model.  We can only hope that production versions are of the same calibre and sensibly priced.  On the historic models front, two new versions of the Weserhutte W180 were displayed.  The first was the current model but in a blue paint job - NZG certainly believe in getting their money's worth by issuing models in changed paint.  The second was more interesting and was a version with a pile driving attachment.  It would be good if the attachment could be made available as a separate accessory for those that already have the base model although possibly alterations at the jib head and base will preclude this.  The Grove GMK 7450 is to be produced in another paint variant and at least this time the fly jib is painted to suit the crane.  So apart from the Manitowoc 18000 there was not much that was really new in cranes at NZG this year unless we count the other TWH models which have been available for a couple of months already (Potain IGO, Grove GMK 3055 and the Sterling boom Truck).

Also interesting on the NZG stand was the first appearance of the Liebherr A900 ZW road rail excavator.  This looks like a high quality model out of the same stable as the earlier A314 and A316, and the 1:50 version will apparently also include a section of track to run on.  It will also be available in 1:87 and a prototype of a 1:25 version was shown.  Perhaps NZG will introduce a range of these larger scale models.

Elsewhere HiMoBo were showing some prototypes for Gottwald crane models including a large mobile crane with lattice jib and also a heavy crawler crane.  The models seem to be early prototypes so we will have to see what the finished products are like when they appear.  Motorart, Joal and Norscot models were displayed although without any showstoppers. 

So what was this year's exhibition lacking?  Big crawler cranes are definitely in but there was not a single new mobile crane from any of the larger makers.  Also there was still no sign of a 1:50 tower crane.  Aside from the Conrad Goldhofer models truck fans may have been a little disappointed by the lack of models from NZG and Conrad. 

In summary, what are the headlines about this year's show?  On balance it was Conrad's year in the same way that last year was NZG's.  Their new models were perhaps more impressive overall.  Still NZG had the Manitowoc 18000 which may yet prove to be the exceptional model of 2005 when it goes into production.  At last there is a model representing the road-rail sector and the A900 ZX looks a very strong first offering.  HiMoBo's prototype Gottwald cranes look interesting, but we will have to wait and see what the production version are like and how  much they will cost.  The other major manufacturers had some new items to show, but perhaps for non-German companies it is not so important to bring 'blockbusters' to the show.  However all in all this year's show introduced enough new models to make 2005 interesting and of course some original equipment manufacturers may yet have model commissions up their sleeves for their exhibition round rather than for a toy fair. 

Cranes Etc