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Limited Editions - Just a Paint Job?
Editorial November 2005

It has been usual for models, cranes in particular, to be issued in different paint liveries.  In the past these were often commissioned by crane owning companies that wanted to be able to give out models in their colours to their best customers.  These special models were usually produced as a limited run.  Recently however this practice has gathered momentum with models being produced in all sorts of different colours whether that particular machine was owned by a company or not.

The easiest way for a model maker to get more sales of an established model is to re-issue it in different colours.  Of course it is also a cheap way for a model maker to add another item to the catalogue.  In that way the model may achieve multiple sales to a collector that wants all versions of a particular model.  Or it may appeal to someone who collects models in that particular livery and who may not have bought the model otherwise.  

However the issue of models in different paint jobs is now being extended to the point where perhaps it is getting just a little ridiculous.  We can contrast the approach of two model makers here.  Conrad have long made their smaller cranes in a variety of liveries which appear to be commissioned by the crane hire companies in relatively small numbers.  Some of their bigger cranes have also come out in limited editions such as the Terex AC500-1 in Bracht colours and the Liebherr LR1280 in Sarens colours.  However both of these seem to have been limited runs and so have become a little more sought after.  NZG have recently taken a different approach where they appear to have licensed the use of a number of companies' liveries and they are now free to issue almost any model in those colours.  The current liveries concerned are Scholpp, Laukant and more recently Markewitsch, and these liveries have been applied to all their more recent models.  NZG have also spread this idea through their association with TWH so that the Grove GMK 3055 has now appeared in the same colours and also three more!  The NZG Winter 2005 model announcement shows all six versions becoming available and any collector who wanted every version of a Grove model has an expensive Christmas coming.  Perhaps the disappointing thing about the NZG approach is that there does not appear to be any limitation in the numbers of any of the models produced in different liveries so in effect they are not limited editions.

Cranes Etc fully supports the practice of producing limited edition models as this adds interest to the collector's hobby.  In fact model makers should strengthen the practice.  Individually numbering models in a limited edition series by providing a certificate stating for example "Number 102 out of 125" would enhance the future value and cost the model maker very little to produce.  Other possibilities exist by also packing the model in a limited edition box or providing some special accessories such as the sorting grab included with the 'Max Wild' version of the Liebherr 954BV Demolition Excavator.  The important thing is that the such models should be truly a limited edition and where possible should be available to be bought through normal retail channels so that all collectors have a chance of buying one.

Cranes Etc