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Nuremberg 2006 - Shovels Up, Hooks Down
Editorial February 2006

February once again saw the world's largest toy fair open its doors in Nuremberg and with it scale model makers took the opportunity to show off their new models.  As always there were rumours beforehand of what was going to be seen and as usual there were disappointments as expected models did not appear but there were a few surprises too.

This year was undoubtedly the year of the mining shovel with four significant models making an appearance. 

TWH's huge 495 looks like another very highly detailed offering.  NZG fielded a couple of shovels.  The Liebherr 994B looks very good and seems to beat Conrad's existing 996 model for detail.  The Komatsu PC3000 appears to be an update of the previous model and perhaps for this reason it seems the least impressive of the new models. 

An unexpected debut at the show was Brami's big Terex RH340 model.  This looks to continue Brami's reputation for producing high quality scale models.  On the other hand, if we set aside Conrad's Liebherr LTM 1070 which appeared at the end of last year, it was a very weak show for new cranes with no new 1:50 models of current day mobile or crawler cranes, despite high expectations of large Liebherr and Terex crane models.

In their historical series, NZG had a new Menck piling hammer which, if it is of the same quality as the earlier Menck M251, promises to be excellent.  On the tower crane front, NZG debuted an early prototype model of a Liebherr 'Form 6' tower crane.  This seems to be a replacement commissioned by Liebherr for the Conrad TK8 version which is now discontinued from Conrad's website.  Also appearing was a 1:87 Raimondi tower crane from Ros of Italy.  At an initial glance this model would appear to offer strong competition to Conrad's 1:87 tower cranes in terms of quality, with improved detail and perhaps a jib and mast which can be broken down into sections like the real machine.  We will have to see if this is the case in the production version of the model.

Another model appearing for the first time was NZG's version of Liebherr's futuristic Reachstacker container handler.  Truck mixers in 1:50 scale will be available from NZG, including one with a conveyor attachment.  Conrad had a few new trucks including a 6 axle ballast carrier in Schmidbauer colours, but generally there were few exciting new offerings in their standard diecast range.

Perhaps the most interesting development at Nuremberg for construction model collectors was the display by Geshatronic, a new subsidiary company of Conrad.  Here 1:50 scale truck models were shown which had functioning headlights, indicators and brake lights.  They could also move under their own power and can be programmed to move around a track containing a buried guide wire.  The models are also planned to be available with remote control so they can move without the special track. 

This represents a new and exciting development.  Further models are expected to be shown around the middle of the year, with models on sale perhaps by the year end.  Prices are uncertain but may be around 160 Euro for a truck.  It is also envisaged that all current and future trucks will be available in powered format.  Also later this year the first working construction model may appear which might be a wheeled loader.  This innovation is in its early stages and it remains to be seen if it can be successfully executed and whether there is customer demand for such models.  Further news will appear in due course on the Geshatronic website.  The best hope is that Conrad keeps to producing models of high quality and then the new powered models may sell themselves.  The fully working 1:50 scale model crane may no longer be a distant dream.

Cranes Etc