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The Era of Big Models
Editorial July 2006

One of the trends in the field of 1:50 scale models over the last few years has been  for model makers to offer larger and larger models in significant production runs.  Perhaps this has been most evident in the supply of model crawler cranes.  The first big mass produced crawler crane was the Sennebogen Starlifter and this was followed by the Liebherr LR1280.  Three giant models then appeared; the Terex Demag CC8800, the Liebherr LR1750 and the Manitowoc 18000.

A similar pattern has been followed more recently with mining shovels.  The Liebherr R996 was the big boy of mass produced scale model mining shovels but in 2006 a couple more giants entered the arena, the Brami Terex RH340 and the TWH Bucyrus 495 shovel.  The latest news is that TWH are considering making a model of the Bucyrus 8750 Dragline in a run of 300 units.  If this enters production it will be a true behemoth with a length of 2-2.5m. The price will match the size at an estimated 12,000 euros.

On the mobile crane front the trend towards bigger models is unfulfilled.  The two biggest models are Conrad's Terex Demag AC500 and NZG's Grove 7450.  A number of models are rumoured to be under development including Liebherr's giant LG1750 and the Terex Demag 2800. However these models have not appeared and it is understood their are concerns as to whether there is a market for so many large and expensive models.  On a more positive front YCC are pressing ahead with a model of the giant Liebherr LTM1800 telescopic crane and this may appear for sale by the end of the year.

So is there a market for these large models?  Certainly any model costing several hundred euros is a considerable investment for most people and finding the space to display the biggest models may be even more of a challenge.  However anyone lucky enough to get one of these big models will have something very impressive to display.  No public figures are available regarding the sales of the big models but their sales life is generally long as the full scale big machines are generally in production for a number of years. 

Cranes Etc fully supports and encourages the introduction of 1:50 scale models of the biggest machines.  The marketability of these models is a function of the cost and quality of the model and some of the more recent models from China are pushing the boundaries in the right direction.  One area of omission that still needs to be filled is the 1:50 scale tower crane where to date the models have been limited to self-erectors.  A tower crane with a 50m jib obviously scales to a 1m length so again display space will be an issue.  But if they are made to come apart in sections like the real thing many collectors will be interested in having one to display paired up with a large telescopic crane, or as loads on trucks.

Cranes Etc