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Review of 2013
Editorial January 2014

As 2013 was the year of the triennial BAUMA Exhibition in April it was no surprise that there were many new model introductions although most took some time before they were actually available, and some will not appear until well into 2014.  The overall economic climate was perhaps stagnant or slightly better so hopefully equipment manufacturers have reviewed their marketing and model development budgets leading to more models in 2014/15. 

As in the past Liebherr and the Wirtgen Group led the way with new model announcements in 2013 and a number of the model makers shared in the introductions.  Many model makers struggled with supply chain issues in China and again Conrad was able to benefit from its own German production base.  Motorart had a number of introductions and hopefully they will improve some aspects of their future models with their suppliers.

However 2013 was also a time of change amongst model makers.  TWH Collectibles finally closed down in June which was a sad end for a company that had produced a number of landmark models.  An unfortunate consequence was that unsold TWH models were effectively dumped at low prices which although was good for collectors picking up a bargain, it would not have encouraged collectors who previously paid a normal price for the same models expecting them to maintain a reasonable value.  On the positive side Tonkin Replicas built on the success of obtaining its Caterpillar license by the formation of Tonkin Replicas Europe with many ex-staffers from WSI, so much can be expected from Tonkin in 2014.  A first Caterpillar model from Tonkin was widely available before year end, and Norscot delivered a number of new Caterpillar models during the year.  WSI continued its pre-eminence in truck models with many releases and it will be interesting to see how WSI progresses now that it has merged with Wan Ho of China.

As usual some announced models seem as far away as ever including the Komatsu PC8000 Mining Shovel from BYMO.  But in 2014 crane collectors will see a luffing jib for the Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1, and the Tadano ATF400-G6 seen in prototype at BAUMA should appear.  By mid-year a 1:50 scale Liebherr LTM 1400 is expected.  New Link-Belt crane models should also be a welcome introduction.  A number of new Drake Trailers models are expected, and trucking fans also have new Nooteboom models from Tonkin to look forward to.

On to the Cranes Etc Awards, and as usual they are based on the new models reviewed by Cranes Etc during the year.

Innovation of the Year

Although real innovations can be hard to come by WSI did advance telescopic crane model construction with the introduction of additional boom locking positions on the Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1.  This allows the model to be locked at 46%, 92% and 100% extension of the boom sections, and although a relatively simple idea, it is a worthwhile enhancement.

Winner - WSI Collectibles

Model Company of the Year

NZG, Conrad and WSI had a good 2013 with a number of new model introductions and models in company liveries.  Once again VINCI is commended for producing a convincing range of models in various subsidiary company colours.  However the winner of this year's award is NZG Models for the continuing high quality of their models coupled with the introduction of significant new models for Liebherr and Wirtgen in 2013, as well as models in a variety of colour schemes.

Winner - NZG Models

Model of the Year

The three highest scoring models in 2013 were the Hitachi ZAXIS 470 LCH-5 excavator from TMC Scale Models and the Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 mobile crane from WSI and the Liebherr LR 1600/2 crawler crane from NZG.  Both crane models achieved the same high score but by the finest of margins the award goes to the LTM 1500 in part because it represents an iconic machine that was long awaited by collectors.

Winner - Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 Mobile Crane by WSI Collectibles

If 2014 matches 2013 then collectors will be in for a good year.

Cranes Etc
One from the Model Company of 2013:  NZG Models.
A good first model from Tonkin Replicas:  the Caterpillar 988K.
Model of the Year 2013:  WSI's Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1.