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Review of 2014
Editorial January 2015
Overall the economic climate in 2014 was variable with some markets showing growth while others were stagnant.  For the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) this translated in to varying performance also.  The Nuremberg Toy Fair was good with a number of new releases across both construction and trucking.  For construction equipment, 2014 was the year of ConExpo.  The exhibition was buoyant, but there were few new scale models announced.  

Looking at the model makers the year was something of a mixed bag.  Norscot had a very quiet year and the loss of the exclusive Caterpillar license seems to be hitting hard now with only four new models appearing during the year, and with the gap not being filled with construction models for other OEMs.  Tonkin Replicas did get quite a number of Caterpillar models to market although the programme has been perhaps slower than expected and a consistency of quality is yet to be seen.  The anticipated models for Nooteboom and Link-Belt did not get to market although the Tractomas model which appeared at the end of the year hints at good things to come.

On the historic model front, Classic Construction Models continued their fine tradition in Caterpillar models and it was very good to see the Ruston Bucyrus 22-RB Dragline model by EMD finally get to market.

WSI continued with its extensive truck model programme and has new licenses from both Broshuis and Goldhofer which should replace any gap if Nooteboom decides to have all future trailer models made by Tonkin.  Two new excavators for Liebherr were in limited supply but appear to set a high standard for the future.  Drake Collectibles were not able to deliver many new models in 2014 but announcements for delivery in 2015 mean they may become a significant player going forward.

Motorart did get a number of new or updated models to market in 2014 and hopefully they can aim to achieve a higher quality in 2015 which would be closer to where they were positioned a number of years ago.  Corgi appeared to suffer in 2014 with a number of redundancies of staff in the team dealing with truck models and looking forward to 2015 their overall offering appears weaker.

Conrad had a slower year and some expected releases did not get to market including the luffing jib for the Terex AC 1000, and the Terex CC3800 Crawler Crane as well as the old-timer Demag H 135 S.  BYMO did release a new Bauer model, but the Komatsu PC 8000 Mining Excavator was a no-show again.  Perhaps the most reliable maker was NZG however, with almost all the releases promised at Nuremberg appearing during 2014 more or less when planned.

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

2014 saw something new in 1:50 scale models from the established manufacturers and that was the launch of full radio control versions of  standard diecast production models.  The company behind the conversions is HK FunktionsModellbau and their first release was a conversion of Conrad's Liebherr R 9100 Mining Excavator.  It is an exceptional piece of model engineering and it works really well.  Of course it is expensive, but it is a quality product.

Winner - HK FunktionsModellbau Liebherr R 9100

Model Company of the Year

This year's award once again goes to NZG Models who moved ahead with a new license for JCB, new models for Komatsu, as well as a variety of trucks and vans.  They delivered models reasonably well to the schedule they set at the Toy Fair (in contrast to some other model makers) and they maintained a very good, consistent quality.

Winner - NZG Models

Model of the Year

The two highest scoring models in 2014 were the Vögele Super 1803-3 Wheeled Paver from WSI Models and the Liebherr LTM 1400 Mobile Crane from YCC.  These models are at opposite ends of the scale in terms of price, but they are exceptional models.  The Vögele showed what can be achieved in terms of a lower cost mass market model and sets a terrific standard for OEM expectations from their model makers.  YCC are a low -volume premium model maker and their 2014 release of the Liebherr LTM 1400 was certainly a highlight with an incredible attention to quality from the packaging through to the model, and it is priced accordingly.  As of the time of this review it is the best model ever reviewed by Cranes Etc.

Winner - Liebherr LTM 1400 Mobile Crane by YCC Models

Cranes Etc
Innovation of 2014:  HK FunktionsModellbau Liebherr R 9100.
NZG's new Mercedes-Benz Arocs.
Model of the Year 2014:  YCC's Liebherr LTM 1400.