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Review of 2015
Editorial January 2016
As the year before the next BAUMA Exhibition in 2016, a quiet year for new releases could be expected, and so for 2015 it was, with relatively few new models announced at either the Nuremberg Toy Fair or the Intermat Exhibition, or during the rest of the year.  As a pattern seen often before, there was some slippage in the delivery of models previously announced in 2014. 

The year will perhaps be remembered for the changes in the model making sector.  Once again the Caterpillar license was on the move with the sale of the Caterpillar interests of Norscot and Tonkin Replicas to the newly formed company, Diecast Masters.  As a result Norcot appears to be pretty much done in scale models, and the Joint Venture of Tonkin  Replicas Inc and Tonkin Replicas BV has come to the end of the road.  It seems that distribution of Caterpillar models will also be changing with Mahler + Partner GmbH picking up Europe. 

IMC Models has been formed to move forward with the resources from Tonkin BV, and it remains to be seen what happens to the model programmes for Terex and Manitowoc which Tonkin announced at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2015.

Another change was the disappearance of the long established Spanish company Joal which finally went bust after struggling for many years.

For the other main model makers, the year was steady if unexciting.  Conrad and NZG released perhaps fewer models than might have been expected, with models in special colours also restricted.  Unusually Conrad modified an existing casting.  This was for the Terex 3800 Crawler Crane, and the update was released in Bracht colours at the end of 2015.   WSI continued with weekly new releases, mainly of colour versions of existing castings, as did Tekno.

Classic Construction Models pressed on with more classic Caterpillar models including the big 6020B Shovel.  Drake Collectibles continued their high standards, but the release of the long awaited general trailers did not make it in 2015.   Motorart released a number of new models, but the quality remains variable with the New Holland 180D Dozer being a model to avoid.  Corgi gives the impression of having lost direction with its truck programme, and their increasingly frequent aggressive discounting of models in stock reduces the value for collectors.  On the plus side, Weiss Brothers came on stream with their promising Lifting Kit.

2016 is a BAUMA year, so it is usually the most active for new releases.  By the end of April we will know whether 2016 will be a great year for scale models.

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

In a thin year for innovation there is no award for 2015.

Winner - None

Model Company of the Year

This year's award goes to the company with the most consistent release of new products in 2015 and that is WSI Models.  In addition to a variety of cranes in company colours, the extensive range of truck models provided something for everyone.  In addition the release of new castings of Broshuis and Goldhofer trailers add to the programme. 

The company is also moving forwards with the re-issue of the previous Sword range of American trucks and the distribution of Drake Models in Europe.  WSI also produce exclusive limited editions for a number of dealers, and this broadens the product range and coverage for collectors looking for limited editions in low numbers.

Winner - WSI Models

Model of the Year

The year was flat for the introduction of new castings which achieved the highest ratings, other than older castings in new colours which are not eligible for Model of the Year. 

However the best new casting reviewed by Cranes Etc in 2015 was the Drake Collectibles Kenworth C509 paired with a Drake 5x8 Trailer and Dolly.  Drake has taken forward the original TWH offerings and in the C509 has produced an excellent high quality model combining both super detailing and very good functionality.

Winner - Kenworth C509 + Drake 5x8 Trailer and Dolly by Drake Collectibles

Cranes Etc
Model Company of the Year 2015:  WSI Models
Model of the Year 2015:  Kenworth C509 + Drake 5x8 Trailer and Dolly by Drake Collectibles
Super high quality.