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Review of 2016
Editorial January 2017
The year started with the decision by Conrad Models not to have a stand at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.  Instead, they ran an event at the factory which is not too far from the exhibition centre.  Attending the Toy Fair is expensive and other exhibitors had smaller stands than in previous years.  As for the Toy Fair, perhaps the most interesting arrival was Diecast Masters in their role as the Caterpillar licensee for contemporary machines.  The Toy Fair report can be seen here.

The BAUMA Exhibition was held in April, and a number of new releases appeared as usual, but nothing (with the possible exception of IMC Models Mammoet Convertor Exchange Project) which could be described as a blockbuster model.  In fact that was the tone for 2016 as no really large crane or mining model was released.  Although, as now seems traditional, the BYMO Komatsu PC8000 threatened to appear, it did not make it out by year end.

One interesting trend was the appearance of electronic lighting in models from both Diecast Masters and NZG.  It will be interesting to see if this gains momentum in new releases going forwards.

For Cranes Etc, the year ended in exciting fashion with a visit to model makers in China.

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

There was a standout innovation during the year but it was not a model.  What was new was the packaging of Diecast Masters models High Line series.  High quality tins with excellent graphics and information about the real machines combine with foam interiors to produce a very high quality presentation for mass market models.

Winner - Diecast Masters

Model Company of the Year

2016 was a mixed year for the model makers.  Motorart introduced very little at all and surely needs to make some changes to secure their future.  NZG introduced a number of models for BAUMA although there were reworkings of earlier releases, but they were very quiet for the rest of the year.  WSI and Tekno released high numbers of models in different colours, and IMC Models made progress with new models for the Tii Group and Nooteboom.   Diecast Masters steadily introduced new and reworked Caterpillar models, and Classic Construction Models followed up with more high quality Caterpillars.  Weiss Brothers introduced their successful lifting kits and the announcement of the new Manitowoc MLC Crawler Cranes promises much for 2017.

This year's award goes to the company with the most impressive range of new releases at the 2016 Bauma Exhibition, and that is Conrad Models.  In spite of the competition from the Chinese model makers Conrad successfully one some significant commissions including three new models for Manitowoc, and also a crane for Terex.  In addition there was the interesting Kaiser excavator, a variety of concrete related models, a new Mecalac and heavy duty Palfinger, and three models for Wirtgen companies.

Winner - Conrad Models

Model of the Year

The year was another flat one for the introduction of new models which achieved the highest ratings.   Highlight models reviewed included Conrad's Terex Superlift 3800 Crawler Crane, NZG's Liebherr HS 8100 HD Crawler Crane, and the remote version of the P&H 4100XPC Mining Shovel (which cannot qualify as model of the year as it is a previously reviewed tooling).

However the best new tooling reviewed by Cranes Etc in 2016 was, for the second year running, from Drake Collectibles.   The Drake Steerable Low Loader is an excellent model with high detail and functionality which is beautifully presented. 

Winner - Drake 7x8 Steerable Trailer and Dolly by Drake Collectibles

Cranes Etc
Innovation of the Year 2016:  Diecast Masters packaging for the High Line series models.
Model Company of the Year 2016:  Conrad Models.
Model of the Year 2016:  Drake 7x8 Steerable Trailer and Dolly by Drake Collectibles.