Home Welcome Reviews Editorials/Press Reference Shopping Mall Links Photo Archive Search Contact
Review of 2017
Editorial January 2018

Once again we look back over a year's worth of scale modelling in our annual review.

The Nuremberg Toy Fair was the usual opener for the year, although the reality is that most new models are being announced via social media of one sort or another either before or when the Toy Fair opens.  

Once again Conrad chose not to attend, and this year BYMO was also absent from the exhibition floor.  The other usual attendees were at the show including NZG, WSI, IMC and Diecast Masters.   Perhaps the main item of note was that WSI was commissioned to produce a model of the EC950E excavator for Volvo, and it will be interesting to see if this association develops with a number of further releases.  On the crane front, 5-axle machines were in fashion with prototypes for Leibherr, Tadano and Demag on display.  A flat area for new releases was the mining sector probably reflecting the recent downturn in the sector globally.   The Toy Fair 2017 Report can be seen here.

In March came the ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas.  This was the major exhibition for real machines in 2017, and Manitowoc in particular had an impressive display of new models, and Conrad had three similarly sized RT crane models for different manufacturers.  Perhaps the wheel has turned full circle and these latest commissions suggest Conrad is now cost competitive with China again.  The ConExpo 2017 Report can be seen here.

Through much of the rest of the year, the release of new models is probably described as fairly disappointing.  NZG released very little and markedly fewer versions of existing models in different colours.   Conrad were also quiet with new announcements other than the three RT cranes which appeared at ConExpo, as were IMC and WSI, although they did produce a steady stream of truck models in company colours.  Motorart produced next to nothing new in 2017 and appear heavily impacted by the lack of new orders from their previous long term customer, Volvo.  On the positive side, BYMO was finally able to bring the Komatsu PC8000 to market in diesel and electric versions.

On to the Cranes Etc Awards, and once again they are based on the new models reviewed by Cranes Etc during the year.  This year some awards are sponsored by supporters of Cranes Etc on Patreon.

Innovation of the Year

There were no stand-out innovations in modelling grabbing the attention in 2017.  The new 5-axle crane models had more realistic methods of attaching the counterweight which is to be welcomed, and Diecast Masters produced a couple of models with removable operator figures which is also welcome.  However, away from the models one step forward was notable, and that was the release of the Drake Collectibles App.  A first for a model maker, this app provides a complete catalogue of Drake models and certainly represents a modern and professional approach.

Winner - Drake Collectibles App

Model Company of the Year, sponsored by Brandon Styczinski

The year was steady for the majority of model makers.  One company that did make progress this year was Weiss Brothers.  It was significant enough with the release of two large Manitowoc Crawler Cranes under the Towsley brand, which Weiss Brothers engineered.  There was also more with a couple of loads for cranes under their own label, with another for Mammoet, and also the Sword Models F-250 was developed with help from Weiss Brothers.

Winner - Weiss Brothers

Model of the Year, sponsored by an anonymous Patreon Supporter

Among the models reviewed by Cranes Etc the Manitowoc MLC650 was a standout new release.  Two other models also deserve a particular mention.  HKFunktionsmodellbau's radio controlled Liebherr 630 EC-H 40 tower crane is an extraordinary piece of model engineering, but as the previous static version of the model has already been reviewed on Cranes Etc, it does not qualify for the top award.  The model of the year is YCC's Liebherr LTM 1800 mobile crane in the colours of Schmidbauer.  This is a beautifully presented model which celebrates the first introduction of the real crane with maximum authenticity, and it represents a remarkable high quality collectible.

Winner - YCC Models Liebherr LTM 1800 Schmidbauer

Cranes Etc
Innovation of the Year 2017:  Drake Collectibles App.
Model Company of the Year 2017:  Weiss Brothers.
Model of the Year 2017:  Liebherr LTM 1800 Schmidbauer by YCC Models.