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Manitowoc 555 Crawler Crane

Maker:  Classic Construction Models
Model No:  NZG 527
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  September 2004


NZG Index
Crawler Crane Index


Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)8
Detail   (max 30)25
Features   (max 20)14
Quality   (max 25)20
Price   (max 15)10
Overall   (max 100)77%

Footnotes


The 555 fully rigged. The lifting chain is not included.
Plain and simple Manitowoc box.
Quality detail around the cab.
Hooks are very good, particularly the latch on the big hook.
'I can't crank these drums by hand'.
Metal tracks have good tension.
Metal pendants.
Very good tracks.
The Manitowoc 555 die cast model is a product developed by Classic Construction Models (CCM) of the US and distributed in Europe by NZG.

Packaging

The box is plain, coloured in the familiar Manitowoc red, and bears the crane model number.  Inside are two polystyrene trays  which hold the jib sections and accessories in the top part and the crane itself in the lower part.  Additionally all pieces are wrapped in protective sheets.  The review model was undamaged, except for a slightly bent pendant bar.

A very clear instruction sheet is provided, which is in English and German and will aid the non-expert in assembling the model.

Detail

The undercarriage, body and first jib section are all permanently assembled as one piece.  The tracks are metal and extremely good looking, and the track frames are well detailed.  Walkway plates span the track frames to provide a wide platform. 

The body accurately models the open design of the original.  The exterior panels are plain except for the handle details.  'Manitowoc' is cast into the body on both sides.  On the left hand side the panel opens and there is also a metal ladder and a radiator grille.  At the back the ballast boxes are modelled, but as a single casting rather than separate pieces. 

The cab is excellent with walkways, grab bars, wipers, a mirror and a beacon light.  The internal cab details are good.  Within the body, three winches are provided which are already pre-strung.  The engine is modelled and although it is plastic it looks good.  The same cannot be said for the exhaust pipe which looks cheaper than the rest of the model.

The pulleys on the body and the luffing frame are metal and are very good.  Helpfully the luffing pulleys are already reeved so saving the owner the usual fiddly job.  This makes the model very quick to assemble for display.

Turning to the boom, the first boom section is first class as it also includes walkway planking.  The luffing stop bars are all metal components although because of a slight scaling problem they do not engage properly with stops on the body.  The main boom sections are also very good with subtle fluting on the longitudinal sections.  The detail continues into the boom head section where all components at the tip are metal and the large spoked pulleys are superb.  They are free-rolling although one on the review model was slightly stiff.  Plastic Manitowoc signboards are provided on each side. 

A feature of the model is the pendant bars which are metal and joined by tiny metal pieces.  One of the bars had a slight bend but this was easily corrected.  Overall the metal bars work a treat as long as the clips are pushed firmly home and look much better than inferior plastic versions. 

The method of joining the boom sections works robustly but does not enhance the look.  Sections are push-pinned together, but rather loosely, and they are held in place by means of small spring clips which are silver coloured and so are visible if not obtrusive.  Care also has to be taken to not chip the red paint when fixing and removing the clips.

Two metal hooks are supplied.  One is a single line 'headache ball' and the other is a four-pulley heavy hook.

Features

The metal tracks work very well as do all the crane functions.  The winches operate by opening the side panel and using the small tool provided to turn the drums.  In fact the winches work extremely well and with the free rolling pulleys and heavy hooks this is one of those very few models which is actually 'playable'.  The luffing winch deserves special mention.  It is spring loaded and the outside of the drum is ridged such when it is not pressed in it engages and becomes a brake.  It is a very simple and effective mechanism.

The large hook also deserves special mention as it includes a tiny spring loaded clasp to prevent chains bouncing off the hook, just like the real thing. 

Perhaps the main opportunity missed with this model is the ability to strip it down for transport by having removable ballast weights and other parts.  This is a pity as this model will not look right on a low loader.  Also the first boom section does not lay down far enough so the model cannot be posed with the boom horizontal as if it was being erected.  This appears to be another scaling problem.

Quality

This is a very high quality model.  Almost all parts are metal and they work beautifully.  The casting is matched by the rich paintwork and the excellent precise lettering and graphics.

Price

Although not the cheapest of models it does set a high standard in terms of quality for a model of a modern machine.

Overall

CCM have done an excellent job with this model and it looks very impressive when set up, particularly with extra boom sections added.  It is however a pity the model does not split down for transport like other crawler crane models of this type.  There are a few areas where the model has minor problems.  The jib connection system needs to be changed to one that is both more effective and less obtrusive.  The minor scaling problems should really have been ironed out in pre-production.  However these concerns are relatively small compared to the overall quality offered and hopefully this is the first of a series of high quality diecast Manitowoc crane models.

Footnotes

The model was developed by CCM as the first of a series of diecast models for Manitowoc.  It first appeared in 2003, and then at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2004.  The production run was stated to be 5000 models.  The spring clips which clip the boom sections together were chrome in early versions, and later Manitowoc red.  Additional boom sections were sold separately.  In 2004 it was shown as a 'closed edition' according to the CCM website, although it continued to appear on the NZG website.  In 2006 an amended version was announced which included a small fly jib and a re-worked main boom with screwed instead of clipped connections.

 
Instructions and the two trays.
Drums and engine within the body.
Excellent metal pulleys at the boom head.
Spring clips hold the pinned jib sections tightly together.
Counterweight at the rear cannot be separated.
Poses really well and looks great.