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Liebherr 81K Fast-Erecting Crane

Maker:  NZG
Model No:  870
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  September 2013

NZG Index
Tower Crane Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)8
Detail   (max 30)25
Features   (max 20)15
Quality   (max 25)20
Price   (max 15)11
Overall   (max 100)79%


Liebherr 81K Fast-Erecting Crane Video.
Liebherr-branded box.
The parts out of the box.
Folded up.
Capacity board.
Mast raising cables.
Trolley and erection motors and metal hook.
Setting a load.
With members of the family: TK 8Form 6, 32 TT.
Comment on this model.

The Liebherr 81K has a maximum lifting capacity of 6 tonnes and a maximum radius of 45m.  It can lift 1.4 tonnes at maximum radius.  It can operate at various tower heights and can also climb using additional tower sections.


This version of the model comes in a large box which is dictated by the tower being in the erected position rather than folded onto the base.  The packaging is a good quality outer sleeve with a photo and inside there is a two piece polystyrene tray containing the parts, some of which are carefully wrapped. 

There were no defects or missing parts on the review model.

A good quality instruction sheet is provided which is in English and German.  There is no information about the real crane which is a pity. 


The base has metal outriggers with simple screw thread pads.  On top of the base is a toothed slewing ring.

The cabinets are metal and nicely decorated, and the two winch drives are good too.  A couple of small graphics add detail. 

The counterweight slabs are metal and the casting is good with the Liebherr name embossed, lifting points are modelled in the top and step irons are included.  Not all the pieces are separate however and an extra block of four is supplied which is more than the real crane has.  It is a modelling compromise brought about by the need to counteract the heavy jib and give the model some stability.

The mast sections are a good metal casting although there are no ladders, and the rope-operated mast raising system is modelled with small pulleys.  There is a capacity board at the bottom which has very sharp graphics.  At the top is the distinctive cab.  The sides are plastic and there is a seat inside.

The complex jib consists of three separate sections which are metal and are fabricated as a two castings - the top sides and the bottom.  The geometry and profile of the erected jib is very good.  The trolley and erection motors are modelled and plastic Liebherr sign boards clip on, although care is needed not to obstruct the trolley movement.

The suspension cables and rods are high quality and a very good job has been done to match lengths to obtain equalised tension.  Both the trolley and hook are metal and they are nice items.  A small piece of chain is included which adds detail and weight.  It is needed as the thread used for the hoist rope is not the right flexibility to be free-flowing unless there is some decent tension.


The outriggers fold out but cannot be locked in position so they move easily and have to be watched as the crane overbalances if they are not set right.  The pads screw down.

The crane rotates but it is stiff.

Increasing the height of the mast using the winch is implemented and it works well enough although the rigging of the jib means only one height can be set so it is not as flexible as the real crane.

The trolley can be positioned anywhere along the jib by hand although it was 'sticky' on the review model at the first articulation point.

The hook can be raised and lowered and works reasonably well as long as there is some load on.

The crane can be erected and it is a large size - 60 cm high overall and nearly 100 cm end-to-end.  It can be folded up with care although it is not stable on the base fully folded and needs a support at the end to keep it level.   A supplied tie needs to be used to keep the folded arts in position and this is not a realistic-looking solution.


This is largely a metal model with some nicely engineered parts, and it stands straight and true.

The paint and graphics are very good.


It is good value overall given it is large when erected.


The 81K is an interesting and complex crane and this is a reasonable effort by NZG to model it.  Compromises have had to be made to model it in this scale and so some of the functionality and flexibility of the real crane is missing, and the model is close to the limit of stability when standing.  It certainly looks good and is impressive so it is highly recommended.


The model first appeared at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2013.  At the BAUMA Show in 2013 a version with transport axles and a Mercedes-Benz support truck appeared as model 8701.

The model inside the box.
Fully erected.
Counterweight stack providing temporary support at the end.
Nice winches and cabinets.
Counterweight stacked high.
Nice wire cables and rods.
Distinctive cab.
Jib profile is very good.