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Liebherr 81K Fast-Erecting Crane with Transport Vehicle

Maker:  NZG
Model No:  8701
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  March 2014

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 with Transport Vehicle Video.  [Youku video]
Liebherr-branded box with the transport mode shown.
Mercedes-Benz Actros cab is good.
Metal chassis.
Hiab at work.
Rear dolly.
On the road.
Inspecting the parts.
Capacity board.
There are four more counterweight slabs compared to the real crane to give the model stability.
Distinctive cab.
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 model also includes two dollies and a Mercedes-Benz truck so the model can be fully configured in a transport mode.  The 81K was available on its own as model #870.


This version of the model surprisingly comes in a different and smaller sized box with the 81K folded for transport.  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 for the crane which is in English and German but there is nothing about the transport set.  There is no information about the real crane which is a disappointment. 


The base of the 81K 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 Mercedes-Benz Actros is an 8x4 chassis which is modelled in metal, and the wheel hubs are metal too.

The cab is detailed with aerials, beacon lights and air horns on the roof and textured two-tone mirrors on the doors.  There is a dummy generic number plate, the lights have lenses and there is a protection plate under the engine.

The body is metal with simple graphics.  The drop sides are detailed but non-functional.  At the rear the loader crane is marked as a Hiab XS and it is modelled in metal with the exception of a couple of sections of boom which are plastic.  The hook is metal.

The rear lights have nice lenses.

The two transport dollies are made to NZG's usual standards.  The wheels are metal with nice tyres and are mounted on non-functioning suspension.  A fine detail are the lights on thin stalks.  The rear dolly has a number plate.


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.

The two transport dollies can be attached to the crane.  The rear one screws on and the front is a hook-over attachment.  The front dolly steers to a good angle and the tow bar raises and lowers , and extends.

The Actros truck rolls well and has linked steering on the front two axles which turns to a shallow but worthwhile angle.

The outrigger beams on the Hiab extend a little and are too loose rather than rigid in their holders.  The simple pads can screw down revealing a screw thread.

The Hiab unfolds and rotates, with the four-stage telescopic boom opening smoothly and able to hold most poses.  The metal hook is nice as it rotates and has movement in two dimensions.


The 81K is largely a metal model with some nicely engineered parts, and it stands straight and true.  The metal content on the transport elements is also high.

The paint and graphics are very good.


It is good value.


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.  The additional transport elements are good and enhance the overall model providing additional posing flexibility.  The set is highly recommended.


The model first appeared at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2013 as model 870.  This version first appeared at the BAUMA Show in
2013.  In NZG's 2014 catalogue the dollies were available separately as model 8702.  The Actros truck was available as model 920/02.

The 81K with the transport elements.
The truck.
Decent steering angle.
Hiab folded up.
Front dolly.
Impressive combination.
Underneath the dollies.
Attaches well to the dollies.
Nice modelling of the mast.
Geometry is good although the thread could be better.