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Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane

Maker:  Towsleys
Model No:  007
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  May 2017

Towsleys Index
Crawler Crane Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10) 9
Detail   (max 30) 26
Features   (max 20) 19
Quality   (max 25) 23
Price   (max 15) 11
Overall   (max 100) 88%


Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane videos.   [Youku video part 1[Youku video part 2]
Large box.
Bottom layer.
Middle layer.
Nice crawler track shoes.
VPC-Max counterweight extended.
Lattice sections have useable lifting eyes.
Very good complex lattice work.
Luffing jib is a heavy part.
Full configuration.
Configured with the main boom only.
Lifting a Mammoet generator.

The Manitowoc MLC650 Crawler Crane made its debut at the ConExpo Exhibition in 2014.  It has a maximum capacity of 650 tonnes, and its main feature is a Variable Position Counterweight (VPC).  This allows the crane to be operated with maximum versatility and flexibility.


The model comes packed in a very large shipping box.  Inside there is an inner Manitowoc branded box which contains three separate expanded polystyrene trays holding the many parts of the model. 

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

There is no information about the real crane, but a comprehensive assembly guide for the model is included.   It is high quality and starts with annotated parts lists for each tray.  Assembly is then guided through 39 steps which cover what is needed with the exception of reeving diagrams for the hook blocks.  Also only the largest configuration of the crane is covered.  Many other configurations are possible.

The assembly of the model is straightforward, and tools are provided to aid the task.  A number of hours is required to fully erect and reeve the model.


The track frames and undercarriage are assembled as one piece, but it is easy to disconnect the parts.  The tracks are metal, and excellent, and the frames have a detailed casting.  Steps and textured platforms provide access to the cab.

The operator's cab is fully detailed with windscreen wipers, grab handles and an unsilvered door mirror.  It has a detailed interior and at the rear of the cab various signs are replicated with tiny writing.

The handrails and platforms around the model are metal and very good.

At the front of the crane body three slewing motors are modelled complete with hydraulic hoses leading from their tops.  Four hydraulic jacks which would be used for self-unloading are modelled, and the pistons are smooth faced. 

The counterweight arrangement is based on the VPC-Max arrangement of the real crane.  The sliding beam has a nicely detailed actuator at the front.  The counterweight tray slots onto the beam.  The counterweight boxes are separate metal parts with lifting lugs and graphics giving the weight, 10 tons. 

The engine cover is plastic and the winches within the body look good.  Plastic covers fit over the holes in the body which provide access for the winch keys so that the look is not spoilt.  The live mast has a non-functioning erection cylinder and the sheaves at the end are metal in common with the rest of the model.

The lattice boom and jib sections of the crane are nice castings with excellent geometry.  They are nearly all metal with just a few pieces of internal bracing being plastic.  They include useable lifting eyes, mesh walkways and ladders.  At the jib head the whip line jib has working rollers.

The connections are made with tiny black nuts and bolts, and the straps are very thin metal and easily bent if not handled with care.  The boom and jib head have plastic 'Manitowoc' sign boards. 

Three hooks are supplied.  The main block is large piece with a very good swivelling double hook although unlike the rest of the model the block is not modular so cannot be split down into two smaller blocks.  The second hook is a block with three sheaves.  The whip line is a single metal piece.


The crawler tracks roll very easily and are tensioned by spring-loaded idlers in the track frames.

The four jacks have pads which can be pulled down and pinned at full extension.

The cab tilts and it holds a pose easily.

The crane rotates very smoothly.

The Variable Position Counterweight works very well, and it is as much as a major plus on the model as it is on the real crane, as it is possible to position the counterweight to keep the model in reasonable balance whether it has a load or not.

To operate the model two keys are provided for the winches.  When the key is pushed in, the drum presses against a spring and away from a brake surface such that it turns freely when the tool is turned.

The winch drum for the live mast is split in two, unlike the real crane, but this makes it easier to maintain tension in the ropes. 

The winches work well.  However if the boom or jib are at a steep angle there is not enough weight on the luffing ropes and so lowering has to be assisted by easing down by hand.

The manual guides the assembly of the full model but many other configurations are possible, just like the real crane.  This includes using parts as transport loads.

The model looks particularly impressive with a suitable load.


This is a high quality model with nicely made parts which fit together very well.

The paintwork and graphics are equally high quality throughout.


This model is good value overall as it is large and impressive.


Towsleys has produced a very good quality model, which follows in the tradition of high quality crawler cranes made by TWH Collectibles. The detailing and build quality are very nice, but the high point is the flexibility of the model, with most parts bolted rather than riveted, so numerous configurations are possible.


The model was marketed under the Towsleys brand name and was engineered by Weiss Brothers.  It was released in March 2017 after having been announced at Bauma 2016.

Weiss website
Top tray.
Track frames can be separated and they make a good load.
Parts make good loads.
High detail.
Nice counterweight boxes.
Luffing jib parts.
Very convincing model.
Large hook block is not modular.
Counterweight slid in. 
Very good geometry.
Lifts well using the Variable Position Counterweight.
Impressive model.