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Manitowoc 555 Crawler Crane

Maker:  TWH Collectibles
Model No:  005
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  August 2008

TWH Index
Crawler Crane Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)9
Detail   (max 30)26
Features   (max 20)14
Quality   (max 25)21
Price   (max 15)9
Overall   (max 100)79%


Flying the flag - the Manitowoc 555.
Manitowoc box.
Where to buy
The lower layer with the older boom and crane body.
Lower boom butt includes a fold down gantry for support when horizontal.  Two winches are also included.
Opening hatch gives access to the winches.
Comparison of the older CCM version on the left with the TWH version on the right.
Running a Gar-Bro concrete bucket.  The crane is just at the tipping point with this load at the radius shown.
The Manitowoc 555 is a 150 US ton (136 tonnes) capacity crawler crane which can be rigged in a variety of ways to provide up to 390ft (100m) under hook height.  This model version has a main boom with a No. 134 fixed fly jib.

The model is a re-work of an earlier version by CCM (see review here) and includes both the previous version of the boom and a new version.


The box is in a Manitowoc style and contains two polystyrene trays which hold the new boom sections in the top part and the crane and older boom parts in the lower part.  The review model had no defects or missing parts.

A comprehensive product guide brochure is provided which includes full information on the real machine and excellent assembly instructions.  These only cover the new boom design however although most collectors will prefer this arrangement anyway.  Assembly is straightforward and an hour and a half should see it done, with the most time spent on reeving the main hook block.


The undercarriage, body and first jib section are all permanently assembled as one piece.  The tracks are metal and very good looking.  The track frames are well detailed, and 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 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 gear is already reeved so saving the collector the usual fiddly job.  There is a slight difference between this and the earlier reviewed version of the model in the casting of the body at the rear of the crane.  However this was presumably a change made by CCM as the TWH changes are focussed on the boom design.

The new boom arrangement is a big improvement on the older version.  The lower boom butt includes a fold down gantry for supporting the boom section when it is being assembled in the horizontal position.  It also includes two winches, one of which could be used for a luffing jib.  Details on the boom are very good with mesh walkways and timber blocks in various positions.  The casting of the booms is very fine and represent the structure of the original in an authentic fashion. 

Excellent metal pulleys are used at the boom top.  Boom sections are screwed together and this system is positive, and works very well.

The fly jib is very good with excellent detail and it is screwed to the boom top so is fully removable which allows alternative display poses.  The pendant lines for the fly jib are made to perfect length so they all look taut and convincing.  An American flag is included which fixes to the top of the fly jib and provides display interest.

The older boom design of boom is included with the model and could be used as an alternative display option.  The lower boom butt includes mesh walkways and the luffing stop bars are all metal components.  The main boom sections are 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.  Manitowoc signboards are provided on each side.  The pendant bars are metal and are joined by tiny metal pieces. Boom sections are push-pinned together, but rather loosely, and they are held in place by means of small red spring clips which are small and not obtrusive.  Care also has to be taken to not chip the red paint when fixing and removing the clips.

Surprisingly, two sets of metal hooks are supplied.  Each set consists of a single line 'headache ball' and the other is a four-pulley heavy hook block.  A length of chain is also provided as a useful accessory.


The metal tracks work very well as do all the crane functions.  The winches operate by opening the side panel and using the tool provided to turn the drums.  The winches work well and with the free rolling pulleys and heavy hooks the lines spool out easily.  The luffing winch is excellent.  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.  In fact the heavy hook block is slightly better on the older version as the safety latch works better.

This new version of the model, being based on the old castings of the crane body, still does not have an improved ability to strip down for transport by having removable ballast weights and other parts.  Therefore it will not pose well on a low loader.


This is a very high quality model with almost all parts being metal.  The high quality casting is matched by the paintwork and the lettering and graphics.  The new boom design is an improvement over the old version.


The model is a little expensive compared to similar specified models although the choice of two boom designs provides some flexibility.


TWH have taken the CCM version and certainly improved it with the new boom and fly jib.  Unfortunately the rework did not permit the crane body to break down into transport components so it still does not make an authentic low loader load.  The model poses well and can be combined with other models to make some interesting displays.


The model was originally developed by CCM and marketed in Europe by NZG as
model 527.  This version first appeared in 2006 and was made in a run of 1800 models.  It was marketed by NZG as model 663.
The upper layer of the box including the new boom design.
Comprehensive product guide and assembly instructions.
Upper boom and fly jib details.
Detail at the boom butt.  We apologise for the exuberant behaviour of the Cranes Etc team member.
Slightly different rear body castings between the CCM version on the left and the later version on the right.
Unloading steels from a Freightliner Century with East Trailer.