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Potain MDT 178 Climbing Cage

Maker:  TWH Collectibles
Model No:  047a
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  August 2008

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The climbing cage fitted to the crane.
Potain box.
Where to buy
All the parts out of the box.
The climbing cage and mast sections turn up on site on the back of some Talbert Trailers.
Platforms and ladders are assembled, and special slinging (using chains and hooks) is required for the lift.
The slinging triangle (at the top of the cage) is engaged and the cage can be lowered and swung into position.
Fixing the platform that covers the gate.
The climbing cage in place.
Lifting a mast section.
The Potain MDT 178 Climbing Cage is an accessory for TWH's Potain Tower Crane model (see review here).  The purpose of the climbing cage is to allow the crane to increase or decrease its height by adding or subtracting mast sections.  It does this by hydraulically jacking the crane.  Climbing tower cranes is a safe activity if carried out in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, but it is also a time when the safety of the crane is endangered if short cuts are taken.


The box is relatively small and the accessory is well packed within a pair of expanded polystyrene trays, with the larger platforms in the top of the lid.  The review part had no defects or missing items.

A small eight page assembly manual is included which gives a clear parts list and pictorial steps showing how to assemble and attach the climbing cage.  Perhaps what is missing is a simple explanation of what the climbing cage is and how it works in reality, as this would be helpful to the non-expert collector.

Detail and Features

The climbing cage accessory follows in the footsteps of the base model with an excellent level of detail.

The cage itself consists of finely cast lattice work which includes the hydraulic ram.  It has a single triangle at the top which is used when the crane lifts the climbing cage into place (see photos) although the manual for the real crane shows two triangles.  There is an opening gate section to allow the cage to fit around the mast and although this does not replicate the two interlocking gates of the original it is a fair representation.

The external platforms and ladders are supplied detached from the cage, and the handrails and mesh floors are all to a fine gauge.  For some reason the scale height of the hand rails is too low and they do not look right if a scale man is placed on the platforms.  The hydraulic pump unit is well detailed and includes hoses to the lift cylinder.

Attaching the climbing cage to the crane is by means of four screws and this gives a good, positive connection.  Also included with the accessory is a telescoping hook and monorail trolley for lifting the mast sections and offering them up at the climbing cage.  Unfortunately missing is the monorail beam itself so you cannot pose the crane in the process of climbing.  This was a deliberate decision by the makers to prevent the model being risked in an unsteady pose which is understandable, although no doubt some collectors would prefer a more accurate model.

The climbing cage can be posed well as a truck load thanks to the platforms and ladders being separate pieces.  The platforms are large U shaped pieces which would have been better if they could have been split down further to sit on a truck realistically.  As can be seen from the photos, convincing poses can be produced at the various stages of assembling and attaching the climbing frame to the crane.

The hydraulic cylinder can be extended and retracted manually although it is not designed to hold the weight of the crane during climbing and this should not be attempted.

The hook attachments allow the correct lifting arrangement to be applied to mast sections.

Quality and Price

The climbing cage quality matches that of the base model and so it is a part which adds well to the crane.  It is almost entirely metal in manufacture.  The price is reasonable given the quality and the worthwhile addition it makes to the model.


This is an interesting accessory which tower crane model collectors will want to have.  It adds well to the base model and allows a variety of interesting poses to be created.  It is a shame the monorail beam is not included as this would have allowed an accurate display of the crane at the commencement of the climbing sequence.  Some collectors will probably make one for themselves inexpensively.  Notwithstanding this, the climbing cage is a highly recommended addition to an excellent tower crane model.


The accessory was first seen in prototype form at the BAUMA exhibition in 2007 and was released for sale in 2008.  It has been made in a variety of colours to suit the colours of the crane model: Potain yellow, run of 500 models Manitowoc red, run of 1000 models Orange, run of 500 models.

Inside the box.
The climbing cage makes a good truck load.
The cage gets lifted off.
Ready to lift. 
With the gate open, the cage can be offered up to the mast.  
The cage in place and the gate can be closed.
Attaching the hook extension and monorail trolley.
Posed with a mast section on the hook.