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Liebherr LG1550 Mobile Crane

Maker:  YCC
Model No:  780
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  February 2009


YCC Index
Mobile Crane Index


Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)
Detail   (max 30) 29
Features   (max 20) 18
Quality   (max 25) 22
Price   (max 15) 13
Overall   (max 100) 91%

Footnotes

Assembly Guidance


The LG1550 on the road.
The box for the carrier.
The box for the boom sections.
The parts from the carrier box.
The carrier.
It makes a good display model just like this.
The chassis is superbly detailed.
Close up of the intricate steering and suspension details.
The boom foot on a Talbert Trailer.
The counterweight slabs have the name and weight within the casting.
Excellent details between the outrigger beams.  The ladder is a nice touch.
A Liebherr LTM1200-5.1 helps build the boom.
The counterweight slabs have chains to secure them.
Mesh walkways allow the Cranes Etc team to act tough and walk the high steel.
Tilting cab for the high lifts.
Beautifully made rooster head section.
Excellent straight boom and pendants.
Small parts that have to be fitted.  On the left the red chain is pinned in a small holder and fed through the hole in the counterweights to secure them.  In the centre the access platform is fitted.  Also the hydraulic cables from the boom winch are fed through the side of the boom foot and plug into the side of the body. 

On the right the spare wheel winch is fitted.  Two of the four wheel chocks are shown placed in a holder at the rear.  It is also worth noting the position of the equaliser at the back of the crane.  This is located between the inner and outer sets of ropes for the moving mast.
From left to right: a handrail is fitted outside the cab.  Two lights are fitted to the cab roof.  Two access platforms are fitted to the side of the body.
The Liebherr LG1550 is a very versatile lattice boom mobile crane which has a maximum capacity of 550 tonnes and can lift to heights of up to 180m.  The flexibility comes from the range of boom options available including two types of luffing fly jib, and a derrick.  The carrier for the crane is 8-axle, and is a shared design with that used on the LTM1800 telescopic boom crane.

One of the many applications for the crane is in the erection of wind power systems.  The crane has four of the eight axles fitted with twin tyres meaning that 24 wheels can carry the load of the crane enabling it to move on site with much of the equipment and ballast loaded.

Packaging

Unusually, the model comes in two boxes.  They are surrounded by foam and packed within a larger cardboard box.  The quality of the packing is exemplary and gives the feeling of high quality long before the model is reached.  The two picture box sleeves are in a typical Liebherr style design-wise, but these are just covers to a high quality plain boxes which contain the parts of the model.  When these are opened the model is contained within more black foam rubber, and each piece is individually wrapped in soft paper.  And it gets even better.  The carrier sits in its own plastic tray and thoughtfully this is placed in the foam rubber with red ribbon underneath, which, when pulled, lifts the model out easily.  The same technique is used for the boom parts as well.  There were no defects or missing parts on the review model.

Two brochures are included.  The first deals with the carrier and has extracts from Liebherr technical information and explains the boom hoist reeving.  There is a list of small parts but not all of their fitting is shown.  The second is a reprint of Liebherr technical data, complete with loading charts, and also deals with the boom parts and contains clear reeving diagrams.  Although initially it seems strange that the model packaging and brochures are split in two, it does mean that at some point in the future the boom system could be sold as a separate part by YCC enabling owners of the YCC LTM1800 model to convert to a lattice boom version if they wish.  Similarly, perhaps the telescopic boom of the LTM1800 could be sold separately for LG1550 owners.

Assembly of the model is quite straightforward.  The brochures describe the main information well but leave out some of the smaller parts.  To help collectors, the fitting of these and other parts is described in the Assembly Guidance section below.  Depending on the configuration, a few hours should be allowed to build the model, and as usual the slowest part is reeving the model where, as always, patience and a methodical approach is needed.

Detail

There is no doubt that at the time of the review this is one of the most detailed crane models reviewed by Cranes Etc. 

The underside of the carrier is excellent with very good transmission and suspension components detailed, and they all in metal too.  In fact the overall structure of the chassis is modelled in a very convincing fashion and it is almost a shame that in normal poses it cannot be seen.  The metal wheel hubs look very good, being of two types as per the original, and mounted with excellent tyres bearing the ĎMicheliní logo on the outside.

The driving cab has very finely made windscreen wipers and mirrors, and the towing hitch at the front is of a realistic size.  Steps to the cab have a fine texture and the cab is completed with excellent lights and double air horns.  The air horns have to be fitted and rest loosely on holders.  A tiny sign is on the cab side windows.  Detail behind the cab continues at an excellent level.  Two tiny grilles are present behind the driverís door, and the covers to the engine block have superb mesh detailing.  The metal chromed exhaust is formed to have holes in the exhaust pipes.  More mesh work leads to the slewing ring and here hydraulic cabling runs to the outrigger beams.  Alongside the body on both sides are small orange lights which sit at the end of thin stalks.  At the rear the hydraulic details for the outrigger beams are present as for the front pair, and there is a spare wheel with lifting gantry, a holder for tiny wheel chocks (which are complete with lifting handles) and the light bars have nice plastic lenses.

The outrigger beams are beautifully made.  The inner sections have excellent hydraulic line details within the castings and the two stage beams are metal and feel very solid.  At the end the pistons screw down to the transverse pad beams without revealing any unsightly screw thread.  The spreader beams and pads are first class.  They are all metal and very well detailed.  Better still, they contain magnets which allow the pads to stick to the beams and the beams to stick to the pistons which is really an excellent design.  The only minor criticism that can be made is that the rivets connecting certain parts are silver and would look better if they matched the painted colour of the parts concerned.

The high quality continues into the crane body.  The cab windows have fine seals and windscreen wipers.  Inside, the controls are clearly seen, and outside there are excellent grab rails and mesh walkways.  Alongside the body the panels have fine details within the casting including hydraulic lines.  Inside the body the winch drums are well detailed, with some very fine diamond patterned plate work.  The pulleys used are metal and are painted to match the crane colour so look very good indeed.  The boom gantry is raised by excellent metal three stage cylinders which have ingenious magnet connections to the gantry.  At the gantry head there is a hydraulic lift cylinder and top quality metal pendant connections.  On each side of the body some access platforms can be fitted when the crane is being used.  These have very good mesh floors, although the hand rails are plastic and because they are thin, they are delicate.  These parts press fit into holes in the body which means they are easily knocked off if handled.

The counterweight tray has lifting points cast in and the counterweight slabs are first rate also, with each one having excellent lifting points and the Liebherr name and weight clearly visible within the casting detail.  Two sets of chains and associated clips and pins are provided to enable the counterweight slabs to be secured, and these add to the detail. A pair of plastic ladders is also provided with the carrier which is a nice touch for posing the crane in use.

Moving on to the boom sections the model makerís skill continues to be evident.  The boom butt section has a wealth of fine metal mesh walkways and there are very nice rollers for allowing ropes to run smoothly.  Two small spools are contained within the boom section and there is hydraulic cabling running from the winch which can be secured into the body.  The boom connections at the end are very fine as are the small bolts used for joining the sections.  The straight boom sections are similar quality being dead straight, and with mesh walkways and internal bracing. The smaller LI boom sections fit nicely inside the S boom sections so simulating accurate transport loads is possible.

Two boom head sections are provided with either 16 or 4 pulley sheaves.  Once again the detail level is excellent with metal pulleys throughout.  Even the short reducer boom section has a working roller, and eyes for fitting a direct connection to the pendants for long boom lengths, and the connectors are supplied with the model.  Also included is a rooster head and this difficult section is superbly made with a folding line pulley and tiny rollers to enable this piece to roll on the ground if needed during erection.

The pendants are very finely made.  All in metal, they look extremely convincing and use very small plastic split pin bolts, similar to those used to join boom sections.  On the review model one pendant line was very slightly slacker than the other but this was barely visible.

Three hook blocks are supplied with the model and this approach is to be particularly commended as it gives the collector flexibility in rigging the crane.  They are nominally 15 sheaves (350t), 9 sheaves (235t) and 3 sheaves (93t).  Each one is excellent in its own right and would look great on any Liebherr crane model.  They have metal sheaves and very good hooks complete with safety catches.

Features

The steering on the carrier is good with axles 1 to 4 and 7 and 8 steering like the original.  A reasonable lock can be obtained although perhaps not as much as the real crane can achieve.

The outrigger beams pull out laterally from the carrier to form a star shape and can be telescoped out smoothly to maximum extension or alternatively the model can be posed with shortened outrigger beams like the original.  The pistons screw down smoothly to replicate a pinned bearing connection on the transverse beams.

The crane cab is a swing away type which tucks in at the front when in transport mode.  It can also be tilted to allow the operator comfort when the crane is lifting at height.  A working hydraulic hook is provided on the moving mast and it is stiff enough to hold a reasonable load.

The crane rotates smoothly, even under load.

The crane body has four winch drums and these are accessed by using removable magnetic side panels on the body.  This excellent design feature allows the model to be operated without having unsightly access holes in the side of the body.  Each winch is stiff enough to hold any reasonable load, and they are can be operated by using a special tool which has a screwdriver connection at the end so it can be driven by a powered screwdriver which is useful for loading the drums with the supplied thread.  A fifth winch is contained within the boom foot section and this can be operated in the same manner.

A strong feature of the model is that it is made in the modular system which replicates the real machine.  This means it is possible to configure the model in many different arrangements of boom and counterweights and so it is possible for a collector to display the model any way they want.

Quality

This is one of the very best quality models seen by Cranes Etc as at the date of the review.  The standard of detailing is first class and there is hardly any plastic used.  In fact it makes any of the plastic pieces that are used feel a little out of place.  The standard of the casting is also very high.

The paintwork is very good although on the review model there were just the slightest of differences in colour between some parts.  In part this may be explained by the different paint used on the boom sections and the carrier, with the carrier paint being more gloss-like, and the boom parts having a slightly more matt texture.  The quality of the applied graphics is very good.

Price

A model such as this is not aimed at the cheap end of the market, and it is all the better for it.  Rather the approach has been to aim for a standard of excellence and achieve it, and with this in mind it is very good value for money.

Overall

This model from YCC sets the highest of standards in mobile crane models and both YCC and Liebherr can be proud of it.  Any collector wanting the very best in scale model cranes does not need to look much further than this.  In fact given the limited production runs of these models, they are may be a good long term investment, particularly those in company liveries.

In some respects this model is close to a work of art and there is no question about it, this model easily deserves an 'Outstanding' rating.

Footnotes

The model first appeared as a prototype at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in February 2008 and it appeared at dealers from January 2009.  A version in Wiesbauer livery became available in January 2010 in a run of 80 models.  Additional boom sections are available as YCC part number 781.  The luffing fly jib, part number YCC 771, can be fitted to the model, and a derrick mast, YCC 772, can also be fitted.

Assembly Guidance

For assembly of small parts refer to the photos.

When assembling the boom sections an easier fit of pins is achieved if a little of the paint inside the connections is removed by gentle scraping with a small screwdriver.

Before attaching the access platforms to each side of the model it is better to remove the paint from inside the holes to enable a better fit.

During reeving of the boom hoist, it is necessary to get the two separate lines of approximately the same length so that the equaliser only has to deal with differences caused by the way thread is spooled on the drums.  The best way to do this is to open up the moving mast fully and reeve one half fully but leave it untied on the equaliser.  Then reeve the second half and tie both lines off at the equaliser so they are of equal tension and the equaliser is level.

To reeve the hooks it can be helpful to cover an amount at the end of the thread with some glue to stiffen it up and make it easier to push through gaps.  Before starting the reeving, spool out enough thread to be able to complete the reeving.  As the thread is passed through the safety pin on each side of the hook block, fix it in place using a piece of plastic putty to stop it bouncing off later.
 
The carrier box is top quality with foam rubber, and ribbons to enable the model to be lifted out.
Two brochures, one for the boom (on the left), one for the carrier.
The parts from the boom box.
Fine details at the rear.
The steering shown at about the maximum lock.
The attention to detail is shown by the very small sign on the cab window and the grilles adjacent to the Liebherr sign above the front wheel.  The tyres have 'Michelin' on them.
With the right transport vehicles, a good display of the crane on the road can be made.
Boom head and reducer section.
The crane being rigged.
Placing a counterweight slab. 
Outrigger beam, spreader bar and pads are all first rate.
Three hooks are supplied.
The pendant bars are highly detailed, and the securing bolts are split pins of a realistic size.
Load testing the LG1550 with another new delivery into the Cranes Etc fleet.
The reducer section and pendants.
Fully rigged with all the boom sections, the crane lifts a tank high.
The design of the side body panels is ingenious.  They are held by magnets so to access the winch drums they are simply removed.  When the model is posed the panels are replaced and the model is not spoiled by holes in the side of the body.
Air horns are placed on the driving cab roof and the pistons have to be screwed into the front outriggers only.