Hot on the heels of my Mammoet mobile crane, I decided to build another minifigure-scale crane. This time it is a truck-based crane: a Liebherr LTF 1060.
Unlike the Mammoet crane, this one uses a commercial truck chassis built by Scania. This type of cranes typically has better on-road mobility than those that use dedicated chassis. I primarily liked it because it was different and, when I found a yellow one operated by the Dutch company “Kuiphuis” pulling a trailer with accessories, I was hooked.
LEGO’s long history and the quality of the elements mean that there is a vast collection of parts suitable for this type of build. For instance, among the real crane’s accessories are a crane crab and a concrete bucket. And LEGO made a crane grab in yellow. And there is a suitable handle for the bucket, in yellow too. These parts are thirty and twenty years old, respectively.
A fair few of the Dutch builders that I occasionally hang out with are very much into building heavy-duty trucks and construction equipment, such as cranes or mining excavators. And they tend to like to build them BIG. I’ve dabbled a bit in the genre, but I’ve always been somewhat the odd one out in our little group, mainly building smaller models. And I’ve gone progressively smaller: in recent years more and more of my models are scaled for minifigures. I rarely have the time or patience to build really big things. I am also running out of space to display large models.
If you take a big crane and build it to a small scale, you still end up with a fairly substantial model, though. Case in point: my Liebherr LTM-1350 mobile crane, as operated by the Dutch company Mammoet (Mammoth). Despite its relatively small scale, there is just enough room for some functionality. For instance, the crane’s outriggers and boom can extend and it has working steering on five of its six axles. When fully extended, its boom reaches a height of close to a metre (about three feet). Furthermore, cranes like this may be mobile, but they do require a fleet of support vehicles. This includes a separate truck to carry its counter-weights. The crane’s crew also tends to have a small “pool car” to drive around. If the crane is in transit, an escort van usually accompanies the convoy. The small scale meant I could build all of them.
Did you know that the very first LEGO Technic mobile crane was released more than 40 years ago? The lovely 855 Mobile Crane became the eighth product in the Technic lineup since its start in 1977. Despite its simple design, it had every essential function of a real machine. A handful of mobile (and stationary) cranes have been released since then. The year 2020 brings yet another one, 42108 Mobile Crane. During the previous decade, the variety of LEGO Technic pieces have evolved a lot, and multiple new mechanisms have been introduced, too. The question is, how many of those new concepts are implemented in the latest set and how different is it from the previous versions of mobile cranes? Let’s build and test this 1,292-piece set, which retails at US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99, and find out if it is worth a purchase.
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