LEGOģ Set Review: 4552 Rail Crane
See also Jacob Sparre Andersenís review
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Trains / 9v

Cargo Crane (us)
Kran- og servicevogn (da)
Servicewaggon (de)

Ages 7-12 15 page manual: 1 models, 8+10+9+48+5+16 steps. ©1995
Price Range: $55 CAD at S@H Canada ($38.50 USD MSRP)
Special Features / Compatibility
Extra Elements
Decals: Yes
Scale: Mini-Figure scale. 9v Train scale.
Errors: None


Conclusion
I would buy the set again, but I wouldnít give it as a gift for anyone without a LEGO Train layout.

Description

The 4552 Rail Crane is the latest installment in a long history of rail crane sets made by The LEGO Group for their train system. There have been at least two other models, 7817 and 7814, and all are basically double-bogied flatbeds with a crane for lifting rail, pallets and other cargo around.

The 4552 has a midsized flatbed, a bit shorter than its predecessors, as well as a second flatbed car for holding cargo. The set includes a green temporary shelter/supply shed/office container, as well as a small track speeder that uses the smaller highrail wheels. On the main flatbed is the crane mechanism with its operatorís cab, decorated in black and yellow with the main arm in red. The crane angle is kept by a set of arms positioned against a rack, and the cargo is raised and lowered with a small winch mechanism in the back. A skid of supports for the crane sits on the far end of the car. These cones can be removed and placed into the stabilizing struts on either side of the crane keeping it level when a load is applied.

Two minifigures are included with the set, both are Train Company workers with their requisite hard hats. One major displeasure: Both have odd faces, one with a moustache, the other with sunglasses. A little welding apparatus on wheels is included, and is really really cute, using a black visor and helmet.

Impression

The 4552 Rail Crane is an amazing set for train collectors, if not only for the fact it is another train set. Train sets come out so infrequently that LEGO Train enthuasists buy several copies of them to build up reasonable train collections.

I first saw the 4552 in a Myer store in Melbourne, but didn't buy it immediately. I went back the next day and it was gone. When I got back to Toronto, I ordered one around Christmas-time and it came shortly after winter exams. Putting the 4552 together was a lot of fun, and the set was a fun build that took about an hour or so.

The 781x series of cranes for 4.5V/12V never came to Canada, before the time of Shop At Home. The LEGO Groupís mail order service was actually mail order, you filled out a form cut from the back of the brochure, and was nowhere near the global span of LEGO Canada's Shop At Home service today. As a result, Iíve always wanted a rail crane, even if I knew I could probably build one myself. Actually, anyone can build a reasonable rail crane without buying this set, thereís nothing special (ie, a 4 speed gearbox piece, CV joints or a boat hull) that would keep you from doing so.

I think most collectors will buy this set for the parts, such as the doors, windows and the like, which arenít found in anything but Model Team and Train sets. I actually bought it for the model, as I wanted something like this in my Train layout. Of course, I only have one other piece of cargo rolling stock (a 4537 Twin Tank Transport), but Iím sure my collection will grow.

My 4552 is pulled by my 7760 9V clone (made in red from 7720 parts) and rolls around rather nicely. It has a nice collection of pieces Ė even outside the Train exclusives Ė like the large observation window for the crane cab, the winch pieces, the tools, and the detail pieces like grilles.

Ratings

Set Rating:Must-Have

The set comes a large amount of LEGO Train parts, so itís a great addition to any Train layout. The price of the set is actually better than buying all the parts separately. I can imagine Train enthusiasts buying this set just for the wheels and doors.

Model Rating:Excellent

The model is really quite stylish and realistic. Itís so much better than the techno/space-like models of current Town sets.

Playability Rating:Excellent

I will assume most Train collectors wonít be younger children, so Iím going to guess the playability will be high for those kids who will like to play with the cargo, the crane, and all the little tools and bits.

Likes/Dislikes

  • Liked the design, pieces, colours.
  • Disliked the fact that the set is not available in retail stores.

    Elements

  • 9v Wheelsets (six)
  • Magnetic Couplers (four)
  • Extendable Town Crane Mechanism (red)
  • Green Train Door (pair)
  • 2x3 White Train Windows (two)
  • 4x2 White Train Window

    Decals

    Attractive, Do Not Cover Multiple Bricks
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Calum Tsang 21 tsangc@ecf.utoronto.ca http://www.io.org/~tsangc/lego.html Train, Town, Boats, sometimes Technic.

    I definitely buy LEGO Train stuff for a layout.


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