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Doc's Merkur Tower Crane and Erector Replica

Hi folks, Doc here, and I have something new for you. Actually, it's a twist on my earlier feature in which I set out to replicate selected Erector models using Merkur parts. This time out, I started with a Merkur model design, the tower crane, which is featured in the large M8 manual. Then, I attempted to replicate the design, as closely as possible, using Classic Period Erector parts. But before we get to that Erector version, let's look at the original Merkur design.

I gotta tell you, I LOVE this model. Although the photos really don't do it justice, the finished product is beautiful: an elegant design that is the perfect blend of size, shape, simplicity, function, and even color. As you can see, the model has three main sections: a tall, slender tower, a long movable boom, and a wheeled base. The crane boom is attached to the top of the tower, where it pivots freely on an axle shaft; the tower itself is attached to the base, and rotates 360º. A rectangular extension at the bottom of the tower houses two manual cranks that are used to raise and lower the boom itself as well as any payload the crane is lifting.

To facilitate boom raising, the model makes uses of a block and tackle assembly (see photos). If you ever wondered why such a device is used in similar, real world scenarios, connect the boom directly to its crank first, then take a few turns to lift it a bit. Next, add the block and tackle and repeat the process. You won't believe the difference - really slick.



Now, on to my Erector equivalent of the Merkur Tower Crane. The photos below show a side-by-side comparison of the two versions, and illustrate the scale differential that exists between the two construction systems (see my feature on this topic). For reference, the Merkur version is 26" tall; the tower is just over 2" square. The Erector version is 31" tall; the tower is 3" square.

As I say, my goal was to replicate the Merkur design as closely as possible. To do so, I looked for an Erector equivalent for every part in the original design. Despite the many differences between the two systems, I was unable to match only a few parts, and the resulting Erector version of the tower crane is a remarkably good facsimile.