by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
Mercedes-Benz Atego wrecker with platform and crane Colonia
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2012 / 09-10
Manufacturer: Mercedes Benz
New release! The vehicles of the towing and rescue specialist Colonia are known and dreaded among parking violators in Cologne. Herpa premieres the new platform wrecking vehicle with the well-known Palfinger crane and the necessary framework to lift a car. Of course all components are articulated to authentically replicate towing situations on a diorama.
IntroFire and rescue vehicles, with their shrieking sirens and flashing lights, capture the popular attention and imagination of almost everyone. Tow trucks, on the other hand, capture other emotions. However, such specialty vehicles command attention and imagination in other ways. This Atego platform wrecker with Palfinger crane is certain to be very popular.
Atego VehiclesThe Mercedes-Benz Atego is a family of rigid and articulated trucks introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 1997. Originally offering light duty and heavy duty vehicles, the second generation Atego is available only as a light duty version (Gross Vehicle Weight 5,900 Kg [6.5 ton] - 13,600 Kg [15 tons]. The vehicles are powered by a straight 4 or 6 cylinder engine of the 900 series generating from 90 KW (122 HP) up to 205 KW (279 HP), connected to a manual Mercedes Benz transmission with six and nine gears. The vehicles can also be equipped with the Telligent® Schaltautomatik system. Designed to operate in close clearances, Atego combines a low framework and high payload with good road performance.
Walk-aroundThis Atego platform wrecker with crane almost is fully assembled, and packed in a light plastic form-fitted tray. Indentations hold a bagged sprue of optional separate side view mirrors, and a bag of car caddy appliances. The tray is secured in a light cardboard box with a cellophane display window and opening ends. One end displays a metallic holographic license label by Daimler.
The molding is almost flawless. The exterior of the cab features fine recessed lines for doors and panels. The underbody is very well done, especially under the platform portion. It even has a spare tire! The chassis is detailed with the frame, a basic engine bottom and transmission, drive shaft, fuel tanks, exhaust, differential, rear axle, and suspension. An articulated rear bumper/stabilizing base with extendable tow stirrup frame is attached to it.
Close upGo to this model on Herpa's site and watch demonstrations on Herpa.TV. There’s plenty to look at and play with! First the details. Individual clear and tinted lenses simulate the headlights and signals in the grill, tail lights, and emergency lights.
The windshield wipers are part of the separate black chrome combing around the windshield. The model has slots around the cab doors where the optional side mirrors are inserted. Although the mirrors are delicate, it is a simple process. However, there is no reflective surface on the mirrors.
Above the windshield is mounted a tinted visor. Inside of the cab is a nicely detailed interior: bucket seats, the steering wheel, console, stick shift, and dashboard detailing.
Herpa engineered the soft plastic tires to slip over the rims. They display good detail. The front suspension is molded to accept optional pivoting wheel hubs.
Next, the movable parts. Atop the rear chassis is the towing platform. Herpa engineered it to slide back along a center frame to a tipping point. Then you can tip the platform to touch the surface. Underneath are two hydraulic cylinders that pivot and extend as the bed tips and moves. To steady this is that articulated rear bumper/stabilizing base with extendable tow stirrup frame. To keep the truck from tipping over on its side is and extendable landing gear unit behind the cab. These legs can be pulled down to support the truck from the side, and they slide in and out from the chassis, too. Lots of action so far and more to come: the crane!
Palfinger CraneHerpa equipped this model with a Palfinger knuckle boom crane. This knuckle boom crane appears to be a PK 9001-EH High Performance system. The crane is used to grab illegally parked cars squeezed in between other cars. To snatch a car a strong H-frame is hooked to the crane. Dangling down from the H-frame are four stirrups that, presumably, are slid under the wheels, or possible the chassis frame, to support the car. The powerful Palfinger crane lofts the car out of its enclave and onto the truck bed, to be spirited away to the impound lot! No doubt this system is also used to clean up accidents.
Herpa made the crane model to articulate and extend and swivel. A separate swivel pintle eye hook is provided to connect the H-frame to the crane hook. All four stirrups are separate and snap into holes in the H-frame.
While a basic control panel is molded onto the crane base, and components of the crane have simulated actuators, the crane lacks the few hydraulic hoses seen on the machine.
Livery and FinishThe model is molded in color. Emblems for Colonia are printed onto the cab. It amazes me how fine yet legible the printing is: please see the photos of the logos. These designs are printed – Herpa does not use decals. However, under magnification, you can see the paint is not smooth. While I did not notice this on the side company markings, “Colonia” on the front looks rough.
Hitting the roadHerpa has released another interesting and functional model. Overall molding and assembly is excellent. It is very well detailed with great fidelity. Clear and tinted lenses for the various lights lends to realism.
The movable components are a great feature. They increase my interest in this model. These allow the modeler and collector to position the model into more than a single setting. I appreciate the extra parts that allow me to set up a diorama. However, I think directions should be included as some of the functions are not readily apparent. And some moving parts, while not necessarily delicate, could be damaged if you are not familiar with the components.
The printing is incredibly fine and sharp, as Herpa is known for, but is not perfect. While the flaws in the side printing were not noticeable until I looked at it under magnification, the front logo is noticeable with the naked eye.
Overall I recommend this model as a well-detailed, nicely decorated, functional model with a great deal of possibilities for collectors and modelers.