Pros: One of the coolest toys ever.
Cons: Can't switch crane arm attachments remotely.
Note: Any Rokenbok collection has to start with a Starter Set which includes the Command Center, Controller Pad and RC Vehicle. For more information on the Starter Set see my review - Read the Starter Set review
About the RC Tower Crane
This Christmas my inlaws were coming to stay with us for a few weeks and being Grandparents they wanted suggestions for a toy that would make a big impact on my son. Something that they could play with our kindergartner. I steered them toward the Rokenbok RC Tower Crane and we were all delighted on Christmas morning. Who wouldn't love a real working crane of their very own?
The first impression one gets with the crane is how big it is. The box is huge but when you open it, you begin to understand how truely large this toy is. Pictures don't do it justice - its huge! And a good thing because you'll want to reach all over your layout to use it.
Its about 27 inches long with a working span of 16 inches. It moves 360 degrees around, back and forth over the 16 inch span and up and down. The up and down part is made from Rokenbok girder pieces to you can make it as short or as long (well within reason and ceiling height restrictions) as you want.
The box includes a few barrels, balls, a little Rokenbok employee and some girders to build a simple substructure for the crane. Using elements from your Rokenbok collection you can build the crane as high off the ground as you like.
The crane is one of the coolest pieces of the Rok universe and I'd say it should be your third purchase after a few vehicles. It gives you the ability to take things from one end of the layout to another and one level to another.
If you set everything up well you can find all kinds of uses for it in different areas of your Rok setup. One cool thing I have it doing is "mining" stuff out of a bin I created. I toss all kinds of assorted junk in there - barrels and balls. If the crane comes up with assorted junk it drops it on top of a building level and then picks up the barrels (the other vehicles handle the dropped balls), the barrels are then loaded on the train and taken to the hazardous waste dump.
Before nothing I had could really pick up barrels very well except the forklift (I don't have the RC Transgripper yet) which is tedious.
I also have the crane loading up a conveyor, loading the Monorail and dropping balls into a quarry.
The Crane Has Several Attachments
Other attachments include a hook for grabbing girders, a platform for moving barrels or bins around and a bucket. After the claw, the bucket is probably the second most useful attachment. You can dump into the barrel and then the barrel can dump or tip over.
Complements Other Rokenbok Pieces
We also got the elevator this xmas which has been a great complement to the crane because you can make a great functioning building for the crane to lift stuff up to.
The challenge now is just to incorporate our whole collection into the setup. But I have to say having the crane overhead and being able to drop down into various situation has really keep everything rather compact. We have a lot of stuff going on in a 4 x 6 area.
Also the crane would make a great stand alone toy but remember you need the Start Set in order to control this and any other Rokenbok vehicles.
This "toy" is suitable for ages 5 to 99. It is by no means cheap but rather very well constructed and worth every penny in play value. Compare it to similiar offering from Playmobile and Lego which don't provide the overall RC system of interworking components and you'll find the RC Crane to be a value.
Occasionally I've seen people giving Rokenbok a bad review. They seem to approach it as a one time purchase and they complain that after they do a few things it gets boring. You have to approach these "toys" as a collection that grows, evolves and changes as you add new challenges and new items. Purchasers who have seen Rokenbok as a modern version of a train layout -- one with full control and the ability to actually move things around remotely can appreciate the beauty of this system. Plus each new purchase can breath new life into collection so it doesn't lose it play value.
NOTE: Custom Warehouse Option
Sometimes the crane is package with a warehouse building set. This includes 6 storage bins & racks, new guided roadway pieces and more for a total of 261 pieces. Nice addition but not neccessary to enjoy the crane.