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Review: 6361 Mobile Crane


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#1 LuxorV

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:27 PM

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Theme: Classic Town
Set name: Mobile Crane
Set Number: 6361
Price: 12.75 $, (?) £, 10 Euro
Pieces: 159 (+ 1 minifigure)
Year of release: 1986


Links: Peeron, Bricklink and Brickset

For me the 6361 Mobile Crane is one of those sets one builds from time to time to get the feel of the old days, when it was new and he/she was just a kid with the most wonderful of the toys and all the time in the world to play with it.

The Box

(Pictures in this part were taken by dr_spock. Thank you my friend!)

Front

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The box art shows the Mobile Crane in action on some random out-doors landscape. Maybe the Worker is there to deliver the first tools to start a building site? I don’t know how others may feel about it, but I just wish TLG artists added some more details to it.


Back

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As usual for the time, the back of the box shows a series of alternate models, ranging from a small 4x4 jeep to a crane & truck duo. My personal favourite one is the tow truck in the lower left portion of the picture. What about yours?


Good old times!

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A notable info about the box is that this set includes a nice plastic tray. Just like the box, unfortunately I do not have mine anymore. As a matter of fact, I did not even remember about this detail.
Again, thanks to dr_spock for providing the picture of yet another cool feature of this great set!

More pics of the sides of the box can be found in this post by dr_spock, or simply scrolling down in this thread.


Contents

Inside

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The box contains a nice amount of parts in 4 colours (Black, Blue, Light Grey and Yellow) plus 1 minifigure. The number of pieces is probably a bit over the standard for a set of this size, which is always a good thing.
When I got the set, I was very happy to see the ‘square’ windscreen, which was new for me (and still is the only one I own). It fits perfectly the idea of a big truck and looks way better then the classic ‘angled’ one.
The colour scheme is the classic Yellow & Black of the LEGO City/Town construction line, and it is consistent with later sets.


Recoloured parts

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There are only a couple of recoloured parts in this set: the Black Lever Small Base with Light Gray Lever and the Yellow Wheel 8mm D. x 6mm. Not much to rejoice here, but still something nice to add to our inventories.
On the other hand, the Black Lever Small Base with Light Gray Lever seem to have grown more popular as time passed, as I see I have quite a lot of them in my inventory (mostly from recent sets, i.e. in Light Bluish Grey).


New pieces

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New pieces include: Black Crane Arm Center, Hook, Metal 1 x 4 x 1, Panel 1 x 2 x 3 - Closed Studs and Crane Arm Outside, Old Narrow with Black Moving Pattern.
The metal hook and the Crane arm parts are among my all-time favourites. Actually, I feel a slight sense of happiness any time I see this part, for the memories it brings back.
The fact that the Crane Arm Outside also sports a nice printing is another bonus!


Instructions

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The ‘cover’ (the instructions in this set are not in book format, but in single-sheet format, as it was standard for the day) shows the set in action, with the minifigure operating the crane without touching the controls. Is this some kind of remote he’s using or is there a telepathic contact between the crane and the operator?
As said before, I find the empty background a bit disappointing, but it allows the set to be the centre of attention.


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The ‘back cover’ shows the completes set and the minifigure getting ready to work. Notice the cool ‘feet’ feature in the two lower panels. We’ll get back to it later, but you can already get an idea of how it works.
As you can also see in the picture below, the instructions do not give any indication about the way the feet (dish part) are stored when the vehicle moves. All we get is a glimpse in these ‘back cover’ pictures. It would seem the dishes are simply stacked one above the other in front of the crane.


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The instructions are standard fare for the times and the only notable bit is the Bar 1 x 6 with Studs Open, which appears to be more Dark than Light Grey for some reason. Small boxes show detailed steps from time to time, but no call-outs are shown, as typical in older instructions.
I find the background to be neutral enough to allow an easy recognition of the parts and building steps and to convey a relaxing sense of ‘outdoor-ness’ to the set.


Minifigure

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This happy worker looks fine in his black overall and he’s ready to take his mobile crane wherever it might be needed.
One of the things I find most interesting about LEGO Town/City workers is how the style of their hard-hats never changed in over 33 years, while the minifig concept passed through a process involving the re-styling of the head expressions and torso printing, various arm and hand special modifications and a lot of major accessories’ evolution.


Building

Start

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The build starts from the container. A nice blue box that can hold whatever cargo we wish to move with our mighty crane. It can be easily replicated, adding to the playability of the set.
In the end, nothing says (mobile) crane more than having a good solid container to move around.


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We start by building the chassis. Nothing too complex, but some nice solutions are used. For example, the small Trans-Red 1x1 Tiles for the stop lights, and early SNOT detail. Notice the small arms; we’ll get back to their function later on.


Adding details

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The plain black chassis gets covered with some bright yellow parts. I love the little details like the crane controls and exhaust pipes!

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The big Black Turntable 4 x 4 Square Base with Top in the rear portion of the vehicle is what allows the crane to move. Quite interestingly, it raises 1/3 of brick over the yellow tiles. This means that the base of the crane does not need the smooth surface to move freely, as it could not get caught in the studs below it anyway.


The cab

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Just a view of the cab, with the steering wheel well encased in the squared windshield. The space is a bit cramped, but this is a working machine, not a leisure car.
The only thing I really miss is a couple of openable doors.


Where is my crane?

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Finally, we get to the very heart of this set, the big crane. The build is again quite simple, but very effective. Notice how the Yellow String Reel Winch is independent from the part supporting the crane arm. This was probably designed to allow an easy detachment of the winch to fix eventual hitches with the string.

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One of my favourite solutions is the use of the Yellow Hinge Tile 1 x 2 1/2 with 2 Fingers on Top to keep the string in position.


Finished set

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The finished set looks pretty nice and functional. The small arms we noticed before are used to hold and move in position the ‘feet’ which stabilise the crane during operations.
Even if it’s not the most impressive of vehicles, this mobile crane conveys a feel of compact power and efficiency, while still looking proportionate in a Classic Town context.


Full frontal

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In this front view, you can see how compact and squared the cab is. It gives a pretty good feel of a heavy load hard working machine. And still it is a 4-studs wide truck, meaning it will work well in any Classic Town environment, unlike the monster trucks we have seen in recent years.
You also get an idea of the standard operational height of the crane. Of course, this is not its normal position when the vehicle moves. We’ll get to see it later on.


Rear view

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From this angle you can get a better view of the rear feet and their ‘sockets’ in the rear bumper, just above the lower stop lights. I like the fact that this truck has two sets of stop lights, as the lower ones are not visible from the rear when the feet are retreated.
Not much to say on the crane here, as we already covered this part.


Side view

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We are now ready to move to the next location, and the crane (except for the feet) has been readied for travel. The crane has been lowered and it leans on the roof of the cab, with the hook dangling in front of the windshield. This reminds me of one of the first scenes from Terminator 3…
In this picture you can also see the 1/3 of a brick gap between the main body of the truck and the base of the crane, as we mentioned before.


In action

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As you can see, they work pretty well, as the crane is stable even when lifting heavy loads. The movements of the crane as smooth, and the ‘feet’ feature is a very nice touch.
The only smaller issue is evident when one tries to attach the container to the hook: the morphology of the parts makes it a little difficult to get them to work smoothly. But if one gets the right orientation, they connect pretty easily. It just requires a little practice.


Bonus images

Somebody ordered and R2 unit here?

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What a surprise for our Worker when he found out what the source of all those beep-ing sounds was!


Final comments

Overall, this small/medium-sized set is very nice to build and play with. It is a great addition to all the City/Town dioramas, and it looks more proportionate than those monster cranes we saw in recent years. The choice of colours is pretty nice too, seeing as the blue container makes an appealing contrast with the black & yellow crane. Moreover, the container itself can be easily replicated, adding to the playability of the set.

Design & Colour scheme - 9/10 (Very well proportioned and efficient. The only con is the lack of openable doors. Yellow & Black in tradition with the LEGO construction line; the Blue container adds to the variety. No complaints whatsoever.)
Minifig - 10/10 (A happy worker to drive/operate our crane. It could be argued that two minifigs would have added more play value, but I feel the set is well balanced as it is.)
Parts - 9/10 (Great variety of useful parts, a reasonable amount of new pieces, and even a cool printed one! I have only had problems with the small arm parts in the past, as they tended to break quite easily for the plastic was brittle. In this review, I used newer ones which seem to have less problems in this sense, probably due to a change in the plastic over the years.)
Playability – 10/10 (The movements of the crane as smooth, and the ‘feet’ feature is a very nice touch. Moreover, the container can be easily replicated, adding to the playability of the set.)
Build – 8/10 (Nothing too complex, but some efficient solutions are used, like the use of the Yellow Hinge Tile 1 x 2 1/2 with 2 Fingers on Top to keep the string in position.)
Price – 10/10 (Though I did not buy this set at the current price, I find the price tag to be very good: $ 12.75 or € 10 for 159 parts and a minifigure is good in my book, especially given the current LEGO prices’ trends.)

Overall: 9.3/10 Excellent

As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome!

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#2 Fuzzylegobricks

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:40 PM

Great Review! :classic:
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#3 dr_spock

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:13 PM

Thanks for the review.  It is my favorite crane.  I still have the original box if you need more box pics.

You're correct about the outrigger fragile (space robot) arms.  I broke the clip part while playing with it.  Good thing they are available on Pick A Brick.  :classic:

You can also raise the crane off the ground by turning the "torch" around so that the protrusion part is resting under the "space robot" arm.

#4 Zoidy

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:31 PM

Another classic set I own.  Unfortunately, with the exception of the crate (which is still in existence), the crane is scattered in many parts in several boxes.  I ought to have a look to see if I still have the entire set!

In my old town it used to find work at my harbour (6541 - Intercoastal Seaport and 6542 - Launch & Load Seaport).  A common story used to involve it competing with 6352 - Cargomaster Crane for work and the operators of said vehicles getting into many comic fights, keeping my already overstretched police busy!  (Too much imagination as a child.  Even more so as a grown up now that I want to rebuild them!)

#5 LuxorV

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:51 AM

Thank you for the feedback people :sweet:

View Postdr_spock, on 26 February 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

I still have the original box if you need more box pics.
If you could spare some time to take a pic of the front and one of the back, that'd be much appreciated. Thank you :wub:

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#6 Zorbas

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:02 AM

Beautiful review LuxorV! Thanks for the fantastic classic town reviews! :cry_happy:  I love your attention to detail. :thumbup:

The set itself... :wub: A real classic vehicle from the great era. Great design, highly playable and can be combined with many other sets in order to create some very nice action scenes. For some reason, this particular minifig (black overalls, red construction helmet) was one of my all time favorites back then (and still is :wub: ).

I still have it from my childhood and I'm very lucky that it's still in excellent condition. 25 years have passed and the stickers are still in their place, both the container's one and the yellow/black sticker on the back.


View Postdr_spock, on 26 February 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

I still have the original box if you need more box pics.

If I remember correctly, the box was the "drawer-like" one. I loved those boxes.


Thanks again for the great review and the beautiful journey back in time LuxorV! :sweet:
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#7 lightningtiger

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:19 AM

Thanks 'LuxorV' for the review of this classic 4 wide crane, I like the design especially the cab...simple yet very realistic. :classic:
Now I might just sit down and design a 6 wide version of this set....hmm, let me think about ! :wink:
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#8 LEGO Guy Bri

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:05 PM

Great review LuxorV :thumbup: Love this classic city set! Great to see a review of it. This is one set I had to find :classic:
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#9 dr_spock

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:14 AM

View PostLuxorV, on 27 February 2011 - 09:51 AM, said:

Thank you for the feedback people :sweet:


If you could spare some time to take a pic of the front and one of the back, that'd be much appreciated. Thank you :wub:


Hi LuxorV.  Here are the pics of my box.

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Zorbas, it came with a nice plastic tray.   :classic:

View Postlightningtiger, on 27 February 2011 - 10:19 AM, said:

Thanks 'LuxorV' for the review of this classic 4 wide crane, I like the design especially the cab...simple yet very realistic. :classic:
Now I might just sit down and design a 6 wide version of this set....hmm, let me think about ! :wink:
Brick On Everyone ! :grin:

I tried last year with a 6 wide yellow crane http://www.eurobrick...showtopic=37146

Still not as good as the old 6361.   :classic:

#10 LuxorV

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:59 PM

View Postdr_spock, on 28 February 2011 - 03:14 AM, said:

Hi LuxorV.  Here are the pics of my box.
Thank you very much, my friend :wub:

I added them to the review with due credit and a couple of lines to comment them :wink:

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#11 Zorbas

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:05 PM

View Postdr_spock, on 28 February 2011 - 03:14 AM, said:

Zorbas, it came with a nice plastic tray.   :classic:

Thanks for the feedback!
Beautiful photos dr_spock! The back of the box... :cry_happy:

That was the kind of box I was refering to. :thumbup:  I said "drawer-like" because I had the habit of using it as a drawer for minifigs, pieces etc back then. The only thing that was different was the tray. Mine was a paper/cardboard tray and to be honest, it's the first time I see this particular plastic one.


View PostLuxorV, on 26 February 2011 - 06:27 PM, said:

My personal favourite one is the tow truck in the lower left portion of the picture. What about yours?

Mine was the right one. A vehicle and a crane from one set. :sweet:
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#12 escortmad79

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:40 PM

I had that crane as a child, great model :thumbup:

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#13 dr_spock

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 04:02 AM

View PostLuxorV, on 28 February 2011 - 04:59 PM, said:

Thank you very much, my friend :wub:

I added them to the review with due credit and a couple of lines to comment them :wink:

You're welcome.  I guess it is good to hang onto Lego boxes for 25 years. :classic:


View PostZorbas, on 28 February 2011 - 08:05 PM, said:

Thanks for the feedback!
Beautiful photos dr_spock! The back of the box... :cry_happy:

That was the kind of box I was refering to. :thumbup:  I said "drawer-like" because I had the habit of using it as a drawer for minifigs, pieces etc back then. The only thing that was different was the tray. Mine was a paper/cardboard tray and to be honest, it's the first time I see this particular plastic one.


Thanks.  It might be a country specific packaging.  Way back then, Lego in Canada was packaged by Samsonite.  It may be different in other countries.



My favorite alt vehicle on the box is the tow truck.  Those were the days when you had to figure out how to do the alternative builds yourself based on pictures instead of instruction sheets.

#14 legomaniac83

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:35 AM

Great review! I wanted this set the moment I set eyes on it in this catalogue. Luckily I found it thanks to eBay, and paid a ridiculous amount for it.
Glad it's in my collection as it's one of my favorite sets.

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