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As I kid I was always confused by the description of the 7823 Container Depot 7823 Container Depot in the Lego Catalogues:

..."The crane can be raised so container ships can be loaded."

An example can be seen in this scan of a 1988 UK catalogue.

Now as an AFOL I am still confused by this. I still have the set from my childhood and although the end of the crane gantry does hinge up, it doesn't give the crane any extra reach. I suppose it is possible that the train track could be removed and the base plate be placed right next to the 'dock side' to use the crane to load/unload ships, but even then is it really necessary to raise the end of the gantry? There is already a lot of height clearance even without the gantry end raised.

Can anyone shed any light on what the Lego Group meant by this description?

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I think by 'crane' they are referring to the hook. The hook can be moved by rotating the winch tied to the string. Looking at the instructions there doesn't appear to be any other possibility. –  Ambo100 Jul 22 '12 at 20:03
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@Ambo100 - I understand your thinking here but why would they specifically mention 'container ships' rather than just talk about the cargo on the rail cars? Also, they don't mention 'lowered' only 'raised, this fact coupled with the otherwise seemingly pointless hinge on the end of the gantry still makes me think they are referring to this ability to raise the hinged end of the gantry. Maybe there is a 'Lego scene' out there somewhere in an old catalogue or instruction book that shows this set loading a container ship that would solve the mystery? :-) –  mcqwerty Jul 22 '12 at 20:33
    
At least the same catalog does have a cargo ship. I assume raising the hinged part allows the crane to stick out further and maybe reach far enough to load a ship, but it's strange anyway. –  Joubarc Aug 13 '12 at 9:26
    
Perhaps it is a translation issue? Does anyone have a non-English copy of the same catalogue? Is the wording any different? –  Kramii Sep 16 '13 at 8:52
    
If it's a translation issue and they meant "ship container" instead of "container ship", then Ambo100's suggestion makes even more sense - they would just mean you can lift/lower containers, and the meant the same containers as found on the cargo ship. I looked at the instructions again and the whole hinge thing just doesn't make that much sense, except to ease building. –  Joubarc Sep 16 '13 at 19:23

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Whilst there is quite a bit of clearance on the crane as it stands, the Container Ship (4030) was quite a high sided beast - although you can see that better on the catalogue page:

Container Ship

I would think that a bit of extra height from the hinge would be useful to make it over the edges of the ship - assuming you haven't raised the crane's base.

The alternative answer is that they are trying to make the model more real-world accurate, where the cranes lift up as the ship comes in, and then go back to flat to load:

New York Container Cranes by Michael J. Treola Photography

Loading Cargo on Shutterstock

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