Building and Documenting a Fully Functional 1/12 Scale P&H 1015 Crane

Thomas Garing stands with his 1/12 scale model P&H 1015 crawler lattice boom crane.

Thomas Garing stands with his 1/12 scale model P&H 1015 crawler lattice boom crane. Even at scale, the boom can extend to nine feet.


Thomas Garing has been interested in crawler mounted cranes for many years. In fact, his curiosity with these machines started at just six years old while living near the water in Baldwin, NY. Thomas recalled spending all day watching a nearby Bucyrus Erie Dragline crane dig canals for new waterfront housing. His interest didn’t wane, and over the years Thomas collected information on a 1960’s vintage P&H model 1015 (110-ton capacity) crawler mounted crane.

The ultimate goal was to make a scratch-built scale model of the vintage crane. While this venture took many years, the final product is a sight to behold. In 2021, Tom completed the design, construction, and documentation of a fully operational, radio-controlled 1/12 scale P&H crane model. Tom’s finished model, which is detailed below, faithfully replicates all of the features of the original crane.

A Project Spanning Decades

Now, the process of scratch-building a 1/12 scale crane was no small task. It took years of intermittent research and planning to get the details right. Thomas noted, “Early in my professional career I worked as a design engineer for a large international food producer. At that time, I began to collect OEM information, source components, and create sketches of my project.”

However, Thomas started a family in 1971, and the project was put on the back burner for some time. The crane model was crated up and traveled with the Garing family as they moved to the Central Valley of California. After a full career in manufacturing, Thomas retired in 2013 and decided to resume the modeling project. It was fully completed in 2021.

Tom's 1/12 scale P&H 1015 crane at work.

Tom’s model P&H crane is set up in dragline configuration with a 6′ boom. The crane is relocating a miniature “swamp mat.”

Tom's scale model crane setting down miniature swamp mats.

In this photo, Tom’s scale model crane is setting down the swamp mats. The small flatbed trailer was also built at 1/12 scale.

About the Model

Now, Tom’s model crane is a 1/12 scale fully functional, radio-controlled (8-channel) replica of a 1960’s vintage P&H 1015 lattice boom crawler mounted crane. The scale crane is powered by a 12-volt, 22 amp/hr LiFePO4 battery which is mounted at the rear of the cab.

The model’s left and right crawler treads are independently powered with 12-volt gearmotors. They propel the model at a scale speed of 60 inches per minute.

The single boom hoist drum, two cable hoist drums, and the cab swing are powered by modified 12-volt windshield wiper motors (worm gear) from late model VW’s. The lattice boom is a hybrid design that utilizes select straight 5/16″ diameter oak and 36″-long corner rods, with 1/8″ diameter poplar lattice members. However, the boom areas of stress concentration, including the boom tip section, boom end sections, and boom base section, are 50/50 soldered brass fabrications.

A full view of the 1/12 scale P&H crawler mounted crane.

This view offers a unique persepective of the 9′ boom. The crane has a 4-part block and a cannon ball hook.

Documenting the Build

Along with scratch-building the scale model crane, Tom also took the extra step of documenting his project in great detail. He made over 100 engineered drawings, took thousands of photos, made a bill of materials, and compiled additional information to produce comprehensive instructions for this model. Tom also made several videos that he uploaded to YouTube with regard to the 1/12 scale P&H crane. View all of Tom’s build videos for the model crane.

For anyone interested in making this crane model, the full set of plans is available for purchase. Tom noted that the plans include a Crane Model 1015 DIY flash drive with 7 gb of digital information. This includes: 117 component and assembly pdf sketches; a bill of materials; over 2,700 construction photos; a 66-page owner’s manual; full-size crane photos; and various OEM manuals.

The 1/12 scale P&H crane in dragline configuration.

The 1/12 scale P&H crane in dragline configuration with a 6′ boom.

A close-up of the model crane cab.

A close-up of the model crane cab with a six inch tall figure sliding the access door open.

Tom estimated that it might take an average hobby machinist about 1,200 hours to fabricate the model crane from the offered plans. He noted that access to a metal lathe and mill, along with the knowledge to use them, are required for this project. 

He suggests using a lathe with at least a 7″ swing over bed x 16″ distance between centers (minimum). As for the mill, it should have 15″ x 7.5″ table travel minimum. One of Tom’s YouTube videos is devoted to the tools required for the model crane.

A sample page of instructions from the P&H 1015 crane model plans.

A sample page of instructions from the P&H 1015 crane model plans. Many more photographs are included in the instructions.

Tom Garing stands with his finished 1/12 scale P&H 1015 crane.

Tom Garing stands with his finished 1/12 scale P&H 1015 crane.

View more photos of Tom Garing’s impressive scale model P&H 1015 crane.

Artisan added: September 29, 2022 - Last modified: October 6, 2022

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship