This train set was among the last Varney-branded HO train items and went on to serve Life-Like in the early 1970s. The Big Hook Crane & Circus Set (stock number #1P5 in 1970) provided examples of the newest HO diesel locomotive model in Life-Like’s line in 1970 and included examples of the most exciting rolling stock selections inhabiting the company’s catalog at the time.
The Yugoslavian-made Alco RS-11 diesel locomotive served as the set’s motive power and was illustrated in catalogs in red Green Bay & Western colors of red with gray horizontal band and black frame, walkways, trucks, and tanks. You could also purchase Life-Like’s Big Hook set with the two other initially offered Alco RS-11 road names: Penn Central and Southern Pacific. The rolling stock included a 40-foot gondola with removable and well detailed containers, circus car, and crane car. The only caboose in the line in 1970 was the center-cupola New England-style and it was provided in the set, though illustrations suggest road names for the locomotive and this caboose did not necessarily match. The set included Life-Like signs and additional details, as well as a dump truck in early images of this set. Included in the set was track and power pack. Life-Like shows a $35 retail in 1970 and the number for this set changes to T449 in 1971. The blue-and-gray Delaware & Hudson RS-11 is included as an available road name for the Big Hook set by 1972. The set is absent Life-Like catalogs around 1974.