One of the longest lived models in Dinky Toys history was the 25h (250) Streamlined Fire Engine. First introduced around 1936, halted in 1941 due to WWII, then re-introduced in 1946, and made until 1957. Some report that it was still made up until 1962.
One of the earliest versions was the 25k Streamlined Fire Engine with Firemen. This little model featured 6 stamped, embossed tinplate firemen, with hand painted faces and helmets. Only made from around 1939 through 1941, then discontinued. Here is a close-up of the firemen:
The early post war models had plain black wheels, and a baseplate with simulated drive train, early 1950’s versions had red wheels, and finally, from the mid-1950’s they had a silver painted ladder, and the last ones also had treaded tires.
The early post war baseplate, with simulated drive train:
The later 1950’s plain baseplate:
The next photo shows all of these four major versions……..
In trying to find the original prototype that Dinky Toys based this toy on, a collector found a photo in the Meccano Magazine from April 1935. Talkmodeltoys (2003-11) showed this photo of the Merryweather and Sons Ltd of London fire engine:
Photograph by David John Busfield. Copyright Acknowledged.
Planetdiecast (2011-12) also discussed the prototype fire engine. so this truck was a very popular model for a very long time and collectors continue to talk about it!
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Oxford Diecast has made several Fire Appliances to 1:76 scale. These are diecast in China in their own factory. Some of these models have been produced under contract for Atlas Editions and sold in their Fire Service Vehicles subscription series. It should be noted that even the models sold by Atlas have Oxford on their bases.
The Dennis F106, as modelled here, was made between 1963 and 1968. Ninety-nine vehicles were built. The version modelled is the rear pump variant with white tips to the roof ladders and an escape ladder that can be removed, though not extended, as shown below. The London Fire Brigade crest is printed on the side lockers on both sides and a lot of detail has been printed on including climbing slots and the water hose attachment points.
The Oxford model is excellent and also appears in their own range with a different registration and without the bell on the cab roof.
The escape ladder fits neatly onthe vehicle by two pins inserted into slots in the roof.
The modelling includes printing on the visibility panel in the front cab doors. Although the flashing lights on the roof are painted the translucent blue over silver paint is very effective.
The wheels too are good moulded replicas of the full size ones with the silver hub caps on the front wheels well detailed.
The front of the vehicle has an excellent grille, well printed lights and a finely printed Dennis badge. Inside the cab a basic interior is provided and the chassis underneath is a flat largely detail-less plate.
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Apart from one credited DeAgostini picture the photographs are by the author.
We have had several partworks featuring fire appliances in the last few years. The Del Prado series was a considerable disappointment to collectors as it was a complete mixture of scales. When excess stocks were sold off later collectors tended to buy the models that fitted with the scale that they collected. But many models though interesting were not in an established European collectors scale.
DeAgostini on the other hand has kept to a consistent scale for their Faszination Feuerwehr collection. However, yet again it is unlikely to please established collectors as it is to 1:72 which is a commonly used aircraft scale. It is close to the 1:76 scale which is popular in the UK but almost all the vehicles in the series are of Continental origin so are of less appeal here. It is considerably larger than the 1:87 scale so popular on the Continent which means that if the DeAgostini series is successful it must be selling to new or intermittent collectors for whom exact scale is less important. The picture below shows a selection of the models advertised by DeAgostini on their web site.
Taking advantage of some excess stock from this partwork being remaindered in the UK I bought three models to have a look at how good they are. They are all diecast in China for DeAgostini Germany to 1:72 scale some websites say that they are made by Ixo for DeAgostini but no markings confirm this.
LF 8-STA Robur LO 1800-A
This forward control vehicle was built from 1960 to 1967. The LO standing for Luftgekühlt Ottomotor, the 1800 for its payload in kilograms, and A for Allradantrieb (all wheel drive). It was powered by a four cylinder, four stroke engine delivering 70 hp.
In the version modelled it is fitted with wooden benches and a pump on the flatbed covered by a canvas tilt and is fire brigade livery. Many of these vehicles were supplied to the NVA – the pre-unification East German Army as well as to the Fire Brigades.
The model has a very high level of detailing which can be seen in the photographs. Light beacons are not only in translucent blue plastic but have the bases picked out in silver. Many small additional mouldings are used such as mirrors, lights, step bars, steps to rear, towing points and even spades to rear of the cab. A fine black washed grill is accompanied by neatly printed badging and livery. At the rear are fitted benches for the firemen a water tank area as well as a pump engine and points to attach hoses. The base has quite a bit of moulded detail.
TLF 16IFA W50
Introduced in 1969 by IFA in the former East Germany these fire appliances were based on the W50 L chassis. A steel double cab had seats for five plus the driver. Respirators are stored in the cab to fit whilst on the way to the fire. There is even a “self protection” system to spray under the cab to protect the appliance where there are surface fires or other surface contaminants.
The crew cabin is topped with horns and a nozzle to direct forward to fires. The roof is fitted with ladders and the rear with the steps to get on the roof.
To the side the vehicle was fitted with doors giving access to tools and pump controls. the piping to connect to is modelled in detail under the rear of the body.
As the photographs show this model has a lot of small additional parts fitted to bring it to life. The badging, grille and livery are printed very well. Mirrors, bumper position fitments, lights, spotlights, step and piping are all finely modelled. Take a look at the wing mirror assemblies. A metal cage is modelled and the separate mirror and its fitments moulded very neatly as if attached to it.
TLF 16 Magirus-Deutz Mercur 125 A
Here we have a vehicle from the former West Germany to contrast to the last two appliances. Again a crew cabbed appliance with ladders fitted to the roof. The distinctive rounded bonnet unit was current from the late 1950s and was popular with many municipal brigades.
As the photographs show the model is to the same high standard as the others with the hose reels beautifully painted. The billhook, boards, and hose on the roof are finely modelled and painted. Position markers, lights, mirrors, and beacons are all fine parts. The printing including the lovely Magirus symbol on the radiator and the Feuerwehr Sölingen logo is very neatly done. The photograph above shows the high quality of the wheels and tyres fitted with the matt greyish tyre finish contrasting well with the gloss steel wheels.
The only discordant element is the overscale and crude steering wheel and steering column but that is a minor comment.
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The latest model that I have received in the Atlas Dinky Trucks subscription series is a re-creation of a French Dinky toy Fire appliance. Some collectors are reported to have received a Guy Otter flatbed which can be seen on eBay so Atlas’ erratic model dispatches now seem to be affecting this series as well.
The original French Dinky model was issued in 1957 and numbered 32 E as reproduced on the Atlas reproduction box shown above. The model was later re-numbered 583. This model is based upon the Berliet GLA which had a 2.5 Litre engine.
The Atlas replica is very nicely painted and finished with white tyres and red hubs as used on the original model when it was launched. The small hose reels to the rear are on detachable trolleys and I imagine that quite a few of these models will be bought to donate these parts to original models which are missing them.
This is a rather nice model and like all this series it is made in China by Norev for Atlas.
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Ragnar Falk sends us news of an exhibition in Sweden which may be of interest to readers.
Fire at the Toy Museum! This summer’s guest exhibition at “Museihuset” – a rather special museum in Linköping, Sweden – will display model fire trucks from the Chicago Fire Department. Visitors will also get to know if it really was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that was the reason that the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, that devastated large parts of the city, was indeed started by a… cow.
Ragnar Falck will display some thirty fire-fighting vehicles and twenty other model cars in different dioramas. The models represent several die cast car manufacturers, including the world-renowned Corgi that produced several series of trucks from CFD in scales from 1:43 to 1:64. The US based company, Code 3 Collectibles, also manufactured a series of fire trucks in 1:64 scale. This company, which now has ceased production, specialized in detailed American fire trucks from fire departments across the United States. This guest exhibition at Museihuset ends on 25 September.
The museum offers a range of cars and trains, children’s contemporary toys and classic boats. The 4,500 toy cars on display are part of a collection of more than 10,000. This collection is a result of the passionate work of one dedicated collector spanning more than 60 years and is considered unique of its kind. The collection also includes model trains in the 0 scale.
The classic boat exhibition contains some of the most notable boats from days gone by. It is a composition of mainly wooden boats from canoes up to exclusive luxurious yachts formerly owned by millionaires.