Playing with Fire

Top Ten, 2006

By Michael J. Legeros

 
Again reviewing the year in the die-cast, and if my records are correct, I acquired 45 new releases from nine companies: Athearn (1), Code 3 (2), Corgi/National Motor Mint Museum (4), Del Prado (19), Die-Cast Promotions (2), Hallmark (1), Signature/National Motor Mint Museum (2), Siku (3), Tomica (9), and Yat-Ming (2). Great year for classics, that's for sure. The flood continued from Del Prado, as well. Didn't buy nearly as many Code 3 and any non-NMMM Corgi, however. Tomica released two neat new toolings as part of their regular releases, an 8x8 airport crash truck and a new heavy rescue. And this year's Hallmark ornament, a GMC front-mount pumper, was fun. Now, my top ten...
 
 
1. Athearn Ford C telesquirt, 1:50 - Their second O scale fire apparatus tooling arrived early in the year and, like last year's Ford C pumper, it's a solid die-cast version of their HO and N scale plastic pieces. Working outriggers are a nice touch, too. Pictured is the prototypically accurate version, lettered for Gardner, IL. Maybe, oh maybe we'll see the Ford C rescue someday.  
       
       
2. Code 3 Pierce Quantum pumper-tanker, 1:50 - Lettered for LaFayette Fire Company in Lancaster, PA, this colorful piece was one of only two Code 3 Collectibles added to the collection this year. The other was the Vegas Pierce Snozzle. 'Twas a year of repaints that rarely struck my fancy. Ditto for the funny-looking ALF Century series.  
       
       
3. Del Prado 1999 Iveco 190E pumper, 1:64 - The World Fire Engines series wrapped with a whopping 150 releases, the last 40 of which hit the streets in '06. This Iveco pumper and tunnel response unit lettered for Valle d'Asota exemplifies the level of detail associated with their European rigs. Alas, their American counterparts are never quite as nice. But judge for yourself, as select releases are now available via a new US importer.  
       
       
4. Del Prado 2004 Ural pumper, 1:64 - This piece is an excellent example of the variety of the apparatus featured in the World Fire Engines series both this year and throughout the series. Who expected three Russian rigs, much less an 1888 aerial ladder, a 1988 UK command van, or a 2005 Pierce quint?  
       
       
5. Die-Cast Promotions 1975 GMC pumper, 1:16 - Giant-scale die-cast doesn't get much better than this. Lettered for the fictional Mt. Pleasant Fire Department, this lime-yellow monster has bells and whistles to spare. The opening compartment doors are a treat, as are the working booster reel covers. The flexible hose bed cover might be the nicest touch. You just have to find the space for the thing. Also available in red and with slightly different flourishes.  
       
       
6. NMMM/Corgi 1936 Seagrave pumper, 1:50 - This one's the best of the year's new toolings. Says me. The Reo seems a bit small and the Maxim seems a bit bowed. Didn't get the Mack C. Waiting on a Corgi Classics version of that one. Didn't get or keep any of the non-NMMM Corgi Classics in 2006, either. Though the special edition Mack L for Chicago had some nice touches, the price seemed too high for the level of detail.  
       
       
7. Siku Rosenbauer crash truck, 1:50 - Equal parts toy and collectible, Siku produced a worthy successor to their beloved Metz/Faun crash truck. The wheels steer with the light tower, a nice touch, and the thing has that hefty "this is die-cast" feel that is missing from the smaller scales. Wish the flip-up side panels revealed detail and not an empty compartment. Maybe someone can kit-bash that. Siku's Mercedes aerial ladder, also 1:50, this year is also splendid. Nice pair of late-year releases.  
       
       
8a. Tomica Limited Vintage Nissan Patrol pumper, 1:64 - Four fire vehicles were released in the Tomica Limited Vintage range. The pumpers appeared as pair. Both included accessory packs with very small, very delicate ladders and poles.  
       
       
8b. Tomica Limited Vintage Nissan Jr. pumper, 1:64 - The two pumpers were distinctly different toolings, and each was released with a choice of two departments.  
       
       
8c. Tomica Limited Vintage Toyopet Crown, 1:64 - This Tokyo chief's car is a special edition of an earlier Limited Vintage release.  
       
       
8d. Tomica Limited Vintage Toyota FS45V ambulance, 1:64 - Like the pumpers later in the year, this fire department ambulance was released with a choice of two departments.  
       
       
9 Yat-Ming 1939 American LaFrance pumper, 1:24 - The first of the year's two releases replicated the shapely curves and sleek lines of the American LaFrance 500 Series. Well-detailed as always, this one might only be improved upon as an open cab edition. Lettered for Freeport, ME.  
       
       
10. Yat-Ming 1958 Seagrave Pumper, 1:24 - The year ended on a splendid note with another instant classic from Yat-Ming.  Lettered for Somers, NY, this beauty includes wee fire helmets in addition to the many pairs of rubber boats. Easily the must-have release of 2006.  
       
       

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