Playing with Fire

Reader Mail

By Michael J. Legeros


Let's open the mailbag again.

Regarding an earlier column on fire books, Larry Miller recommended the following four titles:

  • Fire Truck Toys for Men and Boys - Volume 1
    Ronny J. Coleman, with Raymond M. Russell.  Phoenix Press, 1981.

  • Fire Truck Toys for Men and Boys - Volume 2
    Ronny J. Coleman, with Raymond M. Russell.  Phoenix Press, 1985.

  • Miniature Emergency Vehicles
    Edward Force. Schiffer Publishing, 1995.

  • The History of American Fire Fighting Toys
    Charles Hansen.  Greenberg Publishers, 1991.

Alas, only Edward Force's book is easy to find.   He's also published several other Schiffer books, including:

  • Classic Miniature Vehicles: Made in France

  • Classic Miniature Vehicles: Made in Germany

  • Classic Miniature Vehicles: Made in Italy

  • Classic Miniature Vehicles: Northern Europe

  • Corgi Toys

  • Dinky Toys

  • Lledo Toys

  • Solido Toys.

Stories continue to appear regarding apparatus that don't quite fit their fire stations.  Deputy Chief Ken Rosol of Windsor, Connecticut remarked:

I guess we got out cheap.  When we got our new Mack Rescue 20 years ago, all we had to do was take the handles off the bay door and the protruding winch hook wore a channel in the door.

Another volunteer firefighter in northern New Hampshire related this story about their 1979 aerial ladder: 

When we took delivery, it was backed onto our apron at an angle by the manufacturer. On the first call, the rear step got caught on the apron and lifted the back wheels off the ground. Thank God the call was a false alarm. One of our volunteers owned a wrecker service, so we got the truck back in the station in about a half hour. We still operate the truck, and used to pull out and go through a person's driveway to get to the main road. This wasn't a problem until we ran over their cat in the late 1980s. Now we go through the maze of a hospital parking lot to the right of our station. Our response time is limited by about a minute.

One reader from South America has the opposite problem, with a building that is too big. Fabricio wrote:

Where I live, in Brazil, the new trucks don't have problems fitting into the station. The ceiling is so high that any truck can get in there without problems.  The only problem is when a lamp stops working on the ceiling, then they need the truck to change it.

On the subject of display cases, Duane offered his own innovative examples:

Some of my cases include a Price Club ($50) CD tower, made of oak and with ten shelves.  Each shelf fits one Franklin Mint ladder or two smaller Franklin Mint models, as well as four or five Corgi- or Code 3-sized trucks.

I also use a Price Club golf ball display case.  It looks the same upside down or right side up, except for the ball dimples. This case holds about 21 of my Matchbox Models of Yesteryear.

Both of these cases have a 1/8-inch sheet of Plexiglas, cut to size and attached with tiny screws drilled directly into the shelf edge.

Another case is an imitation oak, Barrister-style case bought at Staples.  I installed tube lights along the top.  On one shelf alone, I have well over a hundred small fire department trinkets and vehicles.

About action figures, James dropped this note:

I bought some very detailed 1/6 scale firefighters from Hot Toys ( The detail is awesome. I paid about $100 for one. The little sledgehammer has a real wood handle and a metal head. Same with the axe. The SCBA tanks are also metal and have incredible detail. I think it would be hard to beat these.

Several readers have asked about Del Prado's "World Fire Engines" models.   What are these?  Where are these?

See this FAQ of mine.

And finally, Darren in the United Kingdom asked this:

I enjoy your column.  Any chance of putting a word in with Code 3 to make a replica of a UK appliance!?

Alas, the only ear I have here is that of the Webmaster, when I submit my column. But I'd like to see an appliance as well...

A version of this column originally appeared at Code 3 Collectibles.


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Copyright 2017 by Michael J. Legeros