Playing with Fire

Japanese Apparatus


By Michael J. Legeros


This month, a celebration of Japanese fire apparatus both miniature and full-scale. Below are some of my favorite die-cast versions, followed by several Japanese-language apparatus galleries. Some of the sites are photo-intensive, while others link to others. Be sure to click around. Next to last is a gallery of equipment of the Tokyo Fire Department.

The difference between Japanese rigs and their North American counterparts are many. Red appears the universal color, with white reserved for EMS. Rescue baskets are favored over platform ladders. Suction hoses are coiled. Tractor-drawn rigs are rare and specialized units range from the usual (lighting, breathing air, etc.) to the not-so-usual (remote-controlled robots, heavy equipment for earthquakes, etc.). Other interesting features include detachable hose carts, cranes on heavier rescues, and really tall ladders. Like 50 meters tall, which is 164 feet to the rest of us.

Enjoy your visit overseas and if you can't read Japanese either, here's a good translation site. Kampai!

The models:







The links:

The descriptions, left to right, top to bottom:

  • 1995 Mitsubishi/Morita pumper (Del Prado/1:43)

  • 1993 Toyota/Nikki pumper (Del Prado/1:50)

  • 1970s Isuzu pumper (Tomica Dandy/1:58)

  • 2003 Nissan/Nikki ladder (Del Prado/1:80)

  • 1990s Hino/Morita ladder (Tomica/1:139)

  • 1985 Nissan/Morita ladder (Del Prado/1:64)

  • 1995 Hino/Morita platform (Del Prado/1:43)

  • 2003 Hino/Nikki platform (Del Prado/1:72)

  • 1990s Hino/Morita tanker (Del Prado/1:87)

  • 2002 Morita "firefighting ambulance" (Del Prado/1:50)

  • 1995 Hino/Morita rescue (Del Prado/1:64)

  • 1990s Nissan rescue (Tomica/1:100)

  • 1970s Tokyu crash truck (Tomica/1:130)

  • 1970s Fuso armored foam truck, hand-detailed (Shinsei/1:78)

  • 1990s Morita crash truck (Del Prado/1:87)

  • 1990 Rainbow 5 (Del Prado/1:43)

  • 2000s Toyota Megacruiser (Tomica/1:66)

  • 1992 Super Fighter, also armored. Wild (Del Prado/1:64).

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


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Copyright 2017 by Michael J. Legeros