Playing with Fire

Top Ten

By Michael J. Legeros


This month, Mike's top ten (plus one). If my obsessive notes are correct, I acquired about 33 fire models this year and from nine model makers: Athearn (1), Code 3 (9), Del Prado (11), Diapet (1), First Gear (1), Maisto (1), Minichamps (1), Siku (4), and Yat-Ming (4). Nothing from Corgi, though I enrolled in the National Motor Mint program in the last weeks of December. Nothing from Boley. Nothing from Tomy. And I haven't picked up the new Signature Models so far. Slow year? Maybe, or maybe I'm becoming more discriminating than ever. Whatever the reason, here are my picks for the top ten models of 2005.


1. First Gear IH TD-25 forestry dozer, 1:25 - Favorite release of the year, hands down. Big, bold, heavy hunk of deep red die-cast with FG's trademark attention to detail. This one brings out the big kid in this bigger kid.



2. Code 3 Super Pumper System, 1:64 - Whatever I've said on the matter of accuracy, it's the most ambitious and eagerly awaited Woodland Hills release in some time. And that giant packaging still cracks me up.



3. Yat-Ming 1935 Mack pumper, 1:32 - Of their five (!) fire engines this year, I like the Mack's lines the best. That tilted tailboard is strange, though the story I've heard makes perfect sense: when the Yat visited the real thing, a minor mishap sent the Mack into a tree and perhaps bent said tailboard.



4. Minichamps Mercedes tipper, 1:43 - A fire department dump truck, you say? Well, why not! I love specialty and service vehicles. Plus it's priced about half of their pumpers and ladders.



5. Code 3 Chicago Squad Set, 1:64 - Another specialty item and this one utterly unexpected. It took some time to split the set with two other buyers, but I'm happy as a clam to have mine. Wonder where that Pittman Snorkel will turn up next? I vote... Crown.



6. Code 3 Diamond Plate Squad 49, 1:32 - I'm becoming increasingly fond of larger-scale models and this one's a colorful, detail-filled beauty. The logical successor would be a DP Ladder 10, but the price-point would be staggering. Or maybe not, as the mural graphics would negate the need for opening compartment doors. Hmmmm.



7. Del Prado Iveco/Camiva Crash Truck, 1:80 - ARFF vehicles are all too uncommon in die-cast these days and this 6x6 mini monster is one of DP's best airport rigs to date.



8. Diapet Morita Crash Truck, 1:54 - Late-year arrival from Japan, one of two modern Japanese rigs in the same scale. Nice, heavy, reasonably detailed piece only somewhat marred by a glaring plastic top. Practically a sister piece to Del Prado's 1:87 6x6 version. Love those crash trucks...



9a. Siku Magirus pump, 1:50 - For $20, you get a modestly detailed alternative to what Minichamps is making in 1:43 in the $80 range. Their Magirus ladder, however, is less appealing. Wish the two-section ladder was a three- or four-section, and it didn't have a slight bow. Oh well. Both have detached wheeled reels made of metal (!).



9b. Athearn Ford C / KME pumper, 1:50 - The familiar Ford C and finally released in metal after Athearn's numerous HO and N scale plastic pieces. The Riverside County release is the prototypically accurate version and, thus, the only one in this nit-picker's collection.



10. Code 3 Baltimore tiller (in orange), 1:64 (or abouts) - Yeah, the scale is slightly wacky. Yeah, the phone booth probably isn't proper to period. Nifty model, though, and probably a kit-basher's dream.



What are your top ten models of 2005? Contact Mike Legeros. He may use your response in a future column.


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Copyright 2017 by Michael J. Legeros