Trumpeter 1/25 American LaFrance Eagle Fire Pumper Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2006||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||American LaFrance Eagle Fire Pumper||Scale||1/25|
|Kit Number||2506||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Excellent detailing!||Cons||No truck engine, cab doors molded closed|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$85.95|
Most of us have seen them, no matter in what part of the world we live. Fire trucks are an essential service provided by local governments for the control and containment of structure fires, industrial fires, auto accidents, etc. They're also on the spot for the periodic rescue as well. The men and women who are professional fire fighters deserve our thanks and admiration for the work they do. Those men and women who crew the volunteer fire departments get more that that as these folks go into harms way over and above their daily jobs!
Fire trucks are purpose-built machines. Ladder trucks provide the means of reaching higher access points when internal stairwells are not safe or reachable. Pump trucks tie into the water supply from fire hydrants and pump high pressure water through very long runs of hoses to where fire fighters are combating flames. Rescue trucks carry the heavy duty rescue tools as well as first aid gear to support first responder casualty care.
American LaFrance is one of the major developers of specialty fire fighting equipment. While they have common designs for their machines, it is rare to see two fire departments using the same identical configuration on their trucks. Manufacturers like American LaFrance customize each truck to meet the unique requirements of each of its customers.
So just what happens when you turn the engineering talents of Trumpeter on an engineering marvel like the modern fire truck? Simple, you get a masterpiece of a model that is as nice as anything Trumpeter has developed to date.
This kit represents a pump truck designed by American LaFrance for the College Park, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department. This is truck E121. While I don't plan to travel to College Park for field validation of this kit's accuracy, the model is very nice out of the box.
The kit is presented on seven parts trees molded in white styrene, one tree of chrome plated parts, and two trees of clear parts. A large fret of etched metal parts containing LOTS of tread plating is also included. The cab and chassis are provided separately and also molded in white styrene. An ample supply of rubber tires complete the kit.
Construction begins with the chassis and subassemblies are nicely done for the water pump, suspension, pressure tanks, and other common details you'd find under a truck. You'll be tempted to keep the chassis separate as this is a very detailed model of its own right.
Next up are the stowage compartments and main water holding tank that mount atop of the rear chassis.
The eight-place crew cab is also quite impressive in the detailing. While the cab entry doors are molded closed (pity!), you'll be able to see much of the detail through all of the windows around the cab.
With the cab, water tank, and stowage mounted to the chassis, you now set about installing all of the lights, sirens, mirrors, and other exterior details.
The chrome plated parts are nicely done and Trumpeter has taken care to ensure that the part attach points to the sprue trees are not in visible areas as much as possible so that you won't need to touch up that chrome finish. The photo-etched tread plates are also nicely done and will drop into place on the various locations around the vehicle.
As stated at the beginning, markings are provided for the vehicle that the parts were patterned after, truck E121 of the College Park, MD Volunteer Fire Department. The decals are nicely printed and will look nice on the red and white paint scheme.
This is a magnificent kit and is easily the best fire truck kit ever developed in any scale (other than 1:1 that is). This would have been an excellent opportunity to have a nicely detailed diesel engine prime mover under that cab to see, and I would have preferred one or more of the cab doors to be positionable to reveal more details rather than having to peer through the clear styrene. More experienced modelers will likely take the challenge upon themselves to address these issues as they'd like.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!