By Fred Keislair

Movie Clip

Once upon a time there was a Dutch fire fighter who made a radio controlled fire truck. He took his model to a model group with a lot of other model builders of radio controlled vehicles. This group had a large lay-out to display their model trucks to the audience at events and meetings. This Dutchman was the first with a fire truck and he drove around the complete lay-out with light and siren but there was no fire at the lay-out and no fire house to park his truck.
So one evening at a club meeting he proposed to make a fire house for his first and his two future scale model fire trucks. The other members liked the idea but weren’t too enthusiastic. Just wait and see thought the Dutch fire fighter.

This all happened at the end of 2005. I was thinking of making a copy of the famous FDNY Ten House, because my next two models would be FDNY units. But I was also fond of the 1:64 scale Pine Canyon Scale Models fire house with the three apparatus bays. In the meeting with the model group society we decided that the Pine Scale fire station would be the most suitable for the lay-out. (Ten House was definitely easier to make, but I also liked the Pine Scale station more)

A big advantage was that there were a lot of pictures of all sides of that model station, and since there was no scale drawing I used them to make a sketch of the station in the scale of my fire trucks (that is 1:14) Specifications of the building were made, and included enough clearance at the doors to get in and out of the apparatus bays real easy, and have enough length to accommodate the future TDA also.

Measurements of the total building came out to approx. 85 x 125 cm, and 57 cm height. (this is without the office and tower) The whole building is made using 4 mm. MDF wood, with painting frame ornament strips and printed brick stone cardboard sheets. The arches above the apparatus bays were made with an extra strip of MDF, but the stones were put on almost one by one, since they are at a 90º angle with the other stones on the wall. The roll-up doors are made of plastic, consisting of five elements so they can and will be made functional in the future. Most of the work was done during the dull evening watch hours at my station, but at the end also a lot was done at my home.

The signs on the front wall are for Engine Co. 39, the model I’m currently building (Squad 61) and the future Ladder Co. These signs are made detachable so I can change the place of the vehicles. The sign for the station is also detachable and can be changed into FDNY ( as soon as the Squad unit is housed there) or any other name I like.

The building is constructed with snap-on connectors, so all the walls and the roof of the main building, the rear extension and office can be taken apart for easy transportation. The roof is covered with a sort of blanket, that comes from a HO model railroad firm. Then it is used to make rough dark earth farmland in HO dioramas, but for me it was very suitable for the roof. ( for more pictures see )

The ventilators at the roof were made using furniture drawer knobs from the local hardware shop. These are also necessary to lift the roof of the building. Future additions to the station will be; the open and closing of the roll-up doors, an alert-tone and dispatch message, amber warning lights on both sides of the street, and some details to the fire station ground. Detailing will include, a street map of the town on the inside wall of the building, a basketball bucket mounted on one of the outside walls, a car wreck used in a MVA rescue drill, and some other small elements.

I started in January with the construction and deadline was a big event on the 11th,  and 12th of March. On the Friday evening before the event the last work was done, and still not all the roll-up doors were ready. But that was not a big problem, at least one should be fixed in the open position, to allow my model to drive in and out. The other spare bay was used to park the Highway Chevy model as a parade piece. A Battalion Chief’s car is placed next to the office building. This model already has functional emergency lights, will have a siren and working head and rear lights and will also be a RC model.  

At this event the Sweet Lake City Fire Station No. 1 was first shown to the members and the audience. They were really enthusiastic and I got many big compliments, and I must say, that did me good. I had worked hard the last few weeks on making the station and several times even until late in the evening.

But the most satisfying thing was backing-up the engine in the station, and turn-out of the station on a run, starting the engine, switching on the lights, warning lights and siren, it almost was like real.

That not only the audience liked the station I discovered the second day of the exhibition. When I got back to the model fire station early that morning and wanted to place my RC model in the apparatus bay I saw a young Dalmatian dog sitting next to the Chevy Fire truck. He must have entered the abandoned building during that night, but now he refused to leave my scale model fire house. So I let him stay and named him ….. Sparky.

Now if you think I can play around happily ever after……. No I can’t ! Because even if I drive around for hours on the lay-out, there is no fire or even a little bit of smoke to be seen anywhere, so that is the next challenge that has to be taken care of !!! ( to be continued )  


Next time I will give you all an up-date on the Squad 61 model. As you will understand progress was low the last few months, but now that the Station is ready to show to the audience work will recommence on the squad model.

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