July 22, 2006
By:  Larry Lorance

Click on Photos to Enlarge

First Gear International 4400 Dallas Fire Rescue Model
Photo by Larry Lorance

A special thanks to Jeff's Collectibles who provided a wealth of information for this review.  Jeff has been in the die-cast toy business for 23 years. During that time he has sold and produced collectible cars, trucks, and toys. He carries a wide selection of model emergency vehicles.  Jeff knows the industry!

Finally, a large scale release from the Dallas, TX. Fire Department!

In July 2006, First Gear introduced the long awaited 4400 International Rescue (Stock Number 10-3478) from the Dallas Fire Department.  Originally only 480 of these 1:34 scale models were released.  However, because of the popularity, First Gear has increased the release to 1000+.

First Gear has been in the die cast collectibles business since 1992. The company was founded with the purpose of developing a line of die cast metal replica trucks that were more detailed and more authentic in design than anything available in the marketplace at that time, at a price the average collector could afford. Some of the innovations they developed as standard on all First Gear replicas included packing the product in foam blocks to prevent damage during transportation; making a mailer box part of the standard packaging; packing an extra set of side mirrors and hood ornaments, when applicable, with each truck; making authentically detailed interiors and undercarriages standard on each truck; and tooling multiple body options for each cab style.


Dallas currently have three International rigs.  These rigs were  purchased in 2003, 2004, and 2006.  However, none are being used as rescue's now.  The last International Rescue was removed from EMS service July 13, 2006.  However, one will be refitted and used as a USAR apparatus.  The other two will be used to carry bulk medical supplies and equipment as part of the Dallas Medical Strike Team.  Theses apparatus were made by Wheeled Coach of Winter Park, FL.

Dallas has 32 front line Rescues, nine peak demand Rescues, and two Paramedic Engines.  They are staffed 24 hours per day with two firefighter / paramedics.  Currently Dallas utilizes the Ford  F350 chassis for the primary Rescue. 

Photos Copyright Tim Vermande
Used with permission


Living in the Dallas area, I admit I am was very excited about this release.  Outside of a few custom releases from Ertl, this is third large scale release from a Dallas / Fort Worth department.  The first was a Conrad E-One Ladder followed by last year's special release of a Alliance Airport Rosenbauer Airport Crash Truck and now this model.

I asked First Gear why they chose the Dallas Rescue.  A representative said , "We are always looking for different and interesting marks to use in our collectibles programs and Dallas was a popular mark that we had not used before. We look for recognizable U.S. city marks that we think would be of interest to collectors, have not been over-used, and do not require a lengthy process to obtain permission for such use."

Photo by Larry Lorance

Photo provided by First Gear

First of all, I am not one of those 100% collectors.  I doubt very seriously collectors will ever see a model that is 100% or even 90% accurate. 

First Gear did their usual outstanding job on this model.  There are a few items that are not accurate when comparing the model to the real rescue though.  Of particular note:

  • The warning lights overall are completely inaccurate - ours utilize a light-bar that mounts onto the box near the top on the front and rear.

  • The DFD logo is all white.  It should be white letters with a yellow border.

  • The compartmentation is inaccurate namely, the missing backboard compartment on the rear of the box above the driver's side break light, the slide-out trays above the wheel wells (DFD's doesn't have them) and the oxygen cylinder compartment on the driver's side front of the box (it is hinged on the wrong side of the model).

With the exception of the DFD logo,  First Gear authentically reproduced the graphics displayed on the real apparatus.  It appears they did a perfect job of matching the apparatus colors.  The model is to scale down to the white wheel rims. 

The model features an opening hood with a highly detailed engine.  It also has opening rear doors with gurney and very detailed storage areas in the patient compartment.  It also has an opening door on the driver's side with an "H" size Oxygen cylinder. 

Photo provided by First Gear

I am extremely proud of this model!  Like I wrote before, I am not a 100% collector.  I think First Gear did an outstanding job on this model and I certainly understand  what started out as a small release of 480 has blossomed to over 1000+ models. 

I purchase a model because I like it.  The First Gear Dallas Fire Department Rescue is one I defiantly like and will hold a prominent place in my collection.  Now I wish they would consider a Plano, TX. MICU.

On a WOW scale of 1 to 5, I give this model a four.


A very special thanks to Tim Vermande for allowing me to use his photos in this review
Thanks to the Dallas Fire Department for sharing information about this apparatus
Thanks to the staff of First Gear
Thanks to an anonymous DFD Firefighter for sharing his perspective 

Return to Reviews