Ford Model C cab fire apparatus

Reviewed by Russ Stewart


Brother collectors, model railroaders, and Ford fans, hello. This is a quick article regarding Athearn's new line of Ford Model C cab fire apparatus. For any of us who've been model railroaders, Athearn is a name known well for their fine line of H/O scale trains. Well, within the last few years, they've expanded their horizons to include more structures, pre-assembled "ready to roll" kits, and even an updated vehicle line to coincide with their train items. I picked up a few of the 1st run pumpers and let me say that I'm thoroughly pleased with their outcome.

  The rigs are all plastic, with the exception of metal axles that pass through plastic fittings in the front leaf springs, and the rear differential "pumpkin". The underside is very well detailed in which you can see the leaf springs in the front end and follow the exhaust pipe from the manifold at the engine block to where it ends at about the pump panel location. The units have a ladder frame chassis that seem to press into their respective location, and a dab of ca cement holds them in place, as well as the front bumper from the backside of the model. There are 2 extrusions, or tabs, that are located on the bottom of the rig that line up the pump body to the cab which makes for a good reference point for you kitbashers out there that would like to use the pump body on another chassis, or vice-versa.

As you can see, this rig is in the DCFD "Stars & Bars" scheme, which has been replicated in good detail. Along the front, you can read the "DCFD" between the wipers, and the company number "20" over each of the headlights. One thing Athearn did on these rigs was to mold the detail pieces in place, or attached them in final assembly. You do not have to add on the mirrors, wipers, windshield glazing, deck guns, or emergency lights which is to me a nice touch on their part. The headlights appear to be small lenses, as do the flashers mounted beside them. 1 thing of particular detail that stood out on this to me was the fact that the flasher or strobe on the officer's side of the rig has a blue lens in it, which DC had back in the years that these rigs were front line.

Pump panel is very well detailed along w/ the running boards and crew area. Though the DC rigs do not have the "phone booths" on them, I'm sure that removing the man saver bars and scratch building one from styrene wouldn't be too hard to do.  Even though there are a few inconsistencies, such as a diamond plate hosebed cover, Athearn has done a wonderful job on these rigs. According to Athearn, the next run will not be lettered allowing the modeler to use decal sets to make up their own departments. There is a 4th edition of these units coming out to include St. Louis, Los Angeles, and other cities as well as 2 vol co's w/ "Bicentennial" paint schemes.  So if anyone was debating or hesitating in picking up any of these rigs, better get 'em while you can, I think that they'll go fast !  Hope all of you, your families, and loved ones have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas. Special thanks to Lt. Ray Griffin of FXCO FD Tower Ladder 408 for taking the pictures - Russ Stewart



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