F.F. Ertl III, INC.
10478 St. Joseph Drive
- DUBUQUE, Iowa 520003

  “Our goal at Highway 61 Collectables™ is to develop the highest quality product, at the greatest value to the customer who demands exciting, high-detailed replicas. As the name implies, Highway 61 Collectables™ harkens for the open road, and these high-detailed precision die-cast metal replicas won’t disappoint you.” Highway 61 Collectables™

Company Insight

 Although the Ertl name has long been revered as one of the leading names in the die-cast industry, F.F. Ertl the Third is one of the new generation of Ertl’s breaking into new territory of highly collectable Models, expanding the horizons to a never seen before high in a range of scale. F.F. Ertl III, Inc. was founded in 1996 by Fred Ertl III. Mr. Ertl is the son of Fred Ertl Jr., past president of The Ertl Toy Company, and grandson of Fred Ertl Sr., legendary toy maker and founder of The Ertl Toy Company. The company immediately gained recognition for manufacturing high quality and high detailed die-cast metal replicas under the Die-Cast Promotions® brand name. Recently forging a partnership with Chinese manufacturer and engineering group Wan-Ho Holdings, Inc. of Hong Kong, the corporate name became Trademark as Models/Die-Cast Promotions® as well as Highway 61 Collectables™ by F.F. Ertl III, Inc. 

 In this review we will be concentrating on the Highway 61 Collectables™ side of the company. Highway 61 Collectables™ product lines are 1:18 and 1:16 scale Vehicles which includes Trucks, Vans and Cars; we are especially interested in the Trucks, Fire Pumpers to be exact. Highway 61 Collectables™ introduced the 1:16 scale 1941 GMC Pumper and the 1941 Chevy Pumper to Fire and Rescue Collectors in the summer of 2003 which received high praises on value, detail along with exceptional quality. Whether you choose the GMC or Chevy with its chrome grill you definitely will not be disappointed. To date there has been three releases of this model with one more to come this summer in the livery of the British Air Force (RAF)


Product review along with Land Lease History

In this segment we will closely look at two things, the soon to be released RAF version of the 1941 Chevrolet Fire pumper Lend-Lease and what exactly does Lend-Lease mean? We will start with the issue of Lend-Lease:March 1, 1941, the Lend-Lease act was set up, a system that would allow the United States to lend or lease war supplies to any nation deemed "vital to the defense of the United States." In July 1940, after Britain had sustained the loss of 11 destroyers to the German Navy over a 10-day period, newly elected British Prime Minister Winston Churchill requested help from President Roosevelt. Roosevelt responded by exchanging 50 destroyers for 99-year leases on British bases in the Caribbean and Newfoundland.  

As a result, a major foreign policy debate erupted over whether the United States should aid Great Britain or maintain strict neutrality. In the 1940 Presidential election campaign, Roosevelt promised to keep America out of the war. He stated, "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." Nevertheless, FDR wanted to support Britain and believed the United States should serve as a "great arsenal of democracy." Churchill pleaded, "Give us the tools and we'll finish the job." on January 1941, following up on his campaign pledge and the prime minister's appeal for arms. Roosevelt proposed to Congress a new military aid bill. 

The plan proposed by FDR was to "lend-lease or otherwise dispose of arms" and other supplies needed by any country whose security was vital to the defense of the United States. In support of the bill, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the debate over lend-lease, "We are buying ... not lending. We are buying our own security while we prepare. By our delay during the past six years, while Germany was preparing, we find ourselves unprepared and unarmed, facing a thoroughly prepared and armed potential enemy." Following two months of debate, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, meeting Great Britain’s deep need for supplies and allowing the United States to prepare for war while remaining officially neutral at that time. 

The Royal Air Force along with other U.K. Military agencies acquired a large number of U.S. made equipment at the time of the Lend-Lease agreement anything from cars, trucks, planes and even ships along with weapons were sent to the now desperate British Government. The Model from Highway 61 Collectables™ depicts a 1941 Lend-Lease Chevrolet use by the RAF for fire and crash emergencies on field strip runways through the British Isles. I was told by Patrick Valant, Graphics/New Product Development, Highway 61 Collectables™ that this model was intensely researched, the color match was from a model kit paint.

Although no photos of the actual RAF Chevrolet Fire Engine exist today it was documented that the U.K. was supplied with trucks of this type. Patrick Valant went on to say Highway 61 Collectables™ used a book titled, The Observer's Fighting Vehicles Directory - World War II by Bart H Vanderveen (1969 - SBN 7232 1034 9),  known as the bible used by military vehicles’ historians for research material on the RAF and its American built vehicles. Even this book did not show the Chevrolet Fire Engine but did show other versions of this truck being used by the British Military for a number of duties in right hand drive as well as left.

Pages from, The Observer's Fighting Vehicles Directory


The RAF version of the model is beautiful. Highway 61 Collectables™ continues to bring to us the collectors, unique paint schemes, like the U.S. army version with flat mat paint. The RAF version has the black out lenses pad printed on the head lights and the white edgers for visibility during black out situations. In an earlier review by www.fireengines.net, web master Larry Lorance noted that the ladder looks out of scale for the truck but it is in fact correct to the actual Fire Engine that the model was made from. I personally would like to see Highway 61 Collectables™ retool a shorter ladder for future releases and lose that 4`` over hang to the rear. To find out more information about the ladder and its dimensions, click on the review link from the summer of 2003 at http://www.fireengines.net/reviews/41gmc/index.htm

Preproduction Model Shown
Click on Photo to Enalrge

Looking over this model, the paint has a professional finish, sporting crisp pad printing showing RAF war time markings. Detailing is to a high standard, I especially like the attention to detail on the engine; lift the hood to see the all the lead, air intakes, etc. All you under chassis admirers, you will not be disappointed, there is an abundance of detail waiting to be found. As you would expect on a model of this size, the doors open to show a good looking interior with a working steering wheel connected to the posable front wheels. My only real criticism with this model is the hose bed that looks a little too plain and neat which stands out against the high detail within the model, I hope Highway 61 Collectables™ addresses this in time for the soon to be announced Ford version of this Fire Engine. YES, I did say a Ford! FireEngines.net is proud to have exclusive pre production photos of this new Ford that was announced a few months ago... Highway 61 Collectables™ should have product by this September.  Again Highway 61 Collectables™ has done themselves proud, this is going to be a exciting addition to the fire engine family from Highway 61 Collectables™. I hope that we will see more fire related models on their vans, cars and pick-ups some time soon.


Preproduction Photos
Click on Image to Enlarge


Official Licensed Product


Highway 61 Collectables™ Web Site 


© 2004 www.fireengines.net  

Review by Glenn Morson glennmorson@fireengines.net 

All Photos are Copyright of Fireengines.net and Highway 61 Collectables™ 2004

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