By:  Larry Lorance


Click Here for the History of the Super Pumper System by Glenn Morson


Many collectors, like myself, are not familiar with the process Code 3 Collectibles goes though when creating one of their masterpieces.  We order them, they show up on our doorstep, and we display them; that is our process.

I will begin by sharing with you their process.  I found it very  interesting,  particularly as it was applied to the FDNY Super Pumper System.  So I will start at the beginning.....


The Beginning


The speculation of this release has has been a topic of discussing on  Internet electronic forums for a few years.  However, no one really believed Code 3 Collectibles (or anyone for that matter)  would release this product because of the amount of money evolved in its development.  Even though the Super Pumper and Tender molds would be only used once, they decided to go ahead with this project in June 2004.  Orlando Ramos, Research and Development Director for Code 3 Collectibles would oversee the entire project.


The first step, like all of Code 3 Collectibles projects, was the data collection phase.  Code 3 Collectibles utilized a number resources and subject matter experts.

  • The FDNY Library - The George F. Mand Library is a fully modern special library. The library's computers possess an electronic card catalog, a digital photo archive, and various multimedia-training programs. The NYSDOS Fire Academy Library's index of fire service journal articles is also available on library computers. 

  • "The Super Pumper System" a book by John A. Calderone - The entire history of the Super Pumper is covered: from its basic concept; awarding of the contract to Mack Trucks in 1963; construction; selection of firehouses and personnel; official acceptance and placement in service in 1965; gradual decline in the iid 1970’s; and eventual elimination from active service in 1982.

  • Mack Trucks supplied production images

  • Blueprints

  • The current owners of both the Super Pumper and Super Tender volunteered images of the apparatus.

Creating the "Hand Sample"


According to Mr. Ramos, all 1:64 scale models are first produced in 1:32 scale.  This “hand sample” models become the focus throughout the model’s development cycle.  They are created using photographs.


These plastic hand models cost $10,000 - $15,000  and are much easier to work with during the development stage.  It is easier to handle.  Defects and discrepancies are much easier to spot.  


The “Hand Sample Model” is then viewed by a group of subject mater experts.  These experts most always are members of the fire department for which the model represents.  In this case Orlando flew to New York and met with FDNY Historians who viewed and critiqued the hand sample.  Orlando made notes and created a report on what needed to be corrected are added.  Corrections are made on the hand sample.


The Code 3 1:32 Scale Super Pumper and Tender Hand Samples
Photos are provided and copyrighted by Code 3 Collectibles
Click on photo to enlarge



The hand sample is then completely dissembled and EVERY part is photographed and fed into a Computer Assisted Design (CAD) System.  The CAD System then reassembles the model and scale it down to 1:64 scale. 


Using high tech robotics, the CAD System creates a "first shot" mold and the first 1:64 scale model is created and shipped to California.  This mold has no department markings and may be presented in a wide range of colors.  The model is again reviewed by the subject matter experts and compared with the data collected.  Again, a report is generated and corrections made.


The corrections are fed into the CAD System and a "Prototype Mold" is created.  The model produced by this mold will have the proper departmental markings and color.  This is the model you see on the Code 3 Collectibles web site.  This is why it is clearly marked "prerelease".


There may be 4 or 5 corrections to the prototype before the final mold is approved and full production begins.


The Code 3 Super Pumper, Tender, and Satellite  Prototypes
Photos are provided and copyrighted by Code 3 Collectibles
Click on photo to enlarge



Placing the Super Pumper System into Production....


I was surprised at the efforts Code 3 Collectibles goes to in the final production stages of these models.  Certain plastic part is spray painted.  They admit,  if a part does not get painted and bare plastic is displayed it distracts from the beauty of the model.  Any part of the model that is not diecast is HAND ASSEMBLED. 


Finally, the models are packaged, shipped to California, and delivered to collectors around the world.


The Review


Reviewed:  August 2005
Release Date:  August 2005
Scale: 1:64
Edition Quantity:  10,000
Material:  Die cast
Item #:  16014-0000
Retail Price:  $375.00

Note:  Installment plan is available
Code 3 Collectibles Club Member Price:  $325.00
Available from Code 3 Collectibles


The Super Pumper System (SPS) comes to you in a single box that Houdini would appreciate (32"x16"x15"). Everything is encased well within the box.  Styrofoam keeps everything 2-3 inches from the walls of the box which is double-cardboard.   It contains all the complete SPS and display case:

  • Mack Super Pumper;

  • Mack Super Tender;

  • Three Satellite Mack Engines;

  •  Wood Display Case

The Mack Super Pumper and Tender


Detail A-
Finish A-
Accuracy A-
Overall A-


The detailing of these pieces is almost to incredible to describe!  Again, Code 3 continues to amaze collectors by the amount of detail they continually  place into their 1:64 scale models.  EVERY TIME I ask myself, "how do they do it"?  From purely an engineering  perspective, this had to be a massive undertaking !   As one follow collector put it "Everywhere you look on the Pumper and Tender there are more details that you didn't see the first or second turn around the models."


Like all newly released Code 3 models, the Mack Super Pumper  and Tender are displayed in a plastic case.   This is a big improvement in older "plastic dome" releases.  The case does lock onto the base.  However, I would never trust it.  ALWAYS use two hands when handling these models to prevent separating of the base and dome.  When handling any model try and use a pair of cotton gloves. 


Code 3 Collectibles Mack Super Pumper and Tender
Click of photo to enlarge


The Super Pumper

Code 3 Collectibles Mack Super Pumper

Drawing of of the Super Pumper with different configuration  form Mechanical Engineering Magazine, November 1965


Photograph of FDNY Super Pumper


By looking at the above graphics, the Super Pumper changed its appearance over the years.  However,  using a blueprint  supplied by Grove Graphics,  I compared the model to the blueprint.   It appears Code 3 Collectibles used the same blueprint when designing  this model. 


The trailer on both the Super Pumper and Tender do no separate from the cab.  This makes it very easy to remove the models from the case without the cab and trailer separating.  The model itself is heavy and measures 8" Long x 1.5" Wide x  2.25 High. 


The replica of the massive 18 cylinder (there are discrepancy between the original blueprints and the article in Mechanical Engineering Magazine  (Note: please take the time to read this article.  It was written by John Lehoczky, Jr., Director of Fire Apparatus Operations) .  The magazine reports a 18 cylinder engine and the blueprints say report a 16 cylinder),  2400 HP,  1800 RPM, Napier-Deltic diesel engine is superbly done.  The original Super Pumper's engine is housed in a trailer and surrounded by glass.   You can see Code 3's reproduction is complete, clear down to the rubber that protects the glass from shattering. The drawing above shows a different configuration than what appears in most photographs and the original blueprints. 


Close-up of Code 3's Super Pumper Napier-Deltic  Engine

The Real Super Pumper Napier-Deltic Engine


The Super Pumper's trailer is elaborately detailed.  The trailer has two "decks"  around the pump.  These decks are layered with diamond plate which is scaled properly.  The valve wheels, diamond plated steps, hand crank winch, and DeLaval Pump are accurate well detailed  and to scale.   Code 3 Collectibles added simulate cable to the winch by using string with a hook.


The trailer also has hard suction hoses on both sides of the trailer.  Under the pump, on both sides of the model, are four scaled 4.5 inch outlets. 


As best as I can tell, Code 3 did a perfect match of the rig's color at the time of its delivery.  Like all Code 3 releases, the paint is flawless and the pad graphics are clear and easy to read.


The Mack cab is well detailed.  The emergency lighting is accurate and detailed.  Most lights are lens, not painted.

I was particularly amazed at the air lines and air tanks connecting the cab to the trailer.  The model sports accurately detailed wheels and rubber tires that match the wheels found in most photographs.


The Super Tender


Detail A+
Finish A+
Accuracy A-
Overall A-


Code 3 Collectibles Mack Super Tender


Drawing of of the Super Tender with different configuration  form Mechanical Engineering Magazine, November 1965


Photograph of FDNY Super Tender


The Super Tender (the firefighting end of the system), like the Super Pumper, is loaded with detail.  It to has changed from delivery to decommissioning.  This 1:64 scale model measures 8" Long  x 1.5" Wide x 2.75" Tall.


Again, the model is recreated with amazing accuracy .  The diamond plate, ladder, and railing  is accurately reproduced in scale.  This model, like the Super Pumper trailer, can not be separated form the cab.


Before receiving the final model, I was concerned about the hose in the hose tender section of the model.  To me,  looked fake.  However, Code 3 Collectibles corrected it.  If you look closely, you will see the hose is laying on a simulated wood bed.   The blueprint indicates there is a large access door located on top forward part of the trailer.  This door does not appear on the model. 


The tiller seat faces to the rear.  I understand this was used for backing the truck up, re-decking the hose. 


One piece of detail added to the model is the Mack logo located at the rear of this model.  Take a magnifying glass and look at the red circle at the rear of the trailer (see photograph, the logo is circled in blue) .  WOW, what detail!


The detail on the Super Tender cab is simply incredible!   The glass is clear and the diamond plate, chrome accessories, ladders, and mirrors are very well done.  The hose connections are accurately reproduced.  The model's compartments are all accurate and have chrome handles.


The deck gun is different than the one that appears in the photograph and original blueprint.  However, this particular configuration does appear in the drawing above. 


The lighting is accurate, again using a large number of plastic lens.  The paint is flawless and the pad printed graphics are accurate and clear. 


The Mack Satellites


Detail A+
Finish A+
Accuracy A-
Overall A-



Code 3 Collectibles Mack Satellite


Drawing of of the Satellite with different configuration  form Mechanical Engineering Magazine, November 1965


Photograph of FDNY Super Tender


The final addition to the FDNY Super Pumper Set are three Mack "C" model cabs Super Pumper Satellites.  These 1:64 scale models measure 5.25" Long x 4' Wide x 2" Tall.   This mold is the only one in the set that has been used before. All three Satellites are the same except for the following exceptions:

  • Satellite 1 has a white deck gun, the rest have red guns

  • Satellite 2 does not have the subway straps on the rear of the model; the rest do

Like the rest of the models there are some difference between the models and the graphics presented above.  Of particular interest is the device that the deck gun rests on.  According to retired FDNY Firefighter Ken Martin, the intakes on each side were for supplying the deck gun, which was capable of flowing 4000 gpm. The hose carried throughout the System (Tender and Satellites) was 4 1/2" .


Code 3 Collectibles has done an great job reproducing this model.  The diamond plating, deck gun, hand rails, compartments, and weathered hose load are superbly represent of that found on the original apparatus.  A two-wheeled cart is located on the drivers side of each model. 





Whether you are an avid or casual collector of model fire apparatus, the Code 3 Collectibles FDNY Super Pumper System is a must purchase.   The detail Code 3 Collectibles has engineered  into this set is almost beyond belief.   None of the discrepancies mentioned in this review in any way distracts from  its beauty of these models.   Every time you look at these models you see some new detail you missed. 


Was it worth the wait?  You bet, collectors could not have asked for a better release.  If  this is a taste of things to come from Code 3 Collectibles, we are all in for a big surprises.  Code 3 Collectibles will continue to "Preserve the Honor" for many years to come!


On a Wow factor of 1 - 5, I give this model a 5!

One final graphic.  I have could never visualize the FDNY Super Pumper System in action  until I ran across this from Mechanical Engineering Magazine, November 1965.  Very impressive!

Click to Enlarge