[Diecast] Those generic fire trucks...

Since my blog is supposed to be about diecasts, i think that i'm talking a bit too much about real cars... I'll try to focus more about diecasts, but hey, it's always interesting to read about car stories. Generics are often necessary in a casting line, and even if they're not that much praised by collectors, there's a lot of interesting stuff there. Of all my diecasts, i have exactly 87 generics, often trucks or busses. Although i don't like them as much as others, they make a great completion for any collection, and some are really well made!

In the world of generics, there's some categories that i don't collect. Actually, some cheaper brands like Motor Max or Maisto and all the chinese brands are doing generic cars, a think that i don't like. Usually, it's because they don't have the money to buy real licenses. On the other way, Hot Wheels is known to make a lot of crazy generic cars (sometimes, they can't even be called as "cars"), a thing that i'm not fond of too. It's more for kids, but it's mandatory in any diecast brand! Kids make sales, and sales make money.

On the other hand, Matchbox make a lot of generics, but they look like real, they just don't have any brand. That's what i like here, it's often nice adds to a collection, without getting ugly or completely unrealistic. For example here, the fire trucks (for me) don't need to have real brands, but you NEED fire trucks in any respectable car collection!

1. Hot Wheels Classic : the Fire Eater

The "Fire Eater" is well known by any Hot Wheels maniac.This casting, representing a old school Fire Truck, has been used for years : introduced in 1977 in the special Flying Colors serie, it is still used in 2011 regular casting line! It has an immortal style, and has been produced in a variety of colors : different shades of red of course, but also silver, yellow, green, white... It has only been used in specific years : 1977, 1982, 1988, and then every year from 1995 to 2011. I own two 1982 ones, and for me, these are the best. For a generic, it includes a lot of details, even if it's cheaper than a real casting.

You can see that one of them isn't in a so good shape... i have this one since i'm a kid, and i tried to repaint it when i was like... 7 or 8 years old... and the result wasn't that good. The other one has been given to me by a coworker, but i had to unscrew it because front wheels were broken. To resume... both aren't in their original shape! Will i buy another one? Maybe... but this isn't my priority for now.

2. Matchbox "Fire Engines"

In Matchbox's history, there's two castings referenced as a simple "Fire Engine" name. There's an old Superfast Fire Engine released in 1982, often called Oshkosh Fire Engine. It has also been issued in a variety of liveries until 1999. Its color was usually red, but a few yellow and white ones were released, as well as a gold one. This Matchbox #134 is a nice casting, and the working ladder is a real nice bonus. Only disappointing thing : no interior, you can only see a big pillar when looking inside the windows. I own the fluorescent red edition, and i remember finding it at the flea market a few years ago.

The other Fire Engine has been released in 2006, and is mainly used in the 5 or 10 packs. I never bought that one directly, being part of a 2010 ten-pack i needed. In my humble opinion, it's an average casting. Fire tampos and ladder are great, but it's missing lights tampos, and that fluorescent yellow color is absolutely awful. Also, the ladder isn't even working, and could easily be broken. Also, the model isn't THAT realistic... it's obviously for kids.

3. Matchox "Hazard Squad"

The Hazard Squad was a highly anticipated new 2010 casting by Matchbox collectors. And it has a reason : it's one of the best generic made ever by matchbox (in fire trucks enthusiasts's opinion). The mold in itself is great, but the tampos are simply so much detailed that it makes it awesome. The front is awesomely detailed, but there's unfortunately no interior. It has originally been released in a 5-pack as a yellow color, but i own the first regular line edition, with a red color. I don't think this casting is "fantastic", but it's well-made and deserves a place in my collection.

4. Majorette "Pompier"

Another interesting one is the "Camion de Pompier" #207 in the old Majorette's 200 casting line. Of course, "Camion de Pompier" simply means fire engine. It has a basic design, but is rather well made, such as any Majorette of those years. The 2-step ladder is an awesome feature, and it can move in any direction. It has been only produced in the same red over the years, but there's a few variations in the ladder color. I own two units with a silver ladder, but one of them is missing the second ladder. There's also another Pompier slightly modified that has been produced in the Sonic Flashers serie, meaning that the car was doing noise and making lights when you were pushing on the top. Those features aren't working anymore on the one i have though. As you can see, the model is larger, and the ladder support is different.

Sonic Flasher one.
5. Hot Wheels "Rescue Ranger"

Finally, there's another legendary fire truck in the Hot Wheels range : the Rescue Ranger. It has been originally introduced in 1975 with the name "Ranger Rig" aswell as "Emergency Squad". Those were the same casting, but with different liveries. The Rescue Rig only lasted for this year, and the Emergency Squad has been produced until 1988. The name changed in 1986 for Rescue Ranger, and it's in the regular line since then (there's still 2011 units!). The original 1975 one is green, but it has been also produced in a variety of colors, such as red, yellow, white, silver and orange. There's also some Hot Rod versions. Originally all in metal diecast, it's now unfortunately made of plastic, and it looks more like a kid toy. I own the 1988 last Emergence Squad produced. Such as the Fire Eater, i tried to put some red paint on it as a kid, and it's not really well made. At least, it's a nice casting, and i prefer this old one than the new plastic ones (that also have some funky tampos, and the hot rod versions are simply horrible).

Enjoy the pics and the read!


  1. Your fluorescent yellow color engine above is not generic, it is a Dennis Fire Engine, ( I forget the model)... They are not very popular in the US, but supply the ROW (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/irishmanufantransportpics/5126016624/ for a real one)... Matchbox has been using Dennis for there newer Fire trucks for a while... So if you do a Google search for Dennis Fire Engines, you will see the other recent releases...

  2. The Fire Eater is most likely based on a Ward La France Fire Engine, like the one in the TV Show Emergency! that aired about the time it was introduced... The Rescue Ranger is also most likely based on 51, also from that show...

  3. Thanks for the comments, i didn't know all that! I have a few Matchbox Dennis, but i didn't know this one was also a Dennis. You seem to know a lot about fire trucks!

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