by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Ford Model T was the most popular mass produced vehicle of its time being produced as 2 and 4 seater cars and even seeing service on the battlefields of World War one as medical and combat vehicle. Back home in the US alongside the affordable family car there were speedsters and even fire engines. The fire engine variant of the Model T was built by LaFrance on a Model T chassis with this offering from ICM looks to be produced on a 1911 model Ford T. The Ford Motor Company did produce 10 fire cars for the New York Fire Dept, but these could not be classed as fire engines.
This offering from ICM offers a Model T 1914 fire truck with 2 man crew in 1/24th scale. This offering from ICM is packaged in the usual robust cardboard flip top box and another card lid with the artwork on it. Inside there are two re-sealable plastic bags that contains all of the sprues for the fire truck and the figures. There is also the instruction booklet for the model inside. An examination of the contents of this model reveals only one issue that will prove problematic during the course of the build; ejector pin marks are that issue and they represent an issue due to ICM having supplied an interior due to the open nature of the vehicle.
The engine is fairly basic as they go, but that does not mean ICM have cut corners. Checking it against online images indicates that ICM has done a very good job of replicating the engine, right down to some very fine details being present, especially around the exhaust manifold. The addition of some wiring should bring this area right up to spec. The radiator of the vehicle will need to be painted as brass as will the Ford logo. My only gripe about the detail in the engine is that ICM has not produced the model with the intention of displaying it.
Chassis and Suspension
The chassis is an integral part of the vehicles floor pan and so there are no concerns about getting this area out of true. The suspension and drive are as you would suspect pretty simple in design, but again ICM has done a good job of replication here. My only complaint in this area is that I would have liked the ability to display the front wheels turned rather than having them fixed in dead ahead, this is just a personal thing as I feel it adds interest to the look of a finished model.
The wooden spoke wheels are very nicely replicated and love them or hate them white vinyl rubber tyres. The white vinyl is perhaps best left unpainted as I feel it would be hard to apply a more realistic colour than the vinyl already is.
The floor pan is very well replicated in this model having the textured detail present for both the step plate and the cab floor interior. Also present again is the Ford Logo embossed on the step plate. The separate part of the floor pan where the foot pedals locate also has the nicely embossed Ford logo present. The steering column and wheel is surprisingly well detailed with throttle and spark levers present as separate parts. The handbrake quadrant and bellow for the horn also well replicated. The seat or should I say two seat settee is really nice, painted in a red leather colour with some thoughtfully applied washes will make this really stand out and catch the attention; even the stud detail on the leather is present to a good degree.
The exterior of this model is easy as technically there is no exterior panels only the interior pieces of fire fighting equipment. An aspect I do like about this offering is the Ford logo on the running boards and the anti-slip texture present. The integral parts of the fire fighting equipment consists of two large water containers and an attached hose that is stored in a mounted basket; again it is good to remember that brass plays a big part in this vehicle and so gloss red and brass will make for a stunning looking finish. This is one area of the modeller where your ability as a modeller and painter will make a huge difference in the finished look. ICM has provided clear parts for the lights on the vehicle and as these are coach lamps they should prove pleasing.
The tools and equipment supplied on the vehicle consists of a piece ladder and some fire extinguishers. These fire extinguishers do cause me some concern as while there are securing straps around them they are not obviously secured to the vehicle and these will look better if removed and new securing straps scratched for the model. There is a storage box on the left running board which may contain other items of equipment, but I would at least have liked to see a fire fighting axe in a visual location.
There are two figures provided for this model in the form of the driver and another stood on the right hand running board pointing the way. The uniform of the fire fighter from this period consisted of woollen jacket and trousers with rubber boots, as time progressed rubber trousers were also introduced that could have been in use at the time of this vehicle. The fire helmet is especially well duplicated and was made of leather with metal helmet plates. The hand detail is good for the scale as are the faces, I especially like that one of the heads has a prominent moustache present which is a great detail. There is no carried equipment on the crew and I am lead to believe that each man would carry an axe and a hydrant spanner.
When I first received this model I was unsure about how I felt about it; car models do not always appeal and larger scale offerings are often a disappointment because detail is not better than can be found on smaller scale offerings, but that is not the case with this offering. The detail is mostly very pleasing with just a few negative observations mentioned in the review. With all aspects of this model considered I do think that it will for the most part please anyone who purchases this kit, plus the colourful finish of this model from ICM will make it a very eye-catching piece. My biggest complaint about this product is a complete lack of decals that are really needed to finish this model.