There are not a ton of strong opinions out there about diecast fire trucks.
Actually, I take that back. If you are a diecast fire or emergency collector, you have VERY strong opinions about diecast fire trucks. I know a few fire collectors, and they are passionate and as knowledgeable as any collector out there. Many are in the business of fighting fires. If you don’t know a diecast fire collector, especially one who is a fire fighter, get to know one. There are a few at the Matchbox Gathering, so that is a good place to start.
But outside of those collectors, there are not a ton of strong opinions. Collectors like them, but I haven’t seen any Instagram posts of someone buying 32 Matchbox Brush Trucks at their local Walmart.
But they are staples in diecast, especially Matchbox. Matchbox isn’t Matchbox without them. So that is what it is a very good thing that every year a new licensed Fire Truck hits the Matchbox line. I am sure there has been a year or two that it hasn’t been the case in the last few years, but for the most part, a new model is released each year.
There are others too, like a couple of 4×4 cartoonish trucks that we hope will soon take a role as relics of what Matchbox was for a few unfortunate years. But enough about those.
And it is significant that these are licensed. Firetruck makers are not as well known as carmakers, so Matchbox could make similar replicas without having to do licensed. And they have, like the popular Hazard Squad hazmat truck, but thankfully most realistic fire models are licensed. We see names like Pierce, Mack, and Seagrave. Like Matchbox and Police Cars, variety is the name of the game. New, old, urban, rural, brush, and on and on. Looking at the releases from the last few years, with the unlicensed Hazard Squad included, you see some really good stuff. The castings:
The 2016 entry to this long line of licensed fire trucks is the Freightliner M2 106. The M2 106 is actually a base vehicle, and can be used for freight trucks, ambulances, you name it. In this case, it is a fire truck:
But it could be one of these:
The Matchbox Freightliner is obviously a replica of the M2 106 when it comes to the cab, but my guess is the rest was designed by Matchbox. I know that has happened on other fire models as well. Yes, there is a fair amount of plastic, but at least the cab is metal.
Of all the Matchbox fire truck castings released in the last few years, I still count the International Workstar Brush Fire Truck as my favorite, followed by the Hazard Squad. But to be honest, there isn’t a weak one in the bunch. The Freightliner probably won’t be in my display case, but it will be in the collection, along with all the other fire trucks. Now let’s see what will be the Matchbox fire truck for 2017…