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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Matchbox 1963 Mack Model B Fire Engine and Seagrave Fire Truck



One of the ironic state of Matchbox in the past as it was billed the "rescue" part of the Mattel lineup, not many of the fire truck castings produced were the classic versions.  That changed in 2012 with the Seagrave Fire Truck and now is joined by the Mack Model B Fire Engine.


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Mack vs. Seagrave

These two companies operate differently:  Mack produces medium to heavy duty trucks for commercial businesses, Seagrave supplies custom-built fire truck and equipment for fire departments nationwide.  The Seagrave shown here is a 1952 model featuring styling similar to Studebaker and Dodge trucks, but they were built by Seagrave.  The front has round headlights, horizontal grille slots, and the unique integrated siren on the hood.  The cabin is open roof (a common option back then that was quickly fading for the closed-cab look) with integrated siren lights and mirrors.  The pumper sits in the middle with dual hose reels on each side, a horizontal lower unit to the Mack's taller, vertical unit.  Both offer extension water pipes (from the fire hydrant to the pump) on the left, ladder to the right, and fire extinguisher's on each running boards.




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The Seagrave has a more complete rear with taillights, lower compartment, and a center walkway to access more hose equipment.  The Mack is based on the medium-duty trucks, the B-series.  The B-series is classy smooth for the era with large round fenders, tall chrome grille, and dual headlights and signal lights joining the rescue lights on the front bumper.  The hood sides open like a butterfly (while the Seagrave hinges on the right) and features Mack logos on the sides and the Mack dog ornament on the front grille (Matchbox kindly tried to detail the dog, but the small scale only resulted in a blob on the grille).  Additional features include the smooth enclosed roof with integrated siren light, siren on the left fender ahead of the door, with the bell on the right.  Just like the Seagrave the ladder and pumper is detailed, along with the pipes and interestingly a pipe extension from the pumper to the rear for rear access to the hydrant.  The rear is more open with taillights that are barely visible, handles for rear riders, and more hose reels inside (decked in plastic).


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Now the interior of both is Spartan, but feature seating for three (driver seat is separate from the passenger bench), a large steering wheel, and full comprehensive gauges, and as for shifters the Seagrave has one for the 4-speed, the Mack has two for the 4+3 shifter arrangement.  The chassis on both is light, but the Mack offers more with more powertrain details and a transfer case toward the rear differential so that the water pump can run off the engine power.  Both trucks are powered by gas I-6 engines with enough torque to move these trucks to do their job, with the Mack offering diesel version as an option (the B-series was also the last Mack generation to offer gas engines).  None act like sports cars, but then again have you ever seen a fire truck perform like a sports car?


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Nicely done for both of them, but I like the Mack just for the added extra detailing offered on the body and the classic front-end look of the Model B Mack Trucks.  If only the dog ornament was sharply-detailed.




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