Promoting Excellence in HO Scale Vehicle Modeling

International 4900 Crew Cab Fire Truck by Boley Review

Please note: The opinions expressed in our reviews are the views of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the 1/87 Vehicle Club.

model critique by Bill McKean

More of the long-awaited Boley International/Navistar releases have reached the hobby stores, among which is the Crew-Cab Fire Truck. The prototype of this truck is not specified, but it is representational of a pumper on a modified commercial truck chassis. The prototype would be considered in three sections:  the cab, the pump housing, and the utility body.

The model cab follows typical prototype practice, with a second set of doors added behind the front doors, with seating for additional firefighters. The Boley model interior contains four light gray or white bucket seats. Some prototypes would gain additional seating space by using a bench seat in the rear, or in both positions. Detailing on the cab is good, with a light bar featuring red and blue sections. Catalog illustrations show red/red on some colors of trucks. The biggest disappointment on the truck is still the exterior mirrors, which are crude in comparison to the rest of the truck. Given that the "toy" market will probably be the largest segment of purchasers of these models, the heaviness is understandable, BUT a modeler or serious collector will want to replace these parts with finer moldings from Promotex or photo-etchings from Plano.

The pump housing is integrated with the rear body on the Boley model, and the driver side shows a good representation of the pump control panel. There is one silver circle which might represent a lid covering an inlet for incoming water. The curbside of the pump housing shows one small and two large covers for outlet hose mounting. Atop the pump housing is a fair representation of a water cannon, which can provide intense streams of water if needed. On the running board on each side is a representation of folded large-diameter hose with fitting.

The rear body section is also quite well detailed. Two lengths of hard-suction hose are racked at the top of the driver side, with smaller hose folded and strapped below. Two cabinets with D-ring slamlocks are represented ahead and behind the rear wheel. Curbside, two similar cabinets are represented below two "pop-truck" style equipment cabinets. Atop the body, four trays of standard hose are shown in their channels, plus a two-section extension ladder. On the footboard in back, two yellow fire extinguishers provide accents to the rear aspect, along with top-mounted individual light bars about 30 inches wide, with red or blue lenses mirroring the light bar on the cab roof.

The chassis is typically representational with silver paint on the drive shaft and exhaust pipe. Wheels and tires are the same as those used on the earlier cement-truck release.

The all-red truck is traditionally attractive, as is the red with white above the belt line on the cab. Other colors are offered as well, including white with two red stripes which is also very striking. All-yellow is mentioned in sales brochures, as is solid orange. Combinations of green/silver and black/silver are also mentioned, but those are not exactly typical prototype fire truck color schemes.

Modelers might wish to take the plastic sheen off the tires with a coat of flat paint in a grey/black or brown/black tone and perhaps add some Preiser firefighters to the inside of the cab. License plates would also add realism.

In all, considering that the bulk of these will be likely be sold to the same kids who run their Hot Wheels into the legs of the dining room table for fun, we doubtless should be grateful that they are as good as they are. At a retail price of $9.99 each, they're a nice addition to either your collection or your train layout.

Bill McKean