by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Fire and rescue vehicles, with their shrieking sirens and flashing lights, capture the attention and imagination of almost all children. Many, such as your humble reviewer, grow up without losing their fascination with such vehicles! This model is thus certain to be very popular.
This fire-fighting vehicle of the fire brigade Essen is released in a luminous red. The Mercedes-Benz Atego box trailer is multifunctional for small-scale operations, and is simultaneously an ambulance vehicle and a fire engine. Herpa expands their Fire Brigade series with this Feuerwehr Essen (Essen Fire Department) Mercedes-Benz Atego 04 LRF. The Fire Brigade series features more than 300 models of Feuerwehr vehicles: cars, light trucks, heavy duty trucks, pumpers, ladder trucks, rescue, even aircraft.
The Mercedes-Benz Atego is a family of rigid and articulated trucks introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 1997. Originally offering light duty and heavy duty vehicles, the second generation Atego is available only as a light duty version (Gross Vehicle Weight 5,900 Kg [6.5 ton] - 13,600 Kg [15 tons]. The vehicles are powered by a straight 4 or 6 cylinder engine of the 900 series generating from 90 KW (122 HP) up to 205 KW (279 HP), connected to a manual Mercedes Benz transmission with six and nine gears. The vehicles can also be equipped with the Telligent® Schaltautomatik system. Designed to operate in close clearances, Atego combines a low framework and high payload with good road performance.
Those used by Feuerwehr Essen are called Löschrettungsfahrzeug (LRF), which could be translated as 'fire-rescue vehicle' and their second generation (based on a light Atego chassis and not a van anymore) has entered service recently. The LRF is an ambulance with basic firefighting and rescue equipment.
Herpa Feuerwehr Essen
This Herpa model is a 2004 Mercedes-Benz Atego box trailer LRF. Feuerwehr Essen Atego is fully assembled and packed in a light plastic form-fitted tray. Indentations hold a sprue of optional separate side view mirrors. The tray is secured in a light cardboard box with a plastic display window, with opening ends. One end displays a metallic holographic license label by Daimler.
The molding is almost flawless. The exterior of the cab features fine recessed lines for doors and panels. The underbody is very well done, especially under the firefighting rear portion. It even has a spare tire! The chassis is detailed with the frame, a basic engine bottom and transmission, drive shaft, dual fuel tanks, exhaust, differential, rear axle, and suspension. A separate rear bumper/step with tread detail is attached to it.
Individual clear and tinted lenses simulate the headlights, emergency running lights in the grill, tail lights, and emergency lights.
The windshield wipers are part of the separate black chrome combing around the windshield. The model has slots in the front of the cab doors where the optional side view mirrors are inserted. Although the mirrors are delicate, it is a simple process.
Herpa engineered the soft plastic tires to slip over the rims. They display good detail. The front suspension is molded to accept optional pivoting wheel hubs.
Inside of the cab is detail almost worth popping the cab off for, with bucket seats, the steering wheel, console, stick shift, and dashboard detailing.
Livery and Finish
The cab and wheel hubs are molded in color. The back structure is molded white and painted red. The Mercedes-Benz logo appears to be stamp painted. “FEUERWEHR ESSEN” and other emblems and markings are sharply printed, not decals. Herpa does not use decals. The paint is thin, glass-smooth, and mainly opaque. Only “FEUERWEHR ESSEN” on the cab face is slightly dull.
So far this model has lived up to the high standards I have come to expect with Herpa models. However, I am disappointed by the rear cargo superstructure. The detail representing windows and doors and hatches and handles is not molded into the superstructure. It is printed on. The widows are a dark metallic gray. The doors are delineated in black. Certainly the printing quality is high but it does not create a realistic illusion. It is toy-like.
Further, the cab and rear colors do not match. The cab reflects a slightly orange hue.
This Mercedes-Benz Atego LRF is an impressive model with good plastic detail and great finishing. The exterior is painted well, it has a detailed underbody, lenses for lights and emergency lights, and a detailed interior which is visible through the clear windows. The printed detail on the back takes away from overall quality of the model. Still, this is a fun model to have, whether for detailing an automotive or railroad diorama, or just to display. Recommended.
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