American LaFrance Modelle, engl.

How did I join American LaFrance? It was the movie – Flaming Inferno that I saw in the cinema in 1974. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an America fan and later more and more also about the fire engines over there. They’re great looking, powerful, and unique in their kind, American and only America. And when I saw the American LaFrance vehicles in the film driving to the scene, I was hooked. Since that time I’ve been a fan of the American LaFrance brand, which unfortunately hasn’t existed since 2007.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s there were the American LaFrance kits from AMT/Matchbox which I bought a few of. The vehicles were the 1000 series and Century, officially introduced in 1970 and built until 1979. The predecessor was the 900 series. They were exactly the models that were seen in the film. At that time, American LaFrance also built the vehicles in the convertible version, i.e. open at the top. Here in the photo you can see my first models, which I showed in 1983 at a model building exhibition in Dorsten. The turntable ladder remained unchanged, I built the pumper the way I saw the vehicle in the film, open at the top. And the TDA (Tractor Drawn Aerial) was my first major conversion. I had written articles about all the models that were published in Modell Magazin.
Over time it became more and more. A tanker followed, a turntable ladder mounted in the middle, a mini pumper, the little one above in yellow, and I also dared to approach an Oshkosh airfield fire engine.
This is what the American LaFrance emergency vehicles of the San Francisco Fire Department looked like back then. This photo is from 1975, here the 900 series.
An acquaintance of mine took these pictures in color and also in black and white in 1982. He had bought an expensive Canon camera, but had no idea how to photograph models, and neither did I, by the way. And that’s how these not-so-great pictures came about.
This is what the kits looked like in the 1970s and 1980s. The packaging has changed over the years.

Later there was also the American LaFrance Aero Chief, but before this kit went on sale I had already built a snorkel mast on the turntable ladder chassis myself.

Representing this title page from 1982, you can look at some articles about the models I built in the archive. This issue contained my first article about American LaFrance.

At that time I painted all my models by hand, no spray cans, no airbrush and chrome plating of components was not an issue at all. Sure, we all started small and kept evolving, most of us. Click here for the archive: Modell Magazin

And how to build hoses yourself, I’ll show you here.