TLF16

The Christmas shopping and wrapping are 99% complete. Decorating is 85% and probably good enough. There don’t seem to be any personal or business emergencies pending. I’ve finished my library book. I couldn’t care much less about football this year.

Today was that rarest of things: a truly restful Sunday.

I took the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in many years. I built a fire engine.

In the 1980’s a company called Preiser made an extensive line of German fire engines in HO scale. They sold a mixture of common bodies on chassis by Magirus, Mercedes, and MAN, as well as a series of more esoteric things like ARFF trucks. I built my first one as a teenager.

I labored over that first engine for months of spare time. I painted and repainted to get every detail right. Of course without actually having seen one in person, and without the advantage of the internet, I’m sure the details are wrong. I don’t care. That first Mercedes/Zeilger TLF16 occupies a place of pride in my office to this day.

The kits are not very complicated. I can assemble a basic one in an afternoon in front of the TV. I find it relaxing. Over the years I’ve built dozens of them in every imaginable configuration. Most are in storage in the attic now.

The kits have not been made in years, and I have built most of them. They don’t really fit in with my other collections but have become a collection of their own. Each represents an afternoon, an evening, or multiple days of mindless relaxation.

I found a last few kits stashed in my toolbox. One will be painted yellow and serve as a utility truck in a future project. Another called to me though.

The last of the glue is drying; I need to paint a few details; but today I built a fire engine. It’s German and from the 1970’s and looks funny to American eyes, and it’s a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Image: MeikeChristoph, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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