Rosenbauer Design-Panther Berlin Airport Fire Department
Series: Fire brigade; Limited Edition / Einmaliage Auflage
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2013 / 03-04
This review is of the one-time edition of the Herpa HO scale (1/87) Rosenbauer Panther heavy fire fighting vehicle operated by the airport of Berlin. It features rubber wheels, rotating fire nozzles, and exceptional lettering.
Herpa currently offers three Rosenbauer fire vehicles amongst their 446 model fire-fighting vehicles.
This cutting-edge fire-fighting vehicle is designed in a modular manner. Its chassis can be a 4-, 6- and 8-axle configuration with all-wheel drive. Powering these 6,000 - 19,000 liter capacity vehicles, weighing up to 40 tons, is a Volvo engine of 500 - 1260hp. Numerous equipment options are available. Over 1,000 have been sold to international airports in 81 countries.
The Rosenbauer Panther is a high-performance fire engine for airports. With eight direct-drive wheels, an operating weight of 40 tons, a capacity of 3,830 gallons (14,500 liters) of fire extinguishing agents and a maximum speed of 87 mph (140 km/h), this new 8x8 model is the highest quality airport fire-fighting vehicle available.*
This big special modern heavy duty airport fire-fighting vehicle is impressive to me - it's just a cool model! I received a tour of one of these at an airport I worked at. It is an impressive vehicle and for a rigid vehicle, it is big! The real thing has a space-age look to it that so impressed a director that one was turned into a Transformer character in a movie!
Herpa securely packs it in a two-piece top-bottom formed cradle. It is held inside a special package: a signature red end-opening Herpa carton with a cellophane window front, top and rear.
Inside is the almost-fully assembled model with a sprue of separate optional mirrors and windshield wipers. No instructions are included to show you where to attach those optional pieces.
Detail is both raised and recessed as appropriate. While the model is molded and assembled without critical flaws, to be honest this model does not look like Herpa molded it. The surface is textured with a matte finish, unique in my Herpa experience.
Herpa uses a darkly tinted clear plastic for the windows, which I recall insulates the interior from heat. Herpa also uses tinted transparent plastic to simulate warning flashing beacons. The detailed wheels sport rubber - or soft plastic - tires. Atop the cab is a separately attached model remote-controlled electronic RM25E turret water cannon, plus a separate chrome cylinder. On the front 'bumper' is another spray cannon that is rigidly molded as part of the body. In real life it is articulated.
Most Herpa models I have feature some clear or tinted plastic to simulate headlights, brake lights, and running lights. All such lamps are printed on this model which is, again, unusual in my Herpa experience.
I wrote above that the model is assembled without critical flaws. However, the windows do not fit well and there are small spots of adhesive that oozed between the windows and the body. While photos of the prototype show the glass flush with the body, the clear parts of the model are recessed, have rounded edges, and simply do not set well in the body openings. Also, the wheel hub detail is not as distinct as photos show it to be on the real machines.
The RM25E turret rotates. Underneath the vehicle is a chassis and underframe. I have not found images of the underside so I can not judge the authenticity, although I surmise that a fire fighting machine designed to drive into some flames would have minimal gear mounted externally. Your HO fire fighters can climb onto the superstructure top with a separately applied rear ladder.
Inside the cab is a cockpit of three seats. To be honest, I can not see anything else, and I could not figure out how to pop the machine apart to peek inside without risking damage.
I certainly appreciate the separate optional mirrors and wipers, and the soft Michelin tires. You can tell they are Michelin because it is easy to read the crisply molded brand name on each one! The big side mirrors fit into small holes near the front of the side windows.
The wipers took me a minute to figure out what they were. Then I noticed the tiny slots in the windshield. Those pieces are very fine so be careful removing them from the sprue and fitting them.
PAINT and livery
I continue to be amazed at how fine Herpa can print the stenciling and other markings on their models! Herpa does not use decals. You can see the exception printing which is clear and crisp and opaque.
The model is mostly molded in color. Several parts are chromed - very nice. The top of the fire fighting rear portion has an anti-slip texture to it.
Firetrucks, with their bright colors, flashing lights and shrieking sirens, hold an fascination for most people I know. This big special modern heavy duty airport fire-fighting vehicle is impressive to me - it's just a cool model! Herpa continues their high level exceptional paint and printing. I really appreciate the tinted and clear lenses for the lights. The rotatable water cannon is good for dioramas.
Unfortunately, this model is not up to Herpa's usual quality. All running lights are painted on. The windows just don't fit well and detract from the model.
Overall I think this is a good model for modern airport dioramas, and for collectors of firetrucks. I can recommend it.
Please remember to tell retailers and Herpa that you saw this model here - on RailRoadModeling.
* The Industrial Designers Society of America. Rosenbauer Panther.
[Web.] July 11, 2012.