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Here at Lamley we love it when our good friend Sammy Fox sends in another feature. Sammy is one of San Luis Obispo's Finest, and because of his profession he has one of the best diecast fire collections around.
We asked him awhile ago if he would like to submit some features on certain fire diecast vehicles, and we were thrilled when he obliged. Plus, Sammy is all DLM, so these models don't show packaged. Our kind of guy.
Sammy's latest feature is on the Matchbox Hazard Squad an unlicensed but wonderfully realistic Matchbox model, which may be in its best livery yet, FDNY. Well best outside of the release featuring Sammy's own department.
Since arriving on scene in 2010, the Matchbox Hazard Squad has been a hot item among collectors and kids alike. Although it is a casting of an unlicensed, generic model created by The MB Design Team, it's realistic looks, along with the occasional use of real fire department tampo designs have made this a fan favorite in the emergency vehicle collector world.
The Hazard Squad made its first appearance at the 2010 Collectors' Line Preview held at the Mattel Headquarters in El Segundo, CA. This first run came in metallic green with the Line Preview logo on the side. It was issued on a blister card and was limited to somewhere around 50 production pieces –
Shortly after the Line Preview MB released its first version in stores in July of 2010. Using the same tampo design but without the preview logo, the model hit the shelves in red –
Collectors were in for a treat when the Hazard Squad was used for Everett Marshall’s 2011 Golf Tournament Charity model! The model came in a beautiful yellow paint scheme –
and had the Golf Tournament logo on the roof –
MB decided to get some extra mileage out of this new rig in the first year and released the Hazard Squad in a lime paint scheme as a Hazard Material Team apparatus in the Blaze Buster five pack –
The Hazard Squad was released again in late 2010 as an exclusive 10 pack model. This time as Hazardous Material Response vehicle marked as “Squad 12” –
The first real department livery used on the Hazard Squad was that of the Gunnison HazMat Response Team out of Gunnison County, Colorado. The model hit the shelves at the end of 2010 –
The Hazard Squad wasn’t released again until late summer of 2011 when it was issued as a unit from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport –
Released again in December of 2011 as part of the Fire Station playset, the Hazard Squad sported a classic white over red paint scheme and was marked as a HazMat unit for “County Fire” –
In 2012 MB colored a bit outside of the lines and released the model with a flashy paint job that included a giant gas mask on the side of the rig and red windows as part of the “EMT” five pack. This also included some wheel variations –
MB quickly got back on track in late 2012 and issued this version with a more realistic looking design marked as E4 for the “MBX Airport” –
The casting took a little time off until mid 2014 when it was released again as part of the Mission Force Fire set with this white paint job and bright red windows –
In 2015 we saw the release of a new premier line called the “Supreme Heroes”. This line was made up of emergency vehicles featuring Matchbox’s new two piece wheels. The series included the Hazard Squad released as Engine 4 from the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department –
As part of the premier line the Hazard Squad was given extra tampo strikes on multiple sides of the vehicle including the roof, sides and rear of the model –
The Hazard Squad was the only non-licensed (MB designed) vehicle included in the Supreme Heroes line. Despite being a non-licensed model it still looked very similar to the fire apparatus that it was decorated to resemble in the series –
In late 2015 gave us the first of a modified casting of the Hazard Squad. Changes included a plastic body with no separate roof piece (which was what allowed for the cab roof color to be different from the body color). MB made the best of the situation in designing the Hazard Squad as a State Police unit, which worked well with the solid color scheme –
Showing that they listen to the desires of collectors, MB released the Hazard Squad once again in 2016 with not only a real FDNY livery, but also returned to the metal body! This FDNY High Rise Unit was released with a die-cast metal body and plastic base done in “chrome” finish –
Tampo design came from FDNY’s actual High Rise Units –
DLM? (what does that mean anyway?) Yeah… I open just about everything, but for those of you that appreciate boxed models… here are a few pics showing how some of the different Hazard Squads have been packed.
Like regular line single blister packs –
Supreme Heroes line –
Mission Force: Fire gift set –
And in a five pack –
The Everett Marshall Charities model in hard case –
The Line Preview model on blister card –
Yeah, told you I open everything –
Real deal - there has been some speculation among collectors as to where MB got their inspiration for the model. Certainly one could look towards apparatus such as the Sutphen or even the Pierce Arrow chassis and see some similarities. Regardless of where the actual inspiration came from, the Hazard Squad casting is realistic enough to pass for a real fire apparatus and let kids imagine they are playing with real models that roll down their streets everyday. Here’s a few pics of some “Hazard Squads” in real life –
Thanks for reading… the end