MTH's 30-9139 "Farm House on Fire," with its use of real water, is a novel
accessory but is a little "bare bones" as it comes out of the box. Its two
firemen have neither an engine nor additional manpower to squelch that
blaze. In fact, even though both firemen cradle nozzles in their arms, only
one can hook up to a water supply, and the volume of smoke being generated
suggests that one hose line is not going to do the job!
The photos depict a diorama I built after some back-up crews have arrived.
We now have an engine company, a ladder company, and "Shorty" stepping from
his VFD pickup truck, not to mention the Texas Highway Patrol blocking
traffic. Best of all, thanks to some aquarium air tubing and a cheap
plastic "T" connector hidden under the fire department pumper, both firemen
are now directing their streams of water onto the blaze.
In a few other refinements, the fire hydrant now appears to be feeding the
pumper, which in turn feeds the two hose lines, all of the emergency
vehicles feature flashing red or red/blue LED lights, the "brick" chimneys
have white mortar lines, and the chimney nearest the "fire" is pouring out
For the detail-minded, the fire trucks are old Model Power vehicles that
were bought about 15 years ago. The pickup truck is a $1.99 Maisto toy from
Wal-Mart. The highway patrol car is a Road Champs toy. The additional
firefighters are a mixture of MTH and K-Line figures. The flashing red LEDs
are from Radio Shack, and the flashing red/blue LEDs are #LED5BRFL
from Futurlec.com. The LEDs are all wired together and are powered by three
"AA" batteries. Every two red/blue LEDs are also wired in series to further
reduce their voltage--I figured that out after frying three of them.
Another trial-and-error process was positioning the fireman to direct his
water through the window above the front porch. At first, his stream of
water went clear through the house and out the side window near the back. I
filled in the window "glass" with a bit of clear plastic cut from some
LifeLike tree packaging and also readjusted the fireman's pose. Then I
discovered that the stream of water was hitting a structural support at the
front of the house, causing it to run down the inside of the front wall and
collect in the yard (playing havoc with the dyed sawdust "grass").
Additional fiddling finally got this guy to aim his water into the catch
basin hidden inside the house, but it did take a bit of patience. To give
him a bigger target, some of the mullions and sashes in that window have
been "allowed to burn away," also.
As to the greatest feeling of success, it's a toss up between the fact that,
once I got the figures properly positioned, there is no water leakage
whatsoever outside the house or the fact that I finally got the wires firmly
soldered to all those LED leads!