Budgie Toys No.254
Merryweather Turntable Fire Escape
Issued 1961-63 Length 97mm 'OO/HO' scale (1:76)
Budgie continued the introduction of Emergency Vehicles after the Police Patrol Car (246) with the Merryweather Fire Engine and the Daimler Ambulance (258). The Fire Engine was based on the AEC Merryweather vehicle. Budgie designed a versatile working model with a rotating turntable, a lifting arm which held the ladder in graded upright poistions, and an extendable ladder operated by a winch handle and string so that it could be raised and lowered.
Coloured, of course, in bright red paint, the front grille and headlights of the Merryweather Turntable Ladder Fire Escape, to give its full title, were picked out with silver trim and on each side 'Shield' decals were attached. Windows were fitted inside the cab and on the roof two 'bells' protuded. These could be either yellow or later silver-grey. On many of these late models the 'Shield' decals were omitted.
On the rotating turntable, a red painted handle on the left could be used to adjust the height of the ladder whist on the right an unpainted handle operated the string mechanism for raising and lowering the ladder extension. When fully extended the length of the ladder was 235mm.
The base of the model fitted into the body at the front with a tab above the bumper and was held in place by a rivet at the rear which also secured the turntable. The Merryweather Turntable Escape was one of the first Budgie Toys to carry a number from the start and this formed part of the base lettering. Always black, the base was finished in either gloss or matt.
The Fire Escape was the first Budgie Toy to be issued only with silver plastic wheels. These always had knobbly tyres.
Boxes for the Merryweather Turntable Escape initially displayed the Morris & Stone name beneath the illustrations (A4) but this was later changed to 'Guiterman Group' (A8).
Although only sold for two or three years, the Merryweather Turntable Fire Escape is not too hard to find but the models with grey bells are less common.
Budgie No.254 Merryweather Turntable Fire Escape
1) RED body YELLOW Bells 'Shield' decals spw A4 or A8 box
2) RED body SILVER-GREY Bells with or without 'Shield' decals spw A8 box