A 1/32 scale model 1973 Howe/Hendrickson manifold wagon for Luna Beach FD. Tom made this engine from sheet styrene plastic with turned aluminum parts and accessories. The ladders are basswood with spaghetti rungs. Wheels are from the Aurora kit. This model served in Tom’s fictional Luna Beach Fire Department.

Mr. Showers painted a number of his trucks in the colors of an imaginary town called Luna Beach. Bright yellow colors like this model were once thought to be more visible to other drivers than the traditional red color, but accident statistics involving fire vehicle collisions fail to back that up. Originally, even red trucks were a much darker shade of red than the brighter red popular with many departments today.

The late Tom Showers was a prolific builder of model fire engines and an apparatus historian. Many of his over 450 models are on display in fire museums like the one in Los Angeles. We are privileged to have some of his models on display courtesy of model builder and fire apparatus historian, John Ackerman. Tom Showers served as John’s mentor in model making.

Another one of Tom’s 1/32 scale engine donated by John Ackerman.

Exhibit added: February 20, 2012 - Last modified: April 19, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship