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Quick Look: Menard's HO scale Fire Station 12

Read this review from the February 2018 Model Railroader
Menards HO scale Fire Station 12

Price: $69.99

5106 Menard Dr.
Eau Claire, WI 54703

Era: 1960s to present

Comments: Fans of the 1970s-era TV show “Emergency!”, still seen in syndication on some cable channels, will recognize the architectural style of the latest HO scale factory-assembled structure from Menards. Fire Station no. 12, like the company’s previous HO and O scale offerings, is sturdily constructed of acrylic and tempered hardboard, illuminated with more than a dozen light-emitting diodes, and detailed with trees, bushes, static grass, rocks, a flagpole, and seven figures, including the omnipresent Jack the German Shepherd.

The structure resembles the modern minimalist-style fire stations I remember from my childhood in Long Beach, Calif., in the early 1970s, and from my favorite TV series at the time. It’s not designed to be an exact replica of Station 51, though.

Menards’ structures are designed to appeal to the train-set crowd, with factory-landscaped bases and plenty of animated features. The building is studded inside and out with bright white and red LEDs. Two more LEDs are situated at the base of the flagpole, but they glowed through the adjacent grass more than they illuminated the flag. There’s also a rotary air vent on the roof that turns slowly when plugged in.

Powering the lights and animation requires a 4.5V DC power adapter, sold separately ($7.99, no. 2794061). There are plugs on the back and underneath.

The structure is made of tempered hardboard, laser-etched with roof ridge or brick wall textures. A thin acrylic interior wall doesn’t reach the top of the ceiling above, exposing lighting circuitry from some viewing angles. A sticker printed with interior details was attached to the back wall.

I hoped that the lights on the fire truck in the driveway were illuminated, but they weren’t. The die-cast metal and plastic vehicle was glued down to the base, but it shouldn’t be too hard to pry it up if you wanted to wire it for working lights.

Menards’ offerings are fun ways to fill up your layout with factory-finished and -detailed structures. Sometimes, they’re good for a trip down memory lane.

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