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Built Review
IFA G5 East German Firetruck
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

IFA G5 TLF "fire department"
Item: 049900
Collection: CARS&TRUCKS
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2012 / 05-06
Series: Nostalgia of GDR; Fire brigade; Model railway; Military vehicles

Herpa currently catalogs 83 vehicles for fans of the GDR (DDR) (German Democratic Republic, or East Germany; Deutsche Demokratische Republik - DDR). This IFA G5 is offered as a triple combination pumper of the former GDR / DDR with many authentic details.

The IFA G5 was designed as all-terrain vehicle with a five-ton payload. The G5 was also operated as TLF (Tanklöschfahrzeug, i.e., Fire Department) for military purposes[1].

Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau ('Industrial Association for Vehicle Construction'), usually abbreviated as IFA, was a conglomerate and a union of companies for vehicle construction in the former East Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik - DDR).

IFA produced bicycles, motorcycles, light commercial vehicles, automobiles, vans and heavy trucks. All East German vehicle manufacturers were part of the IFA, including Barkas, EMW (which made Wartburg cars), IWL, MZ, Multicar, Robur, Sachsenring (which made Trabant cars) and Simson[2].

The G5 was developed and built in the DDR as a three-axis long-nosed truck . It was produced from 1952 (prototype) to 1964 in the VEB Kraftfahrzeugwerk "Ernst Grube" Werdau . The work was part of the IFA and walked out of the 1945 resolution Schumann works in Werdau forth. The development of the truck began during World War II with Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (Vomag). Under the Soviet occupation Vomag completely dissolve shortly after the end of the war and was dismantled; development in the Auto Union and at Horch continued.

The vehicle was also used in East Germany for the military. The "G" stands for terrain and the "5" for 5 tons payload. Compared with the three-axis Soviet ZIS 151, G5 all-terrain performance is inferior[3].

Herpa IFA G5 TLF Tanklöschfahrzeug
Herpa features a video of the G5 on Herpa.TV at their website; you can see details of preserved G5s and other vintage vehicles.

They securely pack this almost fully assembled model in a form-fitted tray. The tray is held inside a red Herpa carton with a cellophane display window, and opens via tabs at each end. The tray has slots for optional parts, but not the typical slots for your fingers to easily grasp and remove the tray from the box. This package design is surprisingly durable; in the past some Herpa boxes arrived partially crushed in transit, and although a model box was mashed, the model was not damaged. On this model is something new to me – Herpa protects the cab top with a removable self-adhering clear plastic cover. Very nice!

The molding is almost flawless. Reviewing the enlarged detail photos I spotted a few burrs where parts were removed from their sprue. The exterior of the cab features fine recessed lines for doors and hoods, panels and the grille. The cab and pumper superstructure sets upon a detailed six-axle chassis: the frame, a basic engine bottom and transmission, drive shafts, fuel tanks, separate exhaust system, differentials, and suspension.

The windshield and windows are free of distortion and you can see the spartan interior. Soft tires mounted on detailed hubs support the model. It does not look like the front wheels can be made to steer with a Herpa steering set. Ten soft plastic or rubber tires have nice tread detail.

Four optional parts are included with the model, a one-piece front bumper with lights, siren, and clearance posts; two side view mirrors; and a spotlight.

Individual clear and tinted lenses simulate the headlights and cab top emergency lights. Finally, paint simulates the tail lights, and front and rear signals, correcting a frequent criticism of Herpa models.

The model has slots in the front of the cab doors where the optional side view mirrors are inserted. Although the mirrors are delicate, it is a simple process -- also correcting a frequent criticism, Herpa coated the side mirrors with a simulated reflecting surface! Herpa has been listening to modeler feedback!

Herpa engineered the soft plastic tires to slip over the rims. They display good detail. Unlike most medium to large Herpa trucks, the front suspension does not seem to be molded to accept optional pivoting wheel hubs.

I don’t know what the inside of the G5 cab looks like but there is some detail in the model: bench seats and a steering wheel. I cannot see any console, stick shift, or dashboard detailing. Windshield wipers are included on the windscreen.

Plenty of parts detail the firefighting equipment. Safety railing and decking crowns the top of the tank. A pumping apparatus is mounted between the pointy nose of the truck and the bumper. To the rear is a hose carriage with wooden spoke wheels. A water cannon juts up between the cab and the tank. On the right side of the cab attaches the spotlight. Attached to the tank are various hoses, reels, fittings, and nozzles.

Livery and Finish
The vehicle and equipment components are molded in color. Chrome trim is painted along the cab and windshield. No markings identify any Feuerwehr, nor are there any other emblems or markings.

This pointy long nosed fire truck model lives up to the high standards I have come to expect with Herpa models. It is an impressive model with good plastic detail and great finishing. The exterior is detailed well, as is the detailed underbody. Lenses for headlights and emergency lights are clear or tinted plastic, although the brake lights and signals are painted on. The mirrors also have a reflective surface, correcting a complaint against these parts. An interior details the cab, visible through the clear windows.

This is an impressive model to have, whether for detailing an automotive or railroad diorama, or just to display. Highly recommended to HO fans of the DDR/GDR, fire trucks, model railroaders, and dioramaists.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RailRoadModeling.


[1]. Herpa.
[2]. Wikipedia. Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau
. [Web.] 4 August 2012.
[3]. Wikipedia, translated. IFA G5
. [Web.] 21 July 2012.
Highs: Great molding and assembly. A high level of detail and attached accessory parts, and mirrors have a reflective surface.
Lows: Lack of tinted lenses for the brake lights.
Verdict: This pointy long nosed fire truck model lives up to the high standards I have come to expect with Herpa models. It is an impressive model with good plastic detail and great finishing.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 049900
  Suggested Retail: $50 (39,50 €)
  Related Link: Nostalgia of GDR
  PUBLISHED: Aug 21, 2012

Our Thanks to Herpa!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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