In April 1963 the Military Ambulance was replaced by an Alvis Salamander ‘Foamite’ Airport Crash Tender (63b), although it was not until November that it was released in the USA. It was an attempted reproduction of a typical airport crash tender which would have been used to spray an aircraft fire with foam. Whereas 9a and 9b fire engines had been faithful replicas of real vehicles, this model was rather spoiled for fire vehicle collectors because it was a compromise between two actual vehicles.
Unfortunately for the connoisseur, Lesney wished to maximize play value and this led to the main body being derived from a Pyrene vehicle and the roof detail originating from the Foamite tender. Of course, this did not affect the huge demand for this new variation of fire appliance. It came with a white plastic accessory kit which included a ladder, horse and two plastic nameplates which could be removed from the sprue and fitted with silver hoses.
The front and rear pair of the six wheels were sprung by green or white plastic springs although this idea of suspension was abandoned on later versions. Base braces were strengthened during the life or the model and a hole was apparent on some later versions.—Model Collector