Note: This feature is in the Oct. TT&C 2017 issue.
Samples of Dave Audlin's emergency vehicle kitbashes.
There may be a smidgen of soot and smoke coursing through Dave Audlin’s veins. As a volunteer firefighter in Ashburn, Va., Dave is the third generation in a family of firefighters. Dave’s father and grandfather were also firefighters, and Dave’s 17-year-old son, Hunter, is now pursuing a career as the family’s fourth generation of firefighters.
Dave has also translated that passion into his hobby, collecting model fire trucks, emergency vehicles and other models, and building a 15-by-20 display of a city scene complete with several fire stations.
Dave is originally from Skaneateles, N.Y., where his father served on a fire department. When Dave’s father retired in 1986, the family moved to Virginia Beach, Va., when Dave was 16 years old. In 1991, Dave started his career, now working as an operations manager for Lincoln Property Company, overseeing several high-rise buildings in Washington, D.C.
Dave’s passion for collecting was also instilled by his father, who was a collector who built a model train display.
“When he passed away, I inherited all his stuff and continued on with it. My son, who is 17 now, also got into it and helped me build the display,” Dave says.
But it wasn’t just trains and fire trucks that drew Dave into the hobby.
“He was very big into Mack Trucks, which made me get into Mack Trucks,” Dave says of his father. When Dave was 12 years old, he built a display of a Mack Trucks factory and was featured in the local newspaper.
Dave’s father had a friend who worked for Brockway Trucks in Cortland, N.Y., a company which was affiliated with Mack Trucks. That led to Dave being featured with his display in Bulldog Magazine when Dave was 13 years old. Dave was invited to Allentown, Pa., to meet with the president of Mack Trucks. He received some die-cast models and autographed books from the company, and got a private tour of the Mack Trucks Historical Museum and the factory floor. He also received a key to the city of Allentown, Pa., with the Bulldog emblem.
That left a big impression on the young collector.
“I’m a big truck fan,” he says with a laugh.