Christmas is just around the corner and consistent with the last several years,  the ICTA is showcasing some of the models of Checker taxicabs available on the market for Checker gift giving.  In this blog we’ll cover Checkers produced in HO scale.  An HO model is about 2 1/2 inches in length,  with a small footprint, HO allows for the creation of large collections with limited space.

Brekina was in 1979 in the southern Germany town of Umkirch and specialized in 1/87 HO scale automobile and truck scale models. The company diversified into cars, trucks, and busses from the 1950s through 1970s. Brekina grew into one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of 1/87 scale models.  The company offers a small variety of American prototypes and thankfully, Checker Taxicabs are represented in their current lineup.

Brekina has a long established reputation for created extremely accurate and realistic HO scale models.  The quality, details and appearance of Brekina’s Checker Model A11 model released in 2019 certainly meets and exceeds the standards established in 1979.

The current offering includes ten taxicab operator liveries and municipalities.  Cities covered: Atlanta (Checker Cab), Boston Metrowest (Natick Cab) Chicago (Checker Taxi Co.), Dallas (Checker Cab), Los Angeles (Yellow Cab Co.),  New York (NYC TLC Compliant Marking), San Francisco (Bay Area Cab), two liveries from Washington DC (Capital Cab & Diplomat Cab Assn.) and a City of Chelsea, Mass fire chief unit.

Chelsea Fire Chief Unit with modified lightbar

Each model is painted to a high gloss, all graphics are crisp and accurate.  Bumpers are chrome plated as is the two rearview mirrors on each front fenders.  The interior is black and little detail visible.

All models are excellent with limited flaws, two flaws that this authority can see is the inaccurate wheel covers and the roof light that is placed forward close to the windshield.  Authentic Checkers typically have their roof lights centered over the door post.  The NYC car does not utilize proper aluminum “medallion” lamp and the Chelsea fire wagon, displays the a bizarre taxicab roof light  (this writer removed and replaced with a light bar). All models display whitewalls, easily reversed to create a more acceptable appearance.

Athearn Models has a long history in producing model railroading models and supplies.  Started in 1938, by 1946 production settled in Compton, California. Athearn was purchased in 2004 by Horizon Hobby of Illinois.  In 2009 all production was moved to China.

Full disclosure, this writer was involved with the development of the Athearn Model A8 series 1 and is somewhat bias.  It’s my favorite Checker model. My personal A8 was used to develop the original prototype model.

The model is painted in a semi gloss finish, this was done based on the US model railroading standards for realism. Semi flat tones typically reduce a toy like shiny appearance.  All color schemes are authentic, right down to the rate car fonts.

Series one produced four prototypes:  Chicago Taxi, Springfield Missouri Yellow Cab and two Checker Cab Manufacturing fleet colors typically used by independent operators yellow/green and yellow/red. The two fleet variations are consistent with what was used in New York city from 1956-1959.

Detail is very good. Unlike the Brekina model, the Athearn models sports accurate hubcaps and roof light placement.  The chrome details are also more advanced than the Brekina model, utilizing 10 separate chrome pieces versus 5 chrome pieces on the A11 model.  Both models have chrome plated hood ornaments.  Interior detail is fantastic on the Athearn models and easily viewed via the molded in an authentic gray three parts: tub, dashboard and steering whee..

Unlike the Brekina, the Athearn model is no longer in production.  That said it is easily found on Ebay and the purchase prices seem to be coming down.

If interested in the Brekina model, here is a general link to ebay listings

Brekina Checker Taxi | eBay

Likewise here is a link to the Athearn model on ebay

Athearn Checker Taxi | eBay

All seem to be trending at around $20.00