Del Prado, a company in Spain, produces "subscription models," where a different car, plane, train, etc. is released each week. Each World Fire Engines release includes the model, a plastic display base, and a "magazine." The magazines are several pages long and relate to either the vehicle itself or a larger topic, such as the history of firefighting. They also include a separate, single sheet showing the specifications and a photograph or drawing of the actual apparatus.
The series is or has been available in several countries including Japan, Italy, Germany, France, England, the US, and the Netherlands. The series has varied in number of issues in these countries, from 64 in Japan to over 130 in Italy. The individual models also appear quite frequently on eBay, mostly from European sellers.
The Japanese series contained three models that were not released in other countries due to licensing issues. A special series, separate from World Fire Engines and consisting of specialized apparatus such as planes and boats, is available only in France. Not all models are available in all countries. Also, different numbering is used in different countries.
Technically speaking, del Prado is not a manufacturer but a publisher. However, it has released a number of companion items that are of interest to the model collector. Although actually manufactured by other, often well known, manufacturers, these items are commonly referred to as "del Prado" items.
Ediciones del Prado was founded in 1988 in Madrid, Spain. From the very beginning it's activity involved the publishing of edited works in instalments. Since then it has grown such that it is now one of the leading enterprises of its type, distributing it's products largely through newsagents and newstands. At present it has branches in France, Brazil, Poland, Japan and Hong Kong, and representatives in Italy and Great Britain. It's products are distributed practically all over the world in countries as diverse as Germany, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, and the United States.
Del Prado products have covered a variety of subjects aimed at a diverse base of readers and are often accompanied by collections of miniature items, released in conjuction with the serialised text. These have been very popular, with examples being: "Aircraft of the Aces", "Building the Cutty Sark", "The Ultimate Car Collection", "Locomotives of the World", the Lead Soldier collections and "Porcelain Trinket Boxes".
Handicrafts have been another important line with "Doll's House" and "Your Dream Doll's House" being claimed to have brought about a small revolution in this area. "Building the Bounty" and "Building a Medieval Fortress" are other Ediciones del Prado handicraft collections that have enjoyed enormous popularity.