Welcome to this month's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we have the privilege of meeting up with Tom W, who hails from Australia! It's really awesome to see how many people across the globe enjoy the same hobbies. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
TW: Hi I’m Tom a volunteer firefighter from Victoria, Australia. I have been building lego since I was a kid, I started designing my own trucks around 5-6 years ago to look like the fire trucks we have in Victoria and have been slowly growing my fleet ever since.
LFC Blog: It's cool to see that even in different countries, guys like you and me try to replicate the things around us! Who/what inspires you to build?
TW: What inspires my building is going on to the lego emergency pages on facebook or flickr and seeing the impressive work done by builders from across the globe like Steven Ashbury and Ralph Savelsberg and trying to incorporate those levels of details into my builds.
LFC Blog: I agree! Those guys are really have an eye for detail. What's in the name (CFA & MFB) and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
TW: I don’t really have a name for my lego fire department more just trying to kept it close as possible to the actual fire service we have here.
LFC Blog: Haha! That's actually pretty unique to not have a department name and instead model it after a real life department. What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
TW: The most challenging so far would have to be my C-130 Hercules LAT and the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, trying to keep them as small as possible but the right scale and detail.
LFC Blog: I knew you were gonna say that! Both of those aircraft are amazing! Not too many can build the aircraft you have! Well done! What is your most favorite rig and why?
TW: My most favorite rig would have to be my CFA Scania heavy pumper cause its my main truck and always getting upgrades when I learn new techniques and up to about version 5 or 6 now.
LFC Blog: I can almost say the same thing for my own tiller :p What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
TW: The modified grill brick, different sizes would be nice cause I am using them more and more for my lockers now.
LFC Blog: You're not the only person to say that! I do hope that Lego reads this blog and will take that into consideration ;) What are your future plans for your department?
TW: Just continuing vehicles that we have in our fire service and branching off and doing some more trucks for the museum fleet.
LFC Blog: I think I could speak for the LFC in that we would love to see you do some classic rigs! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
TW: Seeing everyone else’s builds and seeing new techniques they come out with is the best part and the fact everyone is open and willing to help people.
LFC Blog: Indeed! Learning and being inspired by others are some of the best things in the community! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
TW: More lego fire trucks that’s for sure hahahah.
LFC Blog: Very true! That's how we improve! Any tips or advice for new builders?
TW: My main tip would be have a go, if the build does look like talk to one of your fellow builders and float ideas off them to try and improve it.
LFC Blog: Great advice! Sometimes the best way to learn is to just try and build something. Thank you again for taking the time to sit down with us Tom! We look forward to seeing new rigs from you! To those reading this blog, thanks for your continued support! Stay tuned for more awesome content! If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe to get notifications when we post something new!
Happy 2019 to everybody! We kick off the new year with one of my good friends TJ Brammer! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog TJ! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
TB: My name is TJ Brammer and I’ve started building in late 2011, and I did it heavily until 2015 and then life happened and it pulled me away from legos. I’ve recently started to get back into building.
LFC Blog: I know what you mean! Life has its way of taking the things we enjoy most haha! Who/what inspires you to build?
TB: The people who inspired me the most to build was people like Bob K, Anthony V, Paul B, Martijn, and Sven J. There are a lot more. I saw most of their builds on Youtube and they talked their creations and MOCpages, which sent me over there and I started to post my builds in early 2013.
LFC Blog: Those are some awesome builders to be inspired from! What's in the name Blockburg and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
TB: I heard of the name “Blockburg” on Youtube from a stop motion film channel called “Gearheadtheman” and the other town in this guy’s series was called “Blockburg.” I liked the name an it stuck with me. Originally the department’s color scheme was going to be Black over Blue with a black stripe and I do have a couple of rigs going along with that color. However, one Christmas I got around 20 pounds of random bricks as a present and there was a ton of white bricks in it. I got bored one day and started to build another department, but once I got the rig done, I liked the colors and the rig too much so I had to add it to Blockburg. That’s how Engine 12 was born and the all white with a black stripe color scheme stuck.
LFC Blog: That's an interesting story of where the white rigs came from! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
TB: The most challenging rig I’ve ever built would have to be Truck 7, which is a 2015 International 7500 with a Seagrave Apollo II 105’ Platform. What made the build so difficult was making sure that I had the body tall enough so that the ladder would rest on the cab, and also I spent a long time waiting for parts.
LFC Blog: That is a really beautiful rig! The colors go so well on the truck! What is your most favorite rig and why?
TB: It’s hard for me to decide my favorite rig, I really like Truck 7 and the new Engine 3. I really like Truck 7 because of how different it is, and the color scheme matches it perfectly. I really like Engine 3 because of how many details I put into the truck such as the ladder rack and how I used the 1x8 plates to even out the top of the body without shrinking the hosebed.
LFC Blog: The rigs that we hold dear are the ones we spent the most time on. It's evident why you like both rigs! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
TB: One Lego piece I wished that would be manufactured would be a stackable 1x2 grille piece so that builders wouldn’t have to glue or wiggle in a tiny tiny piece of paper to build grilles for a Spartan or HME.
LFC Blog: That would really be helpful, but until then, we're stuck with the glass windows and antennae to hold the tiles together haha! What are your future plans for your department?
TB: My future plans for my department is to build a new and smaller fleet to match the departments in my area, which is older and more commercial cab based.
LFC Blog: I love how many people are downsizing their fleet to match what's local to their area. That makes each builder unique! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
TB: To me, the best part of the LFC is seeing how people of all ages use Lego to build real life things and put their own spin on it. And I like it how people can build a fire truck of their own for less than $500K.
LFC Blog: Haha that is true! Lego is a pricey hobby, but buying a real fire truck would be really expensive! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
TB: I would like to see the LFC grow better by showing how it used to be. Back when MOCpages and Emergency bricks were the main places to go, the drama wasn’t really big like it is on facebook/insta. It did happen on MOCpages and Emergency bricks, but most of the interaction we had was good and it gave builders new ideas and techniques that could solve their building issue and improve their creations. If all the new builders saw the LFC how it was a few years back and when the builders that we call veteran builders or even legends were in action and were still active in the LFC, we’d have one good community.
LFC Blog: I agree with that sentiment. Too many great builders have left because of said drama. What we can do now is to learn from the past and not do or say things that will hurt other people. Any tips or advice for new builders?
TB: My advice for the new builders is to not get involved in the facebook/insta drama like other groups have. The LFC wasn’t designed for that nor needs it. The LFC is a place where people build a cool truck and show it off. Also, give credit where credit is due, the original creator knows what their designs look like, don’t think you can get away with it.
LFC Blog: Credit is such an important element when posting creations, and it doesn't even take all that long to acknowledge who/what inspired the build. Well, thank you TJ for taking the time to be apart of the LFC Blog, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for you! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this edition of the LFC Blog!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are privileged to have Lucas, who is well known for his stop-motion videos on Youtube!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
LL: Hello, I’m Lucas Lugtenburg, 16 years old and from the Netherlands. I’ve been building LEGO Fire Trucks since I was a child. I started with building fire trucks because it was my dream as a kid to become a firefighter one day. When I was young I played a lot with LEGO’s, so I put LEGO and the dream of becoming a firefighter together.
LFC Blog: That's great! Many of us started out at a young age too! Who/what inspires you to build?
LL: Well I don’t really have one person who inspired me to build. But one guy on YouTube, his name was LegoSteniker, a german builder, inspired me to build European fire trucks in the way I build them now. His 6/7 wide German trucks were really realistic and familiar with the Dutch one’s, because I always made Dutch fire engines. He also made some good scenes which inspired me to make scenes aswell.
LFC Blog: That's a great builder! I'm sure not too many people know him. What's in the name Brickdam and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
LL: At the moment I’m working on ‘The Berliner Feuerwehr’. Just what the names says, I’m making the Berliner Feuerwehr in LEGO’s as realistic as possible. The color scheme, vehicle models etc. they’re all based on the real Berliner Feurwehr. By the way, it’s the first times in years that I’m not making a Dutch LEGO fire department, so that was a bit challenging. But before this project I had the department called ‘The Brickdam Fire Department’. The name ends on ‘dam’ which is based on a few cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam & Rotterdam. I choose for it because I thought it would sound typically Dutch. The color scheme for that department was also based on the Dutch color scheme. Because (most) of all rigs in the Netherlands have the same color scheme with the blue & white stripes.
LFC Blog: I really love that you're imitating the real Berliner Feurwehr's color scheme. We definitely need to see more European-inspired Lego fire departments ;) What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
LL: I think the most challenging rig was one of my last Berliner Feuerwehr rigs. It was the Mercedes benz Container ambulance which I made with a 6 wide front and a 7 wide back. Challenging for my were the back doors and the color scheme I had to make in it. After trying some different techniques it worked out really nice and I’m still really happy with the result.
LFC Blog: Integrating the color scheme while maintaining functionality is always an interesting challenge to take on! Kudos for accomplishing that with your ambulance! What is your most favorite rig and why?
LL: I think this question is really hard to answer haha! I’m really a perfectionist so all my rigs have to be perfect, so I like them all. But if I have to choose one that’s my favorite I think that would my my rescue truck of the latest Brickdam Fire Department. It was a Mercedes Benz Atego rescue truck, really compact and short. One of my favorite things on that rig was the rescue crane on the back, which is very common in the Netherlands.
LFC Blog: I agree... I like all my rigs too :p That rescue truck has some nice features, including the aforementioned crane! What are your future plans for your department?
LL: At the moment I’m working on the 2nd season of my successful Stop-Motion Project: LEGO Firefighters: Real Heroes. I made the 1stseason with my Dutch rigs and for the 2ndseason I wanted to something new, so I decided to base it on a real, big department in Europe. I’m trying to make 6 to 8 well-made stop motion episodes. After the 2ndseason I will make a new department, based on another big department in Europe. I hope this 2nd season will be successful as the 1st season!
LFC Blog: We're here to support your stop-motion endeavors! Can't wait to see more episodes! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
LL: I love to see how others manage to improve their building skills and see them grow on platforms like Instagram or YouTube. I think we all can get inspirited by each other. The support to keep make cool things and stuff is great.
LFC Blog: Agreed! Seeing individuals grow is fascinating to watch! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
LL: Unfortunately, I’m one of the few who make European rigs in the LFC, and of course, American rigs are amazing but it’s not really my thing. I hope that the LFC will grow with new builders, but also that there will be more builders who will make European rigs, I think that would give the LFC a bigger boost!
LFC Blog: In a way, that's a great thing because your builds are unique :) But, I do agree with that sentiment, we could use more people from Europe! Any tips or advice for new builders?
LL: Let’s say that everything is possible when you are building LEGO fire trucks. Get yourself inspired by others and build what you want. The more you build, the more you improve your building skills.
LFC Blog: Great advice! Thanks for participating in the blog Lucas, and we can't wait to see what new rigs and videos you will come up with! For those reading this blog, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thanks for sticking with us this year, and do look forward for new content soon!
Welcome back to the Lego Fire Community Blog! Michael here, and we are honored to present OceanBrick Fire!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
OBFD: Hi, I’m OceanBrickfire, I’m a 17 year old TFOL from New Jersey. If you’ve known me for a while, I’m not a fan of SNOT building on roll-ups, but I’ll do it if needed. I’ve been building with Lego since I was about three or four years old. I started building Lego fire trucks in 2009, but let’s just say they weren’t accurate looking. Currently, I have three fleets, OBFD, Gloucester County FDs, and PGFD Departments.
LFC Blog: I think we all started with terrible looking rigs haha! I personally love how you model your departments from actual companies! Who/what inspires you to build?
OBFD: This is a tough one, when there were more websites that Instagram Fire accounts, Bob K, Steven Asbury, Tom D, Mike Galligano, Sven, and probably a lot more. Currently, it’s just actual departments and interesting schemes or innovations that they’ve come up with. I’m positive I spend an hour or so a day just scouting out new builds from different sites.
LFC Blog: Absolutely! Looking through unique schemes and new rigs should inspire all of us! What's in the name OceanBrick Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
OBFD: I came up with OceanBrick Fire Department by combining Ocean City Fire Department (NJ, not MD) with a Lego theme. My main premise was to avoid using the Trademark word Lego, incase I ever get a large enough following. Though there is always the question if Brick, NJ had any inspiration in the name. My department’s current color scheme is the basic White over Red cab and a white stripe, with Gray Roll-ups. OBFD currently has an Engine decked out in a pink scheme (E306), but it will slowly be phased out.
LFC Blog: It's neat that you have a pink engine! I hope you don't destroy the rig! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
OBFD: My most challenging rig in terms of parts being acquired was Coal Twp Engine 101, mainly because it’s purple. Though my most challenging rig would be OBFD Snorkel 316, which is a 2013 Pierce Arrow XT 135’ Bronto. I believe it took me over a week just to perfect the aerial device, and even afterwards I came upon the final design, by accident.
LFC Blog: Purple must have been a tough color to get all the parts haha! Bronto skylifts are a pain to recreate in Lego! What is your most favorite rig and why?
OBFD: My current favorite rig, would have to be Ladder 49. Yes, that Ladder 49. It’s interesting because it’s a really simple Seagrave design, but it’s almost always recognizable to the non-Lego fan just casually browsing through. The more interesting part is that the real rig from the movie and the BCFD is housed at a SPAAMFAA chapter a quick drive away.
LFC Blog: You're lucky to have that rig so close to you! I bet that helped a lot with recreating the rig! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
OBFD: Stuck between a few on this one. I really would like a 1x3 roll up brick. Doing a lot of based off of trucks, there’s a lot of roll-ups that are 1x3 sized or 1x5, and there’s no real method to it. Another would be an accurate complement of truck company tools i.e. chainsaws, roof hooks, sheetrock hooks, halligans, i could go on.
LFC Blog: That's very a true! A variety of doors would be awesome! If only Lego would listen to our pleas haha! What are your future plans for your department?
OBFD: OBFD will hopefully be getting two new Truck Companies, a new addition of engines with a mix of Pierce, Seagrave, and KME, a lot of updating to apparatus, and as always, adding new units. I’m always planning out the OceanBrick Fire Department, and hoping those plans will one day be a reality.
LFC Blog: That's great to hear! It's always cool to see new rigs from other people! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
OBFD: The best part of the LFC is in my opinion, the expansion on to different social media platforms. I started on instagram in 2013, and there were only a few guys: Paul Mckeever III, Cody Benac, Rich Parks, Ben Cooper, Tim Joseph and myself. Now, there’s so many out there that I’ve found departments that I never even knew existed, but have been around for almost a year.
LFC Blog: That's true! Although sometimes, it gets a bit tough to track down specific builders because of all the platforms. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
OBFD: I like seeing these new builders come right into the community, but I think some of their attitudes towards other builders should change. Especially when another person suggests a change.
LFC Blog: Having a good attitude is a trait for success, not just in Lego world, but in real life as well! Any tips or advice for new builders?
OBFD: When you’re starting out, don’t go for a large fleet, because it does get expensive. If you have to keep redesigning a truck until it looks right, that’s fine. That’s normal for every builder. If you discover any new designs or techniques while doing a rebuild, that’s even better.
LFC Blog: Quality over quantity! I couldn't agree more! Well, thank you for taking the time to do this interview OceanBrickFire, and we look forward to seeing your new rigs/incidents! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this far and have a Happy Thanksgiving (if you're from the US :D)!
Welcome to today's special edition of the LFC Blog! I cannot believe it has been a year since the inception of the LFC Blog! To me, it has been amazing to read and hear the responses by you the reader! Without your support, the Blog definitely would not have lasted this long!
For today's segment, we have compiled some your questions, and we will answer them accordingly.
This first question is a pretty popular request by many people: How do I get featured on the page?
MP: Well, either MM or myself will contact you to be featured on one of the segments. As the goal for the blog is to promote and cultivate the community, we look for folks who have a good standing in the community and advocate a positive influence on others. We also look at the quality and uniqueness of the builds. Yes, there's only so many ways to put two bricks together (or is there? :p), but, for the most part, you can identify who the builder is just by looking at his rigs (As a really good example, look at Sven's work :D).
Who was the builder you most believed wouldn’t agree to participate in the blog?
MP: Honestly, any of the OG builders (Jeff C, Tom D, Bob K, etc.). Also, I thought guys from Flickr, like Ralph S., were gonna be a long shot for the blog, but thanks to email, I was able to communicate with them!
Who is a builder you want to feature?
MP: Good question. There's actually quite a few: Mike L., Rodney G., Steven A. (His incident doesn't count :P), etc.
What’s the future for the blog?
MP: There are so many avenues to pursue! Personally, I would love to increase the walk-arounds, featurettes, and incidents, but it takes time to get the material together. I'm hoping to add another admin or two, but again, most of us are pretty busy with our own lives, and Legos are more or less a hobby. As for content, maybe we will expand to fire service related topics as I can only interview so many people :p
What inspired the blog?
MP: Well, to be honest, I was kinda disappointed to hear that some of the younger builders had never heard of legendary builders such as Tom D, Bob K, Tony S, etc. So you could say that I put it on myself to make those guys like household names, which they absolutely should be lol. Having said that, I then figured that a web-based blog would be the best way to achieve that goal because it would be personal while presenting all sorts of information. Also, I did not want it to seem that I was stealing photos and all that good stuff (RIP to all those who left because some idiot stole photos. If you're reading this, I hope you do come back and build! You know who you are!); hence, the interviews. Karl E had a blog wayyy back but got discontinued (Thanks Life! You rock, sometimes.). Also, I read Chicago Area Fire Blog and Unyque Fire Trucks on a somewhat regular basis, so that played a big role in inspiring some of the other content.
When is the next episode?
MP: I believe you're reading it right now :P Honestly, I am going to try to post an interview/blog segment once a month. Walk-arounds and incidents are always a work in progress, and I am constantly on the lookout for really compelling incidents and rigs.
Why don’t you post your own rigs?
MP: Haha, I did already! Check out the first post. But seriously, as I've stated previously, the goal of the blog is to educate others of not only who the great builders are but also who are the people we can look up to.
With that being said, thanks for tuning in to today's Blog, and be on the lookout for the next segment! As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or general comments, please let us know by using the contact tab. Also, if you want to know when a new page is posted, be sure to subscribe to the blog!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! We are honored to have Calvin here with us! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
CF: Hi, my name is Calvin and I'm a 48 AFOL in Littlehampton, West Sussex England, on the sunny south coast and a firefighter for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. We have 2 Scanias and a Landrover in our station. I started my lego days back in 1979 on my 9th birthday. I was given a load of money so I went down to my local toy shop and bought 4 lego models, 2 of which I still have today: Set number 640 fire car 6690 snorkel truck, 602 fire chief, and the Shell Petrol Tanker (last 2 I don’t have ). It all started from there! By the time I left school, I had collected every fire related models up to 1988/89, then I stepped away for a few years, then went back into it about 1992 and collected again up to 1997 when I thought the models were going downhill.
In 2005, Lego made a come back with the new 6 wide fire truck and I bought about 10 of them and started converting them into Legoland Fire and Rescue Service, and that was it for me! I was hooked again! In 2008-2009, I found Brickshelf then in 2010-2011, I found MOCpages where I found some amazing people on there who got me into building American trucks, and I then created South Coast Fire and Rescue till about 2014-2015 when I discovered Mount Horeb Fire Dept and their black trucks. I was hooked and out of the ashes came Baybrick County Fire Rescue, which is current today and getting bigger! I then found Bob K. and Lego Twp. and his amazing stations so I started building stations as well. I have 10 stations to date as well as a rural fire dept and airport fleet.
LFC Blog: Wow you've been building quite a while! It's great to see the passion over the years! Who/what inspires you to build?
CF: Wow, what can I say and who! There are so many!! But the first person I got to know well first was James K and from there on, I met Paulo, MM, Graeme T, Tim J, CC, Zak O, Christopher Anthony, Matt leper, Matthew Miller, Sven, Bob K, Tom D, Olivier Laporte, TJ, Anthony Dryden, Paul Mckeever, and so many more (sorry if I haven’t mentioned you all)! They are all fantastic builders who helped me and inspire me to this day! With so many new faces coming through with new ideas, it's only going to get better!
LFC Blog: All those guys are not only great builders, but also even better people! What's in the name Baybrick County Fire and Rescue, and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
CF: While I was getting bored with South Coast, I wanted to have a name with "brick" in it, and the name I was going with at first was Palebrick Fire Dept but didn’t look good on a black truck, then after writing down loads of names on a piece of paper, the name BAYBRICK stood out, and I knew that was the name!
LFC Blog: Having made several cities, I can relate to that a lot haha! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
CF: My most challenging rig was building and designing my scania airport rescue ladder! It took me a long time to build, dismantle, re-build again and again till the design it is today! That rescue ladder it pretty ingenious, I must say!
LFC Blog: What is your most favorite rig and why?
CF: Well, there is so many to choose, but if I had to choose one, it’s the 2017 Seagrave Marauder II designed by my good friend Paulo! It just looks the part!
LFC Blog: You can never go wrong with Seagrave! They create high quality rigs! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
CF: I'd have to say due to the fact I build fire trucks, I would like them to build more lift up locker door in different sizes, maybe a 2 wide by 4 high and a 2 high and 4 wide (for above the wheel arches) etc., as I love the lift up locker concept. It just helps with storage on the trucks.
LFC Blog: I definitely agree! There should be more variety not only with doors and compartments but also with colors! What are your future plans for your department?
CF: Well, as you know, I've got 10 built station and appliances, but I'm in the process of building 3 more stations and appliances, and I've got hooked on a new design of the new Scania next generation cab by Scott Morris, so I'm adding a few more Euro rigs to my American fleet, so I get the best of both worlds!
LFC Blog: Woah! Those are some great plans! We can't wait to see them come to fruition! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
CF: You guys who are reading this! It says it in the name "COMMUNITY!" We all work so hard to help each other with builds, ideas. sharing files, etc. I just feel proud to be part of it, and it's just so enjoyable to help other people on here!
LFC Blog: Indeed, the people is what makes it great! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
CF: I think we have already a very good, growing community in LFC and with newer models coming through, more people are getting into our hobby, and we need to inspire these people into our community but we've also got to teach and guide them, especially concerning respect for others.
LFC Blog: Well said Calvin! Any tips or advice for new builders?
CF: Yes very much so: don’t try to run before you can walk. There are so many new people joining who want to go straight in the deep end and build complicated trucks and then pester people with "how do I do this/that etc etc?" Learn the basics of lego! Go buy a fire truck, dismantle it, rebuild it, dismantle it again. Learn the parts and their functions and how to adapt them. Give respect and credit to the people who are helping you. They have been here a long time and have seen a lot of people come and go. Listen to what people are trying to help you with, and don’t keep bombarding them with questions because then, people won't want to help you at all.
LFC Blog: Couldn't have said it better Calvin! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, and we look forward to seeing your new creations!
To those reading this blog, thanks for your continued support!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the latest edition of the of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Today, we have the privilege and honor of having one of the founders of the community itself, Bob K! His work has inspired so many people, including me! So we are really thrilled to have him here with us today! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog Bob! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
BK: I started building fire trucks back in 2002. Bear in mind, I grew up playing with Lego. My friend had the Lego Set “Engine Co. No. 9” and I loved the set and loved to build with Lego. My very first Lego set was the Exxon Gas Station from 1980. From that point forward, I collected the Town System sets. My first firehouse set was Fire Station (Set #6382) from 1982. Sadly, I never got the Engine Co. 9 set. Growing up, I had a fascination with the fire department. I made sure I would get every fire related Lego from that point forward. At some point, I had lost the garage rollers for my fire station and some small parts. Eventually, I dismantled it and created a firehouse similar to the one near my childhood home. Growing up with Lego, I had always built the sets as instructed. I seldom deviated from the instructions. Replacement parts were very difficult to come by. Aside from buying a set to get a particular piece, there was the Lego Shop at Home Service. But not all parts were available. If I was lucky to have spare Lego parts, I would build something from scratch. I never purchased a duplicate of anything. Then, Lego decided to change things around. Come the mid 90’s, the quality of the Lego sets were just…junk. It looked more like Duplo designs. Lego had taken a major step backwards in design and fun. I stopped collecting. It wasn’t until late 2001, early 2002 when my cousin introduced me to the world of ebay. Once I learned what ebay was all about, I began to search for some old Lego sets. Sure enough, both the Fire Station and Engine Co No 9 sets were on there! I purchased the Fire Station….but not Engine Co. No. 9. To this day, I still do not have that set. I also searched ebay and found some custom Lego builds on ebay. I decided to search the internet for Custom Lego Fire Trucks. That decision changed my life forever. That is when I found Eric MacDonald’s Lego City Fire Department and Tom Duggan’s St. Lego Fire. I was just floored at what I saw from both of these builders! My desire to get back into the Lego hobby was reignited. After seeing the detail in their websites, I thought to myself, yeah I can do that. That is when the Lego Twp Fire Department was born.
LFC Blog: That is a really cool story! I guess too many of us take for granted that specific bricks that we want/need are able from from Bricklink. It sure must have been difficult to acquire pieces back then! Who/what inspires you to build?
BK: My initial inspirations were Eric & Tom. My first attempts at custom Lego Fire apparatus was interesting to say the least. I built originally in 4-wide scale, to be consistent with Lego. 6-wide, although more detailed, just seemed too big. My 4-wides were long and narrow, and somewhat awkward. I then made the switch to 6-wide and converted all of my apparatus. I like to be as realistic as possible, so I decided on streamlining the apparatus. I decided on Pierce, since that is what we run in my firehouse and I can sit all day and take all the pictures I want in the firehouse and just study the truck. I then studied the different models of Pierce apparatus and went from there. I also looked at what other builders did. I had a hard time finding the look of a Pierce through various build attempts. Finally, I saw something in a build that Paul Bock had done. I found it! I found what I was looking for! Once I got the front of the truck looking correct, I began to focus on cab length and match the lengths with the lengths of the actual models for Pierce. Now, someone once asked me why Pierce? Can I build ALF, Seagrave, Mack and other brands? Absolutely I can. But did I want to have multiple brands? At the time, I was not sure.
LFC Blog: It is interesting how you developed your department and stuck with Pierce all this time! Haha! What's in the name Lego Twp. Fire Dept. and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
BK: Back then, there were not as many Lego Fire Departments on the internet. I wanted to keep it simple and not sound like an actual town name. Lego Township popped in my head. It sounded right. As for the color scheme, when I first began to build again I tried different color schemes. Back in the 80s & 90s I tried a white over red look and did not like it. During the rebuild, I tried the white over red in 4-wide and thought it looked better. 6-wide looked awesome….but so did black over red and all red. Great…now what? I couldn’t make a simple decision. So I decided to keep all 3 colors. Later, I decided to make each battalion a particular color scheme. After a while, I thought about making the department uniform in color scheme. But what color scheme do I do? I kept coming back to a picture of Engine 5. All red with a white roof. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I also liked the color scheme that the Fairfield NJ Fire Department had for the pumpers. So I decided to go with that. During this time, I had been adding decals, courtesy of Matt Jacobsen. For the black over red trucks, the gold leaf had red borders. The white over red and all red had black bordered gold leaf. Some of the decals had inverted colors or something completely different. So now, I needed to do something to make the decals uniform as well. That is when the gold leaf with blue trim came to mind. I did one truck in the new color scheme and loved it.
LFC Blog: I love how you kept all three colors for Lego Twp. I might be a bit biased, but I love the red fire trucks the most :) What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
BK: The most challenging rig I ever built was my first custom 4-wide. I didn’t have any instructions and wasn’t sure what I could and could not do. Heck, I didn’t even have all of the necessary parts.
LFC Blog: I love that you mention this because too many of us (myself included) are not as creative/innovative because of the plethora of available parts today. I think that not having the necessary bricks is what really drives the creativity of an individual. What is your most favorite rig and why?
BK: My favorite rig is Engine 8. That Engine was one of the first 2 rigs I build it 6-wide (the first 6-wide Engine 2 was its twin). Aside from cab, lighting and pump upgrades, the rest of the truck is untouched from 2002. It truly is a 16 year old piece. I don’t want to part with it or put it in reserve status.
LFC Blog: That is astounding to hear one apparatus last that long! None of my rigs last that long haha! It would be lucky if they lasted 2 years, let alone 16 haha! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
BK: Hands down the 1x4x4 lift door in red. I spent wayyyyy too much money on bricklink for these parts. I’m a Lego purist. I hate to cut, glue and paint Lego. I bit the bullet a year or so ago and painted white rollups red. So far the red paint is holding up well.
LFC Blog: I remember wanting to get those at one point, but I could not justify one part being over $20. I didn't know you painted the white rollups! That means you really did a good job lol! What are your future plans for your department?
BK: I plan to furnish the interior of the firehouses and possibly go modular with them. New apparatus will be built as well. Possibly a new dispatch center at a separate building, or an expansion of a couple of firehouses. I’ve been mulling over adding EMS to the LTFD. So, I would need to add bays or new EMS buildings. Not sure I want to do that though.
LFC Blog: Your stations are really incredible! I would love to see the interiors for your firehouses! And of course, seeing new apparatus (fire or EMS) from you would be a welcome sight indeed! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
BK: Sharing of ideas, running incidents, and helping younger builders with their up and coming creations.
LFC Blog: I completely agree with you! I wouldn't have been able to build using strange connections if it weren't for the countless of individuals who have helped me along the way! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
BK: I stepped away from the LFC groups because I saw that builders no longer need any input from me. They learned from me and they were helping the next generation of Lego Fire department builders. It made me smile. I felt like my work here was done. Plus, being self employed I did not have the time to devote that I did when I worked for someone.
LFC Blog: I, for one, am truly grateful for the help you've given me in the past, and I do hope to be able to pass that along to the new guys. Any tips or advice for new builders?
BK: Keep building. It's fun. Learn new techniques. If you are stumped, ask questions.
LFC Blog: Yes! I'm glad you said that because I think too many people simply don't build anymore, and thus don't really learn the techniques they need to know to build the kind of rigs they want. Thank you so much for your insights and wisdom Bob! It was really, really awesome to hear your story! To those reading this blog, thanks for hanging in there despite the lack of posts recently XD I'm constantly humbled by all your kind words and support. You guys absolutely rock!
Many of you are unfamiliar with the name Eric S. McDonald, and as the goal of this blog is to educate others of who the pillars of the LFC are, today's blog is a tribute to Mr. McDonald who passed away unexpectedly on August 21, 2002. At this point, I would like to acknowledge Jeff C. (Sixby Fire) for his assistance with this project. I would have loved to show some of Eric's work, but sadly, AOL took down the site around 2008. However, below is an excerpt of Eric's model of creating your own fire department. I hope that you, the reader, will take this to heart and implement it in your own Lego fire department.
To learn more about Eric and his work, please follow this link to Eric's memorial page on Sixby's website.
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! No, I'm not dead (at least I think I'm not dead... haha); life has been extremely busy for all of us here at the LFC Blog, but we hope to post more awesome content on a somewhat regular basis lol.... Anyway, I do hope to catch up with all the awesome rigs that have been posted within the past three and a half months! If you have recommendations on rigs that should be featured, please use the contact form, and I will review them. The only stipulations that I have is that it not be your own rig :)
Now that we have sort of cleaned house, I am really stoked to present to you one of my biggest inspirations over the past year: David Hensley!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog David! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
DH: Hi, I'm David Hensley, a 26 year old AFOL from Seattle, WA. I've been building since the age of four, and never went through a “dark age”. I've always been attracted to the town/train theme, and firetrucks have been a common sight in my town layouts.
In 2012, I drastically changed my building style, going from simple six wide trucks to complex seven wide trucks with a focus on functionality. This started with designing my Amtrak Cascades on LDD while bricks were unavailable, but my style truly formed when I built my 75' snorkel. Since then, my techniques and detail have vastly improved into what you see today.
LFC Blog: I've always been fascinated with your rigs as they are highly functional yet compact. I'm still trying to figure if it's worth exploring the seven-wide world, but time will tell haha. Who/what inspires you to build?
DH: I've always had a love for Lego, and spent most of my free time building. Some of the greatest inspection has come from builders like Ralph Savelsberg, Isaac Mazer, and Karwik, just to name a few. I tried creating MOCs that were of the same quality and detail level of the great builders, and I think I've achieved that goal.
LFC Blog: Those are some fantastic builders with a penchant for unconventional techniques! What's in the name "Tomb of the Unnamed Department" and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
DH: My department does not yet have a name, but I've been meaning to change that. I am a town/train builder, not a fire truck builder. As such I build vehicles that look interesting to me, and don't worry about fitting into an operational fire fleet. My first fire vehicles sported the common white over red with white stripe. But, seeing as this was 90% of apparatus in the world, I decided to do something unique. I settled on white over black with a red stripe. I was shown a photo of Lutherville Squad 303, which coincidentally has a similar scheme, and knew I had to build it, becoming my first rig in the new scheme. It is also the point that I started keeping my builds together, and it is still regularly put on display at events.
LFC Blog: Well, here's to wishing you can name your city soon >o< What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
DH: Hmmm, that's a tough question! Because of my OCD desire for function, all of my builds have sections that take me a week of thinking to find a solution. The welder on my Brandt Power Unit is the most complex thing I've made, but it's only a tiny piece of the rig. Overall, I would say my Curtain Side Trailer (and accompanying Volvo VNL 670) were the toughest.
LFC Blog: Seeing that all your rigs are highly functional, I can see that this is a super difficult question LOL! I am constantly amazed by what you can pull off with Legos, and I certainly hope to attain that level of creativity in the future! What is your most favorite rig and why?
DH: My favorite build has been my Amtrak Cascades. It's been a labor of love for years, with several redesigns along the way. I know, I know… It's not a fire truck! Lucky for you, my KME Aerialcat is a close second! Because of all the flex tube, of course. Third would be my Terrastar Ambulance, which I hope to rebuild someday.
LFC Blog: As one who loves trains on the side, I really like the Amtrak Cascades! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
DH: Lego has been on a new parts binge for the past year! With parts like the corner SNOT brick, three long jumper, and 1x1 round plate with hole, most of my dreams have come true! One piece I continually wish for is a 1x2 by 1x2 bracket with the SNOT part being a plate thick (as opposed to the current half plate) because of all the complex SNOTwork I do.
In case you're wondering, my favorite part is 4081a, the OLD version of the clip light (aka lamp holder). It's such a perfect SNOT piece and did not deserve to be discontinued!
LFC Blog: Indeed, Lego has been coming out with really useful pieces, and I hope they continue with that trend. What are your future plans for your department?
DH: Well, I would need a department to have plans for one… Life has been in my way lately, and I've done very little building this year. I would like to start building a permanent town/train layout section to be used with my local Lego Train Club displays. I also have a list of several trucks to build, though another fire truck will be a ways off.
LFC Blog: That is completely understandable, and we all hope to see more builds (fire truck or not) in the very near future! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
DH: It's something I enjoy about the entire Lego community. The way we take inspiration from and help each other. I've seen the community clearly change in the last few years in the way we build, and the techniques we use. I even see some of my own designs in there! I take pride in being able to help fellow builders achieve something that seemed impossible a short time ago. I thoroughly enjoy solving problems, and you readers are welcome to ask me for any help getting a build just right!
LFC Blog: The community as a whole definitely has its perks! Like you said, the inspiration from other builders is how we progress as builders. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
DH: I haven't been following the LFC as closely as I used to, but I still see many amazing builds on a weekly basis. The LFC is growing, and it's headed in a good direction! As long as we stick together and share what we learn, our hobby will continue to grow.
LFC Blog: Any tips or advice for new builders?
DH: In my building experience I've learned that nothing is impossible in bricks. Every one of my MOCs has led me to new techniques and ideas. I have done things that people would say isn't possible in bricks. If you get stuck on a build, don't be afraid to ask for help. Look at other people's work and try to reverse engineer their solutions. Sometimes you need to set a build aside for awhile to think about it, there's nothing wrong with that. The community is here to support you, you will finish your MOC, and it will be great!
LFC Blog: Sound advice indeed David! Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview! To all the those reading this blog, thanks for your continued support despite the lack of new content recently haha
LFC Blog: Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog. We are joined by my good friend Andrew M. who is the owner of Tribes Hill Fire Department! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome Andrew! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
AM: My name is Andrew Millard, I'm 20 from Fonda, New York. I'm a Firefighter with the Town of Mohawk Fire Department. I started building back when i was about 9, thats when I started to build my own trucks. My first set was the lego city 7239, the ladder truck with boat trailer. My first trucks where simple and unrealistic looking back at them now. What really got me building lego fire trucks was I grew up around firehouses. My grandfather started J.A.V.A.C. (Johnstown Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps) and he was an assistant chief of the Fonda fire Department.
LFC Blog: I remember that 7239 set! That rig had everything a fire truck needed to respond to! Wow! That is an awesome heritage! Who/what inspires you to build?
AM: Some of the builders that inspired me to build better and build more would have to be Zak Overmyer, James Kontoules, Tim Joseph, and Anthony Vessella Jr. I'd spend alot of time on MOCpages looking at new techniques and design ideas. It wasnt until I was about 15 that i actaully started getting a decent end result.
LFC Blog: Those are some legendary names! What's in the name Tribes Hill Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
I settled on Tribes Hill Fire Department for a few reasons, one being it is my actual departments Mutual Aid to the east. Also because I couldn't find any of the "stud", "brick", or "lego" names I liked. So I went with something I knew. The color scheme was all red originally, it gave it that "volunteer" department look in my opinion. I ended up rebuilding from the ground up and I added a white stripe to the newer trucks to show progression of the department over time.
LFC Blog: Interesting to hear the history behind Tribes Hill Fire Department! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
Most challenging rig I've ever built? I'd have to say it'd either the Oshkosh low-pro 85' tower I attempted or Tribes Hill's mini pumper. The issue with the Mini was trying to get the proportions right and to get what I wanted it to carry to fit. The tower is making its return and hopefully will be finished this time.
LFC Blog: Oh wow! I'm excited to see Oshkosh tower make its return mostly because its a rare rig due to its peculiarity. What is your most favorite rig and why?
My favorite rig by far is my replica of Berkshire Engine 112, a HME pumper tanker near where I live. It's a unique rig with the roll up door layout in my opinion, and a unique truck over all. It was alot of time work and pictures to get it designed and built. It's still not done, I mean a build can never be "done". I've changed the light bar, pump and the lights on the cab so far.
LFC Blog: I know what you mean! There's always a new technique or brick the Lego comes out with to improve our builds. Speaking of new pieces, what is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
As far as a new piece I wish was made? There is quite a few I've wished for with a few different builds but off the top of my head I can't think of one. Actually, I take that back, the "Gold Bar" in either Trans clear or Trans Red. The light bars would be a whole new ball game with those.
LFC Blog: Indeed! Those would be especially perfect for older MOCs! What are your future plans for your department?
Future plans for Tribes hill being, finish the station, I'm a few tiles short of finishing the parking lot. After the stations done, I want to get back to putting chevrons on all the trucks and decalling them. Other than that I'm content with THVFD, but Engine 5 is due for replacement coming soon. My project outside of THVFD is to finish off building the North Hudson Regional Fire Rescue Department in North Bergen NJ. I go down there quite often, and I absolutely adore their fleet. I always wanted to have my own "city" department like Whiteridge, Stud City or Studdsville.
LFC Blog: Great plans! I can't wait to see it all come to fruition! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
In my opinion the best part of the LFC would have to be the ability to pass designs around and with all of the different building styles comes alot of different ideas. Everyone for the most part helps eachother and you get so much further on a design rather than if you were on your own.
LFC Blog: We definitely are blessed to live in an era where we can share ideas and be inspired from each other! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
I would like to see the LFC grow but it needs to get back to what it once was. With the respect and credit to the ones that really pioneered it.
LFC Blog: Credit is one of those things that too many people overlook today. It doesn't take that long to type in the name of the person who inspired the rig, and I think that is the first step to moving in the right direction. Any tips or advice for new builders?
My advice to the newer builders, start small and work your way up. Don't overwhelm yourself with a big fleet and get in over your head, figure out your style and what you like and go from there. Quality over quantity is a good thing to think about.
LFC Blog: I wholeheartedly agree! I think that too many people try to go too big really quick, and I think that leads to a whole lot of redundancy and less creativity. Like you said, quality over quantity is a great principle to live by. Thank you Andrew for taking the time to talk with us and share some of your ideas! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this far! I'm always happy to hear your positive comments!
Blog Updated: 02/19/19
Welcome to the Lego Fire Community Blog! Presented here are outstanding builders who captivate their audience with their MOCs (My Own Creation). The purpose of this blog is to educate others of exemplary builders both past and present.
This blog is dedicated to Eric S. McDonald, the Fire Chief of the original Lego City Fire Department who died unexpectedly on Aug. 21, 2002. His vision is what started the whole LFC, and for that we are eternally grateful.
About the moderating team
Michael P. - Owner of Castle Beach Fire Department, Studington Fire & Rescue Station 11, and Los Angelego County Fire Department
This website is not affiliated with The Lego Company, or any real life fire department for that matter. All builds presented here are original works by the respective builders who gave strict permission to utilize the photos on this website. None of the photos were/are kept for personal use.