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!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are joined by one of the newer builders in the community Jeff B., the creator of LMABAS Division 55 and Studington Fire & Rescue Station 23. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog, Jeff! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
JB: Hello Everyone! My name is Jeff Braun and I am an EMT and Volunteer with a local Emergency Management Agency here in Illinois. I began custom fire truck building in about 2006, but stopped around 2011 due to time constraints, but I very happily returned to building in late 2016! I always liked relating my true passion for Fire/EMS and Legos. It's really fun to replicate real rigs, or, if you want, create new and unusual vehicles that no one has ever seen before!
LFC Blog: Creating new/unusual trucks that no one has attempted before is certainly one of the neat things that Lego has to offer! Who/what inspires you to build?
JB: I really got started building custom Lego Firetrucks back when released their Lego City Airport Fire truck #7891 in 2006 (the yellow one with the pop up monitor in the middle of the truck). Once I saw that Lego fire trucks could be yellow, I started to search around for custom trucks. I found a few great builders at that time like Zak O., Steve A., and Paul B. In addition to these great builders, I was also inspired by my father, who is a retired firefighter. He was the one who got me started in Lego, and bought me most of my first sets, and even helped me to build those sets! As of currently, I am inspired by nearly every builder in the LFC, Lego Emergency MOC's and LESA Facebook page's. Everyone has their own style, and it's so cool to see how we can all work off each other's ideas to make the coolest new rigs we can!
LFC Blog: I remember modding that awesome set! We definitely are privileged to live in an era where we can share ideas with like-minded people! What's in the name LMABAS Division 55 and 66, and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
JB: Well, LMABAS Divisions 55, 66, and a brand new Division, #33, are 3 Large Lego Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Divisions located in Ironhead County (which is a fictional County). In those 3 divisions I have more than 20 departments. I’ve always loved the mutual aid aspect of incidents and fire departments, and I really wanted to incorporate that into my builds. Some departments I have in those divisions are: Oak Brick, Tri-Township FPD, Brickmore City, Acorn Township FPD, and Grand Oaks Fire Dept. I also run Studington Station 23, Los Angelego Station 123, and Brickchester Station 4. These departments all vary in color, some are a basic white over red, some are black over red, and one is even all white with purple striping. So I like to mix it up and keep things fresh!
LFC Blog: The various color schemes that you have has definitely inspired me to do the same, so thank you for that! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
JB: The most challenging rig(s) I’ve ever built were probably the “Follow me to #Jobtown” rigs, which are near exact lego replicas of real fire apparatus from towns and city’s who are known for being very busy and being considered #jobtowns, like East St. Louis, IL, Fort Worth, TX, and Detroit, MI. It takes way more time than the average lego build because of the decals and trying to get the lego versions to have the same shape as the real ones.
LFC Blog: Your decal work is among the best that I've seen, and one can easily tell how much time you spent creating them! I think that replicating actual rigs is much more difficult than creating one of your own spec because there are many more details to incorporate into the replica as compared to building off a general spec. What is your most favorite rig and why?
JB: My favorite rig to build was my replica of Chicago’s Tower Ladder 39. It was a massive build for me, and it was one of the first rigs I built using the SNOT method of building. And the decals also took many hours to replicate and apply. So definitely one of the toughest, but my favorite.
LFC Blog: As soon as I saw that build, I could recognize that it was Chicago's new E-ONE towers! I think that our toughest builds also turn out to be our favorites simply because of the time we spent creating them! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
JB: I wish that lego would make a few parts like a 1x1 modified grill brick in order to be able to make different sized SNOT roll up doors. As well as more realistic Style SCBA’s, Haligan Bars, Thermal Imaging Cameras, and more realistic nozzles for hose lines.
LFC Blog: The 1x1 modified grill brick would be awesome! With Lego releasing new City Fire Department sets in 2019, I hope that they incorporate new tools and equipment! What are your future plans for your department?
JB: The future of my divisions is to expand, and build at least 2 new stations for some of my smaller departments, add some more tanker tenders for various departments, and work on my Ironhead County Sheriff’s Office Units.
LFC Blog: Wow! I cannot wait to see your new rigs! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
JB: The best part of the LFC is the camaraderie between builders, and being able to work alongside some of the best lego builders in the world. Everyone has their own style and it’s great to see everyone work together as a team to make this community so awesome, and it really is a big brother (and sister!) hood. It has its issues (as any group does). But it’s nothing that we can’t work together to overcome!
LFC Blog: Working together with individuals across the globe is a really cool thing to see! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
JB: I would like to see everyone in the LFC post their units, I can’t even count on my two hands, how many times a builder has come to me, asking “Does this truck look good enough?” Because that builder is worried about being ridiculed for that vehicle “not being good enough” for the more experienced builders. I would say don’t worry about that! Just post it! Get it out there. Let everyone see the work you put into that unit! It deserves to be seen! Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you enjoy!
LFC Blog: I agree! Getting critiques from a build is one of the best ways to improve! Any tips or advice for new builders?
JB: I would say that young builders should just BUILD! Don’t worry about anything else. Don’t worry about what your friends think, don’t worry about what others think. Build what you want to build! Don’t worry about immediately posting that unit on Facebook or Instagram, just focus on building your units, that way you can really make the best possible unit and make something your proud of. There’s plenty of time for all that other stuff, just grab some legos and maybe some inspiration and just BUILD!
LFC Blog: Thanks for those encouraging words Jeff! I am grateful that you agreed to have this interview! To all those reading this blog, thank you for reading this week's edition of the LFC Blog. Don't forget to subscribe to get the latest content!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are joined by my good friend Tim J, the creator of Washington Heights Fire-Rescue-EMS and several other regional fire departments including Studington Fire & Rescue Station 14. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog, Tim! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
TJ: My name is Tim Joseph, I’m 22 and I’m Connecticut where I work full-time as a Firefighter/EMT in my hometown and dispatch 911 part-time elsewhere. I started building Lego apparatus like most when I was very young. My family has been involved in the fire service for many years, and the passion just spilled over to me, which I introduced into my hobby of building with all of our favorite plastic bricks. I have always enjoyed building Lego since you have the ability to create just about anything YOU want, as opposed to a model or display where you don’t have as much freedom to alter it.
LFC Blog: That's exactly why I prefer Legos over the Hotwheels/Matchbox fire trucks. Who/what inspires you to build?
TJ: I’m inspired by many of the builders involved in the community, new and old. I love seeing new designs and different ways to do things, as well as incident set ups and other dire department related displays. It reminds me that this community is still alive and well, AND growing continuously despite some of our well known veterans taking a step back.
LFC Blog: Indeed, there are a group of fantastic up-and-coming builders who look to be the fire of the LFC. What's in the name Washington Heights Fire-Rescue-EMS and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
TJ: I settled on my main department’s current name because when I first came into the community back in 2008, it was a struggle to try and find a name with “Brick”, “Lego”, or “Stud” that hadn’t already been used or that sounded original. I have always liked the Heights portion for city names, and Washington Heights sounded like a New England city to me! Currently the Heights runs two color schemes, the first and original was loosely based off of Palmyra, Pa, and the second and newer was based off of Palmer, MA. I loved the uniqueness of the color scheme, as no one had built an entire fleet out using either of these schemes.
LFC Blog: Having a unique name is what sets one apart from the rest! I absolutely love the color scheme WHFD utilizes! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
TJ: In all honesty, the rigs I have spent the most time, days and weeks on end, trying to get the right look and proportions for would have to be my Sutphen SPH100 and SP70. The look of the cab and the proper layout and height of the fire body to pair well with the aerial device took some time, as well as enlisting the help of James K for his spot on aerial device design.
LFC Blog: A Sutphen tower is a difficult rig to capture in the Lego scale. That's why you don't see too many of them floating around. That being said, you and James did an excellent job in nailing not only the cab and body, but also the aerial device! What is your most favorite rig and why?
TJ: Choosing a favorite rig for me has always been tough. Almost all of my rigs have been through countless redesigns and rebuilds before they are even posted online or for others to see, sometimes five plus times a week, so I can get it perfect in my eyes. However, if I had to choose one rig out of them all, it would have to be Washington Heights Engine 1-12. It has the classic Heights scheme and down and dirty war wagon look, and on top of all that, she is one of my original WHFD rigs from 2011.
LFC Blog: E1-12 is a beautiful rig! That is one one of my favorites too! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
TJ: I think one piece I would really like, because I feel it would help add to the sleek look of a classic piece of apparatus, would have to be the gold bars available in trans-red and trans-clear to mimic the old school Code 3 light bars that were on apparatus across the country.
LFC Blog: Yes! That would be fantastic too! Let's hope that more colors would be available soon! What are your future plans for your department?
TJ: The future of Washington Heights actually includes some downsizing. I recently scaled back from ten stations to five, and eliminated many frontline and support apparatus. I decided to make Washington Heights a “Central Hub” type full-time city fire department and then build out several outlying volunteer/combination and industrial fire departments (Ashborne Mill, Abington, and Exeter. Etc.). Currently, I have a couple more minor changes for the city, and a couple smaller volunteer departments to finish.
LFC Blog: That's an interesting concept! I'll bet it'll be easier to run a mutual aid incident since you have multiple outlying departments :) What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
TJ: One of the best parts of the community is the overall respect and pride we have for each other and our work. I have seen many people lend a helping hand to those in need of design help, take the younger, newer builders under their wing, and show them the ropes of this great hobby. I love to watch younger builders come into their own and make a name and style for themselves, the strength and bonds of this large group never cease to amaze me.
LFC Blog: Agreed! I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the countless people that have assisted me in various ways. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
TJ: Although above I just rattled off everything great about the LFC, there will always be a few bad eggs in every group, in this hobby and everyday life. Like I said before, respect and understanding go a long way. Treat others the way you in return want to be treated. Pick and choose your battles, know when to stand up and speak out, and know when to bite your tongue. All of this applies to your everyday life and your futures in the fire service.
LFC Blog: Respect is something that people think they have from the get go, but as with anything, respect is earned. Like you said, perhaps the best policy is to treat others the way you yourself want to be treated. Any tips or advice for new builders?
TJ: I think if you follow what I said above, you’ll be just fine. Don’t be afraid to seek out and ask for help. As always, have fun with it, inspire others to come into this great hobby and ignite that same spark you got when you first took that dive into building Lego apparatus. It’ll be rewarding to watch, I promise.
LFC Blog: Well, thank you for your time, Tim! I'm so glad you agreed to do this interview! To all those reading this blog, thank you for reading this week's edition of the LFC Blog. Don't forget to subscribe to get the latest content!
Blog Updated: 12/06/18
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.