Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are especially privileged to have one of the founding members of the Lego Metro Fire District, the one and only Mike L aka "The Enforcer"! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog, and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to reminisce! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
ML: Hello to all the new aspiring builders out there! Some of the old timers who still lurk
may remember, others, not so much. My name is Mike, and I once went by the nickname
“Enforcer” as was the case. I am a 29 year old recovering Lego addict, and continue to work
in the field of EMS/Rescue.
Well let’s see here. I’ve been a Lego fan for as long as I can remember. I began to
get serious about the prospect of building more realistic in the early 2000s. By this point in
time the internet was starting to become a thing in my life and would ultimately lead to a
collision course that there was no preventing. I stumbled upon the first Lego fire sites in
2001/2 and quickly began exploring my options. At this time, Bricksburg was selling 4 wide
kits, and I convinced my parents to invest for me. I loved these models, but subsequently
stumbled upon early six wide pioneers. There were many incredible, talented builders on
the scene very early on. I remember practically worshipping the skills and designs of some
of these builders. It wouldn’t be long before I began manufacturing my own six wide trucks,
and the race was on.
LFC Blog: Very interesting story! I never knew that Bricksburg sold 4 wide kits! Who/what inspires you to build?
ML: This is a perfect segway into the next answer. Those early pioneers were my biggest
inspiration. It’s funny to think how many of them I befriended from that point on. Lord knows
many of them can attest to how much I bugged them looking for advice. Almost all of them
are or were in the LMFD. You can basically piece together who I’m talking about. In 2002
when I came onto the scene, I was just 13 years old. Some suspected my age but I did my
best to play it off or hide it. Looking back, I am happy I entered the arena when I did though.
This hobby was a great gateway into my adult life profession and helped me make some
My inspiration has always been in the unique and functionality. I love looking at
interesting apparatus and attempt to put them into bricks. One of my first truly interesting
builds that helped put me on the map was a tractor drawn heavy rescue, followed up by an
Amertek MACI military firetruck. To those who knew my fleet, they could see how every
truck I strived for something different. Even today, once in awhile I’ll see something very
different and immediate start speculating how I’d make it in bricks.
LFC Blog: I most definitely remember that tractor drawn heavy rescue. Easily one of my favorites from you! What's in the name North Lereado County Fire Protection District and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
ML: The department I am most famous for, is the once well regarded North Lereado
County Fire Protection District (LMFD ST.14). The name is pretty hard to explain. I have no
connections to the real Laredo county. It was mostly a play on words stemming from Lego.
It was unique though, so it stuck. It was better than the original department name that used
my last name. That had to go.
As for the color scheme. Other departments use it now. Back then though, it was
defining. In 2004 I was looking for other ways to differentiate my trucks from the other
departments. I experimented with a lot of variations. Ultimately though, I chose a blue stripe
and instantly fell in love. The blue stripe was a defining characteristic and stood out in a sea
of white stripes. I further accentuated this by adding in a tiny obscure decal from the Town
space sets of the early/mid 90s. This little logo has hung around ever since.
LFC Blog: The blue stripe color scheme is one of the more unique patterns that I had seen at the time. I certainly miss the individuality builders had before as it was pretty easy to tell whose rig belonged to who. Today, it's very difficult to distinguish who built what. Part of me longs to see that level of creativity from of old. What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
ML: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I have to say there were several difficult builds.
Some were surprisingly simple. I struggled for years with a decent SNOT design for
compartments. Mastering them took time and patience. I would honestly say some of my
most challenging builds have been in the digital realm. I remember a Seagrave Low-Pro cab
being a challenge to design in a way that was structurally sound. I would also say,
designing a Quantum cab that did not require use of cut or “custom” bricks was also
extremely challenging. This was around 2008, when LDD was brand new and limited in its
functionality. Nonetheless, I figured out a design that would stick around for a time.
Over the years, I have continued to use LDD to push my personal envelope of
design. I have generated quite literally hundreds of designs and variations, on a much larger
scale and variety than just fire apparatus. I have come to greatly enjoy military designs and
the challenges associated with them. I would love to build them, but unfortunately many of
the parts required do not exist in the colors I would need. The cost to build them would be
insane as well. Someday I may showcase them.
LFC Blog: I can most definitely relate to spending a decent amount of time to improve my SNOT techniques! Military designs are challenging due to the strange shapes and colors. Kudos to you for attempting them! We hope to see those creations one day! What is your most favorite rig and why?
ML: This is another difficult one to answer; I generally love all the trucks I built. Many of
them are deeply special to me. Squad 1 for example, was a perennial favorite because it
was one of the first true six wides I built, and continued to tweak and improve over the
years. It was in general based on an older Lego Twp. design. That truck continued to be a
crowd pleaser for years. More recently (my definition of recent here is quite different from
what you’d expect) I’d have to say NLCFD Squad 4 is a personal favorite. It was my first
Velocity, and also my first PUC. When it was built, it was a trend setter and many of today’s
Velo’s and PUCs can trace their design lineage to that very truck. I can’t stress enough
though, I love all my apparatus. Ones I disliked were generally scrapped until I settled on a
design I could be proud of.
LFC Blog: I think it's interesting that Squad 4 is one of your most favorite rigs! One of my most favorite parts about that particular apparatus is the black rims! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
ML: Admittedly, all the parts I wished were manufactured now exist. I could have really used a number of available parts today ten years ago. If I ever return to building I’ll spend a small fortune retrofitting dozens of trucks!
LFC Blog: That would be awesome! Here's to hoping that you'd come back :) What are your future plans for your department?
ML: Unfortunately, this question was answered long ago. There are no plans sadly. Numerous old proposals were drafted, and parts were purchased to further boost the fleet. Sadly those plans never came to fruition, and likely never will. My time has come and gone. I continue to sit on a strategic reserve of parts in a well-guarded subterranean facility.
LFC Blog: Like I said previously, we wish you'd come back, however, we are very grateful for the time you spent building rigs. And speaking of which, what is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
ML: Quite simply; friendship. I cannot begin to express the joy I have gotten out of the friendships that all started in this community. Several of whom I can comfortably call close friends, and even a best friend. Some of my longest friendships were born of this community. Many of which date back to 2002/3. AOL instant messenger was the main means of chat back then. A far cry from what is available today. I relish those times very much.
The Lego Metro Fire District, once considered the platinum standard of lego fire groups; while initially created out of necessity, was created from friendship and understanding just as much. We became an incredibly tight knit group, and shared ideas, inspiration, assistance with designs, and just ‘shooting the shit’ (pardon my language). To this very day, we still keep in contact through more modern means. The activity has quieted down a great deal, but our shared interest and community continue to endure. We continue in many cases to chat on a more professional level. Many of us were very much just kids with a hobby when the LMFD was formed. Today, we speak amongst each other with years of learned knowledge and experience. I will always be grateful for what I have been able to take away from this community.
LFC Blog: Most definitely! Through the unique hobby of collecting/ building Lego fire trucks, I have had the privilege of getting to know some really amazing people too! And I hope others can say the same too. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
ML: I have not kept up with the community in the least in many years. It was by pure chance that I even have gotten this far as to be participating in this unique opportunity. Once in a while through LMFD channels, things will get passed along to me; but I lack the time or true interest to participate. I also don’t want to re-enter the stage after living in the community limelight for so long like I did. There are much better builders than I setting trends and standards now. I just can’t see myself jumping back in and expecting anything less than a number of confused builders asking who the heck this guy is. I’m happy with what I did, when I did it. Sometimes it’s best to just move on. Key word is sometimes.
LFC Blog: That is very understandable. Any tips or advice for new builders?
ML: Never stop innovating. Keep trying to make that dream design no matter how many times you fail. Sometimes you have to walk away from a project and sit on it for a while. Eventually inspiration will come to you. I am not lying when some solutions to stalled designs came in dreams. Crazy as that may sound, they have worked. There is so much fun and opportunity associated with being a builder and designer. There is also great satisfaction in helping other builders figure things out. I always disliked simply duplicating designs or just outright asking someone else to do the work for you.
Along those lines, don’t be afraid to reach out to experienced builders. Just learn that there’s a time and place, and that people have a right to their privacy. Don’t nag and don’t push them or you may very much wind up back at brick one. Lastly, I always tried to practice what I preached, and that is quality over quantity. Never forget that.
Side note: thanks for letting me participate! What a trip down memory lane.
LFC Blog: Well, thank you again, Mike, for sitting down with us today! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors! To those reading this blog, thanks for your continued support! Your constant words of encouragement are what really motivate me to run this blog! If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you know when the next blog post comes out! Till next time!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog. In this issue, we are joined by Ben C. Many of you might know him as Brickwater Fire Department. Some of you have even purchased a rig, or two.... or ten from him :p Anyway, enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
BC: For those who don’t know me, I’m Ben 19 years old, from Canada. Like many others featured in this blog, I have been building since I was a kid. For a long time it was just the sets without any changes from the instructions. Since I was about 10 I have attempted to build custom trucks. Most just looked like squares with wheels and a ladder. I have combined my lifelong love of firefighting and LEGO into one great hobby!
LFC Blog: That's great to hear! Who/what inspires you to build?
BC: There isn’t one particular person that inspires me to build. It’s been a combination of a handful of veteran LFC members who have inspired my techniques with building, new styles, ideas. Even rigs to build. Many have also talked me out of building 8 wide…. Which when I look at the bank account I thank them…
LFC Blog: But you can have so much more detail when it's 8-wide.... Haha just kidding.. 8-wide is more expensive, but it might be worth looking into. What's in the name Brickwater Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
BC: The name kinda comes from the area I live in which is surrounded by a few beach area such as Clearwater, Bluewater and Coldwater. Originally it was going to be Brickwater Township Fire & Emergency Services. But that resembled my real life too closely for my liking. I mean, I still do build my departments rigs all the time and am working on completing the fleet by the end of 2020. Brickwater's fleet on the other hand, will be forever changing as I am never 100% happy with any of the rigs built or completed.. I always try to find something to change about it. Current colour scheme is just a standard White over Red with White striping. I went for that look to feel like a more “War Wagon” look.
LFC Blog: Updating rigs with new techniques and innovations is a good thing! Also, taking pictures of all your rigs helps show how you have matured as a builder! I'm loving the latest batch of war wagons! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
BC: One of the most challenging rigs I have ever built would have to be Manhiem Township (EDEN VFD) truck 204. It was one of the first tillers I had built. It was challenging to get all of the little details correct and proper to the scale, while not leaving things out and trying to make it structurally stable.
LFC Blog: I can empathize with you on that :p Achieving the proper scale for a tiller is difficult. But the end results are usually worth it haha! That yellow tiller is great! What is your most favorite rig and why?
BC: This isn’t an easy question to answer… I like all of my rigs equally… I can’t say for sure that one build is my all-time favorite. I mean, now that I HAVE to choose. I would say It’s got to be my Hyattsville VFD Rescue Squad 801. It was the first rescue I designed on LDD in that style and what got me hooked on those rescues in the first place. Ever since then I haven’t built another style rescue for myself.
LFC Blog: Two-door dual-axle rescues are really cool rigs to build! Hyattsville, in particular, has a very nice rig! I can see why you got hooked with them! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
BC: I wish they made either a 1x3 Profile Brick or a 1x1 Profile Brick. Its nearly impossible for me to get a Tower Ladder with roll ups to be accurate due to the size…
LFC Blog: Very true! A variety with grill bricks (Both in size and color) would be nice. What are your future plans for your department?
BC: I plan to have 12 stations in total. 5 for Metro Brickwater, and 7 halls in the Greater Brickwater Area. There will be 5 volunteer/ Paid on call separate departments and two that are a surprise. All in all, Metro will have 4 Frontline engines, 1 Rescue Engine, 3 Trucks, 1 Tanker, 1 Rescue Squad and a few other misc. units.
LFC Blog: Well, we can't wait to see that plan come to fruition! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
BC: The best part of the LFC is being able to enjoy being in the company and friendship of people who share a common interest and lifestyle. It really is nice to be able to interact with so many individuals who understand it and that there are now so many of us across a few different social media platforms.
LFC Blog: I know right?!? I've gotten to know quite a few guys and girls through Legos, and I'm so glad to have met them. I don't know what I'd do without them! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
BC: I believe a lot of growth would come from people’s attitude towards each other changing. It currently seems like if you suggest something to someone or give them some constructive criticism they take it personally and try to attack you and everyone else who suggests anything. That is a large reason why we aren’t growing successfully and a big part in me keeping my mouth shut most of the time.
LFC Blog: Being humble enough to accept correction/criticism is difficult, but admitting that I was wrong is a huge step to not only making better replicas, but also becoming a better human being. Any tips or advice for new builders?
BC: Quality over quantity! 100% I would rather have 4 Amazing rigs than 7 Mehhh not so great rigs. But also when you do copy someone’s design to give them credit to show that it isn’t just a blatant rip off of a design which frustrates a lot of people really fast. When you do scenes, avoid LODD’s 100% of the time. It is with no doubt the quickest way to lose a lot of respect from the community and not get it back. Don’t get me wrong. I love to see new builders and people coming out of the woodworks to start building again, or building a different style than they have before. It’s great to see. But the attitude of most new builders needs to change and become open to suggestions.
LFC Blog: Credit wars have always been around, unfortunately. Yes, there is only a few ways to put six 2x4 bricks together. I take that back... There's actually 915,103,765 ways to put those bricks together...... All jokes aside, a simple thank you in the form of credit earns a lot of brownie points. Well, thanks Ben for taking the time to have this short interview! We hope to see more rigs from you soon! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more amazing content! If you haven't subscribed yet, take this opportunity to sign up using the form on the sidebar!
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.
Blog Updated: 04/04/19
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.