LFC Blog: Welcome to this week's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are honored to have Maik, the owner of Feuerwehr Farnheim. He specializes in 4-wide creations, which is a rarity due to the ever so popular 6-wide windshield! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
MW: I'm Maik and in the mid fourties. My dark ages ended in 2009 on that day when I bought a set, that I owned when I was a kid (#6650). Building it brought back the same magic building moments I had during my childhood days. As a teenager (I am a classic town kid) I unfortunately offered all my Legos at a flea market. Later (during the 1980s an 90s) I started 1/87 scale modeling, especially fire trucks for a fictional city that I call Farnheim ever since. Then, in 2009, almost 20 twenty years after this hobby had come to an end, I decided to combine both: building rigs with Lego for my old Feuerwehr Farnheim (Fire Department Farnheim). Btw, the Feuerwehr Farnheim celebrated it 30th anniversary in 2017.
LFC Blog: Fascinating history behind your department! Congratulations on 30 years! Who/what inspires you to build?
MW: Real fire apparatus and equipment are a great source for new ideas, but also (every kind of) MOCs from others builders - mostly cars and trucks. A really good source inspriation are the MOCs by the latvian native builder de-marco. He has also built a few fire trucks.
LFC Blog: Looking at real life rigs is definitely one of the best ways to get inspiration! De-marco is a fantastic builder as well! What's in the name of Feuerwehr Farnheim and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
MW: Let me first explain what Farnheim is about. It's a fictional city in Germany located on the shoreline of the North Sea where almost 571,000 minifigs work and live. The municipal fire department has got six strategically distributed stations throughout the city. The volunteers support the professional fire brigade with 16 more stations. The whole Feuerwehr Farnheim owns more than 250 engines, ladders, ambulances, containers and trailers to fight any kind of incident adequate.
The color scheme in Germany is traditionally based on red. Because it is required by law that 75 % of the fire truck's visible parts have to be painted in red/bright red/luminous red. The rest can be painted in white or yellow or what other materials basically may have. The scheme of my rigs reflect that. The yellowish details symbolizes the typical retro reflective side markings. The rescue service has its own scheme for a better visability through daily traffic. The cars are mostly white with a c-shaped red contour. I also use some different paint schemes for my other fire departments (airport and refinery).
LFC Blog: Thank you for the extensive insight into your department! I see that you have put much time and effort into it! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
MW: The telescope handler. It bothered me for almost two years to create such an apparatus in 4/5 wide and with its full functionality. I haven't had the right idea to get it done or for some reasons important parts were missing. But lately, all in all, it just took me one evening chatting with others builders who helped me with their own and essential suggestions to complete it.
LFC Blog: That is actually my most favorite apparatus from you! The functionality on that scale is impeccable! What is your most favorite rig and why?
MW: The most favorite rig usually is the lastest creation. But actually it is the water rescue truck. Because of the special mixture of 4 and 5 studs width and the level of detail.
LFC Blog: I love your water rescue truck as well! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
MW: There could be a few, but I don't really have that special one on my mind that I could need so badly, because I am always trying to get the things done just with the parts I own or which are available. Every building process is a compromise. Especially in 4 or 5-wide. For me this is the essence of building.
LFC Blog: Interesting take! I guess it shows just how creative one can be with available parts. What are your future plans for your department?
MW: There are several plans. First, keeping my rigs updated from time to time. The water rescue truck was one of these, that got a structural update. I actually have a huge tanker truck in the works. Furthermore there is the idea of a scenario with a huge fire of an industrial compound which shows a realistic firefighting infrastructure (water supply, the use of foam, hose laying, firefighting measures, etc.) in combination with the old Monorail cruisin' around. I also keep an idea on my mind, to build every single rig that the Feuerwehr Farnheim owns. So they're still a few to build.
LFC Blog: Oh wow! Those are extensive plans! I, for one, cannot wait to see your new creations! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
MW: The huge amount of new builds and the high building level are amazing. The worldwide connection with people that have the same special interest is awesome. I am also a member of a german LEGO community called "1000steine", but there you can find MOCs throughout every kind of theme. The LFC is special. I like getting in touch here with others from all around the globe. And finally, it helps me to improve my english skills... ;-)
LFC Blog: Indeed, it's amazing to meet people around the world who share the same passions! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
MW: I would love to see the LFC grow more by reaching more builders of other parts of the world. Maybe from the far east, like Japan and/or Australia, New Zealand.
LFC Blog: That would be really cool too! Any tips or advice for new builders?
MW: Get inspired by other builders MOCs and the techniques they used. Try rebuild it on your own. That helps to improve your personal skills. Try to find other capabilites of the parts. Know the parts. The more you know about, the better you see through tricky building techniques. And of course for your own projects get inspired by the real life. Simply walk around with open eyes.
LFC Blog: Thanks for your words of inspiration Maik! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed this interview! I highly encourage you to check out Maik's own website by clicking on this link! Stay tuned for more exciting content in the near future!
Welcome to a very special edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Today, we have the distinct honor of presenting Collin Renner, the owner of New Brickington Fire Department and LMFD Station 89. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Collin! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
CR: For those who don’t know, my name is Collin. I am a career firefighter in the Kansas City metro. I was an Explorer prior to moving to Kansas from New York, and continued the Explorer program here until becoming a career firefighter. I started building LEGO fire trucks in 2005/2006. It started as me just being creative and trying to replicate rigs from around my area (let me tell you, my first ones were monstrosities).
LFC Blog: Awesome! I think many of us started because we were inspired by local rigs/family. Who/what inspires you to build?
CR: After I started building, sometime later I ran across websites and Brickshelf accounts belonging to Bob K, Mike L, Paul B, Tom D, Jeff C, etc. and decided I wanted to build rigs as good and unique as theirs. Paul B was actually the first guy I ever contacted (we share some laughs from those early days!) and he informed me about Sixby Fire (the Yahoo builders group), the LMFD and about Lego Digital Designer. He gave me some pointers and helped me develop my first true custom rigs. I got to talk with Mike L, Bob K, De and Tony S a little bit after. I’ve become close friends with many of those guys and several of us frequently bounced ideas off each other. There were obviously many other guys I got to talk with and first took inspiration from like Adam J, Rodney G and so on. After joining the LMFD in 09, I was able to really form my own style and get some great advice from some great folks.
LFC Blog: Wow! What a legendary group of people to get inspiration from! What's in the name New Brickington and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
CR: I lived in northern NY, and one of the towns up there was called Farmington. I really like their rigs at the time, and Brickington sounded better than Brickchester (Rochester) to me; so, I replaced Farm with Brick and added New because I thought it sounded cool. Rochester FD ran white over red rigs and I liked it a lot. I changed (mainly because I had more red parts at the time) to red over red and just never switched back.
LFC Blog: Fascinating history behind your department! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
CR: My most challenging rig is one I never finished, which was Rescue 2. It was/is pretty SNOT intensive and had some unique (for the time) designs. Maybe one day I’ll get around to finishing it.
LFC Blog: Here's to hoping we'll see it soon ;) What is your most favorite rig and why?
CR: I would have to say my favorite is Brickington Engine 57. The unit design itself is not my most favorite, but the history is. The unit was going to be built for New Brickington originally but I changed plans and the design sat on the backburner. I had a neighbor in NY who was very supportive of my hobby and was like a grandfather to me. He told me it was one of his favorite rigs I had designed. After I moved, he passed away, so I built the rig and nicknamed it after him.
LFC Blog: Now that is a great tribute! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
CR: Probably a better assortment of compartment/roll up doors. 3 wide roll ups would have been awesome!
LFC Blog: I agree with you! I hope that Lego will release new variations of the doors! What are your future plans for your department?
CR: I haven’t built for going on 5 years now, and haven’t been active in the community for probably 3 or 4. I had plans and designs ready to build 7 more engines, 3 more trucks, 2 more squads, 1 more rescue, a hazmat, and few more chiefs but I unfortunately don’t see that happening ever. Life, other hobbies and priorities have shifted. New Brickington and Brickington are frozen in time I believe.
LFC Blog: Well, we can always dream of seeing New Brickington expand, right? What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
CR: I would say the people are the best part. As I mentioned earlier, several folks I met through the LFC have now become lifelong best friends that I talk to regularly and/or hang out with when possible. I enjoyed talking with folks late at night bouncing ideas around and seeing unique creations.
LFC Blog: Indeed, meeting people has been one of the best parts of the LFC! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
CR: I’ve been out for several years, but I poke my head in every once in a blue moon to see what is happening. Something I always pushed was turning LDD designs into bricks. People had/have these massive 40, 60, 80+ unit departments and not a single unit built. I definitely understand the cost factor but start small; Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor were any of the Lego FDs. Those who are still active and have now become more tenured need to help mentor those who are just starting out or even have been around a while. Give them tips, help them mature into young adults, show them how to effectively run calls, etc. It’s about being a community and helping each other. Be respectful, learn the craft, and pass it on.
LFC Blog: Mentoring newer builders is part of the reason why I started up this blog, so thank you for encouraging me in that sense. Any tips or advice for new builders?
CR: Use real bricks. Take advice from the more tenured builders. Ask for help. Find people who you can bounce ideas off. Create a goal, and work towards it. Like I said, none of these departments came about overnight. I have a small number of rigs compared to some (30ish) and it took me years to get there.
Most importantly, have fun while you are doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to come back, or almost bought parts to start building again. It is a blast of a hobby and is meant to be fun. Enjoy it while you can!
LFC Blog: Thank you for your wise words Collin! I (along with many others) sincerely hope that you will make a return sometime in the future! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Stay tuned for more exciting content!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the first Lego Fire Community Blog post of 2018! I'm super excited to introduce Alex W, who is the owner of Westbrick Fire Department! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Alex! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
AW: Well, I am 26 year old Firefighter/EMT outside of the Cincinnati, OH area. I can remember building at the age of 5 and it really took off when the PC was introduced into my household and explore more than just the game Pong. I found a page of Lego Fire Trucks and stumbled upon St. Lego Fire Rescue and that’s all she wrote. I had discovered a whole new world at that point in the mid 90’s.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Tom D has definitely inspired so many people! Who/what inspires you to build?
AW: The ones that inspired me early on were Thomas D of St. Lego, Matt J, Bob K of Lego Twp Fire Dept and Paul Bock of New Brickton Fire Rescue. The real legend was a man whose name escapes me, operated Legoborough County Fire Dept and disappeared in the early 00’s. What really got me going was the quality you could make out of Legos and make them look like the real thing.
LFC Blog: Oh wow! That is a town I have never heard of! I wish I could have seen that back then! What's in the name Westbrick and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
AW: I originally started out as Legocreek Fire/Rescue and then decided to reorganize into the Westbrick Fire Department. West because I grew up on the westside of Chesapeake, VA where we lived at the time before moving to Ohio. Brick was what was on my desk and then the new name was formed. I started with all white and loved them until I found a new paint scheme of grey over red with black and grey stripes and settled on that as the new paint scheme for new trucks from then on.
LFC Blog: I remember Legocreek! Your Quantum quint was one of my favorites! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
AW: The most challenging rig I built and is still around (being refurbished at the present time) was my first rig, a 1995 Pierce Lance pumper. This was similar to one I saw on Brickshelf. I was nervous as to how it would turn out and turns out, it was a masterpiece. It has some how has survived three moves and all the abuse. Just need to spruce it up and make it a piece for Westbrick.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Can't wait to see it back in action! What is your most favorite rig and why?
AW: My favorite rig as of now has got to be my Squad 5A. It screams Chicago and the Quinn era of the fire service. It is unique and a good asset to the department.
LFC Blog: Indeed it is! The Snorkel Squad is a beauty and has so many applications! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
AW: Actual roll up doors.
LFC Blog: Now that would be an excellent piece to have! What are your future plans for your department?
AW: My plans for Westbrick is to expand the department to 10 stations once I complete a couple more rigs. Slowly but surely. I also have another department in the plans. Approximately 6 stations in the ghetto. Then, I have recently picked up a spot with Studington Fire Rescue and have a station there. Yellow trucks is actually a first for me so I’m excited for the challenge and new venture.
LFC Blog: Hopefully we can see your new creations sooner than later :p What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
AW: The vast levels of building experience and new ways to build. There are ways I haven’t thought of doing 10 years ago and you are always learning. I love watching young builders grow in time on the bricks and through learning from the pros.
LFC Blog: I agree! There are so many new ways to build compartments and cabs that I did not think were possible five or even ten years ago! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
AW: I honestly can’t think of anything. As long as we stick together, we’ll be just fine.
LFC Blog: Any tips or advice for new builders?
AW: First, get your hands on your bricks and just free build. There was no Lego Digital Designer back in my day so I experimented by building with my hands. Trial and error. That’s how you learn and what will work and what won’t. Secondly, don’t get frustrated and quit; keep going! Finally, ask for help. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked more experienced builders for help or tips. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Great people like De, Bob, Matt J and Paul B have been there and are willing to lend a hand and help a fellow builder no matter how experienced he/she is.
LFC Blog: Indeed, building using actual bricks is so much better than using digitally as there are those softwares have their own nuances and limitations. Well, thank you again Alex for taking the time to be a part of the show this week! To my ever faithful readers, thanks for reading the blog today (or whenever you read this) and stay tuned for more exciting content! If you haven't done so already, be sure to subscribe so that you can be the first to know when new content is posted!
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.