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: 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.