LFC Blog: Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog. We are joined by my good friend Andrew M. who is the owner of Tribes Hill Fire Department! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome Andrew! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
AM: My name is Andrew Millard, I'm 20 from Fonda, New York. I'm a Firefighter with the Town of Mohawk Fire Department. I started building back when i was about 9, thats when I started to build my own trucks. My first set was the lego city 7239, the ladder truck with boat trailer. My first trucks where simple and unrealistic looking back at them now. What really got me building lego fire trucks was I grew up around firehouses. My grandfather started J.A.V.A.C. (Johnstown Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps) and he was an assistant chief of the Fonda fire Department.
LFC Blog: I remember that 7239 set! That rig had everything a fire truck needed to respond to! Wow! That is an awesome heritage! Who/what inspires you to build?
AM: Some of the builders that inspired me to build better and build more would have to be Zak Overmyer, James Kontoules, Tim Joseph, and Anthony Vessella Jr. I'd spend alot of time on MOCpages looking at new techniques and design ideas. It wasnt until I was about 15 that i actaully started getting a decent end result.
LFC Blog: Those are some legendary names! What's in the name Tribes Hill Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
I settled on Tribes Hill Fire Department for a few reasons, one being it is my actual departments Mutual Aid to the east. Also because I couldn't find any of the "stud", "brick", or "lego" names I liked. So I went with something I knew. The color scheme was all red originally, it gave it that "volunteer" department look in my opinion. I ended up rebuilding from the ground up and I added a white stripe to the newer trucks to show progression of the department over time.
LFC Blog: Interesting to hear the history behind Tribes Hill Fire Department! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
Most challenging rig I've ever built? I'd have to say it'd either the Oshkosh low-pro 85' tower I attempted or Tribes Hill's mini pumper. The issue with the Mini was trying to get the proportions right and to get what I wanted it to carry to fit. The tower is making its return and hopefully will be finished this time.
LFC Blog: Oh wow! I'm excited to see Oshkosh tower make its return mostly because its a rare rig due to its peculiarity. What is your most favorite rig and why?
My favorite rig by far is my replica of Berkshire Engine 112, a HME pumper tanker near where I live. It's a unique rig with the roll up door layout in my opinion, and a unique truck over all. It was alot of time work and pictures to get it designed and built. It's still not done, I mean a build can never be "done". I've changed the light bar, pump and the lights on the cab so far.
LFC Blog: I know what you mean! There's always a new technique or brick the Lego comes out with to improve our builds. Speaking of new pieces, what is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
As far as a new piece I wish was made? There is quite a few I've wished for with a few different builds but off the top of my head I can't think of one. Actually, I take that back, the "Gold Bar" in either Trans clear or Trans Red. The light bars would be a whole new ball game with those.
LFC Blog: Indeed! Those would be especially perfect for older MOCs! What are your future plans for your department?
Future plans for Tribes hill being, finish the station, I'm a few tiles short of finishing the parking lot. After the stations done, I want to get back to putting chevrons on all the trucks and decalling them. Other than that I'm content with THVFD, but Engine 5 is due for replacement coming soon. My project outside of THVFD is to finish off building the North Hudson Regional Fire Rescue Department in North Bergen NJ. I go down there quite often, and I absolutely adore their fleet. I always wanted to have my own "city" department like Whiteridge, Stud City or Studdsville.
LFC Blog: Great plans! I can't wait to see it all come to fruition! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
In my opinion the best part of the LFC would have to be the ability to pass designs around and with all of the different building styles comes alot of different ideas. Everyone for the most part helps eachother and you get so much further on a design rather than if you were on your own.
LFC Blog: We definitely are blessed to live in an era where we can share ideas and be inspired from each other! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
I would like to see the LFC grow but it needs to get back to what it once was. With the respect and credit to the ones that really pioneered it.
LFC Blog: Credit is one of those things that too many people overlook today. It doesn't take that long to type in the name of the person who inspired the rig, and I think that is the first step to moving in the right direction. Any tips or advice for new builders?
My advice to the newer builders, start small and work your way up. Don't overwhelm yourself with a big fleet and get in over your head, figure out your style and what you like and go from there. Quality over quantity is a good thing to think about.
LFC Blog: I wholeheartedly agree! I think that too many people try to go too big really quick, and I think that leads to a whole lot of redundancy and less creativity. Like you said, quality over quantity is a great principle to live by. Thank you Andrew for taking the time to talk with us and share some of your ideas! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this far! I'm always happy to hear your positive comments!
~Committed to presenting outstanding LEGO firefighting MOCs from around the world!~
Blog Updated: 04/21/20
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
Chief editor - Michael P. - Founder of Castle Beach Fire Department 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.