Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! No, I'm not dead (at least I think I'm not dead... haha); life has been extremely busy for all of us here at the LFC Blog, but we hope to post more awesome content on a somewhat regular basis lol.... Anyway, I do hope to catch up with all the awesome rigs that have been posted within the past three and a half months! If you have recommendations on rigs that should be featured, please use the contact form, and I will review them. The only stipulations that I have is that it not be your own rig :)
Now that we have sort of cleaned house, I am really stoked to present to you one of my biggest inspirations over the past year: David Hensley!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog David! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
DH: Hi, I'm David Hensley, a 26 year old AFOL from Seattle, WA. I've been building since the age of four, and never went through a “dark age”. I've always been attracted to the town/train theme, and firetrucks have been a common sight in my town layouts.
In 2012, I drastically changed my building style, going from simple six wide trucks to complex seven wide trucks with a focus on functionality. This started with designing my Amtrak Cascades on LDD while bricks were unavailable, but my style truly formed when I built my 75' snorkel. Since then, my techniques and detail have vastly improved into what you see today.
LFC Blog: I've always been fascinated with your rigs as they are highly functional yet compact. I'm still trying to figure if it's worth exploring the seven-wide world, but time will tell haha. Who/what inspires you to build?
DH: I've always had a love for Lego, and spent most of my free time building. Some of the greatest inspection has come from builders like Ralph Savelsberg, Isaac Mazer, and Karwik, just to name a few. I tried creating MOCs that were of the same quality and detail level of the great builders, and I think I've achieved that goal.
LFC Blog: Those are some fantastic builders with a penchant for unconventional techniques! What's in the name "Tomb of the Unnamed Department" and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
DH: My department does not yet have a name, but I've been meaning to change that. I am a town/train builder, not a fire truck builder. As such I build vehicles that look interesting to me, and don't worry about fitting into an operational fire fleet. My first fire vehicles sported the common white over red with white stripe. But, seeing as this was 90% of apparatus in the world, I decided to do something unique. I settled on white over black with a red stripe. I was shown a photo of Lutherville Squad 303, which coincidentally has a similar scheme, and knew I had to build it, becoming my first rig in the new scheme. It is also the point that I started keeping my builds together, and it is still regularly put on display at events.
LFC Blog: Well, here's to wishing you can name your city soon >o< What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
DH: Hmmm, that's a tough question! Because of my OCD desire for function, all of my builds have sections that take me a week of thinking to find a solution. The welder on my Brandt Power Unit is the most complex thing I've made, but it's only a tiny piece of the rig. Overall, I would say my Curtain Side Trailer (and accompanying Volvo VNL 670) were the toughest.
LFC Blog: Seeing that all your rigs are highly functional, I can see that this is a super difficult question LOL! I am constantly amazed by what you can pull off with Legos, and I certainly hope to attain that level of creativity in the future! What is your most favorite rig and why?
DH: My favorite build has been my Amtrak Cascades. It's been a labor of love for years, with several redesigns along the way. I know, I know… It's not a fire truck! Lucky for you, my KME Aerialcat is a close second! Because of all the flex tube, of course. Third would be my Terrastar Ambulance, which I hope to rebuild someday.
LFC Blog: As one who loves trains on the side, I really like the Amtrak Cascades! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
DH: Lego has been on a new parts binge for the past year! With parts like the corner SNOT brick, three long jumper, and 1x1 round plate with hole, most of my dreams have come true! One piece I continually wish for is a 1x2 by 1x2 bracket with the SNOT part being a plate thick (as opposed to the current half plate) because of all the complex SNOTwork I do.
In case you're wondering, my favorite part is 4081a, the OLD version of the clip light (aka lamp holder). It's such a perfect SNOT piece and did not deserve to be discontinued!
LFC Blog: Indeed, Lego has been coming out with really useful pieces, and I hope they continue with that trend. What are your future plans for your department?
DH: Well, I would need a department to have plans for one… Life has been in my way lately, and I've done very little building this year. I would like to start building a permanent town/train layout section to be used with my local Lego Train Club displays. I also have a list of several trucks to build, though another fire truck will be a ways off.
LFC Blog: That is completely understandable, and we all hope to see more builds (fire truck or not) in the very near future! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
DH: It's something I enjoy about the entire Lego community. The way we take inspiration from and help each other. I've seen the community clearly change in the last few years in the way we build, and the techniques we use. I even see some of my own designs in there! I take pride in being able to help fellow builders achieve something that seemed impossible a short time ago. I thoroughly enjoy solving problems, and you readers are welcome to ask me for any help getting a build just right!
LFC Blog: The community as a whole definitely has its perks! Like you said, the inspiration from other builders is how we progress as builders. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
DH: I haven't been following the LFC as closely as I used to, but I still see many amazing builds on a weekly basis. The LFC is growing, and it's headed in a good direction! As long as we stick together and share what we learn, our hobby will continue to grow.
LFC Blog: Any tips or advice for new builders?
DH: In my building experience I've learned that nothing is impossible in bricks. Every one of my MOCs has led me to new techniques and ideas. I have done things that people would say isn't possible in bricks. If you get stuck on a build, don't be afraid to ask for help. Look at other people's work and try to reverse engineer their solutions. Sometimes you need to set a build aside for awhile to think about it, there's nothing wrong with that. The community is here to support you, you will finish your MOC, and it will be great!
LFC Blog: Sound advice indeed David! Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview! To all the those reading this blog, thanks for your continued support despite the lack of new content recently haha
Blog Updated: 06/20/19
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.