LFC Blog: Welcome to latest installment of the LFC Blog! Today, we have the honor of presenting James K, the owner of White Ridge Fire, Rescue, and EMS. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog James! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
JK: Well I’m sure a lot of you know me already. Or a little anyway. Currently I’m an EMT-B and Supervisor of Fleet Operations at Syracuse University Ambulance in NY. I’ve worked previously as a volunteer firefighter, wildland firefighter, and fire explorer, and this year starts my eighth in emergency services.
Back in the mid 2000s, I first found the Lego Fire Community on the Internet. Specifically, I found the work of Paul B. on YouTube, and his “New Brickton Fire/Rescue” series of videos. Ad as they say, the rest is history. I built my first truck similar to his Seagrave TL2 (mine was never photographed or posted) somewhere around 2008-2009. I followed his work to MOCpages, and everything took off from there.
Years later, I’m still here, and the builders who I respected and looked up to I’m now honored to call my friends.
LFC Blog: Paul B is a fantastic builder! I think that it's really cool to actually converse with excellent builders and get to know them. Who/what inspires you to build?
JK: I love the fire service. It’s imperfect and tough, but my fellow firefighters and LFC members, they’re family. They keep me motivated and building. Sometimes it’s a rig I’ll find online, sometimes it’s real life, sometimes I just want something cool and unique. At any given time, you’ll find ten or so ongoing projects in my “In Progress” folder on LDD. I keep pretty busy, even if I have to switch between agencies and build styles and continents to stay interested!
LFC Blog: I love how you refer to fellow firefighters and LFC members as family. I've seen some of your European designs, and they are really fantastic! What's in the name White Ridge, and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
JK: I’m not quite sure where it came from, honestly. But it’s stuck ever since! The department has changed over the years in name. Starting as White Ridge Fire/Rescue, it changed to White Ridge Fire & Rescue, White Ridge Fire-Rescue-EMS, and now most recently “White Ridge Department of Fire, Rescue, and EMS”.
As for color scheme, I started with a classic white over red and a tri-color stripe. As my building style progressed, and I started using more SNOT, the stripe has become unrealistic to include. So it’s been all but phased out as of the mid 2010s. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a single stripe on the red of the trucks, but we’ll see where that goes.
LFC Blog: Interesting to hear about the origins of your city name! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
JK: I’m not quite sure, to be honest. Every rig has its own challenges- especially when you get into complicated SNOTwork and more advanced build elements. I guess I really don’t have an answer to this question, but the biggest challenge for me is picking which rig I want to go where, what it’ll look like, which specs it needs, etc. Luckily fleet management is one of my strong suits!
LFC Blog: I love how you incorporate the specs into your builds as they add a layer of realism! What is your most favorite rig and why?
JK: If I had to choose, I would have to say the current Truck 1. Truck Co. 1 is a 2002/2012 Seagrave Marauder 95’ Aerialscope, It’s built in an older style (with modern touches) and at one time I prided myself on the fact that I felt it was the most accurate and detailed ‘Scope in the LFC. It was the first aerial that I built entirely on my own, and still sports the tri-stripe. The body has been redesigned since its original build date to be more accurate and better looking. I can say with some certainty that it’ll definitely be sticking around for a while!
LFC Blog: Aerialscopes are really fantastic aerial devices both in real life and in Lego! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
JK: Again, a little too specific for me, but I’d love to see some more pieces that I can use for SNOT. Bricks with studs in weird places. A plate with studs on two sides would be great! Lego has put out some great and useful pieces in recent years… I just wish they’d STOP manufacturing these big pieces that could really be put together out of a couple existing parts. I have a whole box of parts I’ll never use because of these big bulky pieces in sets.
LFC Blog: I agree! We can all use new bricks with unconventional stud locations. What are your future plans for your department?
JK: In the next few years I hope to round out the fleet. Engines (four remaining) and Trucks (four remaining) will take priority alongside the wildland fleet (three new Type 3s) and EMS units (six remaining) under the EMS2020 plan. Some more work will then be put into the SOC units (Squad 5, Squad Support, Rescue 4, PPE unit) and the remaining assorted units left (deluge, air unit, others). Lastly, the reserve fleet will be built up slowly, as units are retired and either disposed of or sent to reserve. Preliminary plans are to have one reserve truck, two reserve engines, a reserve squad, and the reserve rescue.
This will round out a fleet of 13 Engines, 8 Trucks, 4 Rescues, 3 Mini-Pumpers, 4 Squads, 7 EMS units, 4 Tankers, 7 wildland units, 7 SOC specialty units, 12 assorted specialty units, and 8 Command/Chief vehicles.
As for the outlying departments, Excellence and Essex Hill have one unit each to be completed, MedLink has three units to be completed, and NCX has several units that will be added in due time. But have no fear, even once these are done there are still plans in the works for small projects.
LFC Blog: Wow! That is a lot of rigs! We wish you the best in completing your goals! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
JK: The camaraderie. The Brotherhood. It’s like the real fire service in a way. I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of LFC members (including Paulo R., Tom D., Tim J., and others) over the years, and meeting builders never gets old. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching new builders come in, improve, and establish themselves in the community. Sure, not every new builder will be the next Tom D., some won’t stick around for long at all, but those that do and create their own styles and techniques and places for themselves will surely be remembered. I love watching people build new things in new styles, create new departments and projects, everything like that. That’s what it’s all about, building together in a community and being able to talk with everyone about the same job we all love.
LFC Blog: That's awesome to hear that you have met some great builders! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
JK: The LFC has a lot of problems right now. It always has, sure, but it feels like now especially the community is in some tough times. Unfortunately, I see it a lot on Instagram. People come in and directly rip off others’ designs or photos- it’s always happened, but it seems especially bad on that one platform. There is also a distinct attitude problem amongst the newest generation- not all, for sure, but it’s a problem. There’s a lack of respect for builds, for techniques, etc. The older members of the community have been around a long time, but there’s a reason a lot aren’t on many platforms where younger members gather.
Any advice is seen as criticism. Any suggestions are viewed as attacks. Everyone thinks their build is the greatest and wants to argue with anyone who provides advice. There’s also altogether too much “Should I do A or B?”, “Sell or destroy?”, “For sale for (obscene amount of money)!”. Have your own opinions. Create your own place. Form your own identity.
I want to see more originality and less buying. More trying hard and less direct copying. Unique, original builds. People treating others kindly and with respect. People doing their research and trying to learn. Less herd mentality, more uniqueness. Keep building cool things. I’ve seen some of the best and worst work (and attitues) I’ve ever seen in the LFC in the last year or so – I want to see people using their resources to be in that first category instead of the second.
LFC Blog: Indeed, it is sad to see people not respect each other, especially the newer builders who have no idea who the older generation members are. Any tips or advice for new builders?
JK: I promise, younger builders, the LFC has a lot to offer you. But you have to give in order to get back. There are people out there who want to help, and people who want to see you improve. All the world’s LFC resources are at your fingertips, just a Google search away. Use your resources, build, practice, improve, use common sense and decency. Develop your identity. Make a name and a place for yourself in a positive light, and you’ll get everything the LFC has to give.
LFC Blog: Yes, indeed! The internet has so much useful information, and it only takes a couple of clicks to find what you're looking for! Well, thank you so much for taking time to share some of your thoughts James! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed today's content!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the twelfth edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are honored to feature Ralph S, the creator of Bricksboro Beach Fire Department. For those who have yet to see his rigs, the apparatus can be seen on Flickr! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with us, Ralph! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
RS: I’m 42 years old, am a physicist and I work for the Dutch ministry of defense. Like many people in scientific or technical jobs, I started building with LEGO at a young age. I don’t really know when I built my first fire truck, but it’s bound to be more than 30 years ago.
LFC Blog: Awesome! That's really cool to know how long you've been building! Who/what inspires you to build?
RS: I find inspiration many different things, but there are two that stand out. About 15 years ago, I bought “The ultimate LEGO book”, which has photographs of models built for LEGOLand parks, including one of a large FDNY tiller truck. That truck has been a massive inspiration for both the scale and the level of detail of my larger-scale fire trucks. Another is building things for exhibitions. I joined Brickish, which is a Lego Users Group, whilst living in the UK about ten years ago. Almost all of the minifig scale fire trucks I built were for collaborative displays with Brickish. These have always been a great motivator.
LFC Blog: Interesting to know how LUG groups play a role in inspiring you to build! I will most certainly look into joining one! What's in the name “Bricksboro Beach FD” and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
RS: Most of my models are recreations of vehicles used by real departments, but Bricksboro Beach FD is the closest thing I have to my own department. It started in 2009 with a collaboration with Brickish called Bricksboro Beach: a Miami Beach –themed city build for which I built almost all of the vehicles, including a few fire apparatus. Unsurprisingly, their color scheme is based on the Miami Beach FD.
LFC Blog: Miami Beach has a really cool color scheme! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
RS: Undoubtedly my 1/22 scale Seagrave FDNY rearmount ladder. Such a larger scale has obvious advantages when it comes to details and working features, but a big disadvantage is that, rather than being able to use ready-made parts that might work at a smaller scale, you have to construct some things practically from scratch. That applies to the ladder, for instance. Making it strong enough and still look good was a challenge. What also made the model difficult was my choice to have it drive and steer using LEGO Power Functions remote control. I’m not a Technic builder by any means, so having it work without gears falling out didn’t come naturally to me.
LFC Blog: Wow! I did not know that the rig could be operated by remote control! The functionality is astounding! What is your most favorite rig and why?
RS: That’s a hard question. I get attached to my models, but since I have to choose, I’ll go with the 1/22 scale London Fire Brigade Mercedes Econic ladder truck. It’s a pretty distinctive vehicle in real life, built with an extra low cab such that it can pass under low bridges and somehow the model came together with every detail and the colour scheme looking just the way I imagined. Looking at it now, a few years after I built it, I still don’t see many obvious ways to improve it.
LFC Blog: That ladder truck really is beautiful! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
RS: The 1x2 jumper plate in transparent clear. Some do exist and I actually have a few dozen, but they were only ever made for the LEGOLand parks, so they’re really rare. This is not really a part that is specifically useful for building fire apparatus, but they sure come in handy for building cars and aircraft.
LFC Blog: Wow! Even I did not know those pieces existed in that color! What are your future plans for your department?
RS: I always have more plans than I have time for. Right now something like the FDNY’s TSU-1 tickles my fancy: a jacked-up International truck with chunky off-road tires that carries a lot of rescue equipment, including a boat on top. How cool is that?
LFC Blog: That really is a fascinating rig! I will be looking forward to seeing you build that rig then! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
RS: I am the first to admit that I haven’t been nearly as active as I used to online. Real life took over. So, I certainly don’t practice what I preach, but any community can only thrive thanks to an active membership.
LFC Blog: Indeed, activity of members is what makes any group succeed! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
RS: I think there’s a lot to be said for meeting in person. It’s not an easy thing to do given that people live in different states or countries, but there are already LEGO events in many different places and getting together there as fans of fire trucks and look at each other’s models “in the brick” might be neat.
LFC Blog: Great insights! Any tips or advice for new builders?
RS: Having an online community has pros and cons. On the one hand, there are all these great models that can inspire one’s own builds. On the other hand, for new builders, I reckon that all the stuff that is already out there built by people who have been at it this for years can be a bit intimidating. You might not how to do something new or original. I think the answer is to experiment. Think about building on a different scale or perhaps building some truck from another country or era. The stuff you learn doing that will also help if you do decide to build your own version of a type of truck that many other people have already built.
LFC Blog: Experimenting is really how I improved my techniques, which contributed to the overall aesthetics of my builds. Again, I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today, Ralph! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed this installment of the LFC Blog!
LFC Blog: Welcome to this very, very special edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog. I'm your host, Michael, and today, we are super excited to introduce to you the great Tom D. who is the creator of St. Lego Fire & Rescue Service! Many members of the Lego fire community (including myself) have been inspired by his timeless work! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us, Tom! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
TD: I started collecting LEGO when I was around 8 yo around 1979. My first set was set 588 Police Headquarters. I got my first fire station for my birthday, a couple of years later, set 6382 Fire Station. I grew up the street from a fire station, so I always loved fire trucks. I had a town set up in my basement with all my sets, and as fire station sets came out, I would add them to the town. At one point I think I had a fire station at each of the 4 corners of a 4x8 city. So it was a bit overkill, lol, but I didn’t care. Over time, I tried my hand at building my own rigs, but didn’t have much success. When I got on the internet, around 1997 I found Jeff Christner’s site. This was before he made the first six-wide rig, and formed Sixby Fire, and was all 4 wide rigs. They actually looked very nice, for 4 wides. When he made his first 6 wide, I made my own replica, and went from there. I started building rigs, and stations, and around 1999 I started The St. Lego Fire Department. I remember how hard it was back then to find 6 wide windshields. This was before bricklink and ebay, and very few sets used them. I would have to go on to the Alt.Toys.Lego newsgroup and trade for them. Once bricklink opened up, it became much easier to get parts, so I figured I would try my hand at selling rigs. That was very successful, and I sold a couple of hundred over the years. A couple of years ago, I stopped selling on a regular basis, but will still occasionally build one if someone asks.
LFC Blog: Wow! That's great to hear where you got your inspirations from! People today really do take for granted the availability of many parts offered via Bricklink! Who/what inspires you to build?
TD: Like most people, Jeff Christner started me on the 6 wide craze. Most of the people who inspired me are no longer around. Rodney Gentry had some good designs that inspired me. As far as the newer generation goes, I am a big fan of Paulo R
LFC Blog: Jeff C indeed is a pioneer for the LFC! Rodney G built that super awesome tower ladder that I think just about everybody went crazy over! Indeed, Paulo is a fantastic builder! What's in the name St. Lego Fire& Rescue and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
TD: There really isn’t much to the name. I was just looking for something I could use with LEGO or brick or something in the name. At the time I was considering doing Total Quint Concept Department, so I was thinking since that’s what St. Louis was using at the time, it made sense. I have gone through about every color scheme you could imagine. But I do love the Dark Blue bricks, so I wanted to find a way to use them. I am in the process now of changing everything over to black roofs, red body, white stripe, and dark blue bottoms. I will probably get tired of that soon and change it to something else.
LFC Blog: That's really cool to hear where "St. Lego" came from! I really find your current color scheme of black over red and dark blue with a white stripe to be really sharp, especially on the tillers ;) What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
TD: I like to keep my designs relatively simple. I don’t use a lot of SNOT technique, or anything fancy. My rigs can be copied relatively easy just from pictures. I have never been able to make an ARRF type rig that I like, so I guess that’s as close as an answer I can give.
LFC Blog: Cool! I've never seen an ARFF rig from you. I guess that't something to look forward to! What is your most favorite rig and why?
TD: I am a big fan of Tillers. So any of my Tillers. Unfortunately there aren’t many around anymore. But they are making a comeback in my area.
LFC Blog: Me too! Tillers are my favorite kind of fire truck! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
TD: I would love to see a better assortment of roll up doors, and different styles of windshields.
LFC Blog: Having newer kinds of roll ups is one of the more popular items that LFC members have been wanting. I also agree with the windshield variety! It would be really cool if there were variations of the 2x6x2 windshield to better emulate some of the manufacturers' windshields. What are your future plans for your department?
TD: I don’t really have anything new planned. I can go a long time without touching a brick, and then just get an urge and build for days straight
LFC Blog: Glad to know there is hope for me when I don't exactly have ideas to build something haha! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
TD: I like seeing other people’s designs, and trying to figure out how to build my own.
LFC Blog: Reverse engineering indeed is really a fun way to improve techniques! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
TD: It hasn’t been that big of a deal lately, but the whole issue of credit just needs to be put to rest. It was a big problem a while ago, and several people took their ball and went home because of it. I just feel that if your going to get all butt hurt about someone using your designs and not giving credit, then you shouldn’t be posting them. There are only so many ways pieces can go together, and I may have seen it on someone’s rig, and given them credit, but they took the design from someone else, and now they are demanding credit, and so on. Just be happy that someone liked your design enough to emulate it. For the record, Credit is never needed if someone uses my designs.
LFC Blog: The whole credit issue does seem to pop up frequently, especially in the younger builders, and I think that the community, as a whole, does need to learn from what happened in the past. Any tips or advice for new builders?
TD: Biggest thing is build what you like. Don’t try to please others. Also when buying parts from bricklink, buy in bulk. The biggest expense there is shipping. Keep a good wanted list of what you use all the time, and whenever you do need to order that 1 special piece, order as many of what’s on your list as you can. It may cost you an extra 50 cents or so, but in the long run, you will save big time by not having to place another order for those parts and having to pay the extra shipping.
LFC Blog: Those are really good points Tom! Thank you once again for sharing your wonderful insights! I, for one, have learned many things from you! To those reading this blog, thank you for reading today's blog and I hope that you gained something new!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the 10th Lego Fire Community Blog post! In this edition, we have the privilege of speaking with Matt Miller, the owner of Portage County Fire/EMS and a member of the LMFD. Enjoy!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
Matt M: My name is Matthew Miller. I have been building with Lego's since I was 5 years old. I guess you could say my interest in fire trucks is because firefighting is in my blood. From the time I found out firefighting was in my blood, I always was looking at my home town departments fire trucks to figure out how to build them so I could replicate runs they had.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Lego's really are cool ;) Who/what inspires you to build?
Matt M: Well that goes back to firefighting being in my blood. Now a days after spending 15 years doing it I just sit back and build fire trucks.
LFC Blog: It's really cool to see real firefighters not only building really fantastic rigs but also replicating incidents complete with incident reports! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
Matt M: Tower Ladder 833
LFC Blog: Indeed! Aerialscopes are a challenge! What is your most favorite rig and why?
Matt M: Tower Ladder 833 - No specific reason
LFC Blog: Haha! I can understand that! Sometimes the hardest rigs turn out to be our most favorite rigs :) What are your future plans for your department?
Matt M: My future plans are to keep expanding up to at least 50 stations in the next couple of years.
LFC Blog: Wow! That is an ambitious plan! I personally can't wait for that to become a reality! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
Matt M: The best part is that you get to meet new people and help others out when they ask for advice.
LFC Blog: That is very true! Making new friends and acquaintances really is one of the joys of being a part of this great community! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
Matt M: Just keep what we are doing.
LFC Blog: We will continue to build bigger and better! Any tips or advice for new builders?
Matt M: It doesn't matter what your first piece of equipment looks like, you will learn from others on how to make the trucks that us older builders build. It takes time and asking for help doesn't hurt. Believe me I didn't build like I do now.
LFC Blog: Thank you for your inspiring words Matt! We look forward to seeing more of your work in the very near future! To the faithful readers of this blog, thank you so much for reading this blog! Martijn and I truly are humbled by all the positive reception you have shown us!
LFC Blog: Hello there, and welcome to today's blog! I have the distinct pleasure of introducing a very good friend of mine, Paulo! He owns Stud City Fire Department and is also the Chief of Department of Studington Fire & Rescue! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog, Paulo! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
PR: My name is Paulo Rodriguez Everson and I am a 20 year old mechanical engineering student/volunteer firefighter from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I started building with LEGOs since around the third grade and have been ever since! I joined MOCpages in the summer of 2009, to share my WWII and Star Wars creations (I had a Youtube channel back then too, and my 12 year old self thought I was going to be a star!). It wasn’t before long that I ran across one of Bob K’s creations and discovered people building model fire trucks. I was instantly hooked, and my other collections took a back seat for fire trucks!
LFC Blog: I didn't know you started out with WWII creations! The first rig I saw from you was your Tower 4 which had a functional steering system if I remember correctly! Who/what inspires you to build?
PR: The community is my main inspiration! Every talented builder I have met over the years have certainly helped me build and rebuild my building style to what it is today. My first inspiration was Bob K, but I have learned so much from the SNOT talents of Zak O, the astonishing realistic details double CC has built or the masterful cabs made by James K, to name a few. Honestly I would have to mention just about every other builder out there to give you a full list!
LFC Blog: Those are awesome builders indeed! What's in the name Stud City Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
PR: By the time I had joined the LFC, it seemed every name imaginable with Brick or Lego was being used, so I figured I would use the word stud. Now in hindsight my 12 old mind didn’t really know the other meanings for stud, but I went with it and never looked back! The color scheme was originally white over red, like every fire truck back in day was. Eventually I changed to all red with a yellow stripe, the colors of the Puerto Rico Fire Corps, my hometown department.
LFC Blog: So I guess you have a lot of studs in your town :D Red with a yellow stripe reminds me of a color scheme from where I'm from *cough* LAcoFD *cough* What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
PR: This is a good question, I think many different rigs have posed many different challenges for me, but my Aerialscope and E-One cabs have been my most worked projects. Although not a fancy, 3 section fully working scope :P, I did play around with the design for a couple years before settling on a final product for Tower 5. My E-one cabs also have been re-designed and rebuilt several times over the years before I found a design I was happy enough to brick build.
LFC Blog: Hey now, building a working Scope should be your next project! (Hint hint) What is your most favorite rig and why?
PR: Another tough call! I am a huge fan of ladder trucks, so all of my tillers, and towers have to be on the top. But if I had to pick one, Truck 3 is one of my favorites. Also always love my KME single axle rescue 2 and my seagrave engines.
LFC Blog: A tiller! Good choice haha! All your KMEs and Seagraves are gorgeous. Oh wait, I take that back.. All your rigs are beautiful! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
PR: Easy, a 1x1 brick with roll-up door pattern. My headaches would be solved.
LFC Blog: I will add that to the list! Let's see if TLC will consider our proposals! What are your future plans for your department?
PR: Eventually I would like to have my original plan of 20 Engines, 12 Trucks and Towers, 4 Rescues and 4 Squads. But the last couple of years have been slow for me, with college, a pretty bad back injury and now Hurricane Maria. But things are looking better, so hopefully I will be able to get a few more bricks in motion and get building!
LFC Blog: Great! It's always a treat to see what you come up with! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
PR: The fires! I just love the fires! The people are alright as well, I guess.
Jokes aside, the people really are the best part. In a way the community shaped a big part of who I am today and what my profession will eventually (and hopefully) be! Getting to learn from actual firefighters from all over the world, and simply making good friends over the years has no price. So big thank you to all of the LFC!
LFC Blog: Indeed! I've met so many nice people from around the world, and it's really cool how our shared passions bring us all together! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
PR: I would love to see more young builders try themselves. I feel like individuality has been lacking from some of the newer generations. I like opening my phone and looking at a truck and being able to recognize who built it without even reading who it is from. There are more rigs out there other than Arrow XT’s you know! ;)
Would also like to see people build a little more respect in certain platforms of the community, you can really tell the difference between the generations of builders in the LFC these days.
LFC Blog: Very true! I think individuality is lacking because of many did not discover tricks on their own. Any tips or advice for new builders?
PR: Like I always suggest to newbies, find a style you like and build away! Learn by trial and error, don’t flood your fleet with everyone else’s LDD files. Make your own, do some reverse engineering! Asking for help is not frowned upon either, but do know there are limits, I will gladly help anyone out there, but I wont build you a whole fleet! Finally, be respectful, learn from the guys who have been here a long time and someday, you will teach it forward to a new guy.
LFC Blog: Well, thank you for taking the time to speak to us Paulo! I'm sure the readers have learned a thing or two! To those reading this blog, thank you for your continual support!
In this installment of the blog, we feature Jessie Willis who is the owner of Brickland City Beach Fire & Rescue as well as Brickland Park Volunteer Fire Department! Enjoy!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog Jessie! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
JW: I've been building as long as I can remember. Started out just with my friends building trucks and buildings for a little city I had in my Lego room at the time. Fast forward to about 2007-08 we started doing fire trucks. Then I came across Bob K and Lego Twp, then MOC and its been downhill ever since lol
LFC Blog: Haha! That's a great account of how you got started! Who/what inspires you to build?
JW: Well the guys that first made a big impact on my building were Bob K, Matt J, Mike L, Tom D, Rodney G, Zak O, and Christian Collins, among others. But nowadays those names have been joined by people like Paulo, James K, Tim J, and practically everybody inspires me nowadays.
LFC Blog: All those builders are great people! What's in the name Brickland City Beach/Brickland Park and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
JW: My original department is Brickland Park. It's based off the real department I grew up in, basically what it was before the county took over and what I think it should be nowadays. I started Brickland City Beach, to mimic the beach department here (Panama City Beach). But quickly flourished to encompass the area of the beach the county covers also. The color schemes are just what the real departments are/were.
LFC Blog: I think many of us have those biases of creating things dear to us! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
JW: My most challenging I'd have to say is BCBFR Squad Engine 2. It was my first time building something like it with the pullouts below the compartments. The new tiller was quite a challenge also.
LFC Blog: Little details such as the pullout compartments may seem insignificant at first, but they really add a new dimension to MOCs! Tillers indeed are hard to get right haha! What is your most favorite rig and why?
JW: Now that's a hard one. A lot of my trucks I've had a long time so they all kind of have a special place to me. But I'd say the Ward La France and BCBFR engine 6 with dual ladder racks because they're so unique. And BPVFD Engine 9 because its based off my favorite real truck.
LFC Blog: I agree with you on that! I love each and every one of my rigs, and that makes it difficult to choose a single rig! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
JW: Think an inverted 1x1 cheese slope would be great for wheel wells. That way I wouldn't have to do SNOT which takes up some room and mode pieces.
LFC Blog: We should totally write a petition (with signatures) to The Lego Company with pieces we want to see XD What are your future plans for your department?
JW: No clue what the future holds. I wanna start another volunteer department, and start a paid department modeled after my hometown. Brickland Park will stay modest, maybe recieve a new engine or something. Brickland City Beach is in the middle of keeping apparatus up to date so no expansions in the foreseeable future.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Can't wait to see new rigs from you! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
JW: The best thing about the community is the people. From all over the world and different walks of life, different styles, trucks, operations. Think that's the best, cause you don't just see the same type of apparatus all over the place. Also, everybody is willing to help whether its with pictures, critiques, or files.
LFC Blog: That is very true! The community is what makes us special! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
JW: I'd like to see more mutual aid, more collaborations and just more of the community working together no matter what it is.
LFC Blog: I agree! I wish there was a single site where we could all collaborate, similar to EB or MOCpages. Any tips or advice for new builders?
JW: My first bit of advice would be to listen. Take the criticism, listen to the older guys, don't get to wrapped up in an idea or thought and don't take anything too serious. Also, don't be afraid to try something new, or get away from the norm. That'd what makes this hobby great.
LFC Blog: Thank you for those inspiring words, Jessie! I'd like to thank you once again for taking time out of your day to speak with us and share some of the things you've picked up over the past couple of years! To those reading this now, thank you so very much for reading the blog, and we will see you in the next installment of the LFC Blog!
*DISCLAIMER* This episode contains some language which may not sit well with some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.
LFC Blog: Welcome to LFC Blog! Today, we are joined by Olivier Laporte, who primarily runs the Fire Department of Laporte City. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome Olivier! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
OL: I’m a 23 YO mechanical engineering tech working at the Eastern Canadian E-One dealership. I have been building with Lego for 18 years-ish. I come from a firefighting family and always loved fire apparatus. From as far as I can remember I have been building my department and firehouses out of Lego. Since I started I have expanded my Lego building area to town and specialized vehicles and then to small cities. I have been joining Lego exhibitions for about 6 years now both in group and as a sole builder.
LFC Blog: Cool! Now I see why you love E-ONE so much ;) Who/what inspires you to build?
OL: Who: Obviously as most guys my age, I saw the original veterans of the LFC evolve quite a lot (Bob K. Tom D. Mike L. Paul B. Steven A. Jeff C. and all the others from the LMFD) When I started going on MOCpages, I discovered CC, James K, Bruce B., MM, Zak O., Lee C. and basically followed them quite a lot as they were very active in the LFC back then. Following all these guys through various platforms pushed me into publishing my own work. I had already been building for a few years, but never had the guts to put it out there.
What: I would say I’m a volatile builder. I build because I want to, because I need to escape in my own world, because I like a truck I saw, reasons just keep appearing in my head really, but mostly, I would say I build because it’s addictive and challenging. To see so many people do so many projects is quite motivating. I always want to build better rigs because I’m proud of improving my work and because I enjoy a good challenge.
LFC Blog: That's great! Building with passion is what drives excellence! What's in the name Fire Department of Laporte City and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
OL: My department is the FDLC or Fire Department of Laporte City (at least the main one). I also run the Moose Paw volunteer Fire Dept, the Elk Creek Vol. Fire Co., the Brick Daniels Fire Company and (with the help of Keelan O’flaherty) the Rose Mill Fire Department.
I don’t go for color schemes because I enjoy building actual replicas of real life apparatus. Therefore, I go with the excuse that every one of my stations gets to choose their scheme. That way I can build many trucks with similar colors and group them into stations. I am a strong advocate for uniqueness in Lego Fire Apparatus. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a fleet with a scheme and a structure, it projects a strong image, but personally, I just like exploring new ideas, unique vehicles and various color schemes.
LFC Blog: I actually like the diversity you have in your fleet as it shows your technical skills! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
OL: I faced my fair share of challenges building wise. Once again, being a fan of unique apparatus makes for awesome building challenges. Both of my Montreal E-Ones demanded extensive detailing work and I would have to say that these 2 rigs are amongst the most challenging ones I have ever done. Otherwise, the older apparatus I have built as my museum fleet all presented a good challenge as well.
LFC Blog: Indeed, classic rigs do take some serious planning to execute properly! What is your most favorite rig and why?
OL: That’s a tough one. I always went with my heart for building. Therefore, if I don’t like a truck anymore, I scrap it and build something else with the parts. However, I would have to say that my Montreal E-Ones are the ones I am most proud of. I do have a weakness when it comes to my older Spartans and Duplexes from the 80’s and 90’s as well
LFC Blog: Those are all awesome pieces! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
OL: I think there is so much room for improvement if I look at the firefighting aspect when it comes to Lego. To make it short, here’s a top 5:
LFC Blog: I agree with all your points! I would especially love to see newer kinds of gear/helmets! What are your future plans for your department?
OL: I have so many new rigs I would like to add to my fleet in the future. Mainly, I am looking at new aerials including: a 135’, a 137’, a bronto, 2-3 platforms and a few ladder variations as my aerial fleet is in dire need of newer apparatus.
Otherwise, I love to let things go with the flow and build what I want when I’m feeling like it. I have a hard drive with about 8gb of apparatus pictures in a file called Building Data so you can imagine there are several projects in the future.
LFC Blog: Woah! That's a lot of aerials! I can't wait to see them built! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
OL: The community spirit itself. Yes, we had a lot of issues and we still do. No Lego group is different from the LFC, people don’t always get along, but in the end, the main core, the people holding this community together are such amazing individuals that good always wins. It’s a strong, resilient community that always knew how to hold together in times of need.
LFC Blog: That's absolutely true! The community itself is what makes us great! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
OL: There are so many improvements the LFC should go through. They all really happen through the individuals though. There is a strong lack of respect in many spheres of the community. People with personal interest try to use the more naïve members of the community for their own gain. It is very difficult to pick your battles in the LFC because there are so many different opinions at all times and it’s just quite the mess. I think the best way to improve is by following the leading example of guys like Steven A., Sven J. and many others that simply post their stuff, stay out of trouble, credit when credit is due and really just love building. They are the perfect example of how it should be done they have passion and right now that probably is what the LFC is lacking the most of. A passion for building new trucks and trying new things with all the awesome new parts that are coming out every year from the Lego Factory. I think that with passion comes novelty, with novelty comes uniqueness and with uniqueness comes endless possibilities.
LFC Blog: The Lego Company has been coming with some really great new pieces! Hopefully, they come out with more! Any tips or advice for new builders?
LFC Blog: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today, Olivier! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed the interview! Be on the lookout for the first special feature, which will debut this weekend!
LFM: LFC Blog: Welcome to this week's edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog, where we feature outstanding builders across various social media platforms. Today, we have the distinct honor of featuring Lego Fire Museum (LFM) who has established himself as one of the premier builders of classic American fire apparatus as well as 8-wide fire apparatus. Enjoy the interview below!
P.S. All underlined words are clickable links!
LFC Blog: Welcome LFM! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! So tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
LFM: I am an AFOL. When I was a kid I built with Lego but I never built any fire engines. As I emerged from the Dark Ages, and started building with Lego again in my mid-20s, I built my first Lego fire engines. Over the past 24 years I have developed my technique. I built my first 8-wide Lego fire engines after I discovered Brickshelf in 2007. I built my first antiques in 2009.
LFC Blog: That's awesome! I remember finding your work on MOCpages around 2010, I think :) Who/what inspires you to build?
LFM: Building Lego fire engines is mental health time.
LFC Blog: I agree! Legos are a fantastic way to unwind after a long day! What's in the name Lego Fire Museum and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
LFM: The Lego Fire Museum is full of antiques from the 1730s through the 1980s. We have a variety of color schemes represented. The Lego fire department that protects the Museum runs all red apparatus – Seagrave pumpers and KME aerials.
There are two mutual aid departments that back up this department to protect the Museum. Community Fire Department runs black over red apparatus and Greenfield runs white with green accents.
I like all of these color schemes.
LFC Blog: I love seeing the variety of colors that you employ in your fleet! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
LFM: This probably would be the 1915 American-LaFrance Type 25 Ladder Truck. It has many details and features that I had not built before.
LFC Blog: That is a really cool classic rig! To me, the best part of the rig is the functional aerial device! What is your most favorite rig?
LFM: My favorite is Greenfield Tower Ladder 17, a 2010 Seagrave Marauder II Tower Ladder.
LFC Blog: Aerialscopes are one of the most iconic fire apparatus, and I can see why that would be your favorite! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
LFM: I can’t really name one. I am not a Lego purist, so I have no problem with customizing Lego elements to make the specific elements I need. My kids call his “daddification.”
LFC Blog: Haha! That is a great new term! What are your future plans for your department?
LFM: The Lego Fire Museum may publish a book of Lego Fire Trucks.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Keep us posted when that will be released! I will definitely buy that! :) What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
LFM: Lots of creativity. I am constantly surprised at the creative things people are building and the methods that they use.
LFC Blog: That is very true, especially with new bricks that Lego constantly releases to allow for new techniques! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
LFM: To me Lego fire trucks are scale models. They are an opportunity to learn and to educate. I think that if builders learn more about what they are building and what they want to build we can expect more great stuff. I also would like to see less LDD and more bricks, but I appreciate that not everyone has a budget like the LFM.
LFC Blog: Absolutely! One of my most favorite parts when reading your MOCs is the historical backgrounds to your builds. It is crazy to think about how much the fire service has developed over the past century! Any tips or advice for new builders?
LFM: 1. Keep building. Lego is a wonderful medium with which to work because you can take things apart again and again and keep rebuilding until you get things the way you want them to look.
2. Measure twice, cut one. The internet is full of photos of fire trucks. Down load as many images as you can of what you want to build. You can even get specifications for new apparatus from most major manufacturers. Taking the time to get this information will make building easier.
LFC Blog: Well, thank you LFM for your wonderful insights! It really was a great honor to speak with you! To the readers of this blog, thank you so much for your timely support and words of encouragement! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact us using this form!
This week, we want to acknowledge the work of Mr. Jeff Christner, who debuted the very first six-wide custom Lego fire truck on October 30, 1997! The whole Lego Fire Community is indebted to him for his innovations! In honor of this monumental event, he created this anniversary apparatus called the Sixby Mini! Huge thank you to Mr. Christner, who was very kind in allowing us to be one of the first to announce the brand new rig! Click here for more details and pictures!
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.