To kick things off on this blog, here is a brief interview with the webmaster, Michael (or Da Tilla guy, as he is known by close acquaintances), the owner of Castle Beach Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and Studington Fire & Rescue Station 11.
Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
I grew up a block away from the busiest fire station in Los Angeles (Station 9 - "Skid Row"); so seeing the fire trucks (especially the tiller) go in and out of the fire station was always a treat for me. One of the earliest Lego sets I ever got was set 6477-1, and I remember playing with that pretty much all day! Even though I had Matchbox and Hot Wheels fire trucks, I always returned to Lego simply because of the functionality offered. It wasn't until I saw Steven Asbury's Rescue 1 that I was inspired to create my own. My first MOC back in 2007 was actually a model of that (See the revised model here).
Who and what inspires you?
In terms of building techniques, I could list off so many people: Steven Asbury, Paulo Rodriguez, James Kontoules, Mike Lucio, Bob K, Rodney G, Tom D, Paul B, Matt J, De Herndobler, Martijn Meijdam, Sponki25, Zak Overmyer, Christian Collins, David Hensley, Tim J, Brian Stanis, Diego K, Alex Wallace, Henry H, and Callum R all have had some sort of influence over the years. (Sorry if I missed anybody here; I'm just going off the top of my head haha). In terms of real life influences, LAFD, Pierce, Spartan, and Seagrave take home the honors.
What's in the name Castle Beach Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
To be completely honest, I really don't know why I chose Castle Beach! I guess I wanted something more original than having "lego," "brick," or "stud" (no offense to all my friends who have that in their city name :D). But I do remember seeing Castle Rock, CO Fire Department and wanting to incorporate something similar. The "Beach" part most likely came from the fact that I was really close to the beach at that time in my life. Like I said before, I grew up in Los Angeles, so I wanted a color scheme that would remind me of that place! Plus, the Lego sets usually were red with a white stripe, so part colors were not an issue :p
What is the hardest rig you've ever built?
The hardest rig I've built so far has to be my Rescue Platform 2, a 2016 Pierce Quantum with a remounted 95' Baker Aerialscope. The Pierce Quantum chassis has always fascinated me and has been a mainstay in my fleet since the inception of Castle Beach Fire Department. Thanks to new bricks that Lego recently released, I am now able to incorporate the curves along the front portion of the rig! The Aerialscope was also a challenge to build! Going into the build, I knew that I wanted to have 3 sections, just like the real thing, but at the same time, I did not want it to be super bulky. It was during this time that I stumbled upon David Hensley's Aerialscope model and used that as a base for the aerial device. It sure is one of the most ingenious designs out there!
What is your most favorite rig and why?
Currently, my most favorite rig is Truck 1, a 2017 Pierce Arrow XT dual axle 107' Ascendant tiller, not only because it's a tiller (duh), but also simply because of the amount of details I incorporated into the build. From the reels underneath the aerial ladder to the rear ladder tunnel, this rig is simply stacked with little things that all add up to the whole rig!
What are your future plans for Castle Beach Fire?
I'm looking into adding an airport fleet here really soon, and expanding my county Los Angeles County. Other things I'm working on include working roll-up doors (which are a pain to stabilize in 6-wide builds), new medics, and a forestry division :0
What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
Probably the best part of the LFC is the interaction with amazing builders! Being able to share ideas with other people is something I truly cherish!
How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
For one, I would like to see people actually build the rigs they design on LDD. While LDD/Stud.io/CAD work great in terms of planning and designing rigs, to me, it's just not the same as actually building it in real life. But probably the most important thing I would like to see in the community is that people learn from their mistakes. No one is perfect, but admitting one was wrong and apologizing goes a really long way.
Blog Updated: 02/19/19
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.