LFC Blog: Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! It really is an honor to present Paul B, one of the founding members of the LMFD and the owner of New Brickton Fire-Rescue! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Paul! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
PB: I’m Paul B, I’m an AFOL but got my start building LEGO fire apparatus when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I have been inactive with new builds for the past 5-7 year but still try to stay active in the LFC. I’m from the Pittsburgh area and work in the Mortgage Industry. In my spare time I volunteer with my local fire department where I hold the rank of Lieutenant and spend time with my family (wife, son, and dog). As you can imagine, I stay pretty busy!
LFC Blog: Awesome! Your work (especially the Quantums) has definitely inspired my builds! So thank you for that! Who/what inspires you to build?
PB: I first stumbled upon Jeff C’s rigs from Sixby Fire many years ago, probably around 1997/1998, I was stunned! There were LEGO fire engines that actually looked like real American based fire apparatus! The more a searched around I found there was a whole community. Woodchuck Fire (Rodney), Lego City Fire (Eric), St Lego Fire (Thomas), and countless others who drifted off the web over the years. I looked at these trucks in detail and thought, I have pieces like that, I could build that. There was not LDD, it was trial and error, spending hours with the bricks designing and redesigning. Showcasing your trucks on a website or on Yahoo Groups. Getting feedback and going back to the drawing boards. There were a group of builders who came on the scene all about the same time, Bob K, Mike L, Paul G, De, and Tony S. This group was pivotal in creating the LEGO Metro Fire District and sharing and giving constructive feedback on the current NBF/R Fleet. Everyone’s trucks and new innovations today, especially with new LEGO pieces remind me that a lot has changed design wise since I’ve become less active in the community.
LFC Blog: Wow! All those names evoked feelings of nostalgia! What's in the name (insert department here) and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
PB: The town I’m from is called New Brighton so I basically just changed the Brigh to Brick and the New Brickton Fire/Rescue name was born. New Brickton has had various color schemes with each station claiming their own. Some did match but if you look at early incident photos there were multiple colored trucks. In late 2007 I made the switch over to white roof, red body, and black stripe. (Minus the Airport rigs) The decal kit from 7239 was also used on all new apparatus. I believe there wasn’t anyone really in the community who was using this color scheme and that’s why I chose it.
LFC Blog: That is really interesting! Lego set 7239 is one of my most favorite sets! There were so many combinations you could do with that set! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
PB: The most challenging truck I have ever built would have to be the replica of my departments 1998 Pierce Quantum. It has been through numerous upgrades to add extra elements of realism including working steps and decals to match my departments truck.
LFC Blog: Pierce Quantums are one of the most challenging rigs to replicate, especially the first generation! And you, sir, have the best first generation Pierce Quantum out there! What is your most favorite rig and why?
PB: I would say that’s a tie between Engines 3, 5, and Squad 4. That design/building style was the direction NBF/R was moving towards. There was/is a 3rd engine (matching the 3&5 spec) on order and a 95% completed KME mid-mount tower. These just need finished up and decaled.
LFC Blog: Great! Those KMEs are really beautiful! Can't wait to see the new engine and the tower! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
PB: A 3 wide lift door. I don’t claim to be a purest by any means but I never had the guts to modify one of these doors. There are some braver builders out there in the community who have though...tip of the hat to you gentlemen.
LFC Blog: I agree! New lift door variations would really be awesome! What are your future plans for your department?
PB: Hopefully to complete the couple unfinished trucks I have in production still is the short term. A long term goal would be begin to start replacing current front line apparatus as they are reaching or have reached a 10 year in service mark. This would be a pretty significant under taking and we’ll see what the future holds.
LFC Blog: Wow! Time really does fly! We would love to see more new rigs from you in the near future! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
PB: The best part is I’ve made friends that have extended beyond the bricks. I chat regularly with a group of guys from the LMFD about everyday stuff and happenings in our lives and careers.
LFC Blog: That is the best part indeed! And that is what makes the LFC special! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
PB: Putting the LDD designs into actual bricks. I know the community has gotten way better about doing this recently, I hope this trend continues.
Secondly, if you have the means to, create incidents scenes! Get the trucks out and have a fire or two. Just think of those poor minifig firefighters all cooped up with no JOBS to go to! LOL It’s a nice way to show case your creations and see different angles of trucks you wouldn’t normally see.
LFC Blog: Seeing the software designed builds come to fruition is one of the best feelings ever! Incidents are really a fabulous way to showcase rigs as well as tactics! Any tips or advice for new builders?
PB: As cliché as it sounds, Rome was not built in a day, nor was any LEGO Fire Department. Build for quality over quantity and build as much as you can when you have the time and funds to do so. You will come to a certain stage in your life and the amount of time and funds you’ll have for this hobby will shift to other things. Most importantly have fun while you’re involved and make friends who will last years outside of the LEGO Fire Community.
LFC Blog: Thank you for those inspiring words Paul! Thank you once again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to converse with us today! To all the readers, thank you for reading this blog, and we will see you next time!
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
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