LFC Blog: Welcome to the latest edition of the of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Today, we have the privilege and honor of having one of the founders of the community itself, Bob K! His work has inspired so many people, including me! So we are really thrilled to have him here with us today! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog Bob! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
BK: I started building fire trucks back in 2002. Bear in mind, I grew up playing with Lego. My friend had the Lego Set “Engine Co. No. 9” and I loved the set and loved to build with Lego. My very first Lego set was the Exxon Gas Station from 1980. From that point forward, I collected the Town System sets. My first firehouse set was Fire Station (Set #6382) from 1982. Sadly, I never got the Engine Co. 9 set. Growing up, I had a fascination with the fire department. I made sure I would get every fire related Lego from that point forward. At some point, I had lost the garage rollers for my fire station and some small parts. Eventually, I dismantled it and created a firehouse similar to the one near my childhood home. Growing up with Lego, I had always built the sets as instructed. I seldom deviated from the instructions. Replacement parts were very difficult to come by. Aside from buying a set to get a particular piece, there was the Lego Shop at Home Service. But not all parts were available. If I was lucky to have spare Lego parts, I would build something from scratch. I never purchased a duplicate of anything. Then, Lego decided to change things around. Come the mid 90’s, the quality of the Lego sets were just…junk. It looked more like Duplo designs. Lego had taken a major step backwards in design and fun. I stopped collecting. It wasn’t until late 2001, early 2002 when my cousin introduced me to the world of ebay. Once I learned what ebay was all about, I began to search for some old Lego sets. Sure enough, both the Fire Station and Engine Co No 9 sets were on there! I purchased the Fire Station….but not Engine Co. No. 9. To this day, I still do not have that set. I also searched ebay and found some custom Lego builds on ebay. I decided to search the internet for Custom Lego Fire Trucks. That decision changed my life forever. That is when I found Eric MacDonald’s Lego City Fire Department and Tom Duggan’s St. Lego Fire. I was just floored at what I saw from both of these builders! My desire to get back into the Lego hobby was reignited. After seeing the detail in their websites, I thought to myself, yeah I can do that. That is when the Lego Twp Fire Department was born.
LFC Blog: That is a really cool story! I guess too many of us take for granted that specific bricks that we want/need are able from from Bricklink. It sure must have been difficult to acquire pieces back then! Who/what inspires you to build?
BK: My initial inspirations were Eric & Tom. My first attempts at custom Lego Fire apparatus was interesting to say the least. I built originally in 4-wide scale, to be consistent with Lego. 6-wide, although more detailed, just seemed too big. My 4-wides were long and narrow, and somewhat awkward. I then made the switch to 6-wide and converted all of my apparatus. I like to be as realistic as possible, so I decided on streamlining the apparatus. I decided on Pierce, since that is what we run in my firehouse and I can sit all day and take all the pictures I want in the firehouse and just study the truck. I then studied the different models of Pierce apparatus and went from there. I also looked at what other builders did. I had a hard time finding the look of a Pierce through various build attempts. Finally, I saw something in a build that Paul Bock had done. I found it! I found what I was looking for! Once I got the front of the truck looking correct, I began to focus on cab length and match the lengths with the lengths of the actual models for Pierce. Now, someone once asked me why Pierce? Can I build ALF, Seagrave, Mack and other brands? Absolutely I can. But did I want to have multiple brands? At the time, I was not sure.
LFC Blog: It is interesting how you developed your department and stuck with Pierce all this time! Haha! What's in the name Lego Twp. Fire Dept. and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
BK: Back then, there were not as many Lego Fire Departments on the internet. I wanted to keep it simple and not sound like an actual town name. Lego Township popped in my head. It sounded right. As for the color scheme, when I first began to build again I tried different color schemes. Back in the 80s & 90s I tried a white over red look and did not like it. During the rebuild, I tried the white over red in 4-wide and thought it looked better. 6-wide looked awesome….but so did black over red and all red. Great…now what? I couldn’t make a simple decision. So I decided to keep all 3 colors. Later, I decided to make each battalion a particular color scheme. After a while, I thought about making the department uniform in color scheme. But what color scheme do I do? I kept coming back to a picture of Engine 5. All red with a white roof. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I also liked the color scheme that the Fairfield NJ Fire Department had for the pumpers. So I decided to go with that. During this time, I had been adding decals, courtesy of Matt Jacobsen. For the black over red trucks, the gold leaf had red borders. The white over red and all red had black bordered gold leaf. Some of the decals had inverted colors or something completely different. So now, I needed to do something to make the decals uniform as well. That is when the gold leaf with blue trim came to mind. I did one truck in the new color scheme and loved it.
LFC Blog: I love how you kept all three colors for Lego Twp. I might be a bit biased, but I love the red fire trucks the most :) What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
BK: The most challenging rig I ever built was my first custom 4-wide. I didn’t have any instructions and wasn’t sure what I could and could not do. Heck, I didn’t even have all of the necessary parts.
LFC Blog: I love that you mention this because too many of us (myself included) are not as creative/innovative because of the plethora of available parts today. I think that not having the necessary bricks is what really drives the creativity of an individual. What is your most favorite rig and why?
BK: My favorite rig is Engine 8. That Engine was one of the first 2 rigs I build it 6-wide (the first 6-wide Engine 2 was its twin). Aside from cab, lighting and pump upgrades, the rest of the truck is untouched from 2002. It truly is a 16 year old piece. I don’t want to part with it or put it in reserve status.
LFC Blog: That is astounding to hear one apparatus last that long! None of my rigs last that long haha! It would be lucky if they lasted 2 years, let alone 16 haha! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
BK: Hands down the 1x4x4 lift door in red. I spent wayyyyy too much money on bricklink for these parts. I’m a Lego purist. I hate to cut, glue and paint Lego. I bit the bullet a year or so ago and painted white rollups red. So far the red paint is holding up well.
LFC Blog: I remember wanting to get those at one point, but I could not justify one part being over $20. I didn't know you painted the white rollups! That means you really did a good job lol! What are your future plans for your department?
BK: I plan to furnish the interior of the firehouses and possibly go modular with them. New apparatus will be built as well. Possibly a new dispatch center at a separate building, or an expansion of a couple of firehouses. I’ve been mulling over adding EMS to the LTFD. So, I would need to add bays or new EMS buildings. Not sure I want to do that though.
LFC Blog: Your stations are really incredible! I would love to see the interiors for your firehouses! And of course, seeing new apparatus (fire or EMS) from you would be a welcome sight indeed! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
BK: Sharing of ideas, running incidents, and helping younger builders with their up and coming creations.
LFC Blog: I completely agree with you! I wouldn't have been able to build using strange connections if it weren't for the countless of individuals who have helped me along the way! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
BK: I stepped away from the LFC groups because I saw that builders no longer need any input from me. They learned from me and they were helping the next generation of Lego Fire department builders. It made me smile. I felt like my work here was done. Plus, being self employed I did not have the time to devote that I did when I worked for someone.
LFC Blog: I, for one, am truly grateful for the help you've given me in the past, and I do hope to be able to pass that along to the new guys. Any tips or advice for new builders?
BK: Keep building. It's fun. Learn new techniques. If you are stumped, ask questions.
LFC Blog: Yes! I'm glad you said that because I think too many people simply don't build anymore, and thus don't really learn the techniques they need to know to build the kind of rigs they want. Thank you so much for your insights and wisdom Bob! It was really, really awesome to hear your story! To those reading this blog, thanks for hanging in there despite the lack of posts recently XD I'm constantly humbled by all your kind words and support. You guys absolutely rock!
Many of you are unfamiliar with the name Eric S. McDonald, and as the goal of this blog is to educate others of who the pillars of the LFC are, today's blog is a tribute to Mr. McDonald who passed away unexpectedly on August 21, 2002. At this point, I would like to acknowledge Jeff C. (Sixby Fire) for his assistance with this project. I would have loved to show some of Eric's work, but sadly, AOL took down the site around 2008. However, below is an excerpt of Eric's model of creating your own fire department. I hope that you, the reader, will take this to heart and implement it in your own Lego fire department.
To learn more about Eric and his work, please follow this link to Eric's memorial page on Sixby's website.
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
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!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are joined by one of the newer builders in the community Jeff B., the creator of LMABAS Division 55 and Studington Fire & Rescue Station 23. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog, Jeff! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
JB: Hello Everyone! My name is Jeff Braun and I am an EMT and Volunteer with a local Emergency Management Agency here in Illinois. I began custom fire truck building in about 2006, but stopped around 2011 due to time constraints, but I very happily returned to building in late 2016! I always liked relating my true passion for Fire/EMS and Legos. It's really fun to replicate real rigs, or, if you want, create new and unusual vehicles that no one has ever seen before!
LFC Blog: Creating new/unusual trucks that no one has attempted before is certainly one of the neat things that Lego has to offer! Who/what inspires you to build?
JB: I really got started building custom Lego Firetrucks back when released their Lego City Airport Fire truck #7891 in 2006 (the yellow one with the pop up monitor in the middle of the truck). Once I saw that Lego fire trucks could be yellow, I started to search around for custom trucks. I found a few great builders at that time like Zak O., Steve A., and Paul B. In addition to these great builders, I was also inspired by my father, who is a retired firefighter. He was the one who got me started in Lego, and bought me most of my first sets, and even helped me to build those sets! As of currently, I am inspired by nearly every builder in the LFC, Lego Emergency MOC's and LESA Facebook page's. Everyone has their own style, and it's so cool to see how we can all work off each other's ideas to make the coolest new rigs we can!
LFC Blog: I remember modding that awesome set! We definitely are privileged to live in an era where we can share ideas with like-minded people! What's in the name LMABAS Division 55 and 66, and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
JB: Well, LMABAS Divisions 55, 66, and a brand new Division, #33, are 3 Large Lego Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Divisions located in Ironhead County (which is a fictional County). In those 3 divisions I have more than 20 departments. I’ve always loved the mutual aid aspect of incidents and fire departments, and I really wanted to incorporate that into my builds. Some departments I have in those divisions are: Oak Brick, Tri-Township FPD, Brickmore City, Acorn Township FPD, and Grand Oaks Fire Dept. I also run Studington Station 23, Los Angelego Station 123, and Brickchester Station 4. These departments all vary in color, some are a basic white over red, some are black over red, and one is even all white with purple striping. So I like to mix it up and keep things fresh!
LFC Blog: The various color schemes that you have has definitely inspired me to do the same, so thank you for that! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
JB: The most challenging rig(s) I’ve ever built were probably the “Follow me to #Jobtown” rigs, which are near exact lego replicas of real fire apparatus from towns and city’s who are known for being very busy and being considered #jobtowns, like East St. Louis, IL, Fort Worth, TX, and Detroit, MI. It takes way more time than the average lego build because of the decals and trying to get the lego versions to have the same shape as the real ones.
LFC Blog: Your decal work is among the best that I've seen, and one can easily tell how much time you spent creating them! I think that replicating actual rigs is much more difficult than creating one of your own spec because there are many more details to incorporate into the replica as compared to building off a general spec. What is your most favorite rig and why?
JB: My favorite rig to build was my replica of Chicago’s Tower Ladder 39. It was a massive build for me, and it was one of the first rigs I built using the SNOT method of building. And the decals also took many hours to replicate and apply. So definitely one of the toughest, but my favorite.
LFC Blog: As soon as I saw that build, I could recognize that it was Chicago's new E-ONE towers! I think that our toughest builds also turn out to be our favorites simply because of the time we spent creating them! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
JB: I wish that lego would make a few parts like a 1x1 modified grill brick in order to be able to make different sized SNOT roll up doors. As well as more realistic Style SCBA’s, Haligan Bars, Thermal Imaging Cameras, and more realistic nozzles for hose lines.
LFC Blog: The 1x1 modified grill brick would be awesome! With Lego releasing new City Fire Department sets in 2019, I hope that they incorporate new tools and equipment! What are your future plans for your department?
JB: The future of my divisions is to expand, and build at least 2 new stations for some of my smaller departments, add some more tanker tenders for various departments, and work on my Ironhead County Sheriff’s Office Units.
LFC Blog: Wow! I cannot wait to see your new rigs! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
JB: The best part of the LFC is the camaraderie between builders, and being able to work alongside some of the best lego builders in the world. Everyone has their own style and it’s great to see everyone work together as a team to make this community so awesome, and it really is a big brother (and sister!) hood. It has its issues (as any group does). But it’s nothing that we can’t work together to overcome!
LFC Blog: Working together with individuals across the globe is a really cool thing to see! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
JB: I would like to see everyone in the LFC post their units, I can’t even count on my two hands, how many times a builder has come to me, asking “Does this truck look good enough?” Because that builder is worried about being ridiculed for that vehicle “not being good enough” for the more experienced builders. I would say don’t worry about that! Just post it! Get it out there. Let everyone see the work you put into that unit! It deserves to be seen! Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you enjoy!
LFC Blog: I agree! Getting critiques from a build is one of the best ways to improve! Any tips or advice for new builders?
JB: I would say that young builders should just BUILD! Don’t worry about anything else. Don’t worry about what your friends think, don’t worry about what others think. Build what you want to build! Don’t worry about immediately posting that unit on Facebook or Instagram, just focus on building your units, that way you can really make the best possible unit and make something your proud of. There’s plenty of time for all that other stuff, just grab some legos and maybe some inspiration and just BUILD!
LFC Blog: Thanks for those encouraging words Jeff! I am grateful that you agreed to have this interview! To all those reading this blog, thank you for reading this week's edition of the LFC Blog. Don't forget to subscribe to get the latest content!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are joined by my good friend Tim J, the creator of Washington Heights Fire-Rescue-EMS and several other regional fire departments including Studington Fire & Rescue Station 14. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog, Tim! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
TJ: My name is Tim Joseph, I’m 22 and I’m Connecticut where I work full-time as a Firefighter/EMT in my hometown and dispatch 911 part-time elsewhere. I started building Lego apparatus like most when I was very young. My family has been involved in the fire service for many years, and the passion just spilled over to me, which I introduced into my hobby of building with all of our favorite plastic bricks. I have always enjoyed building Lego since you have the ability to create just about anything YOU want, as opposed to a model or display where you don’t have as much freedom to alter it.
LFC Blog: That's exactly why I prefer Legos over the Hotwheels/Matchbox fire trucks. Who/what inspires you to build?
TJ: I’m inspired by many of the builders involved in the community, new and old. I love seeing new designs and different ways to do things, as well as incident set ups and other dire department related displays. It reminds me that this community is still alive and well, AND growing continuously despite some of our well known veterans taking a step back.
LFC Blog: Indeed, there are a group of fantastic up-and-coming builders who look to be the fire of the LFC. What's in the name Washington Heights Fire-Rescue-EMS and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
TJ: I settled on my main department’s current name because when I first came into the community back in 2008, it was a struggle to try and find a name with “Brick”, “Lego”, or “Stud” that hadn’t already been used or that sounded original. I have always liked the Heights portion for city names, and Washington Heights sounded like a New England city to me! Currently the Heights runs two color schemes, the first and original was loosely based off of Palmyra, Pa, and the second and newer was based off of Palmer, MA. I loved the uniqueness of the color scheme, as no one had built an entire fleet out using either of these schemes.
LFC Blog: Having a unique name is what sets one apart from the rest! I absolutely love the color scheme WHFD utilizes! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
TJ: In all honesty, the rigs I have spent the most time, days and weeks on end, trying to get the right look and proportions for would have to be my Sutphen SPH100 and SP70. The look of the cab and the proper layout and height of the fire body to pair well with the aerial device took some time, as well as enlisting the help of James K for his spot on aerial device design.
LFC Blog: A Sutphen tower is a difficult rig to capture in the Lego scale. That's why you don't see too many of them floating around. That being said, you and James did an excellent job in nailing not only the cab and body, but also the aerial device! What is your most favorite rig and why?
TJ: Choosing a favorite rig for me has always been tough. Almost all of my rigs have been through countless redesigns and rebuilds before they are even posted online or for others to see, sometimes five plus times a week, so I can get it perfect in my eyes. However, if I had to choose one rig out of them all, it would have to be Washington Heights Engine 1-12. It has the classic Heights scheme and down and dirty war wagon look, and on top of all that, she is one of my original WHFD rigs from 2011.
LFC Blog: E1-12 is a beautiful rig! That is one one of my favorites too! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
TJ: I think one piece I would really like, because I feel it would help add to the sleek look of a classic piece of apparatus, would have to be the gold bars available in trans-red and trans-clear to mimic the old school Code 3 light bars that were on apparatus across the country.
LFC Blog: Yes! That would be fantastic too! Let's hope that more colors would be available soon! What are your future plans for your department?
TJ: The future of Washington Heights actually includes some downsizing. I recently scaled back from ten stations to five, and eliminated many frontline and support apparatus. I decided to make Washington Heights a “Central Hub” type full-time city fire department and then build out several outlying volunteer/combination and industrial fire departments (Ashborne Mill, Abington, and Exeter. Etc.). Currently, I have a couple more minor changes for the city, and a couple smaller volunteer departments to finish.
LFC Blog: That's an interesting concept! I'll bet it'll be easier to run a mutual aid incident since you have multiple outlying departments :) What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
TJ: One of the best parts of the community is the overall respect and pride we have for each other and our work. I have seen many people lend a helping hand to those in need of design help, take the younger, newer builders under their wing, and show them the ropes of this great hobby. I love to watch younger builders come into their own and make a name and style for themselves, the strength and bonds of this large group never cease to amaze me.
LFC Blog: Agreed! I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the countless people that have assisted me in various ways. How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
TJ: Although above I just rattled off everything great about the LFC, there will always be a few bad eggs in every group, in this hobby and everyday life. Like I said before, respect and understanding go a long way. Treat others the way you in return want to be treated. Pick and choose your battles, know when to stand up and speak out, and know when to bite your tongue. All of this applies to your everyday life and your futures in the fire service.
LFC Blog: Respect is something that people think they have from the get go, but as with anything, respect is earned. Like you said, perhaps the best policy is to treat others the way you yourself want to be treated. Any tips or advice for new builders?
TJ: I think if you follow what I said above, you’ll be just fine. Don’t be afraid to seek out and ask for help. As always, have fun with it, inspire others to come into this great hobby and ignite that same spark you got when you first took that dive into building Lego apparatus. It’ll be rewarding to watch, I promise.
LFC Blog: Well, thank you for your time, Tim! I'm so glad you agreed to do this interview! To all those reading this blog, thank you for reading this week's edition of the LFC Blog. Don't forget to subscribe to get the latest content!
LFC Blog: Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! I'm Michael, and I am really excited to share another OG members: Dieterich (or D, or the MF Banhammer, as known to close people😁). To me, he is the ultimate master of building ARFF rigs! Follow this link to see unique airport rigs! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
DH: Name is Dieterich Herndobler, mainly go by D (Facebook won’t allow single letter names, thus De). Legos have always been one of my favorite toys, they were somewhat shelved in high school. The summer between high school and college, I came down with mononucleosis. I stumbled upon Legoborough, which lead me to St Lego and few of the other originals, this would’ve been 2003. I started in 8 wide and went down to 6-wide.
LFC Blog: Wow! I didn't know that you started out with 8-wide builds! I wonder if there's a chance that we will see an 8-wide build from you in the future.. Hint... Hint... Who/what inspires you to build?
DH: Inspiration, hmm, I lately I have been inspired to build unique things or vehicles that are eyecatching to me. I have also been inspired by things that would improve my abilities and techniques as a builder, or just challenge them, such as the global Striker or my E-One Bronto.
LFC Blog: Interesting! Those rigs are difficult to capture properly on such a small scale! What's in the name Riverwoods Fire Department and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
DH: Honestly, I am not sure where that name came from. I’ve had many names over the years…Lego Springs Fire/Rescue, River Heights, East Heights, Johnstown, just to name a few. The river part comes from my location on the LMFD map, I was next to the main north/south river. Just like the names, the color schemes have changed. As with my inspiration, I was trying to find unique schemes that would stand out among the others….Fishers, IN; Skokie, IL; Gary, IN just to name a few.
LFC Blog: I have found your color schemes really unique! The fact that you apply stickers to match the color schemes is really impressive! The Fishers one comes to mind.. What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
DH: Two come to mind, my Global Striker build would probably be the most technical and advanced rig, however, the Bronto boom rates up there as well.
LFC Blog: Like I mentioned earlier, those two models have many obstacles to overcome! What is your most favorite rig and why?
DH: I have to pick just one, that is cruel! Currently, I would have to say the E-One Titan for Studington. If I could say a second, it would be the ALF snorkel for Johnstown. Even though Johnstown went belly-up, I can’t bring myself to part it out.
LFC Blog: I love both rigs as well! I also love the fact that you don't shy away from rare rigs that most have never heard about! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
DH: I wish there were a larger variety of 6-wide windshields available. I think having more variety of windshields would go a long way to helping in the realism in the builds because each manufacturer has a slightly different angle of glass.
LFC Blog: That is very true! Maybe what we really need is someone who would create a brick printer that will print whatever we want haha! What are your future plans for your department?
DH: Future plans….well, currently, I am trying to find a new scheme because what I used for stripes has been discontinued (Pactra trim tape) and I have not been able to find the variety of widths needed to continue the current schemes I have….I would love to continue the zebra stripes, but as of now, I am not sure that it is possible.
LFC Blog: *Insert sad emoji* That scheme was awesome! I hope that you won't dismantle the rigs though! But either way, I can't wait to see what new rigs you will create! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
DH: It is like a brotherhood. We are a niche group, we help each other out. As the community has grown, it is interesting to see what changes happen and what new groups form. I have formed a few lasting friendships from building fire trucks, and that is awesome.
LFC Blog: Indeed! While we do have our quirks, the bond that ties us all together is our love for fire trucks! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
DH: I will echo what Matty said about the lack of functional compartments. Like him, and many of the older builders, I like to have atleast 1 or 2 operational compartments to stock with tools. I think I am one of the few that builds rigs and actually fills the compartments. I am not a huge fan of the look of the SNOT compartments, I honestly think having all the compartments built that way takes away from the look of the vehicle. I also would like to see an emphasis with the newer or younger builders to focus on quality over quantity. Build a few good rigs, and listen to the advice to the more experienced crowd.
LFC Blog: Functional compartments are one of the things that have bothered me too! I think that a lot of it has to do with the many details builders want to incorporate in such a small scale. But with time and new parts (hopefully), finding the appropriate balance between looks and functionality would be easier to discover! I wholeheartedly agree with you that building quality rigs is always much better than having a gazillion rigs that was not put together well.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story D! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed this segment! To get the latest notification of our latest content, be sure to subscribe using the form above!
Welcome to today's edition of the LFC Blog! I'm your host, Michael, and I am honored to present to you one of the OG members of the Lego fire community, Russ C! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Russ! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
RC: I am an AFOL and have been building with Lego’s since 1978. My first Lego set was given to me at the age of 4 and it was the Lego Fire House set 590. I still have it built and on display on one of my shelfs.
I started building Lego Fire trucks in 2000 after I joined Bay Ridge Vol. Fire Co., in Queensbury NY. I found it was a way to deal with the stress after being at a “Bad Call”. I didn’t really get to heavy into building though until after Memorial Day weekend 2007 after losing my younger brother.
For me Lego building has always been therapeutic. It helps me relax and focus. However building Lego Fire trucks took it to a new level, try to make them as detailed as possible while keeping them within the constraints to be usable by MiniFigs.
LFC Blog: Sorry to hear about your loss! But it's awesome to hear how you used Legos to cope with life! Legos are a fantastic medium to express a variety of feelings! Who/what inspires you to build?
RC: I got inspired by Sixby Fire and by various builders on the mocpages. I was also inspired by Sean Kenney. His detail for the FDNY truck was really awesome. Today I get inspired by a lot of the builders in our group. They have some terrific building techniques.
LFC Blog: Indeed! There are so many talented builders out there today! What's in the name Brick Ridge Fire and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
RC: Brick Ridge Fire was named after my real department. My department is Bay Ridge Vol. Fire, so I figured why not Brick Ridge Fire. The color scheme is White over Red just like Bay Ridge, however as I added more stations to my department each station had its own color scheme. I have black over Red, all black and also all blue.
LFC Blog: Your blue fire trucks are among my favorites! That's a color you don't see everyday! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
RC: My most challenging build to date is not a fire truck. It is my new station that I built. I wanted it to be a 3 bay station that connected to an inside corner building which housed communications and offices. The 2nd floor of the apparatus bays contained the living quarters for the members. Trying to get the inside corner building to work with a tower was challenging.
LFC Blog: Fire Stations are ambitious projects, and yours is really astounding! What is your most favorite rig and why?
RC: My favorite rig is my original mid-mount tower. It was my first tower design that I did and it was functional. The outriggers supported the weight of the truck when the bucket was fully extended and working off the side.
LFC Blog: Awesome! Completely functional ladders are a challenge to replicate in Lego due to the scale. What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
RC: I want Lego to make a inverted Slope 30 1 x 1 x 2/3. I like to use these for the wheel wells for the rear of the trucks. Currently I use SNOT to do it, but it would be nice to have them.
LFC Blog: Now that is a new kind of brick that would be great indeed! What are your future plans for your department?
RC: Future plans for my department is to add a Marine Rescue Unit and also Wildland Firefighting Unit. I want to build a side by side with different skid units for Fire, Rope Rescue and EMS.
LFC Blog: Awesome! I personally can't wait to see those new rigs! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
RC: I thought about this long and hard. I use to think that the best part was seeing everyone’s creations and getting inspired by everyone’s builds, but as I sit back and really think about it, I think the best part is the friendships that have been made. Yes most of us have not met each other, however we are all brought together by our love for Lego Fire trucks.
LFC Blog: You're totally right! When I got into posting my creations on the web, I never knew that I would meet some really cool and down-to-earth people! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
RC: I think the way LFC is growing is great, we have a tight group of serious builders who want to push the envelope on how much detail can be put into a Lego Fire Truck and the scenes that are created are fantastic. I like the fact that each one of us in the LFC is there to help each other out if they get stuck or need a suggestion on how to do something. As long as we continue being that type of group, we can grow by getting more people involved.
LFC Blog: It's been an honor to have you with us today Russ! We look forward to seeing more of your creations in the near future! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed this edition of the LFC Blog! If you haven't done so already, be sure to stay up to date and subscribe using the form on the right side of the page!
LFC Blog: Welcome to this week's edition of the LFC Blog! Today, we are honored to have Maik, the owner of Feuerwehr Farnheim. He specializes in 4-wide creations, which is a rarity due to the ever so popular 6-wide windshield! Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the Blog! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
MW: I'm Maik and in the mid fourties. My dark ages ended in 2009 on that day when I bought a set, that I owned when I was a kid (#6650). Building it brought back the same magic building moments I had during my childhood days. As a teenager (I am a classic town kid) I unfortunately offered all my Legos at a flea market. Later (during the 1980s an 90s) I started 1/87 scale modeling, especially fire trucks for a fictional city that I call Farnheim ever since. Then, in 2009, almost 20 twenty years after this hobby had come to an end, I decided to combine both: building rigs with Lego for my old Feuerwehr Farnheim (Fire Department Farnheim). Btw, the Feuerwehr Farnheim celebrated it 30th anniversary in 2017.
LFC Blog: Fascinating history behind your department! Congratulations on 30 years! Who/what inspires you to build?
MW: Real fire apparatus and equipment are a great source for new ideas, but also (every kind of) MOCs from others builders - mostly cars and trucks. A really good source inspriation are the MOCs by the latvian native builder de-marco. He has also built a few fire trucks.
LFC Blog: Looking at real life rigs is definitely one of the best ways to get inspiration! De-marco is a fantastic builder as well! What's in the name of Feuerwehr Farnheim and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
MW: Let me first explain what Farnheim is about. It's a fictional city in Germany located on the shoreline of the North Sea where almost 571,000 minifigs work and live. The municipal fire department has got six strategically distributed stations throughout the city. The volunteers support the professional fire brigade with 16 more stations. The whole Feuerwehr Farnheim owns more than 250 engines, ladders, ambulances, containers and trailers to fight any kind of incident adequate.
The color scheme in Germany is traditionally based on red. Because it is required by law that 75 % of the fire truck's visible parts have to be painted in red/bright red/luminous red. The rest can be painted in white or yellow or what other materials basically may have. The scheme of my rigs reflect that. The yellowish details symbolizes the typical retro reflective side markings. The rescue service has its own scheme for a better visability through daily traffic. The cars are mostly white with a c-shaped red contour. I also use some different paint schemes for my other fire departments (airport and refinery).
LFC Blog: Thank you for the extensive insight into your department! I see that you have put much time and effort into it! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
MW: The telescope handler. It bothered me for almost two years to create such an apparatus in 4/5 wide and with its full functionality. I haven't had the right idea to get it done or for some reasons important parts were missing. But lately, all in all, it just took me one evening chatting with others builders who helped me with their own and essential suggestions to complete it.
LFC Blog: That is actually my most favorite apparatus from you! The functionality on that scale is impeccable! What is your most favorite rig and why?
MW: The most favorite rig usually is the lastest creation. But actually it is the water rescue truck. Because of the special mixture of 4 and 5 studs width and the level of detail.
LFC Blog: I love your water rescue truck as well! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
MW: There could be a few, but I don't really have that special one on my mind that I could need so badly, because I am always trying to get the things done just with the parts I own or which are available. Every building process is a compromise. Especially in 4 or 5-wide. For me this is the essence of building.
LFC Blog: Interesting take! I guess it shows just how creative one can be with available parts. What are your future plans for your department?
MW: There are several plans. First, keeping my rigs updated from time to time. The water rescue truck was one of these, that got a structural update. I actually have a huge tanker truck in the works. Furthermore there is the idea of a scenario with a huge fire of an industrial compound which shows a realistic firefighting infrastructure (water supply, the use of foam, hose laying, firefighting measures, etc.) in combination with the old Monorail cruisin' around. I also keep an idea on my mind, to build every single rig that the Feuerwehr Farnheim owns. So they're still a few to build.
LFC Blog: Oh wow! Those are extensive plans! I, for one, cannot wait to see your new creations! What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
MW: The huge amount of new builds and the high building level are amazing. The worldwide connection with people that have the same special interest is awesome. I am also a member of a german LEGO community called "1000steine", but there you can find MOCs throughout every kind of theme. The LFC is special. I like getting in touch here with others from all around the globe. And finally, it helps me to improve my english skills... ;-)
LFC Blog: Indeed, it's amazing to meet people around the world who share the same passions! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
MW: I would love to see the LFC grow more by reaching more builders of other parts of the world. Maybe from the far east, like Japan and/or Australia, New Zealand.
LFC Blog: That would be really cool too! Any tips or advice for new builders?
MW: Get inspired by other builders MOCs and the techniques they used. Try rebuild it on your own. That helps to improve your personal skills. Try to find other capabilites of the parts. Know the parts. The more you know about, the better you see through tricky building techniques. And of course for your own projects get inspired by the real life. Simply walk around with open eyes.
LFC Blog: Thanks for your words of inspiration Maik! To those reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed this interview! I highly encourage you to check out Maik's own website by clicking on this link! Stay tuned for more exciting content in the near future!
Welcome to a very special edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Today, we have the distinct honor of presenting Collin Renner, the owner of New Brickington Fire Department and LMFD Station 89. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Collin! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
CR: For those who don’t know, my name is Collin. I am a career firefighter in the Kansas City metro. I was an Explorer prior to moving to Kansas from New York, and continued the Explorer program here until becoming a career firefighter. I started building LEGO fire trucks in 2005/2006. It started as me just being creative and trying to replicate rigs from around my area (let me tell you, my first ones were monstrosities).
LFC Blog: Awesome! I think many of us started because we were inspired by local rigs/family. Who/what inspires you to build?
CR: After I started building, sometime later I ran across websites and Brickshelf accounts belonging to Bob K, Mike L, Paul B, Tom D, Jeff C, etc. and decided I wanted to build rigs as good and unique as theirs. Paul B was actually the first guy I ever contacted (we share some laughs from those early days!) and he informed me about Sixby Fire (the Yahoo builders group), the LMFD and about Lego Digital Designer. He gave me some pointers and helped me develop my first true custom rigs. I got to talk with Mike L, Bob K, De and Tony S a little bit after. I’ve become close friends with many of those guys and several of us frequently bounced ideas off each other. There were obviously many other guys I got to talk with and first took inspiration from like Adam J, Rodney G and so on. After joining the LMFD in 09, I was able to really form my own style and get some great advice from some great folks.
LFC Blog: Wow! What a legendary group of people to get inspiration from! What's in the name New Brickington and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
CR: I lived in northern NY, and one of the towns up there was called Farmington. I really like their rigs at the time, and Brickington sounded better than Brickchester (Rochester) to me; so, I replaced Farm with Brick and added New because I thought it sounded cool. Rochester FD ran white over red rigs and I liked it a lot. I changed (mainly because I had more red parts at the time) to red over red and just never switched back.
LFC Blog: Fascinating history behind your department! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
CR: My most challenging rig is one I never finished, which was Rescue 2. It was/is pretty SNOT intensive and had some unique (for the time) designs. Maybe one day I’ll get around to finishing it.
LFC Blog: Here's to hoping we'll see it soon ;) What is your most favorite rig and why?
CR: I would have to say my favorite is Brickington Engine 57. The unit design itself is not my most favorite, but the history is. The unit was going to be built for New Brickington originally but I changed plans and the design sat on the backburner. I had a neighbor in NY who was very supportive of my hobby and was like a grandfather to me. He told me it was one of his favorite rigs I had designed. After I moved, he passed away, so I built the rig and nicknamed it after him.
LFC Blog: Now that is a great tribute! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
CR: Probably a better assortment of compartment/roll up doors. 3 wide roll ups would have been awesome!
LFC Blog: I agree with you! I hope that Lego will release new variations of the doors! What are your future plans for your department?
CR: I haven’t built for going on 5 years now, and haven’t been active in the community for probably 3 or 4. I had plans and designs ready to build 7 more engines, 3 more trucks, 2 more squads, 1 more rescue, a hazmat, and few more chiefs but I unfortunately don’t see that happening ever. Life, other hobbies and priorities have shifted. New Brickington and Brickington are frozen in time I believe.
LFC Blog: Well, we can always dream of seeing New Brickington expand, right? What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
CR: I would say the people are the best part. As I mentioned earlier, several folks I met through the LFC have now become lifelong best friends that I talk to regularly and/or hang out with when possible. I enjoyed talking with folks late at night bouncing ideas around and seeing unique creations.
LFC Blog: Indeed, meeting people has been one of the best parts of the LFC! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
CR: I’ve been out for several years, but I poke my head in every once in a blue moon to see what is happening. Something I always pushed was turning LDD designs into bricks. People had/have these massive 40, 60, 80+ unit departments and not a single unit built. I definitely understand the cost factor but start small; Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor were any of the Lego FDs. Those who are still active and have now become more tenured need to help mentor those who are just starting out or even have been around a while. Give them tips, help them mature into young adults, show them how to effectively run calls, etc. It’s about being a community and helping each other. Be respectful, learn the craft, and pass it on.
LFC Blog: Mentoring newer builders is part of the reason why I started up this blog, so thank you for encouraging me in that sense. Any tips or advice for new builders?
CR: Use real bricks. Take advice from the more tenured builders. Ask for help. Find people who you can bounce ideas off. Create a goal, and work towards it. Like I said, none of these departments came about overnight. I have a small number of rigs compared to some (30ish) and it took me years to get there.
Most importantly, have fun while you are doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to come back, or almost bought parts to start building again. It is a blast of a hobby and is meant to be fun. Enjoy it while you can!
LFC Blog: Thank you for your wise words Collin! I (along with many others) sincerely hope that you will make a return sometime in the future! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Stay tuned for more exciting content!
~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.