My hair may be turning grey, and I have a job, a professional reputation and responsibilities, but hidden just under the surface is the same six-year-old boy who marveled at his first LEGO fire truck, back in the eighties. With the pandemic, for many of us, the last few months probably haven’t been easy. For me, personally, things could be a lot worse. I am healthy and so are my loved ones, I have job security and can work from the comfort of my home. Nonetheless, I am stressed by the uncertainty and by a never-ending amount of work, in combination with not being able to do many of the things I usually do to relax, such as traveling, meeting friends and attending LEGO events.
One thing that does help is being able to channel that six-year-old. I pop up to my loft and put some LEGO bricks together almost every day. And what does my inner six-year-old lifesavers? Well, fire trucks, of course. With a few decades of building experience under my belt and an adult’s disposable income, they’re obviously going to be elaborate. This pair of vehicles represents a Seagrave ladder truck and an ambulance, as operated by the New York Fire Department (FDNY). They are life savers in a real-world sense, but building them also kept me from going nuts. Click here to continue reading
Replicas are a dangerous business. Sometimes they look too good, and people mistake them for the real thing (I think of the elder Dr. Jones breaking a “Ming Dynasty” vase in The Last Crusade), but sometimes they are horribly disappointing (see most full-size car replicas). But when the replica is made in a different medium than the original, it is easy to tell it apart from the real one while still looking good. This lovely fire engine by Jens Ohrndorf is a striking example. Made to imitate a classic wooden toy, it checks all the boxes: simple figures that slot into place; a moving ladder; the wheels really spin; and it is red. But it’s not wood, but genuine ABS plastic LEGO bricks. With nary a stud showing, it is exceptionally clean, and a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking it something else but LEGO. That’s the point. It’s a replica. And an exceptionally good one at that.
Usually, when you accumulate a whole lot of red LEGO pieces in your collection, there are two things you would consider for your next building project: a Ferrari or a firetruck. Since Ilya Luashkin had also got huge off-road Technic tires, it was a no-brainer. This 1:13 scale copy of the MAZ-7313-AA60 airfield firetruck is the result of more than 400 hours of meticulous planning and building. Consisting of more than 9,000 pieces, the model is nearly 47 in (120 cm) long and weighs almost 20 lbs (9 kg).
The exterior of the truck might seem a little bit boring, but Ilya made sure to precisely copy all 22 doors and compartments that the real truck has. And it would not be a proper LEGO Technic build without a custom-designed chassis featuring fully independent suspension. Because of the sheer weight of the model, the body rests on 13 pairs of the hardest LEGO Technic shock absorbers. Continue reading →
Fire engines are serious business, with each one being built to the specifications of the fire department placing the order. When building a LEGO version of a fire apparatus, you almost have to see it in person to analyze all the details that make it unique. Last year, Sven’s vacation in New York City landed him the opportunity to ride around in the Harlem Hilton firehouse’s Engine 69. The experience left such an impression on him that he had to make his own version of the truck and, as you can see, it is packed with plenty of detail. The proportions feel just right, as does the greebling of the gauges and switches. Finishing off the model are some phenomenal custom decals, allowing the LEGO truck to faithfully represent its real-life counterpart.
Flipping the engine around reveals that Sven’s model can be appreciated from multiple angles. The only thing that’s missing are some minifig firefighters! Perhaps they’re taking a needed break from fighting fires to fire up the grill and eat some burgers.
As a parent, there are some things I don’t want my kids to see. Most of them are things like violence, sex, or drugs on TV, or scary and frightening scenes. Yet there are other things, too, but for different reasons; in this latter category I count this amazing collection of custom-made fire trucks by Steven Asbury. I can already hear the clamoring and whining, “Daddy, I want ALL of those fire trucks! Build them!” But I can’t. For one, I don’t have enough red pieces to build all those trucks, and for another, I don’t posses Steven’s vehicle-building skills. The scaling between trucks and alongside minifigures looks amazing, with details surpassing the LEGO Group’s official fire trucks. This particular grouping of trucks makes up Fire Task Force 3, modeled after Los Angeles’ Task Force concept. From ladder and search & rescue trucks to ambulances, there is pretty much everything you would need to respond to just about any emergency in your city.
Home to almost 40 million people, greater Tokyo is the world’s most populous metropolitan area. Space is at a premium, so houses tend to be small and built closely together. To fight fires in the dense urban areas, the Tokyo Fire Department has a large fleet of exceedingly small fire engines. They are narrow enough to fit the streets between the houses. They also have a relatively short wheelbase, so that they can navigate tight corners. In preparation for a visit to Japan Brickfest later this year, I’m building a small collection of Japanese emergency vehicles. I’ve been looking forward to building the fire engine the most, so I’ve kept that for last.
At a first glance, it may not look all that small, especially if you are used to LEGO minifigure-scale builds. However, if you compare the pumper to the two fire fighters, it is obvious that it is a lot smaller than pumpers from Europe or the US. It is only about as wide as a typical American car and not all that much longer. Nonetheless, it has everything you’d expect from its larger counterparts and a little more. It is nice and red, obviously. It has pump control panels with connections for fire hoses, a few ladders stored on top and lots of compartments for tools. Typical for Japanese pumpers, it also houses a little separate wheeled cart in the back. Fire fighters use this to transport hoses down even narrower alleys. The model is like a miniature version of a miniature fire engine.
If you take your LEGO city build and public services seriously, these are the unsung city rescue heroes you need. Steven Asbury has some serious skills that bring these vehicles to life, consisting of a rescue boat that sits four minifigures towed by a truck, along with a proper fire truck ready to pump out some high-pressured H20 to show who’s the boss around here.
This is not just any fire truck, but one modelled after the real-life Scania P410 Fire Truck. The build also features a fully functional boom and extended supports for stabilisation. I like how in absence of the Brick Arch Mudguard elements for the wheels, Builder Robson M still manages to pull off a great looking alternative.
Sometimes the simplest of LEGO creations can be the most lovely. Talented Technic builder František Hajdekr, whose working LEGO chainsaw we featured earlier this year, recently posted an adorable vintage fire truck based on a Czech Tatra 148 from the 70’s. What I love about this is that the builder has incorporated actual vintage LEGO tires from the 70’s into his modern creation.
František quickly followed that up with step-by-step instructions, which you can watch in this video (with complete parts breakdown as well: part 1 & part 2).
I love a good fire engine. While I cringe a bit at seeing a fire truck called “vintage” when it’s from an era I remember well — I clearly recall watching big fire engines go by during the 1979 4th of July parade in Freeport, Maine — this hook and ladder truck by Glaktek is gorgeous to behold. A new take on one of his earlier builds, both builds also fit within the scale, parts selection, and basic building techniques of official LEGO sets, which makes its unique shape all the more beautiful.
Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another round of Friday Night Fights. Since large parts of this blog’s ancestral homeland (Washington State) seem to be going up in smoke this week, we thought it appropriate to turn our attention to mini-fig scale fire trucks.
In the shiny red corner, we have Isaac Mazer and his super-accurate Rescue 134, inspired by an engine from an actual ladder company of the same name, in his native Toronto:
In the even shinier redder corner, Galaktek takes a step away from the real world and goes future-retro with the FutureCity Fire Engine from the planet Incendia XII (which sounds like it probably needs a lot of fire trucks).
As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding, by way of comment, which truck is destined for glory and which is destined to rust in the fire house. On the last edition of Friday Night Fights, Concept Art Ships, Jake nailed it to the wall in an 11-4 showdown against Alexander. Tune in next week for another action packed edition of Friday Night Fights!
So said Malachi Constant in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s “Sirens of Titan“. Malachi would no doubt have been a fan of Alex Jones’s (Orion Pax) latest creation the Seagrave Fire Engine. The model features a number of custom chrome elements, but if you stripped it all away or replaced it with a more purist solution, the model would be no less stunning.
And since it is just after 4:20 here in Vegas, I figured I’d throw in some extra Paxian eye-candy for the stoners out there. Enjoy “Emerald Ivy”