Steveston SalmonFest 2021 Behind the Scenes – Firefighters!

Hey brickbuilders and animation fans! Here’s the next installment of our series of behind-the-scenes posts about the Steveston SalmonFest 2021 Digital parade video. Right here:

Today we’re all about heroes. You may know some of this type of hero. They might have their HQ near where you live. Maybe you see them go by in a tumult of light and sound. One might have helped you out once, or more than once, and you might owe them everything. You might even know one, be one, or have one in your immediate family! Heroes! Of course I’m talking about firefighters, though this applies equally to all our hardworking EMTs and all other public health staff. We love you more than words can say!

In addition to everything else, firefighters are a staple of parades. It makes complete sense, as a big bright vehicle that’s generally kept pretty sparkly is a no-brainer for a parade. It’s also a great way to see the trucks and the firefighters moving slowly, and not speeding towards an emergency.

Here’s one of our engines. The hardest of hard-core Lego enthusiasts will know right away that these aren’t Lego brand bricks. They’re ‘Block Tech,’ and we got them at Toys’R’Us. The box really suited our purposes well, despite some unfortunate flaws. It was really cheap, contained both of the fire trucks we used, a helicopter we can use later, and a fire station setup that we turned into parts of the street scenes of the video. The doors and windows were all snapped up quickly, and we could have had double the amount.

This is a really great fire truck! The cab is a little cramped, but what can you do? The hose arm swings around, and so does the seat on it, which allowed us to move our little fire captain around. We added the big decorative flames and pink flowers to the build for that extra parade feel.

The fire captain here was part of Minifig Series 19. We went to The Granville Island Toy Company on Granville Island, and they had a few little bags left. Their staff can be adept at feeling out the bags to see what characters are inside, and they knew there was a fire captain available. Perfect for us! She’s the boss, with a cool megaphone and really cool hair/helmet piece. It’s great that they’re doing hats and such with hair, as it really varies the looks you can get.

Fire trucks and firefighter-themed builds have been a part of Lego since the early days, so there is a massive range of available minifigs and looks for firefighters. We’ve got a lot of them, and should really do a video. Perhaps a tribute to our brave BC forest fire fighters, and those around the world.

Here’s engine #2. It’s a slightly smaller ladder truck. Again, the cab is very small, barely enough room for a minifig. I mentioned some flaws with the Block Tech set, and the minifigs are front and centre. Not only are they not anywhere near Lego in scale, function or even charm, they generally don’t fit the vehicles built in the set. I guess you don’t really need to put a driver in the truck to play with it, you just have your guys ready to tackle the fire on site.

Check out that sweet moustache! Firefighters have some great ones. We really went heavy on the blossoms, including using fishing line to weave them into the ladder. Very festive!

This is the set. It was $30 on special. Besides the tragic minifigs, the other big issue with it was the piece count. So many of the pieces were 1×1 red studs. The teeny little squares, 3 of which make a block the same height as a minifig head, are an annoyance to put together, easy to lose, and pad the count unnecessarily. The same set with fewer pieces, better minifigs and a more honest approach would do better. This a great set, with great value, but it has already been phased out as a sale item while smaller-count Lego sets with higher price tags thrive.

While the fire trucks weren’t a main focus of our parade, they’re always a great addition because people of all ages love them. The above picture is from West Kelowna, not so very far from here. Want to help firefighters in your area? The best way to start is to educate yourself. Find out what causes fires, and if you’re doing anything that contributes to them, like having a big snarl of dusty wires behind your desk. If fires happen in your area, like the forest fires do in ours, keeping up on the news is important in case they might affect you directly. It’s also important to know why forest fires happen. There a lot of things we can do to address the causes, and lots more ways we can help, including to develop technology that can detect or fight fires, and making life choices that address the conditions that make them more frequent and dangerous.

It’s important to remember that these are humans, with limits. They need to sleep, eat and breathe fresh air. When they are fighting for us, we need to fight for them. Some are even volunteers, some of those because there is no one else. Thank you again, firefighters everywhere. Thank you to those who’ve given their lives, and all the rest who keep giving. Thanks for reading!

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