Deconstructing Lego is a blog that analyzes Lego sets under a variety of lenses, sometimes comparing similar sets from different years or creating a story based around a set or analyzing the implicit message that a set creates.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fire Fighter Boats Part 2

There was a gap of over a decade until the next fire fighter boat was released by Lego in 2004, set 7046:  Fire Command Craft.

Unlike other sets, this one contains both a regular boat and a smaller Zodiac style fire fighting vessel.  Additionally, the glass for the control room is now facing to the aft, instead of forwards.  It's definitely a smaller boat compared to past offereings, and is somewhat boring in general.

In 2007 7906:  Fireboat was released with a style much different from past offerings.

Again we see a cockpit with the glass slated to the back, but more importantly the set itself looks more like a speed boat than a fire fighting vessel.  While the inclusion of a motor at the bottom is an awesome feature, the boat itself looks sloppy.  It's missing the green and red lights (used for navigation so that other boats can tell where and in which direction another boat is moving in the dark) that any boat should have, and does not even have a roof for the captain.  This set also has a small craft that can be detached, another nice feature, but it doesn't make up for the other flaws of this set.  While I enjoy the design of it overall, it just doesn't work as a fire fighting vessel.

Finally, in 2010 Lego released 7207:  Fire Boat (note that the previous set was called 'Fireboat'.  The difference in the naming between the sets is a single space!).  This is a set that really does it right, that really captures that aesthetic of what a fireboat is and harkens back to the sets released in the 1980s.

What is there not to love about this set?  The hull is very similar to those released in the 1980s, being somewhat short and very tall.  It has a full functioning cabin with a windshield that leans forward, just as many real fireboats are designed.  Like the older sets, it also has an elevated fire fighting crane device, but also manages to include the small inflatable boat that appears in the newer sets, ultimately combining new and old beautifully.  And it includes four figures, a rare sight today.  One last homage to the older sets is the inclusion of a water line on the side of the hull, indicating how low in the water the vessel is riding.  Whoever designed this set clearly had an affinity for the older models, and was able to recreate that aesthetic while adding new elements and ideas.

Those are the major fire boats released from 1982 to 2010, nearly two decades of fire fighting vessels.  If you enjoyed this sort of post, please check out my series on The Evolution of the Lego Castle.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fire Fighter Boats Part 1

Since the early 1980s The Lego Group has released several fire fighting boats of various sizes.  Prior to 1982 Lego released a few sets that were not minifigure scale, however I will only be focusing on the sets that are to scale.

4025:  Fire Boat is easily the smallest of the bunch, which makes sense considering it was the first one.  It has a fairly basic design but also includes an elevator device that moves up and down which can be seen in around half the sets.  One interesting tidbit about the first three sets is that they are all under the Boats subtheme, rather than the Fire subtheme.

Next is the 1987 release 4020:  Fire Fighter.  Like all the other sets a plastic hull that actually floats is included and is one of the main appeals.  Compared to later sets it is definitely less sophisticated and has fewer parts and features, but is still an interesting set.  The forward leaning glass is consistent for the majority of these sets, as is the inclusion of a water gun station.  Although the set is of a better scale than 4025, it's not nearly as interesting looking and has fewer play features.

This last set that I'll be looking at today was one of the first sets I owned, and is definitely my favorite fire fighter boat.  The 1991 set 4031:  Firefighter features a well-made cabin, four minifigures, elevated fire hose, and a helicopter.  The hull itself is longer than previous boats and overall feels like a more complete set.  The cabin itself is of the same style as the previous two boats, but this trend will change in the 2000s when the next boat is released.  The fire fighter sets have never been as popular as police sets which is probably why there was over a decade gap between this fire fighter boat and the next.

In the next post I will discuss the final three fire fighter boats.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

7821: Track & Lighting Maintenance Wagon

I've been on this wagon for years now, wandering the countryside, searching for my meaning in life.  Every few miles stopping to fix a burnt out light or mend some twisted track.  This small 6x16 platform is all I know, with a few ladders and tools and a small balcony that swivels around.  I sometimes like to pretend that I'm gazing upon a seaside village from this yellow balcony, watching the waves crash in as the fishermen head out early in the morning.

Instead, I know that this small cart will be my lot in life.  My partner, identical to myself, spending the best years of our lives wandering the abyss of train track.

The weird thing is that he looks just like me, identical in every way.  I sometimes wonder if he is merely a figment of my imagination.  Does he really exist?  Has the toil of fixing tracks and lights along this expanse of railway warped my mind, much like the warped tracks I fix daily?