Fire Chief's Car
Review by Showapop
Hanging out and getting party supplies with JoshB at Walmart during the 2012 Summit we happened upon the toy aisle to check out the latest of what toy manufactures had to offer collectors. Talking with JoshB I told him I had a huge weakness in terms of modern toys, which was a throwback to when I was a wee kid in the early 1980’s.
Back in the early 1980’s along with my Star Wars toys, Lego’s was my other main weakness. Remember this was a few years before GI Joe, Transformers, Go-Bots and He-Man, in the early 1980’s most kids were hung up on Star Wars and relatively new toy line from Denmark called Lego’s. Although I had a few space Lego kits I especially liked the Lego Town items with a heavy emphasis on Fire Department sets.
I very much had nearly all the Fire Department items in the pre-GI Joe days. Actually it was more about what I did not have, which were the Fire Boat and the first model Fire Chief’s Car. I did not have the Fire Boat as it was somewhat the top of the line Lego kit of its time retailing about $45.00 in early 1980’s money, which was a lot of cash for the average family. It seems like Lego’s have always been expensive.
The other Lego set I could not seem to locate was the 1st model Fire Chief’s Car. It was later reissued as Fire Unit 1 but even that version was nowhere to be found. It seemed it was still in the catalog but it was discounted and it was replaced with a second Fire Chief’s Car, which I was able to locate as a kid.
Even to a small kid in 1980-81 the first model fire car seemed a little outdated and in 30+ year hindsight I now understand that the particular features that made the first model Fire Chief’s Car one of the earliest Lego sets to come with a Mini-Figure as well as one of the first Lego kits ever imported into the states. It appears that Lego did not start marketing kits here in the USA until the late 70’s, these kits being the first to get imported.
First, I find the whole concept of a “Vintage Lego Sets” odd. Are vintage Lego sets just made of common bricks that can easily be found in most collectors’ parts box? The concept of unique bricks in Lego sets did not really come about until the late 1980’s - early 1990’s. How do you know you are getting a vintage set or a set made up of new bricks with vintage plans? I am sure the hardcore collectors know the difference but I just find it all around amusing.
One of the oddest features of the early sets is that you cannot put the Mini-Figure in the vehicle. This is a throwback to the original sets that were created in the 1960’s where they were just buildable vehicle and Building sets. The entire concept of the now iconic Mini-Fig did not start until the mid- 1970’s, this set being one of the first to come with a Mini-Fig. You can easily see that it is a transitional piece.
This kit does come with alternate second instructions so you can sit the figure in the car but it seems to be more of a after though at Lego, almost mulling over the thought they could build sets with the Mini-Fig usable with sets. But overall the integrity of this kit is to build it as a standard version as once you put the stickers on you cannot take it apart.
You also might want to look at the Mini-Fig itself. If you notice the shirt is not painted on but a sticker. This would change by 1980’s as all my Fire Department kits came with painted on features. I am sure the sticker wore out quickly and owning one of these early Mini-figs with its sticker still attached is very cool. Also the feature of 1980’s Fire Department kits is for the Firefighters to come with white helmets, and not black like this Mini-Fig.
After the Summit weekend I came home and started buying many new and vintage Lego Fire Department kits. It is kind of nice that one can walk right into any department store and buy a Lego kit right off the shelf. This first Fire Chief’s Car was one set I always wanted but as a kid I could never seem to locate one and once finally locating and researching one did I discovered what a historic Lego set it truly was.
©2012 Pictures by Leonardo Flores and CollectionDX
|Posted 8 October, 2012 - 17:16 by Showapop|