Friday, October 26, 2018

Rebuilding the Past - 6525 Blaze Commander

I have now, for a long time, been in an era I would call "the slow rebuild," contrast with "the Great Take-Apart" of 2004. As a kid, my LEGO sets were largely kept in their "official" form, and though they would get dismantled for an ad hoc build, they were typically rebuilt. Until, finally, I was an edgy 17-year-old* and decided to take it all apart and build my own things for good.

Well, that didn't last forever. A very select few (maybe three) sets were never demolished and eventually, there was a rebuild, a set here, a set there--starting around 2008, when I wanted my castles back and was completing my Royal Knight collection.

From there, it was somewhat inevitable that the sets of my childhood would see their native forms restored. The rebuilding slowed around 2012 or so--mostly because I thought I'd rebuilt all the sets that I'd want to bother rebuilding.

Turns out, I was not QUITE right.

Chief Castor has an encounter with two unusual fire hazards.
The photo above shows the recent fruits of this never-quite-finished endeavour: 6525 Blaze Commander and two copies of 7111 Droid Fighter. Each had its own slight elements of distinction, even if neither set was ever an All-Star (by which analogy, by the way, it is important to note that rebuilding a set isn't quite the same as voting it into the Hall of Fame--some rebuilt sets might not even make the Hall of Kinda Okay). We may talk about the Droid Fighter later; for today, we're looking at the Chief.

6525 Blaze Commander was only my first Fire set if you are willing to discount 6614 Launch Evac-1 because it was a Launch Command set. Not actually having any other Launch Command (a fantastic theme I wish I had more of) and never getting much in the way of its 1999 successor, Spaceport, Launch Evac-1 really was more of a firefighting set in my collection, and it had both a hand-held hose and a nozzle up top, whereas Blaze Commander was just a truck with a fire extinguisher in the back (and Launch Evac-1 had two of those).

On the other side of Blaze Commander's arrival, I eventually got 6407 Fire Chief, which had the exact same fig driving a slightly crappier truck (1998-2000 were not good years for Town designs), albeit one that had a fire hose (though no gear, which Blaze Commander did have).

Fire Chief Castor Cyber
So Blaze Commander was something of a forgettable set, sandwiched between two other small firetrucks, and while the character of your generic Town figs is what you make of them, Castor Cyber (as he would eventually be called on paper, since he was never really named anything in-game or in stories) was not a fortunate one, as some of his predecessors (or successors) were, who developed a story and a character and a mythology.

If Blaze Commander is a boring set and its minifig has no distinguishing features, why rebuild it? The answer for me is frequently that "I love catering to my nostalgia," but there is a bit more that could be said. While not a major player in my old Town games, Blaze Commander was the only Town set I'd owned before 1998 (it had been a birthday present in 1996) that had not been rebuilt in my collection--indeed, it was my oldest unbuilt set. As the "slow" part of the moniker "The Slow Rebuild" suggests, I don't spend many, many hours with my LEGO these days and I can't claim to be a great builder. Such use of my collection as I do have tends to focus on storytelling, mostly around my various webcomics.

Blaze Commander may not be an exciting set, but it's a good background set. It's typical of its era, mid-1990s Town sets, which is home base for the Town figs of Android Files and basically what I mean when I say "Townland." It's the only true classic Town firefighter set I own (I date Fire Chief much too late to count as "classic Town," which I see as lasting up until 1996, after which Town focuses either on fantastic subthemes, like Outback and Res-Q, or eventually devolves into Town Jr).

So keep an eye out--you never know if it might get itself a cameo!

*I have never, at any stage of my life, been "edgy."

No comments:

Post a Comment