LEGO® Set Review: 8280 Fire Engine


[8280 Set Photo] Fire Engine (us)
LEGO TECHNIC brandbil (da)
LEGO TECHNIC Flughafen Löschgigant (de)
Technic Banner
Technic / Tech Play

Ages 9-12 51 page manual: 2 models, 25 steps / 25 steps. ©1995
Price Range: Purchased at TRU. US$49.99+tax = US$53.99

Review Written: 22 November 1995 by Bo Williams
Special Features / Compatibility
Extra Elements
  • A few toggles
  • 1 Black Technic Crank
  • 2 Small Tires (used only in the alternate model)
  • Decals: Yes
    Scale: Technic Figure scale
    Errors: None

    Ratings: Set: Very-Good Models: Good Playability: Very-Good

    A decent set, but you can do better for the money.


    The majority of the beams and plates in the set are red, with a few grays and blacks thrown in. Some of the specialized mechanism pieces are blue, and the bumper assemblies are white. Most pieces are run-of-the-mill Technic fare, with a few special pieces here and there. No tricky tasks in assembly. The big wheels are nice, and the set comes with two Technic figures.


    I like the set, but it's strictly straightforward stuff. It would be a good one to pick up if you need a lot of longer red Technic beams, and it's a nice-looking model, but there's nothing particularly innovative about the set's construction. Finished model is sturdy.

    One of my favorite things to do with Technic models like this is "Model Team-ize" them, i.e. give them floorboards, enclosed cabins, and the like, as well as upgrade the exterior lighting and general finish of the exterior. This is going to be an excellent candidate for such treatment--the basic lines of the model are attractive. Moreover, the model is 12 studs wide, so a Model Team windshield should work wonderfully.

    Nothing interesting about buying it--I paid full TRU retail and didn't have to fight anybody for it. ;-)


    Set Rating:Very-Good

    It was between this one, two smaller Technic sets, and the blue Model Team hot rod last night at TRU. I wound up selecting the Flame Fighter largely because it would give me a nice set of bigger wheels; I already had scads of Model Team wheels from #5590. #8280 is a good-looking model, and the action on the roof nozzle mechanism is smooth. The rear-mounted handheld nozzle works well, but the action is slightly rougher than the roof-mounted nozzle, as the familiar woven cord is involved on the rear mechanism. Steering is via the standard roof-mounted method--the control is a steering wheel. Nothing else particularly novel about the set; just a good-looking truck. Not a bad set, but in hindsight I think I would have been slightly happier buying two smaller Technic sets for the same money.

    Model Rating:Good

    Not much in the way of surprises or design innovation. Assembly is easy by full-line Lego standards, and very easy by Technic standards. It took me about 2 hours from start to finish. I doubt I'll ever build the alternate model--it just doesn't look very pretty at all in the pictures.

    Playability Rating:Very-Good

    #8280 is a lot of fun to play with. The rear nozzle is sized to fit perfectly in the Technic figures' hands. The figures fit well in the cockpit, though except for the steering wheel they can't reach any of the instruments without leaning waaaay up. The roof nozzle is fun, and raises/lowers smoothly, with minimal "jerk." There are pegs for the Technic firefighters' helmets on the outside of the truck, though they don't stay on the pegs when you drive over rough terrain. Both nozzles are controlled with side-mounted cranks, per standard Technic practices.
    I think that children in the "intended" age bracket would have a good time with this one.


  • Big, robust tires and wheels.
  • Two Technic figures included.
  • Smooth action on all moving parts.
  • Model proportioned well. It will be fun to give it the Model Team treatment.
  • Finished model is sturdy and stands up to mild-to-moderate collisions well.


  • Too many decals.
  • Alternate model is ugly.
  • The "arm" for the roof nozzle is raised and lowered with a side-mounted crank, but the nozzle itself must be moved by hand. A remote crank/lever control would have been much better.


    There are a couple of simple gearbox assemblies that I haven't seen before. Nothing innovative about the way they work; they're just one-piece answers to questions that used to be solved with multiple pieces. As such, I'm not especially fond of them. The 20x30 wheels and tires are nice to have, as are the Technic figures. These are my first Technic figures, and I'm impressed with their range of movement. The yellow flexible hoses are nifty, and I'm sure they'll be making an appearance under the hood of a future automotive model of mine.
    Special/Unusual Elements
  • Simple Gearbox Assemblies
  • 20x30 Wheels and Tires
  • Technic Figures
  • Flexible Hoses
  • New Elements
  • Gearboxes
  • Non-Plastic Elements:
  • Four Tires, String
  • Decals

    Way too many decals (19!). There are five for the instrument panel, six for lights (headlights, taillights), seven for general decor (unit number, firefighter logos), and one to represent valves and gauges for the rear-mounted hose. Fortunately, none cover more than one element. Most look pretty good, but the ones for the lights are really chintzy. They'll be the first things to go when I "Model Team-ize" this thing.

    I'm sure it's cheaper to supply decals rather than pre-printed elements. Personally, I'd pay a slightly higher price for my sets if it meant that decals would go away forever.

    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Theme
    Bo Williams 24 --- Technic & Model Team

    I appreciate sets both for their own merit and for their playability with the rest of my collection. When I build an original model, I try to take the best from the Technic and the Model Team worlds and combine them into something that both looks and "acts" authentic.

    I'm primarily interested in wheeled vehicles, but I build a spacecraft or an aircraft every once in a while. I post infrequently to, but I've enjoyed reading it for over a year now.

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