Ladies and gentlemen, since the beginning of July, we’ve been having interviews with AFOLs of different kinds. On September 18th, we took a break from our regular interviews, and started something different: Meet the team of the FireStar Toys blog. As you may have noticed, there is a great variety within our team, and we are all more than happy to tell you more about ourselves.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Phil. Online I go by @PhilRedBeard. You can find most of my LEGO related stuff on Instagram. I am an AFOL living in Dallas, Texas, USA. I love to customize official LEGO Star Wars sets and take pictures of my LEGO minifigures.
How did your journey with LEGO begin?
I started building with LEGO DUPLO as a small child, about two or three years old. I have memories of playing with the large bricks while my brothers went off to school. From there I graduated to regular LEGO and haven’t stopped building. After college, I really got into LEGO photography, and that is a passion I pursue as often as I can.
What about your journey with collecting/blogging?
I started truly collecting LEGO in college, as that was the first time I was able to purchase the sets I wanted. My first large purchase was the original Ultimate Collector Series Millennium Falcon in 2007. I particularly enjoy the larger sets as it takes longer to build them, and they are fantastic for display.
I started my blogging journey in high school when I started my personal blog (philredbeard.wordpress.com). I started blogging with FireStarToys in early 2019.
What do the people around you (friends/family/spouse/children) think about your obsession?
My mother thought it was great until I became a teenager, and then she told me that I should have “grown out of it” as an adult. Now, however, she really likes my LEGO photography and thinks I should find a way to monetize my LEGO pictures. I’m still working on that one. My wife thinks my hobby is cool, and enjoys my enthusiasm. I grew up building with my brother, and we still share the passion for LEGO whenever we get together.
What is your favourite theme?
It’s got to be Star Wars. I was building my own Millennium Falcons and X-Wings long before the theme was announced in 1998. Once the theme became official LEGO, I have built as many of the sets as I can. My most recent build was 75292 The Razor Crest. A fantastic set!
Who has been an inspiration to you?
Adam Savage, former Mythbuster, continually inspires my desire to create, whether with LEGO or with any other medium. His enthusiasm is infectious, and his videos on tested.com are a constant spark to my imagination, challenging what I think it is possible for me to achieve.
How long have you been blogging?
My first ever blog post was published sometime in May 2005. I’ve blogged off and on ever since.
How did you start blogging about LEGO?
I started blogging about LEGO on my personal blog, as it is about whatever interests me, and LEGO qualifies. I started blogging specifically about LEGO on FireStarToys in February 2019. I want to thank the great people over there for giving me a chance to write for them and for being patient when I sometimes don’t write.
What has been your biggest challenge during this time?
My biggest challenge has been continuing to write. You may notice a layer of dust on my personal blog. During the coronavirus pandemic, my writing output has really suffered. It is difficult for me to get any creative momentum, so I celebrate the small victories and write when I can.
What would you say to those who wants to blog?
Go for it! Get a free blog somewhere, I recommend WordPress, and just get started writing about your passions. Don’t worry about length or sophistication until you’ve got several posts under your belt. The hardest challenge will be keeping it going, so set some goals and work hard to achieve them. Then, and this is important, don’t get discouraged! You can achieve anything! (Wow, this sounds like advice I need to listen to!)
And that’s it for today’s Meet the Team interview. Thank you, Phil, for taking the time to answer my questions. As for the rest of you, don’t forget to check out Phil’s other posts here and his Instagram page!
All images belong to PhilRedBeard