Welcome to a very special edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Today, we have the distinct honor of presenting Collin Renner, the owner of New Brickington Fire Department and LMFD Station 89. Enjoy the interview below!
LFC Blog: Welcome to the blog Collin! Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start building Lego fire trucks?
CR: For those who don’t know, my name is Collin. I am a career firefighter in the Kansas City metro. I was an Explorer prior to moving to Kansas from New York, and continued the Explorer program here until becoming a career firefighter. I started building LEGO fire trucks in 2005/2006. It started as me just being creative and trying to replicate rigs from around my area (let me tell you, my first ones were monstrosities).
LFC Blog: Awesome! I think many of us started because we were inspired by local rigs/family. Who/what inspires you to build?
CR: After I started building, sometime later I ran across websites and Brickshelf accounts belonging to Bob K, Mike L, Paul B, Tom D, Jeff C, etc. and decided I wanted to build rigs as good and unique as theirs. Paul B was actually the first guy I ever contacted (we share some laughs from those early days!) and he informed me about Sixby Fire (the Yahoo builders group), the LMFD and about Lego Digital Designer. He gave me some pointers and helped me develop my first true custom rigs. I got to talk with Mike L, Bob K, De and Tony S a little bit after. I’ve become close friends with many of those guys and several of us frequently bounced ideas off each other. There were obviously many other guys I got to talk with and first took inspiration from like Adam J, Rodney G and so on. After joining the LMFD in 09, I was able to really form my own style and get some great advice from some great folks.
LFC Blog: Wow! What a legendary group of people to get inspiration from! What's in the name New Brickington and why did you settle on the current color scheme?
CR: I lived in northern NY, and one of the towns up there was called Farmington. I really like their rigs at the time, and Brickington sounded better than Brickchester (Rochester) to me; so, I replaced Farm with Brick and added New because I thought it sounded cool. Rochester FD ran white over red rigs and I liked it a lot. I changed (mainly because I had more red parts at the time) to red over red and just never switched back.
LFC Blog: Fascinating history behind your department! What is the most challenging rig you've ever built?
CR: My most challenging rig is one I never finished, which was Rescue 2. It was/is pretty SNOT intensive and had some unique (for the time) designs. Maybe one day I’ll get around to finishing it.
LFC Blog: Here's to hoping we'll see it soon ;) What is your most favorite rig and why?
CR: I would have to say my favorite is Brickington Engine 57. The unit design itself is not my most favorite, but the history is. The unit was going to be built for New Brickington originally but I changed plans and the design sat on the backburner. I had a neighbor in NY who was very supportive of my hobby and was like a grandfather to me. He told me it was one of his favorite rigs I had designed. After I moved, he passed away, so I built the rig and nicknamed it after him.
LFC Blog: Now that is a great tribute! What is one Lego piece you wish were manufactured and why?
CR: Probably a better assortment of compartment/roll up doors. 3 wide roll ups would have been awesome!
LFC Blog: I agree with you! I hope that Lego will release new variations of the doors! What are your future plans for your department?
CR: I haven’t built for going on 5 years now, and haven’t been active in the community for probably 3 or 4. I had plans and designs ready to build 7 more engines, 3 more trucks, 2 more squads, 1 more rescue, a hazmat, and few more chiefs but I unfortunately don’t see that happening ever. Life, other hobbies and priorities have shifted. New Brickington and Brickington are frozen in time I believe.
LFC Blog: Well, we can always dream of seeing New Brickington expand, right? What is the best part of the Lego Fire Community?
CR: I would say the people are the best part. As I mentioned earlier, several folks I met through the LFC have now become lifelong best friends that I talk to regularly and/or hang out with when possible. I enjoyed talking with folks late at night bouncing ideas around and seeing unique creations.
LFC Blog: Indeed, meeting people has been one of the best parts of the LFC! How would you like to see the LFC grow better?
CR: I’ve been out for several years, but I poke my head in every once in a blue moon to see what is happening. Something I always pushed was turning LDD designs into bricks. People had/have these massive 40, 60, 80+ unit departments and not a single unit built. I definitely understand the cost factor but start small; Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor were any of the Lego FDs. Those who are still active and have now become more tenured need to help mentor those who are just starting out or even have been around a while. Give them tips, help them mature into young adults, show them how to effectively run calls, etc. It’s about being a community and helping each other. Be respectful, learn the craft, and pass it on.
LFC Blog: Mentoring newer builders is part of the reason why I started up this blog, so thank you for encouraging me in that sense. Any tips or advice for new builders?
CR: Use real bricks. Take advice from the more tenured builders. Ask for help. Find people who you can bounce ideas off. Create a goal, and work towards it. Like I said, none of these departments came about overnight. I have a small number of rigs compared to some (30ish) and it took me years to get there.
Most importantly, have fun while you are doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to come back, or almost bought parts to start building again. It is a blast of a hobby and is meant to be fun. Enjoy it while you can!
LFC Blog: Thank you for your wise words Collin! I (along with many others) sincerely hope that you will make a return sometime in the future! To those reading this blog, thanks for reading this edition of the Lego Fire Community Blog! Stay tuned for more exciting content!
Blog Updated: 06/20/19
Welcome to the Lego Fire Community Blog! Presented here are outstanding builders who captivate their audience with their MOCs (My Own Creation). The purpose of this blog is to educate others of exemplary builders both past and present.
This blog is dedicated to Eric S. McDonald, the Fire Chief of the original Lego City Fire Department who died unexpectedly on Aug. 21, 2002. His vision is what started the whole LFC, and for that we are eternally grateful.
About the moderating team
Michael P. - Owner of Castle Beach Fire Department, Studington Fire & Rescue Station 11, and Los Angelego County Fire Department
This website is not affiliated with The Lego Company, or any real life fire department for that matter. All builds presented here are original works by the respective builders who gave strict permission to utilize the photos on this website. None of the photos were/are kept for personal use.