Sandwich Bunker Scratch Build

Model Building

This was an exploratory project, seeing what could be done with common materials I had lying around: Foam insulation board, cardboard, plaster of paris, paper mache and kitty litter. The end product was given a coat of grey primer.

This also marks an expansion of Don Stok Vo Kart, my Etsy shop, into diorama elements. I’ll be making more bunkers and ruins, while exploring ideas for customizable kits.

At 1/35 scale, this is a huge structure. Maybe a direct hit from a naval gun could take it out, but not a tank. And there’s enough space inside for a large gun and its crew.

Vintage Agatha Christie Paperbacks


I have a thing for vintage paperbacks. I love the smell of old yellowed paper and the mid-century flair of the graphics and illustrations. They’re the ideal collector’s item because they’re not collector’s items. I don’t have to put them in plastic bags or worry about their condition. I can appreciate them exactly as they are, in their imperfect state. The only thing standing between me and 500 of these printed gems in shelf space.

Surf Wagon

Model Building
Finished Surf Wagon model kit by AMT
Surf Wagon model car kit box art.
Box art

Built this from the AMT Surf Wagon Kit in 1:25 scale as a seasonal project. It’s a little bit of California nostalgia, though I was never a surfer.

I had a can of copper spray paint I wanted to use up, hence the name “Penny.” The kit provides for other versions of a ’65 Chevelle. My guess is that they kept adding accessories to breathe new life into an old kit. No matter what, you’ll end up with spare parts for other builds.

The box art is by Don Greer who worked for AMT during the 1960s. The image sells the lifestyle more than the actual model. For instance, the box sticker calls out “2 surf boards & all new roof rack!” while the car pictured doesn’t have a roof rack. Also, only one of the surf boards in the kit is a long board.

Zero-Gravity Pissing Contest

News & Events
Every spacesuit includes a douche nozzle.

Some people are really unhappy to see billionaires in space. I understand how a zero-gravity pissing contest can be unsightly. But save the hate. These are the guys who will take humanity to the next level.

The chief criticism is, “Think of all the good that money could have done on earth with all that money.”  That’s true. Yet I can imagine someone looking at the first automobile and saying the same thing.  In the long run, motor vehicles have done more for humanity than anything that could have been bought for the cost of the first prototype.

And space will not remain the playground of the ultrarich. If the Billionaires Boy’s Club keeps up their battle of the phallic symbol’s, the price of a few minutes at the edge of space will eventually come down to $100,000, then $50,000 and so on, until tourist will choose between space and Europe.

And it won’t stop there. Bezos, Branson and Musk will keep pushing the boundaries -both for ego and for profit- until our species can take advantage of all the raw materials floating out there for the taking. No kidding, there are asteroids in our solar system that are valued in the quadrillions. That’s a lot of zeros.

Put another way, who thinks the money used putting a man on the moon would have been spent on more public housing?

Finished Second Novel

News & Events, Writing

After years of writing and rewriting, workshopping and revising, my second novel, Saint Destiny is ready for YA literary agents. And even if Saint Destiny doesn’t get me an agent, or get published, it’s an accomplishment. This is a good story told with a strong character voice. And it’s funny.

The Query Letter Blurb

This is the rise and fall story of Destiny Wallace, a teenage girl with the extraordinary ability to heal people merely by touching them. Written in the first person, this faux celebrity autobiography details the hard times, the triumphs and the excesses of an ambitious, insecure, hard-working, undereducated, young person pursuing the American Dream. Interspersed with her personal story, are self-help essays where she offers both encouragement and cautions for those who set their sights on fame and fortune.

Formula Baby

The novel uses the 15-beat story structure from Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. I started working with the 15-beat sheet earlier this year and have been able to apply it to every story length, from flash fiction on up. Rather than being difficult and stifling, having to fit a structure makes writing easier and inspiring. I never have to wonder what comes next in the story, and finding creative ways to hit all the beats pushes my ideas further. If you can write to a formula, this is as good as any.

Star Destroyer

Model Building

Here’s my latest build, an Imperial Star Destroyer by Bandai. It took all of one day to complete. It helped that, true to the movie version, it’s all shades of gray. Also, very little glue was used.

Way back in the 20th century, when no one owned a computer and phone messages were left on cassette tapes, snap-together models were frowned upon as being unserious. No longer. These days, Bandai designs and molds their kits with such precision that mere friction holds them together. They also fool-proof the kits with unique slots and pegs for each part making it almost impossible to put something in in the wrong place, upside down or backwards. 

And this kit is amazingly accurate. When ILM built the original models for the movies, they used parts from existing plastic model kits to add texture and detail. If you look closely at the surface of this model, you can see the wheels and suspension from a 1/35 scale Sherman tank shrunk down to 1/5000 scale. Like, wow.