Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction


Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction, John Austin
Ever fired a pea-shooter?  Or been pea-shot at?  Herein lie the instructions to inspire a return to those glory days of violent engineering, perhaps even the key to your long-awaited revenge; turn everyday stationery items into your very own arsenal (albeit minature).  Author Austin is also a toy designer, and each of the 35 projects inside includes diagrams, a required list of materials (supplies, tools and ammo), along with step-by-step directions.  My favourite feature?  Each weapon's range is listed.  Excellent.  My favourite is probably the coat hanger slingshot.  There are also instructions for various catapults, bombs, darts, trebuchet, launchers, crossbows, shooters, zookas and bows.  Before I had my own copy for closer inspection, I wanted to know if all of the projects would be as "easy" to acquire materials for as the cover illustration seemed (spoon, pegs, rubber bands -- all doable).  The answer is pretty much "yes."  Although materials can become slightly more pricey (a battery or ruler that will be forever altered), they are all items you can probably swipe from your household junk drawer or inexpensively obtain.  Things like aluminium foil, an empty CD spindle, string, corks, pencils, card, wire and a wide variety of tapes are used.  This would be a great book to work through with a son/daughter/niece/nephew you know, or perhaps a flat-full of like-minded hobbyists -- a mini-weapon every Saturday.  If you haven't come across this title already, it's making a second sailing this month.

Originally published by Chicago Review Press (2009), new design and layout out today via Octopus Publishing Group (a Hachette imprint).  Review copy received.
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