As a kid, I grew up building scale models. Assembling ships, airplanes and logging truck models sparked my imagination and soon, I was crafting unique ways of detailing and lighting them. My logging trucks had headlights, my space ships and blinking navigation lights and my warships puffed smoke out of the gun turrets. When I discovered Star Trek as a young man, my imagination went into hyperdrive and I quickly moved from the AMT model kits of the day to designing and building my own custom space ships. Some of these were up to eight feet long!
In the early 1990's my hobby paid off when I landed a job as a professional scale model builder! I lived in El Paso, Texas, at the time, and worked for a small company that built scale models for the courts. The prosecution and defense both required exact scale models at times to show a jury where a murder took place, or from which overpass a pedestrian was thrown, etc. While working there, I build scale models replicating every detail of a hotel bathroom, a double-wide mobile home (pictured), a city park, a section of freeway (pictured), and much more.
As you might imagine, it was a dream job and I looked forward to it every day. Imagine going to work and walking into a room fully stocked with all the tools and materials necessary to fabricate just about anything on a small scale! Though I was already an accomplished scale model builder when I started that job, I learned so much from Mike and left there far more detail-oriented than I had been on my first day.
And now, years later, I still build scale models and employ techniques and use materials I learned about while working that job in El Paso - a job which, incidentally, led to the writing of one of my novels, "Omens."