Sunday, May 20, 2012


Happy Sunday morning to all the CRANKYHEADS out there in CRANKYHEAD NATION.  Well, it's no secret that most of you know that EYEGORE, the ever-faithful Lab-RAT-ory assistant is really a Chihuahua we've had in the family now for almost 20 years or so.  I got him for my oldest daughter when she was 3 years old.  EYEGORE is getting up there and so far he is hanging tough.  He always brings us a great deal of pleasure and joy, although in his old age he's gotten rather cranky, and not only snores, but has very vocal dreams about all those fire hydrants in a vast open field of daisies.

Back in 2010 when YOURS TRULY was slowly morphing into DOCTOR CRANKY, EYEGORE was present in the workshop and he was part of the reason why it became known as the Lab-RAT-ory because I started thinking of Dr. Frankenshtein (my spelling!) and how the Zany Doktor had his ever faithful assistant, someone to bring the bodies and fling them on the slab, and I thought:  hum, why not Doctor Cranky?  So that's how the story developed.  It was also at the exact time that I had grown rather bored of the monotony of painting and building shiny cars, so I started rusting and weathering . . . and well, that's also what put the RAT in Lab-RAT-ory.  LONG LIVE RAT RODS!  Don't get me wrong, I still love SHINY and I will still build my share of them every year, but nature's truly perfect concoction of corrosion, of wear and tear, etc . . . ah, nothing like it.  Anyway . . .

The real behind-the-scene story is that when I left a certain magazine's (which shall remain nameless, and it's a story for another time) model building forum, I went over to MODEL CARS MAGAZINE FORUM (circa 2006) and there I became good friends with Harry Pristovnik, another builder and styrene fanatic who quickly started egging me on to write a book, to write a book, to write a book.  To write about about my rusty and weathered models because other builders would want to learn about my techniques, etc . . . And so I did, and the book got written in part because of Mr. Pristovnik's insistence but also because I would send him a chapter or two at a time, and  a few weeks later he would send me the entire chapter page ready and completely designed, and not with just any kind of design, but with this beautiful, STEAMPUNK-INDUSTRIAL (he knows how to read my mind!) flavored Design (yes, with a capital D because Harry is the Maestro of Design).  I loved the work so much it really fueled me forward to write my first book about building models.  One chapter at a time, all within a scope of year.  RATZ, RODZ, and RUST.  Not your regular type of book, mind you, something completely different, and HARRY  PRISTOVNIK made that "look" happen on the page.  Those of you who have seen and read the book will--I hope--agree.  I wrote the text, built the models, and took the step-by-step pictures, and Harry did the rest.  AND in hindsight that was all easy compared to the hours of meticulous work Harry put into it.  It became a labor of love for both of us, and so kidding around one day I told Harry that he really was EYEGORE, not the Chihuahua (LOL) but the real assistant in the Lab-RAT-ory.

Mr. Pristovnik has been a great presence in the Lab-RAT-ory since day one, and he has continued to be of service.  His work stands the test of time too.  His designs always look fresh and vibrant and more importantly relevant.  This blog, the Lab-RAT-ory Website (I also thank my cousin Alexis for his hard work setting it up), and the Lab-RAT-ory CHANNEL on YOUTUBE, are all Harry's great work.  We have a great working relationship because I think we are both workaholics, and we are definitely simpatico when it comes to our STYRENE ADDICTION.  Harry has helped brand and create the Lab-RAT-ory Channel on YOUTUBE, and he's been instrumental in keeping Doctor Cranky energized and enthused about new projects.  What more can a demented DOCTOR of STYRENE ADDICTION ask of his ever-faithful Lab-RAT-ory assistant?

Many people have asked me over the last couple of years how I do my graphics work, and I always tell them about Harry Pristovnik and his amazing work.  Graphic Design is what Harry does for a living and he is the best at it.  Professional and obsessive above quality.  He is always available for new clients, so if you are interested in getting the very best, feel free to contact him.

But whatever you do, don't ask him to be your sidekick, your straight man, etc . . . that job he is already under contract for at the Lab-RAT-ory.  LONG LIVE STYRENE, Doctor Cranky


Thursday, May 17, 2012


"BURLESQUE" 49 Merc, another Revell 49 Merc kit built.  I love this kit, and I have built many of them because every time I do, I have so much fun.  I will keep building them because whether you do it shiny or rusty and crusty, you will have a blast.  This one has several great details that really surprised me and delighted me, including the head light tassel pasties, the lace fender skirts, and, of course, when you see the rear, well, that will put a big smile on your face.  This is not the type of ride you bring home to mother.  It's a SUPERFREAK, she's super freaky.  LOL!

The kit fits together like a glove, although in this case I had a little trouble with the windshield fit and the engine, but nothing that can't be resolved before the primer and paint go on . . . the paint is Vallejo acrylics, Tamiya, and the airbrushed was used for the entire paint job.  Bring your dollars.

I am currently finishing up Doctor Cranky's "House of Burlesque" Theater, a place that will serve as a different sort of photo op.  Stay tuned in for more.