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Book Review: Mini Weapons Of Mass Destruction 2: Build a Secret Agent Arsenal by John Austin

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Described as “The perfect gift for the cubicle monkey in your life,” John Austin’s Mini Weapons Of Mass Destruction 2 offers the ultimate blueprints for low-yield office destruction. It is filled with instructions for building such items as the Gift Card Coin Launcher, Crayon Cannon, and the Pushpin Dart, among others. All together, the book explains how to make 25 different “weapons” out of mundane household or office items.

For those of us who reveled in flinging rubber band powered spit wads across the classroom back in the day, this book provides a wealth of new possibilities. Take the Altoids mint catapult, for instance. Begin by cutting the handle off a plastic spoon, tape the shortened spoon to a binder clip, and attach the contraption inside an empty Altoids tin. The next time your buddy “Joe Bad-Breath” comes along, load the spoon with a mint, and fire away!

The cotton swab .38 Special is another winner. Using a dental floss container, a shaving cream top, a couple of pens, and duct tape, you can create the ultimate Q-Tip gun. The author claims that this baby can fire up to 60 feet!

In the section entitled “Villain Mini Weapons” we are presented with some serious dollar store arms. The Q-Tip Blowgun looks mighty vicious, as does the double-barreled rubber band gun. The most lethal appears to be the CD launcher, however. This complicated device actually fires off a CD or DVD at your intended target. The paper star might be a safer bet. It is a take-off on the popular Ninja Throwing Star, but the only damage this one is likely to cause is paper cuts.

The book also contains a nifty section on gadgets. After all, what Junior James Bond, or Man In Black would be complete without his cool gadgets? My favorite of these has to be the Paper Dart Watch. The author describes this better than I ever could:

“The Paper Dart Watch is standard issue for any agent involved in covert intelligence. Its integrated elastic band keeps it locked to your wrist when you’re chasing somebody… or being chased! Lock onto your target by rotating the watch face, then launch one of the four paper darts. You’ll soon understand why this gadget is an agent’s best friend.”

The Detonating Pen and Smoking Pen are also included in this section. They are both modified ball point pens meant to startle and confuse your adversary, allowing you to beat a hasty retreat if need be.

For the budding spy, surveillance equipment is of the utmost importance. With that in mind, instructions are included for a homemade Bionic Ear. Basically it is the top part of a two-liter plastic soda bottle. For visual contact, go with the Toothpaste Periscope.

With all of these clandestine objects around, you will need a place to stash them in. The “Concealment” chapter provides methods to create hiding places galore. These include the Cereal Box Briefcase, the Desk of Deception, and the old reliable Soup Can Safe.

All of these mini weapons of mass destruction are made with commonplace items, plus a lot of tape. Besides the CD Launcher, most of these contraptions seem relatively harmless. The author also makes a number of disclaimers as to never pointing them at any living thing.

Actually what the book does best is to get Dads in trouble. “You gave our 12-year old son this?“ and “What were you thinking!” were two phrases I seem to recall hearing. Maybe if I had put it in the Cereal Box Briefcase before coming in, things might have been a little different. As it was, I had to run out the back door, under a barrage of flying Q-Tip arrows and catapulted mints. And that damn Detonating Pen didn’t slow things down one bit.

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