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Spotlight on Toy Soldier Electronic Tinkerer: LED-Master Gonzo!

1 10 years ago
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This weeks Interrogation Spotlight is aimed at LED-Master Gonzo! He grew up in Bussum, a medium sized town in The Netherlands. He now lives in Amersfoort a city not far from where he grew up.

When did you become a toy soldier?…and How did you find us?
I discovered Dr. Steel back in ´09, I think it was one of the flash animations of the songs that got my attention. I shared it with my roommate and we were both hooked, used to play it all the time during our regular Chinese chess matches back then. Just recently I checked and discovered I had signed up back in 09 but wasn´t very active. It was last year in June/July that Sokamin reminded me of this place, and I was delighted that it still existed, even though we´d received the news about the doctor´s resignation. That’s when I became more active, and now I can´t live without TSU!

What first got you interested in electronics? What was the first thing you made?
When I was a kid my dad always inspired me and my brother to play with computers and their parts. When I was somewhere between age 8 and 10 I learned programming BASIC on my old MSX computer.
At an early age my dad gave us (me and my brother) a board where we could put in a battery and some light bulbs and switches to play with. Later it went on to computer parts, disassembling and reassembling a PC and he would see if it worked. We learned binary counting by hand, and we had a C64 which we grew up playing on, and later I had my own MSX to play with. I learned programming in BASIC on that machine, the book was English, and that’s how I learned that language too. The first think I can recall I made was a chase game you had to play with 2 players, one was ¨it¨ and had to catch the other player. Just an empty screen and 2 sprites, but it was fun!

What do you do for a living?
Currently I am unemployed and looking for work. I used to work in embedded software engineering, specifically garbage retrieval systems that automatically empty recycle bins and before that for a company developing RFID readers on garbage bins for select access. I’m not sure at this point in time what I want to do in the future. Ideally I would want to work for ESA or DutchSpace.
I would also like to work on the robots they send ¨out there¨. As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, or at least an astronomer. Since engineering seems to be my strong point I would like to work on that and go to space. But yeah, would want to work at some space related projects in embedded engineering on them!

You have also gone by other titles such as: Stargazer and LED specialist..Tell us how you came to be known by other names.
As a kid stargazing was a big hobby of mine, I knew a lot of astronomical facts and was outside a lot with binoculars or telescope gatherings when the night was clear. My family and I went on a camping trip when I was very young, and we visited an observatory. They had a projection of the sun there, I think my fascination for stargazing started there. We visited regular stargazing events in our neighborhood, my dad later had a shop that sold telescopes which was a huge advantage. I´ve even been on national television for some item about a lunar eclipse (I think I was 12).
The LED part is more recent, but maybe influenced by the lamp board my dad had us play with as kids. I know how to draw PCB´s and how electronics work from previous jobs. When I became a member of the TSU I wanted to make something cool. I came up with the soldierface LED during work, just popped up. Since then I´ve been experimenting a bit with them and got some prototypes made… The rest is history.

Speaking of Stargazing. You recently started the T.S.O.S.D Special Ops! What do you hope to do with this new division?
Well, we want to go to space! But getting there is something we need people for to help us research, and devise tactics to getting there. The T.S.O.S.D. was initially a joke when SilentAl asked me what I would want to do, well: ¨Go to space¨. He said I was in charge of the space program then we started a small brainstorm in the chat and the TSOSD was born. Some very cool projects for that are in the works. I am working on a project to help everyone get that cool rocket science experience first hand. The goal is to eventually terraform the moon to look like our friendly soldierface logo!

So what other projects are you working on right now?
The robot project is on hiatus as I have run into a problem with the audio processor. I am thinking of making a piece for my uniform to spell FUN in LEDs but I somehow misplaced my favorite soldering iron tip… Then there is the TSOSD project I´m working on, but won´t spoil until I have it ready.

Gonzo do you have any advice for other soldiers you would like to add?
Go with ideas that suddenly pop into your head, don´t linger too much on how or why, just go for it!

Thank you for this great interview Gonzo! It was a pleasure getting to know you better! :) *salutes*

Gonzo’s Amazing LED work is featured right now in our Toy Soldier Shop! Get them while they last!

The New Special Ops is ready for you to join should you wish to embark on any future Space Adventures!


  1. Sgt. Voltor

    Awesome! *waves to Gonzo* Thanks for sharing! ^_^

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