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Active-Duty: Real Live Action Hero!

Posted by Mike Acerra on

Mom, U.S. Marine, and now she’s a character in a Science Fiction Novel based on a toy?

A new novel,  which creates a world around the Lux Blox toy series, Lux Force,  features the likeness of local hero, Marine Staff Sergeant Alexandra (Gordon) Vanscoyk. 

A couple of years ago, when we created Lux Force, our action-adventure line of military vehicles, we created a story about the Lux Force that involved Marines going to Mars to help the colonists fight this creature called the Phage. We wanted to base one of these future Marines on a real-life hero and we found one right here in Galesburg, Illinois, where we make Lux Blox. 

We were all very proud of Alexandra (Gordon) Vanscoyk,  a local girl, for deciding to become a Marine and serve her country.  We considered her to be an amazing role model.  So we asked her if we could use her likeness for one of the Marines in Lux Force. She said “yes!, and her picture and a little background about her character, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Athena Tripi, went into the instructions of our Lux Force Raider. 

From a Toy Story to a Toy Novel 

Recently, the Fort Worth Texas based science fiction author, Allen Crowley, joined the project and started to turn the “toy-story” into a novel called Mars is for Misfits.  The novel started coming out in installments on this blog on July 4th. The story takes place in the year 2043 and is about children who live on Mars and who use science to outwit and fight back against a scary monster.   

We caught up with Alex between her many duties and asked her a few questions.

Lux Blox  “Hi Alex.  What were your thoughts when you were asked to be the model, and kind of the inspiration, for the main character in both a toy and an upcoming science fiction novel, Mars is for Misfits?”

Alex   “I come from a very small town, so being able to be a part of something this cool is pretty amazing! I can’t wait to see the final product and read the novel!”

Lux Blox  “What made you want to join the Marines?” 

Alex  “I joined the Marines because I wanted to be a better role model for my nieces and nephews (and now for my own kids). I wanted to show them that women can be strong, powerful leaders.” 

Lux Blox  “Before you were a Marine you were a competitive bodybuilder and even now as a Marine you organized many runs outside of your normal Marine Corps duties.  What motivates you to be so fitness-minded?”

Alex   “I love fitness because it’s part of my job and because that’s what our body was made for! I like pushing my body to see what it’s capable of. I also love the way I feel after a really good workout. It just makes me happy!”


Lux Blox  “Now you have a family! Three kids and a Marine Corps husband to boot! What is that like?”

Alex  “It’s very hard being a full time working mom! Before I had kids my entire life was the Marine Corps. I could volunteer all of my time on the weekends to my Marines and now it’s very different. Now I’ve got my own baby girl and two stepchildren. Our nights are full of studying for school and the weekends are full of playdates. It’s hard. It’s very hard to manage but again it allows me to show my kids what a working family looks like!”

 Lux Blox  “Did you ever think you’d be married to a Marine?” 

Alex   “It was always difficult finding civilians who wanted to date a ‘female Marine.’ I’m not really sure why. My best guess is our job title is intimidating to most civilians and we usually have an alpha personality which can also come off as intimidating. It also made conversations easier. We use so many acronyms and random jargon that most people will never understand, no matter how many times you tell them. So, for me, dating a Marine was what seemed realistic.”  

Family first, mission always.

Lux Blox  “Under normal circumstances, childcare is a major issue for households with working parents. But having two full-time Marine parents must present you with major challenges.”

Alex   “Since we are both active duty it’s very difficult to come up with a solid routine while the daycares are closed. We’ve got two kids at home — one school-aged who needs to complete online classwork and an infant who needs constant attention. Thankfully our command has been very helpful but I know other dual couples who have not been as fortunate.  The commanding officer at my first unit had a motto: “family first, mission always.” At the time I didn’t have a family but it stuck with me.  At my second unit, I had two different COs and both were huge family men. Seeing them, 15 years plus into their career and still having a strong family made me realize it is possible to have the best of both.”.

Both of the Vanscoyks have their sights set on serving in the Marines for the long haul, with Alexandra weighing the idea of either pursuing warrant officer school or becoming a career recruiter.  Happy 4th of July to this amazing couple who are defending the civil liberties we all hold dear and inspiring future generations to build a better world … and beyond.

Special thanks to Bianca Strzalkowski and Military Families Magazine for generously sharing excerpts and photos from their May 26th 2020 issue with us.

Chapter one of "Mars is for Misfits" is available to read now by clicking here

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  • Very inspirational. Alexandra seems like an excellent role model for young girls.

    JJ Sidwell on
  • Alexandra is gorgeous. Loved reading about her. So awesome you guys are using real people as inspiration for the characters in your novel.

    Julie Pisano on

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