501st, Midwest Garrison, Nar Shaddaa Base, Rebel Legion, Uncategorized

There’s been an awakening…

I think its time to revisit this blog again.

So much has happened in the six years I’ve ignored this blog, but where do I start?

First, I got married, so that’s cool. Star Wars has been bought by Disney and seen a resurgence thanks to the new movies. Rogue One was a flawed, but awesome movie, BTW.

This April will mark my eighth anniversary in the 501st. I’ve been able to see and do so much since then, I’ve made a lot of new friends and unfortunately lost many of them along the way as well. I’ve been active in the Rebel Legion in the past and even held several different officer positions there, but I’ve lost my taste for that club over the years. Like any social structure, these clubs have their highs and lows, their pros and cons. Unfortunately, some times the cons run wild…

In the intervening years between posts, I’ve added several costumes to my collection. Wedge Antilles ROTJ X-Wing Pilot, Wedge Antilles Snowspeeder Pilot, Rebel Fleet Trooper, and Clone Commander Colt.

I also have a few new ones in progress, currently the “trifecta” as I call it. TIE-Pilot, Off-Duty TIE Pilot, and Imperial Bridge Crew. These are the trifecta because if you’re making a TIE pilot, with the addition of a black officer’s hat, you can add two more costumes to your profile, the Off duty and the Crewman, which are almost identical costumes themselves.

I am also, very slowly, working on a new Stormtrooper kit from Anovos. The Anovos kit was too good of a deal, and it’s just time to upgrade my old FX kit to a better, more accurate set. But, to do so, I really need to lose some weight, particularly my spare tire…

501st, Midwest Garrison, Nar Shaddaa Base, news, Rebel Legion, Star Wars

Busy, Busy, Busy…

Ugh, I never can seem to find time in the day to play catch up on everything…

So costuming news:  Got my DL-44 and I can’t stop playing with it. Seriously it sits next to my bed most of the time so I can shoot things. Its got a sweet heft to it, the LED in the emitter barrel is awesome and I can see the red light on wall across the room with the lights on! The sound is a little weak because its coming from inside the gun (which is metal) and there’s really no place for the sound to escape other than through the tiny holes where the “clip” magnetically attaches to the inside. The other main drawback is if you lean the gun to the right it won’t go off. No big deal but the gun has been glued and bondoed together so I can’t get at the electronics without too much work and possibility of breaking it that its probably not even worth the trouble although I’m willing to bet its grounding out on the metal shell somewhere.

Also got my belt. Its pretty decent and was rather cheap off ebay. Its an ESB Luke type belt, like I wanted. Its pretty decently constructed although its two big problems are the buckle is wrong (its a standard Tandy rectangle buckle like the Imperial officers use) and the saber clip sucks as its just a clip that goes onto the belt. But that’s not a huge deal for me because I’m not planning on using it anyways.  My other somewhat major qualm is the utility pockets clip onto the belt, but the clips aren’t long enough to go over the edge of the belt because the belt is a thicker than real life standard belts are. Again not a huge deal but I’m concerned about them being secure and the possibility of losing them.

Maybe velcro for added piece of mind? We’ll see.

Next up is my AP helmet. Definitely excited to get that built, its so pretty. Well it will be once I iron out that atrocious eye bump. Going to need new lenses for it as well…

Things aren’t going well on the snowspeeder jacket front. All attempts to find usable fabrics have been for naught. Its both aggravating and fun as hell though and totally worth the time and effort.

One of these days, I’ll actually get around to posting pictures again…

Until, next time.

501st, Armor Work, Celebration V, collecting, Midwest Garrison, Nar Shaddaa Base, news, Rebel Legion, Star Wars

New Year. New beginning.

So, its 2010. But you should know that by now.

Its time for a new direction. I will continue to post here about my adventures with the 501st Legion and now Rebel Legion as I am also now a card carrying Rebel and member of the RL’s Nar Shaddaa Base. I’ve put together a Rebel pilot on the way to becoming Wedge Antilles mostly based upon his appearance in Return of the Jedi. I’m also XO of our base’s Squadron, the Outlaws.

In addition to that, you’ll start seeing me posting about a wide range of Star Wars things and topics. Collecting, EU, whatever.

So onto the updates:

Wedge Costume:

I haven’t put too much into the build process since I really didn’t build much of anything for this myself. Everything has been either bought built, or I had help through my good friends and Outlaw Squadron mates, Crix and Phyllis. Crix built my code cylinders and Phylis helped me out with modding my Costumebase flightsuit and flack vest.

I have just received my helmet kit so soon I will be doing a build of that. I have a SWEET Han ESB DL-44 that I bought on Ebay so soon I’ll be showing that off as soon as I get it and I’m working on obtaining a belt (Luke ESB).

My goal for this year is to finish my Wedge and HOPEFULLY get a snowspeeder jacket and my dream is a orange jacket based on Wedge’s appearance in X-Wing Rouge Squadron: Phantom Affair.

Stormtrooper Costume:

Well I think I’ll be getting rid of my Kev ANH2.5 helmet, I was able to get in on a discounted run of AP helmets which are White ABS so it should match my costume pretty well compared to how the painted helmet would have been when I’m done. We’ll see how that AP fits me when its done, but I think it will end up being better than the ANH2.5.

Celebration V:

Well come hell or high water, I WANT to go. I feel that its something I NEED to do. So hopefully I’ll see you in Orlando.

collecting, Star Wars


Add this to the list of Star Wars EU items I never expected to see merchandise for. BOOYAH!

501st, Comic Cons, news, Star Wars

I Just Flew Back From San Diego And Boy Are My Arms Tired…

Yikes. Well the titles tells it all, I’m back and I’m Fraking BEAT. But I wouldn’t trade the trip for all the world.

So sit back as I tell the fateful tale of my sojourn to San Diego, California to finally make my pilgrimage to nerd mecca (AKA San Diego Comic Con):

Monday, July 20th, we fly out to San Diego, early in the morning. We arrive to beautiful weather and beautiful people (for real, its nuts). We check our bags at our hotel and begin to wander. We find a place that’s open for breakfast (surprisingly difficult to do) and I have myself a Peanut Butter Burger (peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and bacon) and it was PHENOMENAL. Here I figured, hell I’m on vacation, might as well eat weird food, right? Also for the record peanut butter is also awesome on fries…

So after that, we decided to take a trek down to the Natural History Museum, that was fun times although their museum is miniature compared to ours, although they have several museums right near each other which while we didn’t go to those, I would assume combine into a much larger museum experience. Anyways, this museum had one of the neatest fossil exhibits I’ve ever seen. They have a bunch of statues of Dinosaurs and other extinct and not so extinct creatures where on the back side, its cut open and you can see their bone structure. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t have much else to offer but it was good enough to kill the time until we could check into our resort.

After unpacking and unwinding a bit, we went to dinner at RA’s, a sushi joint for happy hour and half price sushi and appetizers. It was excellent and dirt cheap, gotta love it. We packed it in early for tomorrow’s big trip to Disneyland.

Tuesday morning, we took the Amtrak up to Anaheim from San Diego, it was an excellent trip up the coast which I totally recommend. Disneyland was fun, being my first time there in twenty-three years. The place was packed but not overcrowded. We were able to get on most rides with a minimum of waiting, and those fast passes are a wonderful thing. We had lunch at the Blue Bayeux as we were recommended the Monte Cristo sandwhich which we’ve been told is the only food at the park that Disney is contractually not allowed to change the recipe for. It was expensive and worth every penny and artery clogged.

In all it was a great trip, I got to ride Star Tours twice, I finally got to check out the fantastic Indiana Jones ride (and got to walk by Peter Jackson as he was ushered through the out line). I got to torture my friend Matt for calling me on my cell while I was on Its A Small World (yeah I can be pretty cruel).

Wednesday, Matt and Steve came into town and we mostly chilled and then went to the Legion Preview Night dinner at the Greek Islands Cafe.

Thursday, Matt, Steve, and I sat in line to get our tickets for what felt like an eternity. Once we finally got in, I bee lined straight to the Star Wars Pavilion to check out the setup and new wares. I was floored by the Museum Replicas booth and their film quality costumes that will be coming soon. Hasbro had a lot of their upcoming lines on display, including my holy grail of Star Wars collecting, Wedge Antilles and his Red 2 X-wing!

The best though, was the big screen that they were showing trailers for the movies of the saga and other nice clips, but every couple hours they’d play the trailer for The Old Republic and everyone would amass, ooh and ahh, and cheer their heads off at the end. It was powerful stuff. They also were giving out tshirts and I managed to snag one.

Thursday night was the Legion Mixer. Carrie and I attended and had a blast. We got to meet members from various areas of the country, participate in the induction of Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos as a Friend of the Legion and Denise Vasquez as an Honorary Member. I also managed to snag one of Tom Hodges ISO prints as well. Unfortunately, I needed to bolt a little early because I had heard of a Tron 2 related “event” that I wanted to attend, and apparently I missed out on a few goodies but it was worth it.

I had heard about this viral marketing thing for Tron 2 (now called Tron: Legacy) called Flynn Lives. Apparently part of the premise of the movie is that Kevin Flynn, the hero of the original movie has been missing for some time, but there’s this group that believes he’s alive. Anyways, they had posted this cryptic message with a location and a time and I wasn’t about to miss out for anything. I got there, and they were getting people together for a scavenger hunt. They gave everyone a grid, a map, a hand-held blacklight, and token for Flynn’s Arcade. The idea was to find, in a small area, three different Flynn Lives posters, and find the codes hidden on the map in blacklight ink. Once you find all the codes, it plots out on the grid and when placed over the map, it leads you to… a replica facade of Flynn’s Arcade from the movie.

They let a handful of people in at a time, and it was full of classic arcade games, Space Paranoid cabinets (the tank game from the original movie), worn out neon signs, Journey, and a sole Tron cabinet. Having heard the outline of the Tron 2 clip shown at the Disney panel I missed, I had a good feeling of what would happen, and it did. After about ten minutes of playing free arcade games and gawking at the cool sights, the lights flicker and go out and the Tron Cabinet and part of the back wall swing open to reveal a dark room with Daft Punk playing over the speakers (DP is scoring the movie), production art on flat screens adorning the walls, leading to full size, light up Lightcycle. Totally, a sight to behold. After that, they gave everyone tshirts and a copy of one of the Flynn Lives posters we were sent to look for.

Friday morning, was Star Wars Day at SDCC. We started off early at the Fan Club Breakfast, we received our goodies and got to watch the show, a few presentations from some LFL people, including Dave Filoni, director of Clone Wars the series, and raffle prizes including one of the most sought after prizes, a Droids A-Wing, mint in a pristine box.

Luckily, or unluckily, I managed to not only predict, but win a set of four Star Wars mimobot USB drives in the Raffle. Its unlucky because, well I dislike those things with a passion because they’re ridiculously overpriced in my opinion and I got to have them presented to me by Dave Filoni and my picture with him graces the Star Wars Blog entry covering the event. God, I wish I wouldn’t have just rolled out of bed to go… Anyways, I walked away with two Vaders, a Captain Rex, and a Darth Maul, all 2gig drives.

After running back to the hotel to drop off my swag, I got back to the convention center to check out the Star Wars panels. I attended the Hasbro panel (with lots of neat info on whats coming out into early next year,) the Art of the Clone Wars (which was interesting but not too much new info), the Voices of the Clone Wars (which was awesome just to watch the various voice actors do their thing, especially Dee Bradly Baker showing off how can have a conversation with himself in different clone voices), and the Bioware TOR panel (which was nothing new). After that, I got myself some water and made the trip out to the line for Hall H to get in and eventually see the Star Wars Spectacular, which wasn’t very spectacular.

I won’t bore you on the details since everyone is already aware of what was (and wasn’t) announced, but after a day full of panels and days before of hints, it was pretty disappointing that we didn’t get a real announcement for Celebration V. I mean, its great and all that we got confirmation that its happening and a general idea of when, but I think its a failure that they didn’t have a full announcement ready for it. And really the whole panel was a dissapointment for the sheer fact that, there was really nothing worth televising it and forcing people to have to withstand the sheer retardation (sorry retarded people, comparing them to you is pretty harsh) of the hosts of Attack Of The Show.

Afterwards, I headed home and met up with my friends and we bought tickets to go see Repo: The Genetic Opera: The Shadowcast (for those of you who don’t understand the term, its basically like what you’d get at Rocky Horror Picture Show with people making fun of the movie while actors in costume act out the movie while the movie is playing). It was lots of fun, but exceptionally interesting since the Director and several of the mail cast were in attendance and had a Q&A after the show along with birthday cake for a couple of the actors. Definitely a near experience, and damn am I hooked on that movie.

Saturday and Sunday were mostly a wash, by then I was so aggravated with dealing with throngs of people and lines that I basically just scrounged for whatever swag I could get my hands on, and checking over the dealers for deals, which were few and far between.

Monday, we got up and packed. Checked our bags and proceeded to waste time until our flight. That wasting of time came in the form of the USS Midway Museum, a converted, decommissioned, Aircraft Carrier. That was probably one of the most interesting touristy thing I’ve ever done. Its neat to see why they call these ships, “cities on the sea”. Its also neat to see the parallels of life on an aircraft carrier to life as presented in Battlestar Galactica. The best part had to be the collection of fighter jets and helicopters on the deck though. And my chance to do the unthinkable, hug a F-14 Tomcat, my personal favorite fighter jet. Unfortunately, I don’t have that picture yet because Carrie has been a slacker.

So that’s the gist of my adventures at SDCC. Its only taken me a week to finish this damn post. Chicago Comic-Con (aka Wizard World Chicago) recap coming next week (hopefully).

501st, collecting, Star Wars


My 501st name tag came just in time for San Diego! Isn’t she preeeetty?

501st Nametag

Oh and have you seen my troopin’ bag?

Troopin' Bag

501st, news, Star Wars

San Diego, Here I Come.

In less that a week (man that’s a crazy thought when you’ve been planning a trip for over a year), I’ll be in San Diego, or well next Tuesday I’ll likely be at Disneyland, but I digress…

I am finally making the trip to nerd mecca aka San Diego Comic Con, something I’ve always dreamed of doing.

I can’t wait to finally see what I’ve only heard and seen through other people and news forms, and I’m wasting no opportunity that I can.

I’ve signed up for the SW Fan Club Breakfast, I’ve signed up for the Legion dinner, and I plan on making it out to the Preview night dinner as well. Friday I will probably not leave the Star Wars Pavillion to even pee if I can help it, there looks to be some BIG happenings going on and I plan to be part of it.

I’ll give my SW predictions later this week.

501st, Midwest Garrison, Trooping Report

Playing Catch Up: Part Two: Bartlett, IL Parade “Tatooine Death March” and BBQ 7/5/09

Every year a large portion of the Midwest Garrison gets together for one of our two “big” yearly troops, this one being the annual Bartlett, IL Fourth of July Parade we like to call the Tatooine Death March due to its length and the fact that its usually hot as the desert planet its named after. Thankfully, this year it was rather cooler than usual.

It was a fun time, that was had by all. I was able to meet many garrison members I’ve never met but spoken with on the forums and spend time with local members and meet their families and significant others.

Unfortunately the parade itself was a disaster for me. Right as the parade started really going, my thigh strap failed and we were not able to get it field fixed so I had to ride in the back of Phyllis’ jeep. Ok so maybe that wasn’t a total disaster since I didn’t have to march the whole parade, but unfortunately Stormtrooper armor is not designed for sitting and I ended up doing more damage to my suit than I’d like, not to mention the near zero headroom in the back with my helmet on was a pain all on its own.

Thankfully, everyone was helpful and awesome as I’ve come to expect, and we made it through the parade more or less in one piece.

The BBQ was a blast, the food was great, and I went home one full and tired trooper. Can’t wait till next year but hopefully, I’ll have my Crewman ready so I can troop sans plastic, I don’t care if they call that cheating, I call that SMART.

Pictures forthcoming, there’s a lot of them.

501st, Central Garrison, Photo Gallery, Star Wars, Trooping Report

Playing Catch Up: Part one: TrekFest 25 Riverside, Iowa 6/27

I’ve been busy with work and getting ready for San Diego Comic Con, that I’ve neglected my blogging duties. Let me correct that now.

Friday night June 26th, my very good friend and future Legion member Carrie accompanied me on my first foray into another garrison’s territory to participate in a historic event, the induction of legendary Star Trek actor George Takei into the legion for his voice work as Lok Durd on Clone Wars. George would be the first major Star Trek actor to make the cross over and the first in the legion. Needless to say, when I was invited by my friend, Chris Andrews, CO of Central Garrison, I jumped at the chance.

The trip to Riverside, Iowa, “Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk” as they like to call themselves was a little over three hours. We stayed outside town due to the fact we had to be in town very early in the morning to participate in the parade.

Carrie and I arrived, early to Riverside to check the town out, which took all of five minutes. Riverside is the epitome of a small country town. Once we met up with the Central Troopers and Rebels, we got dressed, formed up and everybody sported Star Trek Emblem stickers on their gear as a show of solidarity.

We marched the very short parade and then headed towards the stage for George Takei’s induction before the Trek Fest costume contest. While we waited we had many pictures taken of and with us, and everyone except a couple grump Klingons (and really are there any other kind?) loved us. We filed onto the stage and Chris was given the opportunity to personally induct George Takei into the legion and George couldn’t have been more gracious. We also provided the three Star Trek actors, George, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koeing with wine from a local winery (well, its the thought that counts, right?)

Next we appropriated our table at the fest and set up shop answering questions about the club and posing for many more shots. Once we all started pooping out and traffic started slowing down, the rest of us that were still in gear cleared out and we headed out to the Iowa City Mall for dinner at Old Country Buffet.

Personally, I cannot say how much fun we had. Carrie is hooked on trooping and I thoroughly enjoyed the friendliness and camaraderie of Centrals people, and I hope be able to make it out at least once a year to see these people.

Oh and I got my picture in the Cedar Rapids Gazette to boot.

501st, Midwest Garrison, Star Wars, Trooping Report

Weekend Trooping Report 6/20/09 -Updated!

This Saturday, I had the pleasure of making it out to two troops in one day. By pleasure, I mean I’m a dumbass who wasn’t paying attention to the event dates and signed up for two troops in one day, luckily they were easy to get from one to another with time to spare so I did them both.

The first troop of the day was the 23rd Annual Chicago Hunger Walk at Montrose Harbor to benefit the Chicago Food Bank. It literally monsooned the night before so the entire park was basically grass covered mud and the air was thick with extremely humid air. Thankfully we were provided with a changing tent, unfortunately it was probably placed on the soggiest spot in the park. My armor was dirty before I got it all on and the folding chair we were provided with liked to sink into the ground when you sat on it.

In all it was a fun experience. Lots of photo ops, even got lots of hugs from kids. We even got to lead the prewalk warm ups and prompted several uses of “may the force be with you” over the PA system. I enjoyed it thoroughly, even though I had an almost disastrous costume “malfunction” with my right thigh armor snaps becoming unglued. Thankfully I was able to get it rigged with some help and suggestions from my fellow troopers, especially costume master Thomas Spanos. (Note to self: figure out what the hell you did with your tape.)

Afterwards, I cleaned off my armor as best I could, packed up, said my goodbyes, and headed back to my neck of the woods for a birthday party. Running a little early, I stopped for bit to rehydrate better and took a nice warm nap in my car.

Refreshed, I headed to the party to meet up with Phyllis for a Clone Wars birthday party for a 4 year old in Homer Glenn, IL. We went over the game plan and headed for the door. Phyllis in her Schph Gochi, Jedi Knight persona and myself in my street clothes and toting my armor crate went over the plans with the father and Phyllis set up while I went upstairs to dress for my entrance.

Phyllis started with the kids, and I came down during their “meditation training”. Basically, the kids were terrified of me to the point they basically refused to play any more. :shrug: What are you going to do? Phyllis was able to coax the kids into playing Hot Thermal Detonator and then some quick pictures with a few kids that worked up the courage to be near me.

Then the kids were herded back outside and I went back upstairs to change and we took off. On the way out Phyllis informed me that the family had given her checks totaling $200 for Make A Wish. I was pretty floored by that. $200 for at most 45 minutes.

Tired, covered in armor bites, and a few cuts, I went home to a cold shower and a nap. It was a good day.

Next weekend: Roadtrip to Trekfest in Riverside, Iowa.

Hunger Walk pictures are available @ http://www.paralada.org/2009/CHW2009/index.htm

Update – I recieved a nice surprise, my picture, in costume, from Aric’s Birthday party was printed in the local Homer Glen paper. Nothing like having your picture in two papers within the span of a week.

Picture from paper

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