Archive for June, 2009

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 @

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

501st, Midwest Garrison

My First Troop – Force Among Us Chicago Premiere 6/12/09

Friday night was my first in armor troop at the Force Among Us Chicago Premiere at the Gene Siskle Film Center. Nothing is more fun than seeing the surprise and attention that we get when people see Star Wars characters out and about in the heart of State Street.

In all I didn’t have too many problems with my armor with the new strap setup. I have one that needs a snap reglued but in all I am much happier with the fit of the arms and especially the thighs that now rest where they are supposed to be instead of too far down. Still need to come up with a better torso option though, the top still pushes out but at least it much less noticeable with the side plates. Might need to work on trying to attach the side plates to the back plate.

Also had a problem with the electronics in the helmet. I really like the new fan placement with the fans in the frown to push air through the helmet but I think it might need to be pulled and redone. The new setup leaves no room for the mic in the frown and my attempt to use it as an earpiece failed miserably. It won’t stay in place and it likes to hit the fan, much like my nose and cheek which currently sport “fan burn”. Will probably pull the fan from the right side of the helmet and try and find a different place for it.

In all it was fun and I got to see a good portion of the film. Its weird to see people you know 30 feet tall on a movie screen.

Two troops this weekend. This should get interesting.

I’ll post pics from the FAU troop soon.

501st, Midwest Garrison, news, Star Wars

MWG on WGN Morning News

501st, Armor Work

My New Helmet Build Part 1

Check out my new acquisition, a brand new Kev ANH v2.5 Helmet. Its rotocast in rigid resin. When its done it will be a mostly symmetrical helmet that is larger than standard screen cast helmets but smaller and much more accurate in shape and dimensions than the FX helmet that I have now.