Sep 5, 2013

Sorry for the Hiatus Folks, I am back!!!

After a little over a year I needed to take a break from the suit and doing so i slacked on some of the updates, I admit it, i got lazy.  But now I plan on catching you all up on the new modifications and other costumes that have been developed in the last year. Here is some of the latest developments.

In a few weeks I will be bringing the Wampa back with a bang. Fans will see it at the Tampa Bay Rays Star Wars Night!!!

Here is a video I shot as a Stormtrooper with Luke Scott last year for SWNight

Currently I am replacing the upper arms for a 2nd time. After seeing the Adidas shoot, I was kept looking at the shoulders and realized that they are way too big, so I cut them off before Celebration VI and after wearing it at the convention I realized that they were too short and very uncomfortable. Later that year at the annual Holiday Parade the stand also broke and moral kind of dropped so I just wrapped him up in storage and took a break.

Here is how ugly it was inside the arm, the foam was ripped, the new framework would twist up and catch my arm inside... so the new approach will be to do what i did a long time ago, sew on the arms. Yep, the old way of thinking storage and set up turned out to be the biggest pain in the butt. If i plan on trooping with him anymore, the older i get the easier in the suit it needs to be, less variables is a good thing.

So that should be enough to get the curiosity flowing again. Next up posts about Zoidberg and Waldo Trooper!

Jun 20, 2012

Disney's Star Wars Weekends - Part 1: In The Park

This year I was able to experience Disney's Star Wars Weekends not only as a 501st member, but also for the first time as a park guest. Which is where I will start. This year I had a couple tickets left over to take my son, Gavin with me. We got there early enough to get fast passes to meet Jake Lloyd who over the past has gained a stubborn reputation but I found him a really cool guy. He chatted with Gavin about being nearly his age when filming Phantom Menace and asked if he ever thought about being in a movie. Then he saw my 501st shirt and laughed, telling me that he had friends in the Rebel Legion and in the Mandalorian Mercs, but thought we were a little too snooty with costumes. I had to reply take it up with Lucasfilm, they want us to be as screen accurate as possible.

If there is one thing that SWW is well known for is their Swag! They have huge store set up named the Darth's Mall where many exclusive items are sold plus some really cool Star Wars items like the Wampa hat below and a whole store set up inside for Her Universe. There was also copies and original fine art on sale, and yes one with a Wampa.

Another benefit of showing up early is being able to participate in the Jedi Training Academy, where they teach you the ways and moves of being a Jedi and they bring out Darth Vader and a second badie, this time Darth Maul, sometimes Asajj Ventress to test out their skills. Gavin got to challenge Darth Maul, but later said he could take them and their moves are too slow! Got to love the confidence of a 7yo.

Also we got to watch the parade from the crowd this time, and getting to hear and watch the fans from the sidelines is a totally different experience than being in the parade. When marching especially in bad guy armor, you have to be very stiff and militaristic. This time I got to cheer on the bad guys and boo the rebels! Where normally I hear the opposite. Disney really lets everyone know through their shows and employees that they are always rooting for the good guys and the bad guys, just like many Disney villains are just that bad guys. So through the day I enjoyed poking fun at any employee that gave a fun  little mocking jab in return at my 501st shirt calling me a Empire Sympathiser.

As for all the extra goodies and shows that they had in the park, I really wanted to attend some of the Q&As but my son being 7 didn't quite get the concept of sitting and listen to someone talk. So I let him do what he wanted to and ride rides and go see other features like one of his favorite spots in the park, the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibit. I think it is really cool that he enjoys museum type exhibits and loves history. 

We ended the day watching the Hyperspace Hoopla which is the big show at the end of the day, the hoopla is the dance battle between good and bad and it is crowd voting on who wins, when we were there the Empire won, which was awesome. My son loved Palpatine and the punching bag. 

Part 2 coming later this week.. 

May 18, 2012

Star Wars Weekends 2012 starts TODAY!!!

It's that time of year again, one of our favorite troops of the year. Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Every year the 501st is invited to be part of the Star Wars Parade and we come out strong. This year over 200 troopers and rebels will be there to march in the 4 weeks of the event. Star Wars weekends is usually the last 2 weekends of May and the first 2 weekends of June and happens Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Included with your park regular park experience is enhanced meet and greets with your favorite Star Wars characters played by Disney cast members, even their own take on some characters like Jedi Mickey and Darth Goofy. You can meet actual Star Wars Stars and get autographs and watch Q&A sessions with them. This years guest include hosts Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) and James Arnold Taylor (Obi Wan) voice actors from the Clone Wars.

  • May 18-20, 2012
    • Ray Park (Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Dee Bradley Baker(voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • May 25-27, 2012
    • Andy Secombe (Watto - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Ray Park (Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Tom Kane (voice of Yoda - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • June 1-3, 2012
    • Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Catherine Taber(voice of Padmé Amidala - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
  • June 8-10, 2012
    • Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
    • Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
    • Daniel Logan (Boba Fett - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
    • Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Also a bonus is the SWW enhanced merchandise. Every year there are great exclusives in the park when it comes to toys, clothing and pins. Ashley Eckstein will debut her latest designs from her Her Universe line with these awesome Ahsoka hoodies for girls, as well as a new Katie Cook design. I know I am a guy but I think her line focusing on fan girls is really freaking cool and I am a big fan of some of the designs they come out with.

Disney has a whole line of pins and merch based on their new Darth Maul Donald which I think is cool as hell. I will want to get something with this before I leave. I will be there for the 1st, 3rd and 4th weeekend. So if you see a short Stormtrooper or Emperor Palpatine marching along be sure to shout out Hey WampaDude!!

May 17, 2012

Sexy Jedi Bubblebath! Saber 2: Return of the Body Wash

The second in the Saber Series has been released, and included is one very lucky Wookiee! I gotta give love to the furballs out there. Now only if I could get the Galactic Groomers to come over and wash up the Wampa.... hmmmm!


May 8, 2012

Creating Original Star Wars Armor with Andrew Ainsworth

"One day a good friend of mine had an enquiry for a futuristic military character. He was a scenic artist and he had no concept of how to achieve armies of slick, three dimensional characters. He was, however, an excellent artist with an enviable outlook on life and with a common passion for motor cars. When he asked me if I could make him something workable, I didn't think twice..."
Andrew Ainsworth talking about how he became involved in making the original props for ANH.

This is a quote from Andrew Ainsworth, who in 1976 with his friend Nick Pemberton were hired to create some of the most iconic characters ever to grace the silver screen. The Imperial Stormtroopers. Along with stormtroopers he also created many other helmets seen in these videos. He was able to use parts like a US army helmet and some floating pieces to make many different helmets such as the Jawbone (Death Star Gunner), the Cheese Grater (Imperial Navy) and various Rebel helmets. Got to love his names for them. Watch the video above to see how he came up with some of these helmets.

His Vacuum Forming techniques for armor has become a staple in the 501st these days, including my stormtrooper armor. It is lightweight and easy to build and wear. Other options for armor, especially helmets are resin and fiberglass. While those are heavier, they are much more durable. Vacuum forming is even the technique used by our own Darth Maul to make the stencils for his face paint. We used a pull off of a lifecast created right here at the Wampa Pen Workshop. While we use the at home oven technique, his set up is something prop builders drool about.

in 2004, Andrew claims to come across some of the original molds and was selling the copies. Sure enough Lucasfilm sued in 2006 for copyright infringement. US courts ruled in Lucasfilm's favor starting a legal war back and forth between countries. But the latest ruling in 2011, the British Supreme Court ruled that the Stormtrooper helmet was an industrial prop, and not a copyrighted sculpture,This shortened the copyright protection in the UK to 15 years from the date of first being marketed. Since this ruling, Andrew to start producing props again. But with the heat with Lucasfilm and the US rulings, my guess is this is why his site will not sell the Stormtooper parts to the US.

Check out more about the armor and history over at