One Sore Trooper
|The Rebel Legion and 501st Legion prepare to take on Southie|
I'd like to say that my sore back and legs are from the monumental troop that is the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade, but I'm sure that digging out my driveway from another foot of snow on Tuesday is a large contributor as well.
This year's St. Pats parade with the Rebel Legion and 501st was much different from last year. In 2012 we had temperatures in the 60s, little police presence that I noticed, and large horse droppings to dodge for most of the route. This year, we had temperatures in the 30s, a large police presence, and all the horse droppings were pretty well scooped (or at least given a good try). We had more to fear from South Boston's lack of road maintenance than Boston's Finest Pony Patrol; seriously, some of those potholes could have eaten a jawa (and we had a few marching in the parade!)
The one part of the parade that I dislike the most are the drunks. They're everywhere, and all ages. They all want to see "Daath Vayda!" and ask "Wheah's Chewie!?". They want us to pretty much stop the parade so they can get their drunken duck-face photos with a stormtrooper or a rebel pilot. We try to tell our people to "stay in formation" and keep marching, and only tempt fate to walk the crowds when we've stopped, but some of our number just didn't care for that, and would constantly get left behind as we marched on without them. I nearly ran over one of our members several times because she would stop short and pose. This is the one time of the year that the TV "reality" show Southie Rules is accurate; it's the one time when many in South Boston actually do act like the moronic pricks that show portrays folks from Southie to be.
Even so, the main reason we were there, the kids, loved us. We got them jumping out of their chairs and off the curb to see us. They lit up when we came into view, and went nuts for us as we passed. I love that part of the parade, and as long as those kids are there and respond like that, I'll keep coming back year after year.
Rites of Passage
The St. Patrick's Day Parade holds another place in the hearts of the New England contingent of Star Wars Costumers. For years, the mentality has been "you haven't trooped until you troop St. Pats". It's four miles in weather that could be sunny and warm one year, to near blizzard conditions the next. The only time we haven't trooped it was the year it rained. A lot. Vader doesn't react well to heavy rainfall, neither does any other costume. You're in-costume from 11am to about 4pm. That's a long time to be in armor, without many chances to even take off your helmet. You come out of St. Pats appreciating the Library events, where you stand around in armor. Stadium events where you can pose for 20 minutes and then take a break for another 20. Heck, even other parades later in the year where you think "Hey, it's 45 degrees out, and only a mile and a half long. With a slight drizzle. This is nothing."
Your armor can take a lot of abuse during St. Pats. Aside from the drunks who try to take home souvenir shoulder bells and thermal detonators, marching four miles can put stress on seams and edges of armor. My Commander Fil suit got some extensive repirs after Celebration VI last year, but looking at the armor after the parade has me worried. I'm missing chips from the shin-guards. My thigh plates are missing pieces too. The cod and butt plates are trying to stay together along their seam, but storing them the way I have been has not worked well. I need to permanently afix the two together, since that's how they're stored.
They're made of HIPS (High-Impact Polystyrene), as opposed to ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). What's the difference? To my understanding; detail. HIPS holds detail a lot easier and better when used in a vaccuform machine. ABS is a bit stronger, but shows less detail off the mold. Having made a clone with each type, I can say I was more pleased with the look of the HIPS over the ABS. It was easier to work with too. The issue is that the HIPS is starting to wear out, and break down. Fil is two years old now, and may need replacement parts soon. Thankfully, the molds are still being used to make suits, so matching replacements might be available. It's just that it means more money into the suit.
A Softer Choice
I really need to make a Jedi.
I know, I have a SWOTOR Jedi Shadow in the works, but the writing on the wall tells me that costume is likely to sit in it's current state for a while. In the meantime, I have several items that work for a generic Jedi:
- A pair of boots that Rebel Legion costume judges think will be fine for a more traditional Jedi
- A pair of khaki pants that I bought specifically to use for a generic Jedi
- Jedi-style undertunic from a LARP costume
- Jedi belt that has been stripped of weatherproofing and is ready for dye to match the shade of the boots more closely (was a more natural-leather color)
- A rack of lightsabers begging to be used for more than just wall art.
Jedi often preach, right?
Oh, and room in my house to work on it. That would be spiffy too.
All Wings Report In
So Erich Shafer and I have been chugging right along with the official Rebel Legion Podcast, All Wings Report In. Seriously, if you're into the Rebel Legion or Star Wars costuming at all, I highly recommend giving it a listen. You not only get to hear about the Rebel Legion and what we're doing, but we've also started getting more "tips and tricks" segments into the show. Also, we occasionally get to do interviews with folks in the Star Wars family, like the one we just had with Dee Bradley Baker. Dee is the voice of the Clones for the entire run of The Clone Wars, and it was a privilege to talk to him the other day. We split it off from the main episode run, so you can grab the 13 minute interview on it's own if you just want to listen to that.
Otherwise, the show seems to be going well, has a good following, and is continuing to evolve and grow. Now if only some other folks from the Clone Wars would respond to our interview requests...