87 Erskine Edinburgh Home Christmas Fete – 3rd December 2016

Erskine Home, Edinburgh 13:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
There didn’t seem to be many takers for this event and rather than allow it to be cancelled we made the trek through to Edinburgh despite ongoing car troubles for this odd combination of Christmas Fete and hospital visit.
Luckily we were joined last-minute by Chris as Vader as I’m fairly sure the majority of folks would have had no idea what Gordy and I were supposed to be since neither of us were really wearing an iconic costume.

The venue wasn’t particularly small, but with stall tables occasionally taking up one side of the corridor and some of the residents requirement for wheelchair access circumnavigating it sometimes made for a difficult and treacherous path. The preference for a single route from the entrance past Santa’s fireside and back also meant that we largely kept pace with specific groups of visitors throughout the day rather meaning photos were often with different arrangements of the same families and in the same locations.

I’m not entirely sure I agreed with the brief diversion upstairs to visit some of the more bed-bound residents though. While I can understand the desire to make them not feel left out by being unable to journey to the ground floor, my feeling was that the majority of them had no idea of what these strangers were supposed to be representing and left at least one gent confused and mildly upset by our intrusion into his room…

That said though I can’t complain about the more general reception we received. Our attendance was certainly appreciated and we were well looked after by the staff for the duration of the couple of hours we were there, even if it was slightly extended by us inadvertently standing front and center for the drawing of the raffle tickets meaning we couldn’t quietly slip away as proceedings went on and had to stay on beyond the end time while they drew. Every. Single. Ticket.

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86 Dreams Come True shopping experience at Hamleys – 6th November 2016

Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 10:00 – 12:00, erm… 08:00 – 10:00

Mission Report
There seems to be a reoccurring pattern of us turning up for events at St. Enoch’s when we’re not expected, the latest occasion of which was for this troop. Somewhere, amongst the Chinese Whispers between the chain of folks involved in us actually being allowed to turn up at events these days, the start time for this got mixed up with the equivalent event in Manchester, thus the majority of us arrived (an hour ahead of our start time) just as the Shopping Experience was coming to an end…

Due to our long relationship with the Hamley’s staff though they were happy to open the store to the public early and have us wander about for a few hours regardless. Although the place was quiet at that time of day there were a decent number of punters passing through the shop and even in the slower periods… well… the staff there are highly versed with keeping immature minds occupied and wandering hands from pulling all the stock off the shelves!

Cementing his place as most sickeningly talented member of the squad, Yee not only managed to knock out an accurate rendition of the Star Wars theme on the piano, but somehow did it using his feet. And while fully kitted up as a Stormtrooper.

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Building a Better Jawa – part one

build-a-better-jawaI had already trooped in the costume once without the Ion Blaster, since it lacked the required power pack, but having scavenged a suitable item from the desert sands I was looking to bring the blaster along with me to events.  Since the replica is pretty heavy I therefore somewhat urgently had a requirement for a holster for the gun.

A Google search revealed plenty of requests for dimensions for the holster seen in A New Hope and plenty of people who had built one for themselves (or done long since ceased runs) but no pattern appeared to be publicly available.

Looking at screen grabs and other reference material and measuring my own replica blaster I formed a rough pattern.  Using materials I had to hand I assembled a prototype, refining this design into the template below:

Clicking the above should open the diagram at actual size. If printing, please use A3 as the page size and do not scale to fit

Clicking the above should open the diagram at actual size. If printing, please use A3 as the page size and do not scale to fit..

Having printed off my diagram I used this as template on a suitable sized piece of leather.img_4370img_4371Assuming you want the holster to hang on your right hand side, note the grey shape in the diagram will be the inside of the holster.

(Apologies in advance to anyone reading this next section with any sort of leather working talent or tools..!)
The red crosses on the diagram indicate the eyelets for the leather thonging that runs up the length of front of the holster. To make these I screwed the material onto a spare length of wood then used a wooden needle of appropriate diameter to expand these out to a sufficient size.img_4373

I repeated the same process for the blue crosses on the diagram which are the positions for the rivets…
img_4374 img_4375 Due to the weight of the hand grip end of the blaster it makes it rather top-heavy when slung and the leather I used was sufficiently flexible that it could easily tip over causing the gun to fall out. The references suggest that base of the holster is closed by a circle of leather rather than be open “cowboy holster”-style however I decided to use a circle of wood (left over from the TARDIS console build) to try to mitigate this with some more weight to the holster.
img_4390 img_4389 This gives something for the circumference of the holster to be screwed into…img_4377The double row of blue rivet crosses at the top of the holster provide fixing points for the holster to attach to the “Y”-shaped material (more on that next time) which will act as an anchor for the shoulder strap.img_4379img_4381

(Those “rivets” incidentally are just paper fasteners…  I told anyone with leather working skills to look away in advance.)

Having worked out the kinks I repeated the process with some thinner pleather, making the pattern double-sided this time to hide the lining on the reverse:img_4387

After a rub and buff with some black liquid shoe polish to weather we end up with this…

…and complete with Ion Blaster…

85 Disney Star Wars GO Rogue Experience – 30th October 2016

Disney Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
Unexpectedly returning to the Disney Store for a third engagement (and doubling my troop count for the year in the past fortnight as a result, a figure not seen since the heady days of 2010) I was presented with the opportunity to change from spotting to trooping.  With the restrictions on costumes considered appropriate by Disney though, I had a bit of a dilemma in that my Biker Scout is getting on a bit to the extend its trooping days are probably numbered and it was too short notice to charge up Artoo leaving only my untried and untested Jawa.

Kitting up for the first time since the clearance pictures was quick enough, but I ran into problems with the sound module.  A slight crackle whenever the audio jack was connected indicated that there was a fault with the board and that left me incommunicado for the duration of the troop.
It also became quickly apparent, before even leaving the changing room in fact, that this costume was excessively hot to wear.  Indeed within ten minutes the sweat was pouring down my face, not helped by my feeling that Jawas shouldn’t really stand still and my constant scurrying around!

Initially my mischievous behaviour included trying to relieve passers by of their jackets and fleeces, but I had to quickly abandon this when the second or third victim appeared quite content to be fully divested of his garment instead of pulling away and fighting me for the prize.

Instead I positioned myself behind the troopers in attendance, partially obscured by the entrance pillars allowing me to pop out and photo bomb pictures of them with various members of the public, returning to concealment before anyone other than whoever was wielding the camera was aware of my presence until the photo was viewed later.  In between, I could peer out of the adjacent section of glass shop frontage until noticed by a passer-by vanishing from view by the time they had alerted whoever they were accompanied by to look in my direction, leaving more than a few folk befuddled.
In fact one such game of repeated hide and seek with a small lad and his unenlightened sister went on for so long, that a good 20 minutes after my last appearance at the window he was still hanging about.  So it was that later on when I heard banging at the glass I assumed he had returned yet again, but saw a gent crouched on his haunches concentrating on transferring his various purchases into a backpack.   He spent a considerable amount of time on this task, under my constant beady glowing-eyed observation entirely unawares of my presence until eventually, task complete, he looked up and saw me, immediately falling backwards onto his behind in good-natured shock.  Which was probably kind of lucky for me because he was a big chap and I doubt I could’ve run particularly fast in the robe had it been a requirement…

As I mentioned earlier, contrary to my previous statue modus operandi at this location, the costume seemed to dictate constant nervous movement so it came as massive surprise to overhear a conversation between two teenage girls about how the Jawa clearly wasn’t real and was clearly and inflatable.  Playing along with this I limited my activity to a gentle bobbing back and forth in the one sport until they were entirely convinced their observation was correct and then just as they turned to leave moved my arms to a different position, causing them to bolt across the shop floor towards the exit with a scream.

All in all not an unpleasant experience, but the inability to communicate made it an odd one.  The sinister blank-faced visage perhaps isn’t suited to an event like this where very young children are coming into the environment unawares and it’s probably a costume that needs…  more…  I dunno… interaction… be it appropriate props, sounds or to be in a bunch of them.  Strange too that after hearing a couple of comments from the public in the same store the weekend before about having traded with the Jawas at Hollywood Studios, and despite carrying a pouchful of tat, not a single person approached me to try and do this all day!

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84 Glasgow Science Centre, Halloween Party 2016 – 28th October 2016

Troop Icons BAT 2015Location
Science Centre, Glasgow 18:00 – 21:00

Mission Report
Noisy as hell and twice as hot, is my overriding memory of our fourth outing to the GSC Halloween Party and unfortunately with our numbers turning up to the event dwindling year on year, it’s not going to be a surprise when one of the other local costume groups muscle us out of it altogether given the unofficial photo stand opportunity set up by a rogue TK that was present.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been meaning to Batman at this event every year since we started, but it’s always been one of the few calendar occasions when Ghostbusting has been appropriate. Having finally achieved the milestone of getting the entirety of the GB Écosse contingent together last year (and of course that movie ruining it as a costume for me for the foreseeable) though it seemed that the Bat’s time had finally come…

…or it least it would have if only I hadn’t entirely forgotten the state of repair of my capes and discovered that the sole of one of the Nike Air boots had exploded while the costume was in storage, covering the majority of parts in powered yellowy-foam debris about three days beforehand.
Fortunately after some frantic cleaning, polishing and running repairs to patch up a cape to wearable standard I was ready to go and -wouldn’t you know it- the place was crawling with mini-Ghostbusters all night!

While just the three of us and Claire Mackie from the Rebel Legion were hardly going to make it onto the TV again this year, but once again this year she did the work of four costumers, interacting with the public and showing a patience and courtesy to some of the… lets say… overly-enthusiastic… kids. And adults.

One child who was enthusiastic in good way, was a tiny little girl, dressed as Batgirl. I first encountered her at the start of the evening when we were positioned near the entrance, both to greet the punters as the arrived and I suspect in a futile attempt to cool down. With the lack of fear or self-consciousness that comes naturally at that age, she quickly approached to say hello and tell “Batman” about her costume. After chatting for several minutes, she waved goodbye and started to wander away, looking back every so often to check I was still there or watching and waving back to her. Throughout the rest of the night regardless of whether we were marching back to the changing facilities, or going upstairs on the escalator (proof right there that science is real, and heat rises; somehow it contrived to be even hotter on the first floor. Luckily we didn’t dare try going to the second, lest I literally melt into a puddle) or awkwardly positioned next to one of the interactive displays whenever she’d wander by she’d stop and have the same conversation with me before waving goodbye and resuming her business, once again looking back in my direction to check I was still waving. At the end of the night, having resumed our position near the doors for people on the way out she passed me one final time and reprised this routine again. I’m not sure she didn’t think it was a different Batman every time or that maybe I looked lonely stood slightly apart from the Star Wars costumes as I was, but I appreciate her taking the time to stop on each occasion…

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