93 Smyths Toys Star Wars Event – 27th May 2017

Troop Icons Spotter 2015Location
Smyths Toys, Kilmarnock 11:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
I had high hopes that this fairly local event would be a good one, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.  While they had been visited by brand mascots in the past, the store had obviously never entertained the likes of ourselves leading to both parties having to reach a less than ideal middle ground.  While using the delivery area as changing facilities probably wasn’t the worst accommodation we’d ever had, a similar lack of any refreshments or provision for breaks and the requirement to stay till 16:00 regardless of weather conditions or how busy the day actually was would possibly have seen us walk away from other events.

With no area in-store set aside for our purposes our lone trooper was position outside the entrance to the shop.  A local event DJ had a PA system set up for added entertainment and while his bantering to draw punters in was much appreciated on what would otherwise have been a slow day for passing trade thanks to the inclement weather, the non-stop blaring of music made it a head wincing couple of hours for me.  Indeed the troop was such slow going I was convinced time was running about a third of its normal speed by late afternoon so sure was I that his announcement that there was roughly 40 minutes left had come a minimum of 15 minutes after my phone had shown the time as 15:20.

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92 Star Wars Wedding, Dundonald Castle – 6th May 2017

Troop Icons Spotter 2015Location
Dundonald, Kilmarnock 13:00 – 14:30

Lazily cribbed from The Daily Record article by James Moncur
‘Do you take this Han?’ Ayrshire couple tie the knot in geektastic Star Wars ceremony

Gillian and Glenn Borland got hitched alongside two stormtroopers and even walked down the aisle to the Imperial March.

Mission Report
The force is strong with a Scots couple who have been married in a Star Wars themed wedding.

Gillian and Glenn Borland got hitched alongside two stormtroopers while the film’s theme tune filled a castle’s chapel.
The bride walked down the aisle to Darth Vader’s Imperial March but sadly the Sith lord couldn’t make the ceremony as he was opening a toy shop.
The Star Wars-mad couple have been together for 16 years. Their seven-year-old son is called Luke Skywalker.
And in keeping with the theme, Glenn, 51, and the men in the wedding party replaced their sgian dubhs with mini lightsabers.

Gillian, 40, wanted to get married on Star Wars Day – May the 4th – but had to settle for two days later, May the Sith. She said yesterday: “It was a fantastic day which everyone really enjoyed.”
“I organised the stormtroopers as a surprise for Glenn and Luke but couldn’t get Darth Vader as he was helping out at a toy shop somewhere else.”

The service at Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire was completed when Gillian’s barn owl Ghost flew the length of the room and delivered the rings in front of 60 guests.

Gillian is boss of a bird of prey business called Hoots Owls and Wedding Wings.

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89 May the Toys be with you – 18th March 2017

Troop Icons Spotter 2015Location
Paisley Museum, Paisley 11:00 – 13:00

Mission Report
It’s odd how sometimes the best events take place in facilities most unsuited for trooping.  Case in point, the Paisley Museum, something of a warren of display halls, stairs and multiple levels as befits a building of its age designed and built before the word “accessibility” entered our lexicon.

On arrival, slipping and sliding up a treacherously wet and slimy ramp we were given a brief tour of the Star Wars toy exhibit before our host literally led us up the garden path (and multiple sets of steps) towards the Coates Observatory staff room proposed as our changing area.  The space was somewhat small and would probably have required splitting the attendees, but our time in the building did offer the opportunity to view the newly restored orrery being unveiled to the public and (for those able to deal with the height) a chance to see the 19th century telescopes the building houses.

Following this diversion we returned to museum itself, ultimately settling on an admin office for our uses and after a brief emotional moment, we set about the business of the day.

The first task was to navigate the afore mentioned wet ramp with the less stair-capable troopers for the press photos of the opening of the exhibit at the front of the building.  Professional photographers are clearly invulnerable judging by the way the one in attendance bounced across the main road, crouching admits oncoming traffic for the sake of framing his ideal shot of the costume competition winner declaring the event open.  A fair crowd had already assembled at the front of the building for this and our presence attracted additional passers-by camera phones held aloft.

Once this duty was discharged we returned to the main atrium via my rampy-nemesis for a few additional official photos, before the public were admitted stopping for their own picture opportunities before making their way to the exhibit.
While the costumers separated into two groups after half an hour or so, my group and I remained in the same area for the duration as the building in general was very hot and the open side door allowed something of a no-doubt welcome cooling chill to permeate the reception area.

The short event was brought to a close with final visit to the front of the building, this time negotiating the main stairs to allow a film crew to capture some promotional material before our return to the changing area to allow everyone to de-kit.

Our presence had been very popular, in conjunction with the exhibit itself, bringing an estimated ten times the usual weekend visitor numbers through the door and we were looked after very well by the staff.  If only all our event refreshments were catered by an outside company!

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88 Rutherglen Comic Con – 4th February 2017

Troop Icons Spotter 2015Location
Town Hall, Rutherglen 09:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
I have to admit I rather unfairly misjudged this event in advance, assuming it would be a small comic mart of interest only to back issue bin raiders and the presence of more than one costumer would be overkill.  Suffice to say I was proven very wrong, the town centre locale and token admission fee making the event apparently very attractive to families, despite the cold winds and periodic bursts of heavy rain on the day. As a result the venue was heaving from start to damn near finish, to the extent that it seemed regardless of where we tried to position ourselves conflicting queues for photos would spring up, either interfering with the routes between areas or, much to their ire, blocking the publics access to the stalls of certain vendors with regular frequency…

The location and nature of the event led to a very different crowd from that which we would see at larger events, one for which our appearance was a novelty and the resulting throngs were expertly managed by our two guest Jedi from the Rebel Legion through the day. This meant the gig passed very quickly, only noticeably slacking off when the place began to clear out circa 15:00 as attention moved to the Cosplay competition being held further down the road at the local library, so much so that breaks were few and far between – but given the cramped changing area which was being shared (my only real gripe) with other amateur groups this was probably a blessing.

I hope the organisers continue with these type of offerings, there’s clearly a market for them although given how much lighter my wallet was by the end of it I’m probably best off steering clear of any sign-ups for them for the foreseeable!

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81 Glasgow Film & Comic Con 2016 – 20th August 2016

Troop Icons Spotter 2015Location
Braehead Arena : INTU Braehead, Glasgow 09:00 – 17:00

Mission Report
In all honesty, I was not expecting to Troop again this year, least of all at the event formerly known as Collectormania Glasgow which (as we got no charity contribution for doing and rather boringly involves standing about in costume in a shopping centre) I’ve never shared other peoples fascination with as a gig. Fortunately for me though my attendance on this occasion was in the role of Spotter which largely relieved any potential tedium and as it turned out, a large part of the day was spent behind the ISS display table – greatly benefitting my plantar fasciitis.

I’ve never had any real interest in being parked behind this display in the past but oddly I found it a fairly enjoyable way to interact with the public while not in costume which is usually the anthesis of acting as a spotter (this event aside, where various punters seemed insistent on asking me questions about where to queue and how much entry was. You’d think after nine years in the same venue Showmasters would have learned to signpost their event and have staff available to deal with these type of queries…) and served as something of a relief to the stresses of trying to keep an eye on costumers who were wandering off unsupervised due to the scarcity of members fulfilling that duty.
Anyway, I know the display table causes some controversy at events in terms of keeping it manned, but I’d be willing to do so again even if 80% of the information I gave out concerning the helmets on display was entirely made up!

Fortunately for my wallet, none of the items on sale, nor guests, were of particular interest to me (although I was somewhat awestruck by what a gentleman Colin Baker was on occasion I bumped into him briefly backstage) but clearly the presence of Ray Park was a big draw for some of our crew. He seemed a pleasant enough chap, and genuinely flattered by the Honorary Member presentation that we performed for him, although I suspect in hindsight he regrets his subsequent attempt to impale a poor unsuspecting female helper through the head with a runaway lightsaber blade.

All in all it was a good day, had I not already made other arrangements I’d have given serious consideration to returning for the Sunday. It may not have done anything to convince me to play dress up again any time soon, but it was nice to see the squad in action once more…!

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