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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91 Glasgow Royal Hospital For Sick Children Star Wars Day – 4th May 2017

Location
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow 12:00 – 15:00

Mission Report
Going on for a decade after his construction, it’s always a rollercoaster of emotions taking Artoo to an event.  Excitment about getting him out of the house, stress over whether the batteries will charge, worry about whether he’ll actually function and ultimately depression when he invariably fails somehow however this event reached new hights, or more accurately lows, of frustration.

To be honest I should’ve been suspicious fate was setting me up for something when he was loaded into his transport relatively quickly and easily, but having had to purchase a new set of transmitter and receiver batteries at the last minute, hoping against hope that they woud arrive charged, I assumed I had conquered the hurdles to be presented this time round.  There’s hubris for you.  Imagine my surprise and delight then when we unloaded him from his transport platform and his right foot fell off entirely!

Managing to temporarily reaffix it we got off to a literal flying start, the replacement motor fitted after his last event, driving him along the curiously narrow and equipment cluttered corridors of the first two wards-worth of our visit at eye-wincing and toe crushing speeds.
Unfortunately it was not to last as the plucky astromech noticeably began to slow and become more difficult to steer.  With no behind the scenes area to retire to it was difficult to determine where this new fault lay and while we gamely soldiered on for another 15 minutes or so pushing him along to compensate for what appeared to be only half his drive motors working and a vague smell of burning from within his barrel-shaped torso, there appeared to be a very real danger of causing permanant damage from them trying to shift his mass and he needed to be retired for the day.

A huge blow and a personal disapointment to be sure and as much as the others tried to downplay it later by pointing out that the risk of serious damage didn’t warrant trying to continue or how much longer it would have taken to make our way round all the wards had he been fully functional and available for the multitude of photo opportunities the rest of the troop enjoyed during the day, it was small consolation given the effort expounded by everyone involved to get him there…

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90 LEGO Store Star Wars Event – 29th April 2017

Location
Buchannan Galleries, Glasgow 11:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
It’s been a good long time since we were last at the LEGO Store (in an official capacity I mean, obviously with Brickset saying we’ve north of £10,000 worth of plastic bricks in hand we’ve been there shopping about once a month) and due to the timing it wasn’t possible to bring R2 along on this occasion as we’d wanted to.  To be honest I’m not even sure that the Biker Scout would have been my first choice as an alternate costume, but still being massively jet lagged and aware of the heat in the store when the overhead lights aren’t off I didn’t figure on having many options.

After being warmly welcomed as always by Andrew and his staff, we were dispatched upstairs to the secure office to change before being led out to parade the upper floor of the shopping centre to allow their social media manager to post videos and photos of us on behalf of Buchannan Galleries, ultimately making our way down to the first floor and the LEGO Store itself.
For those who have never shopped there, the store is a decent size, but has a number of pillars and displays on the floorspace, while all three walls are loaded with the stock and further display units which unfortunately meant that with a TK either side of the door I felt that regardless of where I stood I was always blocking someones access to something, especially with the find the minifigure hunt that was running in-store.  Fortunately, for me at least, the TKs appeared to be somewhat uncomfortable or bored in the one sport at the door and soon began wandering about allowing me access to the slightly cooling breeze that it provided.

While our previous visit had a requisite to trudge all the way back up to the offices for lunch, the stock room was a lot tidier this time round enabling us to use it to sto for something to eat, albeit compounding my feeling of just constantly being in the way what with the staff coming in for sets or breaks of their own.
As the shop got busier in the afternoon, so the heat increased leading me to seek the sanctury of the nearby air conditioning vent locations on more than one occasion.  A quick lids-off late in the afternoon led to an unfortunate incident where one of our newer troopers strayed too far from the safety of the shop just as the detritus from the Old Firm game that day was floating past which unfortunately only more experience would have told him was a bad idea resulting in a knock to the helmeted head.  An unfortunate incident to be sure but hopefull one that won’t put him off future events…

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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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