80 UWS Star Wars Week – Promotional Video – 13th April 2016

Troop Icons TB 2015Location
UWS Paisley Campus, Paisley 18:00 – 21:30

Mission Report
Goodness me, that was a lot of fun.

The possibility of this even to shoot a promotional video for University of the West of Scotland to tie in with their screenings of The Force Awakens on across the campuses next month had been mentioned back in the middle of March so it was quite disappointing that it hadn’t been posted for discussion on our boards to allow more of the ISS to attend.  Fortunately our friends over at the Rebel legion seem a lot better organised and were able to field a reasonable number of cannon fodder for the Imperial forces in attendance to mow down.

Much mirth is made of the fact that Stormtroopers can’t shoot straight so it was with no small sense of satisfaction that our Fleet Trooper and X-Wing pilot on the night had problems coordinating the basics of walking.

It’s also somewhat surprising the galaxy hasn’t fallen under the heel of Imperial tyranny about 20 minutes into Star Wars having also witnessed the Rebellions inability to follow their cue resulting in multiple takes in an attempt to get them to close a book.  You begin to understand why George Lucas favoured CGI characters in later years… 😉

As always with these video shoots, with their long periods of standing about waiting for 30 seconds of action, it’s the banter and interplay between the folk present in-between takes that never makes it onto screen which makes the occasion enjoyable and memorable.  In this instance I couldn’t have asked for a more fantastic, ridiculous, fun and silly group to partake in this event with.
Oh.  And once again, I apologise Gordy for kicking your corpse harder than intended after your heroic death scene.

Play us out guys…

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77 Fairy Box, Enchanted Garden Party – 20th September 2015

Troop Icons TB 2015Location
Invercarse Hotel, Dundee 13:00 – 16:30

Mission Report
I have a lot of issues with this hobby sometimes and it seems often that the craptastic events outnumber anything worthwhile and then infrequently something like this comes along.

And even though you’re maybe standing in the one spot for a long while, blocking access to a disabled toilet, and it’s possibly uncomfortably warm and small children are coming up and asking you to sign an autograph in a book that’s closed, with a pen which still has the lid on with your stupid big chunky gloves almost specifically designed to inhibit manual dexterity; simultaneously juggling a fake gun while peering though eye holes that would be next to useless for avoiding small, sugar filled, moving obstacles even in a full lit otherwise empty warehouse.

Even though all that, sometimes you overhear a slew of arrivals as they identify themselves and explain why there’s one less than was invited because someone is too ill to attend and you think to yourself, “Yes…  Helping out these children in some tiny way is why I do this…”

Before the event, before even the rest of the troop had arrived, in a scant few minutes she had in-between running around coordinating this circus, I met Rosie the organiser who has asked for our help at these Fairy Box events over the years and I thanked her for inviting us along.

I don’t think I’ve ever meant such a heartfelt sentiment in my life.

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76 Toys R Us – Force Friday Midnight Madness – 3rd September 2015

Troop Icons TB 2015Location
Toys R Us Govan, Glasgow 23:00 – 00:30

Mission Report
This was a kind of odd event to be honest.
I didn’t have good memories of the last time we did a midnight launch at this branch of ToysRUs, not that it was unpleasant, just that the number of staff outnumbered the shoppers who turned up (actually thinking about it the number of Troopers just about outnumbered the shoppers who turned up…) and Disney’s strategy of embargoing all the products to make the more desirable seemed massively pointless for what is a line of mass-produced products.
I sort of feel you could stay in your bed and buy the same thing on any Saturday at lunchtime between now and Christmas and be better off for it, both financially, when they become discounted after warming shelves between now and then and from having a full nights sleep instead of standing in the cold night air in Govan.

Wandering up and down the queue I felt like pointing out to them that was literally no kudos to be had from owning these things first (the obvious exception to this being the BB8 from Sphero, which was on sale at midnight for a gut clenching, stock bothering 50 minutes before I could de-kit and buy my own…) and I have to say I feel part of the secrecy is down to the really poor quality of some of the merchandise.
Sidenote: The new 3.75″ Falcon is not only a poor effort compared to the larger Clone Wars era ship but (WTF?!?  A pop up Nerf gun?  Can’t wait for that sequence in the film…) has fewer play features and a less detailed molding than the 1979 original. Figures with only 5 point of articulation?  It’s like 19-whenever Palitoy released these things first time round all over again.
Of course having little personal interest in the new film probably doesn’t help; Chewbacca, the new Nippletroopers and the aforementioned droid being the only objects on the shelves recognisable to me having never seen the trailer.  In fact the single photo of group of classic Stormtroopers at the bottom of a ramp from the first standalone film has filled me with much more excitement than any of the hype for this new trilogy.  But I digress…

Anyway, despite an aborted request for our early arrival the shopper fitters were still finishing up when we eventually did arrive and the shelves only being stocked while we were getting dressed, so lord knows what the point would have been being there any longer than we were.  Come 23:00, we were asked to go outside and entertain the people queuing prior to the store opening, but there wasn’t much opportunity for interaction and there was only mild interest in our presence from the public themselves.

Unfortunately that turned out to be the highlight of the night as once we moved indoors again, other than some staff group photos before the public were admitted, our presence was entirely redundant.  We were reduced (and to be clear I’m not blaming the staff for this as while they obviously had no idea what to do with us, I’m fairly certain everyone in costume was knackered by this time and it was all we could do to remain upright anyway…) to standing about an adjacent toy aisle, largely concealed by unrelated toy displays.  The only brief interaction came when our resident Boba Fett was asked to draw the raffle tickets for the prize draw and with the oppressive heat in the store, frankly it was a relief to be told it was time to de-kit because it meant bed was only an hour away!

“Midnight opening?”  More like Shitnight opening…

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75 Erskine Motorbike Meet 2015 – 31st May 2015

Troop Icons TB 2015Location
Erskine Home, Bishopton 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
Proving that you can never judge a troop by its intended audience, I don’t think any of us were massively optimistic for this event when we arrived to find the organiser unreachable after making our way through successive waves of leather clad bikers intent on denying access to any vehicle with more than 3 wheels to the site and the rock band tuning up over the PA system which had all the signs of rendering RomFXs totally moot.

Confounding expectations though there were a surprising number of children at the event (dogs too, how do they ride a motorbike anyway?) and there seems to be hitherto unexpected deep veins of Star Wars, Judge Dredd and Planet of the Apes fandom amongst the Scottish biker community.
This lead to non-stop requests for photos immediately on leaving the changing area – possibly a bit too immediately for my liking given that we were halfway across a road and there were till attendees arriving on their bikes at the same time – and for the duration of the troop.

It was nice to finally see our glorious leaders shit flinging ape in person at long last and have the emaciated form of Judge Death grace us with his presence

(punch line incoming)

in his Street Judge outfit*, even if he was smiling a little too much to accurately portray a stony faced lawman.

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*Do you see what I did there?  I cleverly equated the Old Git Hamilton with the undead super fiend from 2000AD because of their visual similarity and temperament.