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Review: Star Wars Annual 2015

Review: Star Wars Annual 2015 (or, They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used Ter)

What is the purpose of an annual?

This admittedly odd question popped into my head when I flicked through my copy of the Star Wars Annual 2015 by Egmont Publishing. I confess I never really figured it out – at least by myself. I had to talk to several people on the internet, who very patiently explained it to me, using small words and varied hand gestures. Which was odd, because we communicated via text. No webcams were involved, and thus I couldn’t see their hand gestures. People are weird on the internet.

But this was explained to me afterwards. During the read-through, I struggled quite a bit. So perhaps it’s best that I split this review into two parts: my experience, and the experience of The Kids – because our experiences differed wildly. Before I continue, I want to point out that my reaction was largely negative, but not at the fault of the book itself. It was entirely down to me. This is because, as a kid in the late 90s, I had an annual that I adored. The Star Wars Annual 1998; I have it in my possession even now. These memories largely coloured my thoughts. But if you continue reading (please do, I’m needy that way), I think you’ll find all is explained. So. To business.

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#TheForceAges: Remember The Force Awakens’ One-Year Mark with a Selfie

It’s hard to believe, but a mere 365 days remain until the next Star Wars film hits theaters.

To celebrate, Star Wars fans everywhere are taking part in a #TheForceAges hashtag on social media. Our friends at JediNews explain it well:

365 days. That’s a whole ‘nother year to wait until The Force Awakens arrives in cinemas, and Lucasfilm’s Matt Martin started a Twitter Selfie campaign today by to see how much he would age between today and when The Force Awakens comes out.

We plan to compile all the images we can find from people who participate. If you want to participate all you have to do is post a picture of you with a sign that says “This is me one year from Star Wars The Force Awakens” and use the hashtag ?#TheForceAges?.

So what are you waiting for? Tweet those selfies! I did.

Dragon Con 2014 Sets Attendance and Fundraising Records

Greetings all! While this is a little late to send this out, I wanted to in the spirit of the holidays as I thought it’s a great example of a convention doing a lot of good for others. Dragon Con worked hard to raise money and food for those who need it, as well as having record participation in their blood drive, and you can see the efforts of that hard work more than pay off below! This is a convention that should definitely be proud of the good they do! ~ Bethany Blanton

PRESS RELEASE:

Official Charity Atlanta Community Food Bank Receives more than $115,000 and over 500 Pounds Food Items; Record Participation in Blood Drive Supports Critical Need. 

More than 62,000 fans, coming from every state in the nation and a few foreign countries, participated in the 28th annual Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention, setting a new attendance record.

The convention raised over $115,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, collected 535 pounds of food which will provide 445 meals for the food bank, and set a new record in its blood drive efforts.

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Star Wars Broadsaber: The Defense

(First of all: sorry.)

You may have heard, but there was this teaser trailer that came out a short while ago. It’s for The Force Awakens. Have you … okay I was going to say ‘have you felt it?’ but that would probably be too over done, not to mention it wouldn’t make any real sense as a question. How could you ‘feel’ a trailer? Unless you sensed through your ears the masses of Star Wars fans squeeing? (For my part, I do apologise to my dog.) I guess this side-track marks the end of my nonchalant opening. Anyhoo, have you seen it? Did you see the dude* with the lightsaber?

*No, not ‘The Dude’. As we now know, his name is Kylo Ren; though to me he will always be Mr. Kitty.

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A Trooper’s Point of View: Getting Started

Storm Trooper-09So you’re interested in joining the 501st Legion.  How do you become a part of the Galactic Empire?  Membership in the 501st only has three requirements.  First, you must be 18 years old.  Second, you must own an approved costume.  Third, you must wear that costume to an event at least once a year.  It’s the second point that we will focus on this time around.

I frequently get asked “What costume should I build?”  That is not an easy question for me to answer.  First, the costumes are not cheap.  Your standard trooper can easily be a $500 – $1000 investment.  Secondly, they take a while to build.  It took me about three and a half months to build my Stormtrooper.  Lastly, these costumes were designed with looks first and comfort second.  With that in mind I tell people to go with what they truly love.  If it’s your favorite character or you have a connection to the costume it will make everything that much better.

Now is the part where I tell you that I did not heed my own advice.  When I first made the decision to join the 501st I dove in before I had thought about what costume I wanted.  I really had no connections or particular affinity for the Stormtroopers before beginning my build.  In building the costume and doing my research, I grew to love the iconic design.  Now the troopers are one of my favorite parts of the saga.

You saw the 501st online or at a convention and want to join.  First we recommend signing up to the local garrison forums.  It’s an easy way to introduce yourself to the group and to find out about events and members in the area.  Secondly, you need to decide what costume you want to build.  After you decide what costume you want, you will want to check out the appropriate detachment.  This is a website and forum dedicated to a particular costume type.  Here you can find other people with that costume, tutorials, helpful advice and more.  You can find links to both garrison websites and the detachment sites on www.501st.com.

Box 1After purchasing your armor the waiting is the hardest part.  That time between sending in your money and the box arriving can be painful.  The day finally arrives and you get the Big Brown Box.  You open it up and see all the plasticy goodness.  It starts out like Christmas morning as you open the box, but you quickly realize how much work you have ahead of you in assembling this.  A box full of plastic is exciting and terrifying.  Where do I start?

Armor pieces

This is where the detachments will come in.  You can see others who are building the costume as well as follow tutorials and a wealth of helpful information.  I started with the smaller pieces to test out and worked my way up to the harder parts.  This is where I say that it’s helpful to have that connection to the character or the costume.  If you truly love it, it will keep you going when things get frustrating or difficult, and they will get frustrating and difficult.

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Full bodyAfter trooping for over a year, I decided I wanted a new helmet.  I spent the better part of a year building, tearing down, rebuilding, sanding and repainting my new helmet.  It was test of my skills and my patience as it seems anything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong.  By the time I was finished I had nicknamed it the “Hell Bucket.”  More than once I wanted to punt it across the lawn and give up.  Remember it’s not a race.  If it will help you, set deadlines, but set realistic deadlines.  Everyone in the Legion has been there before, and we want to help you.  Troopers helping Troopers is a motto many live by.

Helmet pieces

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Once you have completed your build you take pictures of yourself fully dressed and submit them to your local Garrison Membership Liaison.  They will review the pictures, making sure your costume is built to the Legion standards.  When you are approved you choose your Legion ID number and take your place in the Empire.

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