Tag Archives: Mandalorian Mercs

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Star Wars: The Next Generation “Midnight Madness”

Star Wars: The Next Generation
“Midnight Madness”

As a young father with limited resources, my Star Wars toy habit was on hiatus when the prequels were released.  Admittedly, I would peruse the toy aisles in Wal-Mart and Target when the family was shopping, and the Star Wars aisles at Toys ‘R’ Us and Kay-Bee were always my first place to browse when we went to the toy stores.  But apart from some Playskool Star Wars toys for my daughter and Galactic Heroes and Jedi Force figures for my son, it wasn’t until the release of Revenge of the Sith around my son’s third birthday that my Star Wars collecting was reborn.

That being the case, I had never considered going to Star Wars events (other than the movies) when my children were very young.  I certainly wasn’t going to any “Midnight Madness” releases of Star Wars toys I couldn’t buy anyway.  All that changed in 2008 when, in anticipation of the release of The Clone Wars in August, Toys ‘R’ Us stores hosted a “Midnight Madness” event to release the new line of Star Wars figures and toys.  Fortuitously, we were visiting family in Atlanta when the day arrived, so we headed up to the Kennesaw store at about 10:00 to get in line.

I didn’t know what to expect from something like this.  Apart from keeping the kids up way past their bedtime, I wasn’t concerned about taking them to Toys ‘R’ Us for this event.  After all, Star Wars fans are well known for their kindness and cordiality, so I was certain that everyone would be on their best behavior.  My wife, on the other hand, was sure that our younglings (small even for their ages) would be trampled by maniacal fans storming the store in competition for a big Millennium Falcon or V-19 Torrent Fighter.  Once we saw other families with their children there and talked to the folks near us in line, her concerns were lessened.

Then the unexpected occurred.

dsc04088Out the front doors marched a couple stormtroopers, a Republic Commando, and a bounty hunter named Boussh.  My wife and the kids watched as others stepped forward to see the life-sized action figures.  With some coaching and prodding, I was eventually able to get my six year-old son to meet the members of the Georgia Garrison of the 501st.  Within a few minutes, we returned to our place in line as my wife checked to ensure the youngest shazling was unscathed after his encounter with the Imperials just in time for the doors to open.

As we entered the store, all the customers who had been waiting in line calmly took their carts to the display and began picking the figures and toys they wanted to purchase.  There were more than enough Millennium Falcons and AT-TEs to satisfy customers, though some of the more highly anticipated figures were disappearing quickly.  I made sure to get my Yarna — certain that she would sell out immediately.  Luke chose a Captain Rex and Darth Vader.  And I topped off our shopping list with a V-19 Torrent Fighter.  We weren’t going to be big spenders, but this selection would put us above the price point to allow us to get a free holographic General Grievous Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive.

By the time we made it back to the in-laws’ house, both kids were asleep and my wife was happy that (1) they hadn’t been trampled and (2) I hadn’t emptied the bank account.

With another “Midnight Madness” on the horizon, I thought it would be beneficial to make a few suggestions for parents who are considering a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us on September 4th.

Make sure the store you’re considering is Clock Midnightactually hosting this event.  Although official site for the 2015 “Midnight Madness” states that all locations (except for those in Paramus, NJ), my local Toys ‘R’ Us has told me that they will not be even participating in “Midnight Madness” this time around.  I live in a relatively small city without a large contingent of Star Wars collectors.  If yours is the same, you may have to drive a bit further to find a store that will be hosting Destination: Star Wars, the official designation of the event.

Check to see if the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, or Mandalorian Mercs will be attending.  Part of the magic of events like this is seeing your kids’ favorite characters from the movies, television, and toy aisles come to life.  Through their websites, you may even be able to find out which characters will be at certain stores.  Even if your local Toys ‘R’ Us is hosting Destination: Star Wars, you may want to go to another location if you want to make sure to have some interaction with Star Wars characters.

Consider costuming.  You might want to join in the fun, too.  Most everyone enjoys dressing-up — especially kids.  Even if your kids don’t have a costume and you lack the ability to craft a screen accurate costume yourself, ask your younglings if they would like to dress-up as one of their favorite characters for the event.  Let them help put together a costume.  A robe, some plain pants, and a toy lightsaber can make a convincing Jedi.  Cardboard and foam sheets can become Stormtrooper armor.  Be inventive.  Your kids will always remember the time you let them go out in public in costume when it wasn’t even Hallowe’en!  And if you have the energy to put into it, think about becoming a character yourself.  Those present for the event will enjoy having a character along with them for the night, especially if none of the well-known organizations aren’t in attendance.

HanSoloShirtWear Star Wars items.  In 2008, I didn’t have a single Star Wars T-shirt.  It seems unbelievable to me now that I have several* in my closet and drawer.  Still, I had the wherewithal to pull out an old iron-on transfer from my collection to put on a white shirt.  (For those who are shouting about the audacity of actually using an iron-on from the ‘70s, never fear: I scanned it into the computer and printed it out on iron-on transfer paper for printers.)  With Star Wars in public awareness, you can likely find an inexpensive shirt at Target or Wal-Mart for the occasion.

Set aside some money now.  We all know that Christmas is coming in just a few months.  And while I was reluctant to make big purchases at my first “Midnight Madness” because I knew that Santa would be bringing one or both of the big vehicles to my house in December, as I think back to that night, it would have been an exciting impromptu summer holiday for my younglings had we brought home the big Millennium Falcon that night.  Even if you decide to limit your spending at this event, it’s best to prepare beforehand so you can budget yourself accordingly without taking out a credit card because you suddenly decide to get more than you had planned.  Knowing how much you are able to spend will help you choose what is most important to you on September 4th.

If you have other ideas or advice to add to this list, feel free to add it below in the comments or contact me @shazbazzar on Twitter.  Happy hunting on “Force Friday” this September!

Rhode Island Comic Con

2014 Rhode Island Comic Con
by Joseph Tavano

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The last time I attended a comic book convention was 1993. It was in the large conference room of a Marriott on the outskirts of town, and there were roughly 20 vendors from all over New England selling hard-to-find action figures, bootleg concert cassettes, VHS tapes of first generation Star Trek episodes, and long-boxes of comics as far as the eye could see. This monthly slice of heaven was free to all who could find it and pretty much the greatest thing my 13 year-old eyes ever gazed upon. My Dad would drive my friend and me to the “comic con” and set me loose among the stacks and tables to burn through the $20 I earned washing refrigerated trucks from his friend’s Italian sausage business.

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Dragon Con 2014 Saturday

Hello there!

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Our second day at Dragon Con began with us sleeping in a bit after a late night. The first thing Riley and Bethany did was to go see the famous Dragon Con parade! With hundreds of cosplayers from a wide variety of genres, franchises, and a mix of both, the parade was definitely a must see for anyone interested in seeing costumes or cosplaying. There was a big Star Wars presence in the parade from the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, and the Mandalorian Mercs. There were also a number of Battlestar Galactica costumes, Final Fantasy, Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, Anime, and various other video game, TV show, and movie characters.

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Mandalorians… ‘Nuff Said – SWBTF #25

Greetings! And welcome to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

This week your hosts, the Defender of the EU, Mark and the EU Guru, Nathan tackle a topic many EU Fans have been salivating for. Mandalorians.

 

And who better to help them discuss the Mandalorian culture, than Tom Hutchens; a.k.a. Mandalore the Uniter, founder of the Mandalorian Mercs. Tom brings a unique look into the Mandalorian culture through his love of metal work, making custom armor.

Also, Nathan and Tom were recently at the ConCarolinas Star Wars Panel where Nathan recorded the panel for listeners to enjoy.

Nathan sets the current stage of the Mandalorians in the Saga to catch us up.

The hosts ponder the question: Does the current state of the Mandalorians fit well to you?

The hosts all agree that Jason Fry’s Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare stitches everything back together into a cohesive unit well. As Mark’s fond of saying; “if there’s a retcon: there’s a way.” Mark thinks that retcons can fix stang near everything!

Tom mentions armor, and how it fits into the culture of the Mandalorians. And Mark noticed certain elements of Jango Fett’s armor mirrored in the architecture of Mandalorian buildings in The Clone Wars. Tom has a very good explanation for this, based in the beskar’gam (armor) itself. Very deep stuff.

Speaking of The Clone Wars the hosts discuss the Death Watch, and other new characters recently introduced. Most notably Bo-Katan. Bo-Katan‘s introduction to The Clone Wars gave fans voice actress Katee Sackhoff, who plays a strong female warrior who is the equal of any man in the Death Watch.

Was Karen Traviss’s take on the Mandalorians your meat & potatoes? Or did you feel you were left with burnt toast? There was a time when she was considered by some to be “The Authority” of the Mandalorian Culture, as well as Clones, especially Clone Commandos. But then some didn’t care for what she brought to the table at all. Few fell into the “Meh” group.

Is the Mandalorian’s ever fluctuating past due in large part to George Lucas’s morphing vision? Or author carelessness? Or was it simple over-site? However it was, Jason Fry’s Essential Guide to Warfare sews it back together brilliantly.

Nathan points out that the groundwork for the retcon for The Clone Wars‘ New Mandalorians was in place well before the episodes even aired, inside the pages of Star Wars: The Essential Atlas. Many missed this at first though, perhaps owing to the higher price for the Essential Guide series prices?

 

Tom brings up an excellent question: what is the real face of Mandalore?

Poor Mandalore… it was forest and woodlands a few times, and then it gets one picture of a barren wasteland and suddenly the whole planet is totaled? Not so fast!

The whole planet’s surface does not need to be destroyed. Perhaps it was only a few locations that had been bombed out of existence. Perhaps it is the New Mandalorian Culture that felt the location was sacred or symbolic. Mandalorians- as known before we see them in TCW -were a nomadic people, they could uplift camp and leave in a moments notice. So perhaps they didn’t care that the New Mandalorians set up in these old bombed out capital locations. There are multiple ways the wastelands seen on the TV show could have happened. The hosts ponder a few.

Mark asks: Did The Clone Wars turn the Klingons of Star Wars into Vulcans?

Or in the end did it  just blend the two?

In the EU, Knights of the Old Republic (the comic) plays up the fact that the Mando’s were equal opportunity employers, a come-one, come-all attitude. It didn’t matter what species, so long as you honored the Resol’nare. Whereas the New Mandalorians seem like they are more like the empire, everyone same skin tone, hair colors, and eye color, and all human. Is there a story to be told as to why?

Kotor: War was brought up due to one of Mark’s biggest EU wishes: Mandalorian Knights! Granted this isn’t Knights of the Old Republics first foray into the land of Mandalorian Knights, Demagol tried to create an army of them with Jedi Master Arca Jeth’s DNA. But it would seem that after Demagol’s failure it was decided it would be better to have adult Jedi vs. raising them from infancy.

Yet these new Mandalorian Knights as seen in Kotor: War are the best of both. They are Jedi who have sided with the Mandalorian people. As Jedi they are still honoring life, just not the lives the Republic Jedi want them focusing on.
On the cosplay side of things Tom explains how being a Mandalorian Knight would work in the Mandalorian Mercs. Who knew there were so many well thought out rules to wearing a Star Wars costume?
Leaping into the far future, Mark points to Hondo Karr, the secretly-Mandalorian, Stormtrooper who was a member of Joker Squadron, who would again shift sides and join the Galactic Alliance and of all squadrons, Rogue Squadron. But the Legacy series still has a Mandalorian tale to tell… Hondo was last seen donning his beskar’gam once again and setting out to hunt down the new Mandalore to seek revenge.

The hosts stop and ponder the polar opposite of the Mandalorian Knights; Mandalorian Sith!?!

Nathan explains why this concept just might not work.
Returning to the Klingonization of the Mandalorians, we have Mando’a, the Mandalorian language. Nathan asks if creating a full language going just a little too far?

The hosts ponder a lot this episode, and cover a lot of ground. Enjoy the episode, and don’t forget; if you want to chime in on anything be sure to hit up the guys through email, or their facebook page.

 

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms
Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms

ConCarolinas Star Wars Panel 2012

Nathan once again attended ConCarolinas this year, and, as is tradition, he recorded the year’s Star Wars panel for listeners who were unable to attend. On the panel for this year’s discussion are professional costumer Cheralyn Lambeth (also a member of the 501st and Rebel Legion), Kathy Johnson (501st member, wife of 501st founder Albin Johnson, and mother of Katie Johnson, whose story is recounted  on the panel), Tom Hutchens (founder of the Mandalorian Mercs costuming group), and Nathan (whom listeners know by now). We hope you enjoy this on-site recording and brief recounting of the convention.

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms

Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms