Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bye-bye Bucket

Today I sold one of my 501st Legion approved costume parts, which now takes my "official" costume count from 3 to 2 (Imperial Crewman, and Boba Fett). The Imperial Navy Trooper helmet was a good idea but I never truly got into the character. I'm sure the new owner will get a lot more fun out of it than I did. I can't even remember when I last wore it. Summer of 2010 maybe? This pic may be the last time.

Now I can start working on my next costume project. Imperial Boy Scout! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Date With A Princess

It's been a long time since I've updated, but I will try to do better.

Last night I went to Toronto to see "Wishful Drinking," which is the live stage show of Carrie Fisher's life, as published in the book of the same name (I don't know which came first). I read the book last year, before going to Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Florida. Ms Fisher was signing autographs there. I really enjoyed the book, and when I found out she was coming to Toronto, I was excited to see her perform the book live.

It's a very funny show. Much of Carrie's humour is self-deprecating and sardonic, though she does poke fun at some other Hollywood celebrities. I was there with a few of my friends from the 501st Legion Canadian Garrison and the Rebel Legion Canadian Base. We found the stories about Star Wars pretty entertaining, and I applauded after she recited her infamous "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi" monologue.

After the show, we went to the stage door to present Ms Fisher with a bouquet of flowers and a card. She was kind enough to sign autographs and pose for photos with the 10 or so fans who had also gathered there. Here is a photo of her signing my playbill. It made my night!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Halloween

Well, it is that time of year. Just a few days before Halloween. Halloween has always been my favourite holiday - an excuse to dress up in costume? I'm all for it!! Last year I spent countless hours and quite a few pennies on a gladiator costume. I was going to a costume party organized by Silver Snail, which is a large comic book / collectibles shop / nerd haven in downtown Toronto. I decided to do a replica of Maximus, the character portrayed by Russell Crowe in the movie "Gladiator." I did a pretty good job and didn't break the bank. The chest piece is plastic, bought off Ebay and repainted. I made the tunic from some cheap fabric. I bought a leather skirt at a thrift store and used it to make the leather parts (like the skirt and the vambraces). Here is a pic:

It was a chilly night in Toronto, so I whipped up a robe too with some wool that was on sale, and some fun fur.

That was Halloween 2009.

This year I decided to go to the Church-Wellesley Village in Toronto for Halloween (large street party in the gaybourhood). I learned that the party is happening on the 31st, which falls on a Sunday. It's a bit disappointing because I was planning to make it a big weekend out in Toronto, but now it will likely be just the day. Friends who invited me to stay have to work early on Monday morning, so Halloween won't be a late night now. Partly due to that, and partly due to the fact that I've been really busy lately with work (aka real life), I haven't had time to work on a new costume. I will be wearing my Biggs Darklighter X-wing Pilot costume this year.

Happy Halloween and May the Force be with You!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Public Service Announcement: Hide Your Junk!

OK, as you know, I attend the occasional comic book / sci fi convention. In 2010 this included Toronto Comic Con, Ad Astra, Polaris, Celebration V, and Fan Expo. Now, even if you've never been to such an event before, you are, no doubt, aware that many attendees at a "con" will be in costume. Some choose to dress as a character from a movie or TV show, and others will opt to recreate a character from the pages of a comic book. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine. You get the picture.

I applaud anyone who has the nerve to do this in public. I myself, being a naturally shy guy, always get the butterflies in the stomach when I suit up in one of my Star Wars costumes before a public event. But overcoming nervousness and facing that stage fright is part of the thrill.

Bears like me don't do so well in spandex, which is why my costumes tend to include loose fitting jumpsuits and lots of distracting armour so you don't focus on the belly.

I do have a fondness for a man in tight spandex (go figure!) but I have seen an interesting trend among the male comic book cosplayers. I like to think that these men are oblivious to what they are putting out there. Here are some photos I've found from various cons to illustrate what I mean.

Let's start with Superman. Great costume. Great boots. Unfortunately the tight red briefs leave little to the imagination!

The Flash looks a little too "excited" to be having his photo taken. Shwing!

Holy snakes Batman! Robin appears to have something making its way down his left leg.

I believe this fellow is Space Ghost. Evidently his compass is pointed north-northeast.

And last but not least, Wolverine. Nice ... er ... "helmet." You know you have a problem when strangers can make out the details of your private anatomy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against male genitalia. But I don't think the average con attendee is looking to see some guy's "junk" in spandex. The comic book heroes that these guys are trying to emulate typically have a nondescript bulge up front. This is what your costume should look like also.

So, here's my advice, fellas. Leave the boxers (or boxer briefs) at home and invest in a tight-fitting jockstrap/cup or better yet get yourself a Dance Belt. Never heard of a dance belt? It's the underwear that the male ballet dancers wear. It is padded and gives a guy a nice rounded contour up front without showing off everything. It looks like this:

Yes, a prominent phallus is something to be proud of, but please don't display it at a comic book convention - pointed up, down, to the side, or snaking down your pant leg. Let's just leave that to the imagination.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Boba Fettish Continues

A few months ago, Hasbro announced plans to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back with a special action figure - a re-release of the vintage Boba Fett figure (from 1979) complete with vintage-looking packaging. The original Kenner figure was meant to come with a rocket-firing feature, but Kenner nixed the idea, deeming the projectile unsafe for kids. Thankfully times have changed, as Hasbro has included the rocket-firing missile with the new version of the classic toy. Already it is starting to show up on Ebay (where I found this photo):

Not available at stores, this figure can only be had by mail order from Hasbro. Today I dutifully mailed my cheque for $8.99, along with a special order form, and UPC codes from five other Star Wars figures. This process brought back quite a bit of nostalgia for me, as Kenner did these kinds of offers back in the 1970s and 1980s. Clip the proof of purchase from the figure packaging and mail away for a free toy. When the little mailer box arrived six to eight weeks later, it was like Christmas!

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Post

Welcome to my blog!

I have called this "Boba Doug's Rant" though I doubt that there will be any actual ranting going on. I don't really rant. But it sounded cool.
Why "Boba" Doug? I'm a member of the 501st Legion, which is a world-wide "Star Wars" costuming club. I currently have two costumes registered with the 501st and for the past few months have been working on a dream costume, Boba Fett. "Empire Strikes Back" Boba Fett to be specific (yes there are differences!). Why Boba? I can remember when I was a kid and Kenner released the first Boba Fett action figure. It was shortly before ESB was released, and I remember looking at the figure and the photo on the packaging and just thinking he was the coolest. Everything about his costume is so bad-ass - the armour, the helmet, the jetpack, the flame-thrower, the several blasters. He is a man of mystery and a "bad boy." Completely the opposite of me, which is probably why I've been so attracted to this character for so long.

In spring of 2010, I decided to start assembling a costume despite the many warnings from other Legion members that Boba can be a money pit. They weren't wrong. I decided that since I was going to go through with replicating this costume as best I can, I was going to buy the best pieces available, and make what I could. I haven't kept track of how much I've spent so far, but it's in the hundreds. And it's still not done. Still to go on the checklist:
• jetpack
• blaster
• sidearm / holster
(plus various electronic components and smaller bits).
And if you're wondering, there is an online forum devoted to this costume, put together by other Fett enthusiasts. I've learned a lot about this costume from that site.
On August 28, I got suited up at Fan Expo in Toronto as Boba for the first time, thanks to my friend Matt in Ottawa. Matt loaned me his helmet, armour, jetpack, and blasters. I supplied my own boots and soft parts (jumpsuit, gloves, boots, cape, etc.). Back in the spring I thought that I would have my costume done in time for Fan Expo, but due to a series of unfortunate events, the costume was only about half done. Matt took pity on me because he knew how excited I was about the costume and how my boyhood dreams were crushed when I sent my helmet to California to be painted by someone who claimed to be a professional effects painter. I was expecting "movie accuracy" but I got this:

So you can see the differences, here is a side-by-side comparison with an accurate helmet:
Colours are off, the scratch pattern is wrong, the detail is lacking, etc., etc. Overall poor craftsmanship and the feeling of a rush job (some of the silver appears to have been applied with a silver sharpie market, there are still pencil lines, and some of the masking wasn't removed!).
Anyhow, due to Matt's kindness, I was able to live out my fantasy and parade around Fan Expo for an hour on Saturday morning as the mysterious Mr Fett. It was more fun than I thought. I was stopped for photos countless times, and people were very excited to get a photo with Boba. Here are a few pics of me in the suit:
After taking these photos I could see that some more work was necessary - and I've since done some more weathering on the jumpsuit and boots, and revamped the gloves. Yes, I'm beyond the point of just wanting a cool Boba Fett costume. For some reason, I want the perfect Boba Fett costume.