Snowtrooper Progress

My snowtrooper costume is nearing completion. At this point I have most of the weathering done. I still need to weather the duster, pants, and belt packs and then touch up the armor pieces and webbing and whatnot.

Once I have all the weathering done and after doing a final check over everything, I will then submit photos for membership into the 501st Legion. After that I’ll rig up the electronics inside the suit (i.e. the voice changer and helmet fans).

I still might try to come up with a solution for the problem of not being able to hear well inside the helmet. I also have an idea for a cooling system that will help make the costume more bearable should I need to wear it indoors for an extended period of time, like at a convention or something.

The costume will be done this winter.

Star Trek is Back

Star Trek is finally back on TV…in the form of The Orville.  Seth MacFarlane, creator of the shows Family Guy and American Dad, has brought to life a new TV series in the vein of classic Star Trek — and it’s fantastic.

The show is half-serious and half-humorous in a weird way.  Personally I find the humor a bit hit-or-miss.  Sometimes the jokes fall flat and other times I can’t help but burst out with a laugh.  However, the drama is right on target.  Every episode touches on some thought-provoking moral dilemma or ambiguity, which is really what good sci-fi is all about.

If you’re a fan of classic Trek (especially TNG), then you owe it to yourself to check out The Orville.  If you’re not a fan of Seth MacFarlanesque humor, at least try to stomach it for a few episodes because the “Trekkiness” of the more serious parts of the show is worth it.

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I think there’s another non-Star-Trek Star Trek show out right now called Star Trek: Discovery, or something.  Not really sure what that’s all about.  I heard they invented some new aliens and are calling them the Klingons now (ugh).  Maybe I’ll get around to checking that show out some time.  Whatever.

I Flew an X-wing Today!

I was at my brother’s place today and got to try the Star Wars: Battlefront – X-wing VR demo on his PS4. It was incredible!

Here’s a video of my play-through of the demo (The first seven minutes or so are just me getting used to being in a virtual world with an X-wing starfighter – jump to about 8:00 to see the start of the game):

It’s disappointing that there’s nothing more to the demo than one simple mission. There’s really no reason why the demo could not have had an “infinite play” mode.

Sadly, there appears to be no news of any actual full game like this being developed.

Still, I’m sure someday I’ll be able to fly a properly simulated X-wing fighter — there’s just too much money to be had in selling such a game.

Snowtrooper Update

Progress on my snowtrooper costume has been very slow these past few months. However, the largest hurdle has been overcome, and things should hopefully be picking up speed.

I painted the details on the backpack with enamel paint. It still needs a little touching up here and there, but it’s mostly good to go.

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Pants have also been purchased.  I had to go to a specialty uniform store to get the right kind of pants without a zipper or side pockets.

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The thing that stalled progress for the longest time was the duster.

A few months ago I went to my parent’s place to get my mom to help me with the sewing.  I had purchased a pattern for a simple coat that was pretty close to what I needed.  I figured we could start with that and make any minor adjustments as required.

Unfortunately the pattern was just a bit too complicated.  We realized the duster would actually be pretty simple to make if we just made a sort of plain shirt and sewed a skirt onto it.  So, I cut up a t-shirt to act as a template for cutting the real cloth in order to get the right dimensions, and we (well, mostly my mom) sewed it all together.

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Several hours, many broken threads, and one busted sewing machine needle later we had a finished duster. Sadly, the first duster didn’t turn out quite right.  The skirt was too short, the sleeves too loose, and we discovered the front flaps could have been done a but better.

A second attempt was made about two months later.  This time all the shortcomings were corrected.  I also bought tougher thread, and we used velcro strips that didn’t have a sticky backing, which is what caused so many headaches the first time.

The end result of this second attempt was perfect!

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The most difficult part of the costume — the long, flowing coat — is now done.

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Rogue One

I saw Rogue One last night.  I had watched a couple of spoiler-free reviews beforehand which had rated the movie as “good, not great” and a letter grade of “B”, so I didn’t go into it with high expectations, but, personally, I was completely blown away by how good it was.  It was amazing!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’ve been trying to think of a reason not to rate this movie a 10 out of 10, and the only thing I feel is a legitimate gripe that I have with the movie is the CGI Tarkin (and, to a lesser degree, CGI Leia).  I don’t think it’s bad enough to knock my rating of the movie down by 10% from a 10 to a 9, though.

The pacing for the movie was great.  It did not feel like a typical Hollywood movie.  The plot moved along swiftly with no lulls or tiresome parts. The tone is also very different in this movie, and you feel it right away when you are immediately dropped into the movie without the traditional title and opening crawl.  It feels like “Star Wars for adults”.

Rogue One is definitely a war movie (as compared to all the other Star Wars movies, which are more fantasy-adventure movies).  During its development I had heard the filmmakers touting the film as being more serious, but I went into it with a little skepticism (because, come on — Star Wars is a movie about space wizards for goodness’ sake).  That skepticism was eliminated pretty early on in the movie when one of the main “good guys” ends a clandestine meeting in an alley by abruptly murdering his contact.

There are just so many great things about this movie.  I’ll just list a few of the things I really liked:

  • All the main characters were interesting and enjoyable to watch.
  • So much shooting and explosions and space ships fighting and space ships getting shot and space ships tumbling around on fire and space ships crashing into things!
  • The brief cameos from obscure characters, like “Dutch” Vander (Gold Leader) and Garven Dreis (Red Leader) who pilot a Y-wing and X-wing, respectively, both in this movie and the original Star Wars movie from nearly 40 years ago.
  • The very “British WWII military” look and feel of many of the officers on both sides (General Merrick — Blue Leader — is a great example).
  • Smashed X-wings “skating” across an energy shield.
  • The restoration of the “mystical” aspect of the Force (i.e. no stupid midichlorians), thanks in large part to the character of Chirrut (who is awesome).
  • An explanation for why the Death Star has a tiny hole in it that will cause the entire thing to blow up if someone shoots a single torpedo into it.
  • The largest Star Wars space battle ever (the Battle of Scarif).
  • Y-wings!  Y-wings making bombing runs!  Y-wings firing ion torpedoes!  I didn’t think Y-wings would ever get any love ever again, but they did!
  • Darth Vader’s literal “horror scene” near the end of the movie (one of the rebel troopers trapped in the corridor pounding on the window of the jammed door — begging for help from onlookers on the other side — was fantastically unsettling).

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I really hope the rest of the upcoming stand-alone Star Wars movies end up this good.

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