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).

st_shield

ywings

rebel_help

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

rogueone_onesheeta

Another Blaster

I just picked up my “stunt” E-11 blaster.  This one is made of solid plastic and is much more rugged than the blaster I posted about earlier, which is intended more for display.  This is the one I’ll actually carry around when I’m in costume, because this won’t break if I drop it.  I’ll probably be carrying it around the house for the next few days, too.

E-11 Blaster (stunt)This particular version of the E-11 is the one depicted in The Empire Strikes Back, as opposed to the previous one which is the version of the blaster as seen in A New Hope.  Aside from some very minor bits, the main differences are that the ESB version lacks the shot counter box on the left side and the two cylinders atop the magazine receiver.  It also has a slightly different scope.

 

So Uncivilized…

I have acquired an E-11 blaster rifle for my snowtrooper costume:E-11 Blaster RifleE-11 Blaster - movie shotThe actual props in the movie were made from modified Sterling L2A3 submachine guns.  The replica I have (which is made of resin, plastic, and aluminum) is made from molds take from original props and contains many little details that clearly show the prop was a modified real firearm.

In fact, actual firearms served as the basis for pretty much every blaster weapon from the original Star Wars trilogy (save for the scout trooper pistol and maybe some other background weapons).

How I Made the X-wing Miniatures Death Star Trench

A couple of people have asked me about the dimensions of the Death Star Trench playmat I made a year ago. The image below shows the board both flat (with all measurements labelled) and with the trench folded down (with width measurement labelled only).

x-wing trench

I bought two triple-packs of 20″x30″ foam boards from Staples, giving me six boards in total.

The board is made up of three separate pieces: two identical side pieces and one center piece.

The two side pieces are each made of one 20″x30″ board taped to another 20″x20″ board, resulting in a foldable 20″x50″ board.

The center piece is made of one 18″x30″ board taped to another 18″x20″ board, resulting in a foldable 18″x50″ board. The center piece was also scored lengthwise into three, equal sized, 6″ wide segments. These segments can then be folded to make a trench 6″ deep with 6″ high walls.

After the boards were all cut, taped, and scored, I printed out multiple pages of the Warscapes: Star Base Trench-Run PDF and used a high tack spray adhesive to affix the pages to the board. I stupidly tried using white glue at first, but the glue severely warped the boards after it dried. The spray adhesive just left a sticky surface to which the pages stuck nicely. To help place the printed pages, I used an extra-thick marker to draw a grid onto the board where the edges of each page would be. This black line also helped hide gaps between the sheets.

To raise the side boards to give depth for the trench, I just bought several plastic containers that were about the right height. You could use books or whatever.

The turbolasers were made out of this “paper-craft” turbolaser printed onto cardstock. The barrels of the turbolasers were made with spray-painted straws.