So Friday the 13th arrives and boy did it live up to it's reputation. This was the day we were supposed to bring the Wampa out for it's first official Star Wars Celebration moment. Instead it ended in one of the weirdest days I had ever had in any costume.
To start the day we visited the 501st room to see the TK project. These were a collection of Stormtrooper helmets given to artists, celebrities and select 501st members to decorate. At the end of the convention these helmets were auctioned off to earn over $50,000 towards Make-A-Wish Foundation!
We were scheduled to participate in a Hoth walk through and had to get the suit to the 501st room by 1:30. We had to figure out a way to get it there, and our first mistake was thinking that parking in the back parking lot and walking it in was the best way to get it there. The wampa weights over 75lbs with the upper body about 55lbs. It was a half mile walk from the car and with only Genna my Wampa Handler with me, and no wall or ceiling to prop myself, I spent too much of my energy getting dressed and hauling getting the costume in place. We also noticed a problem with one of the feet. It started to show late at the IceBar event but also noticed it at the previous troop at the Storm game. Come to find out one of the snaps on the foot was ripped off, and was dragging along every time I tried to plant my right foot. To add to our folly we also forgot to install my batteries in my fan inside, forgot my headband to absorb the sweat and left the camel pack in the van. Also left in the van wasthe dolly to haul it back. But these are all rookie mistakes that we corrected and it all worked out great for us the next day.
So our Hoth walk through ended up being more of a Hoth pose for fans. Don't get me wrong, just because we didn't walk all the way around didn't mean it was a total failure, the fans ate it up. We were there for about an hour including breaks for myself to get a break and chug a water. With me were a General Veers and some Snowtroopers. Even Chef Vader came along and posed with us!
After we were done we had to figure out how to get it back to the van. I chose to walk the stilts back in my socks, yeah I forgot my shoes at the van too. I loaded up the stilts, got dressed, dumped my head in the cooler of ice water and brought back the dolly. This turned out to be one of the oddest things we saw. As we had the top half of the wampa loaded onto the dolly the fans still wanted to take pics. So we figured out we could just enjoy the rest of the day and drag the wampa along like a fresh kill.
Kids loved the fact that they can pose with it, stick their lightsabers in him and act like they slayed the beast. To solidify the fact that it was Friday the 13th, a Jason Voorhees Snowtrooper came by and posed with his machete and the wampa's decapitated head.
(notice the thumb? That is where I burnt myself good on the first attempt to make repairs!)
That I thought was the highlight of the day until the Golden man himself Anthony Daniels saw the wampa and went off onto one of his signature monologues about the suit and his opinion about wampas. He was after all part of that infamous cut scene. But before I could introduce myself as the wampa's maker he got snagged up by a camera crew. I was able to get a picture with him as he was leaving and he complimented me on the suit.
That 10 minutes made up for all of the troubles we had that day, and I knew I had to go back and repair the hell out of the suit. We missed out on a great party that night with the 501st Imperial Bash, but staying up till 2am sewing, gluing and painting we knew would pay off the next day... and boy did it... Day 3 is coming next!