Jan 28, 2011

State of the Wampa Address....

It has been a while since I updated the site but I needed to step back for a while. The 6 months that the costume has been around, it has gone through some great times and some rough times. Just like any large costumes there will be some damage control going on and boy has there been some.

In October I took it out to some costume contests to help recover some of the cost of the suit. I did walk away with $600 but also came away with lipstick stains on his arm and butt! I learned not to take it out with drunk chicks!

In December we participated in the Pinellas Park Holiday Parade. To be safe, I opted to stand in the back of a pick up truck without the stilts on. Little did I know it would lead to big black streaks across the fur from the Rhino Lining. It has been a long process to get this out, and I don't know if I will ever get it ALL out, but it is looking better. Thanks to suggestions I have been using dish soap and a bottle brush. It has taken off some of the yellow and brown paint, so I will probably need to repaint it once I am done.

(cleaning the arm, before and after)

So, on to plans for 2011. Our big trip with the Wampa will be to Motor City Con, where we have been invited up by Great Lakes Garrison to the Detroit Metro area to participate in their annual convention. We get to reunite with one of our favorite troopers HYPER! 

I will be making my first appearance at MEGACON in Orlando in March and might even be able to convince the wife to let me go to DragonCon in Atlanta.

As for the suit and trooping, I have always considered on keeping the Wampa as a specialty costume for big events, but in order to do that I would need a secondary costume. Within the next week I will be placing my order for TK (Stormtrooer) armor and should have some armor for events like Walks, Hospitals, Star Wars Weekends and other troops that I can't do in the Wampa and by the end of the year I should have my Palpatine in my collection of costumes to use!

We were pirates at the The Disney Dream Christening!

The 501st was asked to help launch with the christening of their latest cruise ship the Disney Dream. 66 of us dressed as pirates and acted out a skit with Captain Jack Sparrow.

This is the amazing thing about the 501st. Although it wasn't an official event for them, Disney thought of us to be their crew of pirate baddies. Not every day you get a chance to be part of a 700 person cast with the top brass of Disney right there in the crowd. I could not pass this once in a lifetime opportunity.

There was a lot of secrecy when it came to this event. We got very little info from Disney and that was understandable given the surprises involved in the show (like Jennifer Hudson's appearance). We had no idea what we would be dressed up like. Were we going to be Capt. Hook cartoony pirates, are we going to be generic Disney pirates, or dirty realistic Pirates of the Caribbean pirates. We lucked out and got the PotC costumes, and boy was there a variety. My costume was interesting and a little miss matched. I had the shirt and pants of a deckhand and a long captain jacket. I had to find a belt and hat from the extras table. Genna had a wig that more resembled Joan Jett than a pirate wench. Others actually involved fruit with their outfit for comedic effect including Duck and his pirate pear!

Our task was to run on stage carrying props, mine was a black pirate flag, and pose while we got audio cues from Capt. Jack, which most of the time we couldn't hear, not until we saw the video did we finally get the plot. We would laugh at his jokes, point to the ship and then change positions. Then throw little foam doubloons to the crowd and then duck for cover from him firing his cannon. At the end of the finale we would also come out with a big ladder and do our cheesy hand waves with the music and then pose as they cracked the giant bottle against the ship. Now we aren't really in the video because we were all the way on the far right side of the stage but it wasn't really about face time on tv or for the cameras. It was more to say to the grand kids that you helped launch a cruise ship.

After we were done we got, I got to see one of the funniest moments of the event. Redboy down in Everglades Squad has been begging to wear the wampa. I thought he was just crazy enough to try on the wampa stilts. I have seen many people try my stilts on for the first time, and they get wobbly kneed and give up after less than 5 minutes... Redboy was no different, in his own words, he fell in slow motion! Once again, I think I proved the point that noone is crazy enough to wear the Wampa other than me.

Introducing The Jolly Wampa - The Official WampaDude Logo

For a while I felt that I needed a brand for myself and this roller coaster ride that has been my experience with the Wampa and the 501st. I have seen many individuals withing the group marketing their alias with patches and shirts and since the Wampa seems to become a popular costume, I felt  the need to come up with a symbol that represented myself and the costume. In the past years my logos revolved around the simple pirate jolly roger design. The TampaBayDrunks logo consisted of a skull and cross beers and for some reason this never clicked until the pirate event we attended for the launch of the Disney Dream.

So here is the design, a Wampa skull and cross bones dubbed the Jolly Wampa. I pondered changing out the bones with lightsabers, blasters or something a little more Star Wars but when it came down to it, I settled with the bones when one of the scenes has him gnawing on a big bloody leg bone of the Tauntaun.

I have had a few people already say they would buy anything I put this logo on, and here are some lofty ideas including a shirt, a patch and for some reason I like the idea of it as a biker vest logo. I plan on trying to submit them to the daily t-shirt sites first like TeeFury and RiptApparel and may consider doing a run of the patches for conventions and on the boards.