Monday, May 12, 2014


Literally the day before the event, my daughter (an anime fan) asked if we could attend SpartanCon at the Spartanburg County Public Library in Spartanburg, SC. A quick check revealed that the 501st Carolina Garrison was planning to make an appearance at the May 10th event, so I decided to make a family trip out of it to catch up with my fellow troopers and give my son another chance to wear his Power Droid costume we built for last Halloween. (Click here for the RPF build thread for the Gonk droid costume.) My daughter, in the meantime, was anxious to distance herself from the geeky guys in her family.

We found the 3-story venue fairly well-attended for an event at a local library. SpartanCon's inaugural show was free and included an "Artist's Alley," several authors tables, hands-on writing/comic/make-up clinics, and even a cosplay competition hosted by Amberle Linnea. It was good to see some old friends and make a few new ones, and the library staff and volunteers were ecstatic to have us there. It's a great feeling when your reputation as part of the 501st Legion precedes you. They provided a spacious green room and we didn't even have to go through weapons check!

We suited up in our lower-level conference room and my son took pride in the process of becoming the character while my daughter spontaneously disappeared to find her friends. There's something intangibly magical about this sort bonding whether it's between friends or family, and I reinforced the notion that if a costume is easy, it's generally not worth doing!

With me in my TK and my son in his GNK, we flipped on our battery-operated fans, LEDs and sound systems and stepped out into the library atrium to the delight of fans of all ages. Then it was about 2 hours of photo ops as a Stormtrooper, Sandtrooper, TIE Pilot, Power Droid, Jawa and Mandalorian patrolled the con floor with a few handlers.

At the end of the troop, I realized that my aging Stormtrooper armor really needs some help. Not only are current suits more accurate, but failing glue and velcro have started to cause functionality issues. My Hyperfirm E-11 blaster also received some damage, but that was easily repaired with some sanding and CA glue. I see new armor of some sort in my future.

With more notice (or perhaps for next year), a 501st table would have been good to educate, inform and recruit, but we made an impact as noted by the seemingly non-stop requests for photos with giddy fans. We were also featured in the local paper. Star Wars is forever, baby!