Posts Tagged ‘The 501st Legion’



Christmas Troopers: A Little Naughty, Mostly Nice

Albin Johnson | December 20, 2012
Santa Trooper of the Redback Garrison

Santa Trooper of the Redback Garrison

There’s something about this time of year that brings out the kid in all of us (which is great, because a guy in Stormtrooper armor isn’t fooling anyone the other eleven months of the year). The holidays are a silly time — one for crazy sweaters, sing-songy music, and wishlists of toys (figurative or literal). But it’s also a time of child-like wonder: seeing the world through new eyes, allowing ourselves to ponder the innocence that mankind is capable of, and being moved by the traditions that came before us. The trick is remembering we can learn a lot from kids. Judge them by their size, do not!

Fifteen years ago, the Ghost of Christmas Past paid me a visit. It told me the Star Wars trilogy was returning to the big screen and just like that my childhood flashed before my eyes. Suddenly I was back to being that eight-year-old waking up Christmas morning to find a Millennium Falcon playset. And as fast as you can say Tiny Tim I was buying my first set of armor with the crazy idea of being a kid again.

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The Saga Continues…

Albin Johnson | December 13, 2012

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Someone pinch me. I need a confirmation that I’m awake, because recently I read that new Star Wars films are in the works. I don’t remember finding an old lamp and rubbing it, and I don’t think my prayers from when I was 12 years old count, so I’m not sure how exactly my wish got granted for an extension on the single greatest saga ever. But here it is!

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The Birth of the 501st Legion, Part Five: Build It and They Will Come

Albin Johnson | November 20, 2012

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One day something unexpected happened. I got an email from a bloke in Canada named Scott McArthur. He said he’d seen my web page and loved it. In fact, he had a Stormtrooper costume of his own! A picture was attached, showing Scott in gleaming white TK armor standing next to a picturesque shore with a sunset behind him. I almost fell out of my chair. Not only was there another crazy armored fan out there, but he’d found my page. And his picture was awesome! Much better than Tom and me hanging around a Suncoast Video store.

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The Birth of the 501st Legion, Part Four: Detention Block 2551

Albin Johnson | November 8, 2012

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By the end of 1997 our adventures as Stormtroopers in a little one-tauntaun-town felt like they’d hit their high-water mark. The theatrical re-releases were done and gone, Star Wars merchandising was fading from store shelves, and events where a grown man in armor made sense were getting scarce. Like a watering hole in the desert, any sustaining power of the saga that kept Tom and me armoring up was drying up and leaving us feeling alone and awkwardly out of place.

So the armor went into storage. The helmet got put on display. The black unitard I put into hiding: I didn’t want to be accused of a secret love for interpretive dance.

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Long Beach Comic Con: I Should Have Expected To Find You Here

Lawrence Green | November 8, 2012

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Star Wars fans from around the globe have their minds full of possibilities and excitement since the spectacular news broke that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm Ltd., and the eye-popping announcement that after many years of speculation and hope, additional episodes of the Star Wars saga will be released! While global fandom and movie news sites wait for the next bit of news on what the future has in store for Star Wars, fans in Southern California were able to enjoy a weekend of Star Wars glory and fun, turning out en mass for the 4th annual Long Beach Comic Con.

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Armoring Up for Halloween

Albin Johnson | October 25, 2012
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Cartoon by Bobby Henley, 501st member Star Garrison

Nothing makes Star Wars fans happier than a chance to suit up and show off their costumes. Whether it’s Stormtrooper armor or Jedi robes or even a big box decorated like a Gonk droid, Star Wars costumes have always been popular. Fans my age will remember a day long ago when the only real option at Halloween was building Vader armor out of cardboard. Or wearing the sad little Saran Wrap gowns that said “Star Wars” on it when what you wanted was a faithful recreation of C-3P0’s torso.

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The Birth of the 501st Legion, Part 3: Let the Wookiee Win

Albin Johnson | September 27, 2012

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The most famous person I’d ever met before starting the Legion was James Irwin, astronaut from the Apollo 15 mission and pilot of the lunar module. You want to talk about a sky-walker? He was the real deal. Even before Star Wars hit, I was nuts about space exploration as a kid and astronauts were like unto demigods.

I remember my father pulling me and my brother out of school in Missouri and piling us into the camper to drive three hours to see Irwin speak. A gentle man with a soft voice, he answered every question patiently.  (Most of the questions were from kids like me wanting to know how you go potty in space.) When it came time to meet him, I couldn’t find the words. He autographed a picture of him waving on the moon and simply said to me, “God bless you, son.”

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The Birth of the 501st Legion Part Two: Trooping in the Jundland Wastes of Fandom

Albin Johnson | September 13, 2012

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Many people wrote me to say they enjoyed the history of the 501st installment I did last month. So I thought I’d pick up on it from time to time and get more of the story out. Few people know just how widely the Legion has woven its saga. It messes with my head sometimes how far a good idea can go if nurtured at _just_ the right time.

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501st at Dragon*Con 2012 – My Kind of Convention: Fearless and Inventive

Lawrence Green | September 7, 2012

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As the curtain slowly fell on the splendor of Star Wars Celebration VI, with many members of the 501st already beginning preliminary plans for Celebration Europe II, a small, but hardy — some might say die-hard — detachment of troops made their way up to Atlanta, Georgia after a few days recovery for the majesty and wonder that was Dragon*Con 2012.

Rites of Autumn: A Stormtrooper’s guide on how to make football even more awesome

| September 6, 2012

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It’s that time of year again: the air turns cool and crisp and it’s fun to grab some snacks and watch some favorite movies. Or football. Or both! Last night I was stuffing envelopes with 501st Legion patches while watching my Gamecocks play (horribly) and it struck me how long I’ve been a fan of both football and Star Wars. So I thought I’d take this chance at the beginning of football season to talk about how the two have intersected in my life over the years.

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