FX-Sabers Journeys to Comic Con International San Diego
The journey began like many do, with questions to be answered. My trip to San Diego with Master Yoda (Michael) was a worthwhile experience I will never forget.
Joining up with Yoda in Sacramento on Tuesday and heading back to his dwelling we set about getting the routine down and rehearsed for the Master Replicas Collector’s Society Party on Friday. Yoda instructed me in the ways of lightsaber combat and we went about running through the steps of the battle. After many hours we decided to call it a night and prepare ourselves for Wednesday’s trip down to San Diego and Preview Night at the Con.
The morning comes and we head out in Yoda’s Mini Cooper(what else would Yoda drive?) And make the 8 hour trek to our Hotel. Once at the hotel, we drop off our bags and head over the Master Replicas hotel where our “Exhibitor” badges await us. After picking up the badges we head to the Con to meet up with Amy and the others at the MR booth. Parking was fairly easy as Yoda used a mind trick to get a close spot and we headed into the convention center.
The smell of plastic baggies filled the air of the convention center floor as we made it through the door. Many people were already filling up on goods, not wasting anytime. We didn’t waste anytime in making our way to MR booth #2913 and met up with Amy, our favorite Customer Service Representative. She welcomed us and insisted that we check out the booth and also the rest of the show before we got down to business.http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/9331/hpim1203tl5.jpg
First glance at the booth, you could tell MR was ready for business. As news of the Obi Wan FX and the Signature Maul FX Exclusive hit, the line around the booth grew to mammoth proportions. At times, you couldn’t tell where the line started or ended. Yoda hopped in line and held me a place as I went around taking initial pics of the boothhttp://img186.imageshack.us/img186/8099/hpim1201lh4.jpghttp://img186.imageshack.us/img186/9443/hpim1202jr1.jpg
One of the many replicas that I wanted to see was the Boba Fett Rifle LE, but alas all I could find of it was an empty stand. Amy told us there was a problem in shipping and the Rifle needed some touching up before its showcase on Thursday. So I made my way over to the Pirates of the Caribbean display case, as I loved the film and now intend on adding some replicas to my collection.http://img458.imageshack.us/img458/7870/hpim1204rn9.jpghttp://img331.imageshack.us/img331/51/hpim1206fa3.jpghttp://img121.imageshack.us/img121/5223/hpim1207wf0.jpghttp://img121.imageshack.us/img121/9665/hpim1208hd7.jpg
After drooling over the Jack Sparrow Compass, I got a glint of something superior...something that we have all be dreaming of. The Studio Scale Millennium Falcon. There it was in all its rough and rugged beauty. A huge piece to be sure! This one almost needs a room all its own and it deserves it rightly so.http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/5584/hpim1210lt9.jpghttp://img385.imageshack.us/img385/2825/hpim1209pc7.jpghttp://img525.imageshack.us/img525/52/hpim1221rt8.jpghttp://img428.imageshack.us/img428/2410/hpim1222tj4.jpghttp://img428.imageshack.us/img428/4038/hpim1223ac4.jpg
The detail on the Falcon is amazing. I thought that the Y-Wing was nice, but the Falcon just blows it out of the water! At a whopping 97lbs the Falcon stands alone on a table display. The Falcon Studio Scale is based off of a Studio prop used for filming of The Empire Strikes Back. With a price tag of $2199.00 for the Limited Edition and $2799.00 for the Signature Edition signed by none other than Harrison Ford himself!
The SS Falcon boasts exterior and interior illumination provided by AC power through the mirrored base. The rear engines glow a luminescent blue as if it were taking off from Docking Bay 94 in Mos Eisley. The suburb detail inside the cockpit is extraordinary with every little switch and button having its place. If you look close enough you could almost see Wookie hairs on the co-pilot seat. There is an easily accessible power switch on the base where the line comes in.http://img311.imageshack.us/img311/8949/hpim1234sg5.jpghttp://img509.imageshack.us/img509/8614/hpim1225xf7.jpghttp://img338.imageshack.us/img338/6763/hpim1235ck5.jpghttp://img437.imageshack.us/img437/8567/hpim1226hh5.jpg
Overshadowed by the Falcon was the Studio Scale Enterprise. Definitely the definitive starship replica for Trek fans everywhere. Many onlookers were pleased that Master Replicas was able to accomplish the rotating light effects on the front end of the engine pods. A very neat effect that makes the Enterprise SS look exactly as it did on TV so long ago.http://img316.imageshack.us/img316/9218/hpim1231xf4.jpghttp://img186.imageshack.us/img186/5175/hpim1232cc4.jpg
With ComCon Preview night closing down we headed out of the Convention center and over to MR’s hotel restaurant to meet up with the MR crew for some afterhour chatting. There I was introduced to many of the MR crew including Joey, Bryan, Travis, Keith , Tracey, Bruce and Jordan. We sat down for drinks and discussed some things with Amy about MR and about how the Con is going so far. I then got a chance to talk to Bryan, who leads up MR product development. In other words, he is the one that gets to pick what gets made next. He let me know that with the 30th Anniversary of the Original Star Wars coming up next year MR really wanted to get back to a concentration of doing some Original Trilogy replicas for the anniversary year. Nothing specific was stated but some guesses were made and I can only hope that they come to fruition. Bryan was asked if the AOTC Anakin FX was going to be remade and he said, "No, not going to do that one again." But, he did say that they were taking steps to get character-specific lightsaber sounds for the new FX's Much was also conveyed to Amy about the future of the FX lightsaber line and how we hope to have input in making it a dominating force in the market. With Midnight creeping up on us we headed back to the hotel and went through the routine twice and headed to sleep.
Thursday we awoke with some resitance but prepared ourselves for the long day ahead. Once we made it to the Con, we got with Amy about what she wanted us to do and we went about our duties. What our duties consisted of were demonstrating the new Force FX sabers like the Obi-Wan ROTS FX and the Darth Maul ROTS FX. We did some spins and sample battles to get peoples attention. Once we had some con-goers near we answered questions pertaining to the FX’s and showed many of them how to do some basic dueling and spinning with the FX. The time flew by as hour after hour we showcased the elegant weapon of the Jedi which led to many onlookers coming and taking pictures with us.http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/8425/comicon06banditnuong01ik3.jpghttp://img335.imageshack.us/img335/7876/comicon06banditnuong02ui3.jpg
One of the many things we learned by showing these sabers is the Darth Maul with its AAA batteries doesn’t last near as long as the AA setup. I was changing out the batteries every 2 hours it seemed. But remember, that is 2 hours of continuous usage with no power down!.Before we knew it the Con started to shut down and we made our way out to find some grub and get some rest. We needed to have energy for Friday, for it was the night of MR’s party and we were the entertainment.
Friday began with little rush as we took time to get into our Jedi and Sith costumes for the party. Half-way into getting my costume out did I realize that I forgot to bring the main piece of it, so I had to rig something up to make due. Its amazing what you can do with spare black fabric! We made it to the Con rather late and began our duties once again of demonstrating the wonderful FX sabers. Our shoulders were sore from the previous day of showing moves and spins but we were in our element and soon forgot the pain as we held our lightsabers proudly and showed many a youngster the proper way of dueling safely. We got a surprise visit at the booth from Chewbacca. The fellow portraying the beloved Wookie is Grant, who is hired by Lucasfilm to do any promotional work(he was the one on The Apprentice). The crowed amassed around Chewie and child after child ran up for a photo with him. There were also a few adult who had to have a photo op with the walking carpet.http://img374.imageshack.us/img374/2483/hpim1236sb7.jpghttp://img374.imageshack.us/img374/1077/hpim1237lx6.jpg
We headed out of the Con at around 3 to go over to the location of MR party and help the MR crew setup. After we got lost for a bit and Joey of MR led us the right way we made it in and helped the crew stuff the goodie bags for all the attending members of the Collector’s Society Party. http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/7231/hpim1239pr7.jpg
What a goodie bag it was! The take included A blister pack POTC replica, a SW checkbook cover, a numbered Spiderman pic, a SW Sketch card, a character mini plate, a character keychain, a Darth Vader button, a discount card at an affiliate site, a Marvel comic book a trading card and kids sunglasseshttp://img425.imageshack.us/img425/6380/hpim1281gw7.jpg
While setting up the large props, I got to meet Jorge. He designs all the packaging for the MR items and was pleased to finally see the Han Blaster Exclusive packaging finally. He went about arranging all the amazing giveaways that were to be raffled off to attendees of the party.http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/6919/hpim1240dz8.jpghttp://img355.imageshack.us/img355/5400/hpim1241lu5.jpghttp://img355.imageshack.us/img355/5567/hpim1242im5.jpghttp://img264.imageshack.us/img264/797/hpim1243on6.jpg
Before all the madness commenced Yoda decided it appropriate to award Amy and the others at MR with a small token of our appreciation for all the hard work and dedication that she and the others put in.http://img395.imageshack.us/img395/6226/hpim1246pl4.jpg
The Society members and others invited guests began in stroll in and MR went about their duties of mingling with the customers and fans chatting and answering any and all questions that they could. http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/5900/hpim1251lo8.jpghttp://img410.imageshack.us/img410/7656/hpim1253qf8.jpghttp://img410.imageshack.us/img410/7392/hpim1254rc1.jpghttp://img395.imageshack.us/img395/117/hpim1255uz9.jpg
The party started off with everyone grabbing a bite from the royal buffet setup and listening intently as Amy and Travis started the drawings for the giveaways. Many wonderful prizes were given away, from Obi-Wan FX’s to a Studio Scale Nautilus and Cinderella’s glass slipper. As dark fell upon us, we started to gear up for our duties of entertainment for the night. While at the party we were able to recruit a few more people to come out and do some dueling. The guys from battleoftheheroes.com, Dan and Dan(not kidding)were obliged to do a re-enactment of the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan after we did our thing. Travis gets us ready and announces Myself and Yoda as we proceed upon the cleared out section of plaza for us to dazzle everyone with the sabers and hopefully not take anyone out while doing so. We went through the routine with some difficulty in the beginning but we soon got it down and were able to complete it and do an encore. All the while we found out that David Prowse (Darth Vader!) had made his way into the party and was watching us duel. What an honor that was. http://img325.imageshack.us/img325/826/02qp4.jpghttp://img325.imageshack.us/img325/8397/03fx0.jpghttp://img481.imageshack.us/img481/5682/06pr4.jpghttp://img429.imageshack.us/img429/4363/07hl9.jpghttp://img315.imageshack.us/img315/9287/09gs6.jpg
After the display Master Yoda took some people out of the crowd and showed them the proper placement of the blade for defense and attack. Some of the ones that got instruction were the Winner of the MR Comic Con contest, Morpheus1977 and a costumed Darth Maul (DarthPaul)
We concluded the initial instructions and we moved to the side of the plaza to continue showing people anything they wanted to learn. While we did this MR held their costume contest and awarded the winners with many of the Replica props.
During the rest of the night we instructed a countless number of people at the party, ranging in age from toddlers to stately business men. One of the youngest Jedi’s there, Corbin came out with unabashed energy in his attacks using his toy plastic saber and throughout his showcasing and dueling everyone with a lightsaber there, Jorge of MR walked up and awarded Corbin with his very own FX which was twice the size he was!
Many of the people caught on with the instruction very easily as it was presented in a sort of crash course. Within minutes those who had never held a lightsaber or any sword of any kind were now in a full-on duel with Yoda or I. Many of them also inquired if there was somewhere they could get instructed further in the art of the saber. Me and Yoda directed them all to FX-Sabers for more information and I told them about my Tutorials that I have as a preliminary guide to the plan that we have to produce an instructional DVD to sell through the site. As the time came for everyone to leave we gathered our things and headed to the elevators behind Lord Vader himself, Mr Prowse. Where I got a chance to thank him for coming out and shake his hand. We headed down to the local watering hole where we sat with Amy and some others from MR and the Collector’s Society chatting and enjoying our last day at the Con with Master Replicas.
The experiences that I got to have seem like a dream to me. Never did I think I would get the chance to not only help out MR, but be a VIP and be a part of the show at the party. I want to thank Amy especially for all the care she took with us getting us out there and helping us to become a part of the MR family. Because that is what it is, family. Those of us all that share a love for something much bigger than ourselves and get a chance to live in the world of Star Wars. Thanks to everyone else at MR for giving us an inside look as to all the hard work that is put into making the wonderful replicas come to be.
P.S. The Force was strong with Yoda as he piloted the Mini to the Extreme and was able to over take the Evil and Powerful Darth Lamborghini Gallardo on our way back to his home planet.http://img364.imageshack.us/img364/666/hpim1270qj1.jpg
SOME VIDS OF THE TRIP: (click on picture to go to video)
MILLENNIUM FALCON walk-around
CHEWBACCA visits the MASTER REPLICAS Booth
THANK YOU TO:
and everyone else at Master Replicas!!! haha
also a thanks to, Nuong (my fan) and Destiny at Sideshow (my friend)