Current Weather
The Spy FM

These Stormtroopers’ Galactic Mission: Comic-Con

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
July 14, 2013

A short time ago, in a garage not so far away, Steve Leahy was having a problem with his armor. A tiny piece of plastic, maybe just a few millimeters wide, stuck out from the shin guard.

“I know it’s a minor detail, and while you’re wearing it, someone may never notice,” Leahy says. “But I know it’s there and I know it shouldn’t be, so we like to put the effort in to make it as perfect as possible.”

Leahy, a member of the Southern California Garrison of the 501st Legion (Vader’s Fist), has a good reason to strive for perfection. For most of the year, they wear their homemade plastic Star Wars armor for parades and charity events.

But Leahy and his fellow Stormtroopers are gearing up for their assault on the ice planet Hoth — Comic Con International: San Diego, which starts Thursday.

So Leahy uses an electric sander to smooth out the errant plastic and then goes over it again with sandpaper until his shin guard is smooth.

Like Civil War re-enactors from this galaxy, the 501st Legion’s costuming requirements are strict. To be accepted into the Stormtrooper ranks, a new recruit’s armor must have every stripe perfectly painted, every button and divot perfectly placed.

Costumes must pass muster with Drew Hannah, the garrison’s inspector.

“Did they paint the trapezoids on the helmet correctly?” Hannah asks. “Are the tube stripes the correct colors? Is the frown the correct color and cut out with the appropriate number of teeth?”

The garrison meets in Hannah’s garage in Ventura, Calif., to construct its armor. Stormtroopers can spend up to $8,000 on their costumes and work on them constantly.

Troopers are rushing to finish their costumes in time for Comic Con, but, Hannah says, the garrison’s greatest joy is visiting children’s hospitals.

“If you were to be able to peak under our helmets, we pretty much have goofy grins or full-blown smiles plastered on our faces,” he says.

Why do good deeds while dressed as bad guys? Hannah says the Dark Side costumes are just cooler.

“If you look at it from our point of view, we’re the rightful law and order of the galaxy.” he explains. “Doesn’t matter that our boss is a little on the evil side; to us we’re enforcing law and order.” [Copyright 2013 KPBS-FM]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 10PM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

10PM to 11PM The Blank Generation

The Blank Generation

Our punk show, The Blank Generation, is hosted by Katie Jones and Chad Hunnicutt. Katie has been attending punks shows for more than half her life. Chad is a member of local band, The Muck Savages.

View the program guide!

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center