A short time ago, in a state far far away, I got to experience the magic of Star Wars at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios!
I still have mixed emotions about “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” I want to love it, but at this point I think I’m going to have to settle for a tepid like.
I recall living in an apartment at the time a pop music radio station played “Duel of the Fates” for the first time. I couldn’t help but wonder what scenes we’d see unfold on the screen when that day actually arrived. Then, I remember painstakingly downloading the official trailers over a 56k Internet connection – in the days long before YouTube. Who were all of these wonderful new characters?!
The Battle Droids caught my eye, of course. The army was more than ready for battle – but against what? I’d have to find out at a later date.
I didn’t wait in line like so many of my fellow geeks did. Somehow, I made a connection through my brother that shot us close to the front of the line on the evening Episode I was released (at Midnight). We didn’t have Twitter – we didn’t even have text messaging – to keep in touch with nerds from around the world. Blogs were still a distant possibility, too. We were “Force’d” to socialize with one another in-person.
Was “Episode I” worth the wait? No. Was “The Phantom Menace” nice to see? Maybe. Would I watch the “first” Star Wars movie again? Sure. A fan of the prequel, I was not. You might make the argument that I was too old in my mid-20s to see what Lucas had served up, but I’d tell you that Sithy dialogue is Sithy dialogue no matter your age.
When LEGO began producing Star Wars sets for the fan base, I didn’t go out of my way to swoop up anything outside of the original Trilogy. Still, when it came time to populate my own Amazon wish list, I gave in and added a few Prequel items I thought would be worthwhile – if only to torture certain characters.
My girlfriend and I did have fun putting the Droid Invasion set together:
We now have more than enough Battle Droids in our library, though I’d hardly consider them minifigs (by my own definition). These things are near impossible to keep free-standing or fastened! If you wanted to grow your own Droid battalion, this set would be a good place to start; you can get plenty of Battle Droids for the price.
I got a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar!
The idea of using an Advent calendar once held deep, religious significance for me – but since evolving into a non-Catholic, I only seem to appreciate the winter Holiday season for nostalgic reasons. I love the sights and sounds of Christmas, but… not its largely-borrowed-by-Christianity foundation. As such, I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt when I go about my merry way, spreading love and joy without being chained to an outdated dogma.
Speaking of chains and Advent calendars… when I was a child, my brothers and I would find ourselves counting down the days to Christmas by stapling together (then tearing apart) a string of paper rings. It was a Christmastime staple! And, yes, we used staples to keep those chains together. I took the tradition too far one year and accidentally stapled my finger to one of the links.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a bandage.
I’m quite grateful that LEGO is producing Advent calendars which do not require the usage of any pointed object. I may not have the best hand-eye coordination, but I can click bricks with the best of ’em. I’ve missed a few earlier LEGO Advent calendars, but that won’t happen again now that I’ve come out of the bin as an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO). I even decided to completely assemble the 2011 Star Wars Advent Calendar long before this Holiday season was upon us.
My girlfriend and I stumbled through a couple of the models, but it wasn’t too much of a challenge. We’re certainly ready to open more presents! Having streamed the LEGO build live on YouTube, this particular walkthrough was an hour in the making.
The full list of items (including the ones I couldn’t quite identify by sight):
- Day 1 – Red Republic ship
- Day 2 – Nute Gunray
- Day 3 – Hologram Walker
- Day 4 – Homing Spider Droid
- Day 5 – Slave I
- Day 6 – Chewbacca
- Day 7 – Weapon holder with barrel of tools
- Day 8 – Rebel Pilot with completely white helmet
- Day 9 – X-wing
- Day 10 – Imperial Shuttle
- Day 11 – Battle Droid Pilot
- Day 12 – Rebel Snowspeeder
- Day 13 – Imperial Astromech Droid
- Day 14 – Mouse Droid
- Day 15 – Republic Gunship
- Day 16 – Clone Pilot
- Day 17 – Another Weapons Holder
- Day 18 – Y-wing
- Day 19 − 2010 TIE Fighter Pilot
- Day 20 – TIE Fighter
- Day 21 – Millennium Falcon
- Day 22 − A-wing
- Day 23 – Christmas Tree
- Day 24 – Santa Yoda
Wouldn’t it be nice for LEGO to create a full 365-day calendar with new bricks every day?
I was just a child when the Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. I distinctly remember watching in awe with the rest of my family, and leaving the cinema through a front exit – which immediately reminded us of the ice halls of Hoth. Even my mom was digging the scene (though she could hardly be considered a geek or sci-fi aficionado).
Despite his lack of screen time, Boba Fett captured the world’s attention – if only because this bounty hunter looked like a badass. Visually, he commanded respect and implied authority. It’s no wonder Lucas integrated the familiar Mandalorian armor within the prequels. It was interesting to see Boba as a child, and to learn that his father (Jango Fett) served as the base for what would become the Empire’s clone army.
If you loved Boba Fett’s look – you’ll certainly adore the LEGO Star Wars Mandalorian Battle Pack (7914). It’s like having four Boba Fetts for the price of… well, four minifig Boba Fetts? Sure, their color scheme is a bit more blue than you’ve come to associate with the classic Boba – but you’d expect that even Mandalorian warriors would have to update their look every few years, right?
Want a Mandalorian assassin? Check. Want three Mandalorian troopers with assault rifles and other weaponry? Check. Want the bricks to build a Mandalorian speeder and blaster turret? Check.
There weren’t many Mandalorians in the movies, but the Star Wars Expanded Universe is replete with ’em. Even if you didn’t know much about their backstory, they will compliment your collection of LEGO minifigs better than Bantha fodder. Sorry, that’s an inside joke. Just don’t let this battle-tested army catch you joking around.
Pick up the minifigure pack while you can – if only because the price is just about as low as it can go right now (~$10 if you’re lucky). Don’t forget that you can upload your own LEGO-related video to our BrickTrix YouTube channel. Together, we can rule the galaxy as builder and…
I am definitely not a fan of the prequels (or just about anything that’s come with them). Call me a purist, but I find my Star Wars sensibilities consistently gravitating around the characters and ethos of the original trilogy. Perhaps my perspective would be skewed the other way if I were only a couple of decades younger?
I’ve tried getting into the Clone Wars cartoons, but found myself feeling like I was a bit lost. Despite being a HUGE fan of the Force, I’m simply not the prime demographic for a comical Star Wars series. Give me something a bit more serious any day (with fantastic story, characters, and dialogue).
LEGO to the rescue! Yeah, I don’t have much of a bias when it comes to bricks – though that wasn’t always the case. I had walked past this particular minifig pack a number of times in the store. But when I saw it go on sale for around the $10 mark, I decided to pounce on it.
Let’s just see what we have in the LEGO Star Wars Clone Trooper Battle Pack (7913), shall we?
There’s 1 clone commander, 2 new bomb squad troopers, and 1 new ARF trooper minifigure (the last of which happens to be my favorite of the bunch). You can assemble your own BARC speeder if you choose to follow the directions – but where’s the fun in that?
If you’re up to assembling your own clone army, this will certainly help. Line ’em up by the dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions! I’d be shocked if you made it over 100 LEGO clone trooper minifigs, but who am I to question your dedication to the Empire? Or, wait… were these clone troopers a part of the Old Republic before Palpatine turned pruny?
Star Wars – Where Science Meets Imagination was originally created by the Museum of Science in Boston and currently travels to museums around the country. This Star Wars exhibit introduces science and technology framed in the context of the Star Wars universe. At various points throughout the exhibit, concepts like space travel, mechanical prosthetics, robotics, and levitation technology are presented with imagery from Star Wars, coupled with hands-on activities and volunteer demonstrations.
See more than 80 authentic costumes, interactive displays, models and props from all six Star Wars films, including Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder and Darth Vader’s menacing black suit. These objects are displayed alongside modern technologies that may one day make the world of Star Wars a reality.
Star Wars objects in this exhibition are on loan from the Archives of Lucasfilm Ltd. and the entire project was created in conjunction with Lucasfilm. You can check out all of my photos from the exhibit on Flickr. They aren’t kidding when they tell you that there are authentic pieces involved:
- Authentic props and costumes such as Darth Vader’s menacing black armor, Princess Leia’s ceremonial white gown and a full-size R2-D2.
- Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Episode IV.
- Amazing real-world robot technology, such as a personal assistant robot designed for NASA astronauts.
As a life-long Star Wars fan, I cannot begin to tell you how cool this experience was. The exhibit brought to life the costumes, sets and characters in a way that the movies never did. The interactive elements truly made me feel as though I was channeling Yoda, Darth Vader and Hans Solo myself.
Visiting this awesome display, you will be able to:
- Get Around – After examining Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder and other floating vehicles from Star Wars, visitors find out how things move without touching the ground in the real world, from models of flying cars to commercial spaceplanes.
- Meet Robots and People – Visitors meet C-3PO and R2-D2 and explore how people relate to the droids in Star Wars. The exhibition also features the creation of real world robots that navigate, sense and understand the world around them, while communicating in increasingly sophisticated ways.
- Adapt to the Environment – Travel to four Star Wars worlds and learn how the inhabitants use technology to adapt to their environments: Hoth (arctic); Tatooine (desert); Coruscant (metropolis); and Kashyyyk (forest).
If you have ever waved a lightsaber around or dreamed of being Darth Vader, you seriously need to check out Star Wars – Where Science Meets Imagination. It will be here in Seattle until May 8th at the Pacific Science Center.
Geeks love gadgets. We love gadgets that are functional. More importantly, we love functional gadgets that are cool looking. The Mimobot Designer USB Flash Drive fits all three of these bills perfectly. These awesome little drives come in sizes from 2GB up to 16GB and offer an optional key chain attachment at a small additional cost. How suave are you going to look when you whip out your Star Wars or Halo key chain, pop off the top and stick it into your laptop or computer?
Boston-based Mimoco has fused the art of contemporary characters with personal data storage devices since 2005. They offer up flash drives housed inside of popular geek culture icons, fan-voted submissions and even an exclusive artist series. They’ve long been a favorite toy amongst elite geeks, and I’ll be giving you a chance to win one of your own later in this post.
Each drive comes packed with preloaded content for you to enjoy. The quarterly MimoZine is a video-based magazine featuring interviews with musicians, profiles of artists, coverage of fun pop-culture events and many other things you’ll expect to find at the crossroads of technology and art. You’ll also find wallpapers, icons, avatars and screensavers to enhance your desktop experience.
Your Mimobot will work on either Windows or Mac OS X, and some Linux users have reported success when plugging in their device. The flash drives are Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and are backwards compatible with USB 1.1. The little dudes and dudettes are a mere 2.5″ tall by 1″ wide, easily fitting into a pocket or purse. They don’t take up much space in your travel bag, and it’s okay if you feed them after midnight!
So now you’re wondering how you can win one of my Batman series Mimobots, aren’t you? It’s simple! Make sure you’ve checked me out on Twitter and YouTube. Choose your favorite video from my uploads, and Tweet a link to it – be sure to include @lockergnome in the Tweet so I don’t miss it! Winners will be chosen completely at random, so keep an eye out on your messages to see if we send a congratulatory Tweet your way! The contest ends next Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 11:59pm PST. Winners will be announced via Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, March 24th, 2011.
If you were to ask me what my very favorite possession is, you may be shocked to discover that it’s not my iPhone or one of my computers. Instead, it would be something that I’ve only had for a few days now – a very rare Star Wars figurine in near-perfect condition. More specifically, this would be an early rendition of the Snaggletooth character which wasn’t quite “correct.”
If you recall, Snaggletooth was one of the bounty hunters affiliated with Jabba the Hutt in the cantina, back in the days of Moss Eisley from A New Hope. He was a weasley looking dude and was much shorter than the humans in the story. Snag was dressed in a red uniform and wore nothing on his feet.
When the very first round of Star Wars action figures came out in stores, the toy designers messed old Snaggletooth up a bit. He was as tall as the other characters, sported a blue outfit and had shiny silver boots on his feet. George Lucas wasn’t very happy with the outcome, and had the “Blue Snaggletooth” pulled from the line. The poor little guy was ripped from the shelves and replaced with a more “correct” depiction.
Due to this snafu, the 1978-made Blue Snaggletooth Star Wars action figure is one of the rarest toys found within the entire Star Wars universe. Yes, you probably think I’m crazy for spending as much as I did on this. However, I’ve only ever seen one other of these little things. I swore to myself as a kid that I would own one someday.
When I happened upon this little gem in a comic store in Seattle, I couldn’t resist. It was Fate – he was staring at me. Only a few people within my Twitter stream knew what I was talking about. Those who did freaked out because you just cannot find these. I’m happier than I can explain to have this in my possession.
What is your favorite thing, and why is it special to you?