I’m (Finally) a 501st Legion Member!

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When I first started my foray into Star Wars costumes a couple of years ago, the thought of joining the 501st Legion or Rebel Legion was just unfathomable. I know my limits as a costumer, and I have a LOT to learn and a lot of room to grow. That said, I really wanted to do more with my costumes than just attend conventions…but I knew none of my costumes would fit the strict standards of the Legions.

I was then told about the Minnesota Force, which is a Minnesota-based Star Wars fan club that has multiple facets: gaming, a book club, a collector’s club, a makers group, and an art and illustration group. The makers group (which consists of people who make Star Wars costumes) does a lot of charity events in costume in conjunction with the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion. There’s a lot of crossover with the Star Wars costuming groups in Minnesota: the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion get along and do events together, and the majority of the events those groups are invited to are also extended to the Minnesota Force. I joined the Minnesota Force at the end of 2016, and I started volunteering in costume. Things picked up momentum pretty fast. I was doing at least two events per month (usually more), I started working on more Star Wars costumes, and I became friends with so many of the members of the group. A lot of the members are also members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. As I got to know everyone better, I started thinking that maybe I could make joining the Legions one of my goals.

I decided that my first Legion costume goal would be to get General Hux approved in the 501st Legion. I had my temporary costume (Version 1 that I wore for almost a year) and ended up commissioning a proper costume because I knew my skill level was not at the caliber I needed to make a screen-accurate costume myself. I received my costume a couple of weeks ago and submitted my application last week. Last night, I received a response that said I was accepted to the 501st Legion as the Central Garrison‘s very first General Hux. I’m incredibly happy to be part of a great volunteer organization, and I’m so excited to continue trooping with them, the Rebel Legion, and the Minnesota Force.

When you join the 501st Legion, you choose a member number that stays with you forever. When I chose mine, I decided to honor my mum by choosing 40138 – her birthdate was April 1, 1938. My mum was always so supportive of my creative endeavors and put up with my silliness as a child when I would wear my Halloween costumes months after Halloween was over, or when I would take old clothes and come up with some ridiculous “monster” costume and try to scare everyone, or when I’d make her wear whatever Halloween costume I wanted to put her in (like the Statue of Liberty, or a punk rocker). And, in recent years, she would ask to see photos from my volunteering events, and of my progress photos, and hear about whatever project I was working on. Last summer when she was in her last few weeks of life, she told me to keep volunteering at events (even though I told her I would cancel and spend time with her, if she wanted me to). She thought what I did was “so cool” (her words) and so I promised I’d keep volunteering and I’d keep making costumes. She knew how much I wanted to be part of the Legions, and so I wanted to honor her by choosing a number that would always make me think of her.

My next goal is to join the Rebel Legion (hopefully with Admiral Ackbar, or maybe Poe Dameron if I finish up a few things in my costume), and eventually make a costume to submit for 501st approval. But, for now, I’m just going to bounce around my house with excitement for achieving one of my goals.

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General Hux – Star Wars: The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi

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Tunic: I commissioned the tunic from Vanya Yount.

Trousers: I commissioned the trousers from Vanya Yount.

Greatcoat: I’m using the greatcoat that was part of the set I bought from CosplaySky until I can commission a nicer one.

Belt: I commissioned a belt from Vanya Yount.

Hat: I commissioned a hat from Katie Keith. I purchased a First Order pin from Short Supply.

Boots: I bought a pair of Lauren Ralph Lauren Stara boots from eBay and took the tabs off of the shaft of the boots.

Gloves: I bought a pair of women’s black leather gloves from Kohl’s, but they unfortunately no longer sell them.

Blaster: I painted a 3D printed version of Hux’s blaster. (Photos can be seen here.)

Holster: I commissioned a Hux blaster holster from Mad Props Cosplay.

Sideburns: I use my reusable sideburns method. I replace my sideburns whenever they start to look a little shabby.

General Hux’s Blaster (3D Printed)

As I do with practically all of my costumes, I go through each part and upgrade it when I can. General Hux’s blaster was no exception!

A friend printed off a First Order SE-44C blaster pistol for me that is much more accurate than the Nerf repaint I was using – both in size, and in details. This is how it looked after it was printed and assembled:

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I received this back in January 2018, but I couldn’t really work on finishing it until the temperatures warmed up (downside to living in Minnesota, I guess). I did do a little filling with Bondo, but not much because I couldn’t really open the windows to ventilate the room, so I used some modeling paste medium to fill in the larger seams. When we had some warmer temperatures in February (35 degrees!) I took the blaster outside and applied several coats of Rustoleum Filler Primer. I then used more modeling paste medium on any parts that still needed to be filled in. Then, I sanded everything and got it all ready for painting. Here’s what it looked like all primed and prepped:

Blaster-Primed

I used Liquitex Basics acrylic paint in Mars Black to paint the entire blaster. It took two coats. Then, I used my trusty DecoArt Dazzling Metallics acrylic paint in Shimmering Silver to paint the silver area. After that, I sealed the matte finish areas with matte Mod Podge and sealed the glossy areas with glossy Mod Podge. For the screws/bolts details, I used various sizes of scrapbooking/paper crafting brads and glued them on with super glue and E-6000.

Here it is all finished!

I think I’m going to do a little bit of touch-up work to it to try and get a smoother finish, but for now it’s at least decent.

Campaign Against Cancer

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Costumers: Nick Hickmann, Jennifer McNitt, Madeline Anderson, Chuck Visger, Alex Hall, Pari Elizabeth, Trevor Bailey, Amanda Fineran, Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Eric Hanson.

On April 7, we attended the Campaign Against Cancer event at Fantasy Flight Games Center. Those who wanted to compete in the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures gaming campaign would pay an admission fee, and the fee was donated to the American Cancer Society. Pretty cool!

Wedding Reception

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Costumers: Jeff Allen, Madeline Anderson, Diana Patraw, Tatiana Allen, Leonard Patraw, Erich Schwab, James Douthitt, Jeffery Knotz, Jordan West, Doug Smith, Jeremy Horn, Mike Giralico, Kris Heding, Matthew Bastyr, and Amber Rae.

On March 31st, we were invited to attend a wedding reception. We don’t get asked to do this very often, and it was my first time attending a wedding reception in costume. The bride wanted to surprise her husband, so we had to be super sneaky when we arrived.

During the wedding party’s first dance, the Dark Side stormed in to the Imperial March and Darth Vader “confronted” the groom. The look of utter surprise on his face was priceless! Then, the Light Side came in, and Leia told Vader to leave the couple alone – they just got married!

The couple were so incredibly kind and they were really fun to work with. We had a blast at the reception! A few characters busted a move on the dance floor, and a few joined the newlyweds in some photos.

The Darth Vader ice sculpture was definitely awesome.

Costumers: Doug Smith and Kris Heding.

Photobooth props are fun! Costumers: Mike Giralico and Kris Heding. Photo on the right was taken by Tatiana Allen.

General Hux doesn’t know what to do when it comes to dancing. Costumers: Kris Heding and Jordan West. Photo on the left was taken by Tatiana Allen, photo on the right was taken by Madeline Anderson.

Costumers for a Cause Launch Party

Costumers for a Cause is a non-profit group that includes several costuming groups from the Twin Cities area: The Minnesota Force, Minnesota Superheroes United, and The Royal Sisterhood. We’ve been doing events for over a year as part of CFAC, but with a brand new website (designed by yours truly), we wanted to get word out about our organization and have an official launch party. It was a huge success, and everyone had a wonderful time!

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Photo by Alex Hall. Costumers: Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Jordan West.

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Photo by Alex Hall. Costumers: Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Jordan West.

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Pretty, pretty princesses. Photo by Alex Hall. Costumers: Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Jordan West.

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Sassy! Photo by Alex Hall. Costumers: Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Jordan West.

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Snoke’s Angels? Photo by Alex Hall. Costumers: Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Jordan West.

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The entire Minnesota Force crew! Photo by Supreme Images Photography. Costumers: Phil Glover, Nick Hickman, Blane Pierson, Paul Haga, Michael Tangen, John Whitt, Rick Rietow, James Douthitt, Erich Ludwig, Melissa Sowers, Erich Schwab, Jordan West, Alex Hall, Amanda Fineran, Kris Heding, Madeline Anderson, Katherine Hickman, Pari Elizabeth, and Trevor Bailey.

Children’s Hospital – Kids Clubhouse

I’m so excited I got to do another Kids Clubhouse segment at Children’s Hospital! The last one I did was in July, and I had such a fun time. This time I got to hit (fake) snowballs with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, and did oddly well considering I haven’t played baseball since I was a kid.

Here is our segment:

And here is our awesome group!

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Costumers: James Douthitt, Kelly Knowles, Kris Heding, and Amanda Fineran.