Sunday, August 16, 2015

Portland Sea Dogs STAR WARS Night 2015

Saturday, August 15th was the annual STAR WARS Night with the Portland Sea Dogs!

Asides R2-D2, we were joined by Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion and the Mercs from the Wampa Clan.

Pre- event:

Prior to heading down, there were two things I had been working on.  One was completing my Stormtrooper suit and the other was repairing R2's rear panel.  

With a great deal of help from my friend, Pete, the suit was ready to go, complete with helmet fans to cope with the heat/lens fogging.  

The rear panel was proving a bigger problem.  I had used tabs to hold the panel flush with the skins.  I had used adhesive foam tape but over the years, the foam has started to separate.  As a result, the top of the panel was sagging and not flush with the rest of R2's body.

I cleaned up the adhesive residue and tried using silicone.  That wound up not setting up well, due to the high humidity.  I'd have to go with Plan B.  White electrical tape!  (It works remarkably well!)  The ultimate fix may be to re-do the entire back panel.  After years of operating R2, some areas of that panel are bent and the epoxy is coming apart.  Poor R2 is need of an overhaul again!

The Main Event!

R2-D2 and I left very early so that we could skip any traffic delays on the way to Portland.  There were a few, thankfully minor ones!  

The van was especially comfortable since I used one of those air conditioning recharge kits (AC Pro).  It didn't completely fill the system, but I had cold air coming out of the air conditioner again!  (The van is 13 years old and has multiple issues.  But for now, it's doing the job of getting R2-D2 and I out and about!)

The 501st guys and the Mercs weren't far behind me and soon it was time to get R2-D2 all prepped.  

And...once R2-D2 was ready to go, it was time for me to try on my Stormtrooper armor for the first time.

To say the other Stormtroopers make it look easy is an understatement!  The armor goes on in a very specific order and it will certainly take me a while to nail it down.  After some awkward adjusting, snapping armor to the straps...I was a Stormtrooper!

I put on the helmet and knew I had a minor problem.  Visibility.  I couldn't see below my neck wearing the helmet.  But...with R2-D2 about 10 feet ahead of me, I could control him and operate safely.  

Operating R2-D2 while in full Stormtrooper armor!
We were at the main gate when the event opened and instantly had a huge queue of fans looking for photos with R2-D2 and the gang!

The one thing we weren't expecting....a huge thunderstorm.  The skies had looked threatening all day but soon the staff was advising everyone to stay inside.  

The storm caused a one hour delay and lasted about 45 minutes.  Soon, we had clearing skies and a rainbow to go with it

The weather went back to being hot and muggy but the festivities resumed!

R2 was all around the concourse section as the heavy rains made driving on the clay infield area a bad idea.  Last year we drove on the clay with ease, even doing the character parade around the field.  But I didn't want to take any chances and gum up the foot drive system in the mud.

Where ever R2 was, a long line formed.  We stopped for pictures and made sure we weren't blocking the flow of traffic to the concession areas.

I also opted to go without my Stormtrooper helmet so I could have better visibility while operating R2-D2.  

Here's some photos...

Post Event:

The sudden thunderstorm had one minor issue;  a large sign was knocked over and crashed into the side of my van.  It should be easy enough to repair.

As the game was winding down, we all headed back to the dressing room to change up.  The Mercs, who wear many layers of bounty-hunter style armor, were quite warm in their costumes.  Myself and the troopers were equally drenched in sweat!  Thankfully our hosts provided us with vast quantities of cold bottled water to stay hydrated.

As we all parted ways, the staff was kind enough to help load R2-D2 into the van for me.  (Everyone then comments how heavy R2 is!)  Since the game started late, we didn't leave the stadium until 10 pm.  After a detour for some coffee, I managed to get home just after midnight.  

A very busy day!