The Birth of a Trooper - Webbing Velcro

There are a couple of different ways to affix the webbing to the armour. The sturdier - but more expensive - option is to use snap plates. Alternatively, industrial-strength velcro can be used. I'm not planning on any intensive trooping to begin with, so for now I've opted for the latter option. If it doesn't hold up, there's always the option to convert to snap plates at a later date.

Unfortunately industrial strength velcro is a little tricky to come by back home - but as lack would have it, it's relatively easy to procure in the US. I ordered a couple of packs earlier this week, and they turned up in the mail today.

With this, I've now got pretty much everything I need to get the suit completed as soon as I'm back home!

Lego 75007 Republic Assault Ship & Coruscant and 75008 TIE Bomber & Asteroid Field Mini Planet Sets

Yesterday I dropped by the Lego Store at the Galleria Mall in Houston and discovered that Series 3 of the Lego Mini Planets are now in stock for $9.99US ($11.97NZ) each. I picked up two of the three sets in this series: 75007 Republic Assault Ship & Coruscant, and 75008 TIE Bomber & Asteroid Field. Curiously, the third set (75006 Jedi Starfighter & Kamino) is being kept off shelves for another three weeks due to some sort of Star Wars-themed Lego Club event.

As always, the sculpts on both of these sets are fantastic - and the planet and mini-figure are just an added bonus. I'm now busting to get my collection of Lego mini-sets on display somehow!

The Birth of a Trooper - Neck Seal Fabric

One of the most important non-armour parts of the Stormtrooper is the neck seal. I'll be having mine custom made as per the White Armor tutorial, but up until now the material for this project - black automotive headliner fabric - has been difficult to come by. Fortunately I was able to track down a seller in the US, and today a yard of the fabric (more than enough for my needs) arrived in the post.

Stormtrooper Container

Before going on holiday I also picked up this Stormtrooper container from the $1.00US ($1.19NZ) bin at Target.

Star Wars Fruit Flavored Snacks

Back in Houston, my partner picked me up a box of these Star Wars Fruit Flavored Snacks at the local Kroger grocery store. They taste pretty darn good!

Star Wars Books One and Two, The Secrets of Shadows of the Empire, and Star Wars and Philosophy

While I was in New York I also has the chance to visit the massive Strand Book Store - a shop that boasts no less than 18 miles of books on its shelves. I came across a few harder-to-find items there that I'll be adding to the RotF library - Star Wars Books One and Two for $6.00US ($7.16NZ) each, The Secrets of Shadows of the Empire for $7.50US ($8.95NZ), and Star Wars and Philosophy for $9.00US ($10.74NZ).

Yoda Backpack

When I visited FAO Schwarz in New York I fell in love with one particular item I'd never seen before - a cuddly Yoda backpack. The bag is designed so that when worn it looks as though Yoda is riding on your back à la The Empire Strikes Back. I couldn't leave without one, so picked this up for $39.99US ($47.71).

Darth Sidious Pez Dispenser

I wanted to pick up a small souvenir from the Toys'R'Us in Time Square that I visited last week. I eventually opted to pick up one of these Darth Sidious Pez Dispensers for $3.49US ($4.16).

I'm especially fond of this  dispenser design, as it looks to be the very same one used by Linus in the film Fanboys.

New York Toy Store Tour

My partner and I just got back from our holiday in New York. We had a great time hitting all of the usual tourist spots, but along the way I also managed to squeeze in a little Star Wars shopping too. There were two stores I really wanted to visit - the first being the Toys'R'Us in Times Square.

The store is absolutely massive - so big, in fact, that they've managed to fit a working Ferris Wheel inside. The toys span four levels, and while the selection of Star Wars items isn't much more than what's available at other Toys'R'Us branches, the surrounding displays are very impressive.

The other store I couldn't wait to visit was the famous FAO Schwarz at the south end of Central park.

This was another giant multiple level store. There were several excellent displays here too, though of particular note were the stunning collection of Acme prints available for sale.

Visiting these toy stores really was an incredible experience - and one I highly recommend for any Star Wars collector who finds themselves in New York city. Naturally, I picked up a couple of Star Wars items while visiting these stores, so look for updates on these in the next day or so!

A Recap of Everything Star Wars at Toy Fair 2013

There was a lot of news from Hasbro about their plans for the Star Wars franchise at Toy Fair 2013. I've now had the chance to glean through the information and - for those of you who are interested - you can read my thoughts below.

3 3/4" The Clone Wars Action Figures
  • Put simply, The Clone Wars line is no more. While some Clone Wars figures will be released in other lines, they will be sculpted in a realistic - not animated - style. I never began collecting this particular line, so the news doesn't come as too much of a blow to me. I do, however, know of a lot of collectors - and their children - who loved this line. For this reason, I know it'll be sorely missed by many.

3 3/4" The Vintage Collection Action Figures
  • As I reported last year, The Vintage Collection will be coming to an end in 2013. It'll run until fall this year, re-releasing a series of 'Greatest Hits' figures to give collectors a second chance to pick up many figures they might have missed the first time around. Again, this isn't a severe loss for me. While the vintage packaging was a nice idea, it made little difference to an opener like me. One particularly good piece of news was Hasbro's announcement that they will be releasing two Imperial Scan Crew multi-packs so that collectors can finally get their hands on the missing scan trunk originally scheduled for release in 2009.

3 3/4" The Black Series Action Figures
  • The Black Series will be picking up where The Vintage Collection leaves off. Details are sketchy as to which figures we'll be seeing released in this line, however Hasbro's promotional images sadly pointed in the direction of a number of characters we've seen released many times before.

3 3/4" Star Wars Legends Collection Action Figures
  • The Star Wars Legends Collection will provide a cheaper alternative to the regular 3 3/4" figures. Most notably, the figures will come with only five points of articulation (the same as vintage and early PotF figures). It's always a good idea providing the consumer with options, and many young children are unlikely to have any issues with the reduced articulation. For me, however, this line of figures will be passed over in favour of the regular 3 3/4" figures.

6" The Black Series Action Figures
  • This is truly something new for Hasbro - a series of high-quality and super-detailed figures at an entirely new scale. I've seen some pictures of the first wave of figures and, to be perfectly honest, they look stunning. Unfortunately, I think I'll be passing on these too. While they're very nice figures, I'll find it hard to justify adding the same characters to my collection at a slightly larger scale.

12" Action Figures
  • It's been a few years since Hasbro released 12" scale figures. I had a real fondness for these in the past, but unfortunately these new figures are a mere shadow of their predecessors. It appears that they only come with five points of articulation - essentially making them giant versions of the Legends Collection figures. Sadly, I'll also be passing on these.

So, in sum, there wasn't a tremendous amount that excited  me at Toy Fair 2013. That being said, I still have to wait and see the range of figures planned for the 3 3/4" Black Series. There are still a number of gaps that need plugging in my collection!

It nevertheless looks like 2013 will be a somewhat slow year for the RotF Collection. That isn't necessarily a bad thing however. In just two years we'll be seeing a number of new Star Wars films and - no doubt - a raft of new merchandise. Down-times like this are always good for consolidation. It also means I can put my time and money into finally finishing that other project...

More Details on Spin-Off Star Wars Films? [Rumours Only]

I usually avoid posting any news until it's confirmed by an official source, but there've been so many interesting reports circulating since yesterdays announcement of two additional Star Wars spin-off films that I couldn't help but post a couple of them here.

First up, Entertainment Weekly is reporting that one of these films will follow a young Han Solo in the period between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, while the other will be an original Boba Fett story set some time during or after the original trilogy. is instead reporting that one of these two films will be based around the origin story of Yoda.

Now, these two stories are clearly mutually exclusive - so one must be (at least partially) false. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see people's reactions to the possibilities. Personally, I'd love to see a Han Solo / Boba Fett pairing of standalone films further fleshing out two of the coolest characters in the saga. There'd also be the potential for some crossover between the two (eras permitting). We all know that pair have one hell of a history.

Two More Star Wars Films in the Pipeline

It really is an incredibly exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. Today it was officially announced that two more Star Wars films are in the pipeline. Of particular interest is the fact that one of these films will be written by Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer for Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

To be clear, these two films will be spin-offs - and will be released in addition to the upcoming trilogy of episodes VII, VIII, and IX. That's five new Star Wars films now confirmed for release!

Darth Plagueis Paperback

My partner and I are off to New York in a couple of weeks, so I ordered some reading material for the flight there - Darth Plagueis from for $7.99US ($9.45NZ). I've been looking forward to reading this ever since it was first announced, so can't wait to get started!