May 28, 2006
Story and Photos by Chris Rhoads (dustrho)

 
INTRODUCTION
Summer is all about barbequing hamburgers and hot dogs, soaking up some good sunshine, working out in the yard, going to the beach for a refreshing swim, but one of the highlights of the summer for me is when Wizard World Chicago takes place in early August. Wizard World will be running from August 3-6 and will be hosted at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (again) in Rosemont, IL. This is only about a 30-45 minute drive from my house, which isn’t all that bad, but with all the road construction that’s going on this summer it could end up being a longer commute for me. As bad as that could end up being, it will be worth the trip because the show has always been entertaining for me.

WHAT’S IN STORE
This is the one event of the year where many members from Sandtroopers.com can actually get together from all across the country (usually from the Midwest), thus allowing us the opportunity to hang out and discuss Star Wars face-to-face. Since we have almost doubled in size in just over a year, this year will be quite a different experience for us. More and more people will recognize us, and more people will want to learn more about Sandtroopers.com.

As most of you know, there sure isn't a whole lot of information on the Wizard Universe website, and they have been known to wait until the last minute to post information regarding the show just before it officially starts. Of course there will be all sorts of comic vendors at the show, along with your fair share of celebrities and people from various sports, but as I've already mentioned it doesn't really matter who will be there. I'm hoping that there will be some great vendors there selling great Star Wars toys and collectibles at great prices. Most of the dealers have fairly good products and prices, and there have been a select few that have had outstanding deals that you just could not even think about passing up.

But, the one question that remains still is this... will Hasbro show up? Read more later in this article below.

SUITING UP IN ARMOR
The previous three years I attended the show as a regular everyday Joe, wearing my shirt, shorts and sandals, but this year will be quite different as I will be marching around the place in my sandtrooper armor with the 501st Legion. Since joining the ranks there back in November last year, I have participated in several low-key events ranging from birthday parties to parades to other different types of events, but this will be the first time participating in something this big.

Darth Spice had the pleasure of marching around the convention center in his armor last year, and I remember how exciting it must have been for him. I remember walking around with him for the majority of the time, helping stop the pedestrian traffic as people stopped to have their pictures taken with him, and I also had to make sure that no one messed with him and his armor (by touching it or kicking/hitting it). Now it will be my turn to be walking around with my BlasTech T-21 gun (aka Lewis). I’ll be one of the few taking photos with all of the people visiting the convention. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while, and it will become a reality for me in less than three months.

WILL HASBRO BE THERE?
This is probably the most asked question I have heard recently, but will Hasbro at this year’s Wizard World Chicago convention? So far we are unsure if they will be present or not. For whatever reason Hasbro has not been there the last two years, and I think I can speak for everyone here that it’s been a poor decision on their part. It’s hard to say why they would choose to not attend such a large-scaled event, but out of all the exhibits that are at the show theirs is by far the coolest. Well, that’s easy for me to say since they’re the biggest manufacturer of Star Wars products, so of course they’re going to be the coolest vendor there.

Last time they were present was back in 2003, and this was during the time that Attack of the Clones had already been out in theaters. Hasbro had the newest Saga figures and vehicles at the convention, so it was great to see all these new toys before images had shown up on the Internet. What was even cooler than that was their large Battle of Geonosis diorama, which had several AAT tanks, clone gunships, clone troopers, battle droids and super battle droids going after one another. It was one outstanding diorama that I wish I had in my collection, but come to think of it I’m curious to know whatever happened to that diorama. Maybe it’s on display at Hasbro’s headquarters? Who knows!

Since they’ve been gone so long, I am really hoping that they choose to make it this year. It can only benefit them, especially since they have the Star Wars license until 2018 and there won’t be any more Star Wars movies. Sure, there will be the two Star Wars television shows coming out within the next year or so, but this would really be a great time for them to prove to us that they’re going to be coming out with new product instead of rehashed stuff. It would be great to see another new diorama, one that is taken out of Revenge of the Sith, and I can think about so many different possibilities for this. Of course Hasbro could just hire Sandtrooper Dan to make them a cool diorama, and I’m sure he’d do it for next to nothing. If he did do it you know it would be a mind-blowing experience with all the talent he possesses.

CONCLUSION
I've been going to Wizard World Chicago for the last three years, and this one will mark my fourth appearance. Each and every year keeps getting better for me. The first year I was by myself representing another site. The last two years I've been there with Darth Spice and Reconsgt representing Sandtroopers.com. This coming event I'll be representing not only Sandtroopers.com but the Midwest Garrison of the 501st Legion. This year should be a good one for us, and it will be an event that I will be very much looking forward to.

[bottom2.htm]