April 26-28, 2013
Story & Photos by:  Chris "Darth" Spice

 

REVENGE OF THE BATTLE STATION!
There are a lot of things you can do in four years. One can go through high school, obtain a college degree or see a pop culture event take control of an entire area of the country. In just four short years C2E2 has managed to do just that. It seems like just yesterday the event was in its infancy, it seemed like a small crowd for such a huge venue. However with each year that passes, it appears like the attendance doubles or triples from year-to-year. For the third consecutive year, we would be putting together a Sandtroopers Battle Station event for the fans in the Chicagoland area. With Star Wars swag from the leading manufacturers in collectibles, we were armed to the tooth for what would be an incredible weekend. Thanks to our friends at Galactic Productions, we would have special guest Orli Shoshon a.k.a. Jedi Master Shaak Ti for two of the three days of the event.

With a slim 3-man crew we were able to take advantage of our position that was very close to the entrance. Friday seemed like it there were lulls at times, however things did pick up in the early afternoon. We joined forces with the 501st & Rebel Legion, Jedi Assembly and many other Star Wars groups to raise awareness for the Vasculitis Foundation. Carol Gilbert a.k.a. Jedimom was our inspiration for our Make It Better charity as her husband struggles with the disease. We were fairly confident our stockpile of Star Wars collectibles would generate funds for a good cause. With special guest Orli Shoshon sitting with us, it would be fairly certain fans would do a double-take. As I made my way to the entrance to survey the humanity bursting through the door, I spotted David & Ashley Eckstein posing for photos in front of the huge C2E2 lettering outside the main convention hall. We also took advantage of snapping several photos of the convention before the general public were allowed inside, the calm before the storm you could say. I really have to say I was impressed with the variety of pop culture throughout the event. C2E2 is a great blend of everything, not just our favorite galaxy from far, far away.

The costumes were awesome, but the toys at the Vintage Toys & Pop Culture auction simply had me drooling. You might say the same for the booth of the Toy Hunter Jordan Hembrough, again not just the Star Wars, he had everything from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Things I remember my older brother opening up for his birthday from the Six Million Dollar Man TV show I had long forgotten. We also would host the induction of Orli Shoshon into the Jedi Assembly, I could see Jedimom was very happy to finally granting Jedi Master Shaak Ti her honorary status. Our friends from Rebel Force Radio would also stop by to conduct an "air raid" from the Battle Station. It was a great time discussing the status of Star Wars fandom and so much more with Jimmy, and Cris Macht did a great job filling in for Jason Swank who couldn't attend. I was also able to snag a couple of the exclusive Jawa banks from Diamond Select, as they were the only exhibitor with a Star Wars exclusive for the show. Seeing as I've been to every C2E2 show, I felt compelled to grab one of the 250 limited edition. However the Cyborg Darth Maul simply stole the show. Even though he needed a little help from Obi-Wan to walk around on stilts, no question the coolest costume we saw all weekend.

There's no question Saturday was the busiest day, even though there was a few security changes, I think ReedPop did the best they could. This was the first convention I can remember seeing bomb sniffing dogs and ATF agents walking around. After what has happend in Boston lately, I was happy seeing people still allowed to carry prop / replica weapons. After things got really busy, you didn't even notice as the bag check might have been the one thing that held you up getting into the show. The section of costumes really amazed me, and the amount of Star Wars collectibles on the showroom floor was also quite impressive in the few times I did manage to get away from the booth to snap photos. We selected a few winners on Saturday in our raffle, and we would also sponsor the Droid Hunt to give support to the 501st Legion. I really have to say not having the time to get into my costume was something I have to correct for next year, but I really couldn't be happier with the support we got from our "ground crew". We were lucky enough to have all the winners present for the drawing on Saturday, and after a wild night in the Windy City with Daniel Logan,  it would seem like Sunday arrived too soon!

While the foot traffic wasn't as heavy as the day before, the crowd was more than steady. It was really cool to see the 501st Legion Imperial Academy in action, it will really make you wish you were a kid again! Another huge highlight on Sunday was introducing Jordan Hembrough to the DaGeDar Star Wars collection. The Toy Hunter is a huge Star Wars fan, and it was a delight to show him something he'd never seen before! At the end of the day we'd stop by chalk artist Eric Maruscak to see his completed three-day effort, even though it wasn't a Star Wars drawing like we'd hoped. The NBC TV show Revolution would be given that honor for this show. Overall I'd have to give the show a big thumbs up. Even though it gets bigger and better each year, the staff are able to keep up with the heavy demand of what is now the largest pop culture event in the Midwest. We managed to tally $715 for the Vasculitis Foundation and the winners were very happy with the win-win situation the Battle Station brings to the show. Until next year Troopers, United We Find!.

PHOTO GALLERY
Check out the photo galleries from Set Up, Friday, Saturday and Sunday !

THANK YOU: 
We'd like to thank our allies at Sideshow Collectibles, Gentle Giant, Kotobukiya, Hasbro, DaGeDar, Toy Hutt, BigBadToystore, Brians Toys, LEGO, Diamond Select Toys, Dave Dorman & Joe Corroney for their contributions to our prize package. Huge thanks to Rebel Force Radio for the "air support".

Extra special thanks to Galactic Productions for assistance with our guest Orli Shoshon. It was an honor to have her appear at the Battle Station.

Lastly to the Battle Station crew Dan Kritchevsky, Ron "Scalperhunter1" Lanning, and Eric & Connie Pfeifer for their support. We couldn't have gotten it done without all of you.