Plano, TX
October 15, 2005
Story and Photos by Dave Demel (Starfox)

 

MISSION: INFILTRATE AND CONQUER
It all started on a beautiful Texas morning, sun shining and reflecting off of the morning dew... a day just right for this mission. We saddled up our trusty dewback, kicked the dust off of the ol’ boy and headed north to pillage! Today on my mission, I had two recruits, my loving wife Amy (sneak peak photo included) and my nephew Damien. The road was long and hard, but we did not despair. Actually, we made record time two hours 15 minutes. The show started at 11am and we walked in at 11:15 and the lines were not long at first. I will have to say the entry fee and the way things were handled were a little sloppy. We had our option of General Admission $10, SpeedPass $20 and VIP Pass $50... what is a SpeedPass? A special pass sold early to get you in the front of the autograph lines... well this was good and bad. They never stopped selling SpeedPasses all day. As a general admission, you could wait in the lines for over an hour and when you get to the door, new speed passes would show up and jump ahead, they should have stopped selling these at some point, but they didn’t... very frustrating. But, it was an effective way to make more money off of the collectors! Enough of the bad, time for the good!

After first entry into the perimeter, we were greeted by none other than Vader himself with his entourage, a very impressive sight walking through the dimly lit hallway, almost eerie. My wife and nephew flipped out and loved it, this was their first time seeing these cool Troopers first hand. The entry hallway had several different comic book artists lining both sides of the hall, all showing off their talents and hawking their goods... many were all too sweet!

I didn’t get to far when I heard someone calling my name, and it was then I met my first contact, James Wark, a.k.a. Icypher from the Sandtroopers forums. We had talked earlier in the week about the rendezvous point and I was able to procure him the newest Target Exclusive Lava figures for supplies. We shot the breeze for a while, went over our manifesto and preceded to conquer Sandtrooper style! His report to follow shortly.

The autograph section started at 12 noon for the big names, to include Carrie Fisher, Jonathan Frakes, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Kevin Sorbo, Marc Singer, Bonnie Piesse, Lar Park Lincoln, Erin Gray, Adam Baldwin and many others, some today only, some Sunday only. I was miffed at how this was handled (see above). We finally made it in and I was able to get Kenny Baker to sign a Silver Edition R2 for me. He and his wife were very pleasant and accommodated fans at every turn. I was able to visit with Peter Mayhew for a moment (already have his autograph, thanks to RJP) and congratulated him on his new US citizenship. Most of the other celebs were friendly when you got to visit with them, but some lines were still too long... then there was Marc Singer. His line was short and my wife had a crush on him from her younger years, so we visited with him about Beastmaster and took a couple of photos (the only time you will see my wife!)

Next came the Exhibitor Hall where all the regular merchants, business people and scalpers sold their wares. There was a variety of items for sale from pictures, to action figures to jewelry to swords... you name it and it was there. I didn’t see any bargains here like I did at the Austin Expo, but I’m sure there were some to be found... but I was on a bigger mission... to meet Miss Carrie Fisher. She had a very long line, charged a little more for her autograph and would NOT let you take any photos! Then a fan in a wheelchair could not get up to the stage where she was signing, so she came to him... and what a sight. She was less than 15 feet from me and I was able to snag a quick photo! Then my heart sank as well as my spirit... and all was to be lost... speed passes had her for the next three hours and the show was closing in less than four hours. Then a bright light shined down from above and I saw Trooper Icypher way ahead in the line. He offered to get my figure autographed for me and mail it to me this week! What a great Trooper! Even though I did not get to meet Carrie personally, all was not lost... thanks James!

There were also many Q & A sessions with the different guests, Steve Sansweet being one of these. Unfortunately, I was standing in an autograph line when he did his presentation. But I did see him later and introduced myself. He is a nice fellow, but he could never be a stormtrooper. (Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?)

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 13 photos click here.