FLASH BACK TO JUNE 10, 1999
Star Wars Episode One is ripping up the
previous movie attendance records in box office history. An average
Joe named Pat Carlucci, jaded by a 20-year gap in Star Wars film releases,
decides to see The Phantom Menace one night after work against a
better judgment to wait for the video. The person that went into
this film would not be the same one that came out approx 2 1/2 hours
later. The love affair was rekindled and Star Wars Episode One
had resparked that all but extinguished fire that once burned hot in a
child that was only eleven when he saw A NEW HOPE way back when
FAST FORWARD TO LATE
An over supply of Star Wars toys panics retailers and
distribution houses to drastically reduce prices in what has become a very
saturated collectors market. Earnings for the big "Disti's" are
taking a beating in revenue margin and Hasbro is facing a coming crisis.
For what should have been the greatest movie / toy cross marketing
campaign in history, now crumbles underneath the bewilderment of corporate
suits, who had anticipated a huge influx of gross capital. Decreased
orders and interest in the Star Wars line follows from these distribution
giants as Hasbro scrambles for a new game plan to keep interest alive.
The clearance sales spawn a new generation of collectors; ones that don't
want to overpay and are excited to indulge in a hobby that has become
instantly affordable. Pat Carlucci is one of these new generation
collectors. He manages to find sites on the Internet like:
which he finds to be outstanding. By chance he comes across George
Collazo, who has been in the Star Wars collecting scene for years.
Pat invites George to showcase various Star Wars related exhibits on a
site Pat admins called Dark Horizon. George complies and things go well.
FAST FORWARD TO
Pat and George have become great friends and are now ready
to start a major campaign to network collectors together to fill holes in
their respective collections. Together, they launch Sandtroopers.com.
Darth Crypt is conjured up to hold things together, should it get ugly.
Sandtroopers was secured on June 11th, 2000 and was officially opened to
the public on July 23rd, 2000. Statistics for the first week
recorded 993 hits (727 were unique), not bad for a small garrison of
upstarts! The name SANDTROOPERS wasn't chosen because it was among
the few Star Wars names left, it was mainly due to the fact that
Sandtroopers are dispatched across the galaxy and our goal from the
beginning was to unify other collectors globally. The world still
has good people in it and collectors are a special breed. Fantastic
talent has joined our quest as well as the meeting of many other great
collectors, but we remain just a couple of guys (like you) that just want
to help and support this wondrous hobby of ours.
FAST FORWARD TO 2002
steadily grown into one of the most recognized Star Wars sites on the
Internet as of 2002. With the release of Attack of the Clones in
theaters, droves of fans were searching the galaxy for news other than
what was being offered at the official site. From the assistance of
volunteer Staff members and through many online sponsors, Sandtroopers.com
has been able to cover many of the groundbreaking events that have
embraced this wonderful hobby of ours. From Toy Fair in New York
City, to Celebration II in Indianapolis, we invaded 2002 and brought the
news to you. Although Pat and George were no longer the Commanding
Officers of Sandtroopers, General Vaughn Whisker spearheaded the operation
for quite some time. Vaughn left the site later that year and the
duty of Webmaster was bestowed upon Lt. Jason D. Meyers. He enlisted
the help of Sgt. Chris Spice to help him with Sandwatch Action Figure
reviews, and together they moved the site forward. Jason brought out
creativity with features such as Beyond Belief, and helped keep the site
fun and interesting on a day-to-day basis. Steve Hart kept us in
line with his reviews of novels from the Star Wars Universe. Later
that same year General Jason found Amanaman Dan lurking around in the
forums and saw a need for some graphic talent and offered him a position
with the site. Dan also brought a diorama section to the site as
well. Creativity and involving the audience is something
Sandtroopers was built on, what a better way than to have a custom-built
diorama section. In 2003 Sandtroopers.com took the good fight to
Chicago, IL and distributed the first ever Sandtroopers.com T-Shirts.
These were not sold, given away to the people who could come up and
deliver the slogan “United We Find!” Some were passed out to new Troopers,
even Zach and Jesse Jensen got in on the action and wanted to be a part of
the Sandtrooper Army. Emperor Crypt, Spice, Amanaman Dan, Count
Mattchew and several other members of Sandtroopers.com and the Jawa.com
Forum Community attended wizard World 2003. It was a great weekend
of brotherhood and unity.
FAST FORWARD TO
2003 was perhaps our greatest year ever, however another piece of the
puzzle returned home. Julian H. Betancourt returned to
Sandtroopers.com after perusing other endeavors. Since his return
Julian has added features such as the Star Tours figures, a complete
Unleashed Guide, as well as a Riddell Mini-Helmets Guide as well.
His perspective goes mimicked throughout the Star Wars world but his work
is unsurpassed. We were glad to add him back to our active roster.
In 2003, ST was the place to be, however we plan to deliver much more in
2004. General J has relocated to the Midwest, however personal and
professional opportunity has been a better opportunity for Jason. To
better prepare for this battle Spiceowan fell to the Dark Side, and Darth
Spice was born. Jason has quietly passed the torch to Darth Spice.
While very familiar with the day to day operations, it has been a seamless
transition and the work Chris Spice has done in the field for Sandtroopers
has been invaluable to the entertainment of our website.
One of the
first changes he made was to create a community forum separate from the Jawa. He recruited the help of Chris Rhoads a.k.a. dustrho.
Upon orders from now Emperor Crypt, the Sandtrooper forum was born, and a
place for the S.C.A.L.P. (Sandtroopers/. Com/Auxilary/Range-Patrol)
Troopers to hang their helmet was all their own. We felt the website
was large enough to facilitate something as basic as a forum.
The Sandblast birthday bash was a huge success and
the site grew by leaps and bounds both on the main page and in the forums.
The month of August was upon us, and after 2003 we had very high expectations
for Wizard World Chicago. Several Staff members attended the event; Darth
Spice, Sandtrooper Dan, dustrho, Boba-Binks, and Recon Sgt. all made it out to
the show. However without Hasbro on hand to exhibit new Star Wars product
and fifty percent of the Celebrities a no show, the event was very lack luster.
We rode our Dewbacks the very next month into the
Midwest Collectors Expo in Rosemont, IL just minutes outside of Chicago.
Sandtroopers.com co-hosted a Celebrity Charity Breakfast with the Expo and
Federation Toys. Over 200 people showed up the morning of the breakfast
and many Troopers came out to support this noble cause. Over Five-Thousand
dollars was raised for
TreasureChest.org. Between the breakfast and the sale of the limited
edition cards which featured all of the actors faces on them. Darth Spice
also took the pleasure of interviewing every Star Wars guest that attended the
event, for the future entertainment of the Troops. The three-day show
packed quite a punch, compared the juggernaut that Wizard World was not.
In the fall of 2004 we added several new faces to
our Staff crew... Robert Amid, Dave Demel, Adam Silva Jr. and Jim Lauzonis were
added to the active roster to assist both with the Forum and main page
functions. We have quite a group now, diverse as ever and eager to serve
all of you in the name of United We Find. Whether it is a smaller show,
covering a local 501st function or a major event, the Sandtroopers will ride in
and take names and photos for those who were not so fortunate to attend the
shows. Our numbers grow daily, Pat and George should be very proud of the
network they created. If you just enlisted today or have been around for
years, we invite you to hang around for the bright future that is upon us all…