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[26] Themaninthesuitcase Troop Diary

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Troop #13 - 29 September 2018 - ElstreeCon 2.0 (approx 5 hours in armour)


Only my second troop this year.  Whilst a small quiet convention, the location was a little bit of a special one.


I've been lucky enough to troop at Elstree Studios before, and it's only 11 miles from home so this isn't as exotic to me as some but it was an excellent troop.


Elstree Studios by Christopher Pearson, on Flickr


The convention it's self takes place in a small ballroom style room in the front building shown above.  There was a small number of stands there selling the usual memorabelia and tat as well as a few actors/acrtresses doing signings.  The majority had a Star Wars link, maninly back ground characters.


One notable actor was Alan Harris AKA Bossk, who also played a Stormtrooper in ESB and ROTJ, a Rebel in ANH and was the model of the infamous white Prototype armour that became Boba Fett.


I was lucky enough to have a chat with Alan in the changing area during lunch, he is a lovley person who seems to really enjoy what we do.


Meeting Alan Harris Aka Bossk from ESB by Photo by Richard Pottle (TD 77670)
L->R : Dan Branton (TK 42911) Declan Baker (TI 9845) Dave Gilmore (TK 73076) Alan Harris (Bossk) Chris Pearson (TK 10911) Adam Knapp (TK 11780) Dan Wray (TI 15978)


Most of the convetion was spent outside the front of the venue on the road drawing attention to the convention from passers by, and nearly causing multple accidents on the roundabout where people would just stop to look!


Outside the front of Elstree Studios by Trist Fulcher (TI 3493)
L->R : Dan Branton (TK 42911) Dave Gilmore (TK 73076) Chris Pearson (TK 10911) Adam Knapp (TK 11780) Dan Wray (TI 15978) Declan Baker (TI 9845)


We also spent a small amount of time just inside the perimeter but as there were multiple shows filming that day this was a bit busy with blacked out cars and SUVs.  The rest of the time was spent inside the venue it's self.


Mid afternoon we were given an incredible opportunity.  The organiser lead us out through an out of bounds door and onto the lot.  We walked past a hot Stage 8, some of ESB was filmed here, up to the top of the hill.



We're Home by Wayne Allen (TK 52517)
L->R : Declan Baker (TI 9845) Dan Branton (TK 42911) Adam Knapp (TK 11780) Chris Pearson (TK 10911)


Here we were able to get a few photos in front of the George Lucas Stage where it all began.  Currently home to both Strictly Come Dancing and The Crown.


Again whilst quiet, the people and the location made this one to remember.

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  • 1 month later...

Me not update my troop report in a timely manner, how very dare you.


Troop #14 - 27 October 2018 - MCM ComicCon London (approx 8 hours in armour)


Yup back at the Excel again for another Comicon.  For the most part this one was business as usual.  An early start to entertain the queues and then patrols of the venue.  


Late in the morning I was part of the group who took part in a Silver Sabers display.  We paraded in to their stand so that Lord Vader could preside over a sabre battle display.  At the end we the paraded back out, and went for lunch :laugh1:


This picture was us lurking in a hall entry way waiting for the display time.  The ladies were from our guest charity, Mitchell's Miracles, who were collecting on the stand for the 3 days of the con. 



London Comic Con October 2018


This is a cut from some video, complete with badly timed trooper looking to the side  :6:



The afternoon was much of the same with a few stints on the club stand for photo-ops by the Death Star wall.  Day was called when a spotter noticed I was getting "trooper legs" with about an hour left of the con.


Armour did sterling service but on the way out of the venue I was thanking a spotter for help with the lift doors when some one opened a door into my helmet bag! The damage wasn't too bad, about 1/2 long maybe a touch more along a tube seam.  20 minutes with some T shirt and super glue and I was ready for the next one.



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Troop #15 - 24 November 2018 - MCM ComicCon Birmingham (approx 5 hours in armour)


A few firsts for me on this one: First time at the Birmingham Comicon, First time I've talked the wife in to coming along in an official capacity and also the first time away with out the kids in over 5 years!


Day started with our briefing taking place on the main stage with use of the PA, this was a novel change from someone shouting across the changing room. After this the wife was whisked away for her induction briefing (safety talk and basics of spotting) so I didn't see her again until mid morning.



MCM ComicCon Birmingham


Between the UKG, Reel Icons, Rebel Command, Rebel Legion, Mando Mercs, 15th Cyber Legion, UK Colonial Marines and the UK Predators we had over 300 costumers plus a number of spotters.  This was a record as far as I am aware and the presence was immense.  First thing in the morning you couldn't not see a group of the costumers out working the crowd.



IMG_6MCM ComicCon Birmingham583


Also new for me I volunteered to take part in a talk by our CO Garry Hales (also LXO) about the UKG/Reel Icons/Rebel Command and what we do from both a costuming and charity point of view.  I was first up on stage, easier said than done there was a step, and was on stage for a few minutes and all the details of the costume and blaster where pointed out to the crowd.  I was quite proud that the crowd was noticeably larger by the end of my bit, and that nothing fell off :laugh1:  I was followed up by a snowy, an OT and FO Tie, Lord Vader, some stage invading Jawa, Batman, Iron Man and 2 Judges from Dredd(2012).  Whilst it was only a small stage by the end of our talk it was a full crowd with many standing as well.  Very proud to be part of that.



MCM ComicCon Birmingham


One of the big draws for MCM Birmingham is the big group photo.  Sadly due to the size of the crowd (there were also other shows on at the venue) and the huge number of customers the normal ramp wasn't able to be used so we used the queue hall for a big wide shot.  The final image for this is HUGE so rather than kill everyones bandwidth I'll add a video taken by our GWL Wayne Allen TK 52517



During a break my wife noticed a few cracks forming on my armour, one of which risked snapping a corner off the button plate on my chest.  Rather than risk losing the corner I elected to de-kit for the day.


I spent the rest of the day looking after the Rogue One team consisting of Director Krennic, 2 Death Troopers, 2 Shore Troopers an a Jyn.  Having a nice sized group of R1 costumes together really gave a nice big impact



MCM ComicCon Birmingham


These guys were also cool, I guess.



MCM ComicCon Birmingham


These are members of our Reel Icons club, most/all are also 501st members 1 is an LCOG.

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Apparently the talk was videod by our GML

I was up first, I had no briefing about what to expect other than there was stairs to be careful on, and nearly missed on the way off.
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Troop #16 - 22 June 2019 - Heros And Villians Hemel Hempstead (approx 4 hours in armour)


So I've not trooped in *checks watch* 7 months :icon_eek: but I was out today with Gary as Batman (part of our Reel Icons program).  My wife came along to spot us, she's not a legion member but we have an associate member scheme that allows partners/close family to join us and help out by spotting.


Not a huge fancy troop but we were busy and the time went quickly.  Lots of small kids today, more than I am used to and I may have stepped on a few!


Not overly a lot to report but it was an enjoyable troop and a nice ease back in after a busy few months for me.





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Troop #17 - 27 October 2019 - MCM ComicCon London (approx 4 hours in armour)


Autumn means MCM, so once again it was back to the Excel in London for what has become a rather big convention.  Apparently the venue was at Capacity on the Saturday when I was there.


I started the day with a stint on the club stand.  It was pretty quiet first thing, possibly due to the stand location, so it was mostly prep work to get things ready for the day.  The stand got much busier later on and the guys and girls on then had to work far harder than I.  This meant I actually got to take a few of my own photos as my phone wasn't in my case for once!



Reel Icon Collin Wells as Hellboy


After kitting up I went out with 4 other TKs and a Vader.  Normally this would mean a patrol of the venue but due to how busy it was we needed more spotters than where available so it was decided to stay on the stand.  This brought me to lunch and a bit of food



TK-10911 Chris Pearson, TI-29784 Laura Mechem, TX-27875 Nick Wooderson, TK-13570 Tracey Fennell

Photo by TD-77670 Richard Pottle


After lunch I kitted back up and ended up doing a bit of a marathon stint on the club stand.   I ended up being the only OT TK for a long period and I didn't want to leave the stand with no other "iconic" characters.  That said there were a couple of FEMs, a Deathtrooper, a Verso and a TIE which gave some great photos.  Nick in the DT also pulled a bit of a long shift here which can't be easy in that kit.



TK-10911 Chris Pearson, TK-28103 Laura Pragnell, TX-27875 Nick Wooderson, TK-13570 Tracey Fennell

Photo by TD-77670 Richard Pottle


I did one more stint after that but the long shift had taken it's toll.  I was losing feeling in my hands, probably a combo of too long in kit and the new under gloves I was trying.  It's taken about 2 days for the feeling to return and it's still not right even now but getting there.  Lesson: Don't be a hero if you're done go in.  So not the longest amount of time in armour this time, I've done far longer but it was more spread out.


In the end this wasn't my favourite MCM, it was just too busy and the club stand was in a bit of an odd location.  Fortunately the people of the club make it worth it.  You meet so many new people at these and get to see old friends you only see twice a year and it's like you only spoke last week.


Next stop MCM Birmingham in November for a rematch.

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Troop #18 - 16 November 2019 - MCM ComicCon Birmingham (approx 7 hours in armour) 




Good solid troop this one.  There was a good group of us for most of the day plus an officer for most of it too.  Started out in the entrance way guiding people in from the trains.  I some how managed to get a feature in the con closing video from this!


Just before lunch we took part in the Silver Sabres display with Lord Vader as guest of honour.




After lunch the con was incredibly busy making moving around pretty hard so we spent most of our time on the club stand.  This was at a pretty decent location right by one of the doors into the hall.




As the con calmed down towards the end we were able to get out and patrol a bit more but by then most of us were pretty much done for the day.


Not overly sure what everones name was who was in the group, that happens when theres over 300 member in attendance and your bad with names! I know @CableGuy was one though, maybe he can shed some more light on it!


Photos by assorted UKG members, sorry guys I forgot to note down who took them!

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Troop #19 - 09 July 2022 - Hero's and Villains - Hemel Hempstead (approx. 5.5 hours in armour) 


Time flies when there's a global crisis, but was back in the white again last Saturday.  


Was nice to be able to put the armour on again, even it was a bit more snug than I would like to admit.  Turns out 2 years of significantly reduced activity had an effect after all!  More or less remembered what to do, was "the quiet one" for most of them morning but warmed up a bit by the afternoon, though this is relative as I've never been an overly chatty trooper.


Hoping to be able to troop a bit more going forwards, as began to return to normal "life" went into overdrive a bit as everything tried to make up for lost time with club events and birthday parties galore.  These seem to be easing off a little now hopefully making room for a troop or 2.

Photos to follow once they are posted by the spotters.



Me (TK-10911), Luke Titcombe (SL-60401), Jon Hannaby (TK-14097)

Photo by Steve Dredge (TD-10450)



Luke Titcombe (SL-60401), Me (TK-10911)

Photo by Steve Dredge (TD-10450)



Steve Buckley (TK-1902), Me (TK-10911), Jon Hannaby (TK-14097)

Photo by Steve Dredge (TD-10450)

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Troop #20- 18 November 2022 - Futures Festival - Pinewood Studios

Troop #21- 19 November 2022 - Futures Festival - Pinewood Studios


Most photos by Sam Jones ID-5866


So this was 2 days that will be hard to forget. We were asked to attend the Futures Festival at Pinewood Studios, the home of Bond, Star Wars, Alien, Marvel and so many more. The Futures Festival is a careers fair to try and fill the gap in personal in the UK TV and FIlm industry, the number I believe is the industry is 21,000 people short. So this was their chance to show those soon to be leaving school or deciding on their futures what there is, and there's something for everyone!



PinewoodSat_191122-131 by 89Batman, on Flickr


It was an early start but our base of operations for both days was the world famous 007 Stage, the largest sound stage in Europe complete with the enormous water tank.




Breakfast was laid on both days, which was welcomed by all with long queues.


Each day started with a parade out of the 007 stage, down 007 Drive, making a turn on to Goldfinger Avenue before moving on to where ever your squad was assigned.  WIth around 200 people attending each day between UKG, Rebel Legion and the R2 builders, we where all assigned into squads of around 8 or so grouped by costume. So Vader would have a small escort of troopers or you may be in one of 3-4 squads of 8 stormtroopers, there was also squads of TIE pilots, Sandies and Snowies amongst many others.


The Friday start was watched on by crew from a nearby set, even at somewhere like Pinewood a column of troopers is something to stop work for! As we would make our way around the site, it was never far before some one would be getting a photo or a video as we passed.



PinewoodFri_181122-055 by 89Batman, on Flickr


Our days were spent at various locations over the whole site, some went to places other didn't as there was a lot of ground to cover.


The majority of my time was spent on posts near to the Sean Connery Stage, close to the main entrance to Pinewood. This stage was home to stands by ILM, Disney, The Third Floor (you have seen their work) as well as demos of film cameras, lighting and 3D scanning technologies.


Tontine wall, provided by Rebel Legion, inside the Sean Connery Stage.


PinewoodSat_191122-086 by 89Batman, on Flickr


A more quite corner of the SC Stage


PinewoodFri_181122-125 by 89Batman, on Flickr


On Saturday I took part in 2 of the industry panels.  We had 2 troopers at each showing to flank the speakers for that panel, with an officer ensuring that the attendees where seated with the occasional bad search or ID check by a trooper.  When the panels started the troopers would retire and would be replaced at the change over.


Prepping for the first talk of the day


PinewoodSat_191122-198 by 89Batman, on Flickr


As mentioned this was a very memorable one and I hope something I'll be able to do again. The UKG team did a fantastic job organising this event, and the Futures Festival and pinewood staff made sure we where well looked after.  Really one for the books.


FInish off with a few more photos that I liked.


Marching down Goldfinger Avenue


PinewoodFri_181122-274 by 89Batman, on Flickr


End of Friday with Squad 6.



Heading down 007 Drive


PinewoodFri_181122-325 by 89Batman, on Flickr


Trouble with the carpets


PinewoodFri_181122-405 by 89Batman, on Flickr


Close of Saturday Group Photo. Sadly I missed the Friday one as I had to leave as soon as we finished that day.


PinewoodSat_191122-452 by 89Batman, on Flickr


And another including the fantastic staff and spotters who looked after us all day


PinewoodSat_191122-462 by 89Batman, on Flickr

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Our CO Gary spoke with Jedi News and how this happened, how it went and what is to come




Good listen.

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  • 6 months later...

Troop #22- 07 June 2023 - Dan Branton's Funeral


Not a troop you ever want to need to do, but when the call comes you do and you give it your all.


Yesterday we put to rest our friend Dan Branton, TK-42911.


Our role was that of a guard of honour.  10 Stormtroopers from the UK Garrison, followed behind the hearse on his final approach the to the church.  On arrival we then carried on past to form an honour guard along the entrance as the attendees, family and finally Dan entered the church.  Our job completed we retired to change and join the end of the service and complete our good byes.


It was a privilege to take part in the days events, and I only hope Dan would approve.


Thank you to all that attended online, Tuesday was surprised to hear how many of you there where, and how far away.


Good bye Dan. We will miss you.










Adrian Tegg - TK-14957 - Crew
Anthony Nobbs - TK-19036 - Crew
Barry Hibbett - TK-19981 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Brett White - TK-9593 - Stormtrooper: ANH Hero
Chris Moxey - ID-24246 - Crew
Chris Pearson - TK-10911 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Conrad Prince - TK-30412 - Stormtrooper: ANH Hero
Dan Wray - TI-15978 - Crew
Dave Fredericks - TK-18034 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Jim Lee - TK-19060 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Kris kobus - TK-33633 - Crew
Michael Cullen - ID-50451 - Crew
Nick Wooderson - TK-27875 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Richard Hutchins - TK-19742 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Rowan Read - TK-12111 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt
Tony  Lee - TK-51007 - Crew
William Lennox - TK-12529 - Stormtrooper: ANH Stunt

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32 minutes ago, themaninthesuitcase said:

Troop #22- 07 June 2023 - Dan Branton's Funeral


Not a troop you ever want to need to do, but when the call comes you do and you give it your all


Good bye Dan. We will miss you.




Thank you for representing the FISD and sending Dan off right. Buckets off.

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Can only imagine how difficult this must have been and at the same time such an honor to be apart of. Wish I had known one could attend online…rest in peace Dan. 

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This would have been without a doubt the hardest troop of all.

The service was lovely, bet you were glad to be wearing a bucket Chris.

Thank you to you and the UKG TK's for honoring Dan in a way he would have truly loved and representing FISD for us all.

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2 hours ago, TheSwede said:

Can only imagine how difficult this must have been and at the same time such an honor to be apart of. Wish I had known one could attend online…rest in peace Dan. 

If you wish to watch the service then you're able to replay it here: 


Password June07


I'll be removing this post in a few days.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Troop #23- 17 June 2023 - Hemel Hempstead - Hero's and Villains


Another year back at my most local troop for Hero's and Villains, supporting Great Ormand Street Children's Hospital. Always a bit of a treat to have a huge 5 minute drive to a troop!  


Was quite a warm one, but not as got as originally forecast so mostly wasn't too bad.  Caught a breeze in the afternoon to help finish the day.  We also had our CO trooping via Reel Icons, as the '89 Batman.  That can't have been fun in a black rubber body suit in the sun all day. It was repaid as they had a matching 89 bat mobile at the show, which he drove off the site still in costume. I was still out at the point so served to clear the crowds, who really seemed to want to get run over :shok:


Photos: Helen Cooper-Smith (Spotter)



TK-10911 Chris Pearson, ID-91927 Alexander Wakefield, TD-23152 Wayne Cooper-Smith



TK-21166 Shaun Belsey, TI-15978 Dan Wray, TK-10911 Chris Pearson, TD-23152 Wayne Cooper-Smith, TI-14544 Angie Lewis, ID-91927 Alexander Wakefield



TA-9352 Ian Parlett, ID-91927 Alexander Wakefield, TK-10911 Chris Pearson, TI-14544 Angie Lewis, TD-23152 Wayne Cooper-Smith, TI-15978 Dan Wray, TK-21166 Shaun Belsey

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  • themaninthesuitcase changed the title to [23] Themaninthesuitcase Troop Diary
  • 6 months later...

Troop #24 - 24 November 2023 - Futures Festival - Pinewood Studios


This year we were incredibly fortunate to be re-invited back to Pinewood studios for this years Futures Festival. I was only able to do one of the days this year but still a great opportunity.


A little different this year, no 007 stage for changing on but the facilities we had where great.  This year it was really quite cold, which on it's own was not too bad but there was also a brutally cold wind, and with no thermal layers was really felt.  Thankfully some one worked out how to turn on the heating mid afternoon.


Not a huge number of photos yet, as we're not allowed to use a camera outside of the changing room (it's an active film studio) and the official photos are still going through approval.  


However I do have this one.




Brian Muir was doing a talk and after came over to visit us in the changing area.  I was able to get a photo with him and his wife.


If I get any more photos I'll add them in future.


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Troop #25 - 26 May 2024 - MCM ComicCon London


After a long dry spell it was back out in the white armour.  Troop 25, and my 5th time at MCM London where it all started.


This year it was thanks to an invite from our friends at the UK Rebel Legion.  We had a small imperial presence to ensure the keeping of the peace.


Apparently the age of my armour is starting to show, with a few field repairs taking place through out the day. Whilst it's not a huge troop count it's also now 8 years old, but there's plenty of life in the old girl yet.  A little super glue and t-shirt and I was back out in the field. Though my button plate has a corner broken off now, which is a lot less repairable.  I also need to start looking into some new gloves, I am sort of amazed that at their age the rubber gloves are still going but the hand plates are coming off both now.


The convention was a good one.  Several members of the Mandoverse cast where attending, and Emily Swallow did come over to the forge set for a photo. Sadly the Mando clans caught wind of this and so I am in the back somewhere probably not visible.  I did manage to get a signed photo, thanks to my wife who went and queued for me whilst I was on the stand all day.


We also got a visit from Samantha Alleyne, better known as the first female storm trooper. She first appeared in The Force Awakens, but also was in a most of the new Disney era films since.



(TK 10911 Chris Pearson themaninthesuitcase, Samantha Alleyne, TK 19102 Simon Bamforth)



TK 10911 - Chris Pearson - themaninthesuitcase 📷Natalie Pearson Childs [Social Media Consent]

Han in Carbon by Mark Tidridge TK 90473


More photos once people have had a chance to post them and I have permission to share.

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  • themaninthesuitcase changed the title to [25] Themaninthesuitcase Troop Diary
  • 2 weeks later...

Troop #26 - 08 June 2024 - Riverside Heroes And Villains


Home troop time again! Was a nice day for the troop not too hot, not too cold. Was a pretty busy day and the time passed quickly.  Did the whole day with only 1 break in the middle which isn't typical so was pretty tired at the end.


Had 1 small issue: The flash hider fell off my E-11 as I got it out at the start of the day. Fortunately I found it quickly so will be able to glue it back on.



Stephan Buckley TK-1902, Chris Pearson TK-10911, Wayne Cooper Smith TD-23152 Photo Ian Parlett TK-9352



Chris Pearson TK-10911 Photo Ian Parlett TK-9352

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