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This is sitting on my dining room table right now.
Glaring inaccuracies? You bet. Beyond the overall dimension one I mentioned yesterday, even. All correctable in the next version, which can also be even more detailed on top of being more accurate.
That excitement, though, is tempered somewhat by questions and self-doubt around the term “accuracy.” Ever since hearing about them and especially since meeting some of them in person, I’ve had my eye on eventually applying to join the 501st, whenever I got myself around to actually building this damn thing. But even though that badge of honor, that community would have meaning for me, doing this my way has more.
I don’t aim to achieve “screen accuracy.” The screen accurate model is asymmetrical, there are differences in the helmets seen in each movie, and even within individual movies (the ANH “hero” and “stunt” helmets). For my helmet, I want to opt for the “best” of all of them, not just pick one and replicate it. That’s not to say I’m looking to take shortcuts or produce a sub-par product by any stretch of the imagination. My goal is to create something that you could easily put on screen next to any of the other “screen accurate” suits and have it blend right in…unless you knew exactly what to look for.
I’ve been lurking on the 501st boards for a long time and the prevailing sentiments on this topic stick to just a few schools of thought.
There is the most common reaction that one should “just buy a kit” from an approved vendor. Some consider this the “cheapest” path, especially factoring time in. Maybe they’re right, if that’s where their priorities lie. I want to create, so that holds no value to me. Others expressing this view come across as pushing a marketing scheme. “You won’t get approval to join unless you buy from an approve vendor!” I realize this is an intensely cynical view; the “approved vendors” have all spent tremendous time, thought, and energy into creating authentic, accurate replicas and that is work that should only ever be commended. It’s still got an unpleasant feel to me that I can’t shake.
There are those who simply don’t “get” the process of papercraft molds. They see the papercraft version and think people are going to apply with that alone, which obviously doesn’t meet any kind of standard for authenticity. And, for what it’s worth, some — many, even — folks do go on to use the paper model as the basis for the final, wearable piece. There have been some great costumes created this way. Again, that’s not what I’m doing, but the prospect of having to explain and re-explain that isn’t terribly appealing.
Along a similar line, the 501st has been around for a long time. They’ve no doubt had countless people trying to apply and get approval with “unique ideas” or “unique approaches” or whatever else that are, objectively, pretty terrible. They’re tired of it, they’re cynical of anything that has even the vaguest aroma of this, and they’d rather steer such enthusiasm toward a non-terrible end product (and often end up dovetailing heavily with the “just buy a kit” crowd, as a result). I sympathize with this group; they have no reason to believe I’d be anything other than yet another in a very long parade of wannabes.
Finally, there are those who just seem to enjoy the entirety of the hobby and want to encourage participation and creativity as a whole. These seem, rather depressingly, to be the rarest sort. They do exist, though, so that’s something.
At the end of it all, I have to remember that I’m doing this for me. If it doesn’t pass someone else’s sniff test but it does pass mine (knowing just how high my bar is for myself), so be it. They just aren’t looking for the same thing I am.
Regardless, I have work to do.