Well what an election night that was! I actually bowed out and didn’t watch it seat-by-seat this time, because frankly I wanted to watch Wonder Woman instead (it was pretty good). I got home just in time for them to announce the Hung Parliament, so, more fun then. Sure there’ll be another one around the corner soon. Anyway…I’m still catching up with month-old sketches, and here are a few of the old Star Wars Galactic Heroes figures I’ve had for years, the ones with the odd bow-legged stance, as if they are on the Galactic Loo. The bottom ones were drawn on Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, (for my friends in the UK, that’s on the Fifth of April). They do look like they’ve lost their seats, a whole bunch of lost seats. Nick Clegg’s, for example. I wish I had more, like the Boba Fett one, but you can’t get them any more, except on Ebay or Amazon for a lot of money. I love that Vader one on the bottom row, pointing his sabre like Errol Flynn. These were a lot of fun to draw.
This near-sighted scrap-pile. This overweight glob of grease. This malfunctioning little twerp. This real bargain. This extremely well put together little droid. This subject of loose-wire jokes. This stupid lump. This feisty little one. This stupid little astromech. This devoted searcher of former masters. This a-bit-eccentric artoo unit. These rusty innards. This maker of mistakes, from time-to-time.
Actually this is just a water-bottle, which has the design of everyone’s favourite little droid (or do we all like BB-8 more now?). It belongs to my son, and gets a lot of use (especially during soccer practice).
More Star Wars Lego (and this ain’t the last of it). This is the AT-ST, otherwise known as the Scout Walker. Not Scott Walker as my autocorrect would say. “the Twin Suns Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More”. This is the one from Rogue One, seen briefly unless you were looking at your popcorn or literally blinking. It’s the same as the ones seen in Return of the Jedi, the ones famously useless at dealing with rolling logs. This vehicle will always remind me of getting run over at age 7 by a van outside my house.
I was playing with my friends Natasha and Simon in our narrow street, my Star Wars figures all over the doorstep. We crossed over the street to see if our friends Robert and Victoria wanted to come out and play. They couldn’t; they had family visiting. Ok we said and turned to dash back over to our side of the street. My street was narrow, but cars parked on one side meant it was hard to see oncoming traffic. I was first, so I stepped into the street and woke up on the couch, covered in blood with crying and panic all around. I vaguely remember the impact knocking me out, seeing a big white blur. I think the van was white. It was probably going too fast, but it hit me head first so I have no idea. I was lucky. I spent the night in hospital, and all I had was a big beaten-up face and a black eye. But I got a new Star Wars toy as a present, which was the old Kenner AT-ST Scout Walker – Return of the Jedi had come out a few months before and was pretty much my favourite thing in the world. I remember my older sister playing with it with me, creating a terrain on the carpet by putting a blanket over several other items to create hills. There was a button on the back to make it walk. I did have an Ewok with a little glider that dropped boulders on it, as well as the Biker Scout on the Speeder Bike (which would ‘explode’ by pressing a little button on the back). My tortoises had a little brick ‘hut’ in the back garden I would pretend was the Imperial Bunker (the tortoises didn’t mind at all, I think they enjoyed being part of the story). All of this, I think of when I see the AT-ST! Hardly a trauma. I remember people asking for a couple of months afterwards, “who hit you?” It was a van, don’t worry about it. My school photos from 1983 showed a lot of scabbing and a redness in my eye. I did miss a couple of days of school. Ironically, one of my best friends in class, Wayne, also got run over on the exact same day in a separate incident. (Conspiracy theorists of 1983, get on that!). I think he was hit by a taxi. He was out of school for longer than me though, because he had broken his leg. I remember Wayne, we used to play chess and talk about animals and politics; he loved running and was good at football, he supported Everton, we both liked Sampdoria. His family were Jamaican and when he went over to Jamaica when we were 9 or 10 he brought me back this thing called a ‘Jamaican Yo-Yo’ and incredibly I STILL have it. I should find it and sketch it sometime.
This was a fun set to build, and comes with (among others) Baze Malbus, the dude with the massive blaster in Rogue One who is friends with Chirrut Imwe. Those two were cool.
I still have a lot of Star Wars Lego sketches to show you, but here is one of my favourites so far, of the beloved Lego AT-AT. My son used to call these the “Garbage Trucks” when he was smaller, which makes sense given the sounds they make. It’s a remarkably solid construction (except the head, that tends to fall apart more easily than I’d like, I may have to reinforce it a bit) and filled with snowtroopers, who are probably my favourite stormtroopers. I’ve actually framed this and put it on the wall, in case it’s not clear I like Star Wars and Lego. Drawing objects like this are a good lesson in perspective. Drawn on Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ paper with brown-black uni-ball signo um-151 pen and coloured with watercolour paint.
The X-wing is a legendary fighter, it’s the Spitfire of the Galactic Civil War. Before that, though, there was the great Clone War, when Jedi and Clone fought Droid and shadowy Sith. There were apparently heroes on both sides, and evil everywhere, according to the opening crawl of Revenge of the Sith, which is a classic case of unreliable narrator, or at the very least unhelpful internet commenter reporting galactic crises. “The Sith Lords are evil, murder children, and employ millions of armed robots while plotting to overthrow the government of the universe” “Yeah, but both sides are just as bad, so.” Turns out Evil Actually was All Around, as the Chancellor ended up being the Sith Lord (spoiler alert) and those lovely friendly Clones turned out to have secret brainwashing that turned them against their Jedi chums whenever someone mentioned Order 66. Imagine going to a Taco Bell or somewhere with one! “66! Your order is ready. Order 66? Order -noooo!! Don’t shoot the Jedi!! Noooooooo!!!!” I did like their fighters though, the two-man ARC Fighter, seen in the opening battle of Sith. It’s like they said, let’s have a bit of everything. It’s not an X-Wing, but meant to be a clear predecessor. “Lock S-Foils in Attack Position.”
Which brings us to the classic. THIS is the X-Wing. Four engines, astromech, four big cannons, proton torpedoes, shaky cockpit, good ol’ pilot. These small one-man fighters took on the first Death Star. This is another micro-fighter which is about the right size for a speedy run down a narrow trench to find an exhaust port. Hah, stupid Empire not noticing that obvious design flaw, who designed that thing, what was he thinking, it’s almost like he did it deliberately. Of course it was originally thought up well before the Clone War by the Geonosians who didn’t have X-Wings in mind but, well, a lot of stuff went on after that, lot of cooks spoiling the broth (if the broth could destroy planets). Luke had the X-Wing. Red Five. I’ve already established Luke is the best, and for this reason, his X-Wing is the best one. Though I do love Porkins.
Which brings us on to the Resistance/First Order era. the X0-wings of the resistance had those engines that split down the middle for some reason, being based on original designs for the X-Wing from before Star Wars was made. these are the original originals. Otherwise they are the same design, except the wings overlap differently. Poe Dameron was the best pilot, but ol’ Nien Numb, Lando’s buddy, flew one as well. That scene in The Force Awakens when the Resistance X-Wings skim across the lake on Takodana, causing the First Order to wet their white-armored pants, is one of my favourite moments in the movie. Those magnificent men in their flying machines, they went up-diddly-up-up and they went down-diddly-own-down. Now I love the prequels and all, but it’s only really Star Wars if there are X-wings vs Tie-Fighters.
However I don’t just want to show off my obvious Good Guy bias here, so here is something else from the prequel era. The Vulture Droid, or “Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I” as nobody calls it, wasn’t a starship but a flying battle droid that could actually walk and move its head around. The Lego toy though has a battle droid that you put inside it. This first appeared in The Phantom Menace as the main bad-guy fighter facing off against the Naboo Fighter, and wasn’t called a Vulture Droid until Revenge of the Sith. I was never a big fan of this fighter, but I appreciate what the Trade Federation were trying to do. The Bad Guys in the prequels really loved their evil droids, which explains some of the anti-droid sentiment you see in the original trilogy. Now it wasn’t just evil robots who supported Count Dooku, not at all. It’s just that his was the side that had all the evil robots, and everyone else was just ok with that. It sends a bad message, Dooku, arming yourself with evil robots. Clones that turn evil later was clearly the way to go.
That is my favourite scene from Return of the Jedi, possibly all of Star Wars. Possibly all of everything. I compare everything to that scene. That was a fun conversation, I think whenever I meet someone new. But did R2-D2 throw me a green lightsabre that I start swinging around against a bunch of space pirates that tried to feed me to a giant toothy pit in the desert? No, I didn’t think so. Ok maybe that one time. Yes, more Star Wars Lego sketching, and it’s a great way to pass the time, and keep the old mind off of current affairs, or “raisins liaisons” as I call them. There’s Luke above facing off against Boba Fett on the sand skiff, I remember so clearly watching that aged 7 at the cinema with my big brother and just gasping at the brilliant green of the lightsabre, which I had never seen before (I had no idea they could be green! Big revelation). I had a toy lightsabre, it was a cheap plastic one that glowed white, but I loved it. Prior to that, my big sister used to make me lightsabres out of cardboard, old toilet rolls really, with coloured paper on them. I remember getting in trouble with the security guards at Brent Cross Shopping Centre for duelling with my cousin Daniel with our cardboard sabres, I was only six or seven at the time. I mention that, like as if I wouldn’t do the same now. Anyway that one that lit up, it stopped working after I decided that it needed to be green. I painted the bulb green with poster paint, you know the little coloured tubs you used to get, and that did it in basically, stopped working. I’m still sad about that now. Everyone says how when they were in the playground, they always wanted to be Han Solo, Han was the coolest, he always got the girl. Well I remember being seven and Luke Skywalker was so the coolest, because he had the LIGHTSABRE, and what’s so good about ‘getting the girl’? I was seven, dude. Luke’s always been my favourite. And Vader of course, but one of my other friends liked to be Vader.
More Luke, much earlier Luke. This is his landspeeder from Star Wars (that’s “A New Hope” to you). I guess those stormtroopers bought those droids then. There’s Ben KEnobi, now here’s the thing. I love Ben Kenobi, Obi-Wan is probably my second favourite character after Luke (solo movie PLEASE), but come on. In the scene where he mind-tricks the troopers, he does also ask if they want to buy the droids. Ok, mind-tricks are one thing, but seriously. You get pulled over by a cop, they’re like, this a stolen car bro? Kinda looks like a stolen car bro. And you’re like, nah is cool, had this for three or four seasons, but like, you wanna buy it off me? That is some mind-trick, Ben, because that is some seriously shady dealing. And then later, in the cantina, after chopping a guy’s arm off (fair play, dangerous town), he ‘negotiates’ with Han Solo. He says, “Just myself, the boy, two droids…and no questions asked.” Again, trying not to sound shady. So then Han Solo does just that and asks a question. Does Ben raise his eyebrows and say, “Dude, I just said no questions asked, do you need me to write it down?” No, he answers the question, with an even more shady answer, to which Han increases the price. Ben however has played this weird game of Go For Broke before (remember that board game?) and says, 10k? Nah man, I give you 17k. Remember a couple of decades before when Grievous calls him “The Negotiator”? Yeah that. This is Ben playing with other people’s cash. Good job Luke was able to sell his out-of-demand speeder for that 2k. If he hadn’t, well perhaps they should have gone back to those troopers and tried to sell them C-3PO. Threepio wasn’t carrying any Death Star plans after all, and he doesn’t exactly walk very fast.
“You’re all clear kid now let’s blow this thing and go home!”
Now I’m not saying Han isn’t cool. He definitely is, because he flies the Millennium Falcon. The one above is of course the micro-fighter version. I do have the bigger one but that takes a longer time to draw. I love the Falcon. What a piece of junk. She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts kid. Now, I know it’s just a saying, I know it comes at the coolest bit of the movie (Seriously, get a chance to watch Star Wars on the big screen again some day and the moment where the Falcon flies back in, Vader goes “what?” and Han cheers “yahoo!” well I defy you not to fist-bump the air and cheer in the movie theatre). However, “and go home”? Really? He knows Luke’s home got burned down and his family killed like just a couple of days before? Leia would have been listening too, “all go home”? He knows her home planet was blown up? And as for Han himself, where does he live? He lives on the Falcon right? I don’t care. Even thinking about that moment in the film brings shivers down my spine.
I have more Lego sketches to share, but it’s late and I’m going to bed, thinking about Star Wars, because thinking about Star Wars is a helluva lot better than not thinking about Star Wars. As Ben Kenobi once said, “who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”
Since the year turned into 2017 I have done a lot of drawing, but most of it has been of Star Wars Lego. I love Star Wars, I love Lego. We have a lot of it around the house. Now you saw my aT-AT recently, well above is the Snowspeeder. I love the AT-AT, I love the Falcon, but I always had a very special for the Snowspeeder. It’s the shape; I remember holding it as a kid, flying it around the legs of the Imperial Walker in the snow. More even than the X-Wing, it’s my favourite small flying fighter.
I can draw Lego that faces in a different direction, you know. The two above though are “micro-fighters”, a very very small Star Destroyer and a TIE-Interceptor. The Lego micro-fighters are fun little mini-versions of starships and vehicles, easy to build and easy to play with. The TIE-Interceptor was a version of the TIE-Fighter that appeared in Return of the JEdi. There usually has to be a new type of TIE in every Star wars film (except the prequels, which were set in the pre-TIE-era). Here though are a couple of bigger Lego ships which in their way were predecessors of the TIEs (the window specifically, and the little wings, plus the pilot of the yellow one was a famous TIE-Fighter pilot in his own right. I give you Anakin Skywalker, who would (spoiler alert) become Darth Vader, flying in his favourite yellow, and his mentor and friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi in the red. These were seen in the opening to Revenge of the Sith, that long single shot through the battle above Coruscant.
I love the Jedi starfighters from ‘Sith’, better than the triangular paper-airplane ships from ‘Clones’. The cockpits actually look like a hybrid of the B-Wing and the Tie-Fighter. I think though that the shape is slightly reminiscent of the Snowspeeder, when you are holding it, flying it around. I was gutted when these got trashed (spoiler alert) in the hold of Grievous’s ship (though Obi-Wan did get another one in blue and Anakin/Vader flew a green one to Mustafar, for some reason. I guess he didn’t have time to paint it Imperial Grey what with murdering all the Jedi and the Younglings, spoiler alert. Think about that though, Anakin/Vader’s gone down to the part of the Jedi Temple where all the starships are kept, and he chooses a green one? He’s killed all the Jedi, nobody is going to be hogging all the other colours, and of all the ones left he chooses green? Is Anakin/Vader trying to tell us something with that choice? Note how the Emperor left that one on on Mustafar; maybe Vader still has it in his, spoiler alert, Mustafar castle). Yes, I think about Star Wars a lot more than you do.
And finally here is another Snowspeeder, the baby brother of the first one, the micro-fighter version. And look, it’s flying in a different direction. The micro-fighter version is only single-pilot but just as much fun, and with a bit more orange. I love the Rebels, they were great. Listen, I’ve got more of these. I’ve been sketching like crazy lately, but I’ll post them over two or three blog posts, to spread them out.