Regulars at Maker Faire Detroit and Tinker. Hack. Invent. Saturday, The Great Lakes Garrison will be joining us this weekend for our last Tinker. Hack. Invent Saturday of 2014. Learn more about what inspires Mike Lica as a maker.
Tell us about the Great Lakes Garrison.
The Great Lakes Garrison is the Michigan Garrison of the 501st Legion the world’s definitive costuming organization. We are also knows as the Bad guys who do good. The 501st Legion represents the bad guy costumes from the the Star Wars universe. We are often joined by the “Good Guys” or the Rebel Legion, and various droids from the R2-D2 builders club and the Great Lakes Droids. The 501st Legion has costumers in almost every country in the world. We have over 100 active members in Michigan alone. The club members make appearances all over the State. Anything from Fundraisers to Sporting events, and Comic Conventions.
What is the inspiration for your current projects?
We are always coming up with something new. A new costume, a new droid, or prop etc. Each member has their own reasons for building their project. Some of us build them to take to hospital visits at various children’s hospitals. Some like to attend Comic Conventions or sporting events. Everyone has their own inspiration for the costume or prop they build. We all grew up watching Star Wars movies and to actually become Darth Vader, Boba Fett, a Stormtrooper or an X Wing Pilot is a dream come true for some. Our costumes go through a pretty strict approval process and provide us with a challenge. They must be screen accurate. Meaning the costume must look like the costume in the movie.
With Star Wars: Episode 7 less than a year away, there’s a local droid builder, Kurt Zimmerman, who is building a new droid called BB-8 who was only seen for a couple seconds in the new Force Awakens trailer. This is the first fan-made droid of it’s kind. Kurt also built a C1-10P droid named “Chopper,” the new droid seen in Disney’s Star Wars Rebels. Recently we were asked by Lucasfilm to appear at the Star Wars Rebels premiere in Troy and Chopper was there along with several members of the 501st and Rebel Legion. Both of these droids including R2-D2 and R5-D4 will be at the Tinker, Hack, invent event on December 27.
How long does it take to make your creations?
Each project is different. Time and money is usually what determines how long a project will take. Some projects can get done pretty fast especially if a deadline for an appearance is approaching and that character is needed. Some of our members take their time and have been working on the same projects for years.
As a Maker, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the creativity of the people that I am surrounded by. I built a Stormtrooper costume thinking that would be the only costume I ever needed but I was wrong….. and was bit by the costume, prop building bug. I will usually start a new project while I am still working on a current one. It’s a continuous cycle. Everyone in the clubs bring something to the table. Each member of our group brings a certain skill to the table. Every day I get messages either asking for advice or someone giving me advice on the next project. We get together from time to time and work on projects together.
What are you looking forward to most about this weekend’s Tinker. Hack. Invent. Saturday?
Tinker.Hack.Invent.Saturday is one of our favorite events. Throughout the year I have a lot of friends wanting to see what we are working on, looking for tips, or wanting to join the Legion. I tell them to come to this event because we will have everything on display from Stormtrooper Armor to R2-D2. You can take a photo with the droids or characters or even see what the inside of R2-D2 looks like. We look forward to talking with the guests and hopefully recruiting new members.