Invasion Dublin – A celebration of Star Wars in Dublin. http://www.invasion.ie/
May 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th City West Hotel, Dublin.
City West is a large development 8 miles west of the Dublin city centre. It’s a hotel and conference facility that has a nice sized arena, and it is here that the Invasion Dublin weekend is taking place.
It’s a large venue as you wind your way in, and lighting has been used to good effect, allowing displays to be well lit, but surrounded by darkness.
The main hall is spacious and there standing at full height is an AT-ST, two speeder bikes at its feet. The detail in the bikes is quite stunning, they look robust and accurate, the Scoutwalker sharply painted, dirty, a machine of war, in a forest setting, it’s incredible impressive, taller than any real armoured vehicle I have seen. Towering above me, one can imagine the panic and fear such a vehicle would instil, suddenly the fiction doesn’t feel so far far away.
Every corner of this arena, while a series of massive displays and diorama’s fill the central areas, in one section, I walk through a set that feels like corridors, in an imperial setting, and meet Peter and Larry, both in full uniform. The Emerald Garrison http://www.irelandgarrison.com/garrison/home.html are here in strength, and they are just two troopers out of many dozens of people in character costume, accuracy and authenticity being the order of the day.
The opportunities to have photos taken are plenty – there is a raised dais that looks like part of the Death Star while the Emperors Throne is in another section, a life size figure backing card, a jungle setting with a heavy blaster, displays in glass cases, there is just no shortage of things.
Of course, you can’t really beat a life size y-wing for effect, such an incredible amount of work, sitting as it is, taking up a lot of space, at over 38 feet long, is longer than a double deck bus. The paint job even up close is awesome giving a real sense of use, scotched, blasted, flown at incredible speed.
There is an extensive sales area, food and drink beckon, but I am more interested in the dealers, with the unusual, and I am not disappointed, there are quite a few stands, selling a variety of older toys, and Dublin City comics (http://www.facebook.com/DublinCityComics) seems to have a very large presence. The various generations of toys on display, bringing back memories.
The team have constructed a stage, for larger talks cleverly utilising part of the seated area of this arena, the guests attending are top notch, Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrisian, Jeremy Bulloch who played Boba Fett, Mike Edmonds, a real character, who played Logray and was a Jabba puppeteer, James Arnold Taylor, who did the voices for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Plo Koon) and Will Sliney, who’s Star Wars comic credentials include the Clone Wars.
I like the mixture here, Will and James Arnold Taylor who will be doing live performances add a great variety.
The crackle and distinctive radio sounds of storm trooper distortion to one side, as a squad check one another. I run into John McDonald – Head honcho, busy yet very affable and relaxed and he makes time for a friendly chat.
He explains how they are hoping for ’12,000 fans’, it’s obvious there is something here for all ages, it’s a tenner for kids and 14.50 for adults. I consider this to be good value, given the full schedules of talks and activities available.
Profits go to Irish Autism Action, their chosen charity, but John is prompt to point out that they are a commercial business, have costs, but are volunteer based, a genuine non profit sensibility.
Enthusiasts have worked hard to bring new items to this years event, he seems especially proud of Yoda’s house, and indeed it is quite stunning, while the interactive battle scene is also new as are the theatrical elements that James Arnold Taylor brings. John seems proud, not only of the huge work that has been done, but he is the type of man who likes to bring joy to others, and he calmly heads off much to do, but jovial.
I also speak to Ashling Wynn, public relations guru, always on her phone and busy, she admits that the media interest has been huge, and I note with the national radio station, 2FM roadcaster stationed outside, that the marketing will continue.
There will be educational sessions, where kids can learn about “The Science of Space”, “Robotics” and “Recreating the magic – How costumes, sets and props are built” and how to draw star wars comics, as well as the ‘Force Training’.
It’s quite the show, but its got the right spirit and for another 3 days, I expect it’s something any fan would enjoy, and get a kick out of.