Legendary force with Star Wars fans

Storm Trooper Nick Bishop and Darth Vader Alex Broxton, both of Launceston, with fellow members of the 501st Legion Thylacine Squad. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Storm Trooper Nick Bishop and Darth Vader Alex Broxton, both of Launceston, with fellow members of the 501st Legion Thylacine Squad. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

STAR Wars fanatic Nick Bishop is so excited about the latest film in the franchise that he paid a couple of thousand dollars just to look like one of the new stormtroopers.

That's a lot of cash not to show your face.

But the member of the Launceston Star Wars fan group insists that's the point.

"The costumes we all do are the bad guys - hey, it looks cooler," he said.

"When you put on the helmet and you walk out, it's like you've come off the screen.

"But you also don't have to worry about looking like the actor.

"While putting on a robe and carrying a lightsaber, it's a cool costume, but unless you look like the character, it's not the same."

Where imitation is the sincere form of flattery in the cult classic, other sci-fi geeks in Launceston have happily forked out around $500 for the helmet and armour of its original villains.

The group invested in moulds to cut costs from importing the costumes from North America.

"It's our hobby - some people pour their money into cars, we dress up in plastic," he said.

That will pay off when the stormtroopers, death star gunners, ewoks, chief jawa and about a dozen other heels will attend the Launceston premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 17.

The characters will greet moviegoers and pose for photos before stripping off the plastic to watch the film's midnight showing.

They will appear two more times during the evening sessions later that day.

"It's all about recreating the characters; getting to play in the sandbox, which we grew up with as kids," Mr Bishop said.

The costumes otherwise sit in crates in a shed most days, but the breathing mannequins come out for a good cause.

The Star Wars villains turn heroes to cheer up sick kids lying in hospital beds and the group are happy to also raise money for charity events.

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