I Went to Galaxy’s Edge, Part 4: Food, Shopping, & Wookiee Hugs

Well between glitches with my blog site and a busy couple of months I’m way behind!  My blog format updated so I’m still figuring out how everything works. Here’s hoping this post works okay.  Alright, the last part of my first trip to Batuu!

Flying the Millennium Falcon can build up an appetite and after being there for a few hours we decided to check out the food. One friend got the Ronto Wrap at Ronto Roasters and really enjoyed it. There’s a giant Pod racing engine being used to roast the meat which is being turned by a droid. My mom and I popped into Docking Bay 7 and got the Tip Yip and Smoked Kaadu Ribs. Both were really flavorful, though my mom wished they had a few more simpler items like a regular salad or such. Docking Bay 7 had all sorts of easter eggs inside, as does pretty much everywhere you look. I mean the trash cans alone have this little egg on them.

Anyone remember in Star Wars: A New Hope, the number of the trash compacter Luke tells C-3P0 their in? Yep, it’s 3263827, that same number on the trash bin.

We sat outside on the patio of Docking Bay 7, and after being on our feet since 5:30 that morning, it was nice to sit for a minute and just relax, charge our phones, and process everything. This was another lovely aspect of Black Spire Outpost. There are lots of great places to just sit, chill, people watch, and take in the atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite things to do at Disneyland park, is to just find a spot and enjoy the beauty of the land, and Galaxy’s Edge is no different. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, it’s so beautifully crafted I could spend all day just enjoying all the little details. Droid tracks and Wookiee tracks, the sounds of ships landing and taking off, characters passing by and interacting with guests/travelers, the landscaping, and all the gorgeous detailing on the architecture. Even though we never felt crowded, except inside the shops, it was a nice quite moment.

Having an hour left on our reservation, we decided to do some shopping. We went to Dok Ondar’s first. That was crowded and kind of hard to move around, but totally worth checking out. Dok Ondar himself is amazing to watch and listen to as he goes about his day. There’s creatures in cases around the bottom level and the top level is so full of details and easter eggs people are still discovering more each day. Remember Raider’s of the Lost Ark? Well…Dok’s go the Ark stashed up there, which is a nice nod since in Raider’s R2-D2 and C3P0 can be found in the hieroglyphs in one scene in the movie.

This is where I made my biggest purchase and got a Jedi Holocron and one kyber crystal of each color. The CM showed me how to use the holocron and made sure it worked and it’s pretty special to see them in person. I also picked up the Galaxy’s Edge/Batuu themed reuseable bag. Mine is black and white, but apparently there are blue and red ones. It took quite a bit of time as there was a long line to pay, so I only had about 20 minutes left.

After that I headed into the marketplace. It’s small but packed with a ton of details and the shops have even more. I can’t wait to go back and fully explore it. I really wanted to get the MSE droid popcorn bucket and some travel postcards I’d seen so my first stop was at the Jewels of Bith. It’s here that you’ll find clothing, pins, and a mug with Black Spire Outpost on them, as well as keychains, patches, postcards and more. It’s a small shop, but if you want Black Spire Outpost/Batuu themed items, this is the place to get it.

I got distracted by the Creature Shop which has a sleeping Loth Cat inside. My only lament there was that they didn’t have Convors as a creature you could adopt, but there were tons of other creatures there.

Next stop was Kat Saka’s Kettle. I have a weakness for Marvel and Star Wars themed sipper cups and popcorn buckets, not to mention I love the MSE droids, so when I heard Kat Saka’s Kettle was offering a MSE droid popcorn bucket, it went to the top of my list. And it didn’t disappoint. It’s adorable! Right now the Kettle only offers the Outpost mix popcorn, which was sweet and spicy and really good when you ate both together, but on a sign on the wall there was an offering that was crossed out with Aurebesh saying “seasonal.” I’m hoping this isn’t just a design detail, but maybe something to look forward to?

Also…the MSE droid popcorn buckets have hooks and loops on them so you can connect them and form a train! My mom, being the geek she is, gave me hers and suggested I get more and use them as a train to put around a Christmas tree come Christmas time. She suggested adding snow and little Santa hats. Did I mention the geek is strong in my family?

My group made a final stop back at the droid depo for some quick shopping and we realized we never made it to the Resistence side of the outpost. Our time was pretty much up but there was neither any announcement to leave, nor any CMs telling us our time was up so we decided to walk over to the Resistence side and see how far we got before they kicked us out.

This section was much quieter as there’s not as much to do/see other than a small shop, a couple ships, and the entrance to Rise of the Resistance. I’d heard there was a Porg magic shot over by the X-Wing there so we got in line for that and you could hear the ship powering up and down as we waited. As we were finishing up our photos I noticed a new character I hadn’t seen before hanging out with some members of the Resistance. Having read about her in the book, Phasma, I recognized Vi Moradi, the Resistance spy.

My group went up to her and we had a great conversation about flying the Falcon and working for Hondo, and when we praised our engineer for the great job he did, she said Chewbacca was looking for someone to fix the X-wing and could he fix it? We were talking about Chewie and Wookiee hugs when who shows up but the main Wookiee himself, Chewbacca! Vi told Chewie how she found him someone to fix the X-Wing and Chewie took a moment with each of us as well as giving us all hugs before moving on. We figured Wookiee hugs were the perfect end to an incredible morning, decided to call it a day, and made our way out of Galaxy’s Edge and off planet, back to Disneyland.

My final haul.

I never made it to the Milk Stand or a few of the other shops. We saw, but never went back to the First Order section and explored there. I didn’t build a droid or a lightsaber, and yet, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. It was such an incredible morning filled with so much Star Wars magic and memories made with friends, I left feeling absolutely happy and content with what I’d experienced, and I cannot wait to go again. One of the many things I love about Galaxy’s Edge is can be whatever experience you want it to be. It can be something as simple as just being new “land” with new food, shopping, and a ride. Get in, eat, shop, ride, and get out. It can be a sort of LARPing experience where you’re a character of your own making with goals and agendas and interactions based on that. It can be somewhere in between.

I feel that Galaxy’s Edge was made for Star Wars fans. Yes, there are a few fans who think it’s horrible, hate that it takes place in the new trilogy, and that it’s not Tatooine, or Endor, or someplace preestablished in the movies. I get that, and it would have been cool to visit those places. But the thing I love about Star Wars is how massive it is. They could have easily pulled from something we’ve seen before, but instead, they gave us something new. Something that adds to and furthers the story and leaves it open for even more. And that’s not to say you can’t enjoy Galaxy’s Edge if you’re not a Star Wars fan, either. It’s a beautiful new land with fun things to see and do even without getting into the backstory of things.

But I think those who enjoy the movies, or take their enjoyment further, will really get the most out of this new addition. All those little details, like the trash can number, and such, they’re ambiance to the casual fan, but they’re also a tip of the hat to the fans that take it deeper. I mean, who remembers a single line in a movie about the number of the garbage masher on the detention level? Well, THIS girl does and it’s those details and more, the details that work for all levels of fans, that are going to keep me coming back for many years to come.

When Galaxy’s Edge opens to the public, it’s absolutely worth getting up early to get a chance to get inside. I’ll probably be one of those people. And, yes, you’ll probably have to wait in lines, but Star Wars fans know all about waiting, and this, in my hardcore Star Wars fangirl opinion, is totally worth the wait. Til the Spire, my friends.

I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 3: Flying the Millennium Falcon

On our way over to the Millennium Falcon ride, we took a bunch of photos and played with the Disney play app. We also found, thanks to the discovery of other friends, a fantastic view of the Falcon. To the left of the Falcon is a raised area where Docking Bay 7 is located and it just so happens to be a great place to take photos and selfies with the Falcon looking stunning in the background. Really, there are no bad places to take photos the Falcon, but this was particularly nice.

Photos taken, it was off to pilot her ourselves! At 9:45 a.m. we got in line with what said was a 30 minute wait, but we were heading into the cockpit around 10 a.m. The line is amazing, and we flew through it, much to our disappointment, as it’s filled with all sorts of things to do using your datapad, but also tons of photo ops and details.

The first part of the line has you walking behind the Falcon and you’re going to want to take photos, but there’s an even better place, if you wait just a little bit further. The line slowly ramps up to the second floor, and at one point you are standing behind and ABOVE the Falcon and we all stopped to take photos as you can see not only the Falcon and Battu, but also Big Thunder in the background as well. You get a sense of just how well everything was made to blend together as the black spires seem perfectly normal next to the rusty rocks of Big Thunder. It’s a really beautiful moment that made us all oh and ah, and we were sorry we had to hurry along. It’s the one time we all remarked we’d actually would have liked to wait longer, just to have more time for that.

You quickly enter a room where the famous pirate, Hondo Ohnaka, is there explaining what you’re doing there and why you get to fly the Falcon. Hondo is originally from the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons and it was incredible to see him in 3D. They did an absolutely fantastic job of bringing him to life. If you haven’t watched either cartoon series, I really recommend them. They’re part of the official Star Wars canon, and they’re not just for kids. Chewie also makes an appearance during the briefing, too, and there’s something deeply touching hearing his Wookiee voice right before you enter the Falcon.

After the presentation a CM gives you your color coded card with position assignments: Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer. The CM hands them out as a first come, first serve basis, so whoever is in the front of your group will be the pilots, followed by the gunners, and then engineers. You are totally free to swap with other members of your group. My group, or crew, as we called ourselves, naturally sorted ourselves into pilots, gunners, and engineer, and working as a team REALLY makes a huge difference when flying the ship. When everyone does their job well, it shows in the story lines and action.

You then enter a hallway that takes you to the Falcon and walking into it I started to cry. I was ON the Millennium Falcon and it’s just what I dreamed of. It looks, feels and sounds just like the movies. There’s porg nests, and exposed panels, and blinking lights, the “kissing room,” and the holochess table RIGHT THERE. There were only two downsides. One is you’re there with other people waiting to enter their cockpits so it was a little crowded and not always easy to take photos. And two, we really weren’t there for very long. A few quick shots, and then our group (coded by color) was called and we headed into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

We didn’t take as many photos inside the cockpit as I’d have liked. They want you to start the ride, but next time I think I’ll take a moment to really get a couple of shots because it’s insanely amazing in there! It’s THE MILLENNIUM FALCON COCKPIT and it’s just as detailed as you see in the movies.

I won’t go into detail about the ride, but will say this: If it’s flashing or turns green, press it or move it. One member of my crew took a video of our first flight, and it’s several minutes of us all screaming and laughing and having an absolute blast. Being the pilot lets you see the screen the whole time as you have to watch it to determine where to fly.

On my second trip I was a gunner, and while you can hold the button down to continuously fire so you can watch the screen, you miss other buttons lighting up at you, and pressing, or not pressing, those buttons can make a difference to your mission. I liked being the pilot first so I could see what happens, and then I wasn’t as worried as watching the second time as gunner, but I recommend riding it and trying all the positions.

At the end, each position and seat has their own score based on how well they did, and you can use the buttons to toggle the screen to see more info on your performance. This is where you really want to have that app going as once we left the exit, some of us (but not all, as the app was kind of tetchy all morning) got notifications from Hondo either rewarding or removing credits. Fly well, earn credits. Fly badly and…well, let’s just say some people OWED Hondo credits at the end, lol.

It’s absolutely incredible and we only got one of the various assignments/missions you can get, so I cannot WAIT to ride it when all of those are available. Having had so much fun, we hit the refreshers (and discovered another easter egg: a Dianoga hiding in one of the tanks!) and then we jumped back in line for another flight. At a five minute wait time we flew on through. We didn’t fly the Falcon quite as well this time, though there was even more laughter than the first flight, and it showed as we exited the cockpit. I won’t spoil anything, but you’ll KNOW if you flew well or not. Also, going the second or third hour into our reservation seemed to be the best time as most people, upon entering Galaxy’s Edge at the start of their reservation, headed there first. So wait, if you can, to fly.

The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride was even more than I could have hoped for. I love that no matter how many times you ride it, it will ALWAYS be different, and you get a chance each time to improve your flying, shooting, and/or engineering skills. Just like the giddy little kid I turn into when I ride Star Tours, this is one ride I will never get tired of experiencing for the sheer joy of getting to board and fly the Millennium Falcon and immerse myself in the Star Wars universe.

Stay tuned for Part 4: Food and shopping!

I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 2: The Falcon, Disney Play App, Batuuan Spira & Star Wars Cokes

After the Cantina my friends and I decided to head to the Droid Depot to get a Batuuan Spira, the gift card in the shape of the local currency. On the way there…well, we got a little distracted. We turned the corner and got our first look at the Millennium Falcon, and yeah, I totally teared up. We headed over to take a closer look and she’s everything you could hope for and more. I kept saying, “It’s the freaking Falcon!” because it was all I could do to wrap my brain around the fact that the ship I’ve loved since 1977 is there, right in front of me, as real as can be. She’s beautiful, and what’s great is there are so many places to take photos of her, including inside the Smuggler’s Run ride.

There was a short line to take photos with a photographer in front of the Falcon, and we got our first official photo and experience with a Battuan/Disney photographer (scan specialist.) Even if you have an annual pass, I suggest taking the photopass card (image data card) the scan specialist offers. It’s themed for Batuu/Black Spire Outpost and another cheap souvenir from your time on Batuu.

Refocusing on our mission to get Batuuan Spira (Galaxy’s Edge themed gift cards) we headed back towards the Droid Depot. On our way, we stopped for a restroom (refresher) break. Like everything else there, even the bathrooms were themed.

We got distracted again by all the panels that interact with the Disney Play app. There’s a section of the Disney Play app that is only accessible when you’re in Batuu. Once you leave, you can see it, but it doesn’t work. Using various aspects of the app, you can earn credits, costumes for your profile, gear, accept and perform jobs, and various other things. None of us expected to get so caught up using it, and we all wanted a trip to Batuu where we did nothing but run around the outpost hacking, scanning, translating, etc., because we were having so much fun. It led us to find all sorts of little details (hey there Boba Fett’s jetpack) and added an other layer to our experience.

Noemi, our Batuuan line manager, had a great tip for us regarding the app. She highly recommended each person in your group bring at least one, ideally two, chargers per phone, as you will use it a lot! It’s recommended you keep the app open when you fly the Millennium Falcon, as you earn (or lose) credits depending on how you do. It’s a great addition to the experience, but keeping the app open and accessing it, as well as our cameras, on a regular basis had one phone dying by 11 a.m. and the rest of ours running pretty low. So bring an extra charger or two as the last thing you want is your phone dying, and we didn’t see any fuelrod locations in Galaxy’s Edge.

We also saw Kylo Ren and First Order Stormtroopers walking around, interacting with guests. It was so fun to see them outside of Launch Bay and they were really having conversations and interacting with so many people. Highly entertaining to watch and worth taking a moment or several just to follow them and see what they do, particularly with kids in costumes.

Back on track, we FINALLY headed into the Droid Depot. Our first experience in a shop, it’s all things Droid, with one room full merchandise, not to mention a $25,000 customizable R2-D2 that actually interacted with us on a later visit to the shop. The other room also has merchandise, but the big attraction is the droid building workshop. Conveyor belts everywhere move droid parts all around the room. While none of us got in line to build a droid, we stopped a bit just to watch, and look at some of the parts and it’s amazing. I had zero intentions of building a droid, but after learning that, at certain bluetooth capable locations, they not only interact throughout Black Spire Outpost, they also can interact at the parks and resorts, I really want one now! One person said they had two droids in their car and the droids chatted with each other the whole drive home!

The Force was with us as we got some of the last remaining Batuuan Spira (gift cards) at that location. From what I understand, they restock these for each reservation group, but people have reported them being sold out for the day, so if you want to get one, get it early. It has a $100 minimum purchase balance, but you can add more, plus they are not only refillable, but you can use them anywhere in the parks and resorts, just like a regular Disney gift card. But these are hardly regular looking. Small, sculpted, metal, and heavy, you feel like you’re holding a real coin or currency! It’s such a small (though not necessarily cheap) thing, but again, another thing that added to our experience and atmosphere of being on another world.

After changing our currency, right outside the Droid Depot was a drink location that sold the new Star Wars redesigned Cokes. Much like other merchandise in Batuu, there was a limit to how many you could get, and in this case you could only get three. They’re much bigger than I thought they’d be, and kind of hard to drink out of since they’re so round (and roll if you drop them), but the detailing is great, and another fairly cheap souvenir. Note that these were cheaper at the drink location, than at other food places, so something to keep in mind. We took a few more photos around this area before heading back over to the Falcon to finally experience Smuggler’s Run.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Flying the Falcon!

I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 1: Traveling to Batuu and Oga’s Cantina

Hey there, beautiful. She’s even more gorgeous in person. And yeah, I totally cried.

Today I got to visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and it was everything I hoped for and more. Born in the year of Star Wars, and almost named Leia by my mom, Star Wars has always been a HUGE part of my life. I can’t remember when I first watched Star Wars: A New Hope. In my world it just always was. I saw all the other movies in the theaters, dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween more times than I can count, carried an Ewoks cartoon lunch box to school, watched all the cartoons, read a lot of the books and comics, went to the conventions, cosplayed, collected all kinds of merchandise, and generally have loved Star Wars forever.

So when Disney announced we were getting an entire Star Wars themed land I nearly cried from happiness. I kept joking with friends that once I got in, just forward my mail as I won’t want to ever leave. Fast forward years later and today I finally got to visit that land, and it not only met, but exceeded my expectations, and I didn’t even get to do/see/eat/experience everything.

There were 5 of us going and had a reservation time at 8 a.m. Knowing from other people’s experiences that we should get there early, we arranged to meet so we could go through the gates at 6 a.m. Your primary reservation holder needs to have both the email reservation code so they can confirm you have an early morning time, and everyone in your party must have a valid Disneyland ticket to enter. Once through, we were directed by awesome Cast Members (CMs) working dark and early to the Launch Bay to pick up our wrist bands that would give us entry into Galaxy’s Edge (GE.)

The line at Launch Bay was fast and smooth. You need to have your ID handy so the CM can check your name against who is listed on the reservation, but it’s a quick process and we were done before we knew it. When we got our wristband the CM also gave us a special map/brochure for Galaxy’s Edge so be sure to ask for one before you leave. Our group was directed to head towards the Rose Tavern in Fantasyland as that would be where we would be led into GE. We were stopped just between the Galactic Grill and Submarines, and right before the Matterhorn with a bunch of others, until about 7 a.m., at which time we all made our way into Fantasyland towards the Rose Tavern and in front of closed gates.

Waiting in Fantasyland for the gate to open

While we waited , my friends and I figured out our plan of attack. We knew that Oga’s Cantina fills up FAST, and that the themed gift cards we wanted to purchase, as they look like local currency and are only available at the Droid Depot, tended to sell out quickly, so we decided to hit the Droid Depot first, change our money to the “local currency” and then get in line for the Cantina immediately afterwards. Around about 7:45 they opened the gates and led us to the Big Thunder entrance, all the while directing us to raise our hands with the wristbands high so the CMs could see them. About 10 minutes before 8 a.m. we were in.

Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s highly detailed. I didn’t know where to look first. You’re not in a land. You’re off world and it’s magical. A lot of it looked based on the incredible artwork of Ralph McQuarrie and it felt like stepping into one of the movies. The level of detail is stunning.

There were CMs lining the walkway which ended up directing us past the Droid Depo and into First Order territory. We quickly decided to change up our plan as we already saw a long line forming for Oga’s Cantina, and it ended up being the right decision as our group was the last in the line before they cut it off and people were stuck making reservations for a later time. We were all given a Cantina card to be handed in once we reached the entrance. Because we were at the end, there was a Cast Member behind us making sure the line kept moving and keeping everything in order. This was our first interaction with a citizen of Batuu and I cannot recommend enough talking to all the citizens/CMs about their life there at Black Spire Outpost.

When you enter Galaxy’s Edge you’re not on Earth, you are on the planet Batuu and everyone there behaves as such. They have their own lingo, and great stories to tell, and their own ways of doing things. It’s a truly immersive experience and one I cannot recommend taking part in enough if you really want to get the most out of your experience at Galaxy’s Edge. I’m VERY introverted and usually shy away from any character interactions and the like as I always feel weird conversing, but it was so easy to talk to the people of Batuu because you were doing just that: talking to people. It’s just that they happen to live on a different planet and the Star Wars movies are their history.

Some guests are going so far as to create their own characters to be when they visit, kind of like Dungeons & Dragons, and I can totally see how that would make the experience even more fun. I’d heard a little about all this so when I was trying to figure out what to wear, I decided to dress as an “off worlder” or smuggler type to blend in with the experience a bit more. It was totally worth it from the reactions and interactions I got and I highly recommend it. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a new wardrobe. 😉

One of the MANY panels you can hack using the Disney Play app

Noemi, our Cantina line CM, couldn’t have been more wonderful and helpful, and I’m so sorry I didn’t get a photo (or image capture, as they call it on Batuu.) She helped us figure out how to use the Disney Play App Datapad feature on our phones to hack panels, and gave us all sorts of tips for navigating future visits. For example: Savi’s workshop, the place where you can build your own lightsabers, fills up in a blink, so if that’s something you want to do, she recommended getting your wristband as early as you can, ask a CM what entrance you’ll be using to enter Galaxy’s Edge, and be in the front of the line before you head to GE. Once you get in, run, don’t walk to Savi’s. Oga’s and Savi’s are the first to fill up in the time slots so get there early!

We lined up around 7:55 a.m. and were inside the Cantina by 8:10 a.m. so getting there early really paid off. The Cantina is a U shape and we passed DJ R3X as they lead us to one end of the U at the bar. It’s not very big, but that just made it more intimate. It’s loud with R3X playing all sorts of Star Wars inspired music, including at one point THE Mos Eisley Cantina song we all know and love, it’s colorful, it’s detailed, and it’s wonderful. If you want to experience the Cantina, go there first. It’s a fantastic way to start your trip to Batuu off right with great theming, music, atmosphere, Batuu bartenders, and very tasty drinks. You can order a maximum of 2 drinks per person and have 45 minutes to hang out there.

Between all of us we got the Cliff Dweller with the Porg mug, the Blue Bantha with a bantha sugar cookie, a Bloody Rancor, a Bespin Fizz, a Yub Nub with a mug, and a Mustafarian Lava roll. All the drinks had a great flavor and wonderful presentation, especially the Bespin Fizz. If you have a group, I really recommend everyone getting something different and then sharing. It’s fun way to experience all the drinks, and they really are an experience!

The lava roll was good, a themed cinnamon roll with chocolate cookie crumbles and red icing. The bantha sugar cookie that came on top of the Blue Bantha was really tasty, much like a very chocolaty Girl Scout Samoa cookie on top of a sugar cookie. We were able to wander around and take lots of photos and some of the bartenders chatted with us about their life at Black Spire Outpost.

When we were ready to leave, those of use who got the souvenir mugs with our drinks were handed fresh ones in boxes. Oh and take the coasters! There’s several designs, and we ran into another guest who had a stack of them just from asking a bartender if he could have some extras. I’m all about the free souvenirs, and these are really fun ones. The Cantina was such a great way to start the day and really set the mood for the rest of the morning and the rest of our time there.

Having the best time at Oga’s Cantina!

More on our adventures to come in part 2!

DIY Kitbashing Phone case Star Wars Datapad

My finished kitbashed Star Wars inspired phone case Datapad

In anticipation for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars fans have been coming up with a fun new way to interact with the land. They’ve been kitbashing (taking bits and pieces out of model kits and layer them onto an item to turn it into something else) and turning phone cases into Star Wars Datapads and I knew from the second I saw one, I wanted to make one myself.

I started by ordering a heavy duty cell phone case that had a bigger surface area surrounding the phone so I had more places to glue stuff. A lot of people use pieces (also called greebles/greeblies/nurnies) from WWII tank models and the like, but since I was making this specifically to fit in the Star Wars universe, I decided to get the Bandai X-Wing Starfighter kit. Once everything finally arrived (thank you Amazon Prime!) I fortunately had all the tools I needed to get started, but if you want to make one of your own, here’s what I’d recommend to make your own personal Datapad.

To build the case
• Phone case
• Model kit (kits), though not necessary. Legos, bits from your junk drawer, etc. totally work, too!
• Glue (I used Krazy glue, but I know a lot of people recommend contact cement for models)
• Tweezers*
• Mini needle nose pliers*
• Mini flat nose pliers*
• Mini side-Cutting Pliers*
• *Note, I got all of these in a jewelry making kit ages ago. You can get them pretty cheap at your local craft store and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used them! Worth the money.
• Small shallow solid box/container
• Eye protection (little plastic pieces will fly everywhere! Trust me on this, protect your eyes)
• Emery board/sand paper

To paint the case
• Gloves
• Paint
• Paper towels
• Q-tips
• Sponges
• Brushes
• Toothpicks
• Masking tape

Went with a classic X-Wing for my kit to bash
Phone case ready to be transformed

Once I had all that assembled, I opened up the kit and just started pulling out pieces/bits and bobs/greeblies/nurnies(pick your word) that I liked or seemed interesting. This is where that small box/container will be your friend as those pieces are small and like to migrate. Also, while a lot of the greeblies were fairly easy to pull off the frame by hand, there were times those pliers were my friends.

These bits are worse than Legos when it comes to migration! So much easier to keep them all together in a shallow container.

Let the fun/frustration begin! This is where you can really get creative arranging and rearranging all the pieces around your phone case/soon to be datapad. There are no rules for this so have at it! Some people just pick stuff they like, glue it wherever seems interesting, and go from there, and they look great. I wanted mine to look more functional (you could see where things plugged in/connected to each other) so my challenge was to use pieces from the kit to make that happen, which is both fun, and frustrating. As many pieces as there are in the kit, I found myself wishing I’d bought another kit for something else just to have more bits and bobs to choose from. Keep in mind, the frame work the greeblies come in can be used, too, so don’t be in a hurry to throw any of those plastic pieces out. You never know what might work!

Arranging pieces to see what I like

After finally finding an arrangement that worked, I glued all the pieces down to the phone case and let it dry.

All glued down
Added a little R2-D2 head to the top!

Once all the glue was set, it was time to paint. This is where the gloves come in because if you’re anything like me, you will end up with several layers of paint all over your fingers and hands, so I highly recommend gloves, especially if spray painting.

Basic black

I was indecisive as to what color I wanted it to be at first. I started by painting it all black, thinking I would add silver highlights and stuff. I ultimately decided I wanted it to look more like metal, and repainted it in a metallic silver. I liked how the details popped more, but I also felt it needed a few more greeblies to balance it out. After the silver paint dried, I glued a few more pieces down, let the glue dry, and then went over those new pieces with more silver paint.

Extra pieces added before paint
All silver and pretty…for now
I used masking tape to cover the inside of the case to protect it from paint

I wanted mine to look aged and worn, kind of like something you’d find on the Millennium Falcon, that has a lot of wear, tear, and grime, so the next steps were to age it. There’s a lot of great videos and blogs out there on how to weather/age things, but the basics of it are this: paint it on, wipe it off. Repeat. I used a water base paint so that I could water it down and create a wash effect, but I found it looked best when I used a brush to just paint on a color, and then use a sponge, paper towel, cloth, q-tip, etc. to wipe it off (sometimes all of the above depending on how much paint you put on/want to take off)

First pass at ageing was with black paint and a black wash (black paint diluted with water).

I love how the black pops all the little details!

Second pass with rust colored paint and wash.

Sooo dirty

Last step was to add little details. I used some red, white, and blue paints and toothpicks to add just a tiny little bit of color to certain pieces to make it look like buttons, lenses or wiring. I have a feeling I might add more detailing in the future when I come back from seeing Galaxy’s Edge, but for now I’m happy with this.

Little dots of color

Let it all dry (and letting everything dry is the HARDEST part for me), insert phone, and…you have yourself your very own datapad!

Finished front
Finished back

I’m super happy with how this came out and had a ton of fun making it. It’s a lot easier than it looks, just messy 😉 Have you kitbashed a phone case into a datapad? Got any tips or questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Good luck on your kitbashing, and may the Force be with you!

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Trading Card Map

The completed map!

A few months ago, Hollywood Studios released Galaxy’s Edge trading cards, that when all assembled, laid out a map of the new land Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, coming to both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. I FINALLY got all nine cards and my map is finally complete and, if it’s even possible, even MORE excited for Galaxy’s to open!

Around the perimeter of the map are words in Aurebesh, that, when translated and read clockwise say the following:
“At the edge of the galaxy so far away, black was the spire that called me to stay, a beacon for drifters forgotten and lost, the spire summoned those broken and tossed, come stay here forever or just pass on through, the spirit of black spire will forever change you.”

The map with Aurebesh translated.

Details from each of the map cards

Home of the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride
I hear they make a pretty good Fuzzy Tauntaun and Carbon Freeze there at the Cantina
I wonder if those Ancient Ruins lead to the Rise of the Resistance ride
Blue Milk anyone?
The front of the cards making up the map

The front of the cards have various images, which give some details about the two rides to be found in the land, as well as a few shops and/or food vendors, not to mention possible encounters/interactions we may have while exploring Black Spire Outpost.

The four cards below talk about Resistance recruits, rescue, Vi, aka Vi Moradi, is a spy, who we see in Delilah S. Dawson’s novel, Phasma. Dawson’s upcoming novel, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Black Spire, may tell us more of her story if she’s the spy mentioned in the synopsis, “In this prequel to the Disney Parks experience, General Leia Organa dispatches her top spy to Batuu in a desperate search for Resistance allies.” Between these four cards and that fact that one of the locations on the map called “Ancient Ruins” takes about it being a perfect hideout for the Resistance, and even has the Rebel symbol by it, makes me think this might be the basis for the ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.”

In the book Star Wars Pirate’s Price, by Lou Anders, the main story takes place at Oga Garra’s Cantina at Black Spire Outpost. There, Hondo Ohnaka is doing business under his company Ohnaka Transport Solutions, and he tells Bazine Netal stories about making a deal with Chewbacca for the Millennium Falcon, and how it came to be in his possession. It explains what the Falcon is doing there, and could also be the premise of the new Millennium Falcon ride, “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run,” and why guests get to pilot the ship. The end of the book has Hondo posting a sign outside the cantina that reads. “Flight Crews Wanted. No training necessary. Fair pay, great experience. Discretion is a must. Inquire at Ohnaka Transport Solutions in the Spaceport.”

Apparently if we don’t fly the Falcon well we could find ourselves in a bit of trouble
I hear Dok-Ondar likes to trade.

I’ve always wanted to try Blue Milk
RX, our original Star Tours pilot looks like he got a new job as a DJ at the Cantina

Between the map on the cards, the pictures on the front, and some recently, and soon to be released, Star Wars books, we’re getting a good idea of what awaits us in just a few months! I can’t wait to discover all the details and easter eggs I know they’ll have in store for us. What are you most excited to see or try once Galaxy’s edge opens?

Star Wars Candles: A New Hope

I’m a huge fan of geek scented candles. For years, I used candles to heat my house since I didn’t have a working heater, and plug in heaters would trip the circuits. Once the heater was replaced, I didn’t need the candles for heat anymore, but I always loved the look and smell of them. A few years ago I discovered several vendors that sell geeky themed candles and I’ve been hooked ever since. Well, when I found out that Star Wars was releasing candles based on the original trilogy, I was sold and ordered all three sets online. Here’s my review of set one: Star Wars: A New Hope

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the packaging these came in, as I could hear broken glass as I moved the shipping box, and was concerned about getting broken glass everywhere. Below are photos from the website from which I ordered the candles. When I opened the shipping box, there was a long black box with STAR WARS printed on it. When I opened that, I found that 2 out of the 5 candles had completely shattered. There’s a cardboard base in the black box that the candles sit in, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from falling out in transit. I carefully took the candles and candle holder out, cleaned it up and this is what I was left with.

Star Wars: A New Hope candles, minus two broken containers
Themed base/candle holder

The candles are small, roughly 2″ square, with a neat black and silver label with the Star Wars logo, the candle name, and “A New Hope” printed on it. They sit perfectly in a 15″ x 5″ themed black and silver display holder. While there are no lids included, even though the packaging recommends them, lids are apparently available to purchase separately.

But the big question: How do they smell?

“Bantha Milk”
A light blue candle that smells strongly of sugar. It’s super sweet, kind of milky smelling (to be expected) and also a little plastic-y, as if I could smell the pitcher Aunt Beru was pouring it from. If you imagine adding powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a glass of milk colored with blue food coloring, and then drinking that out of those old plastic tumblers most of us had in the 70s and 80s, you get the idea.

A bright yellow candle, it smells like leather, sand, dust, and also vaguely tropical, like a fruity tropical drink. You get a sense of the patrons of the bar, and it makes me wonder just what were they serving all those pilots and smugglers there on Tatooine.

Chocolate brown in color, this straight up smells like Chewbacca on a hot desert planet. A mix of shag carpet, dog fur, a hint of musk, and leather, that have all been on a space ship and in the twin suns a bit too long.

“Trash Compactor”
This one reeked. Red like the outer edges of a dianoga’s eye, it smells like wet trash and food that’s been sitting in a metal waste basket decaying for some time. If you enjoy the smell of sour, rotting, stagnant water, this candle’s for you. No wonder Leia, Luke, Han, and Chewie were so anxious to get out of there.

“X-Wing Cockpit”
Bright orange flight suit colored, this smelled exactly like I thought it would: a warm mix of old, worn upholstery, leather, sweat, dust, adrenaline, and metal. I could practically hear Luke sitting in the cockpit saying, “Red 5, standing by.”

Overall impression:
As regular candles, for me, they’re just okay. A couple I wouldn’t mind keeping to burn, but that Trash Compactor one is making its way to the garbage chute shortly! These look pretty sitting on their base, and the novelty of them is fun. If you wanted a whole new experience while watching your 592nd viewing Star Wars: A New Hope, these candles would be fun to break out during the appropriate scenes in the movie. Not sure that’s worth the price, though, but these would make a fun gift.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post reviewing the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Candle set. I know you’re curious to find out just what DOES the inside of a Tauntaun smell like…