Nothing captures the experience like this video shot by Hasbro and hosted here on Frank Diorio’s Youtube channel
Celebration VII saw the convention moving back to the west coast. This time we were in Anaheim directly across from Disneyland, which was fitting with the recent acquisition of Lucasfilm by the house of mouse. Our theme this year was Bespin. I was thrilled and honored to be a co-presenter at the Diorama Workshop this year alongside our grand leader, Frank Diorio and his Diorama Workshop. Our booth was the largest in the convention and prominently centered in the main hall under an impressive banner.
Hasbro was our official sponsor this time around.
We welcomed back many hard working friendly faces who have become like family and a handful of newcomers. Tons of fans stopped by to work on pre-planned and cut kits. The workshop is completely free to attendees. Paid for by Lucasfilm and our sponsor Hasbro. It is a great time to take a break, sit down, and spend time with your family. As Anthony Daniels once told us “It is the only thing at the whole show that is not about selling something”. It is about being creative and imaginative, it’s about having fun with your family and making something that kids can take home with them and hopefully start a hobby that they continue for years to come.
After a whirlwind 4 days all the pieces created by fans they are skillfully put together to make massive diorama. Our crew places figures in each scene.
Fans line up to stroll around the scene which easily takes up hundreds of square feet.
Here is a panorama of the workshop to see the massive area and the sea of chaos.
When I am not helping out workshop attendees or running a master class my job is to build some of the larger set pieces. They don’t look as good as they would if I had spent weeks on them at home but they are pretty great for quick builds on a convention floor in a few days in the little spare time we have. Scott and Mark helped out big time on the tower with some assembly and the awesome details like the railing and nosecone structure.
On Friday I had to leave the main convention floor for my Action Figure Customizing Panel. I ran one the first one ever at Celebration VI along with Dayton Allen (Sithfire) and LE Spry (Sprywalker). This time around the convention wanted to keep the panels smaller so I hosted solo but included the work of many great customizers. More on the panel can be found on the link below.
A new first for us at the show this time was the addition of Master Classes. I ran small workshops 3-4 times a day for about dozen people. We went through the basics of how to take apart a figure, how to customize, sculpt, paint, etc. The classes were generously sponsored by Aves and Sculpey who donated tons of material to use in the class and to give away as gifts.
One of the main highlights of the convention each year for us is the toy give away. Each builder usually gets a figure or two. But we always have a raffle for the big ticket items like ships and vehicles. The raffle is only open to kids who built something at the workshop. It is a borderline chaos some years but seeing the kids light up with excitement makes it all worthwhile.
I have a few pieces at Steve Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan Star Wars Museum. I was totally surprised when our group swung by their exhibit to say hi to Steve and his crew and I found that not only was I included in his new book Inspired by the Force: Star Wars Fan Artifacts & Art but one of my pieces was selected to be part of their very small traveling roadshow exhibit.
During the early morning hours of the con, while we were setting up JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, & Bob Iger stopped by the booth on their way to the massive panel to unveil the official trailer for the Force Awakens. Here is JJ with Frank Diorio, you can see Mrs. Kennedy over Frank’s shoulder.
We had one more guest stop by. What would a Bespin diorama be without the man in charge of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian. Billy Dee Williams himself stopped by for a quick photo op before being escorted back out by a massive entourage of security.
Thanks to Frank for taking it on again, the amazing crew of workers/family, and the fans for helping make our 6th build a huge success! See you at C8?