May the Creativity Be With You

Star Wars at DFAC
The Last Spaceport Before MEGACON

January 27 from 10 am – 2 pm
Dunedin Fine Art Center
Details here

Members of Bay area Star Wars costuming clubs are visiting the Dunedin Fine Art Center as they prepare for the upcoming MEGACON comic book convention in Orlando.

At this free event, DFAC invites you to a behind the scenes look at how creators prepare screen-authentic props, costumes and set designs. You can join in Costume Character Figure Drawing and Coloring pages, watch Star Wars shows and take photos with your favorite characters.

These creative individuals lend a hand in costumed volunteer activities and charity events in our community. We invited members of The Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, The 501st Legion and The Rebel Legion clubs to share favorite works they’ve created, and how.


Dio Ne’tra  (Deon Blackwell)

Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club #2818
Member for 1 year

Custom Armor Kit – made from 3D printed Abs plastics with hand-tooled leather components with sewn pieces. Flight suit hand sewn and weathered using fabric dyes.  Flak Jacket modified from existing materials resized and weathered.  VibroSword wood, pvc plastic and metal rivots.

I have always been interested in costuming. From fabricating sets and elaborate wearable objects for theater productions to kids summer camp performances with giant ridable creatures, I have participated in the building of many creative wearables.

So when I found out about the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, I knew that it could satisfy my need for building along with my love of all things Star Wars.

Since joining the group, I have participated by helping build not only my own Mando Kit, but also world props, fabricated displays and themed set pieces. The club allows me to express my creativity along with my problem solving skills for others.

The weathering process of several of the props consists of a broad collection of defunct technology such as broken photography equipment, old household items and various bits of forgotten hardware. I will usually disassemble as many components as I can and then refabricate an object that fits a purpose.

Sonic Heater

For example, I broke down some old photo strobes and light kits and reassembled them into a portable sonic heater. The pieces must fit in the world of Star Wars and seem as if they are screen ready. Rust, oil, old age – and just a sense of use must be added to any piece.

Sonic Heater

I see the world of Star Wars as mostly a dystopia of scarcity and necessity.  Resources must be reused and repurposed with function in mind and not so much form.

I will assemble the new object and give it a fresh coat of uniform paint in silvers or metallics, then I will dull them with sanding and adding a “black wash” to everything to make them feel older – that’s several layers of dark acrylic paints to mimic rust or oils.

The beginnings of a Helmet

After a coat of black wash is applied, I will “use” the object to see where hands would wear into the surface. These spots are sanded or cleaned up a bit to show the friction of wear.

After the piece seems used, I will go back and add more wear and tear including fraying wires, sanding down bolts, and adding any personalized little touches like buttons or little engravings.

For me, a prop is finished when I can look at it and see that this object has been used for many years and someone has tried to keep it working for as long as they can.

I take this mindset into each prop or costume I build. I want everything to feel as if it had a long backstory and history.

on Instagram @deonprime


Kato Saber  (Christopher Botterman)

Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club #2839
Member for 1 year

I joined the Mandalorian Mercs in 2021 and became an official member at Megacon in 2023.

While building my armor, my friend Nathaniel Smith who’s also building his kit started building for the clan this Rancor head you see hanging at the Cantina.

Rancor prop

From 3D printing and a lot of time and sanding it brings us joy to see the finished product, especially seeing people’s faces light up with joy when they see their childhood movies come to life.


Zev Capp (Andrew Capabianco)

Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club #2886
Member for 1 year

Custom Armor kit

My kit is comprised of 3D printed resin that is then sanded down to remove print lines and painted/weathered using various methods – from physical damages to applying debris such as dirt and grime – to give the appearance of metal armor that has been heavily worn.

I joined the Mando Mercs to give back to Star Wars fans and enthusiasts of all ages and to spread cheer during charity events. Everyone is welcome to join and we encourage new members to ask about making their own kits!

on Instagram @amct727


Jaxson Drev  (Samuel Ventura)

Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club #2753
Member for 2 years.

Custom Armor Kit – made with 3D printed, vacuum formed and resin parts, weathered with a heavy black acrylic wash. The Vacuum Forming process involves heating a plastic sheet until soft and then draping it over a mold. A vacuum is applied sucking the sheet into the mold. The sheet is then ejected from the mold.

I do this as a way to express my creativity, I found I love the work I put into making a piece of plastic look like something that came from a piece of fictional media.

I love the costuming because I love portraying a character I made in my head, and actually wearing them and expressing them.

I love the charity aspect because I think back to when I was a kid and how I always wanted to be a Mando or a clone trooper – and to be able to give that back to kids who are just like I was, and make their day, is wonderful.

on Instagram @mandalore_the_fireborne


Saturday, January 27 from 10 am – 2 pm
Dunedin Fine Art Center
1143 Michigan Blvd.
Dunedin FL 34698


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