FACTS 2004 Convention Coverage
by Kris Van de SandeIt was early Saturday morning, when I took my train to Ghent for the fourteenth annual FACTS Convention. Since 1992 fans of Fantasy, Anime, Comics, Toys and Space (FACTS) have found their haven at this event - which people say is the biggest in Europe, and for two days Ghent is the sci-fi capital of Belgium.
As I arrived at the International Congress Center, a small line started to fill up, already awaiting opening in about 3 hours. Luckily I got early access and helped put up the stand of Teekay-421 (the Belgian Star Wars fanclub), as well as the actor's stand.
This year a small team of dedicated people made sure the Teekay-421 stand was filled with some top notch dioramas. The centerpiece was, without doubt, the Padmé Veranda from the upcoming Revenge Of The Sith film. This beauty was been constructed by Stijn Creten and Thomas Verschoren, and custom figures provided by Jeffrey Van Hove. Another eyecatcher was the 2 metres squared Tatooine Diorama. This was also made by Stijn Creten. Featured in the middle was Jabba's Palace, made by Stijn Creten, and Myself. (You can find detailed instructions at The Cutting Edge.)
At 10 o'clock everyone was at their posts, when all the sudden, everything started to shake and we saw a big stampede of people heading our way. It didn't take too long before the crowd was inside, inspecting the dealer's tables, checking every stand, and meeting each other to trade goods.
Just like in previous years the guest stars were a part of the FACTS tradition. In the past we've had the honour to welcome such guests as John Rhys-Davies, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, and many many more. This year we had a very special guest star cast, with celebreties like Dirk Benedict, Face from The A-Team and Lieutenant Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. David Carradine, also known as Bill from Kill Bill, and as Kain from the TV series Kung Fu, Jeremy Bulloch (the original Boba Fett) and Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca.
While many of these are superstars in our memories, we also welcomed the latest generation of stars like Daniel Logan (prequel Boba Fett) and Nalini Krishan (AOTC's Barriss Offee). Not only did they sign autographs and take part in Q&A's, but they stole the show - for instance Daniel Logan took time to play Star Wars Battlefront with fans. Every actor was quick to pose for a picture or to walk around for a bit. On Saturday afternoon we were treated with a visit from another Wookiee - Michael Kingma, who plays General Tarfful in the upcoming Revenge Of The Sith made a surprise appearance. It was made all the more enjoyable when he signed the dioramas that were on display, a gesture that was echoed by every Star Wars actor at the event.
But what would FACTS be without the toys. Just as in past occasions a great amount of dealers were present, bringing along a great deal of stock, of which the majority were Star Wars figures. There even were sightings of the latest TOTC waves (Coruscant and Naboo), which sold quite well. Many bargains were to be had and many euros changed hands during the weekend.
Also present were countless stormtroopers, droids, and other visitors in costumes. - among them were 501st Garrison, the R2 Droid Builders, and many more.
At the end of the weekend the guest stars took time out to pose for a round of informal pictures with the "The Crazy-421, a group of forum memebrs whose dress sense is inspired by Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and many more.
It was a great weekend, so great that you need clones to see everything. I can only say, Bring on FACTS '05 !