Bad Guys Doing Good
Dutch Masella has been with the 501st since 2007 in Florida, and transferred to the Pacific Outpost when he moved to Hawaii four years ago. “I started off with a Biker Scout costume, so I could get into the Legion, and slowly built my Boba Fett – he’s my favorite character, my dream costume,” says Masella, a 41-year-old graphic artist. “My Biker Scout was about $1,200, and Bobba Fett (which took about a year-and-a-half to make) was about $4,700.
“The obsession started when I was a kid and went to see Star Wars in the theaters. Boba Fett wasn’t in the original movie, so then Empire Strikes Back came out and I saw him on screen, and there was just something about the way he looked and acted. He didn’t talk, except for very briefly, but everyone respected him. There was just something about him that drew me to him, and I’ve just stuck with it ever since.
“Now, my whole office is nothing but Boba Fett. I’m kind of a Boba Fett freak.”
According to Masella, many actors from Star Wars are honorary members of the 501st Legion, and some even have costumes, including Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett.
“Being in the Legion, I’ve gotten to know Jeremy pretty well,” shares Masella, noting that Bulloch lives in England and is part of the UK Garrison. “Me and my wife have sat down with him and his wife and had drinks, and talked about life and kids. It’s just kinda surreal that you get to meet these people.”
Matt Ioli, a radar surveil-lance technician with the air defense squadron for Hawaii Air National Guard, is in the process of joining the Pacific Outpost. He’s been building his Sand Trooper armor and helping the group for the past year as a handler.
“A lot of times people are surprised we’re out there,” says Ioli, a 1999 graduate of Moanalua High School. “We have regulars who follow us on Facebook and the website, and regularly come out to every event and take pictures with us consistently. With kids we get mixed reactions – some are super excited and know a lot about Star Wars and try to quiz us, other times we have ones that are really scared to even come up.
“I really want to be a part of the 501st Legion because it’s a big family. It’s international, so I could go anywhere and find a garrison anywhere in the world, put on my armor and go to an event with them to help kids or a charity. It’s about going out and helping those who need help, and we’re using our love, our passion for Star Wars toward a good thing. That’s what excites me about it.”
The Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion also will be at the upcoming Kawaii Kon anime and manga expo April 4, 5 and 6 at Hawaii Convention Center. While there, they will be raising money for charity by inviting guests to “Blast a Trooper.” Guests can make a monetary donation, then pick up a Nerf gun and shoot at the person in armor in the booth.
There are a few other Star Wars fan groups in Hawaii as well, such as the Rebel Legion and the Mando Mercs.