Friday, 6 November 2015

How to join the 501st and Rebel Legion

During the weekend I got quite a few questions on how to join and how it works with sending in an application to either the 501st Legion or the Rebel Legion. I'm going to go through the process here.

In order to join the legions you need to be 18 years old, after that the first thing you need  is a costume. Both organisations have checklists where the minimum requirements for each costume is listed. In the 501st Legion they are called CRL:s, or Costume Reference Library, in the Rebel Legion they are called Costume Standards. As an example her is the RL standards for a jawa costume:

1. Mask (and eyes)
a. Black mask covering the entire face of the costumer so that no parts of the costumer's head is visible. Face paint is not acceptable.
b. The mask may be used as a base upon which the two glowing eyes are mounted.
c. When in full costume, only the glowing eyes should be visible from within the opening of the hood.
d. The eyes should glow, rather than emit a beam of light (flashlights or other beam emitting lights are not permitted). Incandescent lamps or non-directional LEDs are ideal.
e. Eyes should be yellow or light orange (amber), spaced for "binocular vision" and approximately 1" - 1.25" in diameter.

2. Robe and Hood
a. Robe and hood are a dark rust-brown textured fabric, and are separate pieces (hood is not attached to the robe).
b. Robe pattern should be such that there are no visible seams and with an off center opening (on the front) that runs the length of the garment. The robe may also be sewed closed. The only seams that would appear would be left and right side seams on the underside of the sleeves to the arm pit area and proceeding down each side. Sleeves and bottom of the robe are unhemmed and be tattered/frayed.
c. Hood is "pointy" and must be lined with a solid, black fabric.
d. The hood may be reinforced to maintain the facial opening, and should lap over (the robe) and onto the shoulders.
e. The flaps at the bottom front of the hood should overlap and may wrap around the neck.
f. Robe and hood may be weathered.

3. Gloves
a. Black cloth or leather (or leather-like) gloves extending over the wrist (and along the arm to ensure no skin is visible).
b. Gloves should be plain. Adornments, buckles, straps, etc. are not permitted.

4. No exposed skin (or clothing)
a. Black or brown undergarments should cover the costumers so that no skin (or other clothing) is visible.

5. Bandolier(s)
a. (At least) one bandolier is required, and should be patterned from WWII or earlier bandoliers.
b. Black or brown leather or leather-like material should be used.
c. Bandolier(s) should be worn/weathered and any metal components should be dull/worn/scuffed.
d. Two bandoliers are permitted and can be worn in any number of configurations.

6. Boots
a. Boots (and lower legs) should be wrapped in a similar fabric as the robe/hood and be a similar color.
b. Boots/wrapping should extend to the mid calf (or high enough so that no skin is visible).

7. Entire costume should appear tattered and weathered. 
After having read through the standards and if you think that your costume fulfills these requirements you can send in an application. A big advice though is to first register on the main Rebel Legion forum, the Krayt Clan forum (specialised in jawas and tusken raiders) or your local base/garrison forum. In these forums you can get feedback and see if you might have missed something that will stop the costume from being accepted. I can not stress enough how good it is to first get this feedback before sending in the application, tha will make the application go a lot smoother, and faster.

Before submitting an application you need to prepare photos of your costume. This needs to be full body photos of the front, back and two sides, so that you can show the costume in 360 degrees. If your costume has a helmet or mask that covers your face you also need to submit a photo  with the helmet or mask off, showing your actual face. Finally you also need a photo of yourself in some kind of action pose, that will then be photoshopped onto your legion profile page. After that it's a good idea to have pictures of all the details that are required according to the standards/CRL.

For my jawa for example I sent in the following pictures:
Mask off
Mask, bandolier, hood
Weathering of the robe
Action pose (the light was so bad on this one that I used my front photo as main photo though)

As you see that's nine photos just for a fairly simple costume without many details. A jedi costume for example needs to have the 360 degrees photos both with and without a robe. It's also good if you have a solid coloured background to your photos, so that the costume is clearly visible. I solve that by simply using a piece of fabric as background when I try to take photos of myself.

These requirements are the same for both legions, after that the application process differs though. The 501st uses a decentralised process, where the judgement is handled by a local Garrison Membership Liaison (GML) that handles every kind of costume, while the Rebel Legion uses a centralised system where each costume is judged by a Legion Costume Judge (LCJ) that is chosen to be part of the LCJ team due to his or her expertise in a particular kind of costume.

To join the Rebel Legion you first need to register at the main Rebel Legion forums. Once you are registered at these forums you get the option to "Register a Costume and Upgrade to Rebel Legion Membership,” in your profile control panel. In the application you fill in the information that is asked for, then you upload the one (1) picture you want to have as your action pose. The rest of the photos need to be submitted as links to a photohosting site, for example photobucket, links to photos on facebook do not work.

Then you send in your application and wait for a response from an LCJ. Some costumes are approved straight away, that usually goes for those costumers that have asked for feedback in the forums, while it's actually very usual for the judges to ask for corrections, or simply of better photos of some details. Don't get disappointed if this happens, as I said it's more common than being approved directly. The LCJ will give you two weeks to send in new photos with the corrections that were asked for. If you haven't sent in the new photos within two weeks the application will be denied and you will have to send in a new application to start the process again.

If you want to join the 501st Legion it's a bit different. There you need to first register at the 501st legion. In the application you will also need to submit the 5 digit number that you want to use as your 501st ID, for example my 501st ID is 4492. After you have submitted your online application you will be contacted by the GML and asked to send in the photos of your costume. The GML will probably ask you some questions, might ask for some changes or new photos, and then they will activate you as a member of the 501st legion.

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