A Star Wars fan in Ohio has taken Halloween decorating to a whole new level with a two-story-high AT-AT display in his front yard. Over the years Star Wars has introduced several iconic, futuristic vehicles into popular culture, from Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder and X-Wing Fighter, to Han Solo's Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader's Tie Fighter. The latter three, of course, were all involved in the legendary final battle scene in the first Star Wars film in 1977, leaving fans breathless as Luke (Mark Hamill) navigated his X-Wing down the trenches of the Death Star to shoot a pair of proton torpedoes into a portal that would lead to a chain reaction and blow the massive Empire base/weapon into oblivion.
As fans quickly found out with The Empire Strikes Back, there were plenty more cool vehicles Star Wars had at the ready, including the Empire's All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT), which stormed Skywalker and his fellow Rebel troops' base on the ice planet of Hoth. The AT-AT not only instantly created an indelible image on-screen for fans, toy companies like Hasbro in later years created toys after the famed vehicle in 3 3/4-inch action figure scale so fans could re-enact their favorite scenes from The Empire Strikes Back, or simply have it as one very cool display item on their home shelves.
Now, more than 37 years after the AT-AT's introduction to the world, one very dedicated fan has constructed a life-size version of the vehicle for his neighbors to enjoy for Halloween. According to The Associated Press (via KHQ-TV), elevator mechanic Nick Meyer dropped about $1,500 and hours of work per weekend since April to build a replica of an AT-AT in front of his house in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Parma. Meyer didn't completely go it alone, though, since he constructed the 19-foot-high AT-AT with the help of his carpenter friend, Anthony Paroda.
Meyer told the AP that the AT-AT was constructed with plywood, hard foam and plastic barrels, and that the design of the display was based on a Star Wars toy. Meyer's AT-AT also features a cockpit that lights up in red at night, and a mannequin of a stormtrooper standing next to it. Meyer claims the construction of the AT-AT with Paroda had more to do with dedication than skill, telling the AP, “We’re both pretty crafty, but it’s not rocket science. You just gotta be willing to do it.”
Whatever the case may be, the AT-AT is a big hit in the community. In fact, the faux transport is reportedly so popular with people coming to see it that they're already donating money to fund another display at Meyer's house next year (perhaps they'll revise it to resemble a First Order Gorilla Walker from The Last Jedi?).
While Meyer's display of the AT-AT is impressive as-is, it will truly be made complete on Halloween night when Meyer and his wife, Becky, dress up as Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Finally, to represent The Empire Strikes Back's Jedi element, the Meyers have also recruited an 8-year-old neighbor girl to swing a lightsaber outside of the AT-AT.
Source: The Associated Press (via KHQ-TV)
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