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Live Active Cultures

Top three must-sees at OSC's massive exhibition of Star Wars artifacts

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Skywalkers: Beneath the skin

Shifting over to the dark side, it's somewhat shocking to inspect some of the Imperial artifacts from the original film, starting with the Episode IV stormtrooper armor. The tiny vents and switches on the helmet and chest plate, which I had always assumed were as textured in reality as they appeared onscreen, turn out to be hastily applied paint on imperfect vacuformed plastic. I've seen many fan-made costumes – especially those worn by the 501st Legion, an international charity re-enactment group that recently inducted Mayor Dyer as an honorary stormtrooper – that far outdid this "real deal" outfit.

Likewise, the original Darth Vader costume worn by David Prowse may be among the holy grails of Star Wars memorabilia, but up close it is most memorable for its ordinariness. The flat black fabric and leather looks much less futuristic in person, and there's nothing high-tech about the plastic buttons on the Sith Lord's breathing apparatus. Most fascinating is the barely perceptible asymmetry evident in Darth's sweeping samurai helmet, which lent his visage an especially sinister edge. In contrast, the exploded headpiece from Revenge of the Sith, despite offering a unique glimpse inside the famous face mask, is more technically "perfect" and therefore a little less unnerving.

Finally, questions arise from a neighboring case containing the artificial arm Luke installs after pop lops off his paw. Puzzlingly, the exposed pistons are edged with splayed fake flesh and frizzled wiring, which doesn't match the surgery seen at the end of Episode V (as the identifying card claims). Nor does it resemble Luke's hand from Return of the Jedi, which would be damaged on the opposite side. A free Jawa for the first Star Wars savant who can help figure out where this object actually originated!

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