By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
It’s one of the most loved movie franchises of all time and this Oskaloosa couple are among the biggest fans of the film series.
As many people know, fans of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” franchise have a passion for these films. Trey and Nancy Laymon, of Oskaloosa, share this passion.
The couple own the Star Wars Ford Raptor SVT, which features elaborate portrayals of many of the key characters from the film franchise. Trey also enjoys wearing his Darth Vader costume at various events, including the 2012 Lighted Christmas Parade in Oskaloosa, where he and other local Star Wars fans rode in and walked behind the Star Wars truck. The truck and it’s participants would end up winning the Most Outstanding Individual/Family award.
This was the first time the truck had been on display for those attending the Lighted Christmas Parade in Oskaloosa.
The truck’s body is covered in all-vinyl decal work, said Trey. He noted that he created the Darth Vader graphic on the side of the truck, which is Trey in full costume. He also noted that the design on the back tailgate of the truck is a SimonZ print used with permission.
High-resolution prints of lava designs were also used on Trey and Nancy’s truck.
Perhaps one of the truck’s more interesting features is the portrayal of Han Solo frozen in carbonite under the vehicle’s bed cover, which was Nancy’s idea.
When a previous truck of his began giving him some problems, Trey decided to look into the Ford Raptor SVT, he said. After introducing the idea to make the vehicle have a Star Wars theme, Nancy was sold on the idea of getting the Raptor SVT, said Trey.
“I took the computer and I threw some images on to it and, I said, ‘with a lava orange interior wouldn’t this look really cool to do a lava-splash off the front end of the truck,’” said Trey.
Trey said he and Nancy had been to the Lighted Christmas Parade for several years and, after the Star Wars truck was completed, he thought it would be a good for the parade citing its various lights and designs on its body. This, coupled with Trey in his full Darth Vader costume, as well as those portraying Darth Maul and Storm Troopers rounded out the award-winning parade entry.
The Star Wars truck also appeared in the Knoxville Nationals Parade in 2012. Their entry into this parade earned a Second Place Award in the Custom Classic Vehicles category and the Fan’s Favorite Award.
“I thought that was a pretty big deal at a show with all the race cars and everything — to get second place custom car is really neat,” said Trey. “It was hot, but we marched Darth Vader and Darth Maul.”
This past August, the Laymon’s truck also made it down to Star Wars Celebration 6 in Orlando, Fla., which is a convention that, well, celebrates the Star Wars movie franchise. The truck was on display for thousands of Star Wars fans for four days — including one very important person to the film series.
“That’s where George Lucas actually autographed it,” said Trey.
Trey, of course, had the chance to meet Lucas when he signed the truck. He also got to take photos with the Star Wars creator.
“It was surreal,” Trey said.
So, what really motivates Trey to portray Darth Vader and have a Star Wars-themed truck for people to see?
“It’s not about popularity,” said Trey. “It’s about knowing people enjoy what they see and what they get out of it.”
Trey is also a member of the 501st Central Garrison, a group of Star Wars enthusiasts from the Midwestern states of Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“It’s a costuming organization,” explained Trey. “We do charity events all over.”
Being in the 501st Central Garrison is all about fun and Trey noted that he and others have participated in Oskaloosa’s Kidtoberfest in their costumes for the enjoyment of the children there.
Members of the 501st Central Garrison wear “screen-accurate” costumes when they appear at events, said Trey.
“I have about $4,500 in my Darth Vader from the mask to the chest box,” said Trey. “They’re screen-accurate measurements clean down to the details.”
Back in 1993, Trey built his first Darth Vader costume and his efforts at accuracy for the character have increased since then, he noted.
To learn more about Trey and Nancy’s Star Wars truck, search “Star Wars Raptor Fan Page” on Facebook.com. You can also e-mail them at email@example.com.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.