As previously reported, this Imperial stroller was quite a hit at Celebration IV. So we tracked down the proud owner of the baby AT-AT — Rick Russo — to find out how he tricked out his child’s stroller making it one sweet fan kid ride.
Why did you decide to transform your baby stroller into a mini AT-AT?
We have a new baby, so it was like I had a legitimate excuse to do something fun and geeky. The AT-AT is one of my favorite vehicles from the saga and it really lends itself to the shape of the stroller. I had other ideas, like doing a tauntaun or a dewback, but did not have the time to design something that would be safe and not tip the stroller.
What materials did you use to make it?
Foam board, a boat-seat cushion, sponge-type material used for packing fragile equipment, dowels, zip ties, modeling putty, floral wire, a tube from shrink wrap roll, BBQ skewers and the best thing — ballpoint pens for the chin guns.
Can you describe how you did it in case other fans want to make one?
I used pictures from the Cross-sections book and the toy for reference.
BODY PANELS: Make sure it doesn’t obscure the baby’s vision and that they don’t stick out too far to the front or the rear. I used zip ties because of time, but ideally, Velcro straps would be better.
FRONT PANEL: This is the panel that the head attaches to. Cut a hole for the tube for the neck piece. Use a wrapping paper tube if you can’t find anything larger, but you’ll have to layer it to make it sturdier. Remember to leave room for the baby’s legs.
HEAD: Cut the different sections out. Since most people don’t have access to the spongy foam stuff I used, you can use that green block foam used for floral arrangements. Either before of after you glue the panels on, make a hole so the tube can go in a little for added stability.
LEGS: That’s the easy part. Cut them out to the shape of your stroller or the pose you want.
FEET: These are a little trickier because you might have to cut away part of them so they fit straight and not make the walker look bow-legged. I just cut circles in the padding, glued them and used foam board for the toes.
Describe some of the other cool add-ons — like the mobile.
The snowspeeder mobile is my favorite part and that was a last minute add-on. That required a few trial and errors before I got that right. Even though I wasn’t going for movie-accurate, I did want them to be in scale with the walker. Cutting tiny pieces of foam is painstaking. The four speeders were dangling from a piece of cushion cut into the shape of Rebel logo. There was also a crashed, smoking speeder under one of the walkers feet. A lot of people didn’t notice, but the underside of the speeders were painted different colors with different shapes painted on them as well. So daddy geeks out and Reed gets educational stimulation. Baby Einstein eat your heart out!
What was the reaction you got from fans at CIV?
From what I could tell, people really got a kick out of it. It took us about 30 minutes to get from the main doors to the entrance of the main hall! People were asking where I bought it, which was a nice compliment.
Was that where the AT-AT stroller debuted?
Yes, built it just for CIV. I would’ve liked to have it repaired for Star Wars weekends at MGM Disney but the baby kicked the front panel apart, so I didn’t get the time.
Any plans for more Imperial baby mobiles?
Oh yeah! Definitely. I wanted to do Vader’s TIE-fighter and swap them out on different days, but time was tight. I might go back to the tauntaun or dewback idea. I also have some other ships in mind.
Additional tips for fans wanting to make their own Star Wars stroller modifications?
Buy a craft glue gun! I used plain white glue. It works, but dries slower and isn’t as strong. Use your imagination. It’s all about having fun!