DroidBuilders UK

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FACTS Spring Edition 2022

By: Giles Redpath

FACTS Spring Edition 2022 – facts.be

FACTS is Fantasy, Animation, Comics, Toys and Sci-Fi. Is one of the biggest Cons in Europe and happens twice a year April and October in a massive convention centre in Flanders Gent, Belgium.

I had not been for about 3 years due to Covid, so was looking forward in meeting all the European Builders again.  Generally the French, Belgium and Netherlands builders attend the Spring one with the Germans joining in October.  So a chance to practice my French.

Unfortunately, my wing man was unable to make it due to his passport not arriving in time but I decided still to go on my own.  For the first time I travelled by Eurotunnel (35mins) rather than the 2 hour journey on the Ferry.  Apart from a big Queue for checkin the journey went really fast with only a 1.5 hours to Gent from Calais. I will use the train again. 

On arrival, after negotiating ‘the Loop’, if you have been you know what I am talking about, I drove into the venue to unload my droids and was met with Michel and 3 of the French builders. My French is useless but I tried a few words. Their English is not too bad so we got by.  After setting up, off I went to chekin at the hotel and was upgraded woohoo.

Arrival on the Friday allows you to have an evening meal at Ikea which is next doors, yes 16 meatballs please……Then back to the hotel bar and then bed. Breakfast is great at the Holiday Inn so I did not want to miss it.

Early start full English in Belgium, but no baked beans or black pudding and off the venue for the 9am start (early tickets).

After retrieving all the droids from the back, a day of driving, talking and repairs (where required). In the afternoon it was parade time with the Mando Mercs with their loud drum, 501st, RL with droids at the back, and we set off around the convention. The droids could not keep up as they speed marched around, so they ended up on their own parade. You get a chance to look around and with the massive main hall full of traders and 5 large side rooms, 1 gaming, 1 Cosplay stage, 1 prebooked pictures with the stars and signatures and 1 main stage for the talks. You get plenty of opportunity to check it out yourself but between 9 and 10 is the best as less people.  The day ended at 7pm with a quick moving all the droids to the back and securing the area.  Then off to the builders buffet meal back at the hotel in a separate room, so we could discuss droids all evening.

Day 2 it was decided to do a separate parade today so just after 2pm we set off with about 14 droids around the large hall and a visit to the smaller ones too.  On return we decided to go again. A few casualties with a ‘walk of shame’ but great fun and the public loved it. The day finished at 5pm and after goodbyes, I headed for the train.

I returned home at about 9.20pm very tired but very happy to have done an event after all that time and seeing builder friends I had not seen in a long time.  Thank you to all the European Builders and specially Michel Michelsen who organised it.

If you are interested, please ensure you email Michel.michielsen@skynet.be, you will get free entry if you bring a droid. There is a hotel on site but there are cheaper options a bit further away, but you can drive daily and pay for a reduced parking ticket which is pre-order from Michel. Also make sure you sign up on the forum – https://portal.droidbuilders.uk/event/187

Check out pictures on the Droid Builders Europe Face book page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/114203115362493