Ghent, Belgium and F.A.C.T.S.
F.A.C.T.S. is the biggest science fiction convention in the Benelux. I remember the first time we went there - F.A.C.T.S.VI, 1997 - it was still a small gathering in a youth club on the outsides of Ghent with the main feature being the dealers´ room, plus a few improvised exhibitions in additional rooms. From a couple of hundred visitors, it has grown to attract thousands and features notable guest stars every year.
In the years that followed, we missed out on F.A.C.T.S., because the date was too close to SPIEL Essen where we had a booth. We first managed to attend again in 2006, when the dates finally didn´t clash and two friends of ours had a booth at F.A.C.T.S. to boot. It would have been great fun even if we hadn´t known the smallish F.A.C.T.S. from the beginnings - but the comparison made things even more amazing.
If you´re not interested in science fiction conventions, please scroll down - the Travel Blythe Clan would have killed us in our sleep if we hadn't used the opportunity to have a look around the beautiful old city centre of Ghent!
FACTS VI, 1997
Blast from the past! I found some old pictures in my photo albums and scanned them. This was the last F.A.C.T.S. at Centrum Ten Berg on the outskirts of Ghent. In 1998, the convention moved to ICC.
Bootleg model kits and VHS tapes galore. Those were the days...
Koichi Ohata signing...
Star Wars miniatures tabletop game
No life-sized models yet, but already some action figure displays.
FACTS XVI, 2006
A paradise for Star Wars fans - you could have your picture taken with life sized replicas of Jabba the Hutt, a sand rover, Princess Leia herself... or go shopping for R2 type droids!
Lego and Lars...!!! I just HAD to take a picture of that...
The cosplay took place on a stage right in the middle of one of the dealers' rooms.
I managed to catch Travel Blythe Azzy just in time before she could make off with the Blythe sized Stargate. "But... just think of the possibilities for the Travel Blythe Clan... !..."
Guest Stars at F.A.C.T.S. this year were Michael Ironside (Ham Tyler in "V", Cp. Hudson in "Seaquest DSV", Lt. Raszak in "Starship Troopers", Sam Fisher in "Splinter Cell" plus many, many more roles), Lance Henriksen ("Alien vs Predator", "Aliens" and many more), and the cast of WW2-sitcom "Allo Allo". In 2007, they had Jean Claude Van Damme and "Freddy Krueger" Robert Englund as well as some others, but they were surrounded by such a large crowd I didn't take any pictures.
'Allo 'Allo cast members
Let's take a look around the dealers' rooms!
I bet no one tried to shoplift something from that booth!!! "Hasta la vista, magpie...!"
If all that shopping around makes you hungry, the Cafeteria is traditionally staffed by a team specially flown in from Mos Eisley, Tattooine. Try the Wookie-Burger!!
Hey, wait a moment! Azzy wasn´t wearing a Star Trek uniform this morning... in fact, we didn´t HAVE a Star Trek uniform this morning. - Azzy, where did you get that from??? - Azzy tries to look innocent and munches her Bantha Biscuit.
Meanwhile at our friends´ booth:
Jadzia: "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKK!!!!! Muggers!!! Thieves!!!"
Jadzia: "Alright.Captain? Call the police! I´ve been mugged and left naked behind a booth, my uniform has been stolen by a big-headed humanoid... Cap...? Oh, frack, she´s taken my communicator too!"
Our friends Fabian and Alexandra were sharing a booth with another friend of theirs to exhibit some of their gorgeous model kit creations. You can check out bigger and better detail pictures of their works (as well as lots more interesting stuff, including more FACTS pictures) on their website: http://fab1.piranho.de
FACTS XVII, 2007
I did not take many pictures at FACTS 2007, so I´m inserting them here. That year, all the convention staff was dressed in Stromtrooper uniforms...
A custom Perry Rhodan action figure
... and the single worst Captain Harlock figure I´ve ever seen. I wonder if Palpatine agrees or if he just tries to kill anything with the legend "Good Guys" nearby as a habit.
FACTS XVIII, 2008
... and here we go (or rather: there we went) again. This time, we were really excited about the guests.
Adorable Morena Baccarin, "Inara" in "Firefly" and "Aria" in "Stargate SG-1"
Cliff Simon, "Baal" in "Stargate SG-1" and Paul McGillion, "Dr. Carson Beckett" in "Stargate Atlantis"
Silas Carson, "Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi" and "Viceroy Nute Gunray" in "Star Wars" Episode I, II and III , the Voice of the Ood in "Dr. Who" and "Kudlak" in "The Sarah Jane Adventures"
He was invited last year, too, but cancelled; this time he made it: Richard Hatch, "Apollo" in the original "Battlestar Galactica" and "Tom Zarek" in the re-imagined BSG. So maybe we´ve actually met the Final Cylon... but if it turns out to be someone else, this Centurion will do, too.
Emperor Palpatine and his crew... only seconds before his spaceship is nicked by Travel Blythe Donna (named after the Tenth Doctor Who´s companion, Donna Noble):