30 June 2023

How TikTok, comic books and Star Wars helped create Wagga's very own Mandalorian

| Jarryd Rowley
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Nick Reynolds's impressive Mandalorian armour

3D printed by a friend in the United States, Nick Reynolds’ impressive Mandalorian armour has helped him amass an impressive TikTok following. Photo: Supplied.

Nick Reynolds has been a diehard Star Wars fan his entire life.

Growing up, the sci-fi epics were played on repeat and the older Nick got, the more he enjoyed George Lucas’ beloved galactic franchise.

“Star Wars is my favourite fandom,” Nick said.

“I love it, I love the lore, the amour of the stormtroopers, the history of the Mandalorian, the Jedi and the Sith, I just love it.”

Nick is such a huge fan, in fact, that between the films, shows and comic books, he has built an impressive following on TikTok with his very own custom Mandalorian armour as Ni’Lic Hardinja, The Mandalorian.

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“I saw some TikToks of people in their armour and thought I would like to be a part of that. I’ve now made several friends who are also Mandalorian creators; we make videos together, tag each other in stuff and have built a really fun community.

Nick’s impressive armour was made after a friend in the United States 3D printed several pieces of armour. Once the armour made its way to Wagga, Nick was able to spray-paint the gear and give it his own signature touch.

Nick said his love for Star Wars and in particular the Dinsey+ show The Mandalorian inspired him to show off his armour and post to the social media platform.

“I loved Boba Fett’s armour growing up, he was the original Mandalorian,” Nick said.

“As much as I enjoyed Boba Fett, it wasn’t until the show began that I started to realise there was a growing community for Mandalorians and the lore behind them.”

Nick spray-painted his armour himself and now regularly wears it to conventions around the country

Nick spray-painted his armour himself and now regularly wears it to conventions around the country. Photo: Supplied.

Over the last several years, Nick and a bunch of his friends have travelled to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to attend several comic book/pop culture conventions such as Oz Comic-con and Gamma.Con. However, despite his extensive knowledge of comics, it wasn’t until he turned 18 that he began to collect them.

“‘I started getting into the habit of collecting a couple of years ago when I went to my first convention, and I just thought, hey, I’ll dress up,” Nick said.

“I went as a Sith Lord but it was a terrible costume. It was poorly made. It looked absolutely terrible, but I was willing to do it.

“I had this one kid come up to me and he asked for a photo of me and I’m like, really? I looked terrible. He just wanted to get a photo with me and I said sure. That’s when I started really getting into dressing up and collecting more.”

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With Gamma.Con returning to Wagga for the first time since 2019, Nick said he hoped to see more people in the region dressed up as their favourite characters.

“It’s awesome to be able to attend a convention without needing to travel all the way to Melbourne or Sydney,” Nick said.

“An event like Gamma.Con is a very encouraging thing for people who collect comics, play games, and watch movies like Star Wars. It would be really good to see people from Wagga come out and support the convention.

Gamma.Con returns to Wagga on 22 July.

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