Star Wars: A New Coat (Of Paint For Charity)
Sprucing up some spaceships for a good cause
Whether your taste for the Star Wars franchise ended at A New Hope or continues through the expanding universe of films, books, comics, and other merchandise, one thing most people agree on is what a cool vision of spaceships George Lucas and his extended team of creators have brought to fans. One excellent manifestation of this is the Star War X-Wing Miniatures game, in which players navigate small spaceship models around a tabletop battlefield in an attempt to blow each other out of the vacuum of space. Since its debut in 2012 the game has only grown in popularity, and the makers of the game have released dozens of ships of the Empire, the Rebel Alliance, and a third faction, Scum and Villainy, that encompasses some of the more unsavory free agents of the galaxy, including bounty hunters like Boba Fett and Greedo.
For Madeline Cockrell, the X-Wing miniatures game offers not only a chance to have some fun with a franchise she loves, but to do some good as well. The ships of the game range in size from a few centimeters to more than half a foot long, and are delivered with a rather basic paint job. But Cockrell has made it her full-time job to do custom paint jobs for hardcore fans of the game, and she recently found a way to do this work for charity as well.
“The societal contract and how you find meaning in life, for me it’s creating art and trying to understand and help other people”
While at an X-Wing tournament event in 2017 where some of Cockrell’s work was on display, she was approached by a representative of the NOVA Open tabletop wargaming convention, who asked whether she could paint a fleet to be raffled off for charity by the NOVA Open’s charitable arm.
“They had the ships picked out already for the fleet and hadn’t found a painter,” Cockrell says. “They told me I could have free rein.” Of course she said yes, and created a beautiful blue-and-gold fleet of nine rebel ships that was raffled off at the convention, with the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. This year, she’ll paint a Scum and Villainy fleet in the colors of Sabine Wren, a character from the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated series.
Cockrell’s charitable contributions stretch back to her childhood, when she volunteered in the church in which her parents were active. “I think that compassion and empathy for other people has been an instilled value for most of my life,” she told Good Turns recently. “I like to think that I do really care about other people. I don’t want to get too philosophical, but the societal contract and how you find meaning in life, for me it’s creating art and trying to understand and help other people.”
While her artistic inclinations stretch back to childhood, Cockrell got into painting miniatures after going through a depressive phase in her early 20s, she says. Playing board games and role-playing games with friends—including X-Wing—helped her emerge from that phase. Her husband had purchased some painted ships for the game, and Cockrell’s new profession was born: “We just look at each other and said, we can do this,” she recalls. Cockrell is now so busy painting miniature X-Wing ships that she is temporarily declining new commissions, and her husband now works full time creating 3D models of customized ships of his own design.
Painting the ships is “almost like meditation,” Cockrell says. “But you’re also creating art, which I think is so important, at least for my spirit. Just the enjoyment of life, part of it derives from creating art, and from being able to share that with other people, that’s important to me too.” Whether you’re a fan of Star Wars or not, it doesn’t take much meditation to conclude that Cockrell is putting her skills to good use. May the Force be with her.
Posted April 27, 2018