Amptrooper: Sabersmith with heart
Few people can go through a tragic experience and not just find the strength to get through it, but turn it around to something positive. For Corey Colagrossi, or better known as Amptrooper, this is exactly what he did. When in 2009, Corey found out he was going to lose a limb, Colagrossi found strength in God and used his God given creativity, sense of humor and heart for others to create Amptrooper. Amptrooper is by far not his first creation, as he has been making sabers since 1994, but this persona is simply the representation of who Corey is and how he contributes to the custom saber community.
Amptrooper is one of the pioneers in the custom saber building community. Since the first custom saber he saw being built out of sink tubes and a wooden dowel, Corey set out not to just build one of his own, but to improve upon the current method. Searching around, unbelievably he found a Graflex flash gun for twenty dollars without a scratch on it, neon plasma tubes and a Hasbro sound card. After building a saber like this, it is no wonder he caught the bug early on, making sabers for any and everyone he came across who was a Star Wars fan.
The road to the custom sabers we now know and love was a long one and like most technology, had its pioneers whose vision preceded what was available. “Back then there was no place to go to get diagrams and what not so you just had to use your knowledge and keep trying new things to figure it out,” says Corey. Figure it out they did, constantly experimenting with what was readily available. Him and a few others in his group, desiring something more accurate and to create something as close to the fantasy as possible, have pioneered many of the advances in this hobby. Most custom saber builders are standing on the shoulders of not just Corey, but those few in the beginning whose ingenuity and technical expertise birthed this great hobby.
Staying true to his pioneering spirit, Amptrooper has created a company which does not just focus on him, but other talented sabersmiths and costume makers in this hobby. One spot where you can get stands, bling, custom chassis, crystal chambers and anything else you can think of, the IRA. No, I am not talking about car bombs or the Irish Republican Army, I am talking about the Imperial Royal Arms. Corey has surrounded himself not just with people who share his pioneering spirit, but people who share his faith in God, proudly declaring most of his compatriots are Jesus freaks. With hearts like these, you can be sure the quality of work they do is held to the highest standards as they believe in doing their work as unto the Lord.
A heart Corey willingly shares with all he comes across, using his persona to help entertain hospital children in the amputee ward, to using his saber building skills to raise money for various charities. Star Wars and the custom saber building were already a big part of his life, so after losing his leg in a motorcycle accident this love helped him find a positive outlet for him to not just share his hope in God, but use his love of Star Wars to do it. “From just loving the story, the effects and the toys as a kid to losing my leg in a motorcycle accident and using Star Wars to bring happiness to those who also have disabilities by dressing up as a StormTrooper Commander with a robot leg! Lets see, the list is this, God, family and Star Wars!”
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