Posted by Catrina Dennis
@ohcatrina

Step over, Elsa - the Galactic Empire is here to show everyone how 'cold' they can truly be! Japan's 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival is underway, and with it comes a long-running tradition of building massive snow sculptures to wow the enormous crowds that pour into the yearly block party.

Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.

The sculpture stands a whopping 50 feet high, and took over a month to build. What's more, it was constructed by the Japanese military: specifically the Hokkaido-based 11th Brigade of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. They considered the sculpture another exercise, testing their accuracy and timing when it comes to fast construction. Here are a few shots of the process!

Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Watch a full video of the construction here!

The finished structure is a love letter to the Empire: Darth Vader towers over visitors with his glowing red lightsaber, flanked by three stormtroopers as Imperial icons hover behind them - the Death Star and a TIE advanced X-1 ship are at the ready for destruction.

The sculpture's designed was approved by Lucasfilm, and sponsored by Disney, which means that it would be grandiose from the start - but wait until you see this baby light up:

Lucasfilm Ltd
Lucasfilm Ltd

Vader's lightsaber comes alive at night, with the classic Star Wars logo glowing tall above the crowds.

via Yahoo
via Yahoo

The festival attracts almost 2 million people every year, and this one will certainly be no different. It runs until February 11th, and you can watch the sculpture live until then, thanks to hourly snapshots posted here.