Stormtrooper Armor 101

You are about to enter into a world that is much… much bigger than you probably imagine. As you begin make sure that this page is just part of your research!

One of the best things to read on the subject of armor, its availability and its makers is the topic called “The various types of armor and where to find them” on the FISD. I suggest reading it in conjunction with this article. In fact if you’re not a member of the FISD already and are thinking of joining the 501st Legion or getting stormtrooper armor you are missing out and need to get on there as soon as possible! For those of you wanting to be a sandtrooper I would also highly recommend joining the MEPD.

Before buying ANYTHING remember this…

“Desire without knowledge is not good — how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” – Proverbs 19:2

You don’t know the power of the Dark Side!

ANOVOS stormtrooper armor is wonderful but is not listed here.


 

THE GOOD

ANY of the sets of armor in this section are 501st worthy.
NONE of these kits come assembled and most come “untrimmed.”
You can learn more about assembly methods on the FISD and MEPD forums.

ATA ARMOR

To see what comes in an ATA kit you can view my build on the MEPD here.

ATA (Affordable Trooper Armor) armor is a TE derived armor — so it has all the wonderful “bumpy cap”, wonkiness and asymmetry that a true stormtrooper armor should have. This is my choice of armor again and again. The quality is excellent and the price is completely dead-on perfect! The pulls are amazingly sharp, and he (the maker) uses really high quality plastic so it is shiny, sturdy and simply beautiful!

Kits come un-assembled and include everything you need for either a white TK or a TD sandtrooper.

ATA is the armor I recommend and, like I said, the armor I own and have bought more than once.

IMHO this is THE ARMOR to get!!!

AVAILABILITY: ATA has a waiting list but is always prompt in replying. You can get on his list for no charge. You can email him at [ataworks (at) yahoo (dot) com] or use the form below.

Contact ATA Here

TROOPERMASTER

 

TM (troopermaster) is a “fan sculpt” which simply means it comes not from molds taken from suits used in the movies — like TE derived armor — but from molds made by “troopermaster” himself. He sculpted every single last part of the armor on his own. This is amazingly accurate armor! The more I’ve researched it the more amazed I am at the time he’s put into making every detail like that of the film used suits. He truly is a master at what he does and if you want something that looks exactly like screen used armor then this is pretty much the choice you’re going to have.

In a recent poll I conducted TM armor won out as people’s favorite armor. I have owned a set of this armor and cannot stress enough how amazingly accurate it is. The details and nuances are spot on. And the quality is top notch in every regard!  If you don’t mind spending the extra money this is an excellent choice!

You can read more about TM armor’s history here on the FISD.
Picture is from StarWarsHelmets.com

AVAILABILITY: As slots become available, for sale threads will be posted. Kits are very limited and offered infrequently.

RS PROP MASTERS

 

RS Prop Masters armor is truly the first and only armor that has ever been made with a 1 to 1 direct lineage to the original Star Wars – A New Hope armor.  I have not seen it in person but know many guys that swear by it and who, I know, know their stuff. It’s got all the bumps and wonkiness that a true Star Wars fan is looking for and if you’re wanting to have armor that is an exact copy of screen used armor — in other words their molds are made directly from screen used armor — then this is the only choice out there.

AVAILABILITY: They claim very fast turn around though I have not ordered from them.

 

AP ARMOR

AP (authentic props) armor is another “TE” derived line of armor except, unlike TE2, it is made from ABS, so it’s a bit more “sturdy.” That means, however, it is also a bit harder to work with. Since it’s ABS it already has a good glossy shine to it and won’t need to be painted like TE2 armor needs to be. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it of course.

Overall AP is a fantastic kit and anyone that owns one should be proud!
Photo is TK-4510′s AP helmet.

AVAILABILITY: No known problems obtaining this, though there may be a waiting list.

T/MC Armor

 

I don’t own nor have I seen in person the T/MC armor but I do know Trey (the maker) on the FISD and know he is a reputable dealer. His helmet is screen derived. Armor is similar to TE2 and AP but with some parts
being different and others being modified. The left inner shin is a duplicate of the right outer shin similar to AP. The arms (bicep, forearm and shoulders) are the same, there is no unique left and right arm. The helmet comes with resin cast hovi mic tips, which are acceptable for EIB use, and all assembly material excluding paint.

AVAILABILITY: No known problems though there may be a waiting list.

AM ARMOR

 

The AM (armor master) kit is sold by the same people that previously made the popular “FX Kit” which was by far the most popular stormtrooper armor kit for a very long time.

It is a “fan sculpt” and is made for the masses. It is idealized and stylized. On the up side the AM kits are also relatively inexpensive and they’re easy to track down.  One good thing about the AM kit is that it is highly customizable. If you’re 6′ plus and weight 230 lbs or more you can pretty much make this armor work very easily.  And with respectable troopers posting build threads like this one on the FISD and the like it’s certainly a set of armor to consider… just don’t forget what it is.

NOTE: It should also be pointed out that the FX helmets are no longer acceptable for the 501st so make sure you’re not getting an FX helmet with the kit.

AVAILABILITY: No known problems though there may be a waiting list.


THE BAD

DO NOT buy any of this kind of armor or from any of these sources!

Click on an armor name to expand its column and read about it.

Rubies Supreme Edition TK

Rubies costuming company has released a set of “official” stormtrooper armor. By “official” I mean that they have a license to sell it for profit. The armor isn’t 100% bad… it is, however, probably 98% bad. And, if you’re looking to get into the 501st then please DO NOT GET IT!

It should be said that it is possible to do some major modifications and be considered for admission into the 501st. But why go through all the extra work? Get good armor to begin with and save the grief.

The truth is, if you’re wanting some stormtrooper armor for Halloween, or some party, or whatever and don’t want to spend time putting together a suit, and don’t care about getting into the 501st, or about really looking very accurate at all, then the Rubies armor might be your best bet. But my advice… start with something else.

eBay & Web Sites

DO NOT BUY from either eBay, or other web sites! There are a lot of good Star Wars costuming web sites out there, but they are just that… COSTUMING web sites! Even sites that seem “VERY LEGIT” — like OriginalStormtrooper.com — have LOTS of reasons not to buy from. And, if you’re doing this for real you don’t want a “costume” and you don’t want to support people who are just mass producing manufactured suits for display against the good name of Uncle George… you want ARMOR! You will save yourself a lot of grief and a lot of money if you’ll do your research first and take your time.

Basic rule is if you find a website that is offering a “full set of assembled armor” online — and especially if they’re claiming to be the most amazing set ever — run fast and far! Again… DO YOUR RESEARCH!

THE NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Sorry… you can’t get these sets anymore.

Click on an armor name to expand its column and read about it.

TE2 Armor

“Trooper Expert 2” armor was a “TE” derived line of armor. It was made from molds taken from screen used suits. The molds were from ROTJ suits and ANH helmets so there had to be some “correction” on the part of the mold makers to fix things the ROTJ armor had messed up since its original use in ANH.

One of the biggest differences with TE2 armor is that it was made from HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) and not ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). That meant a few things. 1) It’s more light weight… and 2) it makes it a bit less “sturdy.”  There are constant debates about which is better… but it really just comes down to preference.

It was really wonderfully beautiful armor and way ahead of the curve in a day when 90% or more people wore FX helmets. If you want something TE related try ATA or T/MC.

“Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”

When you first see 501st stormtroopers, either online or in person, you will probably think we all look exactly alike. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the longer you study armor the more you begin to see all the differences. Many of us can tell you what kind of armor someone is wearing by seeing only one small part of it… the ab plate, shoulder bells, legs, etc., etc. It’s not magic, we’ve just done our homework. Take your time reading this and the other links and DO YOUR RESEARCH!

There are “idealized” helmets and “screen accurate” helmets. There are sandtroopers and stormtroopers. There are ANH, ESB, and ROTJ troopers. And all of these have differences in coloring, sizes, finishing, add ons, holster placement, and so on and so on. Names like FX, AP, TE2, TM, ATA, RS and so on may not mean anything to you when you start out but soon you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.

I’ll say it again… it pays to do your research before purchasing your first set of armor. Compare the differences in helmets and armor — a great resource for that is the helmet archive at StarWarsHelmets.com You can literally spend weeks looking at and comparing helmets and armor on there… and my suggestion is you do just that.

The statements I make on this page are purely PERSONAL OPINION! I do not mean to disparage anyone, nor do I mean to even say one kit is superior than the other — in regards to kits I list in “The Good” section: of course I do mean to disparage and say that kits in the bad section are… well… bad. I am also not interested in talking about who did what to make their armor. This is meant as a resource for people who are considering getting or upgrading their armor and want a quick run-down of what is available. If you believe I have some information correct, please contact me and let me know and I will do my best to correct it.