Star Wars Stormtrooper Costumes – Why Weren’t They Available 30 Years Ago? 2

Costumes That Don't Suck

I’m not a fan of Star Wars nowadays but I was when the first Star Wars movie (what seemed to be episode 4) hit the silver screen.

I don’t have to tell you that it was a total hype. At least if you are about the same age I don’t have to. Start Wars was the topic of every conversation at the school yard back then. We were totally amazed by the special effects and of course every boy wanted to be Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker.

Not me. I was more impressed by the helmets. OK, Darth Vader had one bad ass helmet but I liked the white Stormtroopers and I always was jealous on their costumes when I saw them.

Every time when carnival came I tried to invent a possibility to create something like that for myself. I was sure that I would have the most impressive costume of them all.

I thought about things like paper-maché. Because with paper-maché you can create everything you want. With a little practice of course.

I have to admit that none of this plans every resulted in anything and saw daylight. Alas.

Just a couple of days ago I had one of this WTF-moments (W stands for ‘why’ and not ‘what’. The rest stands for what you think it stands for). Translated into a more safe-for-children-way-sentence this was: Why didn’t they produced this 30 years ago? When I wanted it so badly?

Of course I don’t know if this kind of costumes where available in the US back then (this wouldn’t surprise me) but I know for sure they weren’t in Europe. At least not in the part of Europe where I come from. But honestly, I would’ve spend all of my allowance for such a costume if they would have exist in my younger years.

The reason that I found this costumes wasn’t even that I was looking for them after all those years. No I was looking for a maid that would clean up my home.

You got me! Admittedly I was looking at Cosplay pictures as this can be a very enjoyable distraction whilst procrastinating things that are more important. But of course your time is not wasted if you study female beauty. It will always enhance your creativity and it can teach you a lot about anatomy for your next drawing.

The main reason for me (and this is not an alibi) was that I was curious where all this beautiful girls get their amazing costumes from. So I had to sacrifice myself and figure this out. I guess you can feel my pain.

If you’re looking for costumes by any chance in this last weeks of this year you are probably interested in free shipping over at Costumes Inc. Valid until the 31th of December 2010 just as the 10% off on Christmas costumes.

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars Stormtrooper Costumes – Why Weren’t They Available 30 Years Ago?

  • joe

    There’s several reasons.

    The first set deal with cosplay. First and foremost if the face and body is seen, it’s who’s wearing the costume. The only exception to this is if it was related to the Rocky Horror Pictureshow. For the costume, makeup, prosthetics, and props, they follow what film companies use, wardrobe, prop, makeup, special effects, and character design departments. From what I read, most of the cosplay crowd tend to buy from a costume maker, and they tend to be both time consuming and expensive.

    Regarding the startrooper costume, the same techniques used to design and manufacture armor are used, from designing the plating and fastening to fitting the finished suit. Most people don’t realize even with heavily armored suits (including suits to protect the horse) made toward the end of the period complete body armor was used, each plate was individually strapped to the individual and to suit up took hours. This was something Hollywood skimped over. The only suit that could be slipped on in 1-2 hours was chainmail.

    Tying back to the earlier post with SketchUp, there are several programs that allow a paper model to be made from a SketchUp model, which makes a pattern with fold lines. After the pattern is cut out and folded, it’s painted so when it becomes dry, it becomes rigid and hardened. The most common mistake I’ve seen using this method is that the person gets into a rush and ends up with a low poly version with noticeable folds. The curved surfaces need to be worked on and shaped after finishing the outside edges. Related to the preceding paragraph, you would need to adopt practices to make either leather or metal plate armor, when you make sections, design joints and the plates that overlap the joints and other sections, design how the section fasten to you, fitting sections together, and make revisions for fastening and fitting. The only thing the SketchUp pattern does is to replace the pattern you would have to make with either leather or metal. Either method is time consuming.

    The joints and the plates that overlap the joints and other sections will be the headache, in particular the shoulder or knees, and the area between the hips and the back plate or the front plate. This is even worse for 3D content. If this were clothing it would flex and bend, but for armor you have to weight each rigid piece to a bone in a rig, test movement, then keep readjusting the pieces until they stop stabbing the model or the other parts.

    • Mario Post author

      Hi Joe,

      Thank you again for your very detailed comment. Coincidently I just was browsing Youtube for some vids about The Rocky Horror Picture Show and watched an interview with Richard O’Brian. I have to agree when it comes to cosplay. It’s indeed who’s wearing the costume. You really wouldn’t want to see me in a dress like this if it wasn’t for a Rocky Horror Picture Show event.

      I see that you have thought in much more detail about the making off the startrooper costume. It wouldn’t surprise me if you have some practical experience with building costume armors. My concern was always the helmet. If the helmet doesn’t look cool it would spoil all the parts that were a success. I guess a price under 80 bucks for a startrooper costume is worth avoiding the hassle of building it by yourself.