FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Q - Do you sell your suits?
A - Normally I do not sell my stormtrooper suits. Recently a friend of mine has started making high quality stormtrooper kits for the fans. These kits are unassembled so be prepared to do about 20 hours worth of work. These kits are a one-size-fits-all deal so the leggings and abdomen might not fit your figure quite perfectly. If you buy a kit of armor you need to be confident that you can alter the suit if need be. Click here for info and images about buying a trooper kit from my friend via me.
Q - What size person does the stormtrooper armor fit? How tall is too tall?
A - You can never be too tall or too short to be a stromtrooper. The good thing about the stormtrooper armor is it looks good on most everybody. I have seen people every where from 5 foot 4 inches tall to 6 foot 4 inches tall wear the same generic sized stormtrooper armor. Because the armor covers the entire body, you really do not see a big difference in the body sizes, everyone looks the same, just not the same height. Incredibly tall or short people will need to modify the generic sized armor, but that only takes an extra 20 or 30 hours, depending on your skill set and determination to be a stormtrooper.
Q - What do you use for the black suit underneath the armor?
A - I use a longsleeve, black turtleneck shirt and a pair of black spandex biker leggings. Cost depends on what time of year you are buying them at. These run anywhere from $25.00 to $75.00 apiece.

Custom-made Professional suits out there use a ONE piece spandex/lycra bodysuit and a lycra ribbed neckpiece. Look around for the best price they range from $100.00 to $200.00. DanceBoutique.com sells the best priced premade unitards for stormtroopers. Buy bodysuits made with a lycra material, it's more breathable than spandex.

Recently the sports clothing market has come up with a very breatheable strech material used in their clothing, mainly in the American Football clothing. This stuff will help Wick away moisture from your body, and lets the body breathe. This high end clothing is called UNDERARMOR, but I have seen this stuff sold under the STARTER and CHAMPION brand names as well also. zyflex.com is selling an affordable shirt and pants under the name PERFORMANCE POWER. Prices range from $60 to $150 for a shirt/leggings set of this clothing, shop around for the best price.

Q - Where can I find a mannequin to sculpt my armor onto?
A - I urge you to check the phonebook for USED RETAIL STORE FIXTURE warehouses. These places find soon-to-be-out-of-business retail stores and purchase their racks, display stands and mannequins during the stores liquidation sale. The supply houses usually have a good deal of beat-used mannequins for sale for about $100.00 USA.

note: Walking into some unknown warehouse and saying "Hi, I'd like a mannequin please..." will actually get you what you need faster than not asking. Most people are more than happy to help you locate an affordable mannequin for your ARTISTIC project. They might think your weird... but they'll help you. Just walk right in and tell them what your looking for.
Q - How thick is .080 guage plastic?
A - I usually use a phyical reference to describe the thickness of styrene plastic. .080 gauge is about the thickness of a CD-ROM jewel case cover. .125 guage is about the thickness of a hard cardboard back to an artist sketch pad. For the really anal retentive people, I give you the approximate size chart below.

Guage Metric Standard
.060 1.5 mm 1/16 inch
.080 2.0 mm 5/32 inch
.125 3.5 mm 1/8 inch
Q - How Much will it cost me to make an stormtrooper armor from the ground up?
A - I'll go by my local region prices in describing the cost to you. I live in Athens, Georgia USA the year is 2005.

Depending how you approach the sculpting of the armor parts (i.e. scilpting one part at a time or sculpting everything at once) the clay and molding will cost you anywhere from $50 to $200. Getting a mannequin or making a body cast will run you anywhere from $75 to $500. A mannequin/bodycast is optional as my first stromtrooper armors were made without one, so it proves that it can be done.

The molds , no matter how you sculpt the parts out, will run you about $320. (that's approx. for "Eight" 100 lbs. bags of plaster/hydrostone/ultracal-30, at approximately $40 a bag)

Once you have the molds finished, the vacuumform table will run you anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on supplies available to you on hand. (shopvacs usually run about $100, then there is the wood and metal parts for the table and frame)

Plastic for one suit of armor will be about $150+/- depending on the time of year. That's using polystyrene too, not ABS. ABS is about 20% more expensive.

Add in another $75.00 to $100 for velcro, buttons, rivets and misc. assembly stuff.

All in all you are looking at anywhere from $645 to $1470 to make your first stormtrooper armor. After that, each armor will cost you about $250.00 to make. Keep in mind that corners can be cut in order to save money, but you will have to extend your time frame in order to do it for less money.

<1-- end question --> Q - What is the better plastic to use for my project... ABS or Hi-Impact Polystyrene?
A - Both plastic materials are equally strong, but they tend to have different properties which make the materials better suited for different applications/costumes.

ABS has a hydroscopic elastisomer in it that Styrene does not have. This elastisomer allows the ABS plastic to FLEX more than Styrene, therfore ABS can take taking a little  bit more abuse without cracking. But, styrene NOT having the hydroscopic properties that ABS has, makes it much easier to HEat up in a low-tech enviroment such as your kitchen.

Also Styrene is easier to come by in the ultrasmooth form that armor makers like, ABS usually has to be special ordered to get both sides of the plastic glassy-smooth.

My general guidelines on making a decision about which plastic to use are...

... If I need my final part/costume to be mostly painted/covered with paints or  cloth,  I'll used Styrene.

... If I need the final surface of the part/costume to be a ultra gloss color that's the same color for at least 70% of the part, I'll go with ABS.

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