The 501st Legion are an international Star Wars costuming organisation. Membership in the Legion requires owning a highly accurate Imperial or “bad guy” costume from the Star Wars universe. It’s not a cheap hobby but you do get to meet some great people and make friendships all around the globe. We also make use of our costumes to raise money for charities (often children’s charities) and that can be pretty rewarding as well.
2011 – TK7642
My very first 501st Legion costume from when I became a member back in 2011. A classic ANH Stunt Stormtrooper.
2012 – Still TK7642 at this stage
Changing out a couple of pieces and adding a backpack, ammo pouches and BFG gave me a Heavy Weapon Trooper from the Battlefront game. I scratch built the Blastech T-21 Light Repeating Blaster Rifle myself using mostly pine and PVC plus an assortment of “bits” from Bunnings, the staff there soon learnt not as ask “What are you looking for?” 🙂
2013 – SL7642 Darth Revan – Knights of the Old Republic
I loved the game and when a friend wanted me to do a Sith Lord costume, so that we could try out lightsaber dueling with combat grade lightsabers (yes, it’s a real thing) this was the costume I chose. I’m too short for Vader and while I wouldn’t need to shave my head for Maul I didn’t fancy the idea of the body paint 🙂
2015 – BH7642 Death Watch: Airborne
NO, it’s not Jango! (OR Boba, for that matter 🙂 ). This costume is of one of the Mandalorian Death Watch trooper variants from season 4 & 5 of The Clone Wars animated TV series.
This is my newest costume and probably the one I am proudest of. It’s also the one that took me the most time and effort. This one really tested my skills as no one in the Legion had completed this particular costume before, so being relatively new in Star Wars lore there were some pieces that absolutely no one was even making. I was able to buy the armour kit, the jetpack and the helmet from some fantastically skilled prop makers but those still had to be cleaned up and painted and in the case of the jetpack, have a few small modifications/additions to it to increase the accuracy of the prop. Being in the first of it’s kind I knew that when I submitted it for approval it was going to be scrutinised very closely for accuracy. As a result this is the most detailed piece of costuming I have ever done (not that I have done a lot). I decided for this build that there would be no deadline, I was going to take my time and get it right.
I scratch built the blaster pistols from wood using a pattern printed from a picture. I had to replace the hand plates from the armour kit as this variant was the only one of the four trooper variants (Airborne, Infantry, Torch and Grapple) that had different handplates than the others (of course, sigh) so I scratch built those from PVC and Selleys Knead-It, the darts I 3D modeled and got a squad mate to print for me. I also modeled up the Rocket console from the right hand gauntlet and had that printed for me. Since then I have also 3D modeled and printed the blaster carbine. The painting took the most time as it required several layers and then weathering to get that worn look. It was a case of putting on a coat of primer, leave it for 24 hours, coat with silver, leave for 24 hours, recoat, leave for 24 hours, coat with dark (or light) grey depending on the piece, leave for 24 hours, maybe a recoat, wait 24 hours, then some parts needed a coat of blue as well ….. you get the idea … and then weathering of course …
I got there eventually though and it was the first costume of its type in the 501st (internationally), I also got approved for membership with this costume by the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club. first as a standard member and then as a member of the Canon Brigades division of the club.
I couldn’t have done it without the support, encouragement and feedback from the amazing people of the 501st Legion and Mandalorian Mercs.