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Where can I get this stuff?
You might have a burning question you’re dying to ask, especially if you’ve been searching for an easy way to get your own white armor on the internet: Why all the secrecy? Why can’t I find a list of people selling accurate Stormtrooper kits, and where can I go to get one?
The short answer is: If we could post that information for the public, we would, but sadly we can’t.
The 501st Legion has a complex, unofficial relationship with Lucasfilm, Ltd (or “LFL”). While George Lucas very much appreciates what we do to promote his brand, technically, the people who vacu-form and sell armor pieces are infringing on Disney/LFL copyright. Copyright law requires a person to defend their intellectual property, or they could lose the exclusive rights to it. So if the armorers of the Legion were to publicly advertise their services, then LFL would be required to serve them with a cease-and-desist notice and (if they did not stop making and selling armor) would then have to take them to court to defend ownership of the copyrighted characters. No one wants that to happen. So Disney and LFL quietly looks the other way while we do our thing, but in order to give them “plausible deniability,” we can’t go out and sell armor to just anyone on the street.
This can make things tough on someone new who wants to get armor and join up. We can’t post links on a public forum, and we can’t just set up an internet shop without risking our legal necks, no matter how much we would like to. Members of the Legion can only make armor for members of the Legion.
The good news is that once you’re a member of the Legion, you will get access to our private forums, where information is passed around and shared a whole lot more freely. Yes, this is something of a Catch-22, where the people who most need the information have the least access to it, and the people who don’t necessarily need the information any longer have more than they could ever want. Unfortunately, that is just the way things are. But there is a workaround… we’ll get to that.
With the legal stuff out of the way, let’s really get started. Your first order of business is deciding what costume to enlist with. There are dozens of options, and each has its own pros and cons as far as personal comfort and utility, cost, and public recognition. Many of our members have multiple costumes, because once you get into costuming in the Star Wars galaxy, it’s hard to stop at just one outfit. Having more than one option in your closet helps to keep trooping fun and gives you some flexibility to better cater to an event host’s wishes. Of course, you have to start somewhere, and it all really comes down to what you most want to do first.
Many people initially opt to go with a Stormtrooper (commonly referred to by their Legion costume code of “TK”), since it’s the “classic” option and is often what drives people to seek out the 501st Legion in the first place.
Another popular starter costume is the Imperial Crewman (IC), because the parts used in it are shared by a number of other costumes. Almost all of those parts can serve double-duty for a TIE Pilot (TI), an Imperial Gunner (IG), or a Naval Trooper (IN, a.k.a. the “Death Star Trooper”). It’s just a matter of changing the head gear. Remember that work-around we talked about? Getting your Legion membership with a relatively inexpensive IC also gets you “behind the curtain” into the Legion members-only forums. Once you’re in, you’re in, no matter how you got here, and there is far more transparency and trust shared amongst Legion members than what we can allow for non-members.
A Note About Named Characters
Since the Legion attempts to uphold the illusion of reality for our fans, we often can only have one of each named (or “face”) character at an event. There are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, we cannot have two or three Boba Fetts show up at one event. Most local units do their best to share the face character honors fairly amongst all of the members who want to portray those characters, so if the only costume you have is a face character, be aware that there may be several events that you’ll have to sit out of in order to give other people a turn.
On the other hand, we can never have too many nameless soldiers of the Empire, so building a back-up “faceless” character costume is almost certainly something you’ll want to plan on… if you don’t make one as your initial costume to start with!