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 Emperors show up at one event. Most local units do their best to share the face character honors fairly among 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!