This is going to be the first in an ongoing series of posts following my attempts to get 501st Garrison clearance for my suit of Stormtrooper armour. But before I launch into the details of it, I should probably tell those of you that don’t know who they are a little bit about the 501st Legion.
I’ll let the Legions charter do the talking;
“…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…”
They’re basically costumers/cosplayers that dress as characters from the evil side of the Star Wars universe (their sister group Rebel Legion[add link] handles those that play characters from the good side), such as bounty hunters and Stormtroopers. As a non-profit organisation they do a lot of charity work – even when they’re booked for corporate events they don’t take the money. The company booking them donates to a chosen charity supported by the Legion – and so even though they’re not officially part of Lucasfilm (who obviously own all the intellectual property rights to everything from Star Wars), they are allowed to continue doing what they do, even being supported by Lucasfilm.
In order to keep this prestigious backing, they have very high standards for what is acceptable in a costume, always striving to be as near to screen accurate as is possible. This prevents the group being flooded with people in a £30 Halloween costume that looks nothing like the characters seen on screen. I whole-heartedly support these high standards, as they’re part of what makes the 501st so great. However, as I was to discover, those high standards can be a right pain in the exhaust port…
A few months back, due to a fortuitous windfall of funds, I finally realised a childhood dream (is it still a childhood dream if you still long for it in adulthood?) and bought myself a full suit of Stormtrooper armour. The chap I bought it from (who shall remain nameless for now) assured me it was all 100% accurate and Garrison approved. He even told me this when I went for the fitting and bought it, only admitting after questioning that the boots would probably need to replaced.
Only after completing the purchase and returning home did I discover that he had been less than truthful. This trader is apparently know to the 501st, and they advise people not to buy from him as his gear is not garrison approved as he claims. So of course, my very nice new Stormtrooper armour fails their clearance checks. Which means after spending a considerable amount of money on it, I now need to spend yet more money and time to get it up to spec. This is very irritating.
Of course, this doesn’t stop me from looking awesome in the armour, nor does it stop me from appearing at events on my own (or in support of the Essex Ghostbusters), so it’s not all bad.
I’ve contacted a few people who have got 501st cleared armour and have been getting advice from them on how to make the adjustments, and since there are bound to be others out the in the same boat as me, I thought I’d document it all here, so that anyone else that gets duped like I did will have some idea of what to do!
I’ve yet to make any of the changes yet since my armour’s boxed up ready for me to move house, but when I start chopping (*gulp*) into my expensive white armour, I’ll be sure and keep you updated…