back to article I'll take the sandtrooper in white: Meet the rebel scum making Star Wars armour sets for a living

Two years ago, the helmet of an Empire Strikes Back stormtrooper fetched $120,000 (£92,736) at US auction. An Imperial TIE fighter pilot's helmet, said to be one of just 12 made for A New Hope, went the following year for £180,000 ($233,244) – something the BBC's Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce dismissed as a "piece of …

  1. frank ly

    Skinnytroopers

    "The original stormtrooper was 5ft 10in and 110lbs."

    Is that correct? That is remarkably light if so.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Skinnytroopers

      I was a skinny bugger when I was 18. I was 5'10" and weighed 148lbs. If I'd been 110lbs at that height I think my GP would have taken one look at me and called Social Services.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skinnytroopers

        I was a skinny bugger when I was 18. I was 5'10" and weighed 148lbs. If I'd been 110lbs at that height I think my GP would have taken one look at me and called Social Services.

        Skinny by 1990's standards would to be fair probably have been considered practically morbidly obese in the 1970's before the advent of computer games, TV, etc. Those days you'd have been playing outside and burning lots of energy because there was literally nothing else to do and food was relatively expensive so you wouldn't have had as much of it.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Skinnytroopers

          Skinny by 1990's standards would to be fair probably have been considered practically morbidly obese in ...

          Blahblah. 110lbs is less than 50kg, or 7st 12lb, BMI* of 15 or "very severely underweight". I know you only ate coal and lived in a shoebox in the 70s, and kids today don't know how good they got it, but no storm trooper was 110lb.

          * Oh god, I mentioned BMI. Any chance of avoiding the 70 replies saying how BMI is meaningless and just wrong for you and agree that a BMI of 15 is inconceivably low for a storm trooper. I'm sure your BMI of 30 is all muscle and that you are very tall, you don't need to explain.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Skinnytroopers

            No wonder they couldn't shoot straight, poor buggers were faint from hunger.

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: Skinnytroopers

              You mean I was the perfect weight for a stormtrooper when I was 18? Although possibly a little short for a stormtooper...

          2. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Skinnytroopers

            I'm about 5' 10" (or 175cm), and up until my mid-twenties I was about 50kg (about 110lb), and yes, I was (and am) a skinny bugger.

            I'm more like 60kg now, thanks appendicitis :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The original stormtrooper was 5ft 10in

      Given the quote "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" ... it appears Luke is even shorter than I assumed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Skinnytroopers

      Stormtroopers were 17 year old female volleyball players. Who knew?

      1. Toni the terrible
        Thumb Up

        Re: Skinnytroopers

        hooraah!

  2. I Like Heckling

    I want one of those suits....

    Although in my case, it's more of a Fattrooper than a Stormtrooper.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: I want one of those suits....

      Could always use the breastplate stretcher.

  3. IsJustabloke
    Meh

    probs swimming against the tide but...

    I'd rather have an x-wing. so if they could just get on that ta!

    I'm sorry but I still get a case of the grumps whenever the film I knew as "Star Wars" is referred to as "New Hope" :/

    1. FIA

      Re: probs swimming against the tide but...

      I'm sorry but I still get a case of the grumps whenever the film I knew as "Star Wars" is referred to as "New Hope" :/

      Is the 'A' really that important??!

      <ducks>

      1. IsJustabloke
        Thumb Up

        Re: probs swimming against the tide but...

        "Is the 'A' really that important??!

        <ducks>"

        grr!

    2. Ian 55

      Re: probs swimming against the tide but...

      I'm waiting for my Death Star.

  4. DanboMB

    Paddles

    I used to go to his shop in Twickenham to buy canoe paddles back in the early 90s. They did decent blades at good prices.

    The Starwars thing at the time was fairly minor with just a couple of Storm Trooper helmets on display.

    Then it kinda kicked off...

  5. thomas k

    Nice article

    Don't consider myself a super uber-nerd Star Wars fanboi but I found this article pretty interesting (if a bit arcane in places for us uninitiateds). Thanks.

  6. Stuart Halliday

    You could buy a quality suit or any item from any film from 1984 on wheres.

    Talented fans were taking orders for copies of any film or TV prop. So not exactly a new thing. You just had to know someone who knew someone back then if you get my jist.

  7. iron Silver badge

    "it's the New Hope stormtrooper that's in demand, mostly by men, mostly aged between 30 and 40."

    Yet none of them in that age range saw New Hope in the cinema first time round (or at least they would be to young to remember). I would have expected that age group to be more interested in Empire or Jedi troopers and the New Hope trooper buyers to be 44+.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is true, but while the film did great, the toys didn't start selling well until about 81. So if you are 40yrs old now, your earliest memorys might be the plethora of Star Wars 1 and 2 toys, so you could want them as much as any other adult toy.

      P.S. Sorry, nobody really used the exact numerals or subtitles back then, they were referred to as "the first one" and "the second one". Then came the 3rd one... "the one with Ewoks".

    2. Pedigree-Pete
      Headmaster

      To....too

      @ Iron. (or at least they would be too young to remember). TFTFY. PP

  8. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    It's quite a while since I watched the original trilogy, but I can't recall there being any real differences between the stormtroopers in those films (not counting things like the snow troops from Empire and the speeder bike fellas from Jedi..or the dudes with the natty red get-up in Jedi). I'd always thought the differences didn't creep in until the Clones

    1. Asylum_visitor

      Yeah, this was a news to me too. Although I guess it's similar to how Vader's helmet and armour changed between the 3 original films. It must be very small changes though because I have definitely never noticed. A good excuse to watch them again :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "It must be very small changes"

        Small, but necessary. We can't have the fans just having one of each figure. They need to be different for each film so the fans will buy all the new toys each time a film is released, not just the toys of the new ships and and characters.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah...

    "That's important to members of the 501st, the world's largest Star Wars costume club and biggest single-buyers market. "

    Now we know why they're still "single"...

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "I'll take the sandtrooper in white"

    Sandtrooper? If I can't get one of those suits, can I buy a Stormpeople costume instead? Did we watch the same movie 40 years ago? And yes, I'm that old. When over 50 you are, look this good you will not!

    (My nerd rage has made me strong with the Dark Side!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I'll take the sandtrooper in white"

      I thought that at first, but on reading the article I take it to mean stormtrooper for a sandy environment. I never knew that was a thing, although I did know that there were dedicated snowtroopers on Hoth in TESB

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and just last week

    on a popular American tech/social media site, was another handwringing article about how "most Millenials don't have $1K to make a down payment on a home".

    This article, and its glimpse into the premium "nostalgia" market, is pretty much the hard truth as "why". Not "economy", not "jobs", or the Boogeyman in Chief. It's constant, deliberate, personal choice of priorities.

    Not a politically correct observation to make, but when you know people who dump 4 or 5K a year just in personal carry-around electronics, new TVs every two years, hundred dollar bar tabs every single weekend, and an overseas vacation every summer, who then complain about not having savings enough to buy some Limited Edition Collectible Robot Figurine, well, you may sympathize because that's a damn cool kit but "what the hell did you expect" comes to mind. That sh*t adds up into real money real fast when you care to look at it.

    Or even more expensive by a couple orders of magnitude, is having two or more children.

    Me, as a nerd, and not having kids, means I could choose some stupid expensive toys and still come out on top. But frankly I'd rather spend money on the tools to replicate my own. Vacuum forming and silicon casting molds on a borrowed item FTW.

    1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: and just last week

      $1K? The standard down payment on a house is between 5% and 20%. Outside the truly desperate parts of Detroit and Baltimore, I don't where you'd get a house for $20K.

      But anyway, Yes, kids today. I do think, though, that you need to remember that there are levels of income at which there isn't a lot of prospect of austerity every amounting to serious--down payment or college tuition--levels of savings.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and just last week

      (a) "people who dump 4 or 5K a year just in personal carry-around electronics", etc

      and

      (b) "most Millenials don't have $1K to make a down payment on a home"

      It is possible that these are (i) mostly different groups of millenials/people, and (ii) both statements are exaggerated. But then it wouldn't surprise me if there was at least some overlap...

      1. FlamingDeath

        Re: and just last week

        Why should the young have to "borrow" off of some faceless bankster crook just to get a roof over their heads?

        If a young person was to leave school at 16, work the various minimum wages throughout their teens and twenties on a 40 hour week. They would need to work 11 years, without spending any money on food, water, housing, warmth, hygiene, literally spending nothing except taxes, in order to save up enough money for a cheap home.

        What is really sad, is this appears to be an accepted situation of a "normal society".

        It really isn't, and it really shouldn't be

  12. W4YBO

    Coincidentally...

    I started 3d printing a multipart, wearable Stormtrooper helmet from Thingiverse last Friday. Must have been all the fortieth anniversary hullabaloo that precipitated it. I'm figuring that it'll take around 120 hours of printing time plus 10 - 20 hours finishing. Might even have to build in an amp with the output frequency limited to 500-2500 Hz, for that Stormtrooper sound.

    I have no idea what I'll do with it when it's finished. Maybe that Mozart bust in my basement needs headgear?

  13. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Off-topic but...

    ...the price of a three-bed semi in the West Midlands.

    Seriously? You can buy a house for under £200k in the Midlands?!??

    1. Toltec

      Re: Off-topic but...

      "Seriously? You can buy a house for under £200k in the Midlands?!??"

      Am I missing something? Looks like you can get a 3 bed semi-detached from around £105K in Lincoln.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Off-topic but...

      Of course you can. Pick the "right" area of a city and you can almost certainly buy for well under £100k. It might not be ready to move into instantly without some basic tidying up and a lick of paint, but nothing a couple days of work can't make acceptable.

      A lot of the TV shows about buying and selling property, doing them up etc. has raised expectations for many people such that they expect a house they are buying to not only be perfect but to already be decorated in their own personal style.

  14. FlamingDeath

    Pretty much sums up the insane world we live in...

    ...and this is just a drop in the ocean of insanity.

    Touching on the subject of scarcity, I wonder how long this species has left on this rock.

    Judging by our choice of socioeconomic value system, not very long.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish

  15. Herby

    It must be me...

    But when I see these props, I have the sound track running in the back of my mind.

    It must some sort of associative memory.

    No, I wouldn't pay for a silly mask.

  16. LaeMing
    Boffin

    Metric Army

    I see from the first photo that the Imperial Army used metric screws.

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