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Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review

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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Note: For the ready-made fully-articulated new Hasbro Rogue One figure, see HERE.

Stormtroopers were among the original set of Star Wars action figures, but have encountered a long string of imperfections in any common collectible scale. Of those based on the films set in the time of the Original Trilogy, the Rogue One 1/6-scale version by Hot Toys probably came closest to capturing the precise appearance of what we saw onscreen, but that version of the imperial stormtroopers was itself slightly modified from the basic original design (you can check out my detailed review HERE ). I am not talking about these here and today.

I am talking about the "classic" or "vintage" scale of figures (generally about 3.75 inches tall) established by Kenner and continued by Hasbro. First, a brief journey through a few of the more important stages of Stormtrooper action figure evolution at that scale. Kenner's original Stormtrooper (1978) was nicely sculpted for its time, but unfortunately under-articulated even then: the usual five-point articulation (swivel shoulders and hips and head) was brought down to four points, because the helmet was sculpted as part of the torso. A sparse and often sloppy paint application made the figure's appearance even more unfortunate.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Vintage-Stormtrooper_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE .)

Kenner's figures became more and more sophisticated in sculpting and paint, but the Stormtrooper was not revisited and continued to be produced on the basis of the same molds. Until, that is, the Power of the Force collection included with a hideous, misshapen, and standing-challenged figure (1995). The less said about this, the better. The one improvement was that the head could now swivel around on top of the neck, and the waist could swivel around its axis.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review The-Power-Of-The-Force-2-Stormtrooper_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE .)

After that travesty, things looked up when Hasbro acquired the license. In 1999 it produced its first Stormtrooper (with battle damage), complete with a gun rack and 10 points of articulation (admittedly, of the rather basic, swivel kind, except for the ball-jointed neck and shoulders).

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review The-Power-Of-The-Force-2-Stormtrooper-Commtech_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE .)

Hasbro's improved model took off, and was reiterated and occasionally slightly modified over the following years. By 2011 (Vintage Collection # 41), the little Stormtrooper featured not only a removable helmet and an underlying battle-scarred human face, but also 14 points of articulation and ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, knees, and ankles. I had started collecting action figures again.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review The-Vintage-Collection-Stormtrooper_Big_2
(More photos and brief review HERE .)

What more could you ask of a 3.75 inch action figure? These figures were not perfect, but for the most part the issues were the preciseness (or lack thereof) of paint application and the often soft or distorted sculpt of the helmets (and not just those that were designed to be removable and made of softer plastic). Then Hasbro went backwards instead of forwards, abandoned the excellent articulation it had achieved, and reverted to... five points of articulation (except for the 6-inch Black Series Collection). And that was enough to get me stop collecting Star Wars action figures in the Classic scale.

But while the articulation went back to Neolithic, Hasbro's sculpting improved dramatically and so did the resolution of its paint application (I say resolution, because it is not always applied with absolute precision or correctness). The sad under-articulated Stormtroopers produced for Rogue One appeared perfect until you tried to pose them. This made me think: is it possible to combine the excellent head (i.e., helmet) sculpt of these new figures with the nicely articulated Stormtrooper bodies of Hasbro's more felicitous products? In almost all cases, that proved impossible -- not without serious alterations (whittling off parts of the neck pegs) and compromises (like having exceedingly wobbly heads or sacrificing neck articulation completely). But there was one combination that worked perfectly, and that is the point I have been getting at.

You would need a Hasbro Rogue One 3.75-inch Stormtrooper (either the ones carded by themselves HERE or, better yet, the ones in the two-pack with Baze Malbus HERE -- these have a better/more complete paint application) and a Hasbro 3.75-inch Spacetrooper (Legacy Collection # 32, HERE and HERE ).

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc010

The Spacetrooper is nothing more than a Zero-Gravity-kitted-out Stormtrooper, let loose on the surface of your friendly neighborhood space station. He has been given a removable rebreather tank system with a hose and an additional blaster rifle.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc011

The face, which has been described in somewhat unflattering terms, is actually a decent attempt (given the scale and the time when it was made) at capturing set photos of none other than the versatile Star Wars designer and occasional extra Joe Johnston preparing to be filmed as a Spacetrooper.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Ae6b47e9ab44dfde3510b19dd15d0d26

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Gallery_12157_38_24406

At any rate, the crisply sculpted and (usually) precisely painted new Stormtrooper helmets fit perfectly on the "Spacetrooper" neck peg, making for the simplest custom of all time (I am sure it's a draw, but it is one of them). Now you can get a good looking (as in screen-accurate) and well-articulated Stormtrooper all rolled into one.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc012

Can it get any better? Yes. If you used the helmet from the single-packed Rogue One Stormtrooper, you'd probably want to paint in the two trapezoidal areas on the back of the helmet (if you used the helmet from the two-pack, they are already -- and correctly -- painted). More importantly, while the "Spacetrooper" has 14 points of articulation, unfortunately the hips are swivel rather than ball-jointed. My attempts to swap out the legs with those from even better-articulated versions failed, although they should have worked in theory.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc013

I helped myself to a bunch of both figures some years ago and did some army building. The under-articulated bodies would act as holders for the unused heads and helmets and could always be used for background characters in formation (which would be more authentic than painting them in as they did for the emperor's arrival scene in Return of the Jedi).

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc014

Now here's the possible rub: these figures are getting rarer to find, but are still available and often inexpensive (even the 2-pack). But Hasbro has re-launched its Vintage Collection and started putting out some excellent and (even more encouraging) excellently-articulated 3.75-inch figures. Not yet available at the time of writing but advertised to appear this year is the Vintage Collection Rogue One Stormtrooper. If it is like the others in the series, and if its sculpting is on a par with the earlier under-articulated versions, it would obviate the "need" to kitbash the perfect Stormtrooper. Of course, you might prefer a real Original Trilogy figure (I think we all would), but the differences -- especially in this scale -- are largely too minute to notice (unlike with the sixth-scale figures). And you can never have too many Stormtroopers. So if you happen to have a bunch of these already in your collection, you could still apply this easy kitbash to make them more compatible with the new ones you might be interested to get. That, at least, is how I see it.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Swstc015

As always, let me know what you think.

Note: For the ready-made fully-articulated new Hasbro Rogue One figure, see HERE.

#starwars #hasbro #stormtrooper #stormtroopers #spacetrooper #film #fiction #scifi #rogueone


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scalawag

scalawag
Very interesting GubernatorFan.
Not a scale that I am currently interested in but fun to see what can be done with it none the less.

These improved troopers remind me of ROTJ troopers.  I think it is the clearly visible edging on the chest and back plates that does that for me, but then they don't have the more squashed looking helmet that ROTJ troopers had.

Its interesting getting these to look how we want them too, and I have come to believe over time that that is a very individual thing.  Its something that is struggled with in the costuming world too.  There are those that have to have everything "screen accurate" (whatever that actually means) and will go into minute details to achieve a certain look, and then there are those that don't want all the hassle of the research and customising, and just want to dress as a storm trooper.
The reality is that to 99.9% of people who look at a stormtrooper costume or figure they will just see a stormtrooper no matter how much effort went into putting the thing together.  Only yourself and perhaps a very small number of very hard core fans will ever see anything more.  It is important to have things how you like them though and for some going the extra mile scratches that itch.

In figures of this nature of course there is the articulation to take into account for posing purposes too, and that may make the extra effort worth it for some, but as I said in another recent post, it is important to not loose sight of these being produced primarily as toys and because of that what can be achieved with them will always be somewhat limited. That doesn't mean you shouldn't push on what can be done with them of course.

Couple of other small details I would add in terms of paint on these would be the grey and blue buttons on the abdomen plates, the grey centres to the thermal detonators on their backs, and the edges of the soles of the boots painted black too.  Those are the bits that stare out at me on these excellently converted figures, but that would just be me being picky Very Happy .

Anyway great info and all nicely done.  Food for thought for some I'm sure.

Paul


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spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Yv5cCVM

Stryker2011

Stryker2011
Founding Father
I’m in that 99.9% camp. Aside from some obvious things like extreme helmet distortion, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s a duck, sort of thing. There’s no mistaking Darth Vader or a Storm Trooper for anything other than what they’re supposed to be in my mind. Cool that you found a work-around, but I left this scale a LONG time ago — until they can shrink 1/6 scale quality and articulation to this size, that is — then they might draw me back.


_________________
Mark

He who dies with the most toys wins!

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review TCFITBi

scalawag

scalawag
Stryker2011 wrote:I’m in that 99.9% camp. Aside from some obvious things like extreme helmet distortion, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s a duck, sort of thing. There’s no mistaking Darth Vader or a Storm Trooper for anything other than what they’re supposed to be in my mind. Cool that you found a work-around, but I left this scale a LONG time ago — until they can shrink 1/6 scale quality and articulation to this size, that is — then they might draw me back.

You would be amazed how many times you get called Darth Vader when you are dressed as a stormtrooper mate Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing It happens all the time "can my boy have a picture with you Darth Vader?" Its a good job people can't see your face in the helmet when they ask that. Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Paul


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spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Yv5cCVM

Stryker2011

Stryker2011
Founding Father
scalawag wrote:
Stryker2011 wrote:I’m in that 99.9% camp. Aside from some obvious things like extreme helmet distortion, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s a duck, sort of thing. There’s no mistaking Darth Vader or a Storm Trooper for anything other than what they’re supposed to be in my mind. Cool that you found a work-around, but I left this scale a LONG time ago — until they can shrink 1/6 scale quality and articulation to this size, that is — then they might draw me back.

You would be amazed how many times you get called Darth Vader when you are dressed as a stormtrooper mate Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing   It happens all the time "can my boy have a picture with you Darth Vader?"  Its a good job people can't see your face in the helmet when they ask that. Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Paul

Really?! Oh my god, that’s just sad. By now, after forty years, you’d think that would be obvious, even if you hadn’t seen the movies.

But, yeah. Don’t want to disappoint the kids by calling them out.


_________________
Mark

He who dies with the most toys wins!

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review TCFITBi

scalawag

scalawag
Yeah you would think so wouldn't you, but I think a lot of people see a Star Wars character and just say the first name from the film they remember which is often Darth Vader Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
The Tusken is an interesting one, people just don't know what to call it and usually ask, although I have been called Vader in that too once.  If they are rude in how they ask (which they can be) or if I am just feeling bloody minded about it I just give them a blast of a random Tusken sounds from my voice changer amp rather than an answer Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing   Its always set pretty loud when I do Tusken and usually gets the point across.

Paul


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I can't see the trees for the Forest
spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Yv5cCVM

Stryker2011

Stryker2011
Founding Father
scalawag wrote:If they are rude in how they ask (which they can be) or if I am just feeling bloody minded about it I just give them a blast of a random Tusken sounds from my voice changer amp rather than an answer Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing   Its always set pretty loud when I do Tusken and usually gets the point across.

Paul

Now THAT is hilarious. Getting yelled at in Tusken would be damn funny to see! Razz Especially they’re reaction.


_________________
Mark

He who dies with the most toys wins!

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review TCFITBi

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Thanks, guys. Paul, yes I know about the buttons and the soles (which were probably black because the original boots were black, repainted white). Are you sure about the grey sides to the thermal detonators? I thought that was a Rogue One, not Original Trilogy thing. Anyway, I just haven't gotten that far yet -- was hoping I could find 1mm blue Molotow markers.

And Stormtroopers confused with Darth Vader!? I mean, he's "the blackest brother in the Galaxy!" (see HERE ) And the studios were in the UK, too!


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scalawag

scalawag
GubernatorFan wrote:Thanks, guys. Paul, yes I know about the buttons and the soles (which were probably black because the original boots were black, repainted white). Are you sure about the grey sides to the thermal detonators? I thought that was a Rogue One, not Original Trilogy thing. Anyway, I just haven't gotten that far yet -- was hoping I could find 1mm blue Molotow markers.

And Stormtroopers confused with Darth Vader!? I mean, he's "the blackest brother in the Galaxy!" (see HERE ) And the studios were in the UK, too!

Yeah, the general public are just not that interested to get even that detail right really.  I suppose we would think they would know but we are immersed in it all much more than most people.  Some people can't even remember the name of the film when they see us because maybe they saw it years ago and just haven't thought about it since then.

Yes the thermal detonators have always had a grey core.  The originals were made from grey PVC drainage tube, with vacuum formed white end caps and centre plate.  Here are a couple of pics from ANH where the thermal detonators are visible.

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review 5NC2JyT
spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review ZF3g49y

Those white rectangles at the bottom which seem joined to the end caps are actually the 2 aluminium brackets that hold the detonator to the belt. They are actually raw aluminium but look white due to the stage lighting and film stock used in the filming.

Hope this helps

Paul


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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, I'll need a 1mm grey Molotow to do that. I thought you meant the circular ends on each side, which are most definitely white. Good choices of photos, by the way.


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scalawag

scalawag
I am glad it was of some use to you.

Paul


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I can't see the trees for the Forest
spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review Yv5cCVM

Stryker2011

Stryker2011
Founding Father
Wow. That’s a little detail I would have assumed was just black, not grey. Good eye.


_________________
Mark

He who dies with the most toys wins!

spacetrooper - Perfect (?) Little Stormtrooper Kitbash/Tutorial/Review TCFITBi

scalawag

scalawag
Stryker2011 wrote:Wow. That’s a little detail I would have assumed was just black, not grey. Good eye.

Oh it goes further than that if you wanted too.  

The aluminium brackets for attaching the detonator to the belt are attached to the main body using 4 (2 for each bracket) 3/4" long No 6 black japanned, dome headed, slotted, wood screws.  

There is so much research done on these early costumes now that the smallest details like this are now generally known and available.  As always there are some different ideas on most things and people will always argue that what they think is right must be correct.  Some costumers get really hung up on these little details Laughing Laughing Laughing

Paul


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Peaches

Peaches
Wow, I got nothing intelligent to add ... Just that I can't believe they're only 3.75 inches tall!

Rogerbee

Rogerbee
Founding Father

They look so good! I actually want some now!

CHEERS!

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Peaches wrote:Wow, I got nothing intelligent to add ... Just that I can't believe they're only 3.75 inches tall!

Yes, they are getting pretty good with those! Smile

Rogerbee wrote: They look so good! I actually want some now!

I think so too. Also, if it is cost sensible and you don't feel like kitbashing, the new "vintage collection" Rogue One Stormtroopers in this scale (with 14 points of articulation once more) should be coming onto the market soon.


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Rogerbee

Rogerbee
Founding Father

I'll look into them sometime.

CHEERS!

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