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STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison

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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
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With the recent release of the Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) stormtroopers by Hot Toys (HT), it became apparent that the new product required additional sculpting and molding, partly intended to reflect the subtle changes in appearance between films and partly to improve any imperfections with earlier (especially A New Hope (ANH) ) versions of their stormtrooper. All this lends itself to comparison and, having promised that in my review of the HT ROTJ Stormtrooper, here it is.

At this point, HT has released three different versions of the basic imperial stormtroopers, not counting the slightly different Spacetrooper, Sandtrooper, etc. The three versions, in order of production, are those from ANH, Rogue One (RO), and ROTJ. Why a character type from the same franchise featured in films set in the same fictional era should exist in so many versions should be a mystery, but it is not: the appearance of the basic stormtroopers was altered between films. Some of this had to do with improving the actors' experience and was not intended to alter the overall look, some of it was intended to cause minor "improvements" to the appearance. A dubious rationale from the point of view of continuity, for sure, but it was done, and it gave HT the opportunity (or excuse) to produce several versions.

In the comparison photos below, the stormtroopers are arranged according to the chronology of the Star Wars fictional universe: RO - ANH - ROTJ. I realize that RO is not technically part of the Original Trilogy, but since it is set mere days (or minutes?) before ANH, and since it is intended to portray the same character type from the same era, I am including it here.

First, a side-by-side comparison of the all-important stormtrooper helmets made for each film:

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Stormh10

Then, a side-by-side comparison of HT's stormtrooper figures; front view:

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Htrjs116

HT's first basic stormtrooper depicted the character type's appearance from ANH. It was a sharply executed, beautifully sculpted and painted figure, and an improvement on any that existed among higher-end sixth-scale models. The one serious departure from a correct reproduction of the appearance of the stormtrooper was HT perpetuating a mistake already present in the earlier Marmit and Sideshow versions. This was making the space along the nasal ridge larger between the toothed "frown" and the "mouth" than between the "mouth" and the lower edge of the integral "goggles." It should have been the reverse. Perhaps in part due to this error, the helmet also became too "snouty," extending too far down and forward. The result was a striking and attractive sculpt, but ultimately an inaccurate one. I should point out that the stormtrooper helmet is nearly impossible to get right due to its complexity, its variety (there were two slightly different types, "hero" and "stunt," from the start), and due to the fact that the original molds were based on a hand-sculpted and unintentionally asymmetrical sculpt. That smaller-scale toys and collectibles should "correct" this to a streamlined, symmetrical version (which might even be logically better grounded) is probably unavoidable. Even so, the basic error in proportions should have been spotted and avoided.

Side-by-side comparison of HT's stormtrooper figures; side view:

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Htrjs118

For Empire Strikes Back (ESB) and ROTJ, the stormtrooper helmets, though still based on molds from the original film, were altered by Lucasfilm (Mk II). The most obvious difference was the repainting of the "frown" from gray to black, and a less extensive black paint application on the sculpted "mouth" area. Because of the way the molds were produced, the helmets also assumed a slightly thinner, taller, aspect. Note that although the Mk 2 helmets were produced for ESB, they were barely used in it (most scenes were already shot, using slightly altered ANH helmets), and were mostly used in ROTJ. HT's recently produced ROTJ Stormtrooper feature a new helmet sculpt that reflected the changes in appearance fairly well, and undid the earlier mistake in the ratio above and below the "frown" along the nasal ridge -- now the length above is longer than the length below. In fact, they seem to have over-corrected, making the difference a little too large, and still ending up with a slightly too "snouty," if generally more accurate, helmet.

Decades after the Original Trilogy had been filmed and released, the stormtrooper helmet was altered once again for RO. In this instance, it was streamlined by computer design, although some of the original asymmetry was allegedly preserved. The RO helmets naturally attempted to recreate something closer to the ANH look (e.g., the gray toothed "frown"), but the slightly larger and uniformly bubble lenses did alter the appearance a little bit. HT's RO figure appears to have captured the on-screen appearance perfectly in the helmet, with a correct ratio along the nasal ridge above and below the "frown."

Side-by-side comparison of HT's stormtrooper figures; rear view:

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Htrjs117

In terms of the rest of the stormtrooper armor, changes undertaken during the filming of the Original Trilogy were largely minute and mostly undetectable, being mostly related to the way the armor was designed to fit onto the underlying body suit. The most visible external changes included adding a narrow trim along the edges of the torso armor elements -- chest and upper-back plates, abdomen and lowe-back plates, cod and butt plates -- and also inverting the small rectangular button plate in the middle of the abdomen. Both of these changes are featured correctly in the HT ROTJ Stormtrooper figures.

The RO armor design made larger departures. Generally speaking, the edges of the armor pieces receded to allow for better articulation, and also the lengths of the body armor pieces changed, presumably for the same reasons. The chest and upper-back plates became narrower but longer. All this is most easily spotted when looking at the troopers from behind. In the same area, the upper-back plate now features a long groove running along the upper edge of the integral "backpack" area, and a little circular hole just above it on the right. The cod piece, belt, and thermal detonator all received minor redesign. The small rectangular button plate in the middle of the abdomen returned to its ANH look, except that the one "stray" button was now made rectangular; also, all the buttons became recessed. All this is correctly reproduced in the HT RO Stormtrooper figure.

Finally, there is the question of holsters. In ANH Stormtroopers were usually portrayed with them (on their left hip), in ESB with them (on their right hip) and ROTJ sometimes with (on their right hip, Death Star scenes) and sometimes without (Endor scenes). Except for that last variation, HT's ANH and ROTJ Stormtroopers are correctly equipped, with the holsters on the correct sides, respectively. HT's RO Stormtrooper comes without a holster, which is also correct. Although this is not illustrated here, HT's ANH Stormtroopers came with two weapons each (or three, if you got the two-pack), but the ROTJ and RO Stormtroopers came with only one, the E-11 standard blaster rifle.

Overall, I would say HT was most successful in recreating the RO stormtrooper appearance; if you get that belt unstuck from the abdomen plate, it would also be the best-articulated of the three stormtrooper figures. The ANH and ROTJ figures are also very well designed and executed, but somewhat undermined by the errors in helmet design (especially ANH, less so ROTJ).

You can find detailed reviews on the HT stormtroopers below:
ANH Stormtrooper (HERE , by Michael Crawford)
RO Stormtrooper (HERE )
ROTJ Stormtrooper (HERE)

I hope this has been useful. What do you think?

#starwars #hottoys #imperial #stormtrooper #galactic #empire #review #comparison #fiction #scifi


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Stryker2011

Stryker2011
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Interesting comparison. Is it weird that I find the RO Trooper to be the most symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing to look at...?


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empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison TCFITBi

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Stryker2011 wrote:Interesting comparison. Is it weird that I find the RO Trooper to be the most symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing to look at...?

Thank you. As for liking the RO Trooper best, it's probably not weird. After all, that version is a streamlined and sharpened (modernized) version of the original design. That was a dubious decision when it came to continuity, but it is designed to appeal for us more, preserving and conveying the signature look of an ideal stormtrooper, while making various improvements (presumably some more objective than others) as to the look and the functionality of the outfit. As an OT purist, I'm a bit divided on this, though I do like the RO Trooper best too, probably. But I wouldn't like one of the others substantially less if you stuck an RO helmet on them. (I've actually done exactly that to my ANH ones, except for the purposes of these review and comparison posts.)


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skywalkersaga

skywalkersaga
Thanks for such a thorough explanation and also for these excellent visual references -- you always do comparison pics so well! Very Happy These are details I've never paid much heed to before, generally lumping all the OT Stormtroopers as being relatively the same as each other, so I appreciate understanding what you've been talking about a bit better now. 

Personally, I love the ones that appear on-screen in the original films for nostalgic reasons, but otherwise don't have a ton of preference between the above variations in each OT film. At least, not when it comes to the details of the helmets....I'm fine with all of them. :')  Regarding the RO trooper, I admit that I hadn't even noticed the 'normal' stormtroopers from that film, since there were so many other variants that appeared in the movie, like the deathtroopers, the beach troopers, etc, so I was more distracted by those. Even though I prefer the OT stormtroopers, I don't mind the Rogue One version -- it's just a slight bit more modernized and streamlined, but at least it is better than the ones in the fake-sequels, which were both too different and yet still too similar to OT Stormtroopers that they just ended up giving me a horrible uncanny valley feeling. No In fact, the entire TFA film gave me that feeling, but that's another story. Razz And that's not even getting into how pissed off I was that 'Stormtroopers' supposedly were still 'Stormtroopers' all that time later. Rolling Eyes If they HAD to still exist in such a guise, it would have been better if they were now back on the New Republic side and NOT the 'bad guys' anymore, and that things had come full circle to be like the Clone Troopers in the Prequels, only with obviously much more variety when it came to the individuals under the armour. Just IMO. ;D

Speaking of which, I'd say my favourite look for an OT Stormtrooper is probably the ANH Sandtrooper, not merely because he's so iconic but because after being so steeped in the Clone Wars era, I have come to love the 'coloured shoulder armour' aesthetic, and I like that he's got that dash of orange and isn't just plain ol' white. Wink 

But anyhoooo.... thanks again for this comparison thread. Overall, I'm glad that these HT figures exist, even though it does seem there is room for improvement, and especially better screen-accuracy. For all that HT tout their figures as being replicas of 'movie masterpieces', it is kind of ironic that they couldn't even get the ANH Stormtrooper right. ;p


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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
skywalkersaga wrote:Thanks for such a thorough explanation and also for these excellent visual references -- you always do comparison pics so well! Very Happy These are details I've never paid much heed to before, generally lumping all the OT Stormtroopers as being relatively the same as each other, so I appreciate understanding what you've been talking about a bit better now. 

Personally, I love the ones that appear on-screen in the original films for nostalgic reasons, but otherwise don't have a ton of preference between the above variations in each OT film. At least, not when it comes to the details of the helmets....I'm fine with all of them. :')  Regarding the RO trooper, I admit that I hadn't even noticed the 'normal' stormtroopers from that film, since there were so many other variants that appeared in the movie, like the deathtroopers, the beach troopers, etc, so I was more distracted by those. Even though I prefer the OT stormtroopers, I don't mind the Rogue One version -- it's just a slight bit more modernized and streamlined, but at least it is better than the ones in the fake-sequels, which were both too different and yet still too similar to OT Stormtroopers that they just ended up giving me a horrible uncanny valley feeling. No In fact, the entire TFA film gave me that feeling, but that's another story. Razz And that's not even getting into how pissed off I was that 'Stormtroopers' supposedly were still 'Stormtroopers' all that time later. Rolling Eyes If they HAD to still exist in such a guise, it would have been better if they were now back on the New Republic side and NOT the 'bad guys' anymore, and that things had come full circle to be like the Clone Troopers in the Prequels, only with obviously much more variety when it came to the individuals under the armour. Just IMO. ;D

Speaking of which, I'd say my favourite look for an OT Stormtrooper is probably the ANH Sandtrooper, not merely because he's so iconic but because after being so steeped in the Clone Wars era, I have come to love the 'coloured shoulder armour' aesthetic, and I like that he's got that dash of orange and isn't just plain ol' white. Wink 

But anyhoooo.... thanks again for this comparison thread. Overall, I'm glad that these HT figures exist, even though it does seem there is room for improvement, and especially better screen-accuracy. For all that HT tout their figures as being replicas of 'movie masterpieces', it is kind of ironic that they couldn't even get the ANH Stormtrooper right. ;p

You're very welcome, glad you liked it! I agree, these all work, because they reflect the original basic look of the character type. HT's faithful recreation of the RO Stormtrooper gives it a bit of an advantage over the others (what with the mistake on ANH's helmet and the slight overcorrection on ROTJ's), but ultimately they are just stormtroopers, and they mix well enough in the same scene as we saw in the ROTJ review. As a whole, I like them better than the clone troopers (which, admittedly, had sleeker design and exhibited more variety) and far better than the duck-billed troopers of the Sequel Trilogy (on which, don't get me started...).

I think you meant to say "Shore Troopers" (I got one of those and one of the "Death Troopers" too). Because these are beach troopers Smile --

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Swfwdo10

Ok, ok, the one farthest back does have his "Shore Trooper" helmet on. As much as I actually like the design, I felt a traditional "Scout Trooper" should have been able to be deployed in this environment, reducing pointless variation and increasing continuity with the Original Trilogy.

As for Sandtroopers, as you have seen I've recently started putting them together. I'm up to three now, not counting the RO Jeddha Patrol. The dash of color was pretty cool, but like the armor and helmet design variations, they failed to carry it over to the rest of the troopers. I remain convinced it was just a question of shooting the first scenes (Tatooine) with an unfinalized design, and then retroactively connecting it by saying it is a slightly different design intended for troopers deployed in a desert environment. The "Space Troopers" were even less different, the only variation being the additional oxygen tank added to their gear. Sandtrooper pauldrons, by the way, came in more colors than orange (which is, of course, iconic). Most were (or are -- Lucasfilm may have "fixed" things here) actually black, and some were white. Supposedly orange for captains, white for sergeants, and black for regular sandtroopers in the unit. The pauldrons have different textures, the orange ones being smooth, while the white ones have segments with stitching running lengthwise across them. And they originated as a biker leather chest guard. But you probably already knew all that.


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skywalkersaga

skywalkersaga
Lmao, you are right -- thanks for the correction. I didn't know their 'official' name, just guessed. But yes, yours are much more 'beach-y', lol. 

And yeah, sure, the original Sandtrooper's shoulder armour didn't have anything to do with Clone Troopers at the time it was created, but I do like how that feature was incorporated into the Clone armour later on -- it works for me aesthetically, and is a nice callback. :')  And I am very much enjoying all your different kitbashed versions of that look. Smile

Of course, nothing beats the original Stormtroopers, but when it comes to the Clone armour, I love the 'Phase 2' design, as the helmets have become more 'Stormtrooper-esque' at that point, though of course not exactly the same. Now I'm dreaming of having some 1/6 Clones... le sigh, someday. Wink


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not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man."

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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
skywalkersaga wrote:Lmao, you are right -- thanks for the correction. I didn't know their 'official' name, just guessed. But yes, yours are much more 'beach-y', lol. 

And yeah, sure, the original Sandtrooper's shoulder armour didn't have anything to do with Clone Troopers at the time it was created, but I do like how that feature was incorporated into the Clone armour later on -- it works for me aesthetically, and is a nice callback. :')  And I am very much enjoying all your different kitbashed versions of that look. Smile

Of course, nothing beats the original Stormtroopers, but when it comes to the Clone armour, I love the 'Phase 2' design, as the helmets have become more 'Stormtrooper-esque' at that point, though of course not exactly the same. Now I'm dreaming of having some 1/6 Clones... le sigh, someday. Wink

You mean these (below)? If so, you're right, they are pretty sweet and look better than the earlier version. As I may have mentioned, clone troopers are among the very few Prequel Trilogy characters I have collected (in the "classic" scale).

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Clone-trooper-deluxe-veteran_star-wars_gallery_5c4bdc486fed9

And thanks for the kind words about my sandtroopers. I do need a better desert backdrop for displaying them (mine allows for only a narrow amount of material to serve as ground, and it is so difficult not to cast shadows onto the background).

PS - Not 1/6 scale but check out these:

https://www.amazon.com/Bandai-Hobby-Plastic-Model-Trooper/dp/B01DTX1MGA/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_21_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7NFMSCTRJE42KJQVWXN4

https://www.amazon.com/S-H-Figuarts-Clone-Trooper-Phase-150mm/dp/B01J7JNHKY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Clone+Trooper+Phase+II&qid=1568835381&s=toys-and-games&sr=1-1


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Ovy

Ovy
Man, I think I understand it all now....
The RO would be my favourite too, looks a bit more comfortable. Also those big round lenses just look a bit more evil/totalitarian/fascist. And kids just love faceless soldiers of fictional fascist space empires. Funny how even assymetrical moulding errors found their way into sculpts, it's displaced forehead rubberband all over again.

I also likes the RO trooper guest review on Michael Crawford a lot, especially the introduction!

skywalkersaga wrote: If they HAD to still exist in such a guise, it would have been better if they were now back on the New Republic side and NOT the 'bad guys' anymore, and that things had come full circle to be like the Clone Troopers in the Prequels, only with obviously much more variety when it came to the individuals under the armour. Just IMO. ;D

I know right?  Expectations....
Your post reminded me of those Old Republic Special Forces you could play in  'The Old Republic' and those beautiful, beautiful cinematics. I always thought the Sequels would be like this, but in the future... Laughing  
More troops in the second video, but watch them both, there is even a third. But you know these for sure, but anyone who doesn't, watch.





Wow I haven't watched these in over five years, the nostalgia is strong. Sorry for video spamming.


Wow the price for the Bandai dude rose up again a lot. I got mine for 27~ something back then. Of the 1/6 clones I liked that 'Fives and Hevy' Duo the most, with their expressive heads and custom armor. But, well, those prices...

skywalkersaga

skywalkersaga
GubernatorFan wrote:

You mean these (below)? If so, you're right, they are pretty sweet and look better than the earlier version. As I may have mentioned, clone troopers are among the very few Prequel Trilogy characters I have collected (in the "classic" scale). 

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Clone-trooper-deluxe-veteran_star-wars_gallery_5c4bdc486fed9


Yesss, that's the one! :')  ETA: Ooh, which ones do you have? I presume you mean 3.75"?? 



Thank you for those links, I had forgotten about the Bandai versions! They look quite nice! 

The only 1/12 Clone I have so far is my dear Captain Rex [Phase II]:

empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison Tbs6-c10 empire - STAR WARS Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Comparison 0332a410

Not my pics, as I haven't actually unboxed mine yet, but he is absolutely gorgeous... probably my fave Black Series figure that own thus far.  I love you


GubernatorFan wrote:And thanks for the kind words about my sandtroopers. I do need a better desert backdrop for displaying them (mine allows for only a narrow amount of material to serve as ground, and it is so difficult not to cast shadows onto the background).

You are welcome! I look forward to seeing more photoshoots with your Sandtroopers! Smile




And Ovy, don't apologize, I'm all for the nostalgia! <3



Ovy wrote:
Of the 1/6 clones I liked that 'Fives and Hevy' Duo the most, with their expressive heads and custom armor. But, well, those prices...


Oh, I love them too, they are delightful! I could be mis-remembering, but I think it might have been Fives and Echo? But yeah, I adore the 1/6 Sideshow Clones, and you are absolutely right, the aftermarket prices are ridiculous which is why I don't own any yet, sigh. I'd love to have any of the 501st, as well as Commander Wolffe, though my 'grail' Clone figure is definitely the Phase II Captain Rex. While the headsculpt is not necessarily that realistic, the actual helmeted figure is quite nice for what it is, and he would fill a major gap in my 1/6 TCW lineup. Someday... :')

Apologies to GF for rambling off into Twilight of the Republic-era hinterlands.... now back to your regularly scheduled Dark Times... Wink


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"The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read,
not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man."

Focusing on the Prequels, Clone Wars, and Original Trilogy eras (NO 'sequels', thanks!)
https://the-far-bright-center.tumblr.com/

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Ovy wrote:Man, I think I understand it all now.... The RO would be my favourite too, looks a bit more comfortable. Also those big round lenses just look a bit more evil/totalitarian/fascist. And kids just love faceless soldiers of fictional fascist space empires. Funny how even assymetrical moulding errors found their way into sculpts, it's displaced forehead rubberband all over again.

I also likes the RO trooper guest review on Michael Crawford a lot, especially the introduction!

Thank you very much. Glad to know someone reads my ramblings and even likes them! Smile

Ovy wrote:Wow the price for the Bandai dude rose up again a lot. I got mine for 27~ something back then. Of the 1/6 clones I liked that 'Fives and Hevy' Duo the most, with their expressive heads and custom armor. But, well, those prices...

They sure have risen. I remember when these smaller ones were quite affordable.

skywalkersaga wrote:Yesss, that's the one! :')  ETA: Ooh, which ones do you have? I presume you mean 3.75"?? 

You are welcome! I look forward to seeing more photoshoots with your Sandtroopers! Smile

Apologies to GF for rambling off into Twilight of the Republic-era hinterlands.... now back to your regularly scheduled Dark Times... Wink

Glad I spotted it right away. My favorite too. I have a bunch -- got them when Hasbro was on its first "super" articulation binge, but haven't looked at them in a long long time. At this point, I'm not sure I would be able to tell which is which, apart from which is cooler than which (as in Phase II over Phase I).

Sandtroopers are coming to a website near you... eventually. Might be a while.

Apologies accepted, but not necessary. No harm done. At worst, it went right over my helmet. Wink


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Rogerbee

Rogerbee
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Great post!

Incidentally, the ANH Stormtroopers were left handed because Lucas didn't want the magazine on the Sterling machine gun banging against the armour.

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Rogerbee wrote:Great post!

Incidentally, the ANH Stormtroopers were left handed because Lucas didn't want the magazine on the Sterling machine gun banging against the armour.

Thank you very much! And thanks for the info -- I didn't know that. Like some other details they seem to have worked out for ANH but forgot about later (officer badge consistency, etc), they must have let that drop for the later movies.


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Rogerbee

Rogerbee
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I'm thinking they were forging ahead the best they could to make the release date. They knew by then that sequels would be big business.

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
Founding Father
Rogerbee wrote:I'm thinking they were forging ahead the best they could to make the release date. They knew by then that sequels would be big business.

Quite likely. I also have to assume they did strive for continuity and corrected plenty of other things, but obviously they missed a few. In Jedi they were also scrambling to utilized as many outfits as needed, hence less variety on the Death Star and on the command deck of the Star Destroyer.


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Rogerbee

Rogerbee
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A lot of crowd shots on the Death Star were done with matte paintings, I'd say there were at least 100 actual suits in those scenes, maybe less.

GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
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Rogerbee wrote:
A lot of crowd shots on the Death Star were done with matte paintings, I'd say there were at least 100 actual suits in those scenes, maybe less.

According to my reference books, there were about 12 in Empire and 48-50 in Jedi. The matte painting does not affect the details issue, as it was used for very distant views.


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