01 September 2014
This review is based on an actual purchase, modification and wearing of the Rubies costume armor.I needed to pull together stormtrooper armor in less than a week, so I knew that doing it the proper way (assembling from a kit) would not be an option for me. After doing a bit of research I ordered the Rubies Supreme Edition Stormtrooper for just under $530 from Amazon (7th Avenue Store). The 22lb box arrived by FedEx Home Delivery 5 days later (CA to CT) just in time for my event.Based on the Amazon reviews and from a little Google searching, I was fully prepared to work on modifying of the costume when it arrived so I picked up some heavy duty velcro & elastic in advance, and had sand-paper and my dremel ready to go. Fortunately the armor was in much better condition than I expected and I only needed to make a few minor modifications in order to make it fit my 5’11″ 200lb frame.Overall I would recommend this armor/helmet combo for anyone who doesn’t want to assemble their own but is not afraid of making some slight modifications. I think that $530 is a fair price, but wish that it came with a better helmet. I can see why anyone who paid over $800 for this when it first came out would be very disappointed. But with a little bit of work (about an hour total for me) this will get you an extremely “realistic” looking stormtrooper. Please note that it doesn’t come with boots, neck seal or blaster. More details below if you are curious.ARMOR:Build quality is great for the most part. All of the armor parts are rugged and polished. The velcro and elastic used to attach armor parts together doesn’t inspire much confidence though. There are very general directions included on how to put the armor on, but I found a few YouTube videos of armor assembly to be far more informative. The trim quality was not as bad as others have mentioned, and I didn’t see the need for grinding/sanding any edges for cosmetic reasons. But more on this further below.Contrary to some reviews, my armor included the “thermal detonator” or oxygen tank as some call it, that clips onto the back of the waist belt. Perhaps Rubies decided to include this after getting some negative customer feedback?HELMET:The helmet (as many have mentioned) is the “weak link” in the Rubies armor. It looks good and is relatively accurate to the movie, except to perhaps the more discerning costumers out there. However, the build quality is not great and it has a slightly flimsy feel to it. I felt that I needed to be careful with the helmet and avoided taking it off/on with just one hand. The lenses are a dark amber color and the rounded shape will distort your vision a bit. I plan to replace the lenses with the more screen accurate green lenses that are flat and provide for better vision.FIT:I was a little worried about buying the standard version instead of the XL. Happily though the standard fit me quite well. For reference, I am 5’11″ have a long torso and broad shoulders. When buying pants I usually get size 35 or 36 waist and my jacket size is 48. If you are close to me in size, I believe the standard size will work for you.The included “body suit” is more like a jump suit and is not skin tight. It barely fit in the torso, but was comfortable and oddly enough seemed to fit better when I put it on “backwards” with the zipper in front instead of back. This also made putting the whole thing on by myself possible!I have a fairly large head – most hats fit tightly on me. The good news is that this helmet was more than big enough. The bad news is that it was wobbly and difficult to keep in the same position. I constantly had to adjust it with my hands, which had to look pretty silly. I think anyone with a smaller head will need to add more padding or a harness to keep the helmet in placeMODIFICATIONS/SUGGESTIONS:Before you do anything I suggest a little research by watching any of episode IV, V or VI to see how the armor is intended to fit – so that you can make informed decisions about modifications you may need.As for me, the first thing I did was replace the Rubies velcro in the shoulder clips with industrial strength velcro for stronger holding power.Rubies uses very stretchy elastic to attach the font chest and abdominal plates together. Same for the upper-back and lower-back (kidney/butt) plates. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, so I cut the elastic and used black suspenders with metal clamps to harness the abdomen/butt plates (I left some of the elastic in place to clamp the suspenders to). This makes assembling and fitting the armor SO MUCH EASIER! It frees up the chest/upper back plates so that you can assemble them before putting it on. In this manner you really can put your armor on without help from another person!