STAR WARS: The Cost of Cosplay

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If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan and claim you’ve never at least contemplated cosplay, I say liar, liar, pants on fire. I mean, come on: who hasn’t seen Vader striding by with an entourage of Stormtroopers at a convention or in parade and not thought “that’s pretty cool”? I know I have. Curiosity finally got the better of me, so I decided to look into cosplay options. Just what would it would take to become a Stormtrooper?

You’re Going to Pay to Cosplay

Cosplay
Biker Scout cosplayer

When it comes to Star Wars cosplay, you basically have two options. The first requires a great deal of spare time, skill and specialized equipment. If you possess all three (including a vacuum table and access to raw material plastics), you can build your armor yourself. There are practically infinite resources out there for patterns, 3-D printing templates, and instructional tutorials. Cost of equipment and materials aside, this is the less expensive option.

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TIE Pilot armor for sale at Anovos.com

If you’re like me, however, you barely have time to shop for Stormtrooper armor, let alone make it. Thankfully, there is also a plethora of places where you can purchase everything from rebel ensembles, to Imperial armor pieces, to kits, to entire, ready-to-wear ensembles. To take this route, however, you’re going to have to fire up that credit card. Depending on the complexity of the costume build, you could pay anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 for your basic Stormtrooper or Snowtrooper armor. For a Vader or Kylo Ren complete costume, be prepared to double or even triple that cost.

Cosplay
Captain Rex cosplayer at SDCC 2017 (Photo: Brian Sims)

Still, with great cost comes great reward. If you build a good enough costume, you just might be accepted into the 501st.

Cosplay in the 501st Legion

The 501st Legion (seen in the featured photo, above) is the most recognizable group of cosplayers. A fan-based costuming community and charitable organization, the 501st embodies all that is Star Wars in its best and purest form. Its mission (as stated on its website and in its charter):

…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…”

When it comes to cosplay, however, the Legion’s costuming standards are strict, and screen-accurate. To join, it won’t be cheap… but the rewards will far outweigh the costs.

Cosplay
Stormtroopers march at Walt Disney World (Photo: WDWMAGIC)

If you’re interested in getting into Star Wars cosplay, below are some links to the 501st Legion and other costuming resources. And when all else fails, there’s always Google.

www.501st.com  (Official Home of the 501st Legion)
www.anovos.com (Purveyor of Star Wars, Star Trek and other cosplay necessities)
www.stormtrooperstore.com (They sell, well, Stormtrooper stuff and things)
www.rspropmasters.com (British resource for Stormtrooper, TIE Pilot and other cosplay)