RETIRED Sandtrooper- Star Wars - A New Hope

Sandtroopers or Desert Troopers (TD) are specially trained divisions of Imperial Stormtroopers equipped with modified armor and equipment to withstand the harsh climates of desert planets like Tatooine. Though their armor is similar to that of a regular Stormtrooper, their suits contain advanced cooling systems, which offers better protection from the relentless heat than standard Stormtrooper armor. Their helmets contain lenses that automatically polarize to protect the trooper's eyes, as well as breathing filters. Another notable difference is the shoulder pauldron each Sandtrooper wears. These are used to denote rank, with enlisted personnel wearing black pauldrons, while officers wear white, commanders of several units of these elite soldiers wear orange pauldrons and those with the grey pauldrons are the animal handlers who ride the various beasts of burden. Additionally, Sandtroopers can operate in hot environments with slight modifications to their equipment.

The weapon loadout for Sandtroopers is much the same as Stormtroopers and includes the standard E-11 blaster rifle or a BlasTech DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle or a BlasTech T-21 Light Repeating Blaster, blaster pistol and Imperial Repeater. They may also carry thermal detonators and other explosive devices.


For my Sandtrooper I am using my Stormtrooper Armor which is an Armor FX kit version 1 from the Wookiee Cantina. This was my very first Star Wars professional armor kit that I purchased. I got this armor kit way before everyone and their mother had a set of Stormtrooper Armor. Since this armor is now about 10+ years old (at the time of writing this) and some parts are yellowing I have decided to convert this TK armor into TD or Sandtrooper armor. This costume has been added to my 501st listing as TD-3778. Yes I have another FX Stormtrooper armor set that I troop in.

I have retired this Sandtrooper outfit. It has seen many troops as it has been all over the USA. This is still my all time favorite outfit that I have done but it has seen its time and it is time to say goodbye to such a great friend for so many years. I now have acquired a newer and updated set of armor that is now my new Sandtrooper outfit.

You can view my 501st ID# 3778 Information.


First off you need to know that you do not just slap on a backpack and add a pauldron to your TK (Stormtrooper) armor and say you are a Sandtrooper. No, not by a long shot. First off you need to convert your TK armor with some specific pieces to be a TD / Sandtrooper. Without theses pieces you cannot hope to be a Sandtrooper. You need to acquire or build the replacement pieces and replace the old pieces. As you can see below you need two out of the three pieces:
#1
- Knee Plate
#2 - Ab Piece
Optioanl #3 - Right Hand Plate.
Not all Sandtroopers have this Right Hand Plate. I think it is for Dewback Riders and those that ride beasts of burden. It would make sense so they could backhand the animal that they are handeling.

#1 - KNEE PLATE
Ok. I am going to start with the knee. I removed the previous knee plate on the TK armor. I then marked and drilled the holes needed to attach the new knee plate.

Here is the replacement knee (sniper plate) on the shin armor (weathered).


#2 - AB CONVERSION
For the lower Ab section of the TD armor the Sandtrooper has a specifc middle section. As you can see here I cut out the previous middle section of the Ab so the replacement piece can be added into the Ab section.
I have placed the replacement Ab piece into the Ab section of the armor. I now need to glue it in and fill in the gaps with filler.
With Bondo (cream color) I filled in the gaps where the new Ab piece fits. After it dried I sanded it down to make it look good. This piece is now ready for weathering.

So after you get those two or three conversions done to your armor you can choose to be one of the clean versions or get dirty! Remember not all TD's are dirty, wear shoulder pauldrons, wear backpacks, carry large guns, and probably a few more differences. Make your armor yours. Not all Sandtroopers will be alike. You are not a Clone, be proud, be a Sandtrooper!

Some other modifications I have made to my Sandtrooper armor.

GREEN HELMET LENSES

Another difference of the Sandtrooper -vs- the Stormtrooper are the lenses in the helmet.
Sandtroopers use flat green colored lenses. This cuts down on the harsh glare of the sun or suns.
This is only for those who are elitists. Most people will never know if you have smoked or green lenses in your helmet.

I purchased a replacement face shield. The color is an off green. Some people use welders (green) masks. I find that this type of plastic is hard to see through. Plus everything looking green does get annoying and gives me a headache.

I removed the current grey lenses in my TK helmet. Yes I have been using flat grey lenses. The flat lenses are easier to see out of than the traditional bubble lenses that most TK's use.

I made a template of my old lenses.

Then I masked off part of the green face shield and traced my template onto the masking tape.
I cut out the new lenses.
The picture makes the new lenses look black. They are not they are that off green.
See! If I hold up the new cut out replacement lens you can see the greenish color.
After some work, blah, blah, blah...here is my weathered helmet. I hot glued in the green tint lenses. You can not see it in the pictures but the lenses are a green tint and not black.
Here is my helmet this time resting on top of my grey weathered pauldron which I purchased off of a fellow 501st member. Yes it is grey not orange, white or black. It is grey a beast rider if you will. May or may not be screen accurate but with Star Wars lore grey is approved as Beast Rider.

THE WEATHERING PROCESS

This is the hardest and most time consuming part of converting TK into TD armor. You need to make the armor dirty!No I did not rip my armor apart. I weathered it as is. I went a little extra dirty to cover up some of the yellowing.

Before weathering the armor you need to mess it up. By messing it up I mean you need to make it look worn in and used.

I took each piece of my armor and with a dish scrubbing pad I quickly wiped down the armor. This will get any polish off and dull the shine. After that I took some heavy grit sandpaper and ever so very lightly dragged the sandpaper (in one direction) across the armor in various places. As the heavy grit sandpaper moves across the armor it will add scratches. Be very careful when doing this. You do not want too many scratches. Just enough to make it look worn and used.

I then quickly wiped down the armor again with the dish scrubbing pad. The armor is now ready for weathering!

This is my TK armor ready for weathering. So long TK, TD is coming.

First you need the base coat to show the cracks or worn in look. I poured X1 bottle of acrylic Slate Grey paint into a bowl. I then filled the bottle half way with water and shook it up and dumped that into the bowl. I then filled the bottle up again all this way with water and dumped that into the bowl. I mixed the paint and water.

*Depending on how you want your weathering to look colors can vary.

I covered one piece of the armor at a time with the paint mixture. As soon as I had the paint on the armor piece I took a paper towel and wiped all the paint off. Only paint in the cracks stay. This is the base coat. I did this for every piece of armor, one at a time.

I then once again did the same step as above to mix the paint and water but this time with Burnt Umber for the color.

With a sponge brush I went over 1/3 of the armor one piece at a time. As soon as the paint was on the armor piece I again wiped it all off wtih a paper towel. This starts to give that worn look of dirt and sand. I did this to the entire armor one piece at a time.

When the armor was dry I took a 1.5" sponge brush and added in details and highlites.

Allright! once again I mixed up some paint and water mixture but this time the color of paint is Raw Sienna. With a paper towel I dabbed the armor in selected places and wiped it off. This adds depth to the Burnt Umber that was placed on before.

With the 1.5" sponge brush I added in some more details and highlites.


After the weathering process I sprayed a flat clear coat to protect the weathering process. After the clear coat dried I sprayed selected parts of my dirty armor with sandstone texture spray. This gives that illusion of have been in the harsh desert climate.


From there I then with superglue added spots of glue to the armor and then sprinkled sand onto the glue. When the glue dried it looks like sand is resting on the armor in places. It gives it that look of being out in the desert. I only did this to selected spots.

The weathering process of my TD armor is now complete. Yes I am one dirty trooper as any hard working beast rider would be.

 

In case you were wondering:

- No I did not remove the black cheek stickers on my FX helmet and put on blue ones. Why, because at the time nobody was clear on the color of the cheek stickers. My armor is dirty and I feel over time the blue would have faded and maybe turned very dark or black.

- No I did not cut the vent lines in my FX helmet or repaint the back sections all grey. Why, again at the time I converted my armor it was not clear.

- No I did not upgrade my FX helmet to a more expensive and smaller helmet. Why... because those helmets are not price friendly at this time.

- No I do not have all the pouches on my armor. Not all the Sandtroopers had pouches.

- No my buttons are not white. Again over time being in the desert they would have worn and got marked up. I think the black buttons seem more appropriate for a Beast Rider.

- No I do not have a large or BIG FUN GUN! Why, because not all the Sandtroopers had large guns. I am happy with my standard Imperial Blaster and Dewback Prod. I am a Beast Rider.


CANVAS STRAPS
OK. So I had one of my plastic straps on my armor crack. So I decided to replace them with canvas straps that I sewn up.

Now I know that some say the straps are elastic but elastic stretches and will wear out. I want something more durable so I am using canvas for my straps.

Since I weathered my old TK armor the plastic straps were attached so when I took them off the white of the armor was under it. So I had to decide on how to fasten the new canvas straps to my armor.

I glued the straps down and very securely riveted them into place. I probably over-did-it with the rivets but I wanted it secure.

I then folded and goop'd the straps over and did the same for the back.

So my straps are on top and not under the armor as some would say they should be. This is my armor and I will make it the way I see fit for me. Heck TK's have their plastic straps on top, why not the TD?

So after the straps were attached and secure I attached my shoulder bells and my canvas straps are complete.

I am happy with the way it turned out. Plus wearing the shoulder pauldron they will get covered up so it will not be like anyone will see them unless they look for them.


I have made some modifications to my TD outfit over time:

- I sewed some canvas sleeves for the plastic belt. So now my belt is canvas with the support of plastic inside of them.

- I added inserts to the lower front and lower back pieces to hold them together. I like it snug and tight.

- I replaced my holster which is now correctly worn on the left side thanks to a fellow TD! Not all Sandtroopers had holsters.

- I took off the Thermal Detonator. TD's do not use them. They get in the way of the backpack. I did use this item on my TD Backpack which is based on the SPECIAL EDITION Sandtrooper backpacks.

- I have a dark grey and dirty pauldron (Beast Rider). Some say it is not "cannon" but there are references for it in Star Wars lore so I am using it! Get over it.

- I replaced the plastic shoulder straps with canvas ones.

- I added a side pouch that is worn on the right hip.

- I also created and use a Dewback Prod. I am a Beast Rider.

Images of myself in my TD armor.

The TD armor minus the Pauldron and Backpack.

The TD armor with Grey Pauldron (Beast Rider) minus Backpack.

The TD armor with Grey Pauldron (Beast Rider) and Backpack.






Me in my TD 3778 outfit with the helmet off.

There are plans on putting this outfit onto a mannequin for display purposes when time will allow.