Building a Clone Trooper

March 20, 2015

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of clone troopers. I love clones from the Star Wars movies and especially those from The Clone Wars. Their individual paint schemes and personalities interest me because it shows that even though they are clones from the same person, they are still individuals and have their own unique traits. I've always wanted to cosplay as a clone trooper but unfortunately I am only 5'2" so my small size doesn't really work for the typical build of a clone. Thankfully my boyfriend Eric loves Star Wars and wearing costumes so he was happy to become a clone trooper for me.

As much as I love clones in the prequel films, I do not like them as costumed characters in the real world. They tend to look bulky and awkward unless you have a very specific height and body type for the armor. We decided to choose a character from the animated Clone Wars show because their armor consists of less pieces and usually looks better on a variety of people. I love seeing Star Wars fans cosplay as obscure characters rather than more popular ones, like Captain Rex or Commander Cody. After brainstorming for a bit, Eric and I decided that we like the bomb squad clones that are featured in the Blue Shadow Virus episodes from Season 1. I've never seen anyone do a costume version of this character and I love the Phase One helmet so it seemed like a great fit.

After we received the armor kit, I started working on the helmet right away. I've built and painted a handful of clone helmets in the past so I knew this would be an easy task for me to complete first. It took me two days to trim, sand, prime, and paint the entire helmet. I also installed foam padding and two fans for air circulation inside the helmet. Soon enough, the first and most important part of the costume was finished. 

The next pieces of the costume that I completed were the hand plates and shoes. The hand plates only took a few hours to complete but the shoes took a couple days because they required many layers of paint. I chose to use an oil-based latex paint for the shoes so that it would flex without flaking or cracking as the shoe naturally moved with Eric's foot. 

Since Eric lives in Chicago and I live in Florida, it took a couple months of downtime until I could work on the rest of the armor. I trimmed the body armor when I was visiting him around Christmas time and then a few weeks later, he shipped it to me in Florida. Some of my 501st squad members offered to help me with the armor build so I could finish it well before my original goal, which was in June. After a few rigorous weekends of staying up until 1:00am and working on gluing, smoothing, sanding, and priming the armor, it was ready to be taped off for painting. 

Bomb squad clones are tricky to paint because since they're not seen in very many episodes, there are very few reference images of them. I watched the Blue Shadow Virus episodes on Netlfix and carefully took screen shots of several angles of the clones to see their front, back, and sides. One thing that I noticed after viewing the episodes again was that the promotional image (first photo in this post) of the bomb squad clone is inaccurate. It shows that the left forearms is completely white, which is wrong. The Sideshow and Hasbro figures of this character are also inaccurate so I decided to only use reference from the actual show while I taped off the paint designs. 

The thighs and biceps are completely orange so I only had to tape off the forearms, shins, shoulder bells, chest, ab, and cod piece. This took about a day to complete and then it was prepped for the orange paint. I painted all of the orange and weathered the armor in a full day. I worked until the late hours of the night to hand paint the shoulder logo as well. Now the only thing left to do was add some strapping and foam. 

During our test fitting, I ran into some issues with the thighs hitting the shins, which prevented Eric from being able to walk. As frustrating as this was, it was a fairly easy fix. I trimmed some plastic off the top of the thighs and bottom of the shins to make the legs work. Then I had to repaint the thighs and weather some other pieces a little more but it all turned out great in the end. 

I was very pleased to see how well the chest and ab fit together. The shoulders, biceps, and forearms also fit perfectly and I padded the helmet just enough so that it didn't sit on top of the chest. One of my pet peeves is when clones don't have necks! I couldn't have done this build in such a quick time frame without my friends Joe, Ryan, and Holly so major shout-out to them! I'm thrilled that the costume is all finished and I am very happy with the results. 

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  1. How did you do the boots, I'll be working on the backpack come Sept. I'm sure we can help each other out!

  2. hey could you by chance help me, I've made a lot of helmets, however I'm yet to have done a full body suite. My mastery of sizing is most definitely in need of more practice! please let me know if you can help!

  3. can you make me one of these? :)