It’s been a stressful few months but the finish line is in sight as I’m nearing completion of my TIE Fighter pilot costume. I have all of the construction finished and the costume is now fully wearable, I’m only missing the shoulder straps, a mostly cosmetic piece, before I can submit it for approval. In some cases, it’s easier to opt for a buying a complicated piece instead of trying to make one. Laziness and overall comfort won out for me in this case.
Previously, I had documented my build all leading up to a large trooping event in April. I was able to get all my pieces wearable in time, and I had a blast wearing the pilot outfit. The event was the Salem Red Sox Star Wars night for our local minor league baseball team. A very fun event and one of the largest events in our area with over a dozen troopers and thousands of attendees.
I achieved my goal of having the costume be wearable at the baseball game
It’s important to try on the costume often to make sure that you have everything lining up correctly. This will lead to many awkward photos in your garage or living room as you are wearing pieces of a costume that are often times held in place by tape or sheer will. But, it’s part of the process and important to make sure that you are building something that can actually fit you.
No matter how many times you try on a costume while you are building it, you are never fully prepared for what will happen when you actually go out and wear it to an event. Every time you wear it you find things that need to be adjusted. It takes several times before you are able to fully dial in the fitting. There are just some things you can’t account for until you are actually out in the world interacting with people. It’s been no different this time around either. I’ve now worn this costume to four events and each time I’ve come home with something that needs to be adjusted.
Since I started with the 501st Legion in July of 2008 I’ve only ever had full hard armor costumes, a Stormtrooper and later a Sandtrooper. The armor is extremely limiting in your movements and over time I’ve grown accustomed to those limitations and found my best ways of dealing with it and compensating. However, the TIE pilot is only hard armor on the chest and a helmet. More than once I’ve been shocked at how much mobility I have and I have to keep reminding myself that I can actually bend or even sit while in costume.
My Sandtrooper (right) in December for The Force Awakens premiere
This has been a stressful build and more than once I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by it all. With that being said, I’ve enjoyed the building and I’m really enjoying wearing the costume, even if I do get called Darth Vader all the time. I’ve tried to document my build through the various Legion forums in an effort to provide assistance to others going through their build in hopes that they can learn from both my successes and my failures. I look forward to trooping as TI-5990 now. Of course, I’m constantly looking ahead to what the next project and costume will be. Costuming can become an addiction, we are always looking ahead to the next build. Star Wars has so many great costumes that it can be hard to narrow it down to just one. For the next costume, I have to remember to give myself a much more realistic timeframe.