The stromtrooper has become quite an iconic figure thanks to the highly successful Star Wars series of movies and games. And it's no doubt that heads will turn when a white armored figure appears in public. While there are many Stormtroopers around, there is one particular stormtrooper that seems to be seen more often especially at events and recently looks like his armor got dirtier.
His name is Gordon Ho and after going through many bars in the sandy planet of Tatooine, POPCulture Online manage to track this trooper down to find out more.
POPCulture Online: When did you start donning the stormtrooper outfit and what made you decide on it?
Gordon: It was at Chingay Parade 2008 where I first saw the Stormtroopers in action. I thought to myself, hey this is pretty cool! I was very impressed with their movie accurate costumes and wanted to find out more about them. In June 2008, I finally got a chance to know them better at Singapore Toy and Comic Convention 2008*. I found out from the Commanding Officer that they are a group of Star Wars fans who made their own armour/costume, is part of a worldwide Star Wars costuming organisation call the 501st Legion and dedicate themselves to doing charity work. Needless to say, I signed up right away.
*Gordon also pointed out that it's call STCC back in 2008 before it changed to STGCC in 2009 to us and we thought this gem of information deserves its own line.
POPCulture Online: How long did you take to gather and assemble all the parts required for the stormtrooper outfit and was it expensive?
Gordon: The armour we wear are all self made or tailored so there isn't an exact price on it. Most of the cost is from getting the raw material needed for fabrication which varies depending on what you get.
After all the armour parts are ready, it will be like building a model kit. One will need to trim the armour, sand it and assemble it with screws, velcro or glue. Getting it all put together for a Stormtrooper will usually take a few days. Other more complex costume will take longer, sometimes weeks or months.
POPCulture Online: What made you decide to convert to being sandtrooper from the standard stormtrooper and whats the difference between the two?
Gordon: I am glad you asked! I started out as a Stormtrooper but converted to a Sandtrooper in 2009 as I wanted to try something different since all Stormtroopers look the same. However, many people cannot differentiate between a Stromtrooper and a Sandtrooper so here are some areas you can take note of if you happen to see them.
A Stormtrooper is white and shinny. That's it. A Sandtrooper however is covered from head to toe in dirt, because a Sandtrooper as it's name implies, is a desert trooper who combs the desert on a mission in the first Star Wars movie A New Hope thus the armour is heavily weathered. A Sandtrooper also wears a coloured pauldron on his right shoulder as an indicator of rank. They also carry bigger weapons as well.
POPCulture Online: what is your role in the local 501st legion and what are the duties that come with it?
Gordon: I am the Public Relations and Events Officer for the Singapore Garrison. As a PR Officer, I answer quires from the media, like this interview with POPculture and promote the local garrison through various means. As an Events Officer, I coordinate events with organizers and oversee all aspects of it from start to end of event.
POPCulture Online: Does "TK/TD" 8316 have any meaning to it?
Gordon: That is what we call a Legion ID which every 501st member will have and it is unique. TK/TD is an acronym for the type of costumes a member have. For example TK stands for Stromtrooper and TD stands for Sandtrooper. There are many other acronyms for other costumes as well. Since I have only Stormtrooper and Sandtrooper, I holds the identifier TK/TD. 8316 is a combination of my birthday and year. Usually we try to choose a number, if it is not already taken up by others, which holds special meaning to us and easy to remember, like our birthday, house unit number, mobile phone number, car plate number, it can just about anything.