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Sorry for such a simple question, but the right decision now, is quite important.


As the title says, should I go for ABS or PVC armour/helmet? Which is the most popular?


I believe I understand the differences at a basic level - original vs idealised - but I want my helmet and armour to be on display when not in use, so I want what looks good, too.


All opinions welcome.


(I've done a few searches, but cannot find a topic which addresses this specifically)



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Do you mean ABS versus Styrene (aka HIPS or High Impact Polystyrene)? Both are durable for most purposes. ABS has a finished, polished look to it out of the box where styrene is a bit flat and most people paint it. Both use similar glues (including ABS weld for ABS and WeldOn 3 styrene weld for Styrene).

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The 1.5mm ABS is white, flexible and easy to maintain, very hard to crack, will last a very long time.


The 1mm PVC is a little lighter in weight, since it's thinner, very flexible, hard to crack, but you can crease it if you fold it over to much, will last a very long time and is ULTRA white.


As for materials, they are basically the same in terms of durability, longevity and everything else.


It's all down to personal preference. the PVC is ultra white, and the ABS is still very white, but 1 or 2 shades creamier, like it was in the movies.

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Keep in mind that you will get the exact same shape of armour. Pulled from the same moulds made from an original ANH armour.

PVC is pure white and high gloss, that's what makes it a bit more idealized and "prettier" to the public eye. It's the only "sanitized" detail about the PVS suit, if you will.

ABS is more for accuracy purists since the shade of slightly off white, more satin ABS the RS guys use is a perfect match of the original ABS used for the prop/costume back then. I know, I checked in person. ;)


Also, PVC is more flexible and thus the better choice for trooping on a regular basis.


This pic might help. 2 RS kits, PVC on the left, ABS on the right. Normal room lamp, the difference is most noticeable with flash photography, but not so much in direct sunlight. Sunlight really brings out the gloss of the PVC, though.



Edited by ObiHahn
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ABS is more for accuracy purists since the shade of slightly off white, more satin ABS the RS guys use is a perfect match of the original ABS used for the prop/costume back then. I know, I checked in person. ;)


But Simons suit has been painted white over the abs like all other TKs from starwars. So does the RS abs match the colour of Simons ABS armour or the white paint it was painted with?

Edited by DudeSidious
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Because if they matched the ABS colour that would have surely discoloured by now


Simon's suit has been painted by him when he was a kid, not by the art department back in 1976.

No ABS suit or hero helmet seen on screen has been painted, only the HDPE helmets for obvious reasons.


When I had the honor to visit Rob&Si to see (and even partially wear) the original suit I removed an endcap from the original detonator, which Simon kindly allowed me to do, so we could find a spot that has hardly discolored since it never got dusty or exposed to direct sunlight. Comparing that to their ABS material showed that it was as close a match as you could hope for over 30 years later.

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Oh, and here's a couple pictures taken that glorious day. Because no, I did not make that up. ;)

I made a trip to visit RS Prop Masters last year with my best TK bro R2Dan, and the guys were giving us the opportunity to finally fulfill a lifelong dream. Such great guys, the both of them. Matter of fact, Rob&Si are coming over to pay us a visit in Germany this coming weekend and to attend MovieDays in Dortmund.


The detonator in question:



Me checking out the original armour:



Me wearing the helmet, front torso and arm parts.

R2Dan even got to wear the whole shebang because he actually fit into what was built for rather short and slim stunt guys/extras back in the day.



Oh, and also, we met Brian Muir - what a great guy.


Edited by ObiHahn
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You are one lucky guy Dennis!

I thought Simon only coloured in the black area's. Anyway heres a coulpe of examples of what im talking about regarding the paint work.

From the LFL archives.

Notice the paint chiped off towards the bottom of ther cover strip and the scratchers half way down the inner shin revealing the off white ABS underneath




And on this screen used suit the split pins look the same shade of white.



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Not to derail this thread completely, but it has been established in the TK prop nut community for quite some time now that the "painted vs. unpainted suits" theory stemmed from the fact that Simon's suit has been painted after production wrapped. Painted stormtroopers have since been debunked, even by Brian Muir himself I believe - have to check that again though. J.W. Rinzler's making of book does not mention painting the suits either.

It's a one time thing on Si's suit and was misinterpreted by a whole lot of people. According to the logic of painting what was white plastic to begin with white (time-consuming and not cost-effective), all surviving ABS hero helmets accounted for these days should also be painted to match the painted suits, and not one of those shows even the slightest hint of paint.

Also, if they did paint the suits white, why would they use another shade of white that so clearly contrasts the painted stunt HDPE helmets?


No armor suit was ever painted white, other than maybe after filming ended.


Both of your 2007 LFL archive pics taken by Matt Gauthier for the Ainsworth court case show unpainted ABS suits. The sheen of the ABS is very obvious in both of those archive pics.

Check the upper left (looking at the pic) torso split rivet for the white paint smeared around the rivet head, and over the otherwise unpainted surrounding ABS, it's clearly just painted rivets in unpainted plastic, with a visible difference in the 2 shades of white.

The shin shows what I believe is residue either from being re-glued the wrong way around, or just residue of tape to quickly close the shins (maybe for ESB). The shade of residue is too yellow and it's raised vs recessed, chipped off paint.

Also, paint never chips in such straight, controlled lines like we see on those pics.

Edited by ObiHahn
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So, ABS or PVC? :D


It all boils down to if you want hyper-accurate and original materials to go with the original molds or if you prefer slightly idealized material and a bit more flex and high gloss for trooping.

Ultimately, it's entirely your call. But it always helps to see things in context of lineage and screen accuracy.

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Absolutely. I was just joking with my repeat question. I'm waiting for a quote from RS - made my decision. :)


Loved this thread. :thumbsup:


Did you get your Quote? I am also waiting for mine. It has been over a day since I sent a message. I figure in a few more days I would ping them again.

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Little piece of information:

Rob and Si of RS Props are staying over at my place in Germany this weekend for the MovieDays convention in Dortmund, they'll be back in the UK on monday.

Prices are on their website, but I'm sure you already found that out.


And waiting for a reply for over one day is more than usual in this hobby. Patience, young padawans! :laugh1:


So what's it gonna be then, Paul: PVC or ABS?

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Hey paul go the PVC It will never discolour and is more durable.

I got the abs armour (and painted it, whoops) with the HDPE helmet original straping and all the works and jurks for the ultra accuracy, but its used mainly for display I dont realy get the chance to troop.

But if I did I would go with the PVC.


Cheers :)

Edited by DudeSidious
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I don't mind the wait for them to come back to me. I know how busy they are and that's for a reason. :) If you want the best, you have to wait.


I'm going to go for PVC. Starting with helmet. Full armour to follow once I've squirrelled away enough pocket money. Ha ha. Joking aside, I am funding this with gig money from a pub band - makes it easier to get approval from the wife. (Apparently its ISA time. Bloody sensible women...) :)



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  • 3 weeks later...

I got an RS PVC suit that started life as an ESB, but after getting A TM ABS suit I decided I liked the more movie look of the ABS.


My Shiney then went sandy, which is probably a first :P


RS PVC as it started:




How he ended up:





and the progression:




You can see the difference in the PVC and TM ABS in this pic where I am still wearing the PVC Belt and Handplates from RS, but the ABS armor from TM (I had ordered the armor as ANH, so had to wait for my TM ESB handplates and belt to come in) Also that's an RS ABS lid so you can see the RS ABS is not quite the same as the TM ABS, and actually is a closer match to thier PVC.





I Have worn the PVC several times and it has cracked in stress zones( crotch chestplate arm holes), but minor return edge cracking that was easily repaired and could have been due to me leaving too much of a return edge (My TM has less of an edge).  I also think it could have been do to the stress of the pack/ weathering.  I got a bit heavy handed with the dabbing off of the paint when it was laying on a cement floor, and probably put more stress on it than needed.


My RS ABS lid cracked at the cheek tubes when I was putting the S trim on (was a very easy and unnoticeable fix with ABS paste).


 My TM has stood up to repeated troops with no damage.  Not sure if the RS ABS is just more fragile or what.  Both my RS PVC armor, ABS Lid, and TM are supposed to be 1.5mm.



If I had it to do over I would get the ABS as its a lot easier to fix cracks with ABS paste on ABS than to have to cut and glue a piece of PVC to the back of the crack spot (PVC wont melt in acetone like ABS, so no way to make a paste, acetone just makes the PVC soft).  


I don't think you can go wrong with either choice, as I am at least 95% certain the stress cracks are my fault as I never had any cracks until my first TD troop. 

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  • 4 months later...

Extremely helpful posts! I am deciding between TM abs, RS abs, RS pvc, and ATA abs atm. My main concern with ABS is yellowing in the sun here in sunny FL. I would like to wear the suit as long as it fits, and would like to wear it outdoors in the sun. I am ok with spray painting it every few years if needed, but prefer not to. I imagine cracks are more noticeable than a layer of paint though.

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