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Compare TM, RS, and ATA armor?

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I am a new trooper in Florida, interested in trooping outdoors and indoors. TM and RS armor both catch my eye, but my squadmate recommended ATA for the cost savings. What are the primary differences in the armor kits, aside from color, cost, wait time, shipping, and how the molds were made?

 

Obviously each one has its differences.. But I am too new to really notice the minute differences. I would appreciate any help or side by side photos. However, I would like to build it to Centurion, or at least EIB, standards with minimal cost and effort.

 

Thank you!

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EDIT - there are a few corrections to this reply in the post following - please be sure to read. :duim: 

 

Kevin -

 

Your questions is well-placed, but encompasses a great deal.  There's no short list of answers that will really capture all that's different - and that CAN BE different - about the 3 armorers you're talking about.  Generally speaking, each armor has a range of folks that it will fit best on (for example, RT-Mod is known to result in a better fit for larger/heavier troopers). 

 

The three armors you bring up here are best suited to folks in the range of the original movie actors, around 5'7" - 6', somewhere between 150-180 lbs.  This doesn't mean you can't wear the armor if you are outsuide this range - it just means it tends to end up fitting a little better without adjustment (i.e., shimming or over-trimming).  And, believe it or not, how the armor fits you has as much to do as anything else (i.e., accuracy) with whether or not you're approved at EIB/Centurion levels.  All 3 can be built to EIB/Centurion standards - you'll find many among the thread here (take a look at the EIB/Centurion application threads - the kind of armor is listed in the application title).

 

The things you listed (color, cost, wait time, shipping, and how the molds were made) do in fact make up the majority of the difference between the armors.  It is precisely for these very differences that people often choose one armor over the other - lineage and cost being chief among them.  To the untrained eye, well-assembled and well-fitting suits sitting side by side will be very very hard to distinguish.  There are differences, but they are fairly subtle and difficult to detect if you're just beginning to figure this all out.

 

I encourage you to read the info at the link posted above by Brenton, but in a very limited nutshell, here's what you need to know to start your journey...

 

*Trooper Master armor is fan-sculpted.  This means that Paul painstakingly recreated the movie armor look with little more than his well-calibrated eye, and a ton of research.  It is nothing short of remarkable - the results are amazing.  Paul is also one of the only armorers who does a Hero helmet in ABS, so if you prefer the Hero look, that may matter to you.  TM armor is recognized as some of the most beautiful armor in existence, and for good reason - it is.  TM is made in limited quantities and comes from across the pond, hence a higher cost out-of-the-box.  You can also commission Paul to build the suit for you - but it will cost you.  If I remember correctly, TM is acrylic-capped 1.5mm ABS.  Insanely accurate when compared to screen-used armor.

 

*RS Prop Masters armor is cast from molds that were taken from screen-used armor... for the most part (a few of the items were not available for casting). RS is recognized as the only viable and available first-generation casting of screen-used armor.  You can get it in either PVC (which is a brighter white, and a bit more resilient in terms of "trooping") or their custom-batched ABS.  RS is not as limited in it's production because Rob & Si have done a great job "commercializing" their operation without losing the personal touch that this hobby requires.  Nonetheless, there's usually a bit of a wait because so many folks are signing on for their armor.  Again, their armor is making the trans-Atlantic journey to you, so the out-of-the-box cost is among the highest out there, but it is worth it.  RS can also be commissioned to build the armor for you, but it comes at a premium. Stunt is usually the only option, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had some off-the-menu capability to do a Hero helmet if you really wanted it. Insanely accurate when compared to scree-used armor.

 

*ATA is Affordable Trooper Armor, not only in name, but literally.  Terrell's armor is among the most - if not THE most -  cost-effective otpions.  Strictly speaking in terms of $$$, you cannot buy a respectable set of armor for less money unless you pick one up second-hand.  What's more, ATA is screen-derived, meaning the original linegage of the molds goes back to the movie suits.  It is not, however, a first-generation casting (like the RS suits) - someone else here can tell you how many generations the molds have gone through, but the numbers won't change the fact that Terrell still fields an excellent looking suit for an exceptional price.  It is available with the Stunt helmet only.  His armor is 2mm ABS, so it may be a little hardier than the 1.5mm stuff (it makes a little difference in weight, and - according to some - it stands up just a little better to trooping).  I know that at one time Terrell was offering his suits in HIPS, but I think he hasn't cast a HIPS kit in a couple years.  There is ALWAYS a long wait for white ATA kits - right now I think it's 8 months.  But, that tells you something about his product too.

 

Remember that, since all of them represent great quality in casting, how these particular kits are built has more to do with how they'll look on you, and whether or not they're approved.  You're in the right place to find the info - just make sure you do your research before taking the plunge.  Not just into the armor, but into how it all goes together, strapping systems, assembly techniques, etc. Finally, avoid the temptation to buy armor off eBay... unless you can verify the armor in some way.  Way too many folks are re-casting armor and selling it without being truthful about where it came from or who made it.  What's more, you'd likely be able to get a better suit here, from trusted makers with community support behind it.  You can occasionally find a good second-hand kit on eBay, but usually it's just crappy armor that will give you a headache in the long run.

 

Good luck, and welcome to your new obsession!

Edited by HeloTrooper

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Very good reply there Andy, but there are some factual errors.

 

TM offers his suit in 1.5 and 2 mm (maybe still 1 mm too, but have not seen that in a long time). However, only the 2 mm is acrylic capped (makes it glossier).

 

ATA might be said to have linage, and it's not untrue, but its origins are of ROTJ armour with an ANH helmet. The armour has then over many years been reworked to look more like ANH by people other than ATA, although I'm sure he has made his own contributions too. ATA comes from recasting CAP (which was permitted), who in turn recast TE. What ATA had to do was add his own knee plate and some other bits.

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Mathias -

 

Thanks for the corrections - I was a bit overzealous and impatient in responding.  That's what I get for attempting to paraphrase...

 

:salute:

 

- Andy

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Thank you all! The original thread is useful for getting you in the ballpark of which to order, but didnt quite explain why you might want one maker over another. They all look great. Wasnt sure if TM or RS offered a lot more accurately detailed kit than ATA, or not. It sounds from this thread like the end product is not all that different, except for color, hero bucket, cost, material, and lineage.

 

Sent from my GT-P7510 using Tapatalk 4

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Andy, that is probably the most straight-forward explanation of those different types of armor I have read.  I have been slogging through armor history threads trying to put together what came from where.  The summary you wrote should be stickied somewhere!

 

If you have the info, could you do a similar summary on the New NE armor sold by Troopergear and TupperwareTK ?  

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Thanks, Ron.  I'm by no means an expert in this... I really ought to defer to the the real veterans for their perspective and commentary. 

 

I believe "NE" stands for "No Excuses" (been asking around about this to verify)... I do know that NE is the latest iteration in a long line of armor that began its run many years ago as FX (just putting those two letters together on these forums can be blasphemous, so I hope you all will forgive me).  FX eventually turned into AM (Armor Master)... and now NE is being offered from an updated set of moulds.  It's very difficult to pin down the lineage of the moulds (it's fan sculpted, but the FX moulds have been cannibalized over and over again for over a decade), and many people take issue with the accuracy and proportions of the armor itself - whether you view these details as a problem is a personal choice.  Let me be clear - I'm not suggesting NE armor is re-cast. I'm simply saying that the evolution of the FX family tree is difficult to map. 

 

These armors have always managed to be the most widely distributed (FX-style castings are probably the most common on eBay, and NE can be purchased from Troopergear and Tupperware TK).  Perhaps it finds a very large market because the kits come trimmed and almost 100% complete (to include pre-sewn velcro on the elastic straps, and ABS cement).  Out of the box, these kits do not seem as intimidating as other armors - they are well packaged, with excellent attention to detail.  Overall, I believe folks find it to be a very good value.

 

As for fit, NE is purported to best fit larger frames.  It's ABS, and allegedly much easier to assemble than most of the other kits.  The helmet is a bit bigger than it ought to be, with acceptable detailing. 

 

For the record, I have never built an NE kit (although my first armor was Armor FX 13 years ago). 

 

Hope this answers the mail... I no doubt left out something important or gooned something up, but hopefully others can chime in to fill in the gaps.

 

Troop on!

Edited by HeloTrooper

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I'm not in the market for new armor at the moment, but I enjoyed reading the descriptions and learning more about the types of armor. Thanks Andy!

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Here's something I wrote about a year ago after having owned two TM suits, had sold them both, bought an RS and sold it again to buy my current TM.

 

Before anyone loses track of the genuine message of my review and gets their panties in a wad, bear in mind IF I COULD REALISTICALLY OWN BOTH I WOULD. I LOVE BOTH! Got it?

ATA doesn't feature as it really isn't comparable and I cannot offer any insight.

Apologies if some of this is no longer up-to-date.

 

The RS is excellent. An amazing piece of history. The helmet is the best you can get in my opinion. The whole armout is the only suit cast from an original from the original movie which is cool in itself. And it will always be the best option for replicating Simon's suit.
To me though, it's not the best option for a generic stormtrooper look.
 
It's cast from one specific suit and that suit is also pretty damaged and has its own irregularities.
I think I’m right in saying that the guys at RS didn't take the suit apart to cast it. As a consequence I don’t think the results of casting the suit are as good as the helmet. The helmet turned out incredibly well.
A lot of the natural curve and lines of the armour parts have not been reproduced particularly well. There are a lot of very flat parts which don’t follow the contours of the body and some detail is missing from those parts (e.g. the lines at the sides of the torso – I think this area is quite heavily damaged and worn on Simon’s original suit).
 
Simon's suit also has two right arms (i.e. not a complete left and right set). So, what you get in the kit is one right arm (cast from the original) and one replacement left arm (which looks like an older generation TM arm but I am advised it was sculpted from scratch). 
They are a poor match. The arm which resembles the old TM is too rounded and should be flatter (that’s why TM reworked his design after seeing the RS suit up-close) and the original arm is on the excessively flat side because of the limited casting results.
 
The biggest negative (for recreating a generic stormtrooper look!) I have to say about the RS concerns the shins. 
Again, the original suit is quirky and has incorrectly assembled shins. On both legs the shin armour is assembled from outer parts only. There are no inner shin parts. So the shins never fit properly on the original suit. No real biggy, let’s just call it ANH mojo. If you want a replica of the only ANH suit currently being cast, this is the way it has to be.
Now, here's the real bummer … It seems the guys tried to resculpt it and make it more like a proper set of shin armour. I don’t like the results. 
The moulds have been altered and all four parts are completely different and no longer resemble anything on any original suit. It’s neither a replica of Simon’s suit, nor is it a successfully resculpted full set of shin armour. 
In my opinion they should either have just left them as they were. 
 
Simon’s original suit …
 
captur12.jpg
 
Parts from the RS kit …
 
DSCF2379.jpg
 
LEFTFRONT-1.jpg
 
RIGHTFRONT-1.jpg
 
LEFTBACK-1.jpg
 
RIGHTBACK-1.jpg
 
DSCF2871.jpg
 
DSCF2870.jpg
 
Built up it looks excellent apart from maybe the shins and you can probably shape the flat parts with a heat gun to make assembly easier. I personally didn't. You could probably do a better job than I did all-round if you make the effort.
 
Have a look at my photos and see how the TM (which is the same size) fits much better because the curvature is correct. There is no extra trimming on any of the suits, the general dimensions of all the parts are almost exactly the same …
 
RS
05RS.jpg
 
TM
CIMG0316.jpg
 
So what about TM then ....
 
Don't forget that TM has had access to Simon's suit. He has all the measurements, a stack of photos and has seen all the things he hadn't already picked up on from reference material over the years. He also knows what is missing from Simon‘s suit and which still needs to be included in the ideal generic stormtrooper armour.
 
The TM suit's dimensions are near perfect as far as I can tell. It also includes all the detail that has been lost on the RS. 
 
TM has spent 12 years engineering his suit, working from reference pictures. It has all the correct left/right parts and fits together just like the kits that they would have had in the props department.
There is allowance in the moulds to trim the parts as you want, with varied width fittings. This is near impossible on the RS because it was cast from a suit trimmed in one specific way. The original moulded parts originally had more material on them, you can see that from the way other suits have been assembled.
 
The only tangible advantage (i.e. mystic mojo aside) I can see that RS has over TM is that it will include some of the bumps and blemishes and the texture from the original moulds. The TM is cleaner and smoother as it is a first generation pull from original moulds. A bit like concept of "bumpy cap helmet versus a smooth helmet". 
But, is it possible that some of the bumps on Simon’s suit are from the forming process itself, i.e. again specific to one suit, and not a feature in the moulds? Who knows?
 
What I do know is that TM’s armour is perfectly engineered and fully functional and –whether it’s a bit smoother, more sanitised looking or not – it is so close to a correctly assembled original that I wouldn't be able to tell them apart without getting really close.
 
He also keeps on developing and improving. The TM is never finished. 
I think it speaks volumes that RS are using some of his parts (which he donated) to make up the missing parts from their suit!
 
He has never stopped looking for the best possible material (the new stuff is a really good match to the original shade and grade), he has managed to track down original Newey snaps and can provide them with all his suits.
 
I think if RS had done a perfect job of casting the suit, the decision as to whether to own TM or RS would be more difficult. If it was a really perfect cast, a direct unaltered copy, I would be torn. I really, really like it, but it's fallen short for me in a few ways. 
And I personally also like idea of having a kit which resembles the basic kit which the props department were given to build the suits. Undamaged parts, with all the detail, all the allowance to trim the parts to size etc.
The RS kit is a replica of a suit of armour which is already 35 years old. TM allows you to travel back in time to the point before the original suits were assembled.
The only thing that could replace TM directly would be a kit formed from the original moulds.
 
It’s not so much a case of whether the TM is better than RS because they are fundamentally different products.
Forced to choose between the two, I prefer TM for my own particular needs and approach to the hobby.
 
If money and space were endless, I'd like to have both. But I'd want the RS to be a direct replica of the original with the two odd arms, unaltered shins etc. 
And I'd probably put in on a mannequin with a proper HDPE helmet as a full replica of the original suit (OK, I’d leave out the felt-tip pen!)
And I’d still use the TM for trooping as an almost perfect representation of the generic trooper costume.
 
I'm afraid people assume that RS is the holy grail simply because it is cast from an original suit. For me, it‘s not the be all and end all; there is room for improvement on the RS kit and TM offers me something different.
 
You judge. In which pictures do I look more like an original correctly assembled stormtrooper? I know what I think.
 
RS
05RS.jpg
TM
CIMG0316.jpg
 

 

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Rick330, this is EXACTLY the type of review I was looking for. Thank you so much for your detailed review and critiques of the armor. The cool factor of the RS amazes me, but I think the TM would line up more with my hobby uses. Especially since

 

Does anyone have a similar comparison with ATA and TM? I know theres going to be differences, since TM has spent sooo much effort over time in improvement. Its just hard to take that plunge bcuz its twice as much as my Mando armor and Revan armor. Though I certainly understand the expense due to demand and time invested.

 

You guys have helped so much!!

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Rick330, this is EXACTLY the type of review I was looking for. Thank you so much for your detailed review and critiques of the armor. The cool factor of the RS amazes me, but I think the TM would line up more with my hobby uses. Especially since

 

Does anyone have a similar comparison with ATA and TM? I know theres going to be differences, since TM has spent sooo much effort over time in improvement. Its just hard to take that plunge bcuz its twice as much as my Mando armor and Revan armor. Though I certainly understand the expense due to demand and time invested.

 

You guys have helped so much!!

 

You're welcome. Probably the biggest difference you're going to find between RS/TM and ATA is the size. All the TE-lineage stuff (ATA, TE, TE2, AP) are quite noticeably smaller. Including the helmet.

Done up with cover strips the suits still look great but are more suited to slimmer troopers. I've never really been convinced by the appearance of a heavily shimmed suit of armour.

The chest plate is the most obvious smaller part at first glance.The shoulder bells can look a bit shrunken. All this area looks a little reduced on someone who is well built or even someone who does a few weights. Much less room around the waist too. The rest is maybe less obvious when built nicely. It still looks like a Stormtrooper to me  but is clearly smaller.

 

Here's me in AP for reference (it has the same origin as ATA and is still very, very close with some minor mould modifications).

I'm 5'8" and around 155lbs (1.72m / 70kg). 

 

tkrich2_zps43be3b43.jpg

 

tkrich4_zps54eefbee.jpg

 

00AllmyTKswithdatesunderneath_zpsbc895f9

Edited by Rick330

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Well said, Rick....100% agree....no better way to explain it..... :jc_doublethumbup:

Edited by DarthChridan

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Wow this summary couldnt be stated better. The photo collage really helps show the differences, especially in the width of the torso armor and helmet. How do you like your TM ESB? That is a lot like the style I was leaning towards.

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Wow this summary couldnt be stated better. The photo collage really helps show the differences, especially in the width of the torso armor and helmet. How do you like your TM ESB? That is a lot like the style I was leaning towards.

 

I now just have the one set of TM armour (1.5mm ABS) which I use with different helmets/Holsters/handguards to switch between ANH & ESB and it's the one I have settled on finally. So, great. Incidentally, one of my ANH helmets is an RS.

 

With TM ESB helmet (1mm ABS painted by TM)

CIMG0321.jpg

 

With TM ANH helmet (plain 1.5mm ABS with hand-painted details) & Sonnenschein latex handguards

DSC_0731_zpsa8560c06.jpg

 

DSC_0721_zpsce6daf96.jpg

 

RS ANH helmet (1.5 mm ABS painted by me)

DSC_1024_zpsf23dcf83.jpg

 

 

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It's so nice having all those comparison shots Rich! Often we only get to look at different armours on different people with different body types so it's nice to see it all on one person. Thanks!

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My short answer is this: if money is no option *and* you can get it, TM is IMHO the nicest looking kit. If budget is more of an issue, then ATA is usually what people go with. RS falls in the middle and the impression I get is it's more connoisseur armor, e.g. for people who know exactly what they want and are willing to spend more than on ATA but not as much on TM.

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i agree with everything Rick has said. i've started with a FX in this hobby and it was okay while it lasted which wasn't long. That led to buying a AP because i wanted something with lineage. Just like Rick did, but it was time for an upgrade again.

 

So like a bunch of others, i was really interested to see how the RS fit me. how everything looked in my hands and not in peoples pictures. I totally see what Rich sees and like he said, I'd prefer a stormtrooper that came off the set, what looks more ideal but yet has more of a stormtrooper look and feel. i hope that makes sense. At the end of the day, the TM fits me better and i think looks better when i have them on.

 

Keep in mind, i currently have a 1.5mm TM that i use (RIGHT IN PICTURES). I purchased a RS suit which can be seen here (LEFT IN PICTURES). here are some pictures.

 

9705291987_e1a20b7ac8.jpg

RS and TM 1.5mm by vecspeed12, on Flickr

 

9705294735_802764fcb3.jpg

RS and TM 1.5mm by vecspeed12, on Flickr

 

 

RS

 

9705344573_bb53fd068f.jpg

RS and TM 1.5mm by vecspeed12, on Flickr

 

9708570268_6128b2dc24.jpg

RS and TM 1.5mm by vecspeed12, on Flickr

 

TM

 

 

9708646686_3ae97f4748.jpg

Untitled by vecspeed12, on Flickr

 

 

 

you guys are more than welcomed to look at the photo album for comparison pics. there are pics of limbs and torsos.

Edited by vecspeed12

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Well said, Rick....100% agree....no better way to explain it..... :jc_doublethumbup:

 

I have to agree to 100% ,too. :duim:

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Thanks, Ron.  I'm by no means an expert in this... I really ought to defer to the the real veterans for their perspective and commentary. 

 

I believe "NE" stands for "No Excuses" (been asking around about this to verify)... I do know that NE is the latest iteration in a long line of armor that began its run many years ago as FX (just putting those two letters together on these forums can be blasphemous, so I hope you all will forgive me).  FX eventually turned into AM (Armor Master)... and now NE is being offered from an updated set of moulds.  It's very difficult to pin down the lineage of the moulds (it's fan sculpted, but the FX moulds have been cannibalized over and over again for over a decade), and many people take issue with the accuracy and proportions of the armor itself - whether you view these details as a problem is a personal choice.  Let me be clear - I'm not suggesting NE armor is re-cast. I'm simply saying that the evolution of the FX family tree is difficult to map. 

 

These armors have always managed to be the most widely distributed (FX-style castings are probably the most common on eBay, and NE can be purchased from Troopergear and Tupperware TK).  Perhaps it finds a very large market because the kits come trimmed and almost 100% complete (to include pre-sewn velcro on the elastic straps, and ABS cement).  Out of the box, these kits do not seem as intimidating as other armors - they are well packaged, with excellent attention to detail.  Overall, I believe folks find it to be a very good value.

 

As for fit, NE is purported to best fit larger frames.  It's ABS, and allegedly much easier to assemble than most of the other kits.  The helmet is a bit bigger than it ought to be, with acceptable detailing. 

 

For the record, I have never built an NE kit (although my first armor was Armor FX 13 years ago). 

 

Hope this answers the mail... I no doubt left out something important or gooned something up, but hopefully others can chime in to fill in the gaps.

 

Troop on!

NE stands for Nostalgic Empire per Tupperware TK. That is about the only piece of info I do know since I am so new! This is great info guys!!

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