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justjoseph63

Your First Troop... A few tips.

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So (after what seems like ages), you finally received your official 501st I.D. number and signed up for your first Troop.  Now what?

 

Depending on the event, there may be a few differences in protocol.  For instance, a "Canon" event (usually one authorized by LFL or Disney) may be more serious in nature and regimented, while other times we are there to make the occasion a lot more fun, (parades, movie premiers, etc.).

 

Here are a few basics to think about in regards of what (and what not) to do on your inaugural appearance with your local Garrison.  Of course, all events are different..  some will be indoors, some will be outdoors, or a combination of the two.. some will have just a few members, others may have over a hundred, but the basics stay the same.

 

This list is by no means meant to be complete, so all Troopers are welcome to add their own ideas, tips and fun things to do!

 

1.  Before you leave-  If you have not had the chance to wear your armor for any length of time, put it on (including your bucket) and wear it around the house and maybe in your yard for a while.  This will give you an idea of your range of vision, movement limitations, and let you know what you are in for.

  

2.  Be prepared-  Double (and triple) check your armor to make sure you have all your accessories and all your connections are secure before leaving your house.  I would suggest carrying a small repair kit in your bin as well, with items like white duct tape, CA glue with accelerator, etc.  There is a great thread here for this:  http://www.whitearmo...ency-troop-kit/

 

2.  BE ON TIME-  I cannot stress this enough.  When you sign up for a troop, they will have an arrival time, (usually an hour or so before), and a "step off" time.  The hour gives you the chance to get your armor on, and make any adjustments.  There should be  "handlers", but any fellow Trooper will be glad to help you out.  The POC (point of contact) person for the troop or event coordinator will give you any details you might need beforehand, (directions, special notes).  Feel free to ask them any specific questions.  If you have any concerns, let your handler or the person in charge know about these.  They are there to help.

 

3.  Be aware of you surroundings-  Due to the limited visibility in a bucket, watch out for curbs, steps, obstacles, etc.  Small children will often run up to you and stand closely, so be aware that they may be right below you and cannot be seen.  When raising or lowering your weapon, take it slowly as not to clock anyone in the head.

 

4.  Photos-  You will be asked (sometimes hundreds of times) "Can I take a picture with you"?   Be patient, and get used to it!  But be aware of where your arms are to avoid touching anyone inappropriately.  Often, people will ask "Can I hold your gun"?  That is entirely up to you.  A lot of us have spent a great deal of time building our weapons, and they (especially the resin cast) can be damaged if dropped.  Many of us carry Hyperfirms for this reason.

If you don't want to let someone hold it, you can say something to the effect of "The Emperor forbids it" or "It's against Imperial regulations".

 Side note:  Never, EVER point your blaster at a child for any reason.  This is just in really bad taste.

 

5.  Hydration-  Another item that is VERY important, especially in warmer areas and extended troops.  FISD legend Steve (gazmosis) wrote a great post on this subject, and it is used here (with permission):

 

  "Big troops, big crowds, lots of kids, lots of chances to show off your hard work. With the hot weather, there are also lots of chances to be become quickly dehydrated and sick. Don't let this happen!!

 

There is no greater cooling system than hydration. But drinking a ton of water is not the solution....it's how and when you drink it that is.

Let's be clear here!!! We are talking about WATER! Not soda, not energy drinks, not juice. WATER...H2O. Leave the Gatorade in the cooler for after the troop.

Proper hydration should begin a full day prior to a hot troop. Steady intake of water (8-16 oz. an hour) is fine. Too much water at one time can actually be harmful but a slow and steady intake will allow the body to properly absorb and distribute it until you are hydrated down to a CELLULAR level. Yes, you will be in the bathroom a lot. But when the pee is clear...you are there! Continue this until just before bedtime.

On the day of your troop, avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks that can dehydrate you. Your bathroom trips will have evened out overnight. Have one more bottle or serving of water before suiting up. Once in your suit, you will sweat. No matter what fans you have in your lid....you will sweat. THIS is your cooling system. If you are properly hydrated, you will have the fluids so that your body will adjust to the rise in temperature and cool itself properly. If not, your body will use the water in it twice as fast and without the proper reserves, you will risk not only dehydration but elevated internal temps, dizziness, and possible heat stroke.

The long and short of it is be safe and smart. We need out troopers vertical!!!!!"

 

On that subject, if you do feel dizzy or need a break, tell your handler immediately.

 

6.  Changing areas-  Most events will have a secure and private changing area, but some may not, so ask ahead of time.  If it happens to be an outside area, you can wear your under suit to the event underneath your clothes.

 

7.  Armor bin storage-  Again, most troops will have a secure area designated to store your armor bin, away from the public.  If this is the case, you are fine.  Some have asked "Do I need to keep it locked during the troop"?  That's up to you.  We tend to be a very honest bunch, treat each other's belongings like our own and keep an eye out for one another.  (I have never felt the need to lock mine).  If it is a parking lot suit up, that's a different story.

 

8.  Conduct-  Have a blast on your troop, but keep it civil.  Some Troopers clown around a bit occasionally (myself included) depending on the circumstances, but remember, you are a representative of the 501st Legion, the FISD and your Garrison/Squad, so act accordingly.  When in doubt, ask someone who has done that event before.

 Side note:  If you happen to be a smoker, please do not do it in public view while in armor. 

 

9.  Handlers-  Handlers are an absolutely integral part of a troop, and make our lives much easier.  They take photos for the public, warn us of obstacles, escort us to the restrooms/break areas, pick up fallen armor pieces, protect us from kids smacking us with toy lightsabers, guard our stuff, bring us water, keep us informed, and a myriad of other things.  After your troop, be sure to thank them for all they do to make an event possible and allow those in costume to have a better time.

 

Most importantly of all....... HAVE FUN!!!!!   :duim: 

 

 

 

 

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Great list Joseph!  :jc_doublethumbup: 

A handy tip suggested by my frau is to bring along a couple of pre-threaded needles, one black and one white. This makes shoulder snap repairs a lot faster.

Edited by Addertime
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Thanks for this Joseph - I just got approved, hoping to get out to my first troop soon :)

Edited by BritBulldog
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Thank you Joseph! I'm recently approved as well and was searching for some of these tips before my first troop! Thank you again!

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Thinking more about this, do any of you veterans have any suggestions for what type of events are a good starting point for trooping? I signed up for a Star Wars day at the local library as I figured a library would be a pretty controlled environment, but would love to hear from the experienced troopers on what events are "newbie friendly."

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Thinking more about this, do any of you veterans have any suggestions for what type of events are a good starting point for trooping? I signed up for a Star Wars day at the local library as I figured a library would be a pretty controlled environment, but would love to hear from the experienced troopers on what events are "newbie friendly."

"SW day at the library" troops are GREAT events, Michael!  I have done 3 or 4, and always had a great time.  The local libraries around here really get into the event.. the staff wear all manner of SW costumes, set up contests for the kids and honestly appreciate us being there.  The faces of the kids and parents light up as soon as they walk in the door, and we always have a blast.

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I’m glad I read this. I am getting ready for my first troop, on September 9th. I’m getting Mynocks in my stomach thinking about it, but I am so stoked. I asked to be a handler because I’d like to see how Troops interact with the public, and get an idea of what that is like. I don’t have a blaster yet, but I was told that someone would most likely have a blaster I can borrow if I do decide to suit up. “Troopers Helping Troopers”! Thanks for this information. 

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That's cool I am ex New Zealand Army and doing my first troop I have exactly that in my box, along with sticky white Velcro,  extra elastic, spare power bank just in case and a few other bits like scissors, shoe horn, one of those white car touch up pens just in case!! and worse case scenario I have some magnets if all else fails to hold something together!! Doing a library troop so sounds like alot of fun.

So good to know I was on the right track before I found this page. Just made sense to me as that's the sort of stuff I used to carry to repair my kit  while serving.

Edited by ABK

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I understand it is impossible to sit in the armor (comments/experience to the contrary welcomed), but can I be driven a very short distance somehow if there is no place to change at all?

 

Thx!

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1 hour ago, CLEAN TK BUILD said:

I understand it is impossible to sit in the armor (comments/experience to the contrary welcomed), but can I be driven a very short distance somehow if there is no place to change at all?

 

Thx!

Technically, you can sit in armor.  Might depend on the fit of the armor, but it is possible.  I find getting seated and getting back up is the hard part.  Also, I need to stick my legs out in front of me to make it work because I can't bend at the knees that much.  I've never tried sitting in a vehicle- I don't think I could do it unless it was a very roomy vehicle. 

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4 hours ago, CLEAN TK BUILD said:

I understand it is impossible to sit in the armor (comments/experience to the contrary welcomed), but can I be driven a very short distance somehow if there is no place to change at all?

 

Thx!

I can sit on the edge of a bench/table or arm of a chair, being taller I just can’t fully sit in a chair. I have seen a few others sit in cars I can only imagine it would have been difficult to get in and out.

 

If there is no change area we do car park changes, try to park away from others in secluded areas, it only takes 5 minutes to kit up these days so your not exposed for long,  note it pays to turn up wearing your under suit ;) 

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I can sit on the edge of a bench/table or arm of a chair, being taller I just can’t fully sit in a chair. I have seen a few others sit in cars I can only imagine it would have been difficult to get in and out.
 
If there is no change area we do car park changes, try to park away from others in secluded areas, it only takes 5 minutes to kit up these days so your not exposed for long,  note it pays to turn up wearing your under suit  

5 minutes??? Man, you’re good. It probably takes me 15 and that’s with assistance for my shoulders and TD clip. But you’re like the special forces of 501st.


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I think Glen has had more practice than most of us, lol!  It takes me a good 15-20 minutes (with a handler) or so when I go HWT because of all the accessories.   Speaking of mobility, I am constantly dropping bits when getting kitted up, and since I can't bend down after putting on my calves/thighs without looking like a contortionist I bought a "grabber" device.  On my next troop the first thing I dropped was yep... the grabber.

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No Way I can get my stuff on by myself. I blame my flexibility. lol

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I think Glen has had more practice than most of us, lol!  It takes me a good 15-20 minutes (with a handler) or so when I go HWT because of all the accessories.   Speaking of mobility, I am constantly dropping bits when getting kitted up, and since I can't bend down after putting on my calves/thighs without looking like a contortionist I bought a "grabber" device.  On my next troop the first thing I dropped was yep... the grabber.

LOL! Awesome. You need it tethered to your wrist like you see parents keeping their kids attached to them at a theme park. Good to know I’m not the only one who takes awhile and needs assistance.


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4 hours ago, Pretzel said:

No Way I can get my stuff on by myself. I blame my flexibility. lol

So I take it that you don't live up to your screen name?  :laugh1:

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So I take it that you don't live up to your screen name?  :laugh1:
Only by eating them.

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17 hours ago, CLEAN TK BUILD said:

I understand it is impossible to sit in the armor (comments/experience to the contrary welcomed), but can I be driven a very short distance somehow if there is no place to change at all?

 

Thx!

 

It's not impossible- it's just hard, and depends entirely on you and your kit.  I can sit, for example, in my AM.  Carefully, on higher surfaces (my 50 gal Stanley bin, or the virtually identical 50 gal Husky is the perfect height), and not when the suit is fitting a little snug. 

 

As a general rule I tell people don't attempt to sit unless you have a flexible butt plate- because if the butt plate is rigid, it's more likely than not gonna crack, and no one wants a cracked butt plate.  Also, the thickness of our suit- too thin it might crack, too thick it will just be uncomfortable, and also might not have the flex needed.  Not that sitting in armor is particularly comfortable to begin with (but it does beat standing for hours).  There's also the matter of how tight your snap connections are, how much stress is going to be put on them (just popping loose isn't a huge deal, but breaking is another).  Finally, how much pinch do you get when attempting to lower yourself, and is it worth it?  

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The only part I need assistance with is my shoulder bell/bridge connection snaps.  I can kinda get one side, but then because I have the full arm on, the other one is really tough.  It's just easier to have a handler or someone who hasn't yet put their gloves on help out.  

 

I put mine together with the intention of being able to put most of it on myself, not because I don't want help but because I wanted to reserve the available help for those who had really tough costumes.  And I just like to be as self-sufficient as I reasonably can.  I'll be a handler-hog when I do my Phasma. :D  Thighs go on first, but not snapped to the garter, boots, shins, thigh snaps, clamshell into the entire torso, then my arms are snap-connected into one piece each, and help with the shoulder bell to shoulder strap.  Once that torso is on I don't bend well.  It's hilarious to see TKs try and bend over to pick something up.  

 

I have a checklist in the appropriate order on the inside of my bin.  Very helpful when I've been doing other costumes and then come back to the TK. 

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Helps when you have long arms and legs, although it's not ideal for the ideal Stormtrooper I do have a little more gap on my elbows and knees than most so I can bend a little more, so for me it's easy to get kitted up without help, people always look and say "how the hell do you do that". It also helps the way you unpack, I make sure helmet gloves, arms, blaster are up a bit higher, once that body section is on it is a little hard to bend down for those extra bits. I do find if I drop a glove I can still pick it up, I just have to do a half splits, it doesn't look pretty but it works ;) .

 

Image result for stormtrooper doing splits

 

Sitting in a car I just wouldn't attempt, I'd never get out again, bet this trooper is still in there

 

Image result for stormtrooper in car

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The only part I need assistance with is my shoulder bell/bridge connection snaps.  I can kinda get one side, but then because I have the full arm on, the other one is really tough.  It's just easier to have a handler or someone who hasn't yet put their gloves on help out.  
 
I put mine together with the intention of being able to put most of it on myself, not because I don't want help but because I wanted to reserve the available help for those who had really tough costumes.  And I just like to be as self-sufficient as I reasonably can.  I'll be a handler-hog when I do my Phasma.   Thighs go on first, but not snapped to the garter, boots, shins, thigh snaps, clamshell into the entire torso, then my arms are snap-connected into one piece each, and help with the shoulder bell to shoulder strap.  Once that torso is on I don't bend well.  It's hilarious to see TKs try and bend over to pick something up.  
 
I have a checklist in the appropriate order on the inside of my bin.  Very helpful when I've been doing other costumes and then come back to the TK. 
Same here I can get everything on and done minus one bell snap.

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My ANH I can put everything on myself. If I have everything laid out and some parts connected I can probably suit up in 5-10 minutes.

 

My FO I can do about 95% myself. With both it is a lot easier and faster to have help. Handlers/squires/supporters or whatever you call them in your area are awesome. I also like having some rebels or jedi around since they can also help out.

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Thank you for the information. Even though I've had 9 troops so far it's good to fall back and re-read guidelines to keep in memory 

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