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Look for feedback on undersuit and armor options

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I'm new to the forums and am looking for my first project to seek acceptance to the 501st.  I know the Death Trooper is a challenging build, but I really enjoy the characters in some of the literature as well as the aesthetics, so I'm strongly leaning toward starting with this build.

At this stage I'm trying to get an idea of materials, costs, and what I'll need to learn to do the projects.

I've narrowed the armor down to two options: Jim Tripon's "Flexible Fiberglass Kit" or 3D Printing Tom Campbell's files

I've narrowed the undersuit down (and by narrowed, I mean I only found 2 options):  Jim Tripon's Undersuit or Sheev's Emporium

First for the armor:

3D Printed: I don't have a 3D Printer, but have considered getting one for a while.  I am open to getting one as part of this project, if it makes sense.  As I understand it, the 3D printed version will be easier to accurately size and have more precise details, while it will take more work to assemble, glue, sand, and finish the pieces.  The armor will ultimately be heavier and probably less flexible/more rigid.  I can also reprint something if I do something horribly wrong.

Fiberglass Kit: May be slightly less accurate, but nowhere near as bad as vacuuformed.  I will potentially have to cut it for fitment, but it will take less work to finish.  The armor will ultimately be lighter and probably more flexible/durable.

I will note that I have no experience or skill in finishing either medium, so this will be a learn as I go project.

I will also note that I'm about 6'1" and about 193lbs, if that is a consideration for fitment.

I'm leaning toward Jim Tripon's Fiberglass Kit.

Second for the Undersuit:

Jim Tripon's:  Seems like many have used it and it is a significantly lower cost than Sheev's.

Sheev's:  Seems to indicate that as far as they know they are the only ones who do everything required to get to level 2 (have not yet asked Jim Tripon if theirs is up to Level 2 Standards).  I'm not sure what the value of being level 2 is, but my initial reaction is that I don't see a lot of value in paying the cost difference.  Sheev's did seem to have some nice features, like built in straps to the body suit to hold various pieces. The pictures I got of examples were very clear and everything looked very well made.

Overall, for the cost difference, I'm strongly leaning toward Jim Tripon's.


Question 1: Is my assessment accurate/what am I missing? 

Question 2: Any other options I should be considering that I'm not?

Question 3: Any other general advice or considerations before picking options?

Thank you in advance for any advice provided.


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Hi Paul. 

Great initial research so far.  

7 hours ago, Mal86 said:

Question 2: Any other options I should be considering that I'm not?


I think your evaluation of 3D printed and fibreglass are acurate. I am just finishing a Jim Tripon kit and have been happy with it.  The 3D print files from Martin McLean (MCM designs) are also very good.  I am 5”10 and 120 pounds and had to enlarge both the shin and thigh pieces which was a challenge but ended up working out.

7 hours ago, Mal86 said:

Question 2: Any other options I should be considering that I'm not

None that I am aware of other than vacuformed


7 hours ago, Mal86 said:

Question 3: Any other general advice or considerations before picking options?

3D printing can be more expensive in the end and take a lot more time.  There is a learning curve to it and results can be amazing but expect some failed prints and setbacks early on.  I also used my costuming to buy a 3D printer but have used it mainly for blasters and making greeblies. 

Looking forward to seeing your build. 

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Welcome to the Darker side of the Darkside!

I'm looking forward to your build and having another Death Trooper in our ranks.

I have Jim Tripon's complete kit; armor, soft parts, undersuit, etc. I did swap out his helmet for an Anovos that I found at a really good price.

I can tell you that I went with Jim's kit for several reasons, the 1st being that at the time I built mine, Jim's kit, MCM, and Armory Shop's 3D printed kits were really the only three options at the time. Since then there have been ABS kits by KB Props and 850. Initially the ABS pulls just didn't have the sharpness in detail that I was looking for in a kit. 850 has come a long way with additional 3D printed and cast greeblies to make their kit closer to the screen look.

With all that being said, even though Jim's kit will be heavier than an ABS, its durability is a plus in my book.

Jim's undersuit is Level 2 approvable just as it comes. He actually uses a faux leather and has his seamstress hand sew each rib so it looks almost identical to the screen used suits. His design of a shirt and pants combination we later found out wasn't how the costumers designed the screen suits, however, when worn under the armor pieces, Jim's kit can be Level 2. His armor kit can be built to Level 1 easily and with a little more work and some minor alterations, can be built to Level 2 standards as well. I was approved at Level 2 with his undersuit and armor kit.

If you are going to build any kit, I would recommend taking the extra time and effort to build it to Level 2 initially, you will be very pleased in the end.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need any kind of advice, this armor has been around for a while and a lot of progress has been made by our members thru trial and error, and research over the years. Death Troopers will always be a classic!

Best of luck with your build.


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@DoggyDoc - Gerald, yours is one of the threads I read a lot of to see the process.  Thanks for the response and sharing.

@Chaos - Chris, I appreciate your feedback.  I've seen that you have provided a lot of advice to others in their posts.  I'm sure I'll have a ton of questions, once I get going.  I did just find someone who is selling the following on Facebook: "helmet is 850 Armor works, armor is Armory Shop, undersuit is dark side closet, i have other misc parts. armor and bucket have first coat of paint, and are in varying stages of build. most cutting has been done." 

He indicates that he is 5'11" and 200lbs.  I'm about 6'1" and 193lbs.  Would it be worth investigating if I can get a deal on those?  Are those considered quality options?


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