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Update May 2012 (below) - There's a new Stormtrooper producer in the fan-market and its called "CfO" after "Cast From Original". The armor is cast from a set of moulds Cameron Oakley made in the 90's (see Oakley section here). The moulds Oakley made were cast off an original set of RotJ armor, and the helmet has the same provenance as its cast off a separate original RotJ helmet.

So that's a pretty excellent pedigree, which has resulted in a really fantastic looking Stormtrooper.....

The story goes..."In the late 1980ís an Australian Star Wars fan was lucky enough to acquire a set of Stormtrooper Armour which was rescued from a skip at Elstree Studios. The suit was most likely created during the making of Empire Strikes Back and is what we refer to as the ROTJ Background version. He had the presence of mind to create a set of moulds from the armour.

Fast forward to 2010 and the founders of CfO were lucky enough to acquire the original set of moulds taken from this suit. These moulds pre-date all the other replica suits that have been offered to fans over the years. CfO was also lucky enough to acquire an original Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper helmet in 2009, this helmet was taken apart and moulds were taken four plastic pieces along with casts of the original green bubble lenses.

The helmet and suit moulds have been vacuum formed on a professional 8ft x 4ft machine to offer you the fans, one of the most accurate replicas ever made available!".
 

Hyperbole like that is useless if the finished piece doesn't cut it - but in this case I'm please to say that that its well warranted if these photos are anything to go by, as it looks fantastic.

This particular helmet has been made and weathered for Jorg in Germany, with the assembly and weathering done by CfO themselves, decals provided by TK-4510 in the US

Produced in the UK, the helmets and armor are available in a number of configurations dependant on whether you're looking for a straight do-it-yourself kit or a fully finished ready-to-go Endor-weathered display. Hence armor prices range from £499-£1250 with helmets £189-£350 - again depending on assembly options. Interestingly they're shipping the goods either from the UK, Germany or USA so import costs and fees will be minimised.  Wow I wish some of the licensed companies would do that!

Update May 2012 - The guys at CFO have just sent me the following photos of their new production armor, they've sent me pics of clean Death Star type armor as well as my personal favourite....

Weathered Endor-style

First up we've got that weathered kicked-around a forest kinda look! Mark has some background info on this new armor..."I have updated the ABS I use to 2mm pinseal which is a lovely off-white creamy colour with a nice gloss. It is very flexible and durable and just what they used for the production run. Joe said it's identical to the ABS his original helmet was made from. I found the 1.5mm ABS to be inconsistent in finish and quality and less accurate! The helmet and armour are now all Oakley based from the moulds I acquired from Cameron in 2010."

Mark continues...."Some of the problems I had to overcome when I purchased the moulds is that the originals were female moulds used for producing fibreglass armour. Being a perfectionist I wanted my armour to be made of ABS just like what you see on screen. This meant casting the moulds in a resin based plaster building up the run-offs and re-sharpening all the details lost in the previous moulding done by Cameron. As the original moulds were taken from the outside of the armour they were softer than what I wanted. Having worked in the film prop industry I had a pretty good idea as to what they should have looked like as original vacuum forming tools."

Yep - that ticks all my "Awesome" boxes.....

"I have kept the essence of the forms and just sharpened the edges and finer details to bring you what is considered by my customers as the most accurate ROTJ armour available. I strive to offer the best customer service and give my clients a pleasurable buying experience after parting with their hard earned cash. I was initially a collector myself and was left with a bitter taste in my mouth from vendors taking my money and leaving me waiting for years on end getting substandard props and sometimes not receiving anything at all.

I treat my customers how I expect to be treated myself. I like to think I changed the way Stormtrooper vendors went about their business shrouded in secrecy and delusions of grandeur. I have documented the entire process of the birth of CFO on the various forums we've been completely open from the start."

Well that's a great attitude Mark/CfO - well done. One of the most important things we look for in this hobby is great customer service - and unfortunately (as many of us have found out in the past) we rarely find it!

Good shot from the rear showing the belt and canister. It also shows off that accurate edge trim they added for the third movie. As you can see the weathering is not overdone but subtle. IMO this gives it a much more accurate look - I'm loving this!

The shot above reminds me of someone looking for a missing golf ball - and yes I am armed when I play golf.

Not sure where the blaster and boots are from but they look pretty darn accurate too.
 

Clean-Cut Death Star Look

Now if that newbie "My first day on the Death Star" look is the one you're after for then look no further, as these pics from CFO show off a more pristine looking Stormtrooper.....

Sot its 100% the same armour - just clean and shiny and completely non-weathered....

Still looks great - and absolutely accurate for the Death Star II shots in RotJ

Note that Mark's updated these helmets so the decals feature "kiss cut wonky edges to look hand cut" with the colours precisely matched against the on-screen originals. In addition the texture of the decals are also matched to emulate the screen printed technique used for the originals.

Finally a final action pose featuring the clean look.....

 

Below - some shots from last year of the CFO Stormtrooper Armor....

Next up a group of four shots showing the helmet and armor from all angles. The weathering Mark's done on this set is extremely impressive and really has the "look" of an original set of armor. Nice work guys!
Below a close up of the front detailing and you can see that it looks really accurate and sharp. The edging (which was also present on the original RotJ armor) also adds to the overall accuracy.

 

Next up some close up shots of the Jorg's helmet to really show off some of that detailing.

Decals (again present on the RotJ originals) look superb, although we expect that from TK-4510 who produces the best SW decals out there). Don't be overly concerned over bubbles and creases in them - in thi case they wanted to match the appearance of an original so rough, edgy, scratched and gnarled is what we want!

Bubble lenses, black trim and base trim all look great from here. Love the paint scratching and worn off areas.

Finally a close up of the vocoder area and mic tips - The guys have cast a set of original RotJ mic-tips so again they're really hitting the right accuracy levels there.!

So this looks like a very impressive debit from CfO who seem to have pit together a very impressive RotJ replica product at an "affordable" £999 price tag for an off-the-shelf ready to go set. Given a certain LFL-licensed maker was looking to produce armor at twice this price (and most certainly a lot less accurate) we think its a no-brainer for fans wanting their own set.

We've yet to see these "in person" and can only base our opinions on the photo's we're sharing here. However the makers say they will be sending us a helmet to review at some point so we'll post more pics and info then. However in the mean time it looks far and away to be the best looking RotJ armor and helmet we've seen.

Interestingly, I had the opportunity to handle an original set of RotJ armor earlier this week and have to say that this replica is amazingly close to that original set. Its a shame I didn't have this set to take with me to photograph some comparisons but unfortunately I didn't get much notice. I hope to release some photos of that original set as soon as I get clearance in a couple of months (hopefully) from the owner.

 

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