So, I guess that I’m in the minority here, based upon talks I’ve had over the years with friends and other Star Wars fans. I always liked the way the Rebel troopers looked in Episode IV. You know, the ones on Leia’s ship? (figure 1 in attached picture)- the blue shirts, the vests and the big, white, clam-shell lookin’ helmets? The first time I saw them was actually BEFORE the movies, on some Star Wars trading cards. I thought they were cool looking and I actually expected that there would be action figures released of them. I mean, they made action figures of ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Snaggletooth’ and they were only in the movie for a couple seconds. It only made sense, right?- that is if you ever wanted to have a ‘good guy army’ versus ‘bad guy army’. But no such luck. Not until the mid-90’s.
Why do I like the design of the Rebel Trooper uniform? Well, it’s difficult to say, really. It just appealed to me aesthetically.
Okay, maybe the helmet was a little large, but it seemed mostly functional to me. In fact, the whole uniform did. They were ‘recognizable’ as soldiers, but just sci-fi enough to satisfy me. They also stood apart from Stormtroopers, emphasizing the difference between the two armies in no uncertain terms. Stormtroopers were intimidating and faceless. Rebel troopers looked a bit under-equipped (which helped give them that ‘rag tag underdog’ feel), but more importantly, they were individuals- young and old men fighting for a cause.
I also liked the variation we saw in Episode IV. Different troop types had different uniforms- again something to differentiate from the Imperials. There were the flight-crew/tech guys (figure 2) and the dapper, OD Green clad ceremonial guards (figure 3). Even as a kid, I could appreciate the effort that went into making different folks look unique, but still part of the same ‘family’. It was just another way that made the movies feel grounded, despite their fantastic story.
With the growth of the Expanded Universe, the Rebel trooper has been featured a bit more prominently- namely in comic books, but also in a few gaming supplements.
Figure 4 shows some of the ‘classic’ blue, black and white guys duking it out with stormtroopers. I like the addition of bulky ‘ammo packs’ to the one trooper’s uniform, again giving them a real ‘soldier’ feel.
Figure 5 shows some desert troops involved in a battle on tatooine. Can’t say I’m really a big fan of the armor, though. They seem to have shoulder guards, which is cool, but… they also seem to just be wearing a T-shirt. Why do away wth the vest? Even if it doesn’t provide any protection, its good for carrying gear.
Figure 6 shows an artists conception of ‘evolved’ rebel troopers. I like the more practical colors of the uniforms and helmets, but I’m not a huge fan of the face-plates. I can see where they’d be functional in certain areas, but they make the troopers seem a lot more…faceless-literally and figuratively. Plus, we all know that face-plates are the surest way to invite enemies to disguise themselves as your own troops. I mean, that’s in the Evil Overlord handbook.
Now, as far as my own concept of the ‘evolved’ Rebel trooper, the figures along the right side of the image are pretty much it. I found the base soldier image somewhere online and modified it color-wise. They have that similar look to the classic Rebel trooper, but with a bit more military oomph and functionality. They also incorporate a blast-vest in addition to the helmet. For some reason, I still like the blue-and-grey color scheme the best. To me, it still says ‘Rebel’ (or in this case, New Republic).