This is a custom I've been wanting to do for a long time. I had a great time making this figure - I only wish I had 49 more.
I'll start off with the recipe. The legs and arms are from the POTF2 Luke Stormtrooper figure. The helmet is from the vintage stormtrooper (more on that below); it was cut off and filed on the edges. The helmet sits atop a Luke Stormtrooper head, which was virtually reduced to a cube in order to get the helmet on it. The helmet does not come off. I thought about making it removable, but I decided against it mainly because I've never seen a stormtrooper's face. (Insert lack-of-imagination snip here.)
The torso is the centerpiece of this custom. The top half is a Luke Stormtrooper's, the belly piece and the belt are from a vintage stormtrooper, and the pelvis is from the Luke Stormtrooper. In order to get these 3 pieces together, I had to do some accurate cutting and laborious filing. The Luke Stormtrooper was first cut right below the belt. Then I cut below the bottom of the chest piece, and filed the edge VERY smooth. On the vintage Stormtrooper, I cut around the belly piece; I had to take special care with the top of the belly piece, because it had to be able to fit into the hole in the Luke Stormtrooper chest. To achieve that, a little extra filing was needed on the back of the vintage piece. I think the way that I have two separate pieces of plastic really improves the look of the figure, like they are two separate pieces of armor.
In order to make it look like the chest piece was a separate piece of armor even more, I filed around the arms and painted a black bodyglove. I split the chest piece in half to get in really close around the arms. It was very easy to split since it was only half the top half of a torso. Directly under each arm, I filed away some of the plastic to make the armor look as if it were removable. The arms were not at all lowered. I widened the bodyglove area near the neck and painted that black as well.
Once everything was glued together. I put some last minute paint details on. I super-detailed the helmet. The pictures don't really show that the different "teeth" in the mouth were painted black and gray. The rest of the details on the helmet included the "vents" on the sides near the bottom. Grey dots were painted on the belly piece. The strips between the wrists and the hand guards were painted black (in the ANH style). The space above the left knee and the inside tops of the legs were also painted black. There was no white painting at all on the figure. I knew that it would detract from the figure because it would be easy to see.
The holster was made from a piece of black plastic cut from the cape from a Removable Helmet Vader. I filed it a bit along the top half to give it the right look. I decided not to make it from sculpey because the sculpey holsters I've made in the past tend to break very easily. The holster is non-functional. If it did actually hold a gun, it would have to be huge, since the gun is a little bigger than it needs to be. Gluing the holster on was a bit of a pain. It would not stay on until about the 5th application of Super Glue.
Now I've gotten a lot of feedback about the helmet. Some liked it. Some didn't. I personally think it's near perfect. It's maybe just a little too wide at the bottom; I might fix that with filing. Someone also mentioned that the eyes could be filled in, since they are recesses in the vintage mold. That's a good idea that I might incorporate in the future. A comment was also made that the helmet was not wide enough when viewed from the side. I'm still undecided on that. I bet if it had been wider, someone would have said it was out of proportion and looked huge.
One thing to consider when looking at the helmet is that the stormtroopers in ANH and ESB had different helmets from those in ROJ. I've never been able to put my finger on the exact difference, but it's definitely there. I'm more partial to the ANH and ESB versions, so I prefer the vintage helmet, which captures the ANH/ESB look very well. Look at some pictures and judge for yourself. If you ask me, the POTF2 stormtrooper helmet is awful.
If you are familiar with my other non-buff customs (see my Non-Buff Greedo, Lando, Rebel Fleet Trooper II, and Carbonite Han), you may have noticed that I called this the "Not Too Buff" Stormtrooper. The reason for that is that he still looks a little buff. The main buff feature - the belly piece - has been removed. I hope to incorporate articulated arms and legs from the upcoming Hasbro Stormtrooper when it comes out. This guy needs to hold me over until then.