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November 2014 Newsletter - MEPD and FISD Edition


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Brothers in Arms

From the MEPD Detachment Leader

Anthony Forrest Interview

MEPD Britannia Patrol

Advanced Tactics Awards


Welcome to the first ever MEPD/FISD joint news letter!
Acknowledgements and dedications
With such a special event as this joint newsletter, we thought it would be a fitting tribute to dedicate it to the founder of the 501st, Albin Johnson - Without you there would be no us.
We also dedicate this special edition joint newsletter to YOU, the fellow member of Vader's fist.
The Sandtroopers, or as George Lucas said in the making of star wars "Stormtroopers in combat order", are the elite of the empire, sent to the outer realms to uphold order of the Galaxy in the name of the Empire. They are equipped with modified armour and equipment to withstand harsh climates.
We would like to take this opportunity to guide you through some of the difference between the TK and the TD.
Helmet and suit
Whilst mostly standard to the TK issued helmet, the TD has Un-vented helmet traps to avoid elements and debris interfering with the helmets internal systems.
Canvas shoulder straps instead of bridges due to the wearing of heavy patrol backpacks.
Modified ab section of the armour - this works in conjunction with the inter-cooling and pressure system.
Sniper knee plate on the shin.
Shoulder pauldrons to denote rank
Black - Private/enlisted
White - Sergeant
Orange - Captain/Squad leader
No Pauldron - TK in training for TD.
The shoulder pouches carry the necessary tools for field stripping and cleaning of the E11 and BFG's. The hip pouches carry ammunition and power cells.
There are a variety of different blasters TD's are issued with. Every TD is trained to use all models of blasters, however a squad on patrol must be able to deal with any presented threat or hostility. they will therefore carry a mixture of blasters - this would be determined by the squad leader, and the troops will be told in the patrol briefing who will carry what. The models carried are:
Standard E11
T-21 Heavy Repeating Blaster
RT-97c Precision blaster
DLT-19 Heavy Blaster
One of the single most important pieces of equipment the Sandtrooper will carry on patrol is the backpack. There are five models of backpack and each contains everything needed to keep a trooper alive and functional during long periods of exposure. Although the back pack will carry the basics like food and water, Ultra high frequency radio, tools for armour repair, power cells etc, it is also very much like a life support unit. The pack supplies the suit with an integrated cooling system and monitors there wearers vitals. We are aware that some TK's think the backpack provides the TD with a humanoid waste disposal unit - we will not confirm nor deny this!
Imperial issued for long range reconnaissance as well as directing finding and way points. Also very useful for acquiring targets for Star destroyer bombardments. We just sit back and watch the show.
Dewback prod
This is used with mounted on a Dewback. The Dewback is a very useful beast which can carry shelter equipment required for longer patrols. Although the Dewback can go days without food or water, they are naturally very lazy and stubborn creatures. The prod emits 50000 volts with 0.161 amps - just enough to get the thick skinned Dewback moving without causing injury.
The MEPD is known throughout the galaxy as THE forum for all Sandtrooper related topics. We at the 'sand pit' pride ourselves on the help and advice we pass onto new recruits or even long term members of the 501st who just fancy going dirty. We offer advice and tips from the beginning stages of building or converting your armour, building a backpack from scratch, purchasing/making accurate pouches and Pauldrons, all the way to weathering your armour correctly.
This process can be a daunting one not only for members looking to change, but also for those about to step foot into this crazy hobby of costuming. It is our aim to offer accurate, friendly advice and to help members on their way to becoming deployed at 'Police officer' status, or if you're feeling particularly brave, all the way to 'SWAT' level.
These two levels are similar to the 'Expert infantry' and the 'Centurion' programs on the FISD - although as you can imagine it takes some dedication.
The SWAT program carries very high standards of accuracy and it will take blood, sweat, and tears to get there - believe me, all SWAT members have bled... and cried! Since the program started in 2011 we currently have 31 deployed SWAT officers (at time of press). If you are successful at SWAT you are awarded with a certificate signed by the CO Rick Bates, and your deployment poster is hung, in order, on the SWAT wall of fame on the forum. MEPD staff members, Smally and Justus, will also give you a mention in the News letter to boost your ego that little bit more.
With Unquestioned Loyalty,
Brad Small
TD-7141 "Smally"

Command Staff - MEPD


For November's newsletter, let's explore the special relationship between FISD & MEPD. What you may not know is that in a way, FISD was born out of MEPD.

MEPD has ever been in a league all their own. Newcomers are welcome, information is freely shared, and there is a true esprit de corp formed by folks all over the world who shared their passion for the sandtrooper costume. People openly shared their best tips and tricks, where to get parts, you name it. They truly are the role model for all detachments to follow.

Now it may be hard to believe but back in 2005 there wasn't a Stormtrooper detachment in the Legion. Most of the older and larger garrisons were able to offer local help and many had their own forum areas for how to build TK armor. Being out in the "outer rim" information was very hard to come by, and one was forced to use the rumor mill and scour sites like those created by Mike Harrison, Dean Plantamura, and Chris Bartlett. Common responses to newbie questions were "don't ask questions, we'll tell you once you're in the Legion" are these were not overly helpful for prospective Legion members, especially when one is asking the origins of a kit that someone was offering made by "a friend of a friend". People routinely shelled out $1400+ for FX kits off internet sites, and it was only after getting in the Legion that they found out there were such things as AP, or TE.

FISD was intended to change all that, to create an "MEPD for TK's". A place where new members could get honest, transparent information about stormtrooper costumes, and people could research and share new discoveries, such as what the belts were made of (canvas, not plastic), what color the ab plate buttons were (gray and blue, not black).

So it's not inaccurate to say that FISD a clone of MEPD in many respects, as it was my experiences in MEPD that created the idea for FISD. Many FISD concepts are directly borrowed from MEPD: Expert Infantry is just a copy of what the "Deployed" program was trying to achieve. The values of transparency of information and a willingness toshare information were baked in to FISD's charter to ensure that FISD would be born in the same spirit of the Mos Eisley Police Detachment.

Coincidentally, in 2008 I was both DL of FISD and XO of MEPD, which was the same time we created and mapped out the CRL's, and so I was in a unique position to ensure that costuming standards for both groups would be consistent across each other, e.g. that if one detachment specified canvas belts, then both would, and both forums were upgraded to the same software at the same time. Throughout the years, MEPD & FISD have collaborated continuously to ensure they remain in sync. When MEPD was creating the SWAT program, FISD was right there creating Centurion. Noel Green was the DL of MEPD, and he and I worked closely to ensure that the "L3" standards for common costume parts would match between detachments.

As FISD members, it's good to remember our "roots" to MEPD in two respects, not only at the detachment level but also in our costumes (fact: sandtrooper costumes were made before the stormtrooper, and details such as the ab plate details, trapezoid sniper plate, shoulder bridges, and drop boxes were added later for the clean versions).

FISD & MEPD have always be brothers in arms, and that's something worth celebrating.

With Unquestioned Loyalty,
Paul Hoeffer
TK-8020 "Daetrin"
FISD Founder


First off I want to thank everyone for putting in their time and energy to get this issue off the ground. The newsletter is a great place to showcase all the new and exciting things the detachment has to offer and to see a joint issue with the FISD is just pure AWESOME!! The relationship between the MEPD and FISD has grown into something quite amazing. Its no longer us against them, its more of a we against the rebel scum of the galaxy.
That being said, I'd like to talk a minute about how far we've come as a group. When I first learned of the detachment back in 2009 I was excited to see what others were doing and get started with my own transformation. So i read, re-read and tried to replicate what others were doing at the time but supplies were extremely limited and reference material was equally as hard to come by. Mike Harrison was the DL and he was always full of encouraging words and direction. So, I started my Sandtrooper build and with the help of him and a few members of the MEPD I was able to put together an ok set of armor with some cool details. Once that happened I pretty much became addicted to the MEPD and was constantly on the forum trying to help bring it to the next level.
When I eventually became the DL I couldn't believe I was part of something so amazing. I never had any other real interest in any other detachment or costume so I basically lived on MEPD. Fast forward a few years and it blows my mind seeing how far we have come. With 620 active members currently in dirty armor, the Sandtrooper division of the legion represents about 10% of all members of the 501st. That number has grown at an amazing rate and we are seeing more and more troopers joining our search for those "Dang Droids" every day. Plus, with the SWAT program being put into motion we have seen the accuracy of each build just explode with detail. Currently 31 members have achieved the SWAT badge of honor and many more are in the works. With every submission we see a new level of accuracy achieved. The days of just throwing some dirt on a TK and submitting are long gone. We really have shown the costume the way it was intended to be shown.
Anyway, now that I have babbled on and on and made a million grammatical errors I want to say I really do have the best command staff and members a DL could ever ask for. You are all an amazing group of troopers and I thank you for making this place everything that it is. I am honored to serve beside you in this galactic adventure we have taken part of..... You all ROCK!!!
Now Move Along my friends......
With Unquestioned Loyalty,
Rick Bates
TD-7141 "Dirtyboy"

Detachment Leader - MEPD


In this edition, we have a Captain from the Sandtrooper Corps who was detached to doubly-sunny Tatooine to look for the traitorous droids containing vital information of our supreme battlestation: the Death Star. Although the droids managed to get away with the help of a Jedi and some local Rebel scum the Captain did manage to establish a strong Imperial presence in Mos Eisley where scum and villainy must be kept on a tight rein. We've received news that the crime rate has drastically dropped since the Mos Eisley Police Department was established with several cantinas being shut down and illegal Sandcrawlers (along with its patrons) being decommissioned for good. Enter Anthony Forrest: the Captain responsible for the good work done on Mos Eisley. What was it like to manage the wretched hive? How's putting up with the weather like? How did the encounter with the legendary Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (under guise of 'Ben' Kenobi) go? Was he really mind-tricked??

Read on to find out...


IPM: Hi Anthony, we’re really pleased and thankful to have you here with us. To start off, when and how did you come to hear about Star Wars? Were your roles something you auditioned for or did the casting crew just selected a role you were suitable for?

A: Hello Evan, glad to join you and the FISD 501st Legion for this interview. It really started, as I was already working as an actor in England at the time. I had been working on 'The Eagle Has Landed' which happened to be cast by the casting director Irene Lamb. It was through her introduction that I first met with George Lucas. I wouldn't say it was a standard audition process. At the first meeting George took the time to get to know me, we talked for awhile about my background and some of things I had been doing and projects I had worked on. Things got more serious later on as there were a number times I was called in to meet with him. I did do a cold reading from the script, and then awhile later my agent contacted me to let me know that Irene Lamb's office had been in contact and I was being offered the role of 'Fixer'. The 'Sandtrooper' role was something that George came up with while we were on location in Tunisia. He basically asked if I could do him a favor and play the Sandtrooper character, with Alex Guinness, as I would be dressed in costume and it wouldn't affect the 'Fixer' role. At the time I hadn't even seen the costume, I was looking at the script and reading 'Trooper'. I'd been pulled over a few times and brought home in the back a police patrol car as a teenager, so I just followed my instincts as an actor to call on personal experience.

IPM: The space opera that is Star Wars was not the first of its kind but was still new and breaking through into the market. What were your thoughts and impressions on Star Wars back then? Did you think it would turn into a movie that would still be celebrated for years to come?

A: That is what you might call the billion dollar question. For me at the time, I was an actor working on a really different kind of project, the script was great to read, full of description and interesting characters, also the underlying theme of 'The Force' was something that resonated with me. As a child and teenager I had been confronted a number of times with my own mortality and asked myself a lot of soul searching questions. As a movie, 'Star Wars' had all of the right elements that make a movie, book, record etc., have the potential to break through and capture its audience in the best possible way. It has that magic ingredient of being an original, able to deliver us to a place we have never been before, be technical executed to the highest we can achieve at the time and most importantly connect with us on a very human level. I think the fact that it is still celebrated today is a testament to the passion and commitment that went into making the film.


IPM: You played the role of Fixer, friend of Luke Skywalker, and the that of a Sandtrooper Captain that took place in the desert planet of Tatooine (also known as Tunisia). While most of Star Wars was shot at the studios you actually got to travel with the cast and crew. Could you tell us more about your time there and what you did when you weren’t shooting?

A: When I arrived in Tunisia, the first thing that went though my head was, 'Lawrence of Arabia'. I know it wasn't filmed there, but I'd never been to the Middle East. Also the fact that Alec Guinness had been in the movie. I like being on location, I feel it really adds to the creative process, gives an authenticity to the story. The sights, sounds and smells were new for me... fresh, interesting. When not shooting, I had a chance to visit a market, try a little desert horse back riding... not a great idea for insurance purposes and catch way too much sun, as I found out when I put the Sandtrooper costume on.


IPM: Could you tell us about your character Fixer and the kind of dialog involved?

A: Fixer as you probably know is one of Luke's friends, that happens to run Toshi Station. He's good with his hands, very capable at repairing things and runs the Station as a kind of cool hangout for other locals. Fixer, actually has a girlfriend 'Camie' probably one of the few girls within a hundred miles, so he's naturally a tad protective. He's a bit of a loner. He has his life set up pretty well, so what is going on with the Empire is not really that important to him as long as it's not in his back yard. He doesn't go looking for trouble but if it comes he'll deal with it in his own way. Fixer's dialog is fairly sparse so it doesn't really give a lot of insight to him, perhaps that's good in the way it isolates him from the others.

IPM: And of the Sandtrooper Captain?

A: I sometimes joke that the Sandtrooper Captain, really let Luke and Obi Wan get away as he didn't want to have to deal with the paper work. I like to call the Sandtroopers the true grit of the Empire, they are hardcore, on the ground guys dealing with the scum and villains of Tatooine. They've heard it all and seen it all before. Through all kinds of conditions and situations, they just keep going. The Jedi Mind Trick is that magic moment when that aspect of 'The Force' is first exposed to the audience and 'These aren't the droids we're looking for...' what can I say except... 'Move along...'

IPM: Did it take long to shoot the “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” scene? What was it like acting with Alec, Mark, Anthony and Kenny?

A: From my perspective it seemed like a tight little scene to shoot and quite quick. I was lucky in that the setup was already established, lights, camera etc., when I arrived on set. Working with Alec, Mark, Anthony and Kenny was very smooth. Well Kenny was not really in the R2D2 unit prone on the back of the land-speeder. Mark and I had already met days before and spent some time together, and Alec was the master craftsman guiding us through the scene. When you get dropped in at the last moment into a situation to perform a scene like that, for me was like coming into pinch-hit at bat in a major baseball game (which I played a lot in my youth) I wanting to hit a home run, well at least get a base hit. You have to deliver, there's no going back with film... no mercy.

IPM: You were made the honorary captain of the Britannia Patrol of the Mos Eisley Police Dept. When did they approach you and was it in the form of a surprise?

A: I can't recollect the exact timing of when they approached me, I was in Birmingham at the MCM Comic Con event and at the evening diner get together. Yes it was a big surprise, and an honor. Britannia Patrol is a great group to be part of, always striving for costume accuracy and like the larger Mos Eisley Police Dept., leading the way in what is a complicated costume and prop configuration. MEPD rocks!


IPM: RS Prop Masters initiated the Move Along Project with the goal to bring you back in armor for the first time in many years. How did you feel when you donned the armor? Did it bring back memories of the heat in Tunisia or the bite marks and scratches (of which we, as a Storm/Sandtrooper costuming group, can graciously empathize with)? Were you also reminded of the fun times you had with the cast outside shooting?

A: I have to thank RS Propmasters for encouraging me to get back in armor, they are passionate about getting it right and do. It had been a long time since I was in armor, but when I did the memories flooded back... and the sweat. I have to say they did a great job on tailoring so the bite and scratches were a lot less than back in 1976. My hat goes off to all those who take on the challenge of Trooping in Stormtrooper or Sandtrooper costume. The hours of endurance, patience and dedication are truly impressive. And the great causes that they support Trooping for, are what makes 'Star Wars' a very special Universe to be part of. Yes, fun times, and I've had a lot fun times and laughs hanging out with 501st Members when I get invited to attend fan events and Comic Cons.

IPM: You are taking part in the upcoming documentary Elstree 1976 which sheds light on the other actors that played many various roles. What do you make of it? Did you personally know the other casts prior to shooting Elstree 1976?

A: I was approached by the Director Jon Spira and Producer Hank Starrs, they had made a great documentary 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' with members of Radiohead, Supergrass, etc., about the history of bands from Oxford. I think Elstree 1976 is going to be insightful and entertaining and a little raw on the emotions. I knew some of the other actors from meeting them at Comic Con events. I have known and been friends with Garrick Hagon for many years, having worked together on a number of film and television productions together.

IPM: We all thought that Star Wars will always reside in 6 episodes and other books. With the announcement of a new trilogy are you excited for Star Wars VII?

A: I have for quite awhile said that Episodes 7,8,9 would be made, it was a natural progression to complete the journey as the stories already existed in George Lucas' original vision. I'm more interested from a film making perspective, than excited to see Star Wars VII. As with so many film projects execution is everything. And we all know how many times Hollywood doesn't quite deliver the magic. Expectations are running high... let's hope there aren't too many chefs in the kitchen and it's not a film made by committee. Never underestimate your audience. There's an abundance of knowledgeable 'Star Wars' fans and general film fans out there... the Internet can look like the Death Star when it comes to word-of-mouth.

IPM: Finally, is there anybody you’d like to give a shout out to and do you have any message for us?

A: I'd like to give a shout out to George Lucas. George if Disney gets it all wrong... you can always buy the company back at really good price. I'd just like to say thank you to the FISD, MEPD-Britannia Garrison, UK Garrison and wider 501st Legion for keeping 'Star Wars' alive all these years, the generous work you do for the numerous charities you support and joy you bring to so many.

Thanks Anthony once again for you time!

With Unquestioned Loyalty,
Evan Loh
TK-24127 "evan_loh"
Deputy Public Relations Officer

Moving along....


MEPD Patrols
The MEPD encourages its members to locate TD's local to them and to form/join official MEPD 'Patrols'. By doing so, this helps when it comes to needing advice with any armour mods or guidance, this also naturally forms friendships with other Sandtroopers - which means patrolling with real buddies!

We currently have 22 Sandtrooper patrols up and running which stretch from Garrisons all over the world!

One such Patrol is the UK Garrison's 'Britannia patrol' who are proud to have Anthony "move along" Forrest as an honorary member.

Here is a brief history of how this Patrol was born (with thanks to member Joe Versku for the write up)



With Unquestioned Loyalty,
TD-7141 "Smally"

Command Staff



This month the First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment would like to congratulate:

Expert Infantry Badge Award:

"Vadier" TK-77077

Andrew "fuumantroop" TK-24218

Steve "starsaber25" TK-10466

Craig TK-31709

Centurion Award:

"Vadier" TK-77077

Congratulations to the following troopers who were deployed on MEPD October 2014

SWAT status:
Joey "Vecspeed12" TD-9512

Police officer status:
Gary "Baron" TD-369

The FISD is always looking for new applicants for our Advanced Tactics program so please do not hesitate to apply if you meet the standards! Our Deployment Officer and armorers are here to help and guide you through to success!

Feel like your armor is up to standards and worth of recognition? Apply for the Expert Infantry Badge Program now!

Want to go the extra mile, raise the standards of Stormtrooper armor, and be the envy of your peers? Apply for the Centurion Program now!

Note: Applicants need to be EIB approved before applying for Centurion.


Don't Forget We're on Facebook and Twitter!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/whitearmor
FISD and https://www.facebook.com/TheMEPD MEPD

If you're on FB, stop by and say hi, ask questions, and share stories!

Twitter: www.twitter.com/FISD501st or @FISD501st & https://twitter.com/mepdnet or @mepdnet
follow FISD and MEPD on Twitter!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/501stfisd

With Unquestioned Loyalty,

Evan Loh
TK-24127 "evan_loh"
Deputy Public Relations Officer

On behalf of the 1st Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment Command Staff.

End Transmission.

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