Shade, by Drew Baker

DrewBaker-shadeShade, by Drew Baker

After that, we fought and moved and spoke and thought like Stormtroopers – male and female had been taken out of the equation along with everything else.
Isila Drutch, female Stormtrooper of the 291st Legion

So, I’ve been a Star Wars fan most of my life, but I honesty didn’t know that women Stormtroopers was a thing until finding Drew’s painting here for Lucasfilm. But I did a bit of research and sure enough, there were supposed to be female recruits within the elite shock troops of Palpatine’s New Order. Apparently the misogynistic Imperial recruitment polices I knew of growing up a Star Wars nerd were entirely an Extended Universe assumption based on the apparent lack of women aboard the Death Star. I have to wonder if, like the women Rebel pilots in Return of the Jedi, Lucas wussed-out over audiences being offended by women characters dying on screen. (It’s okay to feed abused, alien slave girls to giant monsters, but offensive to shoot human women soldiers and pilots?)

Anyway, moving on…

I’ve always related more closely to the common soldier of the Galactic Civil war than to the Jedi, Sith, smugglers, and princesses. I mean, the Imperial soldiers get portrayed as this inexorable, unforgiving war machine, but can all of them been soulless monsters? How many of the Imperial fighting men and women killed in the explosion of the Death Star or on the snowy plains of Hoth or by rabid teddy bears on Endor were simply loyal Imperial citizens? How many enlisted to defend their homes and families from pirate attacks, Rebel terrorists, or criminal cartels like the Hutts or Black Sun?

Despite the satirization of the apparent ineffectiveness of the Stormtroopers’ armor in the films, their inability to see in those helmets, and their apparent inability to hit anything, I continue to regard the Galactic Empire’s elite troops as a brutally efficient fighting force. (For the purpose of this article, we’ll just pretend the abomination known as “femtrooper armor” doesn’t exist. The galaxy is a better place without it.)

DrewBaker-shadeStandard-issue Stormie armor consists of eighteen pieces of plastoid armor over a black body glove. The plastiod plating protects our heroines from extreme temperatures and hostile environments as well as projectiles and small-arms fire. The armor is designed to deflect glancing shots and even partially absorb direct hits, improving Imperial soldiers’ chances of survival and allowing them to receive medical attention for their injuries. Additionally, it offers superior protection from explosives and shrapnel.

Contrary to Luke Skywalker’s apparent inability to see in a Stormtrooper helmet, our troopers’ helms offer various vision-enhancing apparatuses, such as infrared, targeting systems, as well as polarizing and anti-flash lenses to protect from intense glare, and a Multi-Frequency Targeting and Acquisition System to cut through darkness, smoke, and other low-visibility environments. Helmets also include a comlink, self-contained breathing systems, and a cooling/atmosphere-control system.

Our lady troopers here are “sandtroopers” outfitted with specialized armor to handle harsh desert environments. As such, their armor contains advanced cooling systems in the helmet and body glove to protect from the extreme heat and direct sunlight. Additionally, our Stormies have an additional orange pauldron on their right shoulders, signifying them as squad leaders, rather than regular squaddies.

Our brunette trooper packs a BlasTech T-21 light repeating blaster as her weapon of choice: a heavy-ordinance rifle designed for armored opponents or even light combat vehicles. Other gear may include side arms, blaster packs, rations, medical kits, grenades, thermal detonators, and portable scanners.

Here our Heroines of the Empire take a rest in the shade after a sweltering patrol on the smuggler- and Sand-People-infested deserts of Tatooine. I like that both have short, military haircuts to fit beneath their helmets, while the seated trooper even has a an arming cap beneath her helm—excellent details on Drew’s part. Too, there’s a soldierly air to both ladies, ones well-trained and battle-ready. All around it was difficult not to fall in love with this depiction.

Huge thanks to Drew for letting me borrow his Stormies for the blog. Check out his other awesome Stormtrooper ladies portrait as well. Thanks as always for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!

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2 Responses to Shade, by Drew Baker

  1. seraph4377 says:

    Reblogged this on Dreams of the Shining Horizon and commented:
    A very cool picture, and a very interesting analysis of it.
    For the record, I would say that “Good Imperial Citizens” are effectively “Good Nazis”, especially after the destruction of Alderaan (which, to be fair, this picture is probably set before), and I have no more trouble rooting for the death of the former than the latter, man or woman. That said, I can see why Lucas made most of the Stormtroopers a literally faceless mass. Watching human beings march to their death, even in service to an evil cause, takes a lot of the fun out of a swashbuckling space opera.
    Of course, it’s also a good symbol of how the Empire itself treats them as less than human, interchangeable and disposable. So perhaps Lucas is due a little bit of credit.
    Nah. I’ll go with the wimp-out explanation.

    • Hi Seraph! Sorry it took me so long to reply, I’ve been gone all week.
      It’s hard to know what’s canon as far as what made a “Good Imperial Citizen,” to be honest. The films dealt mainly with the military and the fringes of Imperial society, so we don’t really get a sense of what the average citizen of the Galactic Empire was like. The impression I remember getting was that the Imperial news media dismissed Grand Moff Tarken as a madman abusing a dangerous tool by blowing up Alderaan. Keep in mind as well that the Rebel Alliance never fought against more than maybe 5% of the Imperial forces at one time. Most of the fleet and army were busy defending from pirates and raiders or keeping rival planets from disrupting the peace by attacking each other. When you had two belligerent planets that keep disrupting the peace, order, and trade by attacking each other, sometimes the most effective response is to shoot up both sides and plant a fleet of Star Destroyers between them.

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