From the prequel Star Wars movies, we became familiar with clone troopers. They originally served as soldiers for the Galactic Republic.
From the original movies, we came to know the stormtroopers that replaced the clone troopers once the Empire formed.
If we compare the armor that each wore, clone armor vs. stormtrooper armor, which would prevail?
We might think stormtrooper armor is better since it came after clone armor and was designed to be technologically better. However, the Star Wars movies may make us think otherwise.
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Clone Armor: Phases 1 and 2
Clone armor is the armor used by the Galactic Republic clone troopers during the Clone Wars. This type of armor was made of plastoid plates and designed by Kaminoan armorsmiths.
Plastoid is the same material that is used in Darth Vader’s armor, reflecting its high quality. Clone Troopers wore their fitted plastoid plates over black body glove material.
The Kaminoans were an amphibian species from the Outer Rim Territories who specialized in cloning techniques and technologies like designing armor. They became the makers of the clone army for the Galactic Republic.
The clone armor was meant to endure hard impacts and pressure but could not withstand a direct blast from a laser–a vulnerability that continued with the stormtrooper armor.
The Phase I clone trooper armor was the first version used during the Clone Wars. Designed and produced by Kaminoan armorsmiths, the Phase I armor contained twenty lightweight plates that were form-fitted to each clone trooper.
The bodysuit that clone troopers wore under the plates was pressurized. This provided some protection in space and from extreme heat and cold.
Phase I armor also contained color and customization to reflect the military ranks of clone trooper officers. For example, Clone Commander CC-2224, aka Cody, had armor that was customized to distinguish him from the rank-and-file soldiers.
An improved Phase II armor, with lighter yet stronger plates, was later used by the Grand Army of the Republic during the same war.
Kaminoan armorsmiths manufactured the Phase II armor, which also consisted of fitted plastoid plates over a black body glove. This new armor could withstand greater impacts, heat, and acrid vapors.
Once the Galactic Empire took over, the clone trooper armor was replaced with stormtrooper armor. Yet, some clones did continue to wear their original armor, and the new stormtrooper armor was modeled on clone armor.
Once the Empire took hold, stormtrooper armor became the standard armor. It was quite similar to clone armor and consisted of white plastoid plates on top of a black body glove.
The Imperial Department of Military Research developed the stormtrooper armor. As the name implies, this was the research wing of the Empire that oversaw the manufacturing of stormtrooper armor, TIE fighter helmets, and spy droids.
The Imperial Department of Military Research assigned the production of stormtrooper armor to such planets as Gilvaanen, located in the Inner Rim of the Star Wars galaxy.
This set of armor was designed to replace the Phase II clone trooper armor. It had 18 plastoid plates that were meant to protect stormtroopers from “glancing blaster bolts.”
Stormtrooper armor also had several improved features, including a plate ridge on the upper thigh and a knee protector plate to help with a trooper’s crouching, sniping position.
In addition, this armor suit came with improved helmet technology. For example, the helmet contained a filtration system that filtered out polluted air and a visual processor that allowed stormtroopers to see in smoke and darkness.
As with clone trooper armor, stormtrooper armor was designed to protect them in different environments. Stormtroopers with this armor could survive for a short time in space and much longer in icy or desert worlds.
This armor had a new control panel on the midsection to make adjustments to environmental conditions. The material for the underlayer body glove could also adjust to a trooper’s body heat and outside temperature.
Stormtrooper armor seemed to be an improvement from the clone versions and the sight of it struck fear into Rebel soldiers.
Clone Armor vs. Stormtrooper Armor
Given all the improvements to stormtrooper armor, we may think that it was better than clone armor. Yet, we could be mistaken.
As some discussion threads have indicated, the Empire produced vast amounts of armor. Hence, they emphasized quantity over quality, while the Republic focused on the reverse.
Although clone armor was mass-produced, the production of stormtrooper armor was on a greater scale to meet the demand of an expanding empire.
Other websites have pointed to the uniform appearance of stormtroopers as an indication of their lack of quality. Clone troopers had different designs, with less bulky appearances.
The largest reason why clone trooper armor appears to be better than stormtrooper armor is the ease with which the latter was destroyed in battle.
In the Star Wars films, stormtroopers famously fall dead at the slightest blaster bolt. In the first film, A New Hope, for example, stormtroopers fall readily at the hands of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca.
In the original trilogy, stormtroopers regularly die from only one blaster bolt. In Return of the Jedi, Ewoks even take out stormtroopers with rocks and spears.
Clone troopers, by comparison, appear as a much more formidable force and are not depicted as dying so easily from blaster fire.
In both the prequel movies and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show, clone troopers are shown to be excellent soldiers. Stormtroopers are usually not viewed that way, and their armor could be partly to blame.
Then again, this conclusion may be film bias. It may be just what we perceive in the films. This video, for example, defends the protective ability of the stormtrooper armor and indicates that it actually saved many trooper lives.
Technology, Movies, and Armor
If we take the perspective of technology, we could conclude that stormtrooper armor is just as good, even better, than clone trooper armor. However, if we go by the movies, it appears that stormtroopers die quite readily, and so their armor could not be as good.
So, it depends on our perspective to determine whether clone armor is better than stormtrooper armor. The “bucketheads” of the Imperial era may be mistakenly seen as having poorer armor than clone troopers.
Then again, the technological improvements put the versions on par with each other.