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Detachmant Survival Guide

This is an abstract of the duties and privileges that come with being a 501st Detachment Leader in the world’s premiere Imperial costuming organization.

“To serve the needs of both 501st members and persons new to Star Wars costuming who hope to join the 501st Legion. A detachment is chartered around a specific costume or family of costumes that share commonality.”

What is a Detachment

  • Serves as the as the champion for the costume(s) it covers and provides a forum to research, discuss, and propose standards for both existing costumes and new versions of those costumes.
  • Creates and fosters an esprit de corp for their members, and promote excellence in costuming.
  • Provides a forum to research and discuss relevant costuming and prop building techniques, and help educate new and existing members on these techniques.

Goals of the Detachment

  • Ensure that the forum/website contains all the information a new or existing member needs to create a 501st approvable costume, from base requirements to advanced techniques.
  • Create an environment where information is open, transparent, and respectful to it's membership.

The Election Process

Before the Nomination phase of the Elections it is the Detachment Leader’s responsibility to ensure that the Detachment Roster is clear of remove requests, add requests as well as retired and inactive members.

  • After the nomination phase, which occurs on the Legion boards, The Detachment Leader is responsible of the set up a question and answer forum for each of the nominees who have accepted the nomination for Detachment Leader.
  • If the Detachment Leader is one of the nominees or is running for office, The Executive Officer, Detachment Captain of the guard should moderate the forums for the remainder of the election process. Additionally the Detachment Leader should recuse his or herself from moderating the election forums.


Following the elections, the outgoing DL should provide the DL Elect with the following if available to him:

  • Administrative access to the forums
  • Usernames and passwords for FTP, and web site.
  • The Detachment leader’s survival Guide
  • Phone roster if any
  • List of ongoing issues and or projects
  • All vector copies of logo
  • Copies of current or ongoing projects where art files are involved.

The Detachment Leader may address the needs of the Detachment by appointing any of the following as deemed necessary for the good of the Detachment. Membership on the Detachment Roster may not be required for all positions.

  • Executive Officer (Must be a member of the Detachment): The role of the Executive Officer within the Detachment is varied and dependant on the Detachment Leader. General duties which may be required of a Detachment Executive officer may include by are not limited to:
    • Directing Detachment merchandising runs in the absence of another appointed member by the DL.
    • Acting on behalf of the Detachment Leader.
    • Various other duties as assigned.
  • Detachment Captain of the Guard/ Sergeant at Arms (Must be a member of the Detachment)
    • Who acts on behalf of the Detachment Leadership to moderate the forums
    • Who settles disputes within the Detachment
  • Detachment Merchandise and Branding Officer (Must be a member of the Detachment)
    • Who organizes and directs Detachment Merchandise procurement and creation.
  • Detachment Web Master (Does not have to be a member of the Detachment)
    • Who creates, maintains, and designs all aspects of the Detachments web presence including but not limited to Web Site creation and maintenance/Forums/Signature bars and banners/hooks and plug-in installations for the Detachment Forums. Graphic Design.

Each Detachment Leader may have a different way of viewing these offices and may see the need for none or some of them. The Legion only recognizes the Detachment Leader and his or her Executive Officer. Some unit’s may use alternative titles such as Sergeant at arms in substitution for the title Captain of the guard. This is allowable. It’s also a good idea to publicly post the name, title and job description of each member of the Admin Staff so that members will understand who to go to for each individual need.

The Detachment Leader may also create and appoint additional staff positions to assist in the operation of the Detachment. Examples of optional positions include: Forum Moderators, Special project leaders (special event or merchandise coordinators, CRL or costume review committees, mentors, historians, costume experts, etc.)

Setting up the Forums

Most Unit forums are set up in this way:

Required "Members" - general forum members who are not part of the 501st "Detachment Members" - these are 501st users who also hold a detachment costume in question and have registered on the forum at least once a year

Optional 501st Member - this is not a detachment member, but is otherwise person of the 501st Legion.

It is recommended for Detachments to have all three areas the only real need for a detachment member only area for:

  1. Elections
  2. Polls on costume standards, detachment charters, etc.
  3. Detachment Only Merchandise (if any)

Some areas of the forum must be public and open to general inspection by the public at large Such as CRL Entries (Not necessarily CRL work in progress). Frequently asked questions (FAQ), Forum Rules, and Standard Operations procedure (S.O.P.)


One the most important, albeit, one of the most neglected duties of the Detachment leader’s administrative functions is that of the Detachment Roster. The Detachment Roster will show who the Detachment membership is, and a well maintained roster will save the Detachment Leader a lot of time and aggravation come election time. The members present on the roster are those individuals who, in good standing, are eligible to vote in Detachment elections. The Detachment Roster may be viewed and edited only on the Main 501st Legion forums. To access the roster simply log in to the 501st Legion forums. On the left side bar menu look for membership DB as outlined below:

DLExample1.jpg DLExample2.jpg

Once you get there you will find a list of members. Some will be in white fields, some in Green, some gray and some red. The figure below shows a trooper who wants to be part of the Detachment membership (GREEN). Verify that they have an approved costume relevant to your Detachment and if they do, click the approve button. The page will refresh. For reserve members who appear in a light gray field, it’s usually ok just to leave them as is unless you want a completely clean roster, in which case the member will need to re-apply to your detachment upon their return.

For members whose field is red, it’s a request to remove from the Detachment Roster, either by the member or because they no longer own a qualifying costume, and is usually best practice to go ahead and click the remove button as these members usually either have joined the wrong Detachment by mistake or no longer have the appropriate costume to remain on your Detachment Roster.

For Retired members who appear in a dark gray field, it’s usually best practice to remove them from the roster since it’s not likely that they will return to the Legion during your term in office.

The Member who is active on the Detachment Roster will appear in a white field,


The "costume view" provides access to records that a DL cannot modify in any other way. It lists members by costume that belongs to the detachment and are labeled in a blue field; ( this has some advantages - one being that it lists 501st members that are not on the detachment roster. This enables a DL to add members (if appropriate) It also provides a "recruitment list" (i.e. proactively contact those in blue)

The other link is the CRL list which lists costume by Detachment and designation. DL's should review that annually to ensure that all costumes from their detachment are listed so that recruits can apply for them. Prior to each election, the roster must be updated.


From the Charter
  • A Detachment Leader has no disciplinary authority outside of moderation. An individual violating the forum rules may be moderated for up to 30 days per incident. After three periods of moderation have been imposed, an individual may be permanently banned from a detachment's forum, thereby losing their membership in the detachment.
  • Members who have been permanently banned from a detachment's forums must wait a minimum of one year before reapplying for membership in said detachment.
  • Disciplinary issues remain the purview of each detachment member’s local commander. A DL may bring disciplinary issues to the attention of the subject-member's CO and request a hearing.

Approximately a year and a half ago it was brought to light that if a 501st member of the Detachment becomes a disciplinary issue, the Detachment Leader may place the member on moderation for a maximum of 90 days. And may ban said member.

Non 501st members of the Detachment forums fall outside of the Legion and may be placed on moderation or banned if need be.

A code of conduct should be posted in a conspicuous place and should define the expectations for behavior for all areas of the forum. The codec should be written in plain easy to understand language.

Normally disciplinary issues can be resolved by simply talking to the member about the problem. However, the Charter is clear on how to handle a situation where discussion and moderation has not helped.

Responsibilities to the Legion Command Staff

The Detachments are responsible to the Legion Membership Officer, who may at his discretion; call upon the Detachment Leadership to perform certain actions beneficial to the Legion. An example of this would be a call to write the Costume Reference Library. The Legion Commanding Officer may also call on the Detachment Leadership to perform certain actions beneficial to the Legion as a whole.

In the larger view, the Detachment Leader has the responsibility to ensure that individual troopers and recruits who visit his or her Detachment have the latest information and resources for the creation of the costumes served by that Detachment.

Editing and Setting up the CRL

The Costume Reference Library is an important step for new recruits as well as seasoned troopers. This point of reference should be found on the 501st Legion pages. Also it should be contained in the larger more detailed view on each Detachment Forum, available for public inspection.

501st CRL

Detachment Merchandise

Detachment Merchandise can be fun for the entire Detachment, and if desired for the Legion as well. Keep in mind that all Detachment Merchandise (design and type) must be approved by the Legion Merchandise and Branding Officer (LMBO) prior to release. Organizing these runs can be complex and could run a Detachment Leader into trouble if he or she does not have any experience. It’s always best to consult the LMBO or one’s GMBO if in doubt about how to start. Detachment Merchandise that displays the Legion’s brand (Including the Detachment brand) should always be brought to the LMBO for approval. Some cases where this wouldn’t be necessary are items that do not contain the Legion’s or the Detachment’s branding.

Working with the GML’s

When you are elected as the Detachment Leader you are given access to the GML peer costume review forum as well as the Detachment Leader forum. The Detachments were given access to the GML peer costume review forum about a year ago. The purpose of the GML peer costume review thread is to assist GML’s who have limited or no knowledge of the details of a particular costume that has been submitted to them.

While there is no guarantee that a particular GML will follow your advice; in most instances your advice will be backed up by the Legion Membership Officer. We are simply present on their forums as a source of valuable information. Additionally we are there to help. While the Detachment Leader cannot approve a costume, often his or her advice is taken into consideration by the GML when approving a costume. The DL must keep in mind that the Costume Reference Library as well as Standards of the Legion is ever evolving.

Other valuable tips and Suggestions


While not required by Legion policy, it’s a good idea to have a forward facing web site or web page that will direct the new recruit or seasoned trooper in their quest. Some of the things that may appear on the web site are the CRL, perhaps a few tutorials, a gallery of present costumes and the like. You are only limited by your imagination.


It’s also a good idea to frequently communicate with your Detachment and post often. This will ensure that no member of your forum will have a question that has been left unanswered.


Local Detachmant Charters are not permitted by the Legion.

If your Detachment does not mission statement, it would be a good idea to draft one, and present it to your 501st Detachment members for a vote. Sometimes this can be used to explain why something is being done, or not being done. This also will help ensure that policies don't fluctuate year to year. Some policies should be flexible, but perhaps others should not. Having a detachment SOP/charter etc. should remove those ambiguities if they are considered part of the culture of that detachment.


While leadership cannot be taught the general ideas can be conveyed. What the individual chooses to do with it is up to them. Often disciplinary issues arise because the members are bored, feel they are not being listened to, or conversely that their leadership is not disclosing to them what’s going on. The best advice is to keep the members informed, listen with an open mind, and do your best to keep things exciting and moving forward in your Detachment. Some suggestions offered for these things are:

  • Publish a transparency report every 2 weeks (Less or more depending on your time involvement)
  • Occasionally have a Q&A to give your members a forum to address issues or ideas. The Q&A shouldn’t be limited to the elections alone.
  • Perhaps design some graphic swag (Sig Bars/ Icons/Avatars to recognize 501st Detachment Members who have gone out of their way to help someone, or who have shown the most improvement in their costume etc.
  • Perhaps provide contests and a vote for the 501st Detachment members to design the next T shirt or something of that nature.

The bottom line is that you try to do what you can to keep your members engaged. Additionally, it would be prudent to make sure that questions asked on the Detachment forums are not ignored or allowed to sit stagnant for any length of time.

Foot notes

The Detachment is the life line of costume knowledge for the Legion. Although it is the supreme educational resource, they are not the only resource. Detachments can be a valuable asset to the Legion. It is with this value added concept that this manual was written. If you have something to add to this manual at any time, please do so.

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The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.