The armour worn by the marines was designed by James Cameron and constructed by Terry English. Three sets of aluminium armour were built for each of the seven characters*, with extra sets built from Kevlar for stunt performers. Comprised of helmet, throat guard, body armour, crotch guard, leg guards, boots and BDU (battle dress utilities). The aluminium pieces were hand-painted by Terry and his crew in Humbrol enamels. The cast were encouraged to customise their armour, as did troops in Viet Nam for example.
As with all the armour he makes, Terry built each character's set to fit the actor precisely. The set featured here was worn by Bill Paxton as Hudson. Customisation includes the name Louise (Paxton's wife), and the famous 'death or glory' legend.
The marine helmets are based on US M1 'tin pot' steel helmets with added aluminium plates and flaps.
The body of the cameras are cast in what appears to be car body filler or resin. The lens is labelled as follows: Pentax 110 1:2.8 18mm 1389313 Asahi opt. co. Japan. Some parts of this are overpainted in matt black.
Certain helmets were equipped with functional microphones which were used in conjunction with radio transmitter packs to record dialogue. The transmitters were housed in pouches attached to the underside of the neck flaps, made from the same cloth as the marines' uniforms. Laserdisc Chapter 15, frame 30632 clearly shows a pack on Apone's helmet with the microphone plug (bottom) and antenna (top).
The earphone is originally from a pair of ear defenders. This microphone is a dummy version, with a brass boom and capsule and counterweight cast in resin.
James Cameron designed throat guards (gorgets) for the marines, which were also constructed by Terry English - however they were never used for filming. According to Terry they were hung on the armour in an unclipped fashion but it was decided that they would get in the way and were discarded. The throat guards are aluminium lined with foam, and have nylon webbing straps.
The body armour was made in ten pieces; the chest and back plates (collectively the cuirass), epaulettes over the shoulders, pauldrons (shoulder cups) which included a small plate inside the cup, and the colet, which is the plate on the bottom of the backplate. There was also a small plate attached to the right shoulder of the back plate by a piece of 2" webbing which served as a bridging piece but could swivel out of the way, affording the performers easier access into and out of the armour.
The black straps which can be seen emerging from the rear of the epaulettes are elastic and are attached to the inside of the backplate with heavy duty velcro. Green padding was used on the inside of some parts of the armour (apparently camping sleeping mat material). The body armour is also padded with strips of black foam. In this particular example the inside of the armour is marked with both name and number of the set.
Made from grey, padded vinyl with aluminium plates. The larger plate on the crotch guard represents one that sometimes hangs from the bottom of the breastplate, the fauld.
The crotch guard shown here was actually worn by Cynthia Scott as Dietrich. (When all the costumes were originally auctioned in 1987, some parts of costumes were accidentally mixed up.)
Hudson's crotch guard has a sardine key on the lower plate.
Also made from aluminium, the leg guards (greaves) are very comfortable to kneel down in. The knee pad (poleyn) is padded with foam sheet.
The greaves included a flap of vinyl along the closure edge which is missing from those shown (though a line of glue still remains!).
They are also marked by name, and left & right.