How many times have we ALL tried to find something cheap yet worthy of our costumes? Me, seriously, I have never really found one full-proof way of "off the shelf" displaying that's worth a ****, honestly. But I have a couple in the office now and they're not perfect, but they're pretty cool. Life-sized Sideshow figures is what I say to the newbies that freak when they see 'em!
I've got two white fiberglass cheap-os from eBay which work fantastically, but are NOT poseable at all (could barely get the gloves onto them and the boots? Fhagetaboutit, I actually had to Dremmel off the toes of one of them! But I have size 9 feet...) and one tall one that worked well enough for a Vader display (same problem with the riding boots!).
But I wanted to share the resources because I know budgets are always a concern and they work really well for the price. Here is the first place I ordered from--
http://www.onlymannequins.com/ - Communication wasn't the best (it was during the first really bad storm this Christmas, so I guess they were pretty slammed), but they had cheap prices and fast shipping via UPS Ground with tracking numbers once we squared it all away. I dealt with Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org). They were the only company I could find that had a Vader-sized mannequin for under $500! It was $249.00! This particular piece is the tongue and groove type construction, 6' 4", hands by the sides and looking straight on. Flesh colored with detailed hands (gloves didn't fit because the leather was too thick with the space between the fingers being a bit thin, but looks good for cotton gloves!). It comes apart in 5 sections (2 shoulders, torso, leg and leg/hips) and the leathers went on pretty well. I needed to "buff" him up a bit, so I used small bubble wrap and duct tape. Looks pretty good, actually.
On the evilBay, I ordered from these guys--
mannequin mannequins female male child items - Get great deals on items on eBay Stores!
--and they were great. Their pieces were metal balls sliding into and locking type construction, but they come apart into 5 different pieces as well (for the most part), so getting the costumes on was pretty easy. They had great communication and super-fast shipping. Again, hard to put gloves on, but the fingers were slimmer (they were too close together, but with a little elbow grease, it finally worked it out) and they are only about 5' 10" tall, with slim builds. Good for 'Troopers (again, need to bubble wrap the legs a bit for the fat thigh armor), X-Wing pilots and the like. I actually have my screen-used BSG Apollo flightsuit and gear as well as a 'Trooper on two of those.
Anyways, I know they're all made out of thin fiberglass and can be "augmented" in their poses with a Dremmel, a little duct tape and a spread of Bondo here and there, but I haven't felt the need to do that yet.
Hands are ALWAYS a pain because that's where you run into mucho-dinero spent if you want poseable ones. This person sells hands for mannequins--
BARGINBOY'S BUY-OUTS items - Get great deals on Category 17, Category 1 items on eBay Stores!
--but I haven't ordered from him yet. But I might as my trooper looks really stupid not being able to hold his blaster! I know you can make fingers out of coat hangar wire and tape, but the hands on these mannequins are hollow, so I'm not sure how to do that here.
Also, I found this, which is what I'm putting my SE ROTJ Fett on when it arrives--
Flexible Male Mannequin - MannequinStore.com
For $249.00, it's worth a shot, I think!
This is my next pet projet (I think I can cut wood still without hacking off a limb) --
bobamaker: Mannequin Stand Project (I'm sure we've all seen this)
So there you have it, thought I'd share. Happy hunting!