Are there any good retro JRPGs where armor and weapons actually change your sprite/model?
I played through Soul Blader recently and I was disappointed that the character sprite never changed, considering it's such a simple game and the equipment already had inventory sprites. It would've added a good bit of personality to the game.
Weapon sprite changes were generally the most common since it didn't require redesigning the character.
It's minor, but Dragon Warrior 1 had weapon/shield equipped vs not equipped sprites. Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Robotrek, etc had different weapon sprites too.
If you're looking for armor differences, I think that is much more uncommon. Redesigning armor meant redesigning the entire sprite most times. Dragon Warrior 3's magic bikini and revealing swimsuit changed female sprites to bikini mode (in NES, all classes looked the same in a bikini; SFC has different sprites for each if memory serves). Faxanadu was already mentioned..
Not JRPGs, but Zelda 1 and LTTP had its swords/armor colors (LTTP apparently changed gauntlet colors, too).
I feel like I'm missing out on a really obvious one, but it isn't coming to mind..
Also, not related to OP's question, but I like how the back flap of the Soul Blader package is actually Jyutei Senki, a completely unrelated game.
>SD3 hentai CG sets with versions for each of Riesz's classes
Vandal Hearts games do that, you can even see the armor pieces your characters wear.
Other than that you're not gonna get much more I'm afraid, unless you consider job change costumes a thing.