1 2 3
Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/17/18 7:16 p.m.

So, I never really got around to making build threads for any of my cars.  But I thought, who wants to see another WRX get a COB accessport?  Maybe someone would be interested in seeing what goes into making a full stormtrooper set of armor and props, the kind you see at movie premieres and parades?

I've been a huge Star Wars geek since 1977 at age 9.75 seeing the first movie in the theater.  The opening scenes with the blockade runner and destroyer in chase, the stormtroopers blasting their way thru the door.  I was hooked from then on.  But over the last 10 years or so I'd see the guys in movie-quality costumes and think "man I'd love to have one".  About 4 years ago I found the 501st at a local comic expo.  These guys pay top $$ for their suits, customize them to fit over months, and then not only do fun stuff like parades but even better they're heavily involved in charity work.  Hospitals, cancer wards, you name it. 

Turns out SWMBO went to HS with a 501st guy and when I saw an ad for armor on Facebook she forwarded my name to him for advice.  He gave me a few links and vendors back around April, and I decided I'm in.

So watch me turn this Big Brown Box of plastic into a trooper worthy of the Emperor himself.  I have to admit I'm way behind where I wanted to be.  The next Cincy Comic Expo is mid-September and I really want to be there in costume.  I was supposed to have a "mentor", someone local with experience to help and answer questions.  After I bought some stuff from mine he conveniently disappeared for the month of June...  I've been assigned another, who at least answer questions online quickly, and discovered a build party on Wednesday nights not far from work that I attend when I can.

Here I have dumped out everything and started figuring out the puzzle.  The blue is a protective film I need to peel, did the main pieces and will come back for the accessories later.  Dig those disco boots!  Another local score by a 501st with an extra pair of 12's, sweet!

Birthday present from SWMBO.  50 gal tote to haul a trooper around, just begging for decals.

A LOT of cutting is involved.  Even before you trim anything to size (like my girlie arms or leg length) there's quite a bit of flash to remove.  And I went with the 2mm ABS so those little Lexan scissors take some effort.  I couldn't feel the side of my finger for a week the first day of trimming.  Decided the gloves were useful as well as Empire worthy. (Handguards will cover the logo.  Thanks Harbor Freight!)

Did I mention the plastic can be sharp?

Most of the arm and leg pieces are cut in half, and you glue together using strips of ABS top and bottom.  You have to cut to size first, after the initial trim, and cut to length.  Rough up the section that will be glued (I discovered masking tape works well), then duct tape the inside to form the shape.

Here we see a completed bicep.  Duct tape inside, clamps on the ends, and rare earth magnets to press everything together in-between.  Rare earth magnets are your friend!  And enemy when you place them too close together on your work table.  SNAP!

"Shoulder bells" are pretty simple.  Some elastic glued to either end.  Later they get attached to the bicep with straps, as do many other pieces, but for now I'm building all the main parts.  Then I hope to attach everything together, without having to trim too much more.  Luckily I have scissors and a Dremel if needed.

I bought the helmet assembled and painted from the previously mentioned "mentor", and saved quite a bit of work.  But it needed padding inside for a custom fit, and electronics for the voice and fans to prevent fogging.

Second photo shows the fans added at the bottom that run off of a cellphone battery bank that will be hidden inside the chest piece.  The ICOMM microphone is just sitting in there for the photo, might try to permanent mount later.  For now it will be worn on my head before the helmet, and a voice changer and speaker will also be hidden in the chest piece.  The ICOMM has 8 different sound effects but I programmed one constant one that sounds like a stormtrooper in Episode 4.

I'll see if I can add a video clip when I'm done starting this thread...

I realized I have a domain for my photography so I have hosting capability that won't disappear if Photofukit decides to be a jerk.  So I figured why not show the work involved, and give me inspiration when I feel like couching with Netflix.  Hope someone enjoys it...

miatafan
miatafan New Reader
7/17/18 7:24 p.m.

Following...

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/17/18 7:24 p.m.
Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/17/18 7:26 p.m.

^---that was a test of random effects.  Decided one was enough.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
7/17/18 7:37 p.m.

Love the build thread! yes

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/18/18 6:45 a.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo :

Thanks!  Dig those boots:

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
7/18/18 5:50 p.m.

I've always wanted to see how much work goes into one of these. Substantial effort!

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/19/18 7:00 a.m.

Last night a little more progress.  Girlie arms mean cutting A LOT off and making the curve much sharper, = pain in the ass to glue.  But it's done.

And the handguards.  Reglued one that felt too tight, might add velcro to the back side for extra hold.

wae
wae SuperDork
7/19/18 8:11 a.m.

Velcro is good, but you might want to check on either snaps or magnets.  We've found that the Velcro tends to shift a bit more and come loose over time.  Snaps will hold things in place best, but I'm not sure if you can get the snaps to fit and stick to what you're dealing with.  You can sew magnets into the fabric layer, though, and then bend some thin-ish bits of metal that can be glued to the inside of the plastic and it'll stay in place really well.  

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/19/18 11:38 a.m.

In reply to wae :

Someone else said he uses thin magnets.  I can't have anything that shows on top like I think a snap or rivet would.  Many other guys put a second strap on the back end of the guard, so you have one over the palm and one over the wrist basically.  Might try a magnet.

FunkyCricket
FunkyCricket New Reader
7/19/18 2:05 p.m.

I use the circle rare earth magnets that you sew around under the fabric, and gorilla or fabric glue inside the object I want to stay (MAKE SURE THEY ARE ATTRACT AND NOT PUSH!) this puts a layer of cloth (or what ever) between the magnets and it can stay pretty well.

I've used this for wrist guards and closures where I won't want seams. I haven't done storm trooper armor, but it has worked good for my silly cosplays with my kids. My son was ezra bridger last year and we used a bunch of the magnets to get that cartoon feel of the overlap seams.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
7/19/18 3:12 p.m.

Damn, those boots are killer.

FWIW Harbor Freight has those rare earth magnets pretty cheap, they're over by the scissors.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/19/18 9:28 p.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo :

They do?  Sweet, I've bought 3 different sets from Amazon, and it's always trial-n-error trying to find what will work, vs junk refrigerator-worthy magnets, and still need more.  I may have to stop by this weekend before I start on the legs.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
7/20/18 5:39 a.m.

In reply to Jerry :

Yep, they are packaged in a little plastic tube, about 10 per package. I used a set for attaching mosquito screen to my truck for a camping trip. They're small but pretty strong.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/22/18 5:52 p.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo :

They seem pretty small but I bought two tubes just in case.

No photos but I made a little progress last night.  Trimmed the tops of the thigh pieces while watching The Last Jedi.  I planned to glue both tops today, but as I was finishing last night I got a text from my mom, or mom's phone anyway.  "Hi this is Cindy your mom's friend, we're at the hospital call me or text xxx-xxx-xxxx, she didn't want to worry you but I thought you should know". surprise

Yeah mom, that's exactly how to worry me.  I ended up driving down to Cincinnati at 1015pm, got to the hospital around 1115pm just as they were leaving.  UTI and "fatty liver".  Cindy took her home since her Lexus SUV would be waaaay more comfy than an Abarth on coilovers, I followed.  Ended up spending the night on the couch, which wasn't horrible but I've had better sleeps.  Tried to call various 24hr pharmacies around 8am only to find they either WEREN'T, or all the Walgreens had computer issues for the last day and couldn't fill anything.  Ended up going to the local mom&pop place she likes at 1015am.  Got home around 1130 just in time to eat then go to the Humane Society and photograph 15 new cat arrivals till 2pm.  I'm kind done today........  The Empire will understand right?  (right??)

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/23/18 6:07 p.m.

This news item just popped up for me, made me think of this thread.

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/23/entertainment/mark-hamill-stormtrooper-comic-con/index.htm

 

Mark Hamill apparently went to Comic Con wearing a stormtrooper suit.  No word on if anyone thought he was a little short to be a stormtrooper.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
7/23/18 6:55 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Oh no! He's turned to the dark side! Like father like son I guess.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
7/26/18 6:58 a.m.

Made some progress last night, glued the tops of the thighs that didn't happen Sunday.  You can see one of the cats "helping" me with the directions.

Probably start the shins this weekend, at least the tops.  Everyone says the backside and sizing is a pain for both parts, and might include boiling water to soften the plastic slightly and form the shape better, or at least relieve tension on the sides needing finishing.  Might wait till next Wednesday and join the build party in Sharonville after work.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/2/18 7:00 a.m.

Wednesday was "Leg Day" apparently.  Got the tops of the shins trimmed and glued.  Second photo shows the thighs already formed from last week and the shins gluing 24hrs.  Tonight I will remove the magnets and clamps, and might add a reinforcing tab of ABS to the ends of the thighs.  I've heard it adds strength, and also should cover up the fact that I didn't quite get 100% closure lol.

I hope to make it to a build party next week and get help sizing the 4 leg pieces trimming the backs.  Add the sniper knee to the left leg, a cover to the other, and done.  The shins get velcro added for putting on/removing, the thighs I think can get glued so they're over and done with.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/6/18 9:27 a.m.

The only update to add from this weekend was after looking over all 4 leg pieces I saw one thigh did not get glued very well.  One whole side was barely hanging on.  Separated almost completely then ran a line of glue the whole length, and used almost every magnet I own.  Much better.

I'll get help sizing Wednesday night, and finish by the weekend.  Almost time to start connecting all these built parts and look like a trooper!

FunkyCricket
FunkyCricket New Reader
8/7/18 10:20 a.m.

Have you joined a 501st chapter? Just curious. One of my self goals, is when I lose weight, to do a real top notch star wars cosplay.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/7/18 8:45 p.m.

In reply to FunkyCricket :

I can't officially join until I finish the suit, and submit photos for approval.  But it will be with the Ohio Garrison.  Already on a forum and an Ohio Garrison Academy Facebook group for noobs like me to ask questions and veterans to help the new guys.

If you want to go with a stormtrooper of some sort (a TK from the original trilogy or even clone/FirstOrder), you will realistically invest over $1k by the time you're done.  I've seen people selling their completed costumes to fund new ones, they've all been $800 and up real quick.  You can go with a "soft costume" like an Imperial Officer (think Tarken) cheaper.  They all get to play at events and humanitarian "troops" like hospital visits.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/14/18 7:01 a.m.

Got a little work done on the thighs this past weekend.  Trimmed both, glued one, used every magnet I had so still need to glue the other.  Next will be shins/calves but the back side used velcro to close up so no magnets needed.  Woo hoo!

On Saturday the local Ohio Garrison had a picnic at Sharon Woods in Cincinnati.  I got a chance to meet quite a few 501st I hadn't yet.  And most of us brought our helmets/hats for a group photo:

I really hoped people playing Pokemon Go would walk by like what the berkeley.....

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/15/18 7:02 a.m.

Gluing that last thigh bit last night.

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
8/21/18 7:03 a.m.

Sunday was productive.  Hot water allows me to form the shins a little and reduce the stress of the opening between the two parts.

Glued the cover strip to one side.  Velcro goes on the other this time, since it wouldn't fit over the boots if glued completely.

Almost forgot I needed that sexy undersuit AND the sexier boots to make sure everything fits correctly.  Disco fever!

Then the ammo pack for the right thigh.  You use a shot glass to cut a radius on the bottom edges, then fight like a bitch with the whole thing to form around the thigh.  The armour maker calls it a 10 handed job, he wasn't wrong.

A completed thigh!  Tonight I add some velcro, and the left knee.  Pretty soon it'll look like a stormtrooper, not just bits of plastic.

1 2 3
Birthdays
Our Preferred Partners
jgcqar8Pn5Y7l9pW45ujBLu6LnGTHCtEEex5iWtpnEuvAIryeR99tqQIDCwLpZbw