Original design thread: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/32601-tk-helmet-interior-parts/?p=422272 Sales thread: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/37770-tk-helmet-interior-kit/?p=503219 My customary "Build Music" link - because "Good Troops Are On The Way": https://youtu.be/6OxE1p_YKOI I'll start off by saying this thread covers ONE method of assembling my helmet interior parts kit. For other ideas, Twnbrother kindly posted his assembly steps towards the end of the design thread (first link above). So, you bought a kit and now you have a box full of raw parts. This kit was designed to be somewhat universal so it could fitted to YOUR helmet. Many of the parts are bigger than necessary, which allows you to trim them to your liking or to your fitment. I always begin with the vocoder part since it's really the centerpiece around which all other parts orbit. Below, I've traced along the groove which is formed into the part. This represents a "starting point" which will allow you to begin fitting the part to your helmet. Mark the part and carefully cut, sand or dremel to remove the plastic below your marks.
Once you reach this point, you'll need to start fitting the part to your helmet.
The method I used is very similar to how I fitted the ears on the outside of the helmet.
Place the part inside the helmet, maybe even tape it down so it doesn't move, then make pencil marks anywhere the part is touching the helmet.
Trim away the areas you marked. Fit the part again. Keep repeating this process until you're satisfied with the fit.
The more you trim, the less space the part takes inside your helmet.
You have to balance how much detail you want to leave versus how much room you need for your face.
Also, I removed padding from the rear of my helmet and added padding to the front (in the forehead area).
This pushes the helmet forward on your head and allows more room for the kit.
The following cut is OPTIONAL. Later in the build, you will find a template to make a metal shroud which will fit in this slot. If you are unsure, skip this step until you determine if you like the metal accent or not. I used a razor saw and a hacksaw blade to cut the slot. Completed metal shroud slot. This is really more of a general modeling tip than anything else... Next time you're at the store with your wife, do yourself a favor and accompany her through the makeup aisles. LOL, she'll love you for it and you'll be glad you're a man when it's over. Single guys, good luck. Who knows, maybe you'll meet a lass without a ring on her finger while shopping... I regularly buy packs of finger nail files, cotton balls, makeup wedges, Q-tips and probably 10 other items I'm forgetting. These things are CHEAP and super handy for scale model making. Because they're cheap, you don't have to feel guilty about using a dozen and pitching them in the trash when they're getting worn out. In my opinion, not worrying about going through consumables too fast leads to better model making...ever used a piece of sandpaper to within an inch of it's life? Don't. Throw it out and get a fresh piece. It works better and your results will be better. Resin parts. I pre-washed every part in Dawn concentrated dish detergent as soon as they came out of the molds, but doing it again can't hurt. Better to prevent paint adhesion problems BEFORE you start painting. Use dishwashing detergent and an old toothbrush. Many of these parts are oversized to allow trimming and fitting. The part on the right is the probably the most oversized part in the kit. I used a razor saw to rough cut a step in the part, then files, finger nail files and sandpaper to fit it. I sanded the round parts to be slightly thinner. Hold them in place against the vacuum formed part and keep working until you feel they look good. Proportions. I always fit things, then take a step back and ask myself, "If I saw that in a movie, would I accept it without question, or balk at it and think I could do better?" Modified resin parts glued to the vocoder part using CA glue. A little goes a long way to avoid glue from squishing out the sides and running down the part. Mic tip backers. Either style mic tip will work. I prefer Vaj's 3D printed mic tips because I can disassemble them. Vaj's mic tip sales thread: http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/31288-vajs-accurate-3d-printed-three-part-mic-tips-hovi-mix-pa2-ongoing-run/?p=402019 Later in the build, you'll need to pay close attention to the screw length. Resin mic tips will also work. Later in the build, you'll need to pay close attention to the screw length. From the photos above, I CA glued the nut and washer INTO the resin detail piece. Be careful not to get CA glue on the threads. After doing this, these resin parts become "blind nut plates" for your mic tips. Here's why I needed to glue the nuts into the resin parts above. Figure out what angle you want the tubing to coming off the mic tips and CA glue the tubing connectors to the mic tip backers. After the glue sets, drill a small hole (smaller than the nut threads!) through the tubing connector from back to front. Then you can come back and drill a larger hole from the front if you need it. DON'T drill through the nut threads. Scratch building! Download PDF templates here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a1ujsazvuq8ywri/Helmet%20Kit%20Templates.pdf?dl=0 Detail parts for mic tip backers cut from sheet styrene. This is above and beyond, but I enjoy it. And it satisfies the OCD itch... Another angle showing the "step" between the two different thickness parts. Sheet styrene is always nice to have around the shop since you can quickly fabricate all kinds of stuff with it. That's how I justify buying it... Same routine as before with drilling the holes. It's easier to come in from the back with a small "centering hole", then enlarge it from the front. If you drill holes through the parts before assembly, the odds of the holes lining up with the other parts are approximately 3,720 to 1. Plastruct model parts. It's amazing this place is still in business. ILM model makers used many parts produced by Plastruct on Star Wars models. Closer to home, I work at an industrial gas company and we have a model of one of our plants in the conference room. It's 8 feet tall and every valve and pipe is represented on that model. Hell, we've used the model to figure out where a pipe goes in reality after it crosses through the outer casing. Veteran operators claim the model cost $35,000 in 1976 money. Anyway, you have Plastruct parts in your kit. I'm not 100% sure, but it's my best guess for what somebody used to make the Visual Dictionary helmet details. The parts in the kit: First, CA glue the little tiny elbows into the pipe so they don't get lost. Next, eyeball the valve stems and cut them. I used a single edge razor blade. You also may notice the "valve handle" at the top of the stem looks smaller in this picture than the preceding picture. I chucked the valve stem in my drill and used a file to reduce the diameter and thickness of the handle. Proportions. With small things, even a little change in size can make a big difference. You'll be gluing these to a flat surface, so I sanded one side of the valve body flat. Cut the pipe at an angle with a single edge razor blade. Cut as desired or look at the completed photos for ideas. I filed a notch using a small round file for gluing the remaining valve piece. All I was trying to do here was to match the Visual Dictionary image. Parts assembled and glued together Detail parts glued to the mic tip backer assemblies.
When you install your mic tips, make sure the screw doesn't contact or break your detail pieces off.
If the screw hits the detail pieces, shorten the screw with a dremel - a LITTLE at a time.
There's a very small window for the correct mic tip screw length with the detail pieces installed. Back to the templates for the metal vocoder detail. You can find thin hobby metal sheets in craft stores or some hardware stores. This metal sheet is so thin, I literally cut it with a pair of scissors (the kind I normally use to cut paper!) Parts made from the paper templates: There's probably a dozen ways to attach these parts to the inside of your helmet. I believe in total overkill for most things I build, so I used aluminum standoffs and socket head screws.
By the way, the two 25 packs of 0-80 button head screws are for adding detail to the ear pieces and are not required to build the kit.
If you don't get those little screws, it cuts the price in half. Up to you. I usually go straight to McMaster for hardware needs, but you could also take your chances at the local hardware store. I know people who complain McMaster is too expensive, but they have what I need 99.9% of the time, which is worth a premium price to me. That, and their shipping is ridiculously fast. McMaster shopping list: In the following pictures, the longer standoffs are the WRONG size, but I kept these pictures because it makes it really easy to see the difference. Use your 3/4" standoffs in place of the long standoffs pictured. The shorter standoffs are 1/2". Drill holes in the vocoder part, insert screws from the front and thread the standoffs onto the screws from the back. Same thing, viewed from the top. I laughed while grabbing build photos from my Flickr accoiunt, so I included this diversion for your pleasure... I was at a trade show looking to purchase a CNC milling machine and came across the following caution sign. Apparently, this machine can cause serious bodily harm by removing parts of your face, arm and leg at the same time. Please BE SAFE while building!!! This is the best "simple" way I could think of for locating standoffs inside the helmet. (You could also use 6-32 transfer punches, but they're expensive and most people don't have them...) I rolled up three small balls of clay and placed them on the ends of the standoffs. Then, carefully place the part inside the helmet and apply pressure. The clay might not stick, but it should make a little smudge that you can see if you hold it up to the light.
Alternatively, you could press chunks of clay inside the helmet first, then press the standoffs into the clay.
Part pressed into clay chunks. Take special notice here of how high the vocoder part is sitting in the nose area. There's a HUGE gap between the part and the inside of the helmet - probably close to 1/2". This is WHY I switched to 3/4" standoffs. The standoffs you see in this picture are 1-1/4" long. Pay attention to gaps and spacing. At this point, it might also be a good idea to reassemble your helmet (if you took it apart) and try it on with the vocoder part taped in place. If your face is touching the part, remove the part and trim more.
Closeup of standoff pushed into clay. Here's your sign to switch to shorter standoffs...
Part removed, leaving impressions of standoff locations.
ALL THAT just to show you where to rough up the interior of the helmet for good adhesion. I used a file to just scratch the interior of the helmet.
Seriously, the last few steps took longer to explain than it actually took to do it.
Pictures might be a little out of order here...there was a lot going on with this build and in "life" while this was photographed...
For attaching standoffs to the helmet, I like to use JB Weld SteelStik. I'm sure there are similar products for overseas builders.
It's a two-part epoxy stick. Cut off a slice, knead the two parts together and apply.
You can find it at hardware most stores. I like it because it makes a fairly strong bond and sets in like 10 minutes.
Use the same process as you did with the clay and let the epoxy set BEFORE you remove the vacuum formed part.
After the epoxy hardens, remove the screws and pull off the plastic part. The standoffs should remain in the helmet.
Mix up more epoxy and build up around the standoffs to help make a really secure bond.
Another great quality for most epoxy sticks - you can dip your fingers in water to really smooth out the epoxy before it sets.
Here you can see where I've epoxied the standoffs in place.
So, it was somewhere around this point in my build I decided to reinforce the mic tip area. I don't know if everybody's helmets are like this, but mine was REALLY THIN where the mic tip screw goes through. Like PAPER thin. So, I applied a few small pieces of fiberglass cloth. I didn't really feel like mixing thin epoxy resin to wet out the fiberglass, so I used CA glue. Worked like a charm. I've also heard of builders using "poor man's fiberglass", which is scraps of T-shirt material and CA glue. I hit that with some zip kicker and started sanding.
Then, I applied putty to smooth things out. My preference here is Milliput Superfine White. This stuff works very similar to the epoxy sticks mentioned above and smooths out BEAUTIFULLY with a wet finger. It takes a little longer to set, so I usually apply it "right before bed".
Tear off some little scraps of sandpaper and smooth everything out.
Paint. I've had really great results with TK armor and Krylon Fusion (For Plastic). It claims to be a "no-prep superbond paint". Far be it from me NOT to prep, especially for paint, so I lightly scuffed up the rest of the interior with a Scotchbrite pad, then released the Kraken! And I'm satisfied with the results!
At this point, you should know exactly how the vocoder part is going to sit inside the helmet and have everything trimmed as much as you need. Slide the paper "metal detail" template into the slot and trace along the edges of the part. Here's mine for reference. Trim the metal part to match.
Cheek boxes. I purposely made these boxes smooth. Most troopers put on their helmet by turning it sideways, sliding it down, then turn it face forward.
No point in having stuff sticking out that might catch your nose or beard... If you want to add detail (like Twnbrother's build!) it's easy enough to glue on.
I attached the boxes with standoffs using the same procedures as above, so I won't go through all those instructions again. I used one 1/2" standoff at the rear and one 3/4" spacer at the front. I think two 1/2" standoffs might also work. I also traced the diameter of the corrugated tubing onto the end of the box. Then I drew a smaller diameter inside my traced line because I want the box to grab the tubing by the corrugation. If that doesn't make sense, look at the pictures. Harder to explain than to see.
I used a Dremel and a small cylindrical stone to remove the plastic up to the smaller diameter line.
Here's my idea on how to hold the tubing in the end of the box.
I set the lid into the next corrugation.
Here's how it looks from the top.
Standoffs epoxied into the cheeks.
Both sides. Because the TK helmet is a little "wonky" or not completely symmetrical side to side, I think I ended up using 1/2" standoffs in 3 places and a 3/4" standoff towards the front on the left side. You can see that one seems to be standing up a little taller than the rest. You'll have to play around with it to see what works best for your helmet.
Ears. Left side is out of the box. Right side is after sanding and dremeling.
I tried to thin these down quite a bit, but still allow room for a small speaker if I decide to go that route in the future.
Things like this make some people crazy. I find it strangely cathartic.
I used a divider (thanks Sith Lord!) to lay out evenly spaced holes on the ear pieces.
I just took a guess and set a random opening and started poking little dots.
You can do the same thing with a regular compass and make pencil marks.
I think I adjusted twice before I was happy with the result.
You could also adjust for 12 screws each and get away with only one 25 pack of 0-80 screws...
After lightly marking each hole, I went back with an ice pick and poked all the holes a little deeper.
Since I'm not installing speakers right now, I needed a way to attach the ears and standoffs were not the answer.
The answer came in the form of the beverage I happened to be drinking...specifically the cap.
I fished more caps out of the trash and used my Krylon Fusion paint to camouflage them a little.
Holes drilled and 0-80 button head detail screws installed.
Had to break from the helmet project for a Comic-Con. It's a long, strange story, but someone I didn't know called me to request an R2D2 appearance at a convention. After chatting for a few minutes (and determining how this person got my number), I agreed to make an appearance. Great venue for handing out business cards! This little Godzilla kept visiting us...probably 30 times, with her parents in tow. She wasn't too sure about whether R2 was a threat until the last few visits, and then it was LOVE. They had to drag her away after the last visit. Mom said she's Godzilla in real life at home...
This was right before Predator threatened to blow up the whole place with his LED suicide bomb. My wife rose up out of the mud and chased him away.
Interesting note for Star Wars fans - the holder for the gun on his shoulder is an AT-AT leg. Is this for real? Is that really what they used or did this guy invent that? You meet some interesting people at Comic-Cons. If you haven't been to one, I highly recommend it.
OK, back on the never ending job... all standoffs epoxied into place and painted. Helmet assembly can commence! Rejoice!
This is a mock up assembly. I purposely left all the parts raw white plastic (unpainted) for this assembly thread.
I figured everything would show up better in pictures.
For part two, I'm going to try installing fans and electronics and maybe painting in part three.
We'll see how it goes. I'm sure these parts will be removed and reinstalled a dozen more times before I'm done.
Does that seem about right...Twnbrother?
Hopefully, this helps some of the troopers who bought this kit to get started!
Let me know if you have ideas or easier alternatives for installing the parts!