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Imperial Attaché[TK]
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About sharkbait

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    Central California
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    Photography, writing, Doctor Who, motorcycles, scuba diving, traveling, Tremors, music, movies


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    CCG South Valley Squad
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  1. 97. StocktonCon - Day 1, Stockton, CA - 9/11 PHASMA'S DEBUT!!! AT LONG LAST, SHE'S COME OUT TO PLAY! I later heard the alien got third place in the costume content, so that was cool!
  2. 96. Fowler Trunk or Treat Drive Through, Fowler, CA - 10/29 On the right. They were expecting some 5,000 people- and I'm pretty sure they exceeded it!
  3. There were a couple of tweaks done, and a few more "final" thoughts and advice: I used black electrical tape for the black indents on the biceps, forearms and ab box: The wrist guards are there, they just like to slip under the forearms. I'm working on a fix for that. Basically it will be keeping the forearms (and therefore biceps) up high enough so they don't slide down and slide over the wrist guards. She's SO SHINY AND REFLECTIVE. My stupid belt boxes came off AGAIN. Well, two of them. The Chicago screw idea is great, if it works, and it has for the smaller rectangle boxes/horizontal that are flush with the belt have been fine, it's two that are vertical that get bumped and moved. I'm thinking velcro. Just sew some onto the belt, glue onto the back of the boxes, my velcro is good so it should stay for a troop. If it pops off in the box or while dressing, oh well, that's easy to deal with. When you suit up and take photos you realize how much of this costume is covered by the cape. So much hard work just hidden! If I notice any trooping tweaks I'll continue to post and update. So far I've just walked around the house a bit. Still in the getting used to it "don't trip and fall on your face" phase of slow, calculated and stiff movements.
  4. Finally, at long last- SHE'S APPROVED!!! My beautiful shiny girl is finally ready for some trooping! Now to wait for a troop that's longer than it takes me to suit up in her...
  5. Well… as you might have guessed by my dropping off the radar for the past few months that things didn’t go as planned. She wasn’t approved. The paint was deemed “too aluminum.” The fit, it was remarked, was perfect, it was just the paint. “Just.” 2020- the gift that keeps on giving. Seriously, so many things, worldwide, state-wide, local and personal, first the world imploded around me and then my life imploded. Just ugh. Screw. This. Year. I wrote at least five drafts of an update, edited them heavily, and deleted them without posting. I really struggled with what to say and how to say it. I even drafted a sales post for her, but I deleted that, too. The moral of this story and the tl;dr version is this: You have to shell out for the spray chrome: it’s the price of entry. Know this from the beginning, budget it in from the start and you’ll go far. I’ve come to the conclusion based on others’ experiences that Al-Clad is not great for longevity and will likely need to be re-done as much as once a year. For that reason, I don’t recommend it. (If a Shiny Sister or Brother in the future cracks this code and makes it work, then by all means, disregard this, but as of now, and my own experiences and knowledge, I don’t actively recommend it). I ended up sending her to Chrome Factory, LLC in Las Vegas. I couldn’t let her beat me. I’m just too stubborn. Never underestimate how stubborn I am. I am mostly happy with CF. I am a bit hesitant to recommend them based on my experience, but I haven’t written them off completely. I would perhaps look into the spray chrome place back East (I forget the name, but other Phasmas have used them). The Good: The spray chrome is beautiful. It’s incredibly reflective, it’s chrome, it’s pretty durable- fingerprints and smudges aren’t automatic and rub off very easily, light scoots across the hardwood floors don’t scratch it up, scraping away dried liquid latex with various household brushes, fingers, and fingernails didn’t do anything to the chrome underneath (speaking of the blasters here, more on those later). The price was reasonable ($1.5k for spray chrome (plus $200 for old paint removal/prep) which is from my research, a good price if not the industry standard). He’s done several other Phasmas before and also Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. He knows his way around costumes and the lingo and unique challenges that goes with them. The Bad: I felt a few parts were bit sloppy and two sets of pieces were completely missed (yet they were wrapped up meticulously in plastic wrap like all the other parts, so it should have been noticed. I admit I have high standards. (Photos of all this below). Despite me telling him about four or five times (in writing, we were conversing via e-mail) that parts of the blasters were to remain black- they returned entirely chromed. The communication was good in the beginning, but broke down later (which, at this point, I’m just convinced in a prerequisite to be a 501st level vendor as I hear it like a broken record so often across the board with rare exceptions). I am mostly willing to blame COVID for a lot of the following issues: It was supposed to be a timeline of 4 – 6 weeks. I was fully excepting and okay with 6 – 10 weeks. After the six week mark, I started messaging him asking for status. It was always “done and ready to go” and was going to go out that Friday/that Monday/within a few days. We did this about three times, but no BBB on my doorstep and no tracking. The last time I asked if there was tracking for that last “I shipped it,” I never got a reply, but about four days later I had my BBB on my doorstep. Like I said, I’m mostly willing to blame COVID as this was all happening in late March/April when things really started going down. He was unable to work and tired to, got caught, kicked out of the shop for a while, there was a gap before he could get back in, etc. I wouldn’t worry too much about this if you send it in in the future, assuming we don’t go on full on lockdown again. The riffle also arrived to him broke, he fixed it, and it was broken again upon return to me. I stuck a dowel in it and re-glued it and I think that will do the trick now that it’s not being shipped anymore. (I believe this is a design issue, not the fault of CF). Toes and knees were missed, but will probably blend overall (laying it all out on the floor together they seem to kind of meld in). Smudge/scrape on bottom of inner shin. On the inside, so I’m not worried. Drip on the front of the shin. You can really see the reflectiveness of the chrome here, considering you can nearly make out my phone case. (It says “I am SHERLOCKED” in case you were wondering, for all my fellow BBC Sherlock fans). Underside of the helmet not chrome. Further changes, updates, and projects for completion: I fixed the riffle as I said, with the dowel down the body shaft and into the butt stock. I punched a hole for the dowel with my soldering iron and used a combo of E6000 and CA Glue to glue it back together. I used liquid latex again to mask off all the blaster parts to remain chrome and hit them with a coat of sandable primer and then glossy black. Liquid latex still sucks to get off even if it’s not weeks later. Which, by the way, don’t wait weeks, it’s a damn nightmare. Though waiting just long enough for the paint to dry (in 100+ F degree heat) and then trying to peel it off was only marginally better, so… just know you’re in for a challenge, thumbs rubbed raw and you’ll need patience. I also found a scrub brush like for the kitchen sink worked decently well in loosening and taking up the last bits. You do have to put muscle into it regardless. I’ll be touching up any black parts that scratched off/got missed with some black acrylic paint. Riffle mostly done, still some more latex to clean off. That stuff is stubborn, as you can see by the large pile of tiny scraps. Pistol is also mostly done, looking a bit better than the rifle, probably because it’s smaller and had less to deal with. I tightened the neck opening on the cape, just added an extra fold and sewed it down (it was just slightly big and showing a bit more shoulder than was ideal). I really love this cape. I tightened one shoulder connection. I added a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which I keep around for Jawa masks) into the front of each ankle spat for stabilization. I added the lens back in the helmet (I removed it for chroming purposes). I re-added a couple of Velcro connections I had removed for chroming- back to chest, yoke to chest. E6000 does not really like the chrome, so I roughed up the connection to help it adhere. I’m not entirely sure the yoke/chest connection will work or hold, so I might end up with a snap set up. We’ll see. If I were doing it from the start again, I’d probably just work out a snap set up and be done from the start. A couple of the Velcro connections for the gaskets inside a bicep came loose, so I re-glued it with a combo of E6000 and CA Glue. I also think I’ll try and remove the gaskets only when I have to. Less stress on the Velcro connections plus easier to get on and off. I ditched my second set of gloves (Nomex) and swapped them for stretchy compression ones (like we use for Jawas now), because the Nomex were just a bit large in the fingers and were too tight under the armor. They were kind of painful and putting my hands to sleep. I re-added the Velcro attachment to the palm for the fingers. I was smart this time, and split the seam to better access the palm. The fingertips still want to pop off, so I think I might need to add a bit of Velcro or try a stronger magnet on the outside of the glove. The magnets are still in the inside of the fingers from the first failed attempt. I also fixed a crack in the side of the abs. Third Time’s the Charm Approval Photos: Wish me luck, again! It’s 2020 so we can all use all the luck we can get.
  6. Heh. Full update below! (And also nice chatting with you yesterday!)
  7. Awesome! My Phasma is a KB as well. I have a Jimmy helmet (and also a Thorrson helmet, but I'm using the Jimmy for the actual costume). Feel free to ask me any questions. My build thread is up here in the Phasma build threads as well (and she's TFA, too).
  8. 95. The Weekend Blender (Day 2), Clovis, CA - 2/22 Ladies of the Legions panel!
  9. 94. The Weekend Blender (Day 1), Clovis, CA - 2/22 A fine looking group of TKs!
  10. 93. Rise of Skywalker @ Lemoore NAS, Lemoore - 1/31 Boba's FIRST TROOP! And Nihilus' first troop in that costume. Bonus, the ESB Crowd (from the BEST movie):
  11. Aw yeah!!! Finally!!! It's really me under there. I'm about 6'4'' - 6'5'' in all. I can't actually bend my arms enough to put the bucket on myself, so I now I get to tell a handler, "Bucket me!" when getting ready. Still needs minor tweaks, but they're dwindling, at long last. I need to tighten the elastic connections on a couple of the boot spats, glue a spacer in the left ankle spat (left and right are the same size, yet left wants to rattle and is loose), take in/tighten glove fingers so the finger armor fits better and the fabric doesn't bunch up and generally be too tight because of the bunching, the bottom chest plate to bottom back plate doesn't close and therefore connect fully- it's just not big enough, so I need to adjust the velcro attachment and maybe shim it. Thankfully it will be hidden. I might need to take in the gaskets a little bit, as I've lost weight since I measured for them, but that's just taking in a seam. And then those damn blasters. I have to pick away at the liquid latex and get it off, then I basically start over on paint: fillable primer over the entire thing, black glossy coat, mask off parts to stay black, then champagne mix Alclad it. I'm going to be disassembling my air brush to see if there's a blockage somewhere that's preventing paint. That wouldn't make a lot of sense since it's never had paint run through it before and has actually never been used beyond hooking up the compressor and checking air flow, but it's all we could come up with. I would love to finish them before the debut troop so I can have a blaster (I feel so awkward without one in full armor- I'm missing something), but between the weather and the effort and time it's going to take to even get them cleaned up to where I can fillable primer and black coat them, I have no idea if I'll have time. It's a Con so I'll probably just cheat with the pike if I have nothing else. Anything goes at Cons. New photos sent for approval, now we just wait and cross our fingers! I'm feeling so much better about her now- everyone at the build party loved her, the neighbors driving by were slowing down and checking us out, and she went on a whole lot easier this round. The sunlight did wonders. We had a total of five app picks taken that day- our Squad's newest ESB Boba, myself, and three new Mandos!
  12. Pretty much! I keep thinking I'm at the very tail end... there's only so many things left to do, therefore so many things to go wrong... but every time I turn around there's something else to do!
  13. Well, that was hugely anticlimactic. I submitted Friday night, was all set to debut her at the game on Saturday... and then... nope. Somehow in my packing and trying to organize, my freaking gasket harness didn't make it into the bin- and I didn't get to troop. Thankfully I found it on the floor in the garage (narrowly missing where the car tire tread would have backed over it). Without it I have no shoulder gaskets, no bicep attachment (therefore no arm attachments), and no thigh attachments (no leg attachments). The event was still super fun and handling was a lot of fun. Everyone who trooped and handled had a great time, which is what matters. And then I need broad daylight for photos, even though we tried really hard with lights, a white background, camera strobes AND a shop light. So new approval photos to be taken on Saturday, outside, at a build party (hoping for good weather! It's dark, foggy and wintry today). I've found it's difficult to capture the true nature of the paint- it really likes direct light best. There is a distinct fuzzy reflection in direct light, which fits with the weathered nature of TFA Phasma, but in some photos it's just not coming across. I warmed both the blasters and the airbrush paint and still nothing- airflow but no paint. I give up. I have to start completely over on the paint on the blasters. I decided as a last ditch effort with a specialty rattle can I found- the picture of the product on an actual piece looked like the perfect pale champagne color. Nope, it's way too bright and way to dense, if that makes sense. Not at all what was pictured or advertised. Should have known. Also liquid latex is not meant to be left on for extended periods of time. I'm having a hell of a time picking it off. And it's taking some of the coloring with it. I need to strip it all off, hit the entire blaster with filler primer, then black, then mask, then airbrush, remove latex ASAP, and pray. I'm beginning to think this costume is cursed. I know there aren't a ton of Shiny Sisters (and Brothers) out there, but did anyone else have just such huge and consistent issues like I'm having? It just feels ridiculous at this point. It does give me more time to tweak even more things. I need to cut off the wonky tiny trim from the bottom of the ab plate, and mount a new, flat one there, for belt connections. It will never stay in place as is. I'll also add on on the kidney, which will keep the butt plate in place where it should be, not way high like it's wanting to sit. I had to tighten a bunch of elastic connections. I also need to add more to keep the parts in firm place. Somehow my left shin spat is loose and the right is perfect, though I used the actual shins in their actual size over my actual boots to size them. I'm pretty sure the chest connection needs work, but it will be okay for a few troops and photos. Longevity-wise it will need a better connection- that at least is the kit and the armor design itself, not me. So I'm afraid to even put a new proposed debut date, lest I jinx myself, but the next event worth taking the time to put her on is our Weekend Blender, a two-day con at the end of February. So I guess that's it.
  14. Well, the bad news is the magnet closure didn't work. The good news is they were easy to remove. I had a bad feeling about it and test fit it at the 24 hour cure mark (I leave E6000 for 48 hours), and it was a disaster. I think the concept works (well, I know it does, because a friend and fellow Squad member did it with his KB FOTK and it worked, I copied the design from him). It just doesn't work if you've got a snug or very fitted armor. Then I think the pieces shifted a bit when gluing, and so they didn't line up as perfectly as they did when I left them. Basically the magnets just didn't line up perfectly (and they have to be PERFECT), it's an awkward spot on a woman (contending with hips and bust, one would be enough), and it's a snug fit, so the magnets just didn't have the strength to hold. I ripped them out and have snap plates gluing now. Probably should have gone this way to begin with, because several of my concerns about using the magnet idea did turn out to be realized. My advice, and if I were doing this again- either shim it or make it fit so it's not a snug and fitted fit, but extra wiggle room and do the magnets, and line them up perfectly and use math and geometry to make them perfect, or just do snaps. You might want to do snaps anyway. I think women will benefit from snaps way more than men regardless- or at least women with prominent hips and/or busts. If it attached decently at the bottom, it wanted to overlap at the top, and if it fit right at the top, it wanted to splay open at the bottom. Are you ready for the weirdest selfies I've ever taken in my life? I had to stop working for a while because I dissolved into uncontrollable laughter after I took these. They're just too ridiculous. The cod fits in the right spot, the belt looks good. Except... Falcon wanted to get in on the action, too, and posed appropriately to match. The butt plate sits REALLY high. I need to fit it again with the armor, but even then, on previous test fits it's kinda riding high. I mean it's totally covered by her cape, but it just feels so weird. I don't exactly know how to fix this, as there's a very obvious connection at the top of the plate and that fits under the belt, and the belt goes where the belt goes, and the cod is sitting pretty good. I'm actually wondering if this is another male v. female body type issue- it's because of how it hits on the hips and then how the curves are different (on different people, as well). Not to keep blaming that, but hey, we're shaped differently, it's just life- and these suits were designed with men in mind- and very lean men at that. My TK butt plate does stick out similarly at the top, but it's larger and so it's less noticeable because it covers more and evens itself out. Way to give me a complex, armor. I can shimmy it down a bit, and that helps. I could raise the cod a bit, but it is pretty much sitting perfectly in terms of how much you see of it. I'll figure it out, it will just be an awkward and hilarious processes. I added the piece of Magic Eraser into the helmet in the front. It still touches my nose, but it's better. When I have time I need to take out the lens and trim it. For now, I think it's fine for a trial run- there's always issues you never find util your first troop anyway, it won't be the only thing I'll be tweaking. The shoes fit snug enough I can't shove a foam piece/Magic Eraser in there, so I'm back to trying to do an elastic stirrup around the boot ant my foot. Thankfully cutting elastic and sewing the ends together to make a loop is a less than five minute job. I finally just added a whole lot of corresponding Velcro to the belt for the butt plate attachment. It's longer than I need, I think, but then I'm covered in terms of attachment. Having the ab/kidney did help do the trick on placement. To Do: Elastic stirrups for shoes OH YEAH, AND THOSE DAMN BLASTERS. My dad's a genius- he said to put the paint bottle in warm water and hold the blasters directly in front of the space heater for a bit before trying to paint. Gonna try it and hope, it's all I've got left until Spring at this point. Test fit! Approval photos!
  15. Your greeblies and fingers look like pretty good casts, but I'd recommend hitting them with filler primer. Mine benefited greatly from it. Your Spaztix is looking good! I'm curious to see what you find for a protective clear coat. My guy used an automotive clear coat, but it was also over an automotive paint- not sure how that'd react with Spaztix.
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