I asked my shiny brothers and sisters for good vibes and well wishes over the weekend, and apparently it worked!
I got a ton done at my Build Party on Saturday, and even did more work on Sunday! It’s a miracle!
I decided that I have to have her ready for the chromer/painter by the end of the first week of October- he needs as much time with it as possible, and I just have to get it done.
I’m down to fiddly, tedious stuff, so I just needed to sit down and do it, because with a nose to the grindstone, it actually wouldn’t take that long. In our terms- in costuming terms not that long, not in normal people terms. The work pictured here is over three days. About six hours on Saturday, about three hours on Sunday morning, and three hours on Tuesday night (sidelined by a bad day at work and a migraine on Monday).
Some re-gluing/extra gluing of the ab boxes, a few were a bit loose (hard to glue):
I sanded down the wrist guards, but I apparently forgot to take a photo of it. If I remember I’ll add it later.
Seriously- invest in a belt sander. Even the one from Harbor Freight. It’s amazing.
Cut out the chest opening and glued the greeblie onto the back. I was debating, but I was right in the end: it looks way better with the deeper recess. I had a bit of trouble with the Dremel getting into the corners, but I think I’ll just touch it up a bit with the epoxy. From a distance of even two feet you really can’t tell now.
I also added the chest greeblies, as you can see. I hit them all with a couple of coats of Rustoleum 2x Primer- it filled in most of the little bubbles in the resin, and the final coats of paint of chroming will take care of the rest, if anyone but me can even see them now (I kinda doubt it). The weather is cooling down (thank god), but it was just warm enough in the sun to get them to set.
There’s a lot going on here. Ankle spats are getting their inner strip (can’t be fully closed, else you’d never get them on), thighs are being prepped for greeblie attachment, shins are also prepped for the same, gorilla Tusken mask looking utterly creepy in the corner, my TK bin in the background for two new TKs building theirs to look at for reference, my weakness, Red Vines, placed strategically close to me while working. Build party madness, I love it!
Shin ammo packs (no idea what they actually are, I’m calling them ammo packs, because they remind me of the thigh ammo packs on TKs).
The shin greeblies seem to attach pretty easily, but the thighs had more of a curve to them, and the greeblies were straight. I used the same technique I did for the V inner strip attachment bending- two sets of paint sticks on either side, proposed bend in the middle, heat gun (always moving), careful bending, cooling, then repeat for all four.
It worked surprisingly well, I was kind of afraid it wasn’t going to work at all.
I got a lot of stuff sanded down and edges polished up, as well. You really can’t tell in photos, but it’s pretty obvious in person.
Forearm greeblies are gluing:
Bicep greeblies are gluing:
I was hosting the build party and working majority of Saturday, so I didn’t get to spend much time inside with her. She missed me, clearly. (She does that on her own, incidentally, she loves to lounge on my shoulder and be carried around the house, too). I made it up to her later that night when she crashed out in my lap and we watched BBC Sherlock together.
Next up, thigh holster attachment and greeblies!
That holster is a pain in the butt, not gonna lie. It became clear it’s pretty much a three-step process, once you’re ready to actually attach and assemble.
Due to the curve of the thigh, and the small edge for attachment of the base and weight of the resin piece, I’m going to use bolts for extra support.
I’ve been hording screws, brackets, and hardware for years now- every time I had something with extra hardware, it went into the bin (I really am a Jawa at heart, apparently). It took about fifteen minutes, but I was able to dig out a pair of matching length bolts and washers.
I drilled a hole through the base, then marked it on the resin piece, drilled a bit there, and then used the base upside-down to mark and drill the corresponding holes in the thigh. The holes in the resin piece are really just for an extra support and gluing, not for actual screwing in. The washers give the nuts a bigger purchase base on the inside so they won’t pull through.
Here’s the real start of the three-step attachment process:
Bolts through the thigh, giving the washers some glue for extra purchase. You really need at least four hands to work on this part.
Once that glue is dry enough (normally 48 hours, but since I’m gluing the whole thing again I’m going to work with it again in 24), then I’ll glue on the base, give it about 24 hours, then glue the resin holster on, and give it all a final 48.
I also hand sanded down the middle of the base just a bit, to take it from a total straight line to a bit of a curve in the middle so it wouldn’t be fighting the attachment to the curve on the ends.
Then attaching it! It was so easy, worked just like I planned!
No. Not at all. It was a disaster. I didn’t put enough glue on both washers apparently so only the inner ones stuck, so the screws and top washers just slid right out and I needed six hands again to hold them in place. I could get one end through all the parts then the other would pop out, or I just got glue everywhere.
I have glue all over me, all over the thigh, all over the holster parts, I have smudges from paint from the interior of the helmet all over me and now the thigh. My c-clamps aren’t deep enough to reach in on either side to hold it, and it’s too slick to get a purchase while using paint stir sticks as an extender/way to even out pressure. My regular clamps also aren’t long enough. Putting it on the table and weighting the inside didn’t work because it’s too slick and it just rolled all over the place.
But it’s done! So good concept, just needed some better execution. More glue on both washers, perhaps the base of the screw, and bigger/deeper c-clamps. If I were earlier in the build (and day) I would have just gone to Home Depot and/or Harbor Freight and found what I needed and added more glue and set it aside. But it’s 8 pm on Tuesday night, I have work in the morning, haven’t eaten dinner yet, and this thing has to be done by Friday.
I had a moment of panic when I thought I had the thighs flipped. I kept looking at the knee curve and thinking I had it right, but what if I didn’t. So I pulled out Izzy’s FOTK… his are exactly the same shape on both the front and the back.
I’m thinking this is another KB kit quirk- kinda like the top of one of the thighs being straight across, with no curve/cut out for a human butt whatsoever.
The higher curve has to go to the front because it accommodates for the knee plate and the space where you see gasket around the top and bottom of said knee plate. I had it right.
But, I slipped them on, and walking that back bit was just not curved enough for comfortable walking. Since Izzy’s is very obviously curved on both sides, and the CRL is sort of ambiguous (the thigh, knee plate and shin are pretty close together in the full body photo and the individuals don’t really give you a solid view), I just decided to trim the backs up a bit.
Proposed curve to trim:
Left: before trim, Right: after trim (unconsciously throwing the Live Long and Prosper, apparently):
That littlest bit of trim and curve made a world of difference- I can walk with no pinching at all, and the gasket should protect to a degree against that, too. Also, I think it looks a little better being more uniform.
I picked up some Gorilla Glue epoxy to fill in some spaces and gaps. I was originally going to use Bondo, but: I hate Bondo. It’s goopy. It’s messy. Its stench is legendary. It sets way to quick no matter how little hardener you put in. I don’t know what I’m doing and half the time end up making more work for myself in clean up. I hate Bondo. Plus, for the areas I was working with, having the putty consistency was going to be much easier and better suited for placement and smoothing.
I picked Gorilla over JB Weld because the packaging specifically mentioned sanding. I’m pretty sure they both could be sanded after hardening, from what I could tell they were basically identical just different brands. Gorilla did say a work time of ten minutes, while JB was 25. I kinda wanted 25, but I also figured 10 was better than Bondo’s 1 – 4 minutes if you’re lucky. It gets harder to work with and less pliable towards the end, but it doesn’t lock up and become a brick like Bondo, so I’m calling that a win, too. I hate Bondo, in case you couldn’t tell.
I had sanded down the back/yoke connection to make it more even. All I had to do was fill in the valley with the putty and smooth out the corner. The putty worked just like it was supposed to and was pretty easy to work with. I always try and wear gloves at first, but it never work and they rip and I end up taking them off halfway through.
It turned out pretty good! I’m very happy with it. I’ll sand it to make it smooth once it’s cured, but I think it will disappear once chromed/painted.
Lastly I spray painted the inside of the helmet black:
It looks cool, it looks better than white, when kids (and short adults) look up they see darkness inside the helmet, not a prop made of fiberglass, and also the dark interior lets you get away with a less-dark lens, which is optimal for vision.
To Do List for the Phasma Phinish Line!
Before the end of the week:
One last round of fine sanding, where needed (pretty much done, but there’s always that one spot you missed)
Dust, wipe down, and remove any remaining excess glue (it will move from the garage to living inside once this is done)
Helmet clean up – touch up some of the grooves, a light wet sand across the whole thing, a bit of clean up in the mouth/nose area. It came pretty close to ready out of the box.
Before the premiere:
Acetone 3D print lines from blasters
Or at least the F-11D, the SE-44C is, after all, TLJ, and just a fun addition. But I plan do just do everything on them at once, to make it easy and not repeat steps unnecessarily.
I also already have the quicksilver baton (also TLJ) so it’s not like I’m going to be short on things to occupy my hands.
Whenever I get around to it:
Battle damage to prop helmet
Paint prop helmet
It’s now a prop, after all.
The end… is in sight. It’s actually quite anti-climatic and it doesn’t feel done in any way, but my to-do list is dwindling rapidly. I guess it’s all fine-tuning, mostly, so you don’t see as much of a difference in the many piles of white plastic parts scattered all over the garage.
I wanted to prep the strapping and stuff now, so it would just be an install job when I got it back from chroming, but I’m not going to have time. And honestly it won’t take me that long anyway- I’ve done a whole lot of strapping now and I think I can knock it out in an evening or two, plus glue dry time.
It looks like she’s gonna be done by the premiere!!!