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Imperial Attaché[TK]
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About Cricket

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  • Birthday March 2

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    Peachtree City, GA
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  • Attache Achievement Award
  • Centurion Granted Date
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    First Female Centurion in Garrison

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  • 501st ID
  • 501st Unit
    Georgia Garrison

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  1. Is a kit ever really completed? After having recently completed this TK and Mr. Cricket's TK, I went about doing a full cleaning of my nerd room. When I have a clean space to work in, I end up with some serious bursts of creative inspiration. Today was the day I had a serious "A-HA!" moment. This lightbulb moment was about my voice amplifier. Many of you put your amp in your chest plate, and that's fine for a lot of you. I found that (like a lot of you have reported) I ended up with feedback when I would try to increase the volume of the amp. The mic is just too close to the amp when it's placed in the chest if you want to be heard easily in a crowded troop. Being on the thinner side, I relocated my amp to my belly- namely, it's velcroed inside the recessed ab button box of the ab plate. Relocating the amp to the ab helped a lot, so I could turn up my amp even louder. But I still had some issues with being heard by Imperial Citizens. When I made my amp even louder, I'd get feedback. I figured that the placement of the amp into the ab was about as good as I could get. One of the Biker Scouts in my Garrison has a white cotton duck pouch that houses his amp, and WOW... he can be easily heard anywhere! I sewed one of these for my TK- figuring that if I had an extra box on my belt, it would blend anyhow (and certainly not as conspicuous as those non-canon binders I see everywhere). I thought that this would be the solution for my Hero! Nope. This solution will work on a Stunt, but not a Hero with a grappling hook box. Sigh. The grappling hook box is positioned where the cloth amp box needs to go. I don't want it on my back plate because that would look very odd. And I can't swap it over to my left side because I like to holster my blaster, and the cloth amp box would get in the way of the blaster while holstered. Ugh. I will be able to use the cloth amp box for my Sandtrooper, but I need something for my Hero. Back to the drawing board. I was looking at my super-clean nerd room today, and began looking at my Hero kit (currently displayed on a mannequin). I examined everywhere I could place the cloth amp box... then inspiration struck. "Why not hide the amp inside the grappling hook box?" Whaaaa???!!! OMG! Would it work? I have a brand new extra Aker amp (happily discovered when cleaning up the nerd room), so I first eyeballed if the amp could even fit. Yep. Size-wize, it's a go. After this, I'm sure you can imagine what happened next. Dremel. Lexan scissors. Pliers. Glue. Velcro. And in less than an hour, I had a secure and fully functioning grappling hook amp! Okay, I know that the center hole isn't exactly canon, but it's a small enough mod that it works. I could even make it less visible with a white grommet- maybe I'll hit it with some paint? I kind of like the black grommet, though. The mic cord routes behind the back of the belt, under the kidney notch, under my shirt, up through my neckseal, and to the mic taped to my cheek. The cord won't really be visible at all. And I can really make this thing LOUD now! The benefit of having the amp in the box is that the box amplifies the amp itself. I can't wait to use this at DragonCon!!!
  2. This kit is approved! Chris received his formal 501st approval for his very first costume this weekend. He chose TK-10441 as his ID since it's similar to mine (TK-10401). He is thrilled, and I've nudged him to get himself introduced here in the FISD and also at the Georgia Garrison forums. I took some additional photos of him in kit on Saturday. Unfortunately, I don't currently have access to the pics I took with the Fuji X-T3 (which looked amazing, I must say!), but I managed to snap some with my cell while we were wrapping up. This looks like something you would see in a brochure of the Stormtrooper Retirement Benefits package. And some extra shots of the kit. I like to continue to evaluate the fit of the kit not only by watching how it moves when being worn, but also in candid photos after it's been worn for an hour or so. These kind of pics help me really see where things might need adjustment. Overall, I'd say it doesn't look too shabby. I see that the left thigh rotated out, but that's an adjustment of the elastic sliding on the garter belt. And maybe I could loosen the elastics on the drop boxes by a few millimeters to reduce some of the tension that causes them to angle out slightly. I might still shorten the forearms a tad, and trim the left and right of the chest plate a bit as well for comfort. Despite those things, I'd say this is a wrap. Wouldn't you say that this new TK looks supah-happy?! His first troop will be at the DragonCon parade at the end of August. I can't wait for him to experience all the awesomeness that is being an approved TK! Thanks to everyone here at the FISD for your guidance and feedback as always. FISD is Best Detachment!
  3. I think this is the thread Ray is referring to. The only way to get purple stains like this out of the armor is sanding sanding sanding, followed by polishing polishing polishing. I'm sorry this has happened to you! And keep all black soft gear away from your white plastic. I keep my black garments in their own white pillowcase in my bin to prevent dye-bleed. Good luck!
  4. The BFG is mine. I earned it, dammit. I *might* let him borrow it, though. Maybe.
  5. So I've been in touch with Andrea, and she's getting some new bells out to me soon. Yay! RS has the best customer support. Love that crew! While waiting, I tore the bells apart... because that's the kind of thing I do when things don't look right to me. First, I gave them both a quick hot water bath to widen them out to fit the width of his shoulders. Next, I shortened the elastic connection in the bells quite a bit. Then I adjusted the white elastic straps at the shoulders connecting the chest to the back. Those were also causing an issue of "bell sag" because that connection was too long. By gluing the elastic to the back plate right next to the #10 snap connector, this gives a ton of support strength to the white elastic. It results in a minimal amount of shifting of the arm away from the shoulder strap itself. If you have too much white elastic in there at the shoulder between the chest and back, your bells will pop out and away, resulting in large black gaps that we all want to avoid. Before and after adjustments: I am quite pleased that I was able to make this adjustment for Mr. Cricket so he can look his TK best. Now we wait for Basic Approval. Fingers crossed that I don't need to make any changes to the kit!
  6. Thanks for suggesting that, Lou. Unfortunately, Walt's kits are bright white, and would really look odd next to the off-white coloring of the RS suit. It shouldn't be a problem to get Andrea over at RS to help me out. She's been awesome with getting parts to me in the past.
  7. Okay, so we took a few minutes today and took submission pics. We were all ready to submit the form, when Mr. Cricket suddenly realized that he needed to choose a TKID. Annnd now things grind to a halt until he has time to look over that huuuuge list. *sigh* So while I'm waiting, here are the pics! As I was taking the photos, we realized that we had attracted a small crowd of moms with small children on the street. The kids were thrilled to spot a stormtrooper in the neighborhood! Okay, so for self-criticism here... the shoulder bells are really giving me a headache. Well, that and hubby's undershirt is too big on him. The shirt issue can be easily fixed (thanks, Amazon!). I don't have a ton of experience building suits for normal-sized troopers. If I was evaluating this for EIB/Centurion, I would suggest shortening the elastic on the bells. There is still room for the bells to come in at the top. So I'm going to tackle that first. The other issue with the bells is that they are really 'pinchy' on him, which is adding to the bells wanting to shift out of place. I'll be getting them into a quick hot water bath to see if I can loosen them up somewhat. Honestly, I think I might have overtrimmed the bells a little too much at the top. I mean, it's not a submission deal-breaker by any means, but still... I know that there are many TKs in my own garrison that have much, much larger black space at the chest/bell area, but I think I could do better for sure. So technically, I'm done with this kit, but in reality, I've got more work to do.
  8. Furiously working to get this kit d-o-n-e! We were out of town last week, so my plans to finish the suit then went completely out the window. But almost there now. First, to follow up on the issue I had with the elastic strapping for the brackets being too long... can you spot which one of these isn't like the others? That's the elastic from one of my own kits. Much shorter. With a quick pass of these on the sewing machine, I shortened all of them up. And here is Mr. Cricket- his name is Chris (no kidding!). Yeah, yeah, I know: "Chris and Christine". We've been together for over 20 years and have heard it a gazillion times. The strapping to the shoulders/bells was just taped together, and there were no elastics on the biceps/bells, so the bells look kind of wonky. Everything was taped together for the chest/back connection with black gaffer's tape (my white tape had disappeared), so it looks kind of odd in the back, too. But! It's all coming together, and Mr. Cricket is able to move around in his suit with no bites reported. You all know how it feels to get into kit for the first time like this. So much WOW! And he has great helmet hair, I must say. Here he is after seeing himself fully dressed for the very first time. He couldn't stop saying, "Oh WOW!" over and over again. And who can resist the allure of an e-11? So after all the fun came the final work for me. Cover strips for thigh fronts. Strapping for the chest/back connection and bicep/bells to be installed. Attaching plastic straps to chest plate. I had to remove the sniper knee and add some plastic to pop it out away from the shin because we couldn't keep the plate from digging a bit into his knee (despite adding padding to the inside of the shin at the top). Let's just say that there was a lot of final stuff that needed to be glued! This is what it looks like when I use every single set of my magnets and clamps. What a mess! After all the glue has set, I still need to paint the white rivet/screw heads on the armor. And that's that!
  9. This weekend I took the time to wrangle up Mr. Cricket into his blacks and finally set forth with proper armor fitting. It's one thing to make armor for yourself, it's something entirely different when you're building it for someone else! The right shin really was a PITA, and I ended up having to re-order a new one because I didn't like the slant lines of the first one I had assembled. This delayed things for a few weeks. I ended up tearing out all the magnets and made a new shin, trying to correct that weird angular line in the back. There is still a little slant to the cover strip on the right shin, but it's a little less angular than the first one I'd built. It's the best I can do with the RS shin. This weekend we spent a marathon session of 4 hours to work on tailoring the suit. Lots and lots of "try on- mark trim lines- take off- trim- try on again, etc". I had a goal of getting everything fit and done, but we both ran out of energy for it. For example, once I trimmed the thighs so they were comfortable on him, he would notice another area of the suit that didn't feel right. So I would trim that, then something else would stand out to him as needing adjustment. It went on and on... So we're not done, but very, very close now. Some of the things that immediately jump out at me as needing work: I still need to make some stirrups for his shins, so his shins were kind of doing their own things, but they're not all that bad. Elastics to the belt boxes needs to be relaxed so they don't bind up as much to the belt (this is why they pop out a little against the thighs). I need to hit the bracket screw heads and kidney/ab rivets with some white paint. I think the backs of his thighs still need some more trimming. Everything lines up pretty well along the kidney/ab, but it seems that the elastics I bought from Mr. No Stripes seem to be too long. They really need to be shortened up about 1/8" to tighten up the armor piece connections. I compared his elastics to the ones I've got installed on my Stunt TK, and my Stunt elastics are definitely shorter. Which means that I'll need to remove all the elastics for a quick stitch-fix to reduce the gaps I'm seeing in the back. (I'll take care of this when I've got my sewing machine out to build the stirrups.) Then there's the butt plate. This was really giving me a headache! Simply put, it still needs work; I need to reshape it. The left side is fine for the most part. But the right side- GAH! It's popping out quite a bit on the right side - which tends to be a trait of the RS butt. (Or at least that's what I've noticed on all three RS suits I've built.) Once I reshape it, I'll probably install a few of those snazzy V tabs that were recommended to me by Glen (gmrhodes13). I made some of these for my Hero TK, and they really help to keep that butt in line! Then there are the arms. They're not in the pics, but the forearms and biceps are complete and strapping has been installed. Minor trims still need to be done. I'll probably make some bicep hooks as well because they tend to make the arms look better. I'm waiting to attach the plastic shoulder straps to the chest plate until the white shoulder elastics have been attached to the back plate. The final pieces are the shoulder bells. For me, these are such an important part of the suit to get trimmed correctly! I don't want to fully trim them until I have the rest of the suit dialed in and fully fitted correctly. The bells need to follow the contours of the chest and back plates with minimal black showing, and it's very easy to overtrim the bells if you aren't careful. Once they're trimmed correctly, it's an easy matter of gluing in the bicep elastics and bell-to-shoulder strap connectors. We've got plans for a final big push to finish the suit next week... after I've made all of the adjustments I can make without putting the suit on him of course. My punch list is down to a single page now!
  10. Ahhh! Shingate!!! There was some lively debate about the WTF shin pairings here a while back. You might want to check out the discussion before assembly. https://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/41887-robs-wtf-anh-stunt-build/?tab=comments#comment-567552 FWIW, I assembled my WTF shin halves as long+long, short+short.
  11. Ugh, that totally sucks. My neckseal did that to my armor when I threw everything together in the bin after one of my first troops. I was shocked at how much bleed there was, and this was after I'd washed the neckseal a few times. It took wet sanding with 400 grit sandpaper, then moving up to finer grits until I reached a polish level to remove the stains. A lot of time and elbow grease were necessary to eliminate the purple discoloration. In my bin now, I keep all of my black goods in separate old white pillowcases just to be on the safe side. Good luck!
  12. So that high-profile troop happened. My first outing in my Hero kit, and things went along flawlessly! Before rehearsal, backstage with the FISD's very own Scimitar and LTM! Rehearsal with the troops! Rebel scum spotted!!! After rehearsal, we were allowed to go out and mingle incognito among the Imperial Citizens until it was time to kit up. My "Dead Trooper Arm" was spotted! Final rehearsals (and I'm not the shortest trooper, just standing next to her). Lining up right before going on stage. That's Scimitar rocking out in the back. Waiting in the wings! On stage with Weird Al!!! Can you spot me? I'm the one with the comm link on my belt. Post-performance elation!!! Then Weird Al took pics with us. Supreme Nerd Leader!!! Yeah!!! I was fangirling out in a major way. Aside from finally completing this Hero kit, this will be the highlight of my year for sure!!!
  13. He's only 9, and a short kiddo at that. He's actually standing on out entry stairs that set him lower than the ground I'm standing on. I kept having to ask him to raise his arms up really high to get a straight-on shot. His arms got really tired a few minutes in, so low-angle is what I got. I think he did a pretty good job considering the conditions!
  14. Ha!!! That would be nice. You are giving me ideas, though...
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