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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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    Georgia Garrison

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  1. Cricket

    JenEyre's WTF ANH TK Build

    Congrats, trooper!
  2. After being asked a gazillion times about how I built my magnetic shin closures, I've finally compiled everything from my TK build and put it all in one post! Let me begin by stating that I followed the tutorial here for the most part when building these magnetic shins. However, I deviated from it in order to make the closures super strong by using a magnet-to-magnet closure rather than the magnet-to-steel method outlined in the tutorial. I have worn the magnetic shins I made for my RS Props TK out on over a dozen troops, and I have never had them come apart on me. I've only had to reglue magnets twice on these shins over a two-year period: a single magnet came off after being handled a lot (opened and closed dozens and dozens of times at an armor party by those who were trying to figure out how they work), and regluing a single magnet after trooping underwater for a few hours (well, not exactly underwater, but it was a parade where it rained for HOURS and I had to walk in the rain the entire time- for hours I tell you! My boots took days to dry out!). The small amount of maintenance I've had to do on these over 2 years of trooping is quite minimal. Once you get this mod on your kit, I swear you'll never go back to anything less than a magnetic closure on your shins. STEP 1: There are many steps necessary to build magnetic shins, so I begin with making a critical component for them: ABS buttons. The buttons are necessary to hold one half of the magnet assembly in place on the inside of the shin. I'm using 12mm x 3mm n50 magnets. You'll need a total of 20 magnets for the shins (10 on each shin). I strongly suggest buying more than 20, though. I've found that they can easily break, and you'll want backups on hand! You can find them in bulk- and cheap!- on eBay. First, I begin by making a template with a hole in it that is slightly larger than the magnets I will be using. I trace the magnet on a sheet of ABS. Here's what it looks like when done. Yeah, I know my hole isn't perfectly round. It's not terribly important for it to be perfect. I used two magnets to make each button. One on top to help me see where my hole template needed to go, and one underneath to form the button shape. Heat up one section of the ABS sheet using a heat gun on LOW until it gets slightly warpy. You can even leave the magnets attached to the ABS while you heat it up. Once the plastic is soft, quickly press it onto a flat surface, pressing the hole template around the exposed magnet. This is what it looks like on the top and underneath when you're done. And here's how it looks from the side so you can see how the magnets attach to the plastic. See how the bottom magnet sits flush in the new ABS button? I spent about forty minutes repeating the process until I ended up with 10 buttons. I will cut down and shape the buttons to fit each shin later. There will be five buttons installed on each shin. Still lots of work to do, but it's a pretty good start! STEP 2: Another step necessary for how I make my magnetic shin closures is to make sure that the backs of the shins meet up as perfectly as possible. This is to avoid any unnecessary strain on the magnets. This was acheived by some gentle shaping via a hot water bath. Before putting the shins in the water, since I don't have any cover strips installed on the outsides, I reinforce the closure with blue tape. The e6000 gets really soft when subjected to boiling water, and I don't want to weaken the join in the front. Blue tape holds up nicely for this application! Here's a before and after of my shins so you can see how the backs line up a bit better. I will be doing some further fine tuning on the lengths at the bottom later as I move along in my fitting. STEP 3: This stage involves making and securing the "holes" part of the closures for the magnets. I begin by cutting out two 3/4" x 12" strips of ABS. You should have this when you're done. Next make a lengthwise mark in the center of each strip to help keep your holes lined up in the middle. Then mark 3/4" in from each end. That will be the center point for the magnets on the end. I like using magnets with holes in the middle for this, so I can easily find the 'crosshairs'. Trace the magnet. I like to use extra magnets underneath to help keep it secure while I trace. Next, find and mark the center of the strip. It should be at the 6" point. From there, measure 2 5/8" from the center mark on either side. Mark and trace your magnets. When you're done, your plastic strips should look something like this: Next, I used my drill press and a step bit to drill out the holes. It went really quickly! When you're done, you should have two strips with holes in them that can easily fit the magnets. The next part is where people tend to get confused, so I took this photo to show what goes where. The "hole" strip will be glued to the inside half of the shin on the inside. It sounds kind of confusing, but it's not all that bad. Remember that the "hole" strip will be hidden! I begin with my left shin. I mark the center of each hole to assist when I line up the edge of the shin. Next, I test fit the strip on the shin to verify placement, clamping on both ends. Then I apply e6000 to the area of the strip that will be in contact with the shin, clamp and add magnets. This is what it looks like when glued together: Here's the right shin after gluing, but before I added the magnets. Here are both shins as the e6000 cures. I'll be allowing a few days for this to cure, which will give me ample time to get my ABS buttons ready for installation. STEP 4: Once the glue had cured on the hole strips inside the shins, I removed the magnets and clamps. With a light behind the shins, you can see how the hole strips are mounted, hidden inside. Using that light as my guide, I traced the approximate location of the holes with a pencil. This helps me to get a good idea of where my holes are going to be drilled. Yep. I'm going to make some Swiss cheese of my shins. Using a small Dremel sanding band, I carefully cut a notch out, just large enough for a magnet to fit through. Here's what it looks like at this stage when the shins are closed. I'm just focusing on drilling out the holes on the inside edge, following the holes of the hole strip that was glued in. I'm not ready to drill the outer half of the shins yet. Next to clean up my buttons that will hold my magnets. I rough trimmed them all to start. Then cleaned up the corners with a Dremel. I don't want anything poking at my legs! *Important!* If you want to make sure your magnets stay stuck on your shins, you must use e6000! CA glue will not keep the magnets stuck to the buttons; they will fail. I have heard this from several troopers when I have been contacted about their magnets not holding up. I repeat, use e6000 for this next step! I applied a liberal amount of e6000 to the inside of each button, then put the magnet inside to get all cozy. Make sure that you've got the polarity of all the magnets in the same orientation before gluing! Wipe away any excess glue from the top. To make sure that the magnets are firmly mounted in the buttons, I use the magnet intended on going on the opposite side of the shin to clamp it. In the pic below, you can see how I've got all the matched magnet buttons and magnets together as they cure. Back to the shins now. I like this ridge (where the pencil is pointing) to line up at the tops. For me, it makes the closure in the back look much cleaner if this is lined up. I tape it off there to make sure that the opposite side doesn't shift while I'm making my marks for completing the holes. I have an OttLite that fits nicely inside the shin to provide a clear light so I can make outlines for where I'm going to drill out the rest of the holes. Holes were already present on the left side in the photo below. I made sure that I drilled out the holes very conservatively as I went. I used an extra magnet to make sure that the hole was just the correct size for it to fit through. Now time to attach the outer cover strip! I use a 25mm cover strip on my shins for this. I taped off the edge of the inside half to keep any glue from transferring over. Then making sure that the cover strip was straight, I clamped the heck out of it. Praying to the TK gods that it doesn't shift!!!! Now time to wait for everything to cure really, really well. I am going to give these 3-4 days to fully cure just to be on the safe side! STEP 5: One shin is complete, with the outer rear 25mm cover strip glued into place. Woo! Here's a look from the inside, before magnets are installed. Be sure to clean up all excess glue from the inside edges in order to have a clean closure when you're done. If there's extra glue in there, it may not close correctly. I've tucked the outside cover strip to the inside so you can see how the magnets on the "cover strip" half are glued on. No magnets yet. I add a dab of e6000 to the magnet (be sure to check the polarization of the magnet before gluing!!!), and set it so that it fits inside the semi circle and on the outer cover strip. Like this: I wiped away the excess glue from the magnets and then positioned the inner "hole strip" over the magnets to ensure everything is lined up correctly as it dries. I tape the tops and bottoms of the shin to ensure it doesn't shift around during this stage. I'm not completely happy with how the inside cover strip is cooperating here. It sits flat on the top and bottom, but it pulls away in the middle a bit off to the right. I will have to heat bend this before installing the magnets onto the "hole strip". :/ Ideally, the inside cover strip should be sitting completely against the outside part of the shin, and it doesn't want to do that right now. This additional stress could cause the magnets to fail. It's annoying, but I'll need to address this before proceeding any further. Gah! Using the magnet buttons I created earlier, I clamp the magnets into place while the glue cures. Once the glue has fully cured, I'll reshape that inner strip to prepare it for the final magnet button installation. STEP 6: Now that the e6000 has had lots and lots of time to cure, it's time to attach the other halves of the magnets. Make sure that the halves are super clean and free of extra dried glue. It will prevent the shins from closing well. You can do this by touch. Rub all of it off where you feel it. Once everything is cleaned off, close the "hole" half over the "magnet" half. Your shin should be closing correctly at this point. The "holes" should lock around the magnets and prevent the shin from opening at all, even without the additional magnets at this point. If the "hole" strip is not fully engaged over the magnets, you won't have a very strong bond between the magnets to keep the shin locked. Easy part next! Apply e6000 around the prepared ABS button. No need to go crazy with the stuff. You don't want it oozing all around in there. And stick it on! This part goes really quickly. For additional strength, I add some extra magnets on top. Check those clean closures! Left shin. Right shin. I will open these up in a few hours just to make sure that there isn't any extra e6000 that has spilled out and might lock those shins closed where I don't want them locked. Now to allow several days to dry, and these shins will be good to go! Here's a short video so you can see them in action. Have you tried this on your own shins? Loved it? Hated it? Made a few mods of your own to improve this method? Comment below and let me know! Cheers- Cricket TK-10401
  3. Cricket

    JenEyre's WTF ANH TK Build

    Oh, a few more suggestions for you! The back plate looks like it's overlapping a bit on the bottom when you've got your arms down. You could easily remedy this by bringing up the back plate. You'd need to trim at the back plate neck line and on the shoulder tabs on the back. And you might need to hot water bath the bottom side ends of the back plate once it's been raised in order for the bottom of the back to meet the curve at the top of the kidney. I noticed that your knee ammo pack slipped down in one of the pics. Be sure to add a drop or two of e6000 on the ammo pack in order to secure it at the thigh. I had to do that to all of my builds!
  4. Cricket

    JenEyre's WTF ANH TK Build

    Looks great, Jen!!! Way to go!!! The only thing I noticed that you may want to look at is the drop box on your left side. The right side drop box lines up correctly. The left one seems to be positioned inside a little too much. It should be lined up with the end of the plastic belt. See pic below. That's just an EIB issue, though! And you certainly look like that's where you're going next, right? Nice work, trooper!
  5. I had my electronics turned off. I don't think anyone had electronics on that day. If they did, I don't think they would have been working by the end of the troop. We were soaked when we were done. I'm not exaggerating on that one. Someone mentioned that taking a shower would have been a drier experience, and that was definitely true. My boots are still drying out from the event. And the temps were in the high 40's to low 50's that day. When the wind would blow, it felt much, much colder than that. My fingers hurt for a while- until they went completely numb. So, yeah, it was cold.
  6. We were total bada$$es in that parade!!!! It was the single most grueling troop I've ever participated in. The rain was bad, but the wind!! Agh!!! It was painful, was it not? Hey, at least we had no lens fogging issues, right? And we looked ah-maz-ing out there in the rain. The kids loved us!!!
  7. Cricket

    Adianu's WTF shorty build

    I built the WTF kit to fit my 4'11" garrison friend using the short thighs. The WTF kit overall is smaller than many kits out there, so you might be surprised about how little you will need to trim off. I didn't need to trim much off the tops of the short thighs for my friend in order for them to fit. So I'm guessing that for your height, you shouldn't need to trim much- if any- off of the thighs. The torso will need trimming on the chest at the neck line, and a little off the sides of the chest for mobility. Depending on the strapping method you choose (brackets or snap plates), this will determine where your additional cuts will need to be. If you have sewing experience already, then this works in your favor! The plastic is just like pattern pieces that all fit together with glue instead of thread. When correctly altered, the torso armor locks together on its own without any skewing or twisting to the parts. The torso is the biggest hurdle for us Vertically Challenged, but if you take your time (post lots of pics and ask questions!), you can get through it! Cut conservatively, keep everything in proportion as you trim, and you'll do just fine. My answers are in bold below: Hope I didn't write too much of a novel for you! I will be following your build along with the rest of the troopers who have chimed in here. Mistakes will happen, and that's okay. Share your successes, but don't ever be afraid to share your failures as well. Remember, we all have been through this journey, and we're here to help you along yours.
  8. Cricket


    Sending you a PM, Ron!
  9. Cricket


    I use FogTech Anti-Fog solution on my TK lenses and have never seen fogging show up! I even used it in my plague doctor mask at DragonCon this year and my lenses stayed clear for the entire 5 hours in it (no fans in there). The stuff works and works well.
  10. Nope. Below is a pic from the very first pair I made using magnets. Much wonky! The goal is that the halves meet together nicely on their own, even if things aren't perfectly straight back there. Check the pic from my EIB/Centurion application. Cover strips FTW!
  11. That has happened to me as well, despite careful measuring over and over again. The really nice thing about the 25mm cover strips is that they will cover up (and correct!) most wonky cuts back there.
  12. Those lids! They remind me of that scene in Casino where Joe Pesci is crushing that guys' head in a vice. I expect one of their lenses to pop out at any moment.
  13. Cricket

    Magnetic shin closure glue failures

    Velcro is indeed a viable option for most troopers! I wrestled with deciding either hook/elastic or velcro for my closures, but neither appealed much to me. As a handler, I helped a fair amount of troopers close and re-close their shins (or adjust them) while out trooping. I didn't like how velcro could pop open and shift, then closing at odd angles on its own. I didn't like how screen-accurate hook/elastic/hole closures looked, either. Magnetic closures are a personal preference, really. For me, I wanted a super sleek and clean closure that was strong, and magnets were the way to go for that. Also, I don't like having to ask for assistance while kitting up. With magnetic shins, there is no need to ask for help or to struggle to get them closed- once on, they simply lock on their own, and never need to be adjusted once they are on. And they are also very fast to put on and take off. All that said, if velcro works for you, then velcro away! But for every trooper who has handled my magnetic shins, every one has said, "I really need to convert mine to this!".
  14. Cricket

    Magnetic shin closure glue failures

    Hey Peter, Kudos to you for your perserverance so far!!! This is not the easiest mod to do to your armor, but totally worth it once you get it right. I've only had success with e6000 holding the magnets. Make sure they've had at least 72 hours to cure or they will fail. I've never sanded down my magnets or the plastic surfaces. I didn't even clean mine with rubbing alcohol. I just stuck them on as-is, and they've held up really well. The only time I had to do maintenance on the magnets (reattaching them on the outer cover strip side) was after I let everyone at an armor party play with them. I had already trooped in them over 15 times, including some all-day troops. They must have been opened and closed as they were passed around at the armor party almost a hundred times before a magnet came off. I saw lots of people trying to figure out how to open them correctly, and I think it put strain on the closures. From what you wrote, I am inclined to believe that your shins might be a bit too small for you. All the shins I've built with the magnetic closures have play in them- meaning that you can rotate them around a bit on the shin, and they float easily around the calf muscle. I believe that the only snug area you should see on the shins is on the lowest button where it should fit snug around the boot (but not too tight, of course). In addition, you mentioned that you have to push the shins together to close. I recommend that you reshape the shin halves to meet together easily without any force. That extra strain will contribute to the magnets failing. I hope you keep us posted on your progress! You've got this!
  15. That moment when you have one cover strip left to apply to the front of one thigh in order to totally finish the suit, and you run out of glue. So I decided to get some attention over to the lid instead. Hero ears have been applied, and teeth have been filled (still need to finish sanding/polishing). Paint progress was made today, and I'm pretty happy with things so far. On the tears and traps, I've done some initial outlining, so it's still quite a mess. I'm going to allow a day or so to let the paint dry so I can safely apply the stripe templates later. The tube stripes were quickly (and neatly!) done with Trooperbay tube stripe templates and my favorite sponge paint technique. Thankfully, I have 4 tubes of e6000 arriving today (Amazon Prime all the things!), so I will be able to get that last cover strip stuck on before the end of the day. I can safely say that I've finished this kit (I'm not including the helmet) within my goal time of less than 4 weeks. Whew! I plan to get pics done for 501st submission next week, then it's off to apply for EIB. The reason why I had this (insane) goal in mind is because I needed to wrap things up well before Halloween. If I didn't get to finishing things right away, I would not have had any time to finish it until January... and I didn't want to wait! Those of you who've followed my other builds know that I am Master Builder of All Things Halloween in my home, and we do BIG HALLOWEEN here. (Shameless sharing of prior year's Halloween videos here and here...) I've got new lifesized props to build and refurbish! And a huge yard to decorate that takes all month to set up. After that, we have my son's birthday, followed by in-laws coming to visit for Thanksgiving, then decorating for Christmas, celebrating New Years, and then I'll be starting my next build sometime in January. That one will be a RS TK for my hubby. After that, I'll be finally converting my RS Stunt TK to a Sandy. I'll most likely do a few more updates when I get my pics done so you can see how my Hero finally turned out, as well as sharing my EIB and Centurion progress. Thanks for following the build!