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About Admiraldack

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  • 501st Unit
    Dune Sea Garrison
  1. A couple more questions for the group... Where can I find authentic 501st Patches? I want to get one for my TrooperBay helmet bag. The ones I've seen on eBay appear to be "fakes". Most importantly - where are you guys finding all-black compression shirts/pants? I can't find anything without a logo in the wrong place or different-colored stitching on the seams. This has become the single most difficult part of the costume to find!!!
  2. I'm looking for suggestions for how I can fix one of my leg pieces. The lower left leg piece is not wrapping completely around my leg because the scooped indent on the inside portion of the shin is too deep. You can see from the picture that the armor closes fully when I'm not wearing it. I need to figure out how to tweak this so the leg will close all the way. Any ideas?
  3. If you have an iPhone, you should look into TrooperTalk. It's only $10 and sounds great. Excellent static burst controls, and includes optional background chatter. Great for the price.
  4. I just created a Photobucket account, so more pictures will be coming soon!
  5. Over the past several weeks I've been working closely with TK1636 to put my armor together. As I said in my first post, without TK1636, I would never have found the confidence to start. It was immensely helpful to have the assistance of someone who has done it before and often enough to have accumulated a lot of great tips and tricks. The first step for each piece was trimming away the excess plastic. We did this using aviation snips. The finished edges were cleaned up using a bench-top belt sander. We used a cyanoacrylate glue with an accelerator in a separate spray bottle. The combination made gluing virtually instantaneous, which radically sped up the assembly process. E-6000 was also used for certain spots. The ears on the helmet were the parts I was most intimidated by since the fit to the other two helmet parts had to be just right. TK was able to shape these on the belt sander much faster and more accurately than I ever would have. If I had hopes of building a second kit someday, I might feel a bit like I missed out on learning how to do this for myself, but as this is probably the only kit I'll ever build, I was willing to let some things go in favor of getting the job done in time. I would have liked taking more time to check fits before gluing the legs together. I rushed that a bit, and now they are too snug. I have a new excuse to lose a few pounds, otherwise I'll have to clear off some of the return-edge around the top to get a better fit. I should have shimmed these out more. Thanks to TK1636, my list of things to fix is very small. I don't think my build blog needs to be detailed part-by-part since TK1636's build videos show exactly how mine went together. We followed all the same steps. I would strongly recommend them to anyone looking to see how a kit gets built. As the parts came together and the armor became more and more complete, I couldn't help but feel a little giddy at the sight of "real-live" stormtrooper armor in my possession. All the childhood dreams were coming true! The first time I suited up to test fit the parts, I kept thinking, I can't believe this is really happening! Am I the only one who has geeked-out this much during their build? For the other purchased parts, I chose Darman's holster and neck seal, which turned out perfectly. TKittel's canvas belt fit just right, and VAJ's 3D-printed Hovi Mic tips were beautiful. I purchased brow and neck trim from Trooperbay, and plan on buying a helmet bag from them as well. I am using an Aker 1506 speaker amp and the TrooperTalk app on my iPhone, which sounds really authentic. There are a couple of other minor tweaks that still need to be made, but after about 80 man-hours of work, the primary assembly was finished a week ago. On 9/15 I was accepted into the Legion as TK15940! I'm working now on making the necessary fixes to be able to submit for EIB, then onward to Centurion! My kids don't know their dad has put this together. Halloween night is the big reveal, and I can't wait to see their reaction. The company I work for is made up of a lot of Star Wars fans, and the whole company goes out to the premiere of Star Wars films. Last year, they bought two FX completed suits for the event. This year, I'm excited to join the ranks to help celebrate Rogue One's premiere. I'm really looking forward to trooping with the local garrison at future charity events as well. I'm stoked to be a part of this awesome community of TKs!
  6. Thanks for the feedback Illusionz_09 and Lucnak! I have almost all the pieces I need for my build. One accessory I haven't chosen is an electronics package for a microphone/speaker/voice changer. I know there are a lot of great options out there, and I'd love to know what you guys think. I'd prefer something that does a little more than make my own voice louder. I'd prefer something that tweaks my voice to sound more trooper-like. I'm interested in the static burst, although I've heard from some that it becomes a nuisance over time. And I'd like to know what people think about having the radio chatter playing in the background. How do people like the wireless setups versus the wired versions? Thanks to everyone for the great advice and feedback! Mike
  7. My first "brown box" day was the day my TK501 boots arrived. I was thrilled to have something "real" in my hands that signified that this was really going to happen. And I liked that I was literally starting from the ground up. My second "brown box" day was when my Hyperfirm E-11 arrived. I opted for the "elite" version with the more accurate power cylinders and the D-ring. Hey, I'm going for Centurion... I gotta go as "more accurate" as I can, right? It looks amazing - the guys at Hyperfirm do a fantastic job weathering it to look just like the real deal. From a distance, no one could tell it was solid rubber. I haven't held an E-11 since my vintage Kenner E11 was lost decades ago. It's really awesome to have my own replica now. It was worth getting into trooping for this piece of Star Wars alone. Speaking of blasters - I've been hearing about how some guys are getting flack from parents when out trooping with their hardware. Even though they're obviously fake, some parents are apparently a little sensitive to anything resembling a gun being near their kids. They knew they were Stormtroopers, right? Come to think of it, when I was at ComiCon this year, I posed for a picture with a couple of troopers; one had no blaster, and the other held his by the barrel like he was about to surrender it to me. I've wondered if that was just an oops, or is that how some troopers are holding their guns now to keep people from feeling threatened? I'd be interested to hear what others have experienced. Are there "blaster etiquette" rules that most troopers abide by these days, given parents' heightened sensitivities? I guess I should know this sometime before my first outing.
  8. I'm working with TK1636 on my first build and he showed me your mic tips. They look great - excellent resolution of the raised lettering on the side of the mic and on the smaller piece inside. PM Sent!
  9. Silverdollar, you nailed it. Having decided what I was going to build, I next needed to decide where I was going to get my armor. I had two primary sources of information. FISD and TK1636's build videos. I read through Daetrin's excellent post "The Various Types of Armor and Where to Find Them" and learned a lot about the various sources. I can't cite chapter and verse, but somewhere among TK1636's videos, I heard ATA armor described favorably enough to give me a good vibe, so I contacted ATA. When I learned their wait list was 11 months long, I knew I was going to have to keep looking. I really want this project finished in time for the Rogue One premiere, and hopefully before Halloween. Luckily, I was able to find another supplier molding ANH Stunt plastic that was less expensive and could deliver in a fraction of the lead time. One of the GMLs here in the Dune Sea vouched for him, so I went ahead with the buy. Plastic arrived last week, so the build will start soon!
  10. Talking about measure twice and cut once... I should have read my post twice before clicking send - My concluding remark was supposed to read, "So - ANH Stunt it is!".
  11. I had originally thought that the obvious choice for me was to build a classic original trilogy stormtrooper since that's what I grew up loving as a kid, but I also wanted to consider an Ep7 First Order trooper as well because I love the look of them, and with fewer of them out there it might be more "in demand". I looked at FO builds on FISD, and the armor looks amazing. I'd love to have one, but in the end it came down to cost and complexity. It was looking like it would be a more expensive build, and being so new at this, I might have struggled more with the build. I decided that it would be better to wait to build FO armor after I've got more experience and a bigger slush fund (a guy's gotta dream, am I right?). The classic original trilogy trooper is still a huge favorite with fans, and with Rogue One coming out in a few months featuring "classic" troopers (at least they look like it from a distance - up close, there are major differences) I won't feel quite so outdated in original trilogy armor. I was surprised to learn that there were several options within the "original trilogy" category. If I was to choose based on film preference, I would have gone with ESB armor. I had never - ever! - noticed the differences between the troopers of the first three films. When I actually paid attention to the ESB handguards and black frown, it was jarring. Something about them didn't even look right - not as "classic" as the ANH version. So, that quickly helped me decide to go for ANH. Next question was: stunt or hero? My initial thought was the hero version would be better since it was intended for the film's closeups and would therefore have better details. But, after reading many of the discussions here on FISD, I was surprised to learn that people more often identified the "classic" trooper to be the stunt version. When I compared pictures of the two helmets, I had to agree. While I do like the hero's lower brow, giving the trooper a more serious look, the ANH stunt had the right look. The frown just felt right. That is what the kid in me says anyways, and he holds a lot of sway on this project. I've also read about the problems with seeing through the hero's domed lenses, so there was a practical reason to prefer the other, which was enough for my inner adult to get on board. So - ANH Hero it is!
  12. I'm very excited to start this journey into the world of "trooping"! As I said in my introduction, I don't think I would have ever made the leap to starting this project if I hadn't seen TK1636's videos. When I became aware of the possibility of getting local help, it all went from a fantasy to very possible. I dutifully signed up on FISD and started reading the "Getting Started" section. I quickly realized I had a lot of decisions to make before getting started. I suspect this is an experience that all new builders have when they decide to step into the ring. What kind of Stormtrooper do I want to build? I didn't know the original trilogy films had different "versions" of the classic Stormtrooper. I didn't even know Sandtroopers were a separate distinction (I just thought they were dirtier versions of the same thing). I was also not aware of the minute differences between "Hero" and "Stunt". I never heard of "Death Troopers" or "Shadow Troopers" before. What material will I have to use? I didn't know what was typically used - fiberglass or polycarbonite or ABS or 3D printed stuff... What level of certification did I want to achieve? Back in 2007 when I first learned about the 501st, I read about the differences between level 1, 2 (EIB), and 3 (Centurion) qualifications. It was intimidating to consider how much scrutiny is brought to bear on the costumes during the certification process. I love the attention to authenticity, but I needed to believe it was within my capabilities to achieve what I wanted before I bothered with tackling such a project. Where do I look for all the parts and pieces? I had no idea where to get screen-accurate blasters, boots, holsters, gloves, neck seal, etc., etc... It's not like there's a store at the mall for this sort of thing. Do I want to go the extra mile? As I read more, I learned about all the other little mods and add-ons that have been developed by troopers for troopers - helmet fans, microphone and speaker systems, static burst modules, LED and audio mods for blasters... there are probably even more I haven't heard of yet. I needed to decide how far I was willing to take this. The resources here at FISD are all excellent. I have found answers to nearly all of my questions. In my next post, I'll share my thought process as I started making progress with these decisions.
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