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A.J. Hamler

501st Stormtrooper[TK]
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About A.J. Hamler

  • Rank
    Expert Infantry
  • Birthday May 13

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  • Location
    Drums, Penn.


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  • 501st ID
  • 501st Unit
    Garrison Carida

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  1. That's easy, Joseph. Just go here and put in the info it asks for... A.J.
  2. More AM armor! I swear, we are gonna take over the world. A.J.
  3. Here's a possible workaround that would be pretty easy. For my build, I added weight to the Drop Boxes my cutting a piece of plywood and gluing it inside. Here's what that looked like: The piece of plywood I used was a bit smaller than the box it's going into in the photo and I didn't care about how it looked, but keep in mind I just put it there for weight and it would be hidden. However, if you were to cut a wooden rectangle that would fit more snuggly than I needed it to, round the corners, sand it nice and smooth, and then paint it white and glue in into place, you'd never be able to tell it wasn't plastic. Just a thought. A.J.
  4. Welcome aboard. Especially nice to see another set of AM armor getting ready for duty. A.J.
  5. You could make them wider, but I don't think it would add appreciably, and in fact may restrict movement. The 2" straps are pretty wide, and give -- for me -- the right amount of lateral movement. Elastic straps are stretchy lengthwise and not across their width, so the wider the straps the less lateral movement. As to using 2" webbing or 2" elastic.... ah, that's a debate that's been going on here for a long time. Many people swear by elastic and nothing else, while just as many seem to swear by webbing and nothing else. For me, I did a mix. I originally did all elastic, but found that the middle of the Butt Plate tended to push out too far with all elastic. So, I replaced the center strap with webbing, while leaving the two outer straps elastic and it works much better. For reference, here's my strapping scheme: You can see the three straps joining the Kidney and Butt Plates -- the center one is webbing, the two outer ones elastic. Those two outer elastic ones aren't the originals, btw. I found that my first ones were a bit too stretchy, so I made some new ones just a skosh shorter to hold those areas under a bit tighter tension. Still plenty of give when needed, but the Butt isn't floating around all over the place now. (I absolutely HATE when my Butt floats around. It's so undignified.) Hope this helps. A.J.
  6. Yep, we lived in Connecticut for nearly 20 years -- in the next town over from Sarah, in fact. Our daughter and grandson Jed (my Young Jedi) still live there and we visit frequently. I have an upcoming visit that coincides with the CTG "Space Day" event at the New England Air Museum so I asked for permission to fall in with them, and there you go. Really looking forward to it!
  7. hmmmm... That's seriously worth thinking about.
  8. Hi, Dave.. I *think* I made those plates 1-1/8" x 2", but I'll check for sure when I go downstairs later this morning. I know they're 2" long, because I cut them crosswise from 2" webbing, but I'll check the width to be sure. [A slight pause occurs here. Well, "slight" if you consider two hours to be "slight"...] OK, I checked and my webbing plates are indeed 1-1/8" x 2". Hope this helps. A.J.
  9. Well, look who's back. Yep, like the proverbial bad penny you just can't get rid of me. One of the first things I read on the forum way, way back when I started my build was that you never really finish your build. After doing my first Troop this past weekend, I can attest to the veracity of that statement. Those of you who have already "finished" know this to be true, while those of you still working on your builds will learn soon enough. At the risk of creating a TL;DR post, allow me to expand on that. One of the things I've seen here, though, is that most TKs end their build threads once they hit the field. I've always wondered how they tweaked and upgraded their kits after that, and decided some time ago that I wasn't going leave people hanging. So, with that in mind (and with apologies to Emerson, Lake and Palmer), "Welcome back, my friends, to the build that never ends." As many of you know, I got my Garrison and 501st approvals on the same day not quite two weeks ago, and achieved EIB status just a week after that. Along with my EIB approval, TheSwede noted that I needed to address two things before submitting for Centurion: Gotta bring those Shoulder Bells in a bit farther, and I have to fix those overlapping side corners on my Back Plate. Naturally, those were number one and two (with a bullet, for those of you old enough to get the reference) on my ongoing build. That is, they were number one and two until I did my first Troop this weekend. So, to restart my build thread, a brief Troop report... Garrison Carida returned this weekend to the annual "Joshua's Bingo for a Cure" in Allentown, Pa., to benefit research into FOP, and Sally and I were honored to take part as our first Troop. The event went well, and we had a fantastic time. Trooping was everything I thought it would be, and then some! However, wearing armor around the house during a build, no matter how many times you do it, just isn't the same as wearing armor Out There In Real Life. In the controlled conditions of your house or even walking around the yard you just don't experience the same things as you do at a real Troop. Now, I had all kinds of fears about the things that could go wrong (many of which I've read about happening to others), and I'm pleased to say that I escaped most of them. Here, then, a quick rundown of what didn't happen: • I didn't step on any small people... but could have. At one point, when Sally was right next to me I was wondering who she was talking to. She finally had to tell me that the little kid that I had no idea was right in front of me wanted to give me a high-five. I bent over and sure enough, there he was. Yes, you really can't see anything low -- all those warnings about little people are true, and I'm glad I learned it in the first hour of my first Troop. • I didn't suffocate. I had a bit of nervousness about the helmet. During the build it felt confining as hell whenever I put it on, and breathing was oddly compromised. My fears of passing out for lack of oxygen or tearing off my helmet in a claustrophobic fit, never happened. I found that after a half hour I got perfectly used to the confines of the bucket and am now fine with it. • I didn't trip on my own feet and do a faceplant in front of 500+ bingo players, which I had a deathly fear would surely transpire. • And finally, I didn't accidentally clock anyone with my E-11, I didn't sneeze inside my bucket, and nothing fell off to go clattering across the concrete floor in a bursting shower of white plastic shards. That's what didn't happen. Here's what did: Armor bites. Oh, Great Caesar's Ghost, the armor bites. I'd read about them and I was expecting them. And, sure enough, there were some minor ones here and there depending on how I moved. However, although unpleasant those were infrequent and random. But then, there was The Armor Bite. I hesitate to say where it was since there are ladies present, but you saw that picture up earlier? Nice picture, huh? Me and the missus lookin' great. But let's zoom in a bit, shall we... Ohhhhhh, yeah. One of our handlers took that photo right after suiting up before we hit the floor, and I had no idea what was coming. We hadn't been out there for more than five minutes when I knew I had a serious issue. Nearly every step I took I got bitten at that spot, over and over and over again. After the first half hour I almost bailed out of the event to go call 911 in our dressing area, but wanted to do my best to tough it out (figuring that blood from the gaping wound I was surely creating would be hard to see on a black undersuit anyway), and gradually learned how to walk such that I could minimize the biting somewhat. Every other step, maybe, and sometimes only every third or fourth step. I spent the next 2-1/2 hours guarding the entrance or the snack area, anything to cut down on the walking. Still, by the end of the event I was a hurtin' puppy, and have a for-reals injury there that may take a few days and many medicinal beers to heal. Therefore, the new number one (with a bullet, natch) on my fix-it list as I continue my ongoing build is to trim both the left side of the Cod and the upper right edge of the Thigh to eliminate that. Other, less painful, things I also learned I need to fix include: • My left Bicep. I had an issue when I did my submission photos with it coming unsnapped. (You may have seen that in my pre-approval thread.) I thought I had it taken care of, but it happened continuously. After the first half dozen times Sally or a handler resnapped it I gave up, and just kept my left arm crooked to keep everything up. No idea why that snap is an issue -- not having it with any other snap on my kit -- but I need to replace it. • My helmet gradually kept tilting back. The balance isn't quite right and/or the padding needs adjusting. I had to occasionally step out of sight and pull the helmet forward so I could see. I think that redoing the pads will take care of most of that. Speaking of the helmet, I found that although I can easily turn my head all the way to the right, I can't turn it all the way to the left. Not sure why so I may need to do it in front of a mirror to see what's up. I think maybe my helmet is just a hair too low, and may need to increase the padding on the very top. • Clicking Sniper Plate. Before Trooping, I added padding to the top/front of my left Shin and to the lower/back of the left Thigh to help prevent the Plate from getting caught. While that seemed to work, the Sniper Plate kept grazing the Thigh with every step with a loud *click* sound. (That was also the second-most-common source of occasional armor bites, on my knee.) That's a fix I have to make. And finally, there are those two original things I already knew I needed to fix after my EIB review: the Back Plate corner overlaps, and the Shoulder Bells. For the first, I think some judicious trimming of remaining return edges will do the trick. For the second, tightening up those straps will help, and I'm thinking I may actually replace the Bells. Back when I originally trimmed them for fit, I hadn't yet seen the recommendations about trimming the sides of the Bells in a curve. (I think that may be a more recent accuracy recommendation.) In any event, I'll do the straps first but will consider replacing the Bells and trimming them more correctly. And, of course, you'll see it all here. A.J.
  10. We're there for you, Lorelei. And when you're ready to get fully back into the build we're there for you with that, too. Hang in. A.J.
  11. Thanks guys! To top everything off, I'm doing my first Troop this weekend. Can't wait. I also can't wait to submit for Centurion. Got those couple things to work on that Daniel noted, and I'll be ready to go. Got some work assignment stuff to take care of first, but I should have that wrapped up in a week or so and then it's (hopefully) on to Centurion. A.J.
  12. A.J. Hamler TK-51351 EIB Letter Daniel Thanks! http://www.whitearmor.net/eib/certificates/51351-eib.png
  13. Hi Daniel... Easy ones first. Here's both sides of the Sniper Knee. And here's both sides of the outer Thigh Ammo Pack rivets. Now the problematic one. Since completing my build and taking that single photo of the inner right side Thigh Ammo Pack split rivet I posted up-thread, I've covered up both rivets with caps. (These are the same caps I used to cover the split rivets joining the Ab/Kidney, described in my build thread.) These eliminate sharp edges and undersuit snags. Plus, I think they look spiffy. Both rivets are the same, and they match the ones at the Ab/Kidney join (they're the ones JustJoseph supplies). I can pry off that cap on the left side, clean off the E6000 and take a photo, but honestly would rather not since they're the same. Still, just say the word and I'll pry that sucker off and shoot another photo. A.J.
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