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    Golden Gate Garrison

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  1. Screwed down the cod plate nylon to the rubber belt to the front belt boxes. Kablam. The right hip boxes are screwed down similarly and the cloth pouches move freely to hide the buckle that closes on the left hip. Posterior is velcroed to the belt for placement. Next up is to attach the drop strap to the thighs. Finished up the cape gel coat and put a few layers of red paint. 3 parts gel to 1 part black paint, mixed and applied with a brush. You can see the before and after on the fabric. Splattered a bit of the gloppy goop for effect. Took a swipe at the red stripe. May do another layer. Pockets and straps are coated! I think all the pieces can come together soon.
  2. These are awesome! Thank you. I went looking for them but I guess I didn't look in the right place.
  3. Ready to pick this up again. Got some time off next week and hopefully will be able to wear this thing by Dec 18th, which I believe is the 5 year anniversary to The Force Awakens, so I'll attempt to hit that date for funsies. Here are the two helmets: One I got from a buddy, and the other came with the T&A kit. One helmet had the nose attached, and since I was sending everything to get chromed, figured I'd quickly prep the 2nd helmet and send it off as part of the batch. There are notable differences in the surface work because I sent one prepped for chrome, where the other was only sanded to 220 and had some partial surface work in the grooves, but didn't fill all the pitting. This was a lesson in surface prep before it went in for chrome. I wanted to see how bare I could send an item and compare the prep work that would have been done for chroming. Seeing as the work I had done may have impacted the surface prep of the chrome, sending a bare finish with no filler was the test. The outcome: not bad but my prepped helmet is the one I'll be wearing out. The other is a fun shelf piece, emergency back up, tester. So I got some work in on the tester: I used a matte black enamel on the frown and eye line, the used a drop of black acrylic paint to several parts Elmer's Glue-All. It mixed to a light gray. I had seen a number of videos explaining the use of glue and paint to create a foggy surface weathering trick that I really like. Because both the acrylic and Elmer's is water soluble, I should be able to take off the weathering without too much fuss or surface damage to the chrome. Everything was applied using a ripped sponge to create an erratic texture to the application of the glue, which I lightly dabbed along the lines and in choice areas. Does anyone have reference links to high res Phasma images? I have an assortment of D23 images, but they're not really high res. I don't think I'll be applying weathering exactly to what I can see in the images, but where it seems appropriate and to give an even layering of coloration. The chrome is very bright, pretty much a TLJ bright, and the weathering can't really be seen from afar, but up close, will be noticeable and a fun detail for onlookers to see when up close. Wondering if I need to go darker on the weathering. Test helmet is all for this. Side by side:
  4. Heyo. Phasma is ready to be handled! I still wear gloves if I can, but fingerprints, smudges, and eventual wear and tear is going to happen. I've already dropped two pieces on a concrete floor today. That was great... nicked a corner of a belt box, but the shin took it like a champ. Whew. I should work over a carpet, heh. There's lots of stuff I need to get working on and additional research here on the forums to figure out how to strap this thing to my body. I've got some ideas to pencil out. Phasma Leg Day I started on the boots, found that the left foot is reallllly snug and I may want to replace the toe armor at some point to relieve the pressure on my foot. That sucks, but it'll do for now. Did a dry fit of the shins and shin/boot armor and it appears to be a good fit, but didn't take any photos while they were on. So this kills me a little... check out this heel: It's got like a quarter inch or more on either side and these boots are tight on me. I can't imagine filling that heel. The toe armor itself is already biting my foot, even if I went to my proper size, I'd imagine it would be harder. I may just have to order another set of boot plates, but, we'll go with what I have for the time being. On the upside, the shin/boot armor part goes over top of the heel and neatly hides the gaps. Maybe I can fill it out if necessary. Walking seemed to be okay. On the topic of leg day, I took a close look at the thighs. Remember all that reshaping, cutting, fiberglass, etc? Well, my first thigh didn't look so good because I can see the pattern (this is my bad for not filling it correctly) but the other was good to go. In either case, this will be behind the cape, so it's more of a "ah, so that's what happens." I revisited the F11-D and put on another mirror coat. Not bad, not nearly as reflective, but should meet the color reqs. I found a guy online who sells resin casts of this rifle, so I may pick one up down the line as an upgrade. The parts are even hollowed out for LEDs. I picked up the FISD 3D files, so I may give it another go, but at this point, I am so sick of sanding and filler primer that I just want to quit 3D printing altogether. Anyway - I'm going to get to work on the belt. I plan to screw the belt boxes to the rubber belt. I attached the covers for the cloth belt pouches, easy peasy, and they hide the buckle well. Once I have the spacing worked out, I'll drill in the boxes and sort out some velcro for the cod and posterior. Following that, drop down straps for the thighs. Whew, lots of work to do and I don't have what I need right now to make any more advancements. Now I'll be focused on one part at a time. Getting there! Ugh, and I still need to dial in the cape. Then weather everything. I tested the glue and black paint thing I want to do for the foggy armor look. Success. Comes off with water. Pretty sweet way to weather and that should disguise most of the imperfections and inevitable scuffs and scratches. On the upside, once the glue goes down, handling the surface becomes much easier and sort of gives it a second skin. I have to schedule a call with Chrome Factory for care and feeding of the armor and will share the knowledge I gain once I apply their techniques. More to come.
  5. Congratulations! I was just wondering about your application as I started to tinker on my kit. Great work! I screwed my belt boxes on for a permanent attachment. Washers on the back to hold it to the belt and so the screws don't pop out. Chicago screws would be less permanent, however, they have a mandatory depth/thickness between the nuts to meet so they don't have a gap; you'd have to countersink one into the box. I suppose you could rivet or glue on velcro for the boxes as well. Congratulations again!
  6. ...and we're back from Phasma's Vegas Getaway with Chrome Factory. At this point and time, the costume was chromed about 5 days ago and has been curing for transportation. It was recommended not to mess with anything and allow the coat to cure for a full two weeks, so she'll sit back for another week or so before I get into strapping. Time to get into the blaster rifle and finishing the cape. This procedure was a chemical chroming process, same as I had set out to do myself, except a blow torch and 20 years of experience went into the effort, heh. The finish is fantastic and my feelings on the work is "best that could have been expected". It's not perfect and based on my personal experience, is forgivable considering the undertaking required to pull it off at this level. There are tell-tale signs of chemical burn, debris, unfinished edges, and runs around the armor that I faced myself and will need to touch up some choice areas. I will spend some time weathering and fixing some flaws and use that exp. as basic training for upkeep and maintenance. These critiques are few in comparison to the entirety of the costume. At 3 inches, I can see the flaws. At 3 feet, not so much. A little touch up and light weathering will go a long way and it's going to knock the socks off of spectators for sure. I'm still convinced of weathering the costume and once I can give it more attention after its cured, will see what options I have. Enjoy the shiny box opening for QC and inventory. Great to have everything back in hand.
  7. https://imgur.com/a/tEzXb2i I was referring to that box thing. I could have taken another 1/8th inch or so off. Minor detail on my set I overlooked in my haste.
  8. I'll echo the "check the screen references" note. CRLs are a great guide, but screen references are the best if available. Something I noticed after the fact was that I didn't trim the gauntlet boxes (the part under the wrist) thin enough. Mine are a bit thick, but shouldn't be an issue. I face palmed after I realized what I did, only after gluing, painting, and sanding. Doh. I haven't showed attachment method yet (since I was waiting for chrome) but I left strips of abs on the side of the lower attachments. I intend to run a velcro strip along that piece and join it to the gauntlet along the inside. This makes it easy enough to adjust as necessary but I plan to leave it attached for slip-ons. Also, Holy Smokes! You're taking on the 3D printed helmet. Good on you. It's a worthy challenge for sure. You look to be on the right path.
  9. I had about 1/3 left in my original can of Spaz-Stix so I black glossed my blaster: This can is 3.5 oz and is like $13 each. It was very shiny and chrome. So, that method is proven to work, as many have done before me. Also from what I've learned from those before me, is that aerosol paint, when coated with an aerosol clear coat, tends to turn the mirror to a dull gray. I knew this. Touching the mirror chrome finish easily scratches off the layer. Even when cured, it's pretty easy to chip, at least from what I found. The next test was to see if the uni-coat, when top coated over the mirror chrome, would kill the mirror. I also wanted to ensure if the coat did it's job, it wouldn't tint gold, so I added a bit of violet to counteract it. Note it reads "silver metal" has an optical property...etc. Ah well, just confirmed my suspicions. Can't clear coat aerosol paint. Is there even an answer for protecting a paint coat? Or just touch-ups whenever you want to suit up over the years? This is a before and after. Left is the clear coat, right is without. I'll gloss black this again and hit it with a mirror finish, then just roll with the punches.
  10. "This is not how I thought this day was gonna' go" -- Han Solo Learning indeed. It is both a bummer and a relief to pack up the garage workspace I've been working in over the past 4 weeks. Phasma is packed and ready for a Las Vegas getaway. My Mrs has decided she'll make the drive. Sort of a 'ladies night' lol. She gets a few days to herself and I don't have to pay shipping. Deal. I'll be signing off from my work till about late October when I can crack open a shiny box of goodies. Tomorrow will be a test fitting for the cape! I still have the notes coming up, and a WIP of the gel coat and stripe. Still plenty of fun to be had. The last thing I have to do is treat the waste water for disposal. Another hidden side quest of a chemical chrome process. Would I recommend this method to anyone? No. Not at all. Not at this scale and not with the resources I have on hand. We all know that having the right tools to do the job will make or break a project. I've worked on a number of projects in the past and I've learned to get the tools to do the job right and not to cut corners. I felt I knocked out the prep and even took on resizing fiberglass, which was probably the highlight of this build for me. Well, working this kit was an undertaking and I really, really wanted to chrome it myself. Alas, I don't have the right tools to do this job and I'm not going to cut corners. I gave it a shot, encountered problems, found the answers, and drew my conclusions. Cape, await Phasma's return, weather the kit, strap in, and suit up. Huzzah. PS: I'm not sending my blaster rifle to get professionally done. It's a 3D print that I'm not totally crazy about and I don't want to hassle the guy with having to deal with it. SO, I'll use this as an opportunity for a test: I'm going to black gloss the blaster, use what Spaztix I have remaining, and top coat it with Uni-Coat. This will do two things: Answer my question of protecting an aerosol spray chrome finish, and test the durability of a professional job compared to the wear and tear on a painted piece.
  11. Posting this to make me feel better. I found a glass cup that was going to be thrown out, so I chromed it to ensure that I'm taking the proper steps. I did the process so many times I just slammed through this in like 10 minutes. If my costume were made of glass, this would have been a cake walk.
  12. Well, I confirmed that the red color is covered by the chemical process, however, I didn't take much care in that piece and the bottom line is: it didn't work. So I made a proper test piece: The Heels I'll say the black gloss had a brighter appearance, and I noticed the newly glossed heel, when washed, sheeted the water off better than the uni-coat. In the end, however, this is beyond my skill, patience, and materials. This one is a job for the pros. In my experience with this chroming process, from the very first attempt on my helmet to this chemical chrome kit, if I had stuck with the black gloss and spaztix, perhaps Alclad, I'd have made better progress and at a "reasonable" cost. In either case, $300-$500 minimum is my guestimate for the pay-to-play price of the finish. $1500-$2000 is the professional route. Ye-owtch. I hit up Chrome Factory LLC based in Las Vegas, NV. Referred by fellow Phasma's on the Facebook Group. I hear he's got dozens of Phasma's under his belt. This is the guy. On the upside, this quarantine lifestyle helped me purge my debt. Time to hop back in and stick a fork in this build.
  13. At least I've confirmed that the base color doesn't matter when using the chemical process so long as the gloss finish is good. That was an expensive test confirmation... Good news and bad news. The good news is I now understand why things happened the way they did. The bad news is, I may have to repaint the whole kit. Before I share my solution, which at this point I don't know if it will even work, I want to document what the heck went wrong and why I'm so annoyed by it. So here's my educational rant. Here's the jist of the errors: This was a STEEP learning curve because not only did I have to prep the entire object to be chromed, in this case, the whole costume, but I have to prep all the chemicals and apply them in order and I won't know if the sensitizer worked until I spray the chrome! You would have no idea if it worked until you've used all of your materials in the process. If it fails, which is a high probability in my experience, I have to remove the silver, and literally, LITERALLY, wash-rinse-repeat. I took a quick inventory of my supplies during clean up of this session and I give you this telling photo: The 2-part silvering solution retails at $160. That 1-inch of used solution equals $50. I failed on those test parts asking "why am I seeing these results?" From the Angel Gilding website: Question: Why does the water bead up? Answer: Plastics, such as polyurethane (Clear Uni-Coat) repel water because, unlike glass, they have a very low level of surface energy. Water molecules on the surface are more attracted to each other than they are the plastic - they form beads and roll off. The answer is to increase the chemical attraction between the plastic and the water. Ok, so the the Uni-coat... used for the gloss coat... repels the freaking wetting agent, sensitizer, and silver because it's ONLY diluted by 95-99% distilled WATER. So the answer is to increase the chemical attraction between the plastic and water... Want to know how? "Flaming the Base Coat" by using a propane torch's flame to ionize the air around the surface so the surface energy increases. Yeah, sure, let me spend way too much for a propane torch, refill canisters, and a lot of room for error. Why didn't I know any of this? Why did I just suffer and fail all day to discover this? Because in the tutorials for the spray chrome, they're not toting a freaking blow torch. In the description of both the basic and master spray chrome kit, nowhere in the "You Supply" section does it say you need a blow torch. However, in the instruction manual of the steps to take, the step following the rinse but before the wetting agent says to Flame the Base Coat. Silly me. I thought that was optional way to speed up the silvering process. No. Re-freaking-quired, because the Uni-Coat repels the hydro-based chemical process. I feel misguided by angel gilding. If I were chroming panes of glass, I'd be a pro. ::Breath:: So here's what I'm going to do in my next session: I've confirmed that the surface color does not matter once the chrome goes down, so long as the base has a mirror like finish (gloss) I've confirmed that the Uni-Coat repels the water based application of... everything. I've concluded I need to increase the chemical attraction between the surface and the water -- and I'm not blow torching anything. So I'm curious -- Does gloss paint repel water the same way the polyurethane does? If it doesn't repel water in the same way, then I'm going to lay down a gloss coat of PAINT (not Uni-Coat) and hopefully get a better chemical bond on the surface for the chrome. Because once the chrome goes down, it will mirror the gloss coat, and then the Uni-Coat can go over top of it all to seal the chrome. Since it's 85 degrees at 11:30pm, I decided to lay down a Black Semi-Gloss and a Red Gloss paint on either side of what was to become a Jawa Ion Blaster: This should be ready to wash, rinse, apply wetting agent, sensitizer, and chrome by the time I get back to the garage. Since color "shouldn't" matter, I'll see the difference between black and red, but also semi-gloss and gloss. Pretty sure I'll just want gloss. If this works, I think I can pull this off with what I have left without having to buy new materials, aside from the gloss black. If it fails, well, I may have to leave the chroming to the professionals. I'm not about to buy in for a second round of chemicals on a possibility of success, I need more assurance. I'd much rather put that on the pros. Cheers to a new day. End rant.
  14. Don't hold your breath. This is considerably more challenging than anticipated. I need to sit down, take notes, and figure out what the heck I'm going to do. In each attempt, I cleaned the surface, rinsed with distilled water, used wetting agent followed by sensitizer. Let it sit for 30-45 seconds, then rinsed with distilled water. Next came the two part silvering. Video: Spray Chrome Video: Silver Remover Exhibit 01: Failed SO what's going on here... color burns, liquid runs and a general mess. Removed all the silver with the Silver Remover, which is great stuff, and went for another shot. Exhibit 02: Failed More liquid runs in the application... Even on the 2nd attempt, I was seeing a splatter issue in the application. Exhibit 03: Failed Take two, more splatter effect...something isn't making sense here. Exhibit 04: Shiny I spent more time washing the piece, used a bunch of distilled water to thoroughly rinse the piece. I then sprayed a load of wetting agent on the surface. I then sprayed a load of sensitizer on the surface. When I mean a load, I mean more than I thought would be reasonable. I saturated the heck out of this thing in each step. Then I hit it with the spray chrome... Hey, not bad! Exhibit 05: "Show the me one who's safety deemed such destruction" When they said this was a wet process, yes, yes it is. The amount of distilled water being used is ridiculous. Distilled water is used to mix every ingredient, rinse the part, and rinse again after the chrome is laid. Each time a failure occurs with the chrome, its back to washing it, then rinsing with distilled water. At my current rate of water usage, I might as well buy every gallon in stock at the grocery store. I've been at this chrome thing for... 4 hours? And I've got one piece to show for it, and it's not even that good. The edges could use some touch up. Woof. Not sure what to make of this so I walked away to collect my thoughts.
  15. Sanding fixes and the new Uni-coat was a success! Annoying having to have made fixes, but third times a charm! CHROME TOMORROW. Huzzah. I hope it works out. This time I took extra precautions... I ordered spare measuring cups, so I don't have to reuse them, rather, use and toss. No more debris! I had extra aerosol Spra-Tool cans on hand this time. SO, when I did two large pieces and the can started to get cold, I just popped it off and loaded a fresh can at room temperature -- this ensured the pressure was consistent and I didn't need to wait for the can to cool. Additionally, I found that spraying off to the side to get a spray flow THEN moving it over the object kept the sputter to a minimum. This also applies to rattle cans to prevent sputter. Don't know why it took me this long to consciously make that connection when working on these last parts. So why did I use all these one use things? Because I don't own an air compressor, nor do I have the spray gun rig. I suppose if I were to open up shop and use that stuff on the regular, it would be worth the investment, but I managed to stagger through this. On the upside, now I've got a feel for the spra-tool and I hope to nail the top coat with whatever Uni-coat I have left. Tomorrow will see whether or not I did the base coat justice. On the upside, TFA gives me the option of weathering the surface and with that, I can hide the sins, or at least blend them to appear intentional. Chrome and top coat this weekend! Game on. ps: I've seen lots of folks use a black gloss/urethane base to help give the chrome a better mirror. I've also heard the color doesn't matter, so long as you've got the clear mirror base. I've put quite a bit of trust into Angel Gildings products and I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
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