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Blast 'Em!

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  • 501st Unit
    Imperial Sands Garrison

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  1. Great call on the cloth technique @TKSpartan! That's made cleanup a lot simpler, and there's no risk of gouging/ scratching the armor with a blade or ABS. I was getting all set to water bath my thighs today but I realized I need some input from you guys first. I'm trying to make my thighs as large in circumference as possible to fit my legs without requiring shims. I currently have left the size as-cut per the Anovos cut-lines, so the return edge in the front is around 40mm. Below you can see how I've glued the fronts, with an unglued 20mm cover strip for reference. I've already glued inner cover strips for the front, planning on leaving the 40mm return edge while still using the standard 20mm front cover strip on the thigh. I know this will look abnormal instead of trimming the return edge to 20mm, but it seemed better than shimming the backs of the thighs (I've run out of long, scrap ABS). What are people's thoughts? Does anyone have any experience/ reference images of leaving a large front thigh return edge? My inner cover strips are only about 15mm wide, so I can't really use them to create a shim in the back- I'd have to order a sheet of ABS and tear apart my current setup.
  2. Yesterday I continued the process of gluing my thigh inner cover strips. One more day is needed to finish the back strip on the left thigh, then I'll do a fit check to see if I need to trim the thigh tops before applying the outer cover strips. I only have 12 of the larger N50 magnets, so I'm double stacking my smaller N52 magnets to create sufficient clamping force. I also started cleaning up the excess glue on my forearms. I'm using a combination of light scoring with my hobby knife and scraping with scrap ABS. It all takes so much time haha! Today I'll continue with the thighs and I'm going to try my first water bath in my 5 gallon Home Depot bucket- gotta get those shins aligned before I apply the rear cover strips! I'm still struggling to find a rubber blaster (Praetorian or HellHounds). Communication with both parties has been, well, let's say difficult. But I'm sure they're both slowed down by COVID-19, so I'm waiting to see who has inventory first.
  3. Caleb- I'm right there with ya. I grew up on the OT soundtracks so I'm heavily biased in that direction. But I am also a big fan of some prequel tracks from TPM and ROTS (Duel of the Fates, The Droid Invasion, Anakin's Betrayal, and Anakin's Dark Deeds come to mind). For the water bath, I'll try that 5 gallon bucket suggestion. I was hesitant to put near-boiling water in a thin Home Depot plastic bucket, but it looks like the HDPE material can withstand 110 C for short periods of time. Justin- I appreciate the feedback. I'll go grab some standard 1" velcro instead of using my Anovos velcro. For the rest of the armor, I'll be using Tandy snaps, employing double snaps, nylon, and elastic similar to your setup. Recent Progress: I was able to spend a decent amount of time working between yesterday and today. I finished trimming my thighs (only one required some adjustment), and I glued an inner cover strip to each piece, choosing the slow route so assembly is easier. After 24 hrs, I glued one of the thigh pieces together in the front. I'll wait for this to dry before gluing the back, and finally the outer cover strips. I also glued inner cover strips to the outer joints on my forearms. With all of my clamps and magnets in-use, I decided to start on my HWT ammo pouches . Here are all four, as delivered, with foam inserts. I started by removing all foam inserts, cleaning up the mess they left in the pouches, then I wrapped the foam in electrical tape to water proof and contain the foam from further degradation. Next was cleaning and conditioning the leather pouches, as they came with some marks on them. I used some leather products from my car detailing bucket and I touched up my Imperial Boots while I was at it. Lastly, I sat down with a pen and starting coloring the white stitching black (it took me around 45 min to do the one on the left). One down, two to go. Next up: Finish the thighs over the next 3 days. Then I'll clean all the excess glue off all the limbs to tidy things up. Glue reinforcement strips around the torso pieces and then do another test fit. I still need to order my TKitell belt but I want to assemble and measure the torso pieces first to get the sizing dead-on.
  4. I'm now 28 hrs into my build as I'm starting on the ROTS soundtrack for the third time (listening in order of release: 4,5,6,1,2,3,7,8,9). I'm enjoying this marathon, and I'm hoping to keep a sustained pace until I submit for basic approval sometime in June. Questions: Can I use Anovos shin velcro, or is it crap? If I should replace it, any recommended products? I saw Justin recommend some ultra thin velcro, but you have to buy 25 yds at a time For water bathing calves, if they don't fit in my sink and I don't have a large pot, is a bathtub my best bet? Recent Progress: I completed my last forearm cover strip, so all forearms and biceps are fully assembled. In the near future I'll be further trimming some of the cutouts that allow arm bending because motion is a little restricted right now. I only added inner cover strips to the joints with shims because I didn't want to lose any more internal space within the armor piece, but I'm realizing I might as well add inner strips behind the raised portions of the forearms. I want to water bath the biceps so I might still add inner strips to them after. I started trimming the backs of my shins. I found that when I measured the amount of material I wanted to cut and used a ruler to draw that line down the back of the shin, my joint seam became angled (not straight up and down like intended). I quickly realized that you want a cut a slightly rounded line to accommodate the curve of the piece, so I used a ruler to measure to the apex of the "calf bulge" to clean up my previous cut line. For the second calf, I ended up measuring my cut distance of 1/2" from the current edge all along the piece (you can see faint pencil dashed on the right side), since the initial trim edges lined up well. I followed this path with my straight lexan scissors and this turned out well when I taped the back of the calf together. A quick eval of the calves on my boots showed a mistake I made that was accentuated by the curvature of a piece. For my right calf, the front cover strip appears to angle out because the inner piece is much more convex than the outer piece. I don't remember trimming any of the outer piece, but this is a good reminder to assess whether you should take more off of one side than another and not just distribute your cut 50-50 between two pieces. I'm going to slightly trim around the ankle then water bath both calves, so I'm hoping that makes this issue less glaring. I remeasured my shin circumferences at the calf and ankle and found they're a little smaller than what I targeting, so I'm short on space for magnetic closures. I'll start with velcro this time. Next Up: Thighs: I need to slightly trim the circumference on one, then I'll glue inner cover strips for all pieces, then outer strips. I'm waiting to do any Torso pieces: gluing reinforcement strips around high stress pieces Painting buttons. Planning on tracing a dime on my painters tape and cutting out templates. I'll try two coats, unless only one is necessary TD: hacksawing to correct the length. Painting screws black. Applying velcro to both sides of metal clips Snaps snaps snaps Helmet modifications: trimming eyes, cutting out lenses and adhering with Sugru. Replacing incorrect ear screws. Saving repainting tube stripes and ear trimming for a later time haha.
  5. Progress! Not much, but it still counts . I found an hour on Tuesday night and glued a 25mm wide cover strip over my bicep shim (both biceps are now done) and I glue an inner strip and teeny shim to the back of a forearm. After gluing the cover strip to this forearm, both forearms will be done. Forearm inner strip + shim setup: I determined the shim size by taping the forearm into the desired size, based on the measurements I took back on Page 1. I sanded the inner strip with 120 grit, cross hatching my sanding, and rinsed and dried the piece. I did the same for the top and bottom of the thin shim. I coated the inner strip with E6000 and placed the shim where intended, then left those to get tacky over the next 15-20min. Then I clamped everything together, slapped on magnets, and taped it up to keep things from migrating. Last step, cleaning the glue from all over my fingers and work station haha. I have learned that using a popsicle stick or tongue depressor to spread the E6000 really is the way to go. I was a doubter at first. Forgive me, Joseph. But spreading around the glue makes things slide around less when clamping and applying magnets. Next up are the backs of my shins. I'll cut them to size and then water bathe em. I'd still like to entertain magnetic closures, but we'll see how much time I have this weekend. Cricket's guides are awesome and I have all required materials, but the quickness of velcro is calling to me...
  6. Unfortunately, I've made no progress over the past 11 days but it's for a good reason. Our family grew by one and we've been busy taking care of this little guy. I'm aiming to get back to finishing gluing the limbs today/ tomorrow, but we'll see how thing shake out with the puppy.
  7. I've fallen behind on my updates, so this will be a longer recap of Tuesday and Wednesday's progress. Shins! I started with trimming the fronts of my shins down to create a 20mm ridge for the cover strips to lay upon. At the ankle, I marked how far I'd need to trim inward to create my intended taper, drew a straight line with my ruler, and made my cut. Then, I clamped the two ends together, mimicking the final overlap, and I used the edge of the armor to trace my second cut-line. I found this resulted in a more seamless butt joint than tracing a line with the ruler twice. Here's the result pre-gluing my cover strip Plastic peeled back, cover strip ridges all sanded (110 grit) and ready to go. Clamped, magnets applied, and taped down. I then completed the same steps on the other shin. Back to the biceps. I knew I would have to create some more space in this piece, so some shimming was in order. I didn't want to go too wide, otherwise my cover strip would look too big. I settled on expanding the cover strip from 15mm to 25mm, and I would use a 15mm wide shim (I used the original cover strip). I started by creating an inner cover strip to help bridge this new 15mm gap. I sanded all pieces and glued the "used to be the 15mm cover strip but now is my shim" to the inner cover strip, allowing this to sit for 10 min so that it wouldn't move too much. You can see my new outer cover strip on the right. Gluing everything together. Magnet setup and final taping. The next day I applied the outer cover strip. Back to the shins! I cut up some scrap pieces to use as the inner cover strips, reinforcing this joint that will be repeatedly stressed each time I don and doff my calves. I chose thinner, more flexible scrap pieces for these strips. All faces were sanded, E6000 was applied, then clamps and magnets. Both shins were left to dry. And lastly, I jumped over to the forearms. After cutting the back joint edges to capture my intended taper, I found that this piece still had a gap in the middle that made me uneasy. So I started with an inner cover strip, which will make application of the outer strip a lot easier. At this point, it was 11:30pm and I had used 40 N52 and 12 N40 magnets, so I called it a day. I'm going to finish off my biceps and forearms (I need to shim both remaining pieces), and I'll come back to the back of my calves later (going to try Cricket's magnetic shin approach). I also will be leaving my thighs until I have my shins and torso ready- I want to make sure everything measures correctly before I cut there.
  8. Thanks for the kind words Joseph. The only reason I've made it this far is the wealth of knowledge from other troopers like you. Good eye with the forearm "scoop"; after some test fitting today I think I need to remove more material so I can bend my arm more (gotta be able to reach that bucket). Last night I was only able to apply a cover strip to the front of my left shin. Unfortunately I've been gluing late at night, preventing me from following up an hour later to make sure nothing has shifted too much, so I've found my cover strips have migrated north-south several millimeters. Beware! That E6000 is a scoundrel! Hopefully some minor trimming can hide my errors. I'll be shimming my biceps with a 10mm wide piece for the back joints. Since the original cover strip is 15mm wide, I'm planning making a 20mm wide strip to cover the shimmed section, using a 25mm wide inner cover strip to strengthen the joint. I'm hoping the 20mm wide strip is allowable and not too over-sized since it's on the back side of the armor.
  9. Last night I prepped 12 N40 and 20 N52 magnets with painters tape. I did a quick review of Joseph's Magnets 101, then proceeded with caution. Even so , the N40 magnets got me with a blood blister as I was handling them from their shipping container. Those magnets are powerful. I started with the outside of the forearms and did some trimming to get my cover strip seam the same size as my cover strip (ended up taking off a little too much material). I measured the length of the cover strip and then snipped off the corners (I learned that I'm bad at estimating a 45° cut). Next I sanded the bottom of the cover strip and the top of the butt joints and wiped them down with a microfiber towel. Then it was time to wrangle some slippery E6000. I'm liking the approach of gluing the cover strip to one side, waiting 15 min for the tackiness to set in, then gluing the two butt joints together. I found that some of my Anovos armor pieces only have a plastic wrap on the inside. That was confusing. And now I have some polishing in my near future, as some of the pieces have gotten dinged. No worries.
  10. Fitment day! I spent another 2 hrs rough sanding all edges with my dremel, covering myself in ABS chips and dust. I finished my Saturday by taping all the limbs together to approximate the circumferences listed in my table above. This morning, with the help of my very patient fiancee, we taped everything together as best as possible. Let me know if anything could use improvement! Looking at the photos it appears my thighs externally rotated a bit more than intended, and the biceps bowed outward because of how we taped them. For reference, I'm 6' tall and 185lbs. Surf's up!
  11. Today ended up being Measurement Day. But first a quick recap of some trimming activities. I ended up re-trimming all the return edges on my limbs to 5mm, figuring I could go down to 3mm if I really needed it later. The stock Anovos edges were more around 10mm. I couldn't find any good reference photos for trimming the return edge on the cod, but Joseph was able to point me in the right direction (his image is below). I definitely didn't want to find out I had too much friction down there on troop #1 I then donned my undersuit and my fiancee used our fabric tape measure to pull all relevant measurements for assembling the arms and legs. Next, I measured the size of all my armor as-is while it was taped up. Lastly, I adjusted the tape to make the butt joints narrower or wider to get an ideal fit. Body Armor as cut Armor target w/ trim R L R L R L Hand, smallest shape 9.75 9.75 12 11.5 11 11 Forearm, flexed 12.5 12.5 15.5 14.75 14.75 14.75 Biceps, bottom, unflexed 12 12 15 15.25 15.5 15.5 Biceps,top, flexed 15 15 15.75 15.75 16.25 16.25 Shin, ankle, in boot, standing 11.5 11.5 14.5 14.25 13.25 13.25 Calf, flexed 16 16 18 19 18 18 Bottom thigh, 45° bend forward 16.75 16.25 20 21 20 20 Mid thigh, flexed 23 23 26.5 26.75 26.5 26.5 Here's a top-down view of the forearm, taped up to reduce some space and taper more towards the wrist. Below I show a 1/2" tape shim for the biceps, helping create some space And last, here are my shins, accounting for the incorrect numbering provided by Anovos. The left shin is a little wonky at the bottom, so I'll trim the inside piece so that it matches the outer piece. I was hoping to post some photos of me wearing the taped up pieces in their "ideal trim" form, but a couple edges snagged the seams of my undersuit. I didn't want to damage my undersuit any more so tomorrow I'll rough sand all edges again, then post images of everything before I start to cut and glue.
  12. I taped together all of my armor yesterady, hoping to do a quick fit test. But I quickly realized how difficult it is to approximate fit with multiple pieces precariously fastened with painters tape. I settled for a photo of a single shin and thigh piece, with me holding up the ab to approximate fit. My lovely assistant (an amused fiancee) helped tape the shin to create more of a taper. I've read that you want a little space between the bottom of the shin and the boot to prevent the shin riding up (I will be trying stirrups or attaching velcro to the boot to prevent shin shifting/ rotation during trooping). Is there specific guidance on this gap? My main takeaway was that I'll want to reshape every piece of armor so that it actually conforms to the shape of a human limb. How do you guys water bath larger torso pieces? Or is a heat gun necessary for these? I've decided to shift my approach to test fitting/trimming/gluing the forearms, then biceps, then shins. After that I'll test fit all torso pieces and lastly the thighs and shoulders. I'm also going back and trimming all remaining return edges to 3mm for functionality (less armor bite and risk of cracking). After further guidance from Jospeh, I've removed/ I'm removing the following return edges: Wrists top of the inside Forearm piece top and bottom of Biceps top of Thighs bottom of Shins neck and sides of Chest and Back sides of Kidney tab of the Butt (minimal to no return edge left) Shoulders around the Cod (minimal to no return edge left)
  13. Today I sanded down all the rough edges on my armor in preparation for my initial fit test/ blue tape moc up. I popped open the garage to give myself some fresh air, donned my mask, and threw on some safety glasses. I decided to use a dremel to make the task quicker, so I selected a 120 grit sanding drum and flipped the dremel to around 7k RPM. After practicing a few passes on a scrap piece of ABS, I started on the biceps. An hour later, all edges were relatively smooth and ready to be taped up. But unfortunately fitting the armor got pushed to tomorrow, so more pictures will follow then. In the meantime, I've been starting to get blaster fever. My oh my does Praetorian make a sharp looking E-11. And DLT-19.
  14. I finished trimming the thighs yesterday- everything is now cut out! It took me around 9 hours and I listened to every Star Wars soundtrack from Episode I through VIII . Tonight I aim to rough sand all the edges and tape everything up for an initial size check. For my initial trimming, I've immediately removed all return edges per Joseph's guide. As an engineer, I'm all about functional armor that won't cut into my arms and legs when I'm trooping. For the thighs, this meant removing all the top return edges. I started every piece by using a pen to trace the cut line- below you can see my tracing on the inside of the top of a thigh. The sides of the thighs were super easy to snap and score. I found that I didn't need to use a ruler to guide my cuts and that it was easier to go slow with steady pressure, using my other hand to hold the material behind the cut (for stability). I went slow with all my cutting so I could create large scrap pieces for inner cover strips and reinforcement. In my opinion, the bottoms of the thighs were the toughest section of all the armor. The acute turns and rigid surroundings made things tough, even with curved lexan scissors. I would always start by removing the vacuform's return edge to make the piece a little more flexible and manageable. Still, it was tricky. I've purchased almost all of my remaining materials at this point, with the exception of elastic. Almost all elastic is currently being used to rightly make masks for the general public, and I can't find any small amounts online that can be delivered by next month. Does anyone have some leftover scraps they can sell to me? Any help would be much appreciated. I'm looking for the following: -Elastic (shoulder bells) 1" wide, black. 4 ft -Elastic (shoulder connection) 2" wide, white. 1 ft -Elastic (drop boxes) 1" wide, white. 1 ft -Elastic (shoulder straps) 1/4" wide, white. 1 ft
  15. Aiming to be one of those 37 as I blitz through my build!
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